I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. Whether you reached your personal goals in 2018, faced challenges, or are looking for a 2019 reboot, let’s take a moment to hit on the key themes from the past year.

January began 2018 on a firm footing, building on highs in the wake of tax reform, low interest rates, low inflation, and strong corporate profit growth. If stocks rise or fall on the fundamentals (and they usually do), the outlook was quite favorable as the year began. However, while I will always believe no one can consistently time the peaks and valleys of the market, when there’s too much good news priced into stocks, any disappointment can create volatility.

A spike in Treasury bond yields tripped up bullish sentiment early in 2018. President Trump’s decision to level the playing field of international trade created uncertainty in the first half. Then, investors decided trade wasn’t important until they decided late in the year that it was. Another bout of selling began in October and the decline accelerated in December. Several factors contributed to the weakness, including fears that continued rate hikes by the Fed might stifle economic activity in 2019 and quash profit growth. We’re also experiencing heightened uncertainty brought on by the ongoing trade war with China. In addition, key tech stocks that had been market leaders for several years lost their mojo and pulled on the major averages.

If Christmas Eve marks the bottom of the sell-off, it won’t be the first time we’ve had a steep correction that side-stepped a bear market. We witnessed similar declines in 2011 and 1998. In both cases, a profit-crushing recession was avoided. But let me offer a little bit of perspective. The Q4 decline may have been unsettling. Nevertheless, the total decline in the S&P 500, including reinvested dividends , amounted to just over 4% (S&P Dow Jones Indexes) for calendar year 2018. Overseas stocks fared quite a bit worse, as the global economy shifted into a lower gear earlier in the year, and trade tensions, which are more likely to rattle foreign economies, added to woes.

What’s in store for 2019
While 2018 began with unbridled optimism, caution quickly entered the picture and most major U.S. indexes had their first downturn since 2008. In 2019, we have the mirror image. There is no shortage of cautious sentiment. But the fragrance that’s in the air today doesn’t always determine market direction throughout the year. As we’ve seen, markets can be unpredictable as investors try to anticipate events that may impact the economy and corporate profits.

We know that stocks can be unpredictable over a shorter period and sell-offs are normal. And they aren’t pleasant. But we take precautions to minimize volatility and, more importantly, keep you on track toward your long-term financial goals. During up markets and down markets, I like to stress the importance of your investment plan and the progress we’re making toward your financial goals.

Stocks will hit small bumps in the road, and occasionally hit a major pothole, but the long-term data highlight that stocks have easily outperformed bonds, T-bills, CDs, and inflation.
As Warren Buffett opined a couple of years ago , “It’s been a terrible mistake to bet against America, and now is no time to start.” (Investment U, Motley Fool).

I trust you’ve found this review to be educational and helpful. It is my job to assist you! If you have any questions or would like to discuss any matters, please feel free to give me a call.

MARKET COMMENTARY: Terrible December Caps Off Tough Year for Markets
Unfortunately, investors who were holding out hope for a year-end rally were disappointed. As 2018 came to its end, rising political and economic concerns weighed on global markets. This turmoil capped off a disappointing quarter and year for equities.

Among U.S. markets, the Nasdaq Composite fared the worst. It saw losses of 9.40 percent for the month and 17.29 percent for the quarter. For the year, though, the Nasdaq was down only 2.84 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had similar results. It lost 8.59 percent for the month and 11.31 percent for the quarter, contributing to a loss of 3.48 percent for the year. Finally, the S&P 500 declined by 9.03 percent in December. This led to a drop of 13.52 percent for the quarter and 4.38 percent for the year.

Pay Yourself First With an IRA!
But, which IRA is the right one for you?
When it comes to retirement saving, which is better for you: a Roth IRA or traditional IRA?

What are the differences between a Roth and a traditional IRA, anyway? Is one of them better for everyone in any circumstances? Or does it vary, depending on your circumstances?

The answers boil down to this: The best one for you is the one that leaves you more money after you've paid taxes, once you've retired and started to take withdrawals.

That bottom line depends on your situation — everything from your age to your salary, your pay raises over the years and your tax rate, now and in the future.

All of those factors come into play because a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA work slightly differently.

Make 2019 Your Best and Wisest
By Checking Off These Important Points
At CURO, we celebrate and encourage financial wellness all the year through and want to help you do the same. We have compiled a Financial Checklist to help you review your financial decisions and consider new ones to improve your financial well-being.

As we gather over the next months to review your financial plans, we'll go through our checklist together with you to help you maintain your plan and achieve the goals you've set for living your best life.
Thoughtfully Curated Events, Exclusively for You, the Clients of CURO. Spots are Limited!
Take your resolutions to the bank and learn how to eat healthier without busting your budget. Local Food Network Chef Barry Sexton will host this dynamic demo and class to limited seating at an area test kitchen. Class will be scheduled by the interest it receives . Please let us know if you would like join this one-of-a-kind event.
On our private tour by founder Rebecca Fisher, we'll unearth the history of Philly’s most badass women, who changed the face of Philadelphia, quite literally. Women such as muralist, Meg Saligman work adorns Philly's streets, making it the world's largest outdoor art gallery...
We are hosting another exhilarating and fun " Introduction to Dragon Boat Racing", given by the "Jersey Girls" team, where you will learn the basics of rowing, water safety, paddling skills and communication...
Get creative with us and help us support foster kids entering the system, by providing new, personalized duffel bags called Sweet Cases, filled with teddy bears, blankets, hygiene kits and more to show them they matter! We provide all the supplies you need; you provide the love!
This unique class by Kathleen Lang, will begin with an introduction into the process of Eco-Printing, followed by a nature walk to collect materials to create a one-of-a-kind silk scarf using only natural elements.
If you're interesting in attending any of these fun and uniquely exclusive events we've created, please let us know, so we can send you an invitation with more information. Each event is FREE for our clients,
but only a limited number of spots are available!
We are Collecting for Local Foster Children
Did you know that everyday at least 1200 kids in the United States enter foster care? Currently, there are about 400,000 in America's foster care system.They are typically given trash bags to gather their few worldly possessions and then are sent to a foster home, where items are often lost without having a secure place to hold them.

Once again, later this year, we will be helping these children in need by providing new,  personalized duffel bags called Sweet Cases , filled with teddy bears, blankets, hygiene kits and more, to show them they matter!

We need your help to fill them with new toys, books, night lights, hygiene items and more and will be collecting in our office through the Summer. Please consider sending (via the link) or bringing a contribution on your next visit. Thank you for your help and support of this worthy cause.
Where does your journey begin?

Young professionals often have a unique financial situation that doesn’t quite fit the “traditional” financial advisor model. Some are just beginning their careers, while others are already climbing the ladder. Everyone is unique, but one thing young professionals have in common is a vision of the future they aspire to achieve

Working families are the Hercules of the American society, often balancing children, aging parents, work, life, and future goals. The families are often busy, the days are never-ending and the to-do lists pile up, but they find purpose in the hectic times: to create a better life for themselves and those they cherish most.


The Golden Years are hopeful times. Most of the stress of children and growing careers has subsided however, other issues arise: the estate, healthcare, taxes, and income. Since life has taught them to persevere, they are confident that all their hard work will harvest harmony for their future.