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Taking the Temp: As we close in on the end of January, we approach the time of year when most New Year’s Resolutions go to die. All those “I want to save more” or “I want to understand my finances better” can be challenging goals to hit without help from someone willing and able to do so. Our planning team and I would be happy to assist with specific goals you’ve created—in the meantime, here are some basics to keep in mind as the year rolls forward:

  1. Consider keeping your net worth statement up to date. This article is a helpful starting point. As they mention, it’s a tedious task but will give you the best picture of your financial situation. As many of you know, this is something we can do with and for you very easily. Our online resources can keep the vast majority of what you own, as well as what debt you owe, up to date on a daily basis.
  2. As you prepare for tax season, consider inserting us into your relationship with your tax preparer. Many of you have done this already and know the beauty of coordination among your professionals.
  3. Considering the economy’s condition and the resulting downside we see in the markets, there may not be a better time to update the assumptions/goals of your plan with us. For a select few of you, you may have never constructed a full-blown financial plan. We’d enjoy creating one and demonstrating the practical power of a thorough plan.

Breaking the Bank: Eggs have held headlines for the past few weeks. Why? It’s an American staple that is usually cheap, accessible protein. But in recent weeks, it’s become the picture of inflation. When an omelet is $20 because of the price of eggs, the effects of inflation seem pervasive. The Philadelphia Inquirer recently shared an article about a chef from a bistro in Point Breeze. A year ago, eggs cost her about $50 for 30 dozen. Last week, she paid $127 for the same amount. It’s not really about the eggs. After months of market volatility, the skyrocketing price of eggs marks just the latest financial hit for small-business owners and consumers. The residual effects of the pandemic, inflation, and a bird flu outbreak all contribute—and the overall rise in food costs is hitting personal finances in a real way.

Business Briefing 

  1. Layoffs: Microsoft announced on Wednesday it would lay off another 10,000 employees, adding to a wave of job cuts at major technology companies bracing for a possible recession. Amazon also announced the end of its AmazonSmile charitable program, which let customers designate a charity to receive a donation from the company of 0.5 percent of their purchases. The announcement came as the online retail giant launched a new round of layoffs affecting 18,000 employees. (Reuters, Bloomberg)
  2. Debt Ceiling: The U.S. government hit its $31.4 trillion debt limit on Thursday, and the Treasury Department said in a letter to Congress that it had started “extraordinary” accounting measures, tapping retirement funds, to avoid default. “I respectfully urge Congress to act promptly to protect the full faith credit of the United States,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrote in a letter. The measures are expected to buy five months for Republicans and Democrats to negotiate a deal on raising the debt ceiling to avoid a default that could wreak havoc on the economy. (The Associated Press, Reuters)

The Power of the Outdoors: Perhaps a worthy goal for 2023 is to get outside more. Just last week, another school district, The Kent School District in Washington State, joined Seattle Public Schools in filing suits against TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and their parent companies, seeking compensation to address the youth mental health crisis that both districts allege has been caused by the social media companies. The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday about the social media crisis that reflects and intensifies human nature, for good and ill. As this cultural war unfolds, consider the 1000 hours outside approach. Use the app or download the trackers. And consider the approach to match the amount of time kids are on screens—an average of 1200 hours per year!