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Retirement Planning: While nearly all of our conversations with clients include retirement, a small portion of those include the option of retiring abroad. It’s certainly something on the radar, and we found the graphic below interesting. This is designed to be a useful (nonscientific) tool with real, on-the-ground information informed by experience and opinion. If the option of retiring overseas is on your radar, consider the latest Retirement Index:

Aging and Remodeling: Many people hope to stay in their homes as they age rather than move in with a relative or into an assisted living facility. AARP conducted a poll in 2021 revealing that 75% of people at least 50 years old want to live in their homes as long as possible. Called aging in place remodeling, thinking intentionally can help you to stay in your home longer. Common aging in place remodeling would be grab bars in the shower, kitchen or hallways, walk-in showers, stair chairs, etc. Some other options may require more planning—access, and ability to use mobility scooters, medical alert systems, or home oxygen concentrators. You may even consider installing doorbells and smart locks or security cameras that can be controlled via a phone.

If you have a parent nearing this age, the best time to start the conversation about these plans is before it is needed. Consider their desires with empathy and involve us in the conversation regarding finances if we can be of help. We recognize aging discussions can be difficult. We are here to help!

Working from Home: Since the pandemic, many workplaces have remained at a hybrid work week or fully remote. As of January 2022, the Pew Research Center found that 59% of all employees are fully remote. One beneficial side effect of the changing work culture could be savings related to your car insurance. If you are driving less, you should pay less. You can get car insurance ideal for work-from-home employees by opting for pay-per-mile car insurance. This option may give you more control over your auto insurance.

Business Briefing:

  • S&P 500: Jan. 19 marked the first time in history that the S&P 500 hit an all-time high while the Russell 2000 was in a bear market. Historically, large Russell 2000 drawdowns surrounding S&P 500 peaks have been a bullish indicator for both small and large caps, with the former outperforming on average. Attractive valuations, a positive economic outlook, and strong upside potential inform our favorable view on small caps in the year ahead. (Goldman Sachs)
  • Consumer Spending: The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the economy grew by 3.1% in the past year, up from less than 1% in 2022 and far better than the 2% expansion economists had been expecting. The pace slowed from an annualized rate of 4.9% in the summer to a still healthy 3.3% in the fourth quarter, confirming that the economy remained remarkably resilient despite aggressive Federal Reserve interest rate hikes intended to bring down inflation by slowing the economy. The Commerce Department also revealed that its measure of consumer prices—the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation indicator—rose 0.2% in December and November, putting it up just 2.6% in the past year. (The New York Times, Bloomberg)

Sailing the Globe: Starting on Oct. 29, 2023, Cole Brauer and her 40-foot racing yacht, First Light, along with six other boats, set sail from A Coruña, Spain. She traveled down the west African coast, rounding South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, before heading to the Indian Ocean, where she rounded Cape Leeuwin in Australia before setting out across the Pacific toward South America. On Jan. 26, she hit what is considered the “Everest” of her career by rounding Chile’s Cape Horn, surviving the notoriously deadly Drake Passage, the turbulent strait connecting the Pacific and Atlantic between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands, just above Antarctica. If she completes her trip around the globe, she will be the first American woman to sail solo nonstop around the world by the three great capes. Read the rest of the story here.