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Nearly four years ago, the Fed took its very first tentative step toward ending the era of extraordinary monetary intervention.  Markets responded very negatively (the so called “taper tantrum”).  In December 2015, the Fed finally decided to begin raising rates above nearly-zero percent rates.  This past week, the Fed signaled that it might be moving with more alacrity as it raised rates another quarter of a percent just three months after its last rate hike.  On the news, markets rallied.  At this pace, and given the Fed’s recent public statements, it appears more likely than not that there will be two more rate hikes this year.  The Fed is signaling that it believes that the United States economy is nearing its full economic potential.  However, the Fed is still predicting GDP growth in the next couple of years at a rate very close to the all-too-familiar 2.0% figure.



Last Monday, the Wall Street Journal braced us for a potential bad week in the markets due to 1) the Fed raising rates, 2) Dutch elections, 3) the UK taking another step toward separation from the European Union, and 4) tumbling oil prices.  The Fed raised rates and the markets rallied.   In the Netherlands, the incumbent party won reelection, which came as a relief to worldwide markets.  In the UK, legislation enabling the country’s departure from the European Union was given assent by the Queen allowing talks to begin on the terms of the UK’s divorce from the EU, and investors showed little reaction.  Finally, oil prices stabilized.  For this past week, the S&P 500* increased 0.24% (up 6.23% for the year).  The MSCI All Country X US* increased 2.24% (up 8.60% for the year).  The Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index* increased 1.13% (up 1.03% for the year).  The HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index* increased 0.25% (up 1.74% for the year).



According to the results of a recent survey by the AICPA, financial planning clients’ biggest concern is running out of money.  41% made it their top concern, 17.9% made it number two, and 11.5% made it number three.  Thus 70.4% of respondents to the survey put it in their top three.  The two other biggest concerns were maintaining current lifestyle and rising health care costs.  Do these match your biggest concerns?



According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, when people are asked what makes a job meaningful, the number one answer is that their job “makes the world a better place.”   Following on this, Forbes recently conducted a survey asking what are the jobs that actually make the world a better place.  The survey resulted in a three way tie:

  • Orthopedic surgeon
  • Police Chief
  • Youth minister

It is interesting to note that those three jobs pay, on average, $337,800, $63,100 and $35,000 respectively.  Doing meaningful work, and changing the world have very different pay scales.




WORRIES: http://www.aicpa.org/InterestAreas/PersonalFinancialPlanning/Community/DownloadableDocuments/PFPTrendsSurvey-Key-Findings.pdf

I CAN CHANGE THE WORLD:  https://hbr.org/2016/04/what-do-millennials-really-want-at-workhttps://www.forbes.com/sites/kathryndill/2015/04/14/the-most-and-least-meaningful-jobs/#115fb7617e5dhttps://tifwe.org/whats-your-definition-of-a-meaningful-job/
FED CONTINUES ITS SLOW ATTEMPT TO GET BACK TO “NORMAL”: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/13/upshot/the-feds-era-of-easy-money-is-ending.html?ref=business&_r=0http://horsesmouth.com/the-fed-s-tone-rate-hike-tinged-with-caution

THE NEGATIVE WEEK THAT WASN’T:  http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/16/oil-prices-edge-up-as-drop-in-us-crude-stocks-eases-glut-worries.htmlhttp://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/16/markets-cheer-dutch-election-results-but-future-elections-cause-concern.htmlhttp://www.cnn.com/2017/03/16/europe/brexit-royal-assent-eu-article-50/https://www.wsj.com/articles/investors-gird-for-busy-week-of-potential-whipsaws-1489320006