Scam Alert: Courtesy of Cary Johnson

IRS Scam Alert

Government Agencies will not contact you via telephone or E-mail to settle an outstanding issue, including any payment or fee!

The IRS scam calls have never gone away. Now, however, the calls are supposedly coming from the U.S. Treasury Department or your Sheriff’s Office. These calls are from scammers, mostly calling from outside the United States, who rout the call through a U.S. Area Code to add legitimacy and fool consumers. They are meant to frighten and scare consumers into acting compulsively by providing a credit card or buying a ‘Green Dot’ money card to make an arrest warrant go away or avoid a court appearance.

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Progress in 5’s

I think daily minutia often blurs our capability to see the remarkable progress humankind has and is making. If we take a moment to think back 40 years, back to the time many of you started investing for the first time, we’ve seen tremendous advancements across the board. From energy to medicine, transportation to communication, or any one of a hundred other fields, advancement had been astounding.

But as investors it’s important to see the forest through the trees. So let’s break it down and consider a few special years – years that end in five.

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Outlook 2016: Embrace the Routine

LPL Financial Outlook 2016

LPL Research expects to see routine year-end outcomes in many areas of the economy and financial markets in 2016, but how we get there may be anything but routine. Certain conditions have been unusual for so long, that 2016 may hold some unexpected turns that could catch some investors unprepared, and it will take a solid investment plan to navigate it.

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2016: A Year of Drama-teries

As we look back at 2015 one word comes to mind: volatility. Though the swings felt dramatic, the S&P 500 Index actually had less volatility than what I would call a typical year. The peak-to-trough swings during the year were separated by 12.4%. Compare that to an average intra-year change since 1975 of 14%.

So why did a rather average 2015 feel like such a rollercoaster? Upon tripling in six years since the financial crisis in 2009 lows, the stock market “rested”. But media needs a story to tell, so they focused on three key targets: China, the Federal Reserve, and oil. They created Drama-tary.

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Facing Volatility

Over the last few years, we have faced a variety of challenges in the market. Times of stress spark the need for discussion, reassurance, and often, historical context. In 2013, we started the year worried about the impending fiscal cliff, and later watched as the market had its “taper tantrum” over uncertainty regarding the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) actions. In 2014, the focus was on the harsh winter’s impact on the economy, and the market sell-off due to the Ebola outbreak and rise of the Islamic State militants. And last year, second-half fears triggered by the decline in oil prices, weakness in manufacturing, and a slowdown in China captured our attention.

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The Power of Growing Dividend Income

We create and communicate ProsperOn’s to deliver timeless, valuable wisdom to our clients, with the hope to provide greater clarity, capability and confidence. In other words to help people be better investors. We hope these are valuable to you and your family.

By now most of you have heard us preaching the gospel of our Growing Dividend Strategy. At the very core of our investing philosophy is the notion that our clients invest for income. That income may be for today, or needed sometime in the future. But the crux is almost always income.

A focus on income invites unique challenges and opportunities. For instance, the largest challenge is a continually growing income that outpaces inflation, the “consistent hill” that always needs climbing. Without growing income the purchasing power of your money will decrease over time, along with your standard of living.

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Bird Watching and the Emperor’s Robe

We create and communicate ProsperOn’s to deliver timeless, valuable wisdom to our clients, with the hope to provide greater clarity, capability and confidence. In other words to help people be better investors. We hope these are valuable to you and your family.

In August of 2015 the financial markets seemed to do what nobody likes but nearly everyone knows is normal – they “corrected”. A more accurate description of a market correction is when prices fall by 10% in a short period of time. That short-term decrease can cause panic or an attitude that investing is “risky”. Panic, driving either buying or selling, may be a poor strategy destined to cause investors to lose money.

I believe emotion has moved to the forefront of public sentiment, prompted by a very loud media. This emotion is causing wild short term volatility, resulting in the frequent ups and downs we’ve been experiencing. But let’s consider what I believe to be the leading causes of these swings: the August correction, Chinese instability, and the possibility of a Fed rate hike.

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The Good in the Gray

It is fascinating to watch and listen to the narrative of media within our country. We have a tendency to take sides on any given issue, resulting in a constant battle between good and evil, black and white, up and down. Then, when citizens attempt to turn off the noise, both sides yell louder in an attempt to keep their viewers’ attention.  But the increasing drone of worthless drivel has the effect of drowning out the good news, the important news, the news we should actually be paying attention to. Today I want to walk through some of those news items that have really interested and inspired me.

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What the Wright Brothers Taught Us About Government Innovation

“Human flight by a machine will occur between one million and ten million years from now,” estimated the New York Times on October 9, 1903. Coincidentally, on that very day, Orville Wright wrote in his diary, “We started assembly today.”

Ten weeks later, the Wright Brothers flew!

The New York Times mistaken prediction was prompted by a spectacular failure. Two days previously, Smithsonian scientist Samuel Pierpoint Langley attempted to launch an aircraft from a modified houseboat on the Potomac River. It fell to the water like a brick.

After repeated efforts and modifications, he gave up on aviation all together.

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