7am Saturday is a weekly email I send at 7am every Saturday where I share brief and relevant thoughts on money or investing. Enter your email address below to subscribe:

7am Saturday

December 21, 2019

Good morning! I hope you’re enjoying the holidays. The end of the year always goes so fast for me, and this year is no exception. I’ve been going full speed into the end of the year, and I’m really looking forward to some time with family over the next week!

Market, Economy & Business Update

S&P 500: All-time high. Above 3,200 for the first time this week. Four straight weeks of gains.

Dow Jones Industrial Average: All-time high.

Nasdaq: All-time high. 8 day winning streak.

📈Yes, the US stock market is on fire, and we are enjoying the ride up into the new year!

2019 YTD Returns

Even Tesla (TSLA)…a stock hated and shorted by many…is at an all-time high:

🏠New construction is on the rise again: US housing starts are now at the 2nd highest level of this economic expansion. US building permits are at their highest level since May 2007.

Bottom-line: There is a lot to like about the market and the economy right now. The year has been full of positive surprises. We are nearing the finish of the decade and very few people predicted that this decade would be as good as it’s been! There is a lot to be thankful for, that’s for sure!!

Financial Planning News

✍️ The SECURE Act brings changes to retirement plans. – New changes to retirement plans were passed by Congress this week, and the President signed the bill into law on Friday.

First, you might wonder where the name came from? “SECURE” stands for: SETTING EVERY COMMUNITY UP FOR RETIREMENT ENHANCEMENT. Okay, sounds good, doesn’t it?!

But, what does that mean for financial consumers? Among other things, the new law will increase the tax credit for small businesses to set up new retirement plans for their employees, from $500 to $5,000. It allows small employers to automatically enroll their employees, and allows smaller companies to create multiple employer plans with other companies in the area, reducing the obstacles to offering 401(k) and other retirement plans. A great deal of insurance industry lobbying support went into another provision that would require all qualified retirement plans to show participants how they can convert their existing balances into “lifetime income” through an annuity.

Of more substance to many financial consumers is a plan to delay when we all have to take out required minimum distributions from our IRAs from the current age 70 1/2 to age 72, and require people who inherit IRAs to take the money out over a ten year period, instead of over their lifetimes (the so-called “stretch” provision). This last change has significant tax implications, since currently an IRA inheritor age 25 would only have to take out 1/58th of the money in that year, 1/57th the year after, and so forth for the rest of his/her life. Taking all the money from a large IRA out in the tenth year after inheritance could have potentially severe tax consequences on the unsuspecting inheritor.

Also: for people who are working past age 70 1/2, the new law allows them to contribute to an IRA. (They cannot now, but surprisingly, at that age they are still allowed to contribute to a Roth IRA.) And the law will allow families who adopt or have newborn children to take out up to $5,000 from their retirement plan without the usual 10% early distribution penalty.

In all, the SECURE Act has 29 new provisions or major changes in 20 sections. Our team will be studying these provisions and how they impact our clients, and I will have more to share later…

It’s Christmas Week!

🎄 Normally, I close my email with some of the best things I found online or experienced during the week. I seemed to have very little time to get through my reading list this week, so this week I’m going to share something I’ll be experiencing during Christmas week.

My family and I have been attending CedarCreek Church for about 5 years now. My favorite experience every year is the Christmas service at CedarCreek. If you are in Northwest Ohio you should check it out! The music, the message, and the stories of life-change are guaranteed to make your Christmas more meaningful. I love experiencing this service with my family and taking time out of all the busyness of the season to remember and enoy what it’s really all about anyway.

🛐 If you don’t have a church that you call home to attend this Christmas, then check out CedarCreek. For all my readers in Northwest Ohio…there are six campuses to choose from. If you don’t live near a campus you can also watch the service live onine. Here are all the details you need. If you do visit, send me a reply to let me know what you think!

Merry Christmas,


↩️ PS – If anytime you get an email from me and you want to share a comment or ask a question, simply hit ‘reply.’ I read every email, and try my best to respond.

📧 PPS – Thank you for all the feedback on these emails. I’ve had an overwhelming amount of positive replies to my new weekly email. If you’re finding these emails helpful, please forward them to your friends. Or, you can always direct them to 7amSaturday.com to sign up.