careertech-banking-financial-meeting-analysts.jpg
SUBSCRIBE

Wealth Management

WEALTH MANAGEMENT

The Axial Company

College Financing Webinar with Axial & MEFA Replay

Posted by The Axial Company

Read More

7 Ways to Minimize Your 2020 Taxes by December 31st

Posted by The Axial Company

Don't pay more than needed by checking out these tax-reducing steps.

Read More

College Financing Webinar with Axial & MEFA

Posted by The Axial Company

Read More

Dan Lahiff named one of NAPA's Top 100 Young Retirement Plan Advisors

Posted by The Axial Company

At Axial we feel it is always important to recognize our team members for their extraordinary determination and development in their careers. Dan Lahiff, a Retirement Plan Associate from our benefits department, was recently named one of NAPA's Top 100 Young Retirement Plan Advisors in the country, also known as, "Aces". 

Read More

2021 Market Outlook

Posted by The Axial Company

We’re nearing the end of a hard year, with the pandemic raging once again and the economy starting to slow. On the other hand, vaccines will soon be coming into play, companies are adapting, and there is the possibility of a spending boom next year. Despite risks ahead (e.g., the chance of another surge of infections with holiday travel), could 2021 be better for medical news, for the economy, and for the markets?

 

 

Authored by Brad McMillan, CFA®, CAIA, MAI, managing principal, chief investment officer, at Commonwealth Financial Network®.

© 2020 Commonwealth Financial Network®

© The Axial Company. All Rights reserved. 5 Burlington Woods, Suite 102 Burlington, Massachusetts

Disclosure: Certain sections of this commentary contain forward-looking statements based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections, and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. All indices are unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly into an index. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The S&P 500 Index is a broad-based measurement of changes in stock market conditions based on the average performance of 500 widely held common stocks. The Nasdaq Composite Index measures the performance of all issues listed in the Nasdaq Stock Market, except for rights, warrants, units, and convertible debentures. The MSCI EAFE Index is a float-adjusted market capitalization index designed to measure developed market equity performance, excluding the U.S. and Canada. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is a market capitalization-weighted index composed of companies representative of the market structure of 26 emerging market countries in Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific Basin. It excludes closed markets and those shares in otherwise free markets that are not purchasable by foreigners. The Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged market value-weighted index representing securities that are SEC-registered, taxable, and dollar-denominated. It covers the U.S. investment-grade fixed-rate bond market, with index components for a combination of the Bloomberg Barclays government and corporate securities, mortgage-backed pass-through securities, and asset-backed securities. The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate High Yield Index covers the USD-denominated, non-investment-grade, fixed-rate, taxable corporate bond market. Securities are classified as high-yield if the middle rating of Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P is Ba1/BB+/BB+ or below.

Read More

Monday Update: Consumer Confidence Rises

Posted by The Axial Company

Posted by Sam Millette, Commonwealth Financial Network, Dec 14, 2020

Read More

Scams to Watch out for in the 2020 Holiday Season

Posted by The Axial Company

Tis’ the season for giving. And taking. As more Christmas shopping is done online, scammers are coming up with clever ways to con you out of your hard-earned dollar. The days of worrying about the fraudulent cashier’s check in the mail are long gone. Scammers are getting more clever and sophisticated in the ruse to trick you into giving them your money. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday on the horizon, scammers are deploying the latest tricks of their trade to catch you in the midst of a post-Thanksgiving food coma. Experts warn that now is the time to be most vigilant while taking advantage of those annual holiday deals.

Read More

Markets Rally on Vaccine News

Posted by The Axial Company

Posted by Brad McMillan, CFA, CAIA, MAI, Nov 19, 2020

As expected, the medical news continues to get worse. New infections hit all-time highs last week as the third wave of the pandemic has accelerated around the country. Case growth in many states remains at levels that threaten health care systems.

The good news is that multiple states are now implementing anti-COVID measures (e.g., mask mandates and partial lockdowns), which should help slow infection growth. There are preliminary signs this implementation may be starting to work. While it is too soon to be certain, we may be approaching the peak of the third wave. We should know more in the next couple of weeks.

More good news on the medical front is that the Pfizer vaccine data was confirmed as being even stronger than initial reports and that the Moderna vaccine showed very strong initial results. This development should help over the next six months or so, although it will be some time before the vaccines become widely available enough to have a meaningful national effect.

Despite the continued increase in the medical risks, the economic recovery continues. The jobs report two weeks ago showed continued job growth, and initial claims for unemployment remain low by recent standards. Consumer confidence remains solid, and retail spending continued to grow. Business confidence and investment also remain solid. With the continued economic progress, on top of the better vaccine prospects, financial markets have rallied. Let’s take a look at the details.

 

New Cases at Highs, May Be Topping

New cases per day. The most obvious metric for tracking the virus is daily new cases. Here, we see that widening state-level outbreaks have increased viral spread, to the point we continue to see new daily infection highs, at almost 188,000 on November 13. The seven-day average number of new cases per day is now up to almost 165,000 per day, up from 130,000 a week ago. This is the ninth week in a row we have seen an increase, although the rate of increase has dropped slightly over the past week, for the first time in this wave. This drop may indicate that infections will peak in the next couple of weeks. The third wave is now significantly more severe than prior waves and looks likely to be much longer lasting. If we do indeed see one, a peak would be a very positive sign.

Source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/

Death rate. The death rate also continues to rise. This is a lagging indicator and runs from 6–8 weeks behind case growth. As such, recent increases in the death rate reflect faster infection growth in late September and early October. On a seven-day moving average basis, daily deaths were at 1,266 as of November 18, up from 1,080 in the prior week. As the number of new cases has spiked since late September, we can reasonably expect death rates to increase substantially as well over the coming weeks.

 

Source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/

Testing data. Finally, the testing news also got worse. The number of tests has peaked for the moment, although it remains quite variable. The positive testing rate also continues to rise further above the recommended maximum of 5 percent, showing that the pace of increasing infections is again outrunning testing capacity. While some of the increase in cases may come from better visibility from increased testing, the rising positive rate suggests the growth in cases is more likely due to a widening range of infection growth. This conclusion is supported by the fact that, in several states, the positive rate is now well over 20 percent.

Source: Johns Hopkins University

The bottom line is that on the medical front, despite some preliminary signs of topping, the trends are still moving in the wrong direction, and a third wave continues to spread. Twenty-nine states are now seeing the fastest spread of the pandemic thus far, up substantially from last week. In several of those states, there are outbreak hotspots that are now health emergencies. Even in states where the virus remains under control, spread rates are also rising.

Looking forward, the question is whether the situation will continue to worsen. Given the ongoing accelerating infection rates and the fact that many outbreaks are in rural areas with limited local health care resources, that outcome looks likely. Given the rising positive test results around the country, as well as the lags between infection and detection, we are also likely to have weeks or more to go before the full effects will be seen. That said, several states are now implementing policy measures to limit viral spread over time, and there are signs infection rates—although still very high—may be starting to slow. Overall, however, the medical risks are likely to keep rising in the coming weeks, as the third wave runs its course.

 

Economic Recovery Continues

Consumer economy. While the medical situation is deteriorating, the economic recovery continues, despite mixed data. The job market has been better in the past couple of weeks, with the most recent jobs report coming in ahead of expectations and with layoffs continuing to be low by pandemic standards. Following the jobs data, consumer confidence has also held up.

Looking at higher-frequency data (see chart below), however, there are signs that consumer spending may have stopped improving. Overall, in the context of rising medical risks, the data suggests that the consumer is still resilient, but cracks may be starting to show.

 

 

Source: https://tracktherecovery.org/

Business sector. On top of the signs of improvement in the consumer economy, the business sector continues to do well. Business confidence and investment remain at pre-pandemic levels, and specific higher-frequency indicators are showing improvement in many cases.

The real question, going forward, is how durable this recovery is. Much of the data has continued to improve despite the ongoing third wave, suggesting substantial resilience, and there are signs that the economy is adapting to the pandemic. There are indications that the positive trends may be weakening—and pending lockdowns in several states will be a headwind. But given the resilience of the recovery in the face of the medical and stimulus headwinds, it is likely the recovery will be durable, although we may well see some slowing in coming weeks.

With that durability in the face of risk, we should remember there are also opportunities. The biggest one at the moment is that with the passing of the election, another federal income support program has become more likely, which would help the economy ride out any weakness from the rising medical risks. In any event, there are certainly headwinds. But so far at least, confidence and spending are still holding up, and the recovery is still moving forward despite some slowing.

 

Financial Markets Rally on Vaccine News

Markets continue to rally. The main reason for this is good news on the vaccine front, with both Pfizer and Moderna reporting strong initial results. The chances of effective vaccines being widely available in the next six months or so now look very real. As other companies report their vaccine data, there is also a real possibility the situation could become even more favorable.

Between the resilient economy and the potential for multiple vaccines in the near- to medium-term future, markets are largely ignoring the rising medical risks. Given everything that is going on, that seems a reasonable reaction, but one that leaves open the possibility of more volatility ahead as medical risks move back into the headlines. We can reasonably expect the current positive trends to have some durability over the next couple of weeks, but the medical news could easily lead to more volatility during that time.

 

The Risks Are Real

The news this week is that the reported effective vaccines look to be real and to be widely available in the next six months or so. This development, on top of the continued economic resilience despite the ongoing third wave, has markets cheering. At the same time, they continue to ignore the medical risks, which are rising. The third wave continues, although there are preliminary signs infections may peak in the next couple of weeks. Still, the risks remain material at the national level. Note, however, that we have been through this before. The policy changes that can once more bring the pandemic under control are now underway in many states, especially those that have been hardest hit, which will help going forward.

The economic risks are also real. Despite recent positive news, we do see some slowing in the improvement in consumer spending. That said, growth has continued and has been much more resilient than expected. This is a positive signal for the future, and we have more upside risk here as well, with the possibility of more federal stimulus. Finally, while markets are rallying on the positive vaccine news, more volatility is quite possible as the medical news moves back into the headlines.

Over the next couple of weeks, the most likely case appears to be further deterioration of the medical news, although possibly at a slowing pace, and continued slow improvement on the economic front. Markets will likely keep bouncing around on new developments, so expect more volatility. This will be a difficult period until we get the pandemic under control again—but get it under control we will. It will just take some time.

Authored by Brad McMillan, CFA®, CAIA, MAI, managing principal, chief investment officer, at Commonwealth Financial Network®.

© 2020 Commonwealth Financial Network®

© The Axial Company. All Rights reserved. 5 Burlington Woods, Suite 102 Burlington, Massachusetts

Disclosure: Certain sections of this commentary contain forward-looking statements based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections, and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. All indices are unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly into an index. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The S&P 500 Index is a broad-based measurement of changes in stock market conditions based on the average performance of 500 widely held common stocks. The Nasdaq Composite Index measures the performance of all issues listed in the Nasdaq Stock Market, except for rights, warrants, units, and convertible debentures. The MSCI EAFE Index is a float-adjusted market capitalization index designed to measure developed market equity performance, excluding the U.S. and Canada. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is a market capitalization-weighted index composed of companies representative of the market structure of 26 emerging market countries in Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific Basin. It excludes closed markets and those shares in otherwise free markets that are not purchasable by foreigners. The Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged market value-weighted index representing securities that are SEC-registered, taxable, and dollar-denominated. It covers the U.S. investment-grade fixed-rate bond market, with index components for a combination of the Bloomberg Barclays government and corporate securities, mortgage-backed pass-through securities, and asset-backed securities. The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate High Yield Index covers the USD-denominated, non-investment-grade, fixed-rate, taxable corporate bond market. Securities are classified as high-yield if the middle rating of Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P is Ba1/BB+/BB+ or below.

 

Read More

Social Security and Retirement Planning Webinar 2020

Posted by The Axial Company

On October 22, we hosted our annual Social Security and Retirement Planning Webinar with our loyal

Read More

Election 2020: Uncertainty Creates Potential for Market Swings

Posted by The Axial Company

 

With the presidential election just around the corner, we want to keep you informed on possible tax policies and plans in place depending on who will win. The below article will explain, in brief, the major points of each candidates plan.

After the election, we will be in touch with additional year end tax planning information in more detail.

As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions.  

Read More

Axial's Annual Social Security & Retirement Planning Webinar

Posted by The Axial Company

Social Security and Retirement Planning: Expert Answers to your Social Security Questions

As Baby Boomers reach retirement age, they are beginning to realize that Social Security is going to play a bigger part in their retirement than they had previously thought. But they are also starting to realize that they don’t know as much about the system as they should.

Read More

Medicare Open Enrollment 2021

Posted by The Axial Company

Medicare Open Enrollment for 2021 Begins October 15

The annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period is the time during which Medicare beneficiaries can make new choices and pick plans that work best for them. Each year, Medicare plan costs and coverage typically change. In addition, your health-care needs may have changed over the past year. The Open Enrollment Period — which begins on October 15 and runs through December 7 — is your opportunity to switch Medicare health and prescription drug plans to better suit your needs.

Read More

Market Thoughts for October 2020

Posted by The Axial Company

Market Thoughts for October 2020
 

Posted by Brad McMillan, CFA, CAIA, MAI, October 1, 2020

September was a tough month for the markets. They began the month with a drop and ended with everything down, but by much less than feared.

Read More

Annual Paper & Electronic Shred Event

Posted by The Axial Company

Join Us For a Day of (no contact) Shredding!
 
Axial Financial Group is hosting our annual on site Paper & Electronics Shredding Day at our Burlington office!
Read More

Hail To Your Finances, Regardless of Who Wins Presidency

Posted by The Axial Company

Salene Hitchcock-Gear, President of Prudential Individual Life Insurance, June 30, 2020

Read More

Coronavirus Shakes Colleges But 529 Plans Stand Firm

Posted by The Axial Company

By Alexis Leondis, 6/3/20

Read More

Commonwealth Earns J.D. Power Award For Seventh Time

Posted by The Axial Company

They did it again! For the 7th time in a row, J.D. Power has ranked our broker-dealer firm, Commonwealth Financial Network, #1 in it’s 2020 U.S. Independent Financial Advisor and Customer Satisfaction Study!

Read More

Survey: Americans’ biggest coronavirus financial regret

Posted by The Axial Company

By James Royal , Jun. 18, 2020


The coronavirus pandemic has hit Americans hard, and a new Bankrate survey says Americans’ top financial regret is not having enough emergency savings to withstand the crisis.


The survey shows that of Americans with financial regrets, the biggest regret is a lack of emergency savings, which was noted by 23 percent of respondents. But when it comes to their biggest financial priority going forward, Americans are focused on paying down debt (22 percent), followed by saving more for emergencies (17 percent).


“At first blush, the regret about lack of emergency savings and the prioritization of debt repayment may seem at odds with each other — but not so,” says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate chief financial analyst. “Consumers can actually make meaningful progress on both fronts at the same time by setting up a direct deposit from their paycheck into a dedicated savings account and earmarking more discretionary dollars toward debt repayment.”


Bankrate surveyed 1,343 American adults about their financial regrets as they relate to the coronavirus. Below are the main findings from the survey.

Key takeaways:


•Americans’ biggest financial regret about the coronavirus pandemic is lacking emergency savings, with 23 percent citing this reason.
•Americans’ top financial priority for the future is paying down debt, with 22 percent naming this goal.
•Not enough emergency savings was the top regret for every income group, but not every age group.

The biggest financial regrets since the pandemic


Americans said that their largest financial regret about the coronavirus pandemic was not having enough emergency savings, with 23 percent of Americans targeting this regret. Other top responses included not having enough retirement savings (20 percent) and having too much debt (17 percent). About 20 percent of respondents said they didn’t know their top regret.


As a May Bankrate surveyed showed, more than one in four Americans have taken or anticipate taking money from their retirement accounts to make it through the coronavirus crisis.

The top financial priorities going forward


While Americans cited not enough emergency savings as their top regret, their top financial priority once the U.S. starts to recover from financial hardship doesn’t exactly match up. Instead, Americans are more focused on paying down debt, with 22 percent of respondents mentioning this goal.
Many Americans seem unprepared, and about 17 percent said they didn’t know what their top priority was. A similar number said they intended to save more for emergencies.

Among respondents who cited a financial priority, paying down debt was the top priority among millennials (20 percent), Generation X (24 percent) and boomers (25 percent). Generation Z cited finding more stable income (22 percent) as their top priority, while the Silent Generation said “some other financial priority” was the biggest deal for them (21 percent).

Broken out by income group, paying down debt was cited most often as the financial priority among those who expressed a priority:


•27 percent among households earning $30,000 to $49,999
•28 percent for households earning $50,000 to $79,999
•21 percent among households earning $80,000 and more

Among households earning less than $30,000, the top priority was saving more for emergencies at 21 percent, though a further 22 percent said they didn’t know what their priority was.

How much Americans regret their financial choices


Bankrate’s survey also asked Americans to rate their level of regret about their financial status (emergency savings, retirement savings, debt, income stability and living beyond their means) since the coronavirus started.

Americans evoked similar levels of regretfulness about saving for emergencies and for retirement:
•Emergency savings: 16 percent of Americans were very regretful and 22 percent somewhat regretful.
•Retirement savings: 16 percent were very regretful and 23 percent somewhat regretful.

The regretfulness associated with the remaining three categories was notably less:
•Amount of debt: Very regretful (13 percent) and somewhat regretful (18 percent)
•Income stability: Very regretful (11 percent) and somewhat regretful (18 percent)
•Living beyond your means: Very regretful (9 percent) and somewhat regretful (18 percent)

Of those who expressed regret, not enough emergency savings was the top regret for every income group (below $30,000, $30,000 to $49,999, $50,000 to $79,999 and more than $80,000).


By age group, not enough emergency savings was the top financial regret for millennials (24 percent) and Generation X (25 percent). In contrast, not enough retirement savings was the top regret for boomers and the Silent Generation who expressed a regret.


Lower income was associated with a higher tendency to list income stability as the top financial regret, with households earning less than $30,000 per year being the highest at 18.6 percent.

The list is rounded out by:
•12.6 percent of households earning $30,000 to $49,999
•11.6 percent of households earning $50,000 to $79,999
•11.3 percent of households earning more than $80,000

How Americans can protect themselves


Whether it’s emergency savings or retirement savings, Americans regret not saving more, with about 43 percent of respondents noting one or the other. The results from this survey echo those from a recent Bankrate survey showing that Americans are behind in their retirement savings.
One of the best steps to take is to automate savings, whether it’s retirement or emergency savings. By doing so, workers can avoid the temptation to not save.


For retirement savings such as a 401(k), it’s easy to have the money pulled directly from your paycheck and invested. If you’re already saving there, you can also easily increase how much is pulled from your pay. But you can also set up your IRA to deposit money from your bank account automatically.


For emergency savings, you can set up the same kind of automatic transfer. Have your bank transfer money from your account on a regular basis, for example, whenever your paycheck hits the account.
Second, you’ll also want to take advantage of a high-yield savings account. While it can be convenient to keep your money with one bank, that approach may be costing you. And with the ease of moving money from one bank to another, it’s simple to have an online bank account that offers you a higher level of interest, but you’ll need to shop around for the best rates.

This study was conducted for Bankrate via online interview by YouGov. Interviews were conducted from June 3 – June 4, 2020 among a sample of 1,343 adults. Data are weighted and are intended to be representative of all U.S. adults, and therefore are subject to statistical errors typically associated with sample-based information.


The accompanying pages have been developed by an independent third party. Commonwealth Financial Network is not responsible for their content and does not guarantee their accuracy or completeness, and they should not be relied upon as such. These materials are general in nature and do not address your specific situation. For your specific investment needs, please discuss your individual circumstances with your representative. Commonwealth does not provide tax or legal advice, and nothing in the accompanying pages should be construed as specific tax or legal advice. Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Fixed insurance products and services offered through Axial Financial Group are separate and unrelated to Commonwealth.


Featured image by Getty Images; Illustration by Bankrate. © 2020 Bankrate, LLC. A Red Ventures company. All Rights Reserved.


© The Axial Company. All Rights reserved. 5 Burlington Woods, Suite 102 Burlington, Massachusetts

Read More

New Stimulus Bill—What You Need To Know

Posted by The Axial Company

By Richard Harroch, July 27, 2020

 

On July 27, 2020, Republicans put forth their new stimulus package proposal of approximately $1 trillion called the HEALS Act (the Health, Economic Assistance Liability Protection & Schools Act). The Democrats had previously proposed a $3 trillion+ stimulus package under the “Heroes Act,” but Republicans had rejected it as too broad and too big.­

There have been so many news stories and statements about a new stimulus package that it’s difficult to discern what will actually become law. This article describes what you need to know about the likely provisions of the next stimulus bill by answering the most important questions.

 

Here’s what you need to know about the likely provisions of the next stimulus bill.

 

Will there be a second stimulus payment?

Yes, there will almost certainly be a second stimulus payment, although the specific details are in flux. The most likely result is a second stimulus payment similar to the first payment.

Read More

4 Refunds You May Get During The Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted by The Axial Company

COVID-19 has emptied a lot of people’s bank accounts, but some of that money may come back.

Read More