The Low Down on Retirement Accounts 2024

Hello from Sycamore,

If you are 73 or older and haven’t taken your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) for the 2024 tax year, you will likely need to by year’s end.

What is an RMD?

An RMD is the minimum distribution you must withdraw from your retirement account each year.

When do I have to begin taking RMDs?

You must begin taking your RMDs on April 1st of the year following the calendar year in which you reach age 73. What does this mean?

  1. Example: Your 73rd birthday was anytime in 2023. As long as you will reach age 73 by December 31, 2023, you must take your first RMD (for 2023) by April 1, 2024.

Then each year after this you must take your RMD by December 31 of that year.

Can I take more than my RMD amount?

You can withdraw more than the minimum amount required. The total amount you withdraw will be included in your taxable income.

Can I take withdrawals before 73?

Yes. Once you reach 59 ½ you may take withdrawals with no early withdrawal penalty. You will still be responsible for regular income tax on the complete amount withdrawn.

You may also withdraw funds prior to age 59 ½ however, you will likely need to pay an extra 10% early withdrawal penalty in addition to the regular income tax.

Highlights for 2024

Retirement Savings Plan Contribution Limits have changed.

  1. 401(k), 403(b), 457 plans, and federal government Thrift Savings Plan contribution limits are $23,000.
    1. Catch-up contributions for those over age 50 are $7,500.
  2. IRA contribution limits increase to $7,000.
    1. Catch-up contributions for those over age 50 are $1,000.
  3. SIMPLE IRA contribution limits $16,000.
    1. Catch-up contributions for those over age 50 are $3,500.

As always, do not hesitate to reach out to our offices at (765) 455-1554 to discuss this.

Thank you for your continued trust and support,

Sycamore Financial Group

*Past performance does not assure future results. Investors cannot invest directly in the stock market indexes such as the S&P 500. Investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate. Investor value, when sold may be worth more or less than their original cost.

By |2024-05-09T03:39:54-04:00May 9th, 2024|2004 Newsletters|0 Comments

Third Quarter Commentary 2023

Hello from Sycamore,

Performance and the Markets

It seems like there is always plenty to worry about and this year is no exception. Considering the political environment and the calls for a recession over the past year or so, there is plenty to be concerned about. However, as we think back over the years, there has always been enough to be concerned about, but how many of the things we worried about came to fruition? I think you’ll agree that the answer to that question is very few. According to researchers at Penn State University, only about 8% of the things people worry about come true. From our perspective, what we have today is simply more of ‘the normal’. Share prices and most markets have been declining a bit for the last month or so, but this is not unusual. We’re at about the same level now as we were at the 1st of 2023 and for practical purposes, ad the market has been relatively quiet for almost 2 years.

The economy and the consumer are still strong. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s GDPNow estimate for the 3rd quarter of 2023 is +4.9%. This number is a good argument against a recession anytime soon. If a recession does appear, we feel it will likely be mild and after the roughly 25% decline in the S&P about 1 year ago, we feel the markets have already priced it in. Some sectors – especially tech – are a bit overvalued, but overall, we see the market as being ‘fairly’ priced. By the way, we’ve just had ten years of very good share value increases, and we do not expect those ‘outsized’ returns to continue. We look for more modest gains over the next few years. Fixed investments are now certainly paying more than they have since before The Great Recession, but we also have higher inflation, so they are just keeping up. We remain optimistic over the long haul. As we do our research looking for bargains, we are having no trouble finding good value.

The Economy

The economy appears healthy. As we mentioned above, The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s GDPNow estimate for the 3rd quarter of 2023 is +4.9%. There are still some who feel we will have a recession, but those voices are fading a bit and their predictions have been tempered. It is true that the Fed has been raising interest rates though the rate of increase has slowed considerably this year. Higher interest rates should tamp down inflation and we’re already seeing some success with this. Additionally, the money supply, M-2 is declining. This is unfamiliar territory so time will tell, but we believe this is good and necessary after the cash infusion we had during COVID-19. While all this has been happening, the economy is continuing to do reasonably well. Unemployment is at historical lows, new home sales, which had declined significantly from their 2020 highs have started to trend higher during 2023. Disposable personal income is growing, new orders for durable goods are trending higher, and Inflation – which peaked in mid-2022 at an annualized rate of about 9% – has now dropped to around 5%. Things aren’t perfect, they never are, but overall, there is plenty to be positive about.

Purchase and Sale Activity During Q-3

We bought MDU Resources – MDU, ASGN Inc- ASGN, Forward Air – FWRD and AMC – AMCX

We sold Flour Corp – FLR, Kenvue – KVUE, and Knife River Corp – KNF

We’ve started to shift into longer-term bonds and fixed investments.

Investors and Speculators

Each year we like to remind you of our goals for your portfolio(s). We are pleased to have outperformed the S&P 500 over the last 27 years, but that is not one of our primary goals. Our long-term goals for your portfolio(s) are to deliver reasonably good returns, reduce your overall volatility, and reduce your taxes through lower turnover. Speculators worry about the latest story and today’s market opening direction. Investors purchase good businesses and participate in their growth.

As always, do not hesitate to reach out to our offices at (765) 455-1554 to discuss this.

Thank you for your continued trust and support,

Sycamore Financial Group

*Data not audited
*Results reported gross fees
**Past performance does not assure future results. Investors cannot invest directly in the stock market indexes such as the S&P 500. Investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate. Investor value, when sold may be worth more or less than their original cost.

By |2023-10-26T23:48:28-04:00October 26th, 2023|2023 Newsletters|0 Comments

Second Quarter Commentary 2023

Hello from Sycamore,

Performance and the Markets

So far so good for 2023. Since the markets found a low point last fall, they have been steadily climbing. We are not back to the highs that we experienced at the end of 2021, but with the Dow Jones industrial average at about 34,000 now, we’re within shouting distance. From June 30th, 2022, our growth and income composite have gained more than 19%. We are pleased with these returns. We are also pleased that the pending recession – which according to many news outlets, has been just around the corner for about the last 18 months – still seems to be around that corner! That’s not to say that it isn’t coming, forecasting can be difficult. As Yogi Berra said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future”.

Because we do our own research and make individual stock selections for your portfolio(s), we are constantly evaluating several hundred individual securities based on their assets and profitability. Nothing is assured, but currently, we see most securities that we follow as being ‘reasonably’ priced. While we do not expect our composite to gain another 9% during the last half of 2023, we are comfortable with current valuations. We believe that in the long run share prices will follow the profitability of the company. With a few exceptions, the profits of the companies that we follow are progressing as we would expect.

The Economy

We recently received good news on the inflation front. The current annual rate has dropped to 3%, which is the lowest rate in more than two years. The federal reserve has recently slowed the pace of interest rate hikes, and they have indicated that one or two more .25% hikes will likely be all we’ll see in the near future. We feel the recent inflation news shows the rate hikes over the last year have been effective.

Producer prices, which at their peak in 2021 and 2022 were growing at nearly a 23% annualized rate, are now declining at about a 6% annualized rate. Generally, the producer price index is a good indicator of what to expect from the consumer price index. If history holds true, we could expect inflation to continue to subside.

In our March letter to you, we mentioned that the money supply in the economy (M2) was decreasing. That is still the case. This is another metric that leads us to believe inflation will continue to ease. The economy continues to create new jobs at a brisk pace and has created 1.67 million new jobs so far in 2023. The unemployment rate now stands at 3.6%.

We recently received good news about our first quarter gross domestic product (GDP). The estimate was revised up by .7% to 2%. It seems consumers are getting used to higher interest rates and sales of existing homes have bounced back a little while housing starts are showing signs of getting back on track.

Not everything is perfect, but the recent data showing the economy is growing more than expected and inflation is cooling faster than expected is not a bad combination. We’re optimistic.

Purchase and Sale Activity During Q-2

The second quarter had more activity than usual for our portfolios.

We bought Lincoln National, Bread Financial, Canadian Solar, Mednax Inc., Wintrust Financial, Generac Holdings, Verizon, M.D.C. Holdings, and Petmed Express.

We sold Neogen, Warner Brothers Discovery, Kaman, Organon & Co, ASGN Inc, China Automotive, New Orient Education, Consensus Cloud Solutions, Mueller IND, and Ziff Davis.

As always, do not hesitate to reach out to our offices at (765) 455-1554 to discuss this.

Thank you for your continued trust and support,

Sycamore Financial Group

*Data not audited
*Results reported gross fees
**Past performance does not assure future results. Investors cannot invest directly in the stock market indexes such as the S&P 500. Investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate. Investor value, when sold may be worth more or less than their original cost.

By |2023-07-22T01:38:42-04:00July 22nd, 2023|2023 Newsletters|0 Comments

Performance, Markets and The Economy

Hello from Sycamore,

Performance and the Markets

Our Growth and Income Composite gained just a bit less than 0.5% over the past year (gross of all fees). This is significantly better than the -7.7% by the S&P 500. Historically our strength has been to hold value better during market declines and it seems to be true again during this market cycle. We still expect the markets to do reasonably well in 2023. We know that there is a lot of concern about a pending recession, but we’ve now been hearing that for more than a year and we’ve not seen it yet.

As you already know, we do our own research and analysis to make security selections rather than send your money to a 3rd party manager or mutual fund to be managed. This means that we are ‘in the weeds’ each-and-every week. Currently, we see most companies growing earnings at a rate we’d normally expect. Of course, there are exceptions, but on the whole, we are still finding many bargains and we’re looking forward to an uneventful 2023.

The Economy

One of the primary reasons that we are in a higher interest rate environment is inflation. It continues to be a problem and the Federal Reserve is continuing to raise interest rates – although the rate of increase seems to be slowing and we believe we are near the top for now. Producer prices continue to drop, and we’ve found that the Consumer Price Index tends to follow. We’re hopeful that inflation will ease significantly this year. Also, the amount of money in our economy (M-2) is now shrinking. We believe that this will slow the inflation rate. Many economic indicators are performing well. Retail sales continue to be strong, and the consumer is a very large part of our economy. The unemployment rate remains at near record lows and our economy continues to create new jobs at a very good rate. New orders for durable goods are strong and even sales of existing homes and new starts are staging a nice recovery. We remain optimistic overall, and we believe that most companies can operate profitably in our current economic environment.

Purchase and Sale Activity During Q-1

During the 1st quarter of 2023, we bought Generac (GNRC), Paychecks (PAYX), IBM, ASGN, and ADP. We sold Sally Beauty (SBH).

As always, do not hesitate to reach out to our offices at (765) 455-1554 to discuss this.

Thank you for your continued trust and support,

Sycamore Financial Group

*Data not audited
*Results reported gross fees
**Past performance does not assure future results. Investors cannot invest directly in the stock market indexes such as the S&P 500. Investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate. Investor value, when sold may be worth more or less than their original cost.

By |2023-04-26T22:13:02-04:00April 26th, 2023|2023 Newsletters|0 Comments

Looking at Some Economic Indicators – Fall 2005

Better Than It Seems

As we’re meeting with our clients this fall, many are pleasantly surprised with the performance of their investment accounts. We frequently hear something like “ That’s great. With the market and economy being in so much trouble we were concerned that our investments may be as well” It seems that today more than at any other time, the perception of both the economy and the markets (mostly from the media) is very much different from the reality (the actual performance numbers).

The perception: crippling hurricanes, high gas prices, increasing interest rates and, so far this year, a quietly sagging stock market. Ouch!

The reality: Hurricanes? Nothing new there. Gas prices? Adjusted for inflation, the’re in the same neighborhood as 1982*. Interest rates? It could be that the rising interest rates are a positive indicator about the strength and the expansion of our economy. A quietly sagging stock market? Truth be known we’ve come to appreciate quiet markets.

Let’s take a look at some economic indicators.

  1. The Department of Commerce reported that second quarter 2005 Gross Domestic Product grew at a 3.3% annualized rate. A good rate.
  2. Housing starts rose 3.4% for September 2005 to an annual rate of 2.11 million units**. This is the fastest pace since Feburary and one of the highest rates ever.
  3. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that the September 2005 unemployment rate was 5.1% (not the best we’ve ever seen, but certainly not the worst). Over the last twelve months ending in August 2005, payroll employment grew by an average of 194,000 a month and the unemployment rate has trended downward during that year.

Those of you who have been investors over the last ten,twenty, thirty or more years know that there is always an abundance of negative news. You also know how well the markets overall, and in particular your individual investments, have performed over those same periods.

We’re not saying that everything is rosy; we know that there is room for improvement. We are however, recommending that the next time you feel a little uneasy because of the current dose of bad news, call us for a closer look at reality.

Thanks for your business,
Sycamore Financial Group

*The Big Picture. Posted 8/17/05
** U.S. Department of Commerce report dated 10/19/05

_________________

Past performance does not assure future results. Investors cannot invest directly in the stock market indexes such as the S&P 500. Invest return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate. Investor value, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. The material in this presentation is for illustrative purposes and does not reflect any particular investment.

By |2022-07-21T12:13:34-04:00August 20th, 2005|2005 Newsletters|0 Comments
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