Greetings! With the first quarter of 2017 coming to an end, we have already traversed 25% of the year. With spring upon us, St. Louis Cardinals baseball has resumed. Hopefully the Redbirds will finish ahead of the Chicago Cubs this year, but the 2017 campaign is off to a sluggish start.
Tax season is coming to a close thankfully, but our office is buzzing with tax-related work. We always hope to see people leaving our office with smiles on their faces, but unfortunately the smiles cannot happen for everyone! However, if you left here with a frown on your face, my suggestion would be to speak to your tax preparer about strategies to reduce your contribution to Uncle Sam next year.
The financial planning side of the business is finally starting to normalize, as the transition to our new broker-dealer Calton and Associates is close to completion. We all realize how confusing this process has been for our clients, but we truly appreciate your understanding and loyalty. Your loyalty does not go unnoticed and we certainly do not take our clients for granted! Consequently, we cannot complain about the stock market’s positive performance year-to-date.
Financial markets have provided us with a strong start to 2017, but we have to acknowledge that risks are starting to mount on the horizon. The new administration is working through a series of tough negotiations regarding trade and foreign affairs. The tangible outcomes of these geopolitical discussions are going to be watched carefully by financial markets. Additionally, the election outcomes in France and Italy present major headline risks for international stocks.
On the positive side, so far in 2017 U.S. job creation has been strong. While we all have different political views, both sides of the aisle can agree that a stable, job-producing economy is good for all of us. However, risks to the pro-growth economic agenda put forth by President Trump are showing up in the struggle to pass healthcare reform. Time will tell whether Congress can get their act together, but this is an ongoing concern for U.S. stock valuations. Stock prices could suffer if the promise of regulation relief and tax cuts cannot get Congressional support or if the final legislation underwhelms market expectations. While the future is always unknown, I remain positive that the U.S. economy will continue to grow over the longer-term.
In closing, I wanted to thank all of our volunteers and participants who made the Honduran Street Party Run successful again this year! For those of you who attended, please keep your comments to yourselves about my costume. I know I looked like a goof, but my sincere gratitude goes out to those who sponsored me in the run as the donations and sponsorships amounted to more than $5,000 to help feed and educate our special children on Timmy’s Mountain in Honduras. Thanks again to everyone for their ongoing support and assistance with our mission! As the spring rains come and the cold temperatures of winter disappear, please remember to stay healthy, wealthy, and wise, and certainly . . . stay tuned.