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Gene Todd, Executive Vice President/Managing Director of First Bank's Wealth Management Group

From monthly archives: December 2017

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'December 2017'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

What financial resolutions should I consider making as I look ahead to 2018?

A new year is right around the corner, bringing with it a fresh start for you and your finances. What will you do this year to help improve your financial situation? Evaluate your savings goals. The beginning of the year is a great time to  examine your overall financial plan. Maybe you want to buy a new vehicle this year or save money toward a Caribbean cruise next year. Perhaps you want to focus less on material items and more on long-term goals, such as your retirement savings. Regardless of what you are setting money aside for, make sure you come up with a realistic savings plan that will help you achieve your goals and avoid the risk of significant loss. Pay down debt. Whether you owe money on your credit cards or have student loan payments to make, the start of a new year is a ood time to develop a strategy to reduce your overall level of debt. Reducing your debt can help create opportunities to contribute toward other goals throughout the year. But unless you can definitely afford it, don ...

What can I learn from looking back on my financial situation in 2017

If your financial plan for 2017 didn't work out the way you wanted it to, don't beat yourself up. Instead, ask yourself the following questions to determine what you can learn from reflecting on your financial situation in the last year. Did you meet your financial goals and expectations for 2017? Perhaps you started the year with some financial goals in mind. You wanted to establish a budget that you could stick to, or maybe you hoped to build up your emergency savings fund throughout the year. If you fell short of accomplishing these or other goals, think about the reasons why. Were your goals specific? Did you develop a realistic timeframe for when they would be achieved? If not, learn to set attainable and measurable goals for your finances in the new year. How did your investments perform? A year-end review of your overall portfolio can help you determine whether your asset allocation is balanced and in line with your time horizon and goals. If one type of investment performed well du ...

Questions to Ask Before Buying That Thing You've Always Wanted

Even if you're generally comfortable with your finances, you may occasionally worry about how much you're spending, especially if you consistently have trouble saving for short or long-term goals. Here are a few questions to ask that might help you decide whether a purchase is really worth it. Why do I want it? Maybe you've worked hard and think you deserve to buy something you've always wanted. That may be true, but are you certain you're not being unduly influenced by other factors such as stress or boredom? Take a moment to think about what's important to you. Comfort? Security? Safety? Status? Quality? Thriftiness? Does your purchase align with your values, or are you unconsciously allowing other people (advertisers, friends, family, neighbors, for example) to influence your spending? How will buying this now affect me later? When you're deciding whether to buy something, you usually focus on the features and benefits of what you're getting, but what are you pot ...

Market Month: November 2017

The Markets (as of market close November 30, 2017) The Dow soared over 300 points on the last day of November to close above 24000 for the first time in its history. Hopes for a tax overhaul may have contributed to investor confidence in equities. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted favorable monthly gains. The Nasdaq continued its strong performance in 2017, gaining over 2.0% in November, while the small caps of the Russell 2000 climbed close to 3.0%. After gaining 2.8% for November, the S&P 500 joined the Dow in posting its eighth consecutive month of positive returns. With stocks climbing, it's not surprising that long-term bond prices fell, as evidenced by the yield on 10-year Treasuries, which jumped 4 basis points over October's end-of-month yield. By the close of trading on November 30, the price of crude oil (WTI) was $57.39 per barrel, up from the October 31 price of $54.54 per barrel. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.533 per gallon on November ...

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