It’s Not Too Late to Craft Your 2019 Financial Game Plan


Financial New Year’s resolutions are one of the most common as nearly one-third of Americans plan to make one in 2019 according to a Fidelity survey. While wishing to strengthen your financial situation in the new year is a good first step, actually following through on this can be difficult. Everyone’s situation is unique, but let’s take a look at a few of the top areas to address when crafting your 2019 financial game plan.

Reevaluate your savings strategy
The start of the new year is a great time to take a step back and reevaluate your current savings strategy. First, consider looking into your retirement savings options. If you have not already, maximize the match your employer offers for 401(k) contributions. One in five workers are not contributing enough to get the full match from their employer according to research from benefits administrator Alight Solutions.

Additionally, consider sitting down with your GuideStream financial advisor if your goals or needs have changed recently. Perhaps you have a new child on the way and want to begin an education savings plan, or maybe you have set a resolution to make a big purchase in the new year. Whatever your new goal may be, being prepared for the financial commitment ahead of time will be a big help in achieving it.

Learn and build your credit score
Your credit score is a constantly evolving number that banks and other lenders use to decide whether to approve you for a loan or line of credit. If you do not know your current score, it can be easily checked for free on a number of sites such as or Checking your score on these sites does not hurt your score since it is a soft inquiry. A hard inquiry, on the other hand, is done by banks or lenders when you apply for a new loan or credit card. Too many hard inquiries in a short period of time can have a negative impact on your score.

Once you know your current score, there are many different actions you can take to improve it. The most impactful however is to improve your credit utilization ratio, which is the amount of credit you are currently using comparative to your available line of credit. For example, if you have a $1,000 line of credit and just made a $900 credit card purchase, this will likely have a negative impact on your score the longer it remains at this high ratio. Paying off current credit amounts not only helps reduce this ratio but can help you save money lost on accumulating interest charges. Consider consulting your advisor on additional tips to improve your score and pay back debt.

Identify areas to cut back
Perhaps the simplest financial goal you can make for the new year is to reduce spending on non-essential purchases. One of the most popular ways Americans are cutting monthly costs is by getting rid of traditional cable. Though streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are far from brand new offerings, the content they offer is eliminating the need for many consumers to continue spending on cable TV. This results in cord-cutters saving an average of $85 per month even including the amounts spent on internet and streaming services according to Fortune.

In 2019, do not underestimate the savings that can be had in other purchase areas like restaurants and entertainment. Forbes contributor Priceonomics found that it is almost five times more expensive to order delivery from a restaurant than to cook at home. Of course, completely ditching all restaurant and entertainment expenses is not a realistic goal, but saving money on these occasions is still possible. Before planning a night out or heading to a restaurant, scan coupons sites such as Groupon and RetailMeNot for deals.

Retirement Planning for Small Businesses


Planning for retirement as a small business owner is important for you and your employees. Small businesses have unique needs. Thankfully, you have various options when it comes to retirement plans and a little bit of exploration can help you find a solution that best fits the needs of you and your employees.

Some of your retirement plan options include:

  • SEP IRAs
  • Traditional or Safe Harbor 401(k)s
  • Profit-sharing plans

Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRAis funded by employer contributions. Benefits for all employees must be uniform (ie: the same percentage of compensation). Contributions are limited to the lesser of either 25% of the employee’s compensation or $55,000 per year. SEP IRAs allow you a relatively low-maintenance way to contribute to your employees’ retirement, and contributions are deductible by the employer for income tax purposes.

Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRA allows for both employer and employee contributions. Employee contributions are limited to $12,500 per year, and employers have to either match up to 3% of employee contributions or contribute 2% of the employee’s salary.

Like a SIMPLE IRA, a401(k) Plansallow employees to save money in a tax-deferred account for retirement. Traditional 401k plans hold “pre-tax” money, so the money will be taxed when it’s withdrawn from the account for retirement expenses. 401k plans can be set up to allow Roth (or “after-tax”) contributions as well. Employees can contribute a regular amount into the account, straight out of their paycheck. 401k contribution limits are significantly higher than Traditional IRA limits. An employee could defer $18,500 for 2018, plus an additional $6000 if he/she is age 50 or over. Employers can choose to match funds contributed by employees. Keep in mind that 401k plans require a bit more administrative work and legal documentation. A Safe Harbor 401k plan mandates employer contributions.

Profit-sharing Plangives employees a portion of company profits. Employers have a great deal of latitude when it comes to contributions: employers can give as much as they want (up to the annual contribution limit, which is the lesser of $55,000 per year or 100% of the employee’s compensation) or none at all, depending on the year’s profits. Contributions do have to be distributed proportionately to the employees. The administration of a profit-sharing plan can be burdensome for some employers, depending on the number of participants in the plan.

There are two major things to consider when selecting a plan: contributions and administration. If you’re considering starting a plan for yourself and your employees, you should discuss your options in detail with your financial advisor and your CPA.

*information adapted from an article written by Advicent Solutions, an entity unrelated to GuideStream Financial. 

Cost & Timing of Home Remodeling


As with many large purchases, timing matters when remodeling a home. Each season holds advantages for different types of projects based on price and availability.  Consider these tips to take advantage of potential savings:

Fall: Pools, kitchens, and appliances
Though pools and summer are tightly linked, waiting until fall for installation can bring worthwhile savings. With the average cost of installing an in-ground pool at $49,224, those savings may be worth the wait.

Kitchen remodeling is among the most popular renovation projects and can be done at any time of the year. Scheduling this project for the fall capitalizes on a slower season for contractors, which can result in lower labor prices. Also, in terms of convenience, tearing apart the kitchen might be easier once children are back in school. While some kitchen renovations can fall in the $10,000 to $15,000 range, expect closer to the average of $22,530.

Fall can also be an ideal time for purchasing new appliances. In preparation for the holiday shopping season, most manufacturers will introduce their new models in the fall, resulting in sales on previous models.

Winter: Decks, bathrooms, and air conditioning
Ideally, you’ll want a new deck ready to go once the weather warms up but winter is actually the best time to schedule the preliminary planning and design process. This is a dead season for deck contractors and allows your project to be their top priority once the ground softens in the spring. While the cost of building a new deck varies with size, expect anywhere from $2,000 to $7,000.

Competing with the kitchen for the most popular home renovation is the bathroom. Again, indoor work such as this can be completed at any time of the year, but lower rates are more likely during contractors’ slow winters. This should make it easier to schedule the contractor and may lead to a quicker completion. Homeowners tend to spend an average of $10,167 on a new-look bathroom.

While air conditioning is likely the last thought on most consumers’ minds during the winter, this is the time for big savings on both repairs and replacements. Once spring and summer heatwaves kick in, rates will jump back up. The average cost for an A/C repair is $342, while a replacement is $5,465.

Spring: Windows and flooring
Window replacements become common in summer once homeowners start running the A/C, but getting ahead of the curve will help score a deal on installation. Be on the lookout for window companies offering sales to kick off the season and ideally schedule installation once it warms up to over 50 degrees. Prices vary widely based on home size, amount of windows, and type of windows. The average cost for a single-story home with 10 windows is between $3,000 and $7,000.

Late spring is also a great time to pull the trigger on flooring. Early spring can be busy for flooring companies as homeowners begin spending their tax returns, causing tighter scheduling. May is the sweet spot, being right in between this tax-return season and summer’s peak home buying season. Hardwood flooring averages between eight and $10 per square foot with installation while carpeting averages around $3.50 per square foot with installation.

Summer: Paint, landscaping, and furnaces
Demand for almost every renovation project increases during the summer, but there are still deals to be scored. As high school and college students take a break from the classroom, many of them will look towards the popular student painting services for employment. Student-operated painting crews boast substantial savings compared to the labor of professional crews, which should help trim down the $4,000 average cost of an exterior paint job.

Additionally, landscaping and yard work make the most sense to be completed during the summer when the work will be most visible. Though it may be tough to find any deals with the high demand, long summer days allow for more DIY opportunities to cut costs.

Lastly, like air conditioning in the winter, savings can be found on furnace repair and replacement in the summer. Average furnace repair costs are a little less than A/C, coming in at $287, while replacement costs an average of $4,237.


Jackson:  A Prime Location to Build a Life Around What Matters Most
by Mark Olson

Imagine the benefits if we committed to slowing down long enough to identify what matters the most to us in this lifetime.  

While we are all different, there is a high probability that thoughts related to faith, family and friends would rise to the surface.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has surveyed 100,000 people around the globe since 2011 and asked, “What matters most?”  Significant responses in the developed world emphasized health and work / life balance.   

The Full Frame Initiative is a social change organization that also provides perspectives on what matters most.  Two important elements they highlight are social connectedness and meaningful access to relevant resources.  

Those inputs provide the following cross section of what many of us might include on our list of what matters most.

  • Faith
  • Family 
  • Friends
  • Health
  • Work / life balance
  • Social connectedness
  • Meaningful access to relevant resources

When all these factors are considered, I hope there is a dawning awareness that Jackson County, Michigan, provides a prime location for building a life around what matters most.  The combination of qualities we find here in Jackson County are rare and significant:

  • Uncongested– Did you ever consider putting a value on the daily time you save just getting around Jackson versus any major city?
  • Natural beauty– You can drive two miles to the country and find abundant trees, water and farmland.  Did you know that Jackson County sits on one of the largest aquifers in North America and that there are 133 lakes and 200 miles of river waterways inside our county?  These are ideal places to rise above the urgent and focus on the important!  
  • Diverse faith communities–  There are 162 different congregations ministering throughout the county.
  • Low cost of living– According to demographic expert Bert Sperling’s Best Places database, our total cost of living index is 16% lower than the Michigan average and 26% lower than the national average.  Our median home costs are less than 50% of the national average!
  • Growing business community–  In January, Crain’s Communications featured thriving businesses and highlighted Jackson based Commonwealth Associates, Peak Manufacturing Local Logic Media and TransPharm Preclinical Solutions.
  • Assorted recreational opportunities–  Something for everyone! Did you know that Golf Digest ranked Jackson as the fourth-best area to play golf in the nation? 
  • Ample learning opportunities–  To enhance learning at every stage of life our county has a wide range of excellent public and private educational institutions, including two colleges and one university.
  • Innovative community health– We are fortunate to be served by Henry Ford Allegiance Health and it’s continually advancing capabilities.  Did you know that Allegiance Health founded the Health Improvement Organization (HIO) that connects 30 local agencies in championing a culture of health in our community?  These pioneering efforts are receiving national attention. 

Jackson County also excels in the “meaningful access to relevant resources” category:

  • 45 minutes to all the retail, restaurant, academic and athletic options in Ann Arbor and Lansing.
  • 60 minutes to one of the finest airport terminals in the country with nonstop links to major cities and destinations around the world.
  • 1.3 hours to all the urban, cultural, marine and sporting opportunities in Detroit.
  • 1.8 hours to Lake Michigan.
  • 3.3 hours to Chicago, the nation’s 3rdlargest city.

We would be wise to pause in gratitude and recommit ourselves to leveraging these often-overlooked benefits.  Jackson County is a prime location to build a life around what matters most.

Don’t Take Our Word For It

DON’T TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT. . . Thoughts from your GuideStream Team

Any professional has a built-in bias for their work due to their passion and understanding of their industry. Ours is no different. However, if we ask everyday people about retirement planning, it is interesting to hear what they share.

MoneyTips (an online financial forum) recently surveyed retirees about the advice they would give those still working and how retirement has differed from what they expected. We think their answers are insightful and we want to offer a few suggestions as well.

When asked, “What is the best advice you would give to people planning to retire?”

36.8% said to “start planning today” o Time is your friend when it comes to money. It is much harder to save later in life which often leads to working longer than planned. 

28.7% said to “save more than you think you need” o General rule of thumb is save 15% of your income. If you have contribution matching from your employer, that is a great way to start earning an instant return on your savings. 

26% said to “take care of your health” o We only get one life and it is easier to keep it healthy than try to get it back once lost. We consider food and exercise an investment equally as important as saving for your retirement. Don’t neglect it. 

Literally, 91.5% of retirees listed one of these 3 pieces of advice as the MOST important thing regarding their FUTURE retirement lives. We agree with them and help clients think about these things.

Second question was, “What are your biggest miscalculations about retirement?”

20.9% answered, “how unhealthy I would be” o This is the one area of retirement where it can seriously jeopardize the best prepared plans. Healthcare is a huge expense and unless properly planed for; can financially ruin people. Medicare and Supplemental insurance are key. 

19.4% answered, “how much more I needed to save” o Understanding future cash flows is critical. Social Security should be considered as one piece of your plan, not your entire plan. We help people understand the savings and expected portfolio returns ‘math’ and how it helps fund their retirement. 

14.3% answered, “how bored I would be” o Retirement can be a great time to volunteer, help with grandkids, write about your childhood for your children and grandchildren, teach someone something or learn something new with your spouse. Just get involved doing something you enjoy or find fulfilling. 

10.1% answered, “how much longer I would live” o This is called Longevity Risk and it is real. Advances in medicine continue to improve lives and longevity. If retired at age 67, your life expectance is 85 if male and 87 if female. Many will live into their 90’s, therefore it is best to plan for it. 

Nothing about our future can be predicted with 100% accuracy, however, by understanding what decisions and situations we may face helps us take appropriate action today. That is the true power and value in planning and we recommend having a trusted guide by your side through the journey.

*MoneyTips Retirement Survey Findings January 12, 2018

2017 Market Recap

For nearly all of the 2017 calendar year, major news outlets were consistently publishing articles about the remarkable performance of the stock market. It seemed like every week the Dow Jones Industrial average (DJIA) broke a new threshold or the S&P 500 closed at all-time high.

Now that the calendar has flipped, it is a good time to look back at how major stock market indices performed in 2017 and what it all means for the U.S. and its citizens.

What the stock market is – and what it is not

Before defining what the stock market is comprised of, it is important to note that the performance of stock market indices is not necessarily synonymous with the health of the American economy. Most economists and financial professionals measure the health of an economy based on a variety of factors, including gross domestic product, unemployment rates, and the consumer price index. Though a stock market index can certainly point to the general health of an economy, it is ultimately investors and speculators that dictate stock prices.

In the past, tulip bulbs, beanie babies, and dot-com stocks all saw sudden, dramatic increases in value due to a widespread uptick in demand. In the end, however, these meteoric rises often saw equally significant decreases in valuation once excitement wore off and the reality of the long-term sustainability of the investments set in.

This is not to say that the growth major indices experienced last year was a fluke. It is important, however, to carefully examine the more tangible aspects of the companies whose stocks saw increases in value – such as debt-to-equity ratio, return on equity, return on assets, and operating margins.

What made the markets newsworthy in 2017?

The DJIA experienced an increase of more than 25 percent from the previous year, its second-best year since the beginning of the Great Recession. There have been only seven instances since 1976 where the DJIA has increased by at least 25 percent in a calendar year. When compared to the historical average of about 7.75 percent growth, the DJIA far outpaced what most investors come to expect from a year’s worth of growth. Additionally, the DJIA did not experience a net loss in value in any calendar month in 2017, which had previously never happened. For all intents and purposes, stockholders saw truly remarkable growth in their investments, adding trillions of dollars to the aggregate net worth of Americans.

Who does the stock market affect the most?

The individuals most affected by stock market fluctuations are those who directly own stock – which, according to a Gallup poll released in May 2017, is only about half of American households. A closer examination reveals that stock ownership increases in lockstep with earnings. In 2017, only 21 percent of those making less than $30,000 invested in the stock market. Conversely, 89 percent of individuals making $100,000 or more own stock.
A well-performing stock market is undoubtedly beneficial for those who own stocks, and the resulting effects create positive ripples across the economic landscape of the U.S. Keep in mind that a successful stock market, however, does not offer as significant of a direct benefit to those who have below-average earning power.


America is in the midst of one of the longest bull markets of all time, as the DJIA has risen by about 300 percent since hitting its nadir in March 2009. While history has shown that bull markets eventually fizzle out, investors are enjoying an incredibly lucrative period in the history of the stock market.

Success and Failure

by Scott Blakemore

Do we have Success and Failure all wrong?  Our culture loves to champion winners and tell their tale, but what about all the others?  Let’s be honest …  have you ever thought when someone fails, they somehow have a character defect?  I’ve been guilty at times.

It doesn’t help that we can microscopically manage our image through social media to promote our success and hide failures.  I know, we all have the smartest, cutest and most athletic children, an adoring spouse, the perfect home, an awesome job and a lovable, obedient dog … who never has accidents in the house!

Who are we kidding?  I fear only ourselves.

While it isn’t appropriate to be totally transparent with the world about all our challenges, I do believe it is critical to have close confidants with whom we can bare our struggles.  There is no shame in the struggle – it is normal and even beneficial.

I concur with Rev. Billy Graham’s quote:

“Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has.”

We rarely talk about failure, but it is a common experience we all share.  I encourage my children to embrace when they fall short or face a challenge.  These are moments where we learn humility, compassion, and appreciation for those who persevere day after day after day.

I am often amazed at the stories of bravery and sacrifice from our wounded soldiers and their families.  While we may have troubles in our business or career (or a host of other areas), none of those problems usually affect our mobility.  Lost legs, arms and eyes forever change the game for them.  But what floors me is when they are asked if they would change anything, they often respond with ‘No’.  How could this be?

My conviction is through adversity, through struggle and hardship, we begin to understand who we are, what we are made of and that we are capable of so much more than we think.  Those who face real struggle and loss know this, and it is why they often say they wouldn’t change a thing.  They are better for it, even if the world around them only sees loss.

The same is true for you and me.  I am proud of the people and businesses in this issue who have overcome adversity, and I would guess their businesses are stronger and more resilient due to the challenges they have faced.

Life will happen and it will be challenging.  But I believe the best for us and the companies we work for is made possible through the adversity we face – and it enriches us.  Then we can use what we have learned and help others we know who are in the midst of their own adversity. That is where the real magic happens.

Financial Education Basics

by Kirk Hoffman

For many children, basic financial education is not part of their school curriculum.  Many adults didn’t have this offered either and generally learned from their parents or on their own.  Here are some financial education basics that you can share with your children to help them be better prepared.

Clarify your financial experience
Share your own perspective on money, including how you got to where you are now, your views on cash management, debt and liquidity, and how your outlook has changed over the years.  Sometimes the discussion of financial matters is uncomfortable or considered taboo.  Being open about financial issues is a great benefit for your children and can help them avoid mistakes that you might have made.  Let them know if you’ve managed things yourself or if you’ve had a financial advisor.  

Establish and maintain a simple budget
Budgeting in its most basic form is just a plan for spending.  Teach your children to think about how their purchases impact one another and how the budget can help them make better spending decisions.  You can use anything from a simple spreadsheet to an online tool like

Encourage savings and investing
Saving and investing are tools for reaching financial goals.  Explain different saving and investing alternatives.  Share the choices you’ve made in your own plan.

Establish a bank account
Help your children learn what a savings and checking account are.  Show them how to view the accounts, how to make deposits, withdrawals, transfers, and how to write a check.  Explain how to balance their checking account.  Teach them how to read a bank statement.  Get them in the habit of reviewing their account regularly.

Learn about credit
Explain how credit cards work and how you feel they should be used.  Explain how mortgages, car loans, and personal loans work.  Discuss how to build a positive credit history.

Stress the importance of insurance
Encourage your children to establish an emergency fund. Help them understand the importance of homeowners and auto insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, health insurance, and long-term care insurance.  Share how you have used insurance in your own plan.

Encourage retirement planning
The earlier you start planning for retirement, the more funds you will accrue.  Explain how Roth and traditional IRAs work.  Talk to your children about company sponsored retirement plans like Roth and traditional 401(k) plans and how to take advantage of company match offers. 

Develop financial relationships
If you have a financial advisor, give your children the opportunity to meet with him or her on their own. This can give them the opportunity to ask questions they may be embarrassed to ask when you are there.  Use your financial advisor as a resource to help explain any of these issues.

Don’t take for granted that your children know the basics.  Discussing these with them is a good way to see how much they already understand and it allows you to share your values in these important areas.

How money affects couples

It is no secret that money is a hot-button issue for most couples. Discussing finances can be uncomfortable, and some couples may avoid these conversations altogether. Financial issues may also cause some to avoid marriage entirely as individuals may be worried about sharing debts and assets or justifying their ingrained spending habits to each other. 

Whether you are recently married, celebrating an anniversary, or simply thinking about taking the next step in your romantic (and financial) life, consider these suggestions to the common financial challenges that most couples face.

If you marry your financial opposite
While most people say they want to find a mate that has similar spending habits to their own, what we want and what we choose may be vastly different. Some research suggests that when it comes to spenders and savers, opposites attract. This could be attributed to the fact that we sometimes seek out those who have opposite characteristics of what we find unappealing about ourselves. Regardless of the reason, if you find yourself a spender married to a saver, it can quickly lead to conflict.

On a positive note, compromising on personal spending habits can lead to healthy, moderate spending habits as a couple. By setting common spending goals together and establishing a system for working toward those goals, you can focus on something beyond the everyday sacrifices or splurges you try to avoid. The important thing is to set a clear budget that keeps both of you accountable to something other than each other.

If one of you makes more money 
It would be rare to meet a couple who made the same amount of money; chances are, either you or your spouse are pulling in the larger income. Whether the discrepancy is small or large, a difference in pay could cause tensions in how money is saved, spent, and earned.

It is important to remember, however, that whether you are the higher earning spouse or not, you both ultimately share responsibility for your family. 
Your importance to your family and the role you play in your loved ones’ lives is not completely tethered to your paycheck.

If you enter marriage with a hefty combined debt 
For Millennials, this is becoming more and more common. According to a Federal Reserve Report, approximately 40 percent of adults under the age of 30 have student loan debt, averaging $32,731 per borrower. That means that Millennials may be starting their marriages with about $65,000 in debt, and with the average cost of a wedding exceeding $35,000 in 2016, getting married may put you even further in the hole. 

Unfortunately, this debt burden may be scaring Millennials off from marriage altogether. According to a 2013 survey by the American Student Assistance, 29 percent of Millennials said they have postponed marriage to deal with their student debt. Conversations about debt may range from whether you will pay off your debt separately or together to how much should be spent on a fancy ceremony or new home. By establishing “debt goals,” you can make sure both you and your future spouse are on the same page and that you start your life together with a plan to reduce your loans in the future. 

If your marriage is the victim of financial infidelity
One in three adults who have combined their finances in a relationship admitted to lying about a financial issue, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education. 
While lying about money may be relatively common, these “little” money lies truly do matter; 76 percent of those who lied about a financial issue said that it affected their relationship. To avoid letting financial infidelity get the best of your relationship, it is important to talk with your spouse about what each of you considers financial infidelity. Something that one of you sees as a minor financial setback may sound like a financial disaster to the other. Establishing financial thresholds from the beginning can keep you both aligned on budgeting goals and foster better transparency when setbacks do occur.

If you are reluctant to combine finances 
If your spouse does not want to combine your finances right after your wedding, it may make you feel like they do not trust you. Try to remember that there is no unilateral approach to finances, and there may be practical reasons for keeping your finances separated. If this is the case, one option is to have both joint and separate accounts until you find out which works better in your marriage. If you are hesitant to merge finances, you may find comfort in the fact that there are certain aspects of your financial life that will not merge when you get married. For example, your credit report is yours and yours alone (although if you apply for a home loan or a joint account, both of your scores will be considered).

The most important thing to realize is that disagreements over money are often manifestations of deeper communication struggles. Money represents complex feelings for a lot of people — feelings about power, trust, or self-esteem that may be masked in a fight over your shopping budget for the month. Just recognizing which of these common issues may be causing friction is a key first step in resolving these common interpersonal challenges. The positives of transparent financial communication can impact far more than just your new joint checking account.

Across the Pond

If you’ve turned on the news in the last month, you have heard the term “Brexit.” The portmanteau has been splashed all over international headlines since early June, when Britain prepared for a referendum on whether it would exit from the European Union (EU). When the U.K. shocked the world on June 23 by actually voting to leave, “Brexit” cemented its place as one of the most important words of the year. 

(Unsurprising) Panic
The impact of the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU was felt immediately by the global stock market. Analysts all over the world had believed the U.K. would remain and were pushing share prices higher in the hours before the vote. When the results were announced, the reaction was a rapid—but not catastrophic—downturn across nearly every stock exchange.

As it became clear that Brexit probably wouldn’t result in the end of the EU, panic dissipated and stocks returned to normal. For Americans, the disruption seemed to have passed; Brexit would be nothing more than a temporary political problem between distant countries. After all, didn’t we start a war 240 years ago so that British decisions wouldn’t affect us anymore? 

Quid Pro Quo
Brexit still has important implications for the U.S. economy because of the British pound. The pound has a long history and is considered one of the most reliable currencies in the world. Its value has helped make London the financial capital of Europe and ensures the Bank of England is a key player in global interest rates. 

But Brexit means the U.K. will be disrupting its access to the EU’s massive economic power and banking needs. This could shrink the U.K.’s economy and may ruin the stability of its banks, costing the pound its place next to the U.S. dollar, Japanese yen and the euro as a top-tier currency. And that would make all the difference.

A volatile pound will drive some investors to other currencies. Since the EU and its euro are also shaken by Brexit, choices for low-risk currencies are limited and purchases of U.S. dollars and Treasury’s increase. 

While this further cements the United States as the economic center of the world, it does cause some problems. Although trade with the U.K. makes up less than half a percent of U.S. GDP, the appreciation of the dollar’s value makes U.S. goods more expensive all over the world, hurting our ability to export. Additionally, U.K. products that directly compete with American products (e.g. luxury cars) gain a huge price advantage in foreign markets.
Brexit’s bigger impact, however, may be on interest rates. The market disruption caused by the U.K. will make the Federal Reserve wary of raising short-term interest rates this summer as it had planned. High demand for Treasuries will push down long-term borrowing rates in major economies. 

This effect was immediately evident following the Brexit vote as U.S. mortgage rates approached historic lows. If interest rates remain this low, they could inflate home prices and make it more difficult for people to buy their first home.

The full effects of Brexit are still unknown, both economically and politically. No independent county has ever left the EU and analysts are unsure when and how (or even if) it will take place. The move could fundamentally alter trade agreements, trigger recessions in emerging economies or open space for another major country to take Europe’s center stage. Regardless of what happens, it’s clear that economic changes don’t stay confined to a single country. Even with 3,000 miles of ocean between us, the consequences of the U.K.’s decision have already begun arriving on our shores.


Remember that past performance may not indicate future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, strategy, or product referenced directly or indirectly in this newsletter will be profitable, equal any corresponding historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. You should not assume that any information contained in this newsletter serves as the receipt of personalized investment advice. If a reader has questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed to their individual situation, they are encouraged to consult with a professional adviser. 

This article was written by Advicent Solutions, an entity unrelated to Guidestream Financial, Inc.. The information contained in this article is not intended to be tax, investment, or legal advice, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any tax penalties. Guidestream Financial, Inc. does not provide tax or legal advice. You are encouraged to consult with your tax advisor or attorney regarding specific tax issues. © 2014 Advicent Solutions. All rights reserved.

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