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The RPG  Planner

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Dear <<First Name>>:

April was a busy month for RPG as we completed the normal demands of tax season, hosted our annual open house last week, published several articles, and attended some useful conferences.  We again hope that you find this month's issue of The RPG Planner to be useful and continue to welcome any feedback or suggestions.     

Plan Right                      

  • The Lure of Investment Prediction.  Our quarterly investment letter compares the game of Rock-Paper-Scissors to investing and illustrates the difficulty that individuals and experts have in making predictions about the future.
  • Insuring Your Most Valuable Asset.  We recently wrote about the most underutilized and overlooked form of insurance: long-term disability.  For early and mid-career professionals, understanding the differences between group and individual coverage is critical.
  • The Future of Social Security.  Morningstar, NASDAQ.com, and other financial websites recently published an abridged version of our article on the future of Social Security and the practical implications.  It was even translated to Spanish for another website.

Around the Web

 

Investment Commentary       

 
In spite of renewed concerns about Greece’s future in the Eurozone, European stocks rallied sharply in April (MSCI Europe +4.3%) and are now up 7.9% in 2015.  Stronger than expected earnings and the continued support of the European Central Bank’s aggressive asset purchase program supported stock market gains.  Better still, emerging market stocks were the clear winners in April (MSCI Emerging Markets +7.7%) as a sharp rise in commodity prices and improvement in Chinese economic data helped boost these markets.

Mixed domestic data kept the US stock markets range bound for the month.  1st quarter earnings reports were collectively better than expected but the strong US dollar and weakness in the energy sector hampered economic expansion.  The reported 0.2% GDP growth in the 1st quarter was well below expectations and represented a sharp slowdown from the 2.2% and 5.0% growth rates in the prior two quarters.  The Federal Reserve acknowledged the anemic growth of late but suggested that the slowdown was likely to be temporary.  Experts still anticipate that the Fed will raise rates later this fall for the first time since June 2006.

The performance differential between US and overseas markets was not limited to stock markets.  US bonds were relatively flat in April as the yield on the 10-year US Treasury eclipsed the 2% level, up from 1.93% at the end of March.  Alternatively, overseas bonds performed quite well in April (Barclays Global Aggregate ex-US +2.2%) again helped by higher commodity prices and strengthening currencies.

RPG portfolios are again fully invested per our systematic discipline following the technical strength in overseas markets.  You can reference the RPG Monthly Market Snapshot by clicking here for some key economic data points and index returns.  We welcome any comments, questions, or suggestions.

Reminders

  • It is graduation season for high school and college seniors with students ready to embark on the next chapter of life.  Consider scheduling a time for your recently graduated son or daughter to walk through our complimentary and personalized Financial Foundations® course.  We walk through some of the basic financial principles that will put them on a path to success.  It makes a nice graduation gift.     

Fun Stuff and Free Resources

  • There is a great new website to shop online for long-term disability insurance and even life insurance.  It was recently referenced in the New York Times and allows you to get real quotes with only 2-3 minutes of effort and no pushy salespeople involved.
  • Tired of unwanted junk mail and desiring to be a more productive user of email?  Consider using unroll.me to help manage your subscriptions and easily eliminate unwanted email.

RPG News and Notes 

  • We celebrated our Sixth Annual RPG Open House last week in a fun gathering of clients, friends, and family.  We plan to post some photos to our Facebook page soon so stay tuned.
  • RPG Associate Brandon McGraw has been busy outside of the office, recently starting a CFP program in the evenings and also working to help the local community in his role as a board member of Meals by Grace
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