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Happy New Year!  We hope that you enjoyed a nice holiday season with friends and family.

After months of work, we are excited to unveil our newly remodeled website which we encourage you to browse.  Among the improvements are a refurbished client page, new pages tailored to the types of clients we serve, a new frequently asked questions page, easy online scheduling for clients or prospects, and refreshed team bio pages.  We are still making final edits and welcome any feedback.

Again, we are thankful for your support and we hope you find this month's RPG Planner to be informative.
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Investment Commentary

Although there was plenty of noise in 2015, including the first official market correction in four years and the first Federal Reserve rate hike in nearly a decade, it was a forgettable year for investors with stock and bond markets largely flat to down.  Global stocks, as measured by the MSCI All World Index, concluded 2015 with a 4th quarter gain but a calendar year loss of -2.4%.  Bonds posted a gain, but barely - ending the year with a return of +0.5% (Barclays Aggregate Bond Index).  

Commodities defended their title among major asset classes, repeating as the biggest loser again in 2015 with a loss of more than 25%.  The commodity collapse was driven by the continued decline in crude oil prices as large producers like Saudi Arabia and Russia took the unusual step of expanding production in the face of lower prices.  It did not help that the US dollar strengthened materially versus nearly all other currencies as this translated to higher commodity prices for foreign consumers and resulting weaker demand.  

Emerging market stocks were also a laggard in 2015, weighed down by the 800 pound gorilla that is China.  Weaker Chinese economic growth led to depreciation of the yuan, reduced global demand, a mid-year market selloff in emerging markets, and bold market reforms from Beijing in an attempt to stem further market turmoil.  Chinese reform to open the economy and stock market are still an unknown but could be a positive catalyst in the new year.  Perhaps the most encouraging data for emerging markets is the cheap level of stock prices which is historically the best predictor of future returns and bodes well for these markets.
Although risks remain as we enter 2016 (which were exemplified by the first trading day of the year), the general environment of low inflation, healthy job creation, and accommodative global monetary policy limits the likelihood of a global recession.

We encourage you to call or email us if you have any questions about the markets or your portfolio.  As always, you can reference the RPG Monthly Market Snapshot by clicking here for some key economic data points and index returns.      


  • The start of each new year is a good opportunity for working professionals to review their retirement savings plan and for accumulators to adjust their savings percentages, as needed.  
  • 2016 deferral limits for 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans remains at $18,000 for individuals under age 50 and $24,000 for anyone age 50 and above.
  • 2016 IRA contribution limits are $5,500 for individuals under 50 and $6,500 for those above.  High income earners should consider the best approach to maximizing these contributions which may include a backdoor Roth conversion.   
  • January 15th is the deadline for making the final 2015 quarterly estimated tax payment.
  • January 31st is the final deadline to enroll in 2016 individual health insurance or to change plans under the Affordable Care Act. 
  • Financial Aid (FAFSA) forms are now available for the 2016-2017 school year and we encourage filing them as soon as possible since several states award aid on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted.  If you have not yet filed your taxes, you can complete the FAFSA with estimates and then use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool once your tax return is completed to update the estimates.  

Fun Stuff and Free Resources

RPG News and Notes 

  • To continue a tradition of honoring the Christmas spirit of giving, Resource Planning Group made its annual donation, in honor of our clients, to Camp Twin Lakes.  This gift will sponsor a cabin for ten children to spend a week at the camp in 2016.
  • RPG Advisor Marjorie Edenfield ended 2015 with a trip out west that included stops at the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Las Vegas, and ended with a family member's wedding in Scottsdale.  Here is a photo of Marjorie at the Grand Canyon.
  • Our resident Star Wars fan, Christian Mauser, did not wait long to see the new Star Wars movie.  Christian and his wife, Randi, were at the theater on opening night to be among the first to see it.
  • RPG Advisor Jason Lina was profiled in a new book, "Estate Planning Experts: Atlanta".  Chapter 11 is an interview with Jason titled "Protecting Children and Grandchildren with Jason Lina".  We'll let you know when it hits the NY Times bestseller list. 
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