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The RFG Weekly Wealth Report

July 09, 2018
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Domestic stocks only traded for 4 days last week, due to the Independence Day holiday. In that time, all 3 major domestic indexes posted positive results for the week. The S&P 500 added 1.52%, the Dow gained 0.76%, and the NASDAQ increased 2.37%. International stocks in the MSCI EAFE were up as well by 0.56%.

FACT OF THE WEEK

The benefits of travel are almost immediate. After only a day or two, 89% of people experience significant drops in stress.

MARKET MINUTE

Once again, trade and tariffs were a major topic on many people's minds. On Friday, July 6, the U.S. and China placed $34 billion of duties on each other's imports. However, instead of focusing on the trade-war escalation, another topic captured many investors' attention: the latest jobs report.

What did we learn about the labor market?

This month's report about the employment situation provided several indications that the economy continues to be healthy and growing.

1. The economy added more jobs than expected.
Economists predicted approximately 195,000 new jobs in June. Instead, the report showed that the economy added 213,000 new positions. This positive performance indicates the labor market may be somewhat looser than people originally thought. As a result, the economy may have more ability to continue growing without inflation becoming a bigger concern.

2. More people tried to enter the labor market.
Unemployment rose from 3.8% to 4% in June. On the surface, this result may seem negative. In reality, the increase comes from people who were sitting on the sidelines deciding to look for work once again. This choice indicates they feel more confident in their potential to find jobs.

3. Wage growth continued at a moderate pace.
The latest data revealed wage growth at a 2.7% annual pace, which was slightly below projections. Economists aren't certain why wages are growing at such a tepid rate, considering the labor market's strength. However, with a record number of open jobs, wage growth should increase later this year. In addition, June's pace should help calm concerns about the economy growing too quickly.

One detail that June's employment report didn't show was any meaningful, negative impacts from tariffs. If the trade disputes continue, however, industries such as manufacturing and construction could suffer. For now, the economy is starting the 3rd quarter on relatively strong footing - after a 2nd quarter that experts say could have experienced economic growth as high as 5%.

We will continue to monitor ongoing trade developments for any lasting effects on the economy or our clients' financial lives. As always, if you have any questions, we're here to talk.

RETIREMENT RUNDOWN

10 TIPS FOR MANAGING TIME IN RETIREMENT

A major benefit of retirement is that you no longer have to punch a time clock. But this can be a mixed blessing. Without the structure of job and family, you might begin to feel disoriented. Perhaps you can't remember what day of the week it is, or you suddenly realize that a whole year has passed and you have nothing to show for it.

Just because you're retired doesn't mean you shouldn't have some kind of schedule. Remember to build in time for your favorite activities, including hobbies, volunteer work, visiting grandchildren or whatever else you want to accomplish in retirement. Here are ten tips to manage time without feeling like you are back on the clock.

1. Keep things in perspective. Time management in retirement does not mean rigorously blocking out every minute of the day. It's more about setting goals and priorities, then making sure that you accomplish what you set out to do.

2. Make a schedule. Organize your activities on a daily or weekly basis, not hour by hour. That way you know that you exercise on Tuesdays and Thursdays, have class on Wednesdays and play cards on Fridays, without having to rush from one activity to the next. Don't over-manage your schedule or your days will feel like drudgery.

3. Make a list. Some people are planners, while others are more free form. But whatever your personality, you probably want to know what you're going to do when you wake up in the morning. So make a list of the important things, or the things you need to get out of the way. Also, you sleep better if you don't lie in bed worrying about something you're supposed to remember to do tomorrow.

4. Be flexible. You might not need a set schedule for everyday chores. So instead of planning out the housekeeping or gardening, just tackle a few tasks when you're ready, knowing it will all get done in the end. Also, give yourself permission to move an activity from today's list to tomorrow, next week or even never if you realize it's something you really don't want to do.

5. Learn to slow down. Many of us feel anxious about all the free time we face in retirement, so we fill our days with busy work. But busy work just eats up time, without offering any sense of fulfillment. Once you accept that you don't have to be busy every minute of the day, you can stop putting pressure on yourself and start accomplishing the things you want to do at your own pace.

6. Find your rhythm. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Many people do their best thinking in the morning, so that's when they take care of finances, write in their journals and plan family vacations. They leave routine work for afternoons and evenings. Others can only concentrate after the sun goes down. It doesn't matter what your daily rhythm is, only that you find it and follow it.

7. Alternate periods of structured activity with free time. Remember when you were in school and the structure of the school year was followed by the freedom of summer vacation? This variation can add texture to life. Many retirees enjoy the structure of regular volunteer work, a seasonal job or taking a class, followed by a period with no obligations. And then, just when they're getting bored, it's back to the routine again.

8. Limit your time watching TV or the internet. It's easy to let electronics soak up all your time. Make a conscious choice about how much time to devote to these passive activities. You might even set aside specific times to check email and Facebook or watch TV, so you don't fall into the rabbit hole of cyberspace.

9. Take your weekend during the week. Avoid lines by shopping on Monday or Tuesday instead of the weekend. You save time and enjoy more attention from salesclerks. Similarly, play golf or tennis or go on vacation during the week to avoid the crowds and get a cheaper rate.

10. Remember, times change. Some people begin retirement doing all the things they'd been putting off because they never had the time, such as painting the house, going on a trip or joining a club. But what happens after you check off those activities? You may want to reconsider your priorities and revise your schedule. That's perfectly normal. Your retirement needs will change over time.

FINANCIAL STRATEGY OF THE WEEK

CHOOSE YOUR GOALS

Maybe you want to retire at a certain age and/or with a certain income to maintain your lifestyle. Or your goal might be freedom -- the flexibility to do what you want when you want with your money. A lot of people simply don't want to become a burden to their family; they want to be self-sufficient. And others are determined to leave some kind of legacy behind for their children. Perhaps it's all of the above. Whatever you decide, it's crucial to know what the goal is before you set out to achieve it.