The Week on Wall Street
Stocks climbed higher amid the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and an improving outlook for a fiscal stimulus bill. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which has lagged all year, gained 0.44%. The S&P 500 picked up 1.25% while the Nasdaq Composite index surged 3.05%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, rose 2.44%.
FACT OF THE WEEK
Journalist Arthur Wynne from Liverpool is credited as the inventor of a word game we know today. He created what is considered the first known published crossword puzzle. The puzzle appeared in the December 21, 1913, edition of the New York World newspaper. Crossword Puzzle Day on December 21st commemorates the birth of a challenging word game enjoyed by millions around the world.
Stocks Climb Higher
In a week that celebrated the national rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine, market enthusiasm was tempered by worries of infection caseload and fresh economic lockdowns.
Investors turned their focus to the fiscal stimulus negotiations in Washington, D.C., with the hope that a relief bill may be the bridge that gets the economy over its near-term troubles until vaccine distribution grows more widespread.
These negotiations were not smooth sailing. When a compromise bill appeared to gather support, markets quickly moved higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and NASDAQ Composite all setting new record high closes on Thursday.
Stocks slipped in the final day of trading as stimulus hopes wavered.
FINANCIAL STRATEGY OF THE WEEK
The New Year is a great time to set some good financial goals. Be sure to set small realistic goals that will help you work toward your larger goals.
You may want to start with a large goal such as buying a house or retiring early and then look at the things you will need to do to reach that larger goal. Regardless of your goal, it's wise to set up a support system to make it easier to reach your financial goals. It's also important to measure your progress periodically throughout the year. Consider these financial goals to take on in 2021.
Start to Budget
Budgeting is the most important thing you can do is be financially successful. There are a lot of people who make a lot of money but are struggling financially because they do not manage their money well.
Goals for Your Budget
• Set up a monthly budget and stick to it all year long
• Reduce your spending in specific categories each month
• Budget with your spouse or other family members
Start Saving Money
Remember, sacrificing a few dinners out a month can pay off in the long run. By establishing a savings habit now, you are opening the doors for what you can do during your retirement years. If you are struggling to find ways to save, you can start by cutting back on some of your expenses. Saving can be more effective if you have something you are saving for, as well.
Goals to Help You Save
• Reduce your grocery bill
• Find ways to save on utilities
• Set a monthly savings goal
• Start with small short-term financial goals and work toward larger ones
Investing allows you to grow your money at a much quicker rate. Many people invest money successfully on their own, but if you are just starting out, you may consider finding a financial planner to help you achieve your goals. A good financial planner will ask you questions about your financial and life goals, and then give suggestions on how to achieve them. If you are leery of investing because of the current market conditions or because you do not understand how the markets work, take the time to talk to a financial planner. They will help you understand the risks and benefits of investing and should be able to help you find investments that match your current comfort level when it comes to risks.
Goals to Help You Start Investing
• Find a financial planner
• Learn about the stock market
• Make goals to invest a certain amount each month
• Open an IRA
As always, please let us know if there is anything we can help with along the way or any financial concerns you may have.