The Week on Wall Street
Stocks rallied last week as investor spirits lifted thanks to a better-than-expected start to the second-quarter earnings season.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.95%, while the S&P 500 added 2.55%. The Nasdaq Composite index jumped 3.33% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, advanced 3.54%.
FACT OF THE WEEK
On July 26, 1775, the U.S. postal system is established by the Second Continental Congress, with Benjamin Franklin as its first postmaster general. Franklin (1706-1790) put in place the foundation for many aspects of today’s mail system.
In 1753, Benjamin Franklin, who had been postmaster of Philadelphia, became one of two joint postmasters general for the colonies. He made numerous improvements to the mail system, including setting up new, more efficient colonial routes and cutting delivery time in half between Philadelphia and New York by having the weekly mail wagon travel both day and night via relay teams. Franklin also debuted the first rate chart, which standardized delivery costs based on distance and weight.
Today, the United States has over 40,000 post offices and the postal service delivers more than 200 billion pieces of mail each year to over 144 million homes and businesses in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the American Virgin Islands and American Samoa. The postal service is the nation’s largest civilian employer, with roughly 500,000 career workers. The postal service is a not-for-profit, self-supporting agency that covers the majority of its expenses through postage (stamp use in the United States started in 1847) and related products. The postal service gets the mail delivered, rain or shine, using everything from planes to mules.
Earnings Propel Stocks
Earnings season kicked off last week, with major banks reporting second-quarter results. While their results were mixed, they appeared to indicate that consumers and businesses remained reasonably healthy–a perspective that helped erase some negative sentiment overhanging the market.
As the week progressed, stocks gained momentum as earnings results poured in from different sectors of the economy, showing that businesses were navigating higher inflation and slowing growth better than investors feared. Technology and other gloomier sectors were among the market’s best performers for the week. A few disappointing corporate reports and a weak economic report sent stocks lower to close out a solid week.
Cracks in the Foundation
Data released last week indicated more trouble in the housing market. The latest monthly homebuilder sentiment survey showed the single largest monthly drop in its 37-year history, except for April 2020. The sentiment report preceded a drop in June housing starts and issued building permits. Housing starts declined for the second month, falling 2.0% and surprising economists who had expected an increase.
Housing weakness made itself known through a 5.4% month-over-month decline in June's existing home sales, representing the slowest pace since June 2020. Increasing prices and higher mortgage rates demonstrated drags on buyer demand.
FINANCIAL STRATEGY OF THE WEEK
Financial Tips for your 60s and into retirement
Once you’ve hit 60, retirement is just around the corner. Now is an excellent time to think about what you want to your retirement to be like. You’ve worked your whole life for this moment: let’s make sure it’s the best years yet.
Everyone has their own vision about the retirement they want. Set aside some time to think about what you wants yours to be like. Is it all leisure, or a chance to begin a second career? Would you rather stay in your current home, downsize, or move across (or even out of) the country? How do you want to spend your days?
Set your priorities. Do a brain dump, and then prioritize what’s most important to you. And don’t forget to include your family in the conversation.
Don’t leave money on the table; search for unclaimed property. Each state is required to maintain records of unclaimed property. Use online databases to see if you have any accounts that you may claim.
Contact old employers. Call the human resources department to find out if there any outstanding retirement accounts.
Take a holistic view - Some accounts can’t be combined. Fortunately, there are many available resources that let you take a bird’s eye view of your entire financial picture. That means you can make decisions within the context of your entire financial picture, not siloed. It’s critical to consolidate all available accounts prior to retirement. We want to build up your account value before you start drawing on the principal in retirement.
Downsizing your home - Use the equity in your current home to purchase a lower-priced home more appropriate for your retirement years. If you buy your new home entirely with the equity from your current home, you can retire without worrying about a mortgage payment. No mortgage payment means more flexibility in your budget! Contact a realtor to get an idea of your home’s worth and what inexpensive upgrades could add value. If you plan to relocate cities, check for those with a lower cost of living, or save by living in one of the 13 states that don’t tax Social Security income.
Some important questions to consider as you plan:
- How is your health? Will the hobbies you enjoy now still be an option 20 years from now?
- Can you afford to retire when you’d like to?
- Will you need to work part-time to supplement your income, if needed?
- Are you emotionally prepared for retirement? Many people view their career as part of their identity, or have friendships outside of work with their colleagues.
- Do you have a bucket list, and how important is it to you to achieve it?
Please feel free to contact us anytime to discuss your retirement plans or any other topic.