Archives For Todd Burkhalter

Weekly Update – September 19, 2011

U.S. stocks posted solid performance Friday to wrap up a five-day winning streak for the first time since July. The Dow and the S&P 500 were each up around 5% for the week, while the NASDAQ climbed 6.3% for the week. The five-day move was the best we’ve seen in two years.

Stocks rallied Thursday after the European Central Bank announced a coordinated action with other central banks and the U.S. Federal Reserve to offer banks easier access to dollar loans. That move, combined with comments from French and German leaders expressing confidence in Greece’s place in the euro-zone, helped propel the market’s performance last week.ii It is likely that comments from European leaders and bankers will continue to drive investor sentiment as the debt crises in Europe continues.

It is against the backdrop of European woes and a softening U.S. economy that the Fed will hold its policy-setting meeting Tuesday and Wednesday. The Federal Open Market Committee expanded its meeting from one to two days, which some investors have taken as a signal that action will be taken, though what that action will be is not clear.

One suggestion is that the Fed will try to pump money into the economy by purchasing bonds through a third round of quantitative easing, known as QE3. But this modified version of QE3, coined Operation Twist, would involve trying to boost lending by swapping out short-term bonds with long-term ones. The intended outcome of this swap would be to lower long-term interest rates without increasing the size of the Fed’s balance sheet. At this point though, we can only speculate about what the Fed will do.

In the week ahead, eyes will be focused on Europe and the Federal Reserve as they work to keep money flowing around the world.

  • Monday – Housing Market Index
  • Tuesday – Housing Starts, FOMC Meeting Announcement
  • Wednesday – Existing Home Sales, EIA Petroleum Status Report
  • Thursday – Jobless Claims

President Barack Obama said on Saturday that Americans need to be ready to “pay their fair share” to narrow the deficit, previewing his proposals to Congress that are expected to include more taxes on the rich. On Monday, the President will call for a new minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year to ensure that they pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income taxpayers, according to administration officials.

Wall Street was cordoned off for a second consecutive day Sunday as about 300 to 400 people remained near Chase Manhattan Plaza for a protest dubbed “Occupy Wall Street.” A smaller group, followed by a column of police motorcycles, marched uptown on Broadway as people beat drums, strummed guitars, and held up signs reading “end corporate welfare” and “we are too big to fail.”

With Europe’s credit and banking crisis seeming to get worse by the day, there are now several reports that Brazil – as well as Russia, India, and China – may look to buy up a portion of sovereign debt from troubled European nations. The creation of a so-called euro bond, which would act as a common debt instrument much like the euro now acts as a unified currency, has been mentioned by many economists and financial experts as a possible way to help end the crisis.

There isn’t a person anywhere who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can. –Henry Ford

Below is a guest post from Attorney, Susan Grissom. Susan has been a friend for many years and has developed a nice law practice just north of Atlanta in Johns Creek, Georgia. Susan is a member of the Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce and the Buckhead Rotary Club. To learn more about Susan and her firm visit Grissom Law

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By Susan Grissom

I am asked often, how often should I update my will? There is no single answer to this question; however, the following are examples of events that would likely cause your will to need to be updated.

  • Marriage – unless your Will is written in contemplation of marriage and includes statements to this effect, you should revise your Will.
  • Divorce – unless your Will is written in the contemplation of your divorce and includes a statement to this effect, you should revise your Will.
  • Birth of a Child or Children – if your Will was written prior to children, you should revise your Will to include naming of Guardians; if your Will was written when you had children but you have added children, you should review your Will to insure that the Guardians named are still appropriate considering the larger family and stage of life.
  • Change in Financial Circumstances – if your financial circumstances have changed, you should review your Will to insure that it still disposes of your assets appropriately considering the change in finances.
    • If your finances have improved, does the Will address Estate taxes adequately?
    • If your finncial situation has worsened, do you have gifts included in your will that will deplete your estate?
  • Other Changes: Has any of the named Executors, Trustees, Guardians etc. named in your Will changed in any manner that would exclude them from serving in their role?

If any of the events listed above have occurred, you should visit an attorney to review your Will. They should examine it and determine if it is appropriate to completely rewrite your Will or ammend it with a Codicil. At Grissom Law, LLC we will always meet with you to review your current Will as it relates to your current circumstances. Call us today at 678-781-9230 or e-mail sgrissom@grissomlawfirm.com to schedule a consultation.

 

Ten Years Later

September 12, 2011 — Leave a comment

Weekly Update – September 12, 2011

For most of us, 9/11 feels like yesterday. For a younger generation, Sunday’s services etched a memory of that day onto minds too young to recall it. Three-thousand-six-hundred and fifty-two days have since passed, but as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg so poignantly stated, “We can never un-see what happened here.” While most Americans wish they never had to witness the events of that defining day, they are equally determined never to forget them.

The 10th anniversary closed a decade that witnessed two wars, massive changes in national security, the Great Recession, and most recently, the death of the elusive terrorist who masterminded the attack. And no longer is ground zero merely a reminder of what was, but a symbol of rebirth. With the breathtaking National September 11 Memorial now open and the yet-to-be-finished Freedom Tower rising 961 feet above the street where 2,983 lost their lives, history remembers the resilience of the human spirit.

The financial world also stands changed by the events of September 11. Once the physical financial center of the country, the area near ground zero has become largely an upscale residential neighborhood. Pre 9/11, tourists could visit the

New York Stock Exchange and stand in a galley to watch the trading, but not anymore. Even though the building itself sustained no damage when the Twin Towers fell, the exchange has since been considered a target and the visitor center remains closed. On the floor of the exchange, traders must now go through security barriers and x-ray machines under the watch of armed officers – something those who have flown on a commercial airliner since 9/11 can relate to.

While Sunday marked a day of reflection and tears for many of us, and while both the tragedy and heroism of 9/11 will long be remembered, Americans will move forward this week. Concerns surrounding Europe’s debt crisis will rear their ugly heads again, and headlines about stock market volatility will doubtless be featured in the news. And when they are, we would all do well to keep things in perspective and be thankful for the life we enjoy, even if it has been altered by the events of September 11th, 2001.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Tuesday – Import and Export Prices, Treasury Budget
Wednesday –Producer Price Index, Retail Sales, Business Inventories, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday – Consumer Price Index, Empire State Mfg Survey, Jobless Claims, Industrial Production, Philadelphia Fed Survey
Friday – Treasury International Capital, Consumer Sentiment

HEADLINES:

Moments of silence were observed in New York City Sunday on the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed nearly 3,000 people. “Ten years have passed since a perfect blue sky morning turned into the blackest of nights. Since then, we have lived in sunshine, and in shadow,” said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

China’s record imports and a rebound in lending signaled strength that offers a bright spot in a global economy contending with Europe’s debt crisis and weakening U.S. job gains. Government reports in the past two days showed that shipments from abroad jumped 30% and new local-currency loans were a more-than-forecast 548.5 billion yuan ($86 billion).

The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. filling stations rose 5.76 cents to $3.6669 a gallon last week.
Bank of America Corp.is preparing to slash 40,000 or more jobs and close 10% of its branches nationwide. The details of the plan were not officially announced, but the information was disclosed by three Bank of America executives who have been briefed on the plan but were not authorized to speak publicly.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.” – C.C. Scott