November 30, 2014 Holiday Cheer If married men are smart, they will work on boosting their wives’ marital satisfaction. A new study found that married men tend to be a lot happier when their wives rate their marriage more highly even if the men do not rate the marriage very highly themselves. Women, conversely, were only modestly happier when their husbands had higher marital satisfaction. Why does a wife’s marital satisfaction increase a husband’s happiness far more than the reverse? Women satisfied in their marriages tend to do a lot more for their husbands. Women typically provide more health enhancing support to husbands than vice versa. Wall Street Journal 9/20-21/14 p. C4. Living Longer, But at a Price New Mortality estimates from the Society of Actuaries show that Americans are enjoying longer lives. In 2014, a 65 year old male can be expected to live to 86.6 years and a 65 year old woman to 88.8 years up 2 and 2.4 years respectively from 2000. This is expected to raise the cost of retirement plans (and variable annuities) with guaranteed payouts. Longer lives for retirees may add to a squeeze at many pension funds already struggling to close funding gaps and force employers to contribute more to cover future obligations. If you want to discuss the financial effect on your financial plan, please contact us. Wall Street Journal 10/28/14 p. C1. This Is How Our Investment Strategy Is Supposed To Work Volatility in the stock market is always hard to stomach while going through it, but it is the essence of part of our investment strategy of income and growth. The investments we pick mainly have a steady income component, which is used to diversify the portfolio by steadily purchasing additional investments using a dollar cost averaging philosophy. If the stock market declines, then the cash generated by the investments is able to purchase more shares than it would ordinarily be able to purchase. When the general stock market “ultimately” recovers and resumes its growth, the investor is usually better off. This is instead of a strategy ignoring income so that when the market declines, the only way to diversify is to sell a position, which has probably lost value. What we do not know is when “ultimately” occurs, so the waiting is hard. Like now! Giving Thanks For America’s First Undocumented Aliens Ah, Thanksgiving! Once a year when we actually celebrate locals letting in hordes of undocumented aliens who could not speak the language, knew next to nothing about customs and would have died had they not been taught how to plant, fish and hunt in the new land. Who Created Sweet Potato Pie W/Marshmallows? Cracker Jack – Turns out the company that made Cracker Jack also made marshmallows and was looking for ways to get rid of them. Around 1917, the Cracker Jack Company put out a cookbook. It has long since been forgotten except for that darned sweet potato w/marshmallow concoction. While We Are On The Subject – Who Created The Green Bean Casserole? It is not on top of my list, I would rather eat sweet potato pie w/marshmallows. In 1955 at the Campbell Soup Company, home economist Dorcas Reilly mixed cream of mushroom soup and green beans, then placed fried onions on top for color and crunch. It was a financial boom for Campbell’s, which estimates 40% of the cream of mushroom soup sold in the U.S. annually, goes out making this casserole or 20,000,000 annually. Why Are My NJ Taxes So High? Here are some numbers to help answer the question: Property Taxes – ($7,988 average bill - 2013) - NJ leads the U.S. in property tax as a percentage of income (7.45%) and as a percentage of home value (1.89%).State Public Worker Salary ($66,232 - 2012 average) - The average was 10% higher than Connecticut, which has the second highest average in the Northeast.Police Salaries ($88,220 mean wage - 2013) - Only one other state, California had a mean wage over $74,000. NJ’s mean wage was 25% higher than New York’s which was the second highest in the Northeast.State/Local Tax Burden ($6,622 per capita average 2011) - State and local taxes absorbed 12.27% of NJ residents’ income slightly less than New York’s and 25% higher than U.S. average.Unfunded Retiree Health Care Liability ($7,206 per capita 2013) - NJ ranked third in the total dollar amount of this category $63,000,000,000, and third in outstanding debt, $41,400,000,000 and outstanding debt per capita ($4,674). Many New Jerseyans seem to have become immune to the state’s high taxes. Many others have fled to lower tax states, which include every state in the union except New York, which inched ahead of the Garden State in the latest Tax Foundation state/local tax burden analysis. Asbury Park Press 8/17/14 p. AA1. Obviously, we are not able to do anything about the political causes of the high taxes but you can meet with us in an attempt to so structure your affairs and investments so as to minimize your tax footprints. If you are interested, please call us for an appointment. Have a safe holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year! As always, if you have any questions about these or any other matters, do not hesitate to call us. Remember, We’re Here For You!