LifeSteps Financial Briefing | August 2018
Henry's Take
The S&P 500 closed at a  record high  last Friday, August 24, 2018. This marked the longest run in U.S. history. The index is now more than four times (418% to be exact) the level from when the bull market began on March 9, 2009. (Source: BTN Research)
Despite the continued pressures of pending new tariffs, interest rate increases by the Fed and the devastating effects of natural disasters such as the recent forest fires in California and rains in the Midwest and Northeast, economic indicators remain strong: the labor market remains strong (unemployment continues to fall) and business investment continues to be healthy.  
As summer wanes and fall kicks into gear, investors will most likely be more interested and active. While we manage with a long-term lens, we continue to be vigilant in watching economic indicators that can affect investments. For now, the bull market continues, so we wait, we watch, we listen. 
And, as always….feel free to contact us with questions.
                                                       &nnbsp;                             Henry Ford, Principal
Cryptocurrency: Should You Be Investing?
Cyber-Security – You Can Never Be Too Careful
I recently received a very professional looking e-mail which appeared to come from a survey company, asking me to help my law firm by responding to a short service survey. It even had a message from our Managing Partner which included his name and contact information. But – I did not recognize the sender. And, when I right-clicked on her e-mail address to check it out, the address looked odd.
So before going further, I sent the e-mail on to our IT group who quickly responded and told me that my suspicions were very justified – had I clicked on the “survey” link, I would have downloaded a particularly bad computer virus.

The incident reminded me again that whether we think about it or not, we live in an age where any one of us who uses any electronic device is under a constant threat of attack by sophisticated criminals (and foreign governments) who are constantly trying to steal from us. It also reminded me that each of us needs to not only be on the alert for such criminal attacks and we need to have a strategy for being prepared.

Did You Know?

The S&P 500 closed at a record high last Friday (8/24/18). The index finished the week at 2875, its 15th record close in 2018 and 203rd closing high since this bull market began on 3/10/09. During this bull run, the index has gained +418% (total return), an average of +19.0% per year.

Source: BTN Research
Data reproduced with permission from
By the Numbers

17 stocks in the S&P 500 gained at least +70% in calendar year 2017. 6 of the 17 stocks have gained at least +40% YTD through last Friday 8/24/18.

?Source: BTN Research
Data reproduced with permission from
By the Numbers
Aretha Franklin Left No Will and Testament
Iconic Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, passed away in her home on August 16, 2018 at the age of 76. A recent court filing in Michigan by her four sons revealed that Aretha Franklin didn’t have a will. She isn’t the first celebrity who didn’t put a will or testament documents in place before they died. Unfortunately, she’s just the most recent example - others include Prince and Amy Winehouse.

Unfortunately, legal battles over who is involved in the celebrities’ estates and how their assets are managed can last for years. Franklin’s sons have listed themselves as interested parties in the estate – worth an estimated $80 million - but because no will was left behind, a court battle could ensue between her children, extended family members and creditors. This is unfortunate because one her sons has special needs, which requires a particular method of estate planning.

Giving Back
Our featured charitable organization for August is Hope through Housing Foundation.

Hope through Housing Foundation's mission is to break the cycle of generational poverty by advocating for policies and implementing programs that empower individuals and change communities. 
One Last Thing...?
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This report is for information purposes only and is not a recommendation for any particular security. Mention of individual securities should not imply that we own the security or have owned it in the past. In addition, the information provided here should not form the basis for investment decisions. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This information should not be used in any transaction without the advice and guidance of your Tax Professional. LifeSteps Financial has not independently verified, or attested to the accuracy or authenticity of the information, including any investment performance measurement.
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