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Next Steps

Today, my youngest child will graduate from eighth grade. On Sunday, my middlest child will graduate from high school. In February, my oldest child moved out into his own apartment with a roommate. My children’s life milestones are impactful to me because I have the long-term perspective of their helpless infant selves locked in my…

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Margin for Error

This morning I was reminiscing about the good old days of January of 2022 when the rumors first started. The “R” word seeped into traders’ minds as the Federal Reserve prepared to start battling inflation with interest rate hikes. The thought was that recession was imminent within the next six to twelve months. Those recessionary…

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Who Will Win?

This year is shaping up to be a very close contest. Most of the people I talk with are already wishing it was over, and we still have months and months to go. It is entirely possible this one could even stretch into next year. On one side of the contest, you have the long-term…

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May Day

Happy May Day! May 1 is a forgotten holiday that has been celebrated for centuries. According to history.com, the Celts believed May 1 to be the single most important day of the year. The unique American tradition of May Basket Day quietly faded from popularity in the mid-1900s. May 1 was considered Labor Day in…

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Waived Again

Yes, they have done it again. Last week the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2024-35 which waives Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) for specific retirement account beneficiaries in 2024. If you are or will be at least age 73 by the end of 2024, you still must take your RMD this year. If you own…

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Inflated Expectations

Last week’s Consumer Price Index report for March made it very clear that money still drives markets. Much of the financial market enthusiasm that erupted just prior to Halloween hinges on the theory that the Federal Reserve will bring the cost of money down in 2024. Initially, traders thought it would be a mere six…

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Path of Totality

I must admit I was not all-in on Monday’s solar eclipse. I did not purchase eclipse eyewear. I did not create my own eclipse observation tool. In fact, I was in a client meeting during the eclipse instead of outside. One of the more ear-catching eclipse phrases that stuck in my brain during the eclipse…

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Confluence

The Baltimore bridge tragedy is a solemn reminder of how a confluence of unexpected events have unintended and almost unimaginable consequences. Humans have been using large ships for decades. Yes, their size has grown significantly over the last 20 years, but all of the operating principles for safely steering a vessel have been in place…

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Zeroes

Zeroes frequently mark either the beginning or the end. Every interstate freeway starts at mile marker 0. Every golf scorecard begins with 0. The day you are born is your 0th birthday (at least in American culture). Every college basketball game ends with 0:00 on the clock. Most Major League Baseball teams’ first official game…

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Fifteen Years

This past week marks 15 years since the stock market bottomed during the Global Financial Crisis. Time has certainly helped to erase some, if not most, of the trauma. Thinking back on it, I find it incredibly difficult to put into words the oppressive sense of pessimism that pressured perfectly rational people to make incredibly…

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Alarm

Writing roughly 45 blogs a year for the last 8.5 years sometimes leaves me a little empty on the idea front, and yesterday I was struggling mightily for a topic or theme that would be at least semi-interesting to write about this morning. I wrestled with this most of the day and by the time…

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IAG Grapevine

Mike Kellen’s sons, Noah and Caleb each won their conference championships for the Wisconsin Lutheran Area Grade School Basketball conference. Both are students at and play for Christ the Lord Lutheran School.   Chris Mitchell’s daughter Amaya qualified for the WIARA High School State Ski Race championship.  She competed in slalom, giant slalom and super giant…

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The IAG Charitable Foundation

Foundation Focus

Grants provided through the IAG Charitable Foundation paid out $500 in the 1st quarter of 2024 to the following organization: Overland Missions, Cocoa, FL If you would like to submit a grant request for a charity in which you are involved, please use this link to complete the request. The organization is required to be a…

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Inside the Beltway: Congress

March 1 is coming fast. That is the self-imposed deadline for Congress to pass four of the twelve appropriations bills that make up the annual discretionary budget for the federal government. The other eight bills are due March 8. This extension since September 30 (when the current budget year started) was supposed to give Congress…

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Inside the Beltway: Federal Reserve

Last December bond traders and the Federal Reserve agreed to disagree. The Federal Reserve projected three or four potential .25% reductions in its overnight interest rate target by the end of 2024. Bond traders projected six or seven rate cuts. This disagreement went back and forth in January, but tilted heavily in the Federal Reserve’s…

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INSIDE INSURANCE

BENEFICIARY REVIEWS Every three years, IAG advisors review beneficiary information in their client’s IRA’s, 401k’s, and other retirement accounts as well as on their life insurance policies. This is a very important exercise to go through because life happens, and things change. 2024 is a year for beneficiary reviews so as we meet with clients…

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Tax Culprits

Every tax professional in the United States is now in the thick of tax season. They have in front of them a 45-day gauntlet of tireless tax analysis to complete their clients’ returns by April 15 (unless there is an imminent extension). They are under pressure. Their eyes may be blurry. Their caffeine dosage may…

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The Winter That Wasn’t

With the 10-day forecast now extending all the way through the end of February, I believe we can now officially declare that this was a winter that wasn’t. For the snow fans, the season started off well with a white Halloween. Hopes were high as the Farmer’s Almanac declared in December: “Our extended weather forecast,…

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Ashentine’s Wednes-Day

Today is a rarity as Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day occur on the same exact day. This only happens three times during this entire century – 2018, 2024, and 2029. At first blush, today is a confluence of opposites. The modern Valentine’s Day celebrates romance. Historians cannot definitively determine which St. Valentine is the inspiration…

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Patience

One of the key ingredients to successful long-term investing is patience – one of the world’s most treasured natural resources which is being depleted daily. Patience unlocks the value of time. Long-term investing does not have deadlines within the next eight years. If your investment deadline is shorter than that, a short-term investing strategy may…

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Lasts

Firsts usually get all of the attention. First human to set foot on the moon. First day at a new job. Baby takes her first steps. Kindergartener loses his first tooth. First time the stock market reached this level. First day of high school or college. There is something really exciting about doing something for…

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Roundtrip

We made it! Whenever you depart on a trip, you expect to make it back home at some point. You commute to work, you expect to come home later that day. You travel to grandma’s house for a holiday, you expect to come home in a week or so. You leave for a mid-winter cruise,…

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Mid-Winter Surprise

I was sitting in my office on Monday, January 15, engaged in a videoconference conversation with a client when I got distracted. I go to great lengths to avoid distractions during client video conference conversations. I set my desk phone to Do Not Disturb. I close my office door. I put my cell phone upside…

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Exceeding Expectations

Several years ago I purchased stock in a small Wisconsin-based company in the hopes that it would make it big. It did pretty good for a while, but recently has had some struggles. Last August, September, and October were pretty rough. I am sure you can remember those three consecutive months last year when we…

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new year

new year There is always plenty of hoopla about the transition from one calendar year to the next. Out with the old in the with new. Make a fresh start. Resolve to do something better this go around. Welcome to 2024. I must admit, I am not much of a New Year’s person. I am…

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Are You Ready?

Are you ready? This is one of the most common questions asked during the end-of-year holiday season. Your answer may vary depending on the context. Financially, have you completed everything you intended to do this year? You likely have one last paycheck to bump up your 401(k) contribution for 2023. You have a week or…

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Prognostications

‘Tis the season for prognostications about what the new year will bring. The smartest people in the financial world are evaluating the events of 2023 and extrapolating their views on how 2024 will unfold. While I am not qualified to enter the ranks of the smartest, I thought it would be at least mildly entertaining…

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Giftee

The holiday shopping season is now in full swing. Ready or not, Christmas is a mere 19 days away. There are many different kinds of gifters and giftees in the world. Some gifters like to work from a precise list so they know that their gift will be appreciated while others enjoy conjuring up appropriate…

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Inside the Beltway: Federal Reserve

After a tame October inflation report, almost everyone thinks the Federal Reserve is done raising their target overnight interest rate for this cycle. The Federal Reserve is not so sure. Federal Reserve speakers have continued to emphasize that future actions are dependent on future data, and they will continue to take steps to bring inflation…

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Inside the Beltway: Congress

After grinding to a Speakerless halt, the U.S. House of Representatives has regained a limited form of functionality. How long this remains true is the big question. There are a relatively small, yet vocal, number of Representatives that are laser-focused on reducing federal spending. They also are demanding that all of the annual appropriations bills…

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IAG Grapevine

From the Jayme Heineck Family: Her son, Justin’s UW Intramural Volleyball team won first place. Justin’s sand volleyball team took first place and his innertube water polo team (who even knew this was a thing?) have taken first place for the 3rd year in a row. Both the sand volleyball and innertube water polo are…

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The IAG Charitable Foundation

Foundation Focus

Grants provided through the IAG Charitable Foundation paid out $5,500 in the 4th quarter to the following organizations: American Parkinson Disease Association – Wisconsin Chapter Pauline Haass Public Library Foundation Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, Milwaukee Saint Agnes Catholic Parish Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra If you would like to submit a grant request for a charity…

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Delightful December

On Friday the calendar will turn over to the final month of 2023. Despite a very uneven showing so far this season, it is statistically pretty much guaranteed that the Green Bay Packers will win all five of their games in December and likely make the playoffs. Let the delightful celebrations begin! From whence does…

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Praisegiving

You likely have never heard of Praisegiving because I just made it up. However, I have it on reasonably imaginary authority that President Lincoln considered this alternative option to the Thanksgiving we currently celebrate. In fact, President Lincoln’s official proclamation declared the last Thursday of November a “day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” There are always…

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Taxes illustration (via Flicker | CC-BY-SA 2.0)

Voluntary Taxpayer

Voluntary and taxpayer are two words that usually are not found residing next to each other. Corporations and individuals spend millions of dollars every year to hire tax professionals whose primary job is to legally minimize the amount of income taxes they are required to pay. They would rather pay people to find ways to…

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Interest Rate Psychology

Last week there was a fascinating public conversation between bond traders and their chief psychologist, Jerome Powell. Mr. Powell’s primary job is to be the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. In this position he is responsible for maintaining full employment and a growing economy while keeping the flames of inflation near his self-designated 2% annual…

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Two to Go

Following a little snow on the pumpkin yesterday, today we find ourselves a full 10 months through 2023. This means there are only a mere two months remaining in what has been an unpredictable year. This year started with concerns about a recession which still has not arrived, optimism about bond prices benefiting from falling…

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Trick

After a rough August and September, traders and investors alike looked forward to finally turning the calendar to October. Their expectations were that October would be a treat relative to the previous two months. Historically, this is the case. But so far, this October has been a great example of how past performance does not…

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Day 450

Today, Wednesday, October 18th, is day number 450. If you were stranded on an island or locked in a dungeon, imagine tallying the days as they go by. One singular vertical line every day the sun comes up. One slash every fifth day. Knowing in advance that there was a chance you would encounter the…

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Bonds

While they are usually the relatively boring part of your portfolio, bonds have been financial market troublemakers over the last few weeks. There are likely several contributing factors to bonds’ recent bad boy attitude. First, the U.S. government has issued over $500,000,000,000 in Treasuries over the last three weeks, boosting the total federal debt from…

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This is a Test

Later this afternoon (Wednesday, 10/4) at around 1:20 pm (CDT) your cell phone will likely receive an emergency test alert. In August, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that it will be conducting a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) today. If you are within range of…

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New Years Eve

What are your plans for New Year’s Eve this year? While some people like to spend the night out on the town, others prefer a small gathering with friends or family or maybe even a family movie night at home. Some people enjoy celebrating the bright spots of the previous year while others optimistically look…

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Plot Your Dots

For those of you fearful that today’s blog lesson will involve a graphing calculator, you will be thankful to learn that it does not. It involves something far more gray than the black and white of mathematics. This week is full of central bank meetings and announcements. The Bank of England gets together on Thursday,…

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On Average

On Sunday, Jordan Love completed his first game as the Packers’ new starting quarterback. It went pretty well. Well enough that a fan could start to imagine how his career could unfold. Thankfully, we have the past 30 years of statistical evidence on Packers quarterbacks to help us gauge how Jordan Love’s career could develop.…

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September

Ah, September! Kids and college students are back in school. The first month of fall with cooler temperatures and the first sign of color in trees. The worst month of the year. From a short-term stock trader’s point of view, September is historically the worst month of the year. And it is not even close.…

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Tunnel 3

Last week was what has become known to my family and friends as my annual Camp Bike Think week. I go somewhere by myself with our family’s pop up camper for a week. It is not really a vacation as much as it is a change in environment. I still have my e-mail open every…

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Dog Days of Summer

Officially, the Dog Days of Summer run from July 3 – August 11, so clearly they are over, or are they. Just what are the Dog Days of Summer and where did that term come from? According to Wikipedia (along with other reliable sources), the dog days or dog days of summer are the hot,…

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Winds

This past weekend many of our financial advisors and several of our team members traveled to San Diego for a national conference hosted by LPL Financial. One of the keynote speakers during the event was retired Col. Nicole Malachowski, the first female U.S. Air Force Thunderbird pilot. She shared her story about overcoming very long…

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Take a Hike

Monday evening was one of the most pleasant Wisconsin summer evenings in a long time. Tolerable temperatures, minimal humidity, and no bugs. A great night for a hike with my wife. To be completely and thoroughly honest, you may actually consider our activity to be a walk since we stuck to the roads by our…

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Running Out of Optimists

It is very rare to find Wall Street analysts as dour as they are today. As typical following a year of stock market struggles like 2022, 2023 has been a pretty positive year for many companies’ stock prices. You would think the rest of the year would be filled with hope, optimism, and confidence based…

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Top Heavy

Sometimes being top heavy can have very negative consequences. If your vehicle is top heavy, the laws of physics are unkind when making sudden directional changes. Being top heavy increases the odds of tipping over. Sometimes being top heavy prevents an organization from reaching peak performance. If a company has more people working at the…

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The End is Near

It has been almost five weeks since my last blog as I was on a 4,317-mile camping trip with my 13-year-old daughter and 15-year-old niece. I have thankfully returned safely and sanely. The anticipation and nervous energy of preparing for a 3.5-week camping trip culminates in the day of departure. We then spend a day…

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IAG Grapevine

Jesse Sindorf and his wife, Hannah, welcomed their third child, Bennett, on April 6th. Jennifer Von Ruden’s daughter, Rebecca, graduated from Carthage College with a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science and a double minor in Communication and Religion. Susan Kuhlenbeck’s granddaughter, Sara, was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and graduated suma cum laude from…

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Foundation Focus

This quarter the IAG Charitable Foundation made a grant to support Hope for Hadley sponsored by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Oconomowoc. Hadley McCormack is a six-year-old girl battling a brain tumor. You can learn more about Hadley’s story by visiting this website. If you would like to submit a grant request for a charity…

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Inside the Beltway: Congress

April tax receipts fell short of expectations, accelerating the date of potential default if the debt limit is not increased. This caught both the President and Congress off guard as they were prepared for a July or August default debate. The most likely outcome of this accelerated timetable is a temporary debt limit extension to…

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It’s Summer!

The official start of summer is June 21, but I think most of us would agree [particularly those that live in Wisconsin] that the weather has certainly produced summer-like conditions for the past couple of weeks, and many of us are simply loving it! When I see or hear the words, “it’s summer” I get…

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Applying the Brake

It appears that the President and Congress have arrived at an agreement on raising our country’s debt limit and small spending reductions for the next two years. Pop the champagne! Celebrate this glorious achievement in our country’s history! At least this fleeting victory will temporarily distract us from the long-term fiscal nightmare that lies ahead.…

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Sell In May?

Despite the weather pretending it is March, this week Friday is actually the end of April for the financial markets. We will have completed one-third of 2023 at that point and will be heading into May. May’s reputation precedes itself because The Stock Trader’s Almanac popularized the phrase “Sell in May.” The almanac found that,…

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Three Years

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   Americans’ lives changed three years ago on March 15, 2020. On that date numerous states began systematically shutting down anything that served as a gathering place for people to interact. Sincere social distancing was born.   Here we are three years later, and…

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Less is More

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   How many companies strive to make their customers happy by offering them less while increasing the price?   This season Major League Baseball is implementing new rules that are expressly intended to increase fan happiness by offering them less baseball. These new rules…

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Leftovers

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   Leftovers have been much more palatable since the widespread adoption of the microwave oven. There is nothing like a bunch of overstimulated water molecules to convert cold leftovers into a warm lunch or dinner the next day.   The SECURE 2.0 Act which…

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Calendar Quirks

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   The calendar likely ranks as one of the items we are most likely to take for granted. It provides an effortless structure and predictable rhythm for our lives. But that has not always been the case.   On Monday we celebrate President’s Day…

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Trial Balloon

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   On Saturday, January 28, the military identified a large balloon north of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. It peacefully floated southeast across the North Pacific Ocean into Canada, and by last Tuesday reached the Idaho/Montana border.   The balloon then successfully and likely inadvertently captured…

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Flip the Script

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   Scene 1: Flush with abundant money provided by Congress and the Federal Reserve, consumers and traders celebrate an astounding recovery from the economic impact of a global pandemic and expectantly welcome an exciting new year by pushing stock prices to record highs.  …

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The Drama Begins

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   Here we are again. The drama. The finger pointing. The tension. The drama. Oh, the drama. Yes, the federal government must have maxed out its line of credit — again.   As much as the politicians would prefer to ignore it, the federal…

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Dis Inflation

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   Toward the end of last year, expert market prognosticators continued their tradition of revealing their forecasts for the financial markets for the following year.   While they are, in my opinion, about as useful as the always entertaining Farmer’s Almanac, many of these…

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Changes

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   A new year always bring some changes to your life.   Some of 2023’s changes will likely have little impact on your day-to-day life. For example, it is now legal (but still risky) to jaywalk in California, Mississippi has a catchy new state…

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New Year

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   Early Sunday morning a brand-new year was born, full of high hopes and resolutions.   Every new year is a chance to put the past in the past, to look to the future with optimism, and to reflect on the changes that could…

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Anticipation

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   Christmas is coming! This is probably not news to you.   If you have young children, the excitement has been building since the calendar turned to December (and maybe even sooner). This is positive anticipation.   A blizzard is coming! This is probably…

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Loss of Control

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   Last week Friday’s snow created an excellent educational opportunity.   My middle child was granted his driver’s license by the State of Wisconsin in September. His mandated 50 hours of parent driving time started a mere 6 months prior to that and, as…

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Dollar Double Dichotomy

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   One of the more interesting stories of 2022 has been the dichotomies of the U.S. dollar. When you think about them from just the wrong perspectives it can give you a headache. Naturally, that is where my attention is drawn.   Everybody in…

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On Paper

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer “It’s one of the best defenses on paper that we’ve had,” said Aaron Rodgers during training camp in August. “On the field it looks even better,” extrapolated safety Darnell Savage. And then the reality of the regular season set in. Currently the Packers defense…

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November I.A.G Grapevine

Anne Sapienza married Tim Johnson in a small backyard ceremony on September 24. They honeymooned in Italy. Gina Haenisch and her husband, Kurt, celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on September 18. Mike Kutz’ son, Sam, passed his final CPA exam in September and, along with his wife, Emily, had Mike’s first grandchild, Ivy. Bill Otto…

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Foundation Focus

This quarter the IAG Charitable Foundation made a grant to support Flight to the North Pole. This Milwaukee-based organization focuses on providing a memorable event for children fighting cancer (and their entire family) during the Christmas season. You can learn more about their mission by visiting their website. If you would like to submit a…

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Welcome, Lindsay!

Lindsay Lavine joined the IAG team as a Financial Operations Associate in July. She works primarily with Mike Koerner and his clients, but also contributes as other team needs arise. Lindsay passion is helping people. In her previous role with Hub International she assisted employees with their group benefits. Lindsay was drawn to IAG because of…

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November Inside the Beltway

Inside the Beltway: Congress With the elections over, the 117th Congress will be working to finish up all sorts of loose ends before the end of the year using a so-called “lame duck” session. One of those loose ends could impact the rules for retirement accounts. The Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022 (SECURE…

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Inflation Optimism

Last week’s October inflation report created a surge of optimism about the future. Traders enthusiastically embraced signs of slowing inflation and went on a buying frenzy that created significant one-day gains last Thursday.   Bond traders were happy that the Federal Reserve may not have to raise their overnight interest rate as much as they…

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Election Aftermath

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   I am writing this blog on Monday afternoon, envisioning what reality will be on Wednesday morning. That is always a dicey proposition.   First, on Wednesday morning I envision that I will be very happy that the onslaught of gloomy, accusatory, negative advertisements…

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Trick or Treat

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   The next week will be filled with costumes and candy as kids cash in on strangers’ sugar donations.   How do these traditions get started? Who was the first parent to dress their children in costumes, walk them up to a stranger’s door,…

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Fearage

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   Hiking through deserts poses a real threat to your physical and mental well-being if you do not plan ahead. High temperatures, low humidity, and a noticeable lack of bubblers create just the environment to whither with your body and mind.   For those…

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Sirens

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   Sirens are often associated with unfortunate events in life.   Sirens respond to car crashes. Sirens respond to medical emergencies. Sirens respond to house fires.   But how do you respond to sirens?   If you are driving, hopefully you safely pull over…

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The Financial Planning Process: Why and How

Planning personal finances used to be the worry of the wealthy and their worry—usually preservation of wealth—was attended to by teams of trust officers and lawyers. Many of today’s middle class families have different concerns: funding retirement; educating children; protecting assets; and coping with unexpected changes in health, employment, and marital situations. But, whether your…

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Is it Time?

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   Recently we have heard from a number of clients asking “Is it time?”   Some are concerned about recent market events and are asking if it is time to switch to a more conservative investment approach.   Others are cautiously optimistic about the…

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Jitters

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   Miriam-Webster lists the origin of the word jitters as “unknown.” While the origin of jitters may be unknown, it is the unknown that will likely be creating jitters for short-term traders in the next few months.   Today bond traders believe the Federal…

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Why Women Need Life Insurance

Today, women have more financial responsibilities than ever before. How will your family or loved ones manage financially if you die? Whether you are single, married, employed, or a stay-at-home mom, you probably need life insurance. At the very least, life insurance can help pay for the costs of funeral and burial services, estate administration,…

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LVII

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   On Thursday evening the National Football League’s (NFL) 2022 season begins with the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams hosting the Buffalo Bills.   To make an NFL team’s roster requires significant personal commitment by the players. They must commit to keeping their…

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September Inside the Beltway

The President signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act on August 16. This mono-partisan 730-page bill addressed several Democratic priorities and passed the Senate and House on strictly party-line votes. With this budget reconciliation bill out of the way, Congress departed for their traditional August recess. When they return to Washington in mid-September, they plan…

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Welcome BJ!

B.J. Sabol joined your IAG team as a Financial Operations Associate on April 22nd. He grew up in the Lake Country area and graduated from Lake Country Lutheran High School in 2014. After graduation, he headed west to attend a junior college in California with the dream of one day playing Division One baseball. After…

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September IAG Grapevine

IAG Grapevine Mike Kutz’ son, Sam, and his wife, Emilie, celebrated the birth of his first grandchild, Ivy, on August 22. Rusty Peterson, and his wife, Marna, moved from Menomonee Falls to Delafield and adopted a 1-year-old Rottweiler named Nelli. Mary Paul purchased a home in Footville, Wisconsin, in May. Josh Oswald and BJ Sabol…

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Brake Check

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   I had an interesting experience driving my daughter home from camp on Sunday.   We were driving through a small town in central Wisconsin when a vehicle made a right turn at an intersection a block or so in front of us. Everything…

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You Are Here

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   It is generally good to know where you are.   When hiking in the woods, you bring along a compass and a trail map. When driving in unfamiliar territory, you use Google maps or your car’s GPS to keep your bearings.   The…

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Market Math

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer   If you made it past the title of this blog, congratulations! Most people likely saw “math” in the title and casually walked away without making eye contact.   Whether you like it or not, math runs your world. You can either choose to…

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Critical Decision

This Week’s Blogger: Scott D. Heins, CFP®, IAG Chief Investment Officer Within the next few days you will face a critical decision. Your June investment statements will arrive via e-mail or in the mail. There are three potential approaches you could take because you honestly already know what your statements will tell you.   Option…

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Variable Annuities

Some basics A variable annuity is a contract between you (the purchaser) and an insurance company (the issuer). In return for your premium payments, the issuer agrees to make periodic payments to you (if you elect this option), beginning either immediately or at some future date. Annuity premium payments may be made with after-tax dollars…

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Inside the Beltway

Legislation update Having expended a significant amount of political capital pushing the Build Back Better without passing it, Congressional leaders are mulling how to pass pieces of this legislation before the end of the 117th Congress. Given current inflation readings, it is unlikely that additional government stimulus is needed. Thus, legislators are more likely to…

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May IAG Grapevine

Jennifer Von Ruden assumed responsibilities as IAG’s Chief Compliance Officer on April 1 and also joined as a partner in our firm. Anne Sapienza and her fiancé, Tim Johnson, are planning a small wedding on September 24, 2022. Tom Peterson’s son, Gabe, graduated from Marquette High School and plans to attend the University of North…

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Welcome, Kyle!

Kyle Bence joined our IAG team on January 17 as a Financial Operations Associate and will be working primarily with Lori Watt’s clients. His plans include learning the financial planning process, passing the required regulatory exams, and becoming a financial advisor. His primary goal is to serve others while listening carefully. This served him well…

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Holding Equities for the Long Term

Legendary investor Warren Buffett is famous for his long-term perspective. He has said that he likes to make investments he would be comfortable holding even if the market shut down for 10 years. Investing with an eye toward the long term is particularly important with stocks. Historically, equities have typically outperformed bonds, cash, and inflation,…

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Older Americans: Growing Targets of Financial Fraud

America’s older generations grew up in a different world where it was customary to be courteous and trusting. Unfortunately, these exemplary standards of conduct could get some individuals into trouble. Con artists bank on the willingness of older Americans to trust in a variety of too-good-to-be-true investment “deals.” Therefore, many people already experiencing financial difficulties…

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Survival

It has been a rough six weeks. The financial markets have persistently declined, interest rates have risen, and you may be getting weary of bad news.   These are the times that test an investors’ patience. These are the times where the siren songs of foolish decisions get louder. These are the times for gentle…

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CHRISTOPHER W. MITCHELL, CFP® RECOGNIZED IN FORBES AS A 2022 BEST-IN-STATE WEALTH ADVISOR

Chris Mitchell of IAG Wealth Partners, LLC was recently ranked No. 61 in WI in the 2022 Best-In-State Wealth Advisors list published by Forbes. This is the fourth consecutive year he has made the statewide ranking. According to Forbes, the annual list spotlights the nation’s top-performing advisors, evaluated based on a methodology developed by SHOOK…

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If Social Security Falls Short

Are you worried about the current state of the Social Security system and how its future may affect your retirement income? It’s important to take a long, hard look at your current savings strategy to ensure you’ll be able to compensate for this, or any other, retirement income shortfall. Here are some important savings strategies…

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The R Words

It all starts with a whisper, an ever-so-slight loss of confidence, or a shadow of doubt that briefly crosses the mind. The economy looks strong, unemployment is low, consumers are generally in strong shape, and the present is positive. But what about the future? What about inflation? What about soaring food and energy costs? What…

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The Principles of Financial Literacy

Financial literacy refers to the skills and knowledge that allow an individual to make informed and effective decisions through their understanding of finances. Financial literacy starts by building a basic understanding of ‘money matters’ to create a sense of economic well-being, self-trust, and financial confidence. The principles of financial literacy include: Saving- Saving is preparing…

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SECURE 2.0

Last week, by a vote of 414-5, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bipartisan bill that would make significant changes to retirement planning. The Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021 (H.R. 2954) is a sequel to the SECURE Act of 2019 which also passed with strong bipartisan support. Its nickname is SECURE Act…

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Inversion

A mere three months ago, bond traders were a fairly relaxed group of people. The 10-year Treasury bond yielded a modest 1.52% per year and had been trading around that mark for nine straight months. While inflation was bumping up, the Federal Reserve assured the markets it was transitory due to pandemic-related inefficiencies and there…

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Underdogs

I root for underdogs (unless they are playing Wisconsin teams, of course). There is something about an underestimated team exceeding the experts’ view about their abilities and defeating a supposedly superior opponent that gives me great satisfaction. It takes tenacity. It takes confidence. It takes effort. And it usually takes a little bit of luck.…

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Genie

This past weekend my daughter was involved in her school’s production of Alladin and His Magic Lamp. She played Alladin. It was quite a whirlwind. Casting was on Monday, practices ran Monday through Friday (except for the ice day on Tuesday) with shows on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Thanks to Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre,…

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Average

From as young as I can remember, winter has been one of my favorite seasons to be outside — from sledding, to fort-building, to simply walking in the peaceful serenity of a world being blanketed by snow. I will even admit to you that I may enjoy shoveling occasionally. Counterbalancing this appreciation for the white…

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Rumors of War

What exactly is Vladimir Putin up to? No one really knows except maybe the highest echelons of his inner circle. There are no secrets about Russian troop movements, ship relocations, and joint military exercises in Belarus. This is certainly not a stealth operation. There are several plausible reasons for Putin to start rumors of war.

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Pi

You may not have thought about pi since your high school geometry class, but it is a magic number. It starts with 3.1415926535 and goes on from there forever. Pi was also the main character in the book (and movie) “Life of Pi,” a fictional tale of a young boy who survived 227 days on…

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Apprehension

These two words can strike terror in a parent’s heart: student driver. My middle child started drivers education class this quarter. As his book knowledge of driving grows, so does his input regarding his parents’ driving habits. I am choosing to use such opportunities as positive educational experiences instead of reacting to the slight jabs…

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Magawa

While most of you likely have a fairly negative impression of rats, they have many redeeming qualities that could benefit you if you can overcome centuries of negative press coverage sensationalizing their shortcomings. Just last week a heroic rat was memorialized globally for his efforts to save lives. According to this article, Magawa was an…

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Spike

There have been quite a few spikes in the news over the last month. From the Badgers’ women volleyball players capturing the national championship to the spike in COVID cases to the Omicron variant’s more effective spikes. However, no spike has caught our attention more in the new year than the spike in interest rates.…

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Expectations

The optimism of high expectations can either be highly motivational or grudgingly disappointing. Did 2021 meet your expectations? Going into 2021 most people were fairly optimistic that 2021 would bring an end to the COVID pandemic and a return to normal life. Those high expectations were seeded by the lows of 2020, and 2021 simply…

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POST GRID Element

Next Steps

Today, my youngest child will graduate from eighth grade. On Sunday, my middlest child will graduate from high school. In February, my oldest child moved out into his own apartment with a roommate. My children’s life milestones are impactful to me because I have the long-term perspective of their helpless infant selves locked in my…

Margin for Error

This morning I was reminiscing about the good old days of January of 2022 when the rumors first started. The “R” word seeped into traders’ minds as the Federal Reserve prepared to start battling inflation with interest rate hikes. The thought was that recession was imminent within the next six to twelve months. Those recessionary…

Who Will Win?

This year is shaping up to be a very close contest. Most of the people I talk with are already wishing it was over, and we still have months and months to go. It is entirely possible this one could even stretch into next year. On one side of the contest, you have the long-term…

May Day

Happy May Day! May 1 is a forgotten holiday that has been celebrated for centuries. According to history.com, the Celts believed May 1 to be the single most important day of the year. The unique American tradition of May Basket Day quietly faded from popularity in the mid-1900s. May 1 was considered Labor Day in…

Waived Again

Yes, they have done it again. Last week the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2024-35 which waives Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) for specific retirement account beneficiaries in 2024. If you are or will be at least age 73 by the end of 2024, you still must take your RMD this year. If you own…

Inflated Expectations

Last week’s Consumer Price Index report for March made it very clear that money still drives markets. Much of the financial market enthusiasm that erupted just prior to Halloween hinges on the theory that the Federal Reserve will bring the cost of money down in 2024. Initially, traders thought it would be a mere six…

Path of Totality

I must admit I was not all-in on Monday’s solar eclipse. I did not purchase eclipse eyewear. I did not create my own eclipse observation tool. In fact, I was in a client meeting during the eclipse instead of outside. One of the more ear-catching eclipse phrases that stuck in my brain during the eclipse…

Confluence

The Baltimore bridge tragedy is a solemn reminder of how a confluence of unexpected events have unintended and almost unimaginable consequences. Humans have been using large ships for decades. Yes, their size has grown significantly over the last 20 years, but all of the operating principles for safely steering a vessel have been in place…

Zeroes

Zeroes frequently mark either the beginning or the end. Every interstate freeway starts at mile marker 0. Every golf scorecard begins with 0. The day you are born is your 0th birthday (at least in American culture). Every college basketball game ends with 0:00 on the clock. Most Major League Baseball teams’ first official game…

How Strong is Your Foundation?

Hello. This is Rusty Peterson, partner and wealth consultant at IAG Wealth Partners. Scott has been kind enough to let me sit in for him as he takes a much-needed break in Arizona to be with family. I have been writing a monthly podcast that focuses on building your financial house either on sand or…