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Obsidian Planning

Obsidian Market Update 07/15/2023

Economic Update

Inflation: It’s A Small World After All

On June 30, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index (PCE) for May. According to the Bureau, “The PCE Index is known for capturing inflation (or deflation) across a wide range of consumer expenses and reflecting changes in consumer behavior.”

The Index indicates that, from April, prices in May for:

  • Goods decreased 0.1%
  • Services increased 0.3%
  • Food increased 0.1%
  • Energy decreased 3.9%

Inflation At Home

To put these numbers in broader perspective, the May 2023 numbers are the smallest year-over-year increase in the past four months. Similarly, the Consumer Price Index for May increased only 4.0% for the 12 months ending in May, the smallest 12-month increase in over a year. Will a slowdown in the inflation rate persuade Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell to maintain the current interest rate later this month?

Inflation Abroad

Time will tell, but Powell’s international counterparts are all but guaranteeing further interest rate hikes in their efforts to rein in inflation. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde is expected to raise rates in July. In June, The Bank of England increased its Bank Rate to 5%, the highest level in 15 years, and the central banks of Australia, Canada, Switzerland, and Norway have also increased interest rates. Inflation rates in these countries in May were: 6.1% in the European Union, 6.5% in the U.K., 5.6% in Australia, 3.4% in Canada, 2.2% in Switzerland, and 6.5% in Norway.

Rate Increases Ahead?

While speaking to the House Financial Services Committee on June 21, Chairman Powell signaled that future rate increases are likely before the end of the year. “Inflation has moderated somewhat since the middle of last year. Nonetheless, inflation pressures continue to run high, and the process of getting inflation back down to 2% has a long way to go.”


A Digital Detox

We all live in a digital world. While we may not spend as much time on social media platforms as teens, many of us we check text and email messages, the news, and our favorite social media platforms multiple times each day. We’d love to unplug but aren’t sure how.

A Few Tips

Experts recommend that we first figure out what’s motivating us to detox. Is the barrage of news stories upsetting or are you growing more comfortable with online social interactions than with in-person activities? Second, decide on a goal. Do you want to spend less time on a certain platform or on your device during daytime hours? Third, commit to the detox for as long as you think it will take to break the habit. Fourth, find a buddy to detox with you or at least someone who will support you. Finally, after a few days, see how it’s going. Have you substituted one platform for another? Are you feeling or sleeping better? How are you filling your time?

According to researchers, the benefits of a digital detox include sharper focus, less stress, and better sleep and social interactions. All these from one behavioral change? Sign us up!

Scheduling Your September Review

September is review season at Obsidian, so in the next several weeks, our team members will be contacting you to schedule your review appointment. The person who contacts you will be able to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the scheduling process. We look forward to seeing you!

The Conversion from TD Ameritrade to Schwab

If you currently receive statements from TD Ameritrade, please take a moment to read this article and a more detailed version in our July 8 newsletter.

As you know, Obsidian has used TD Ameritrade as its clearing firm: the organization that acts as our trading platform, holds your assets, and issues all required statements. Now that Schwab has acquired TD Ameritrade, the transition of all accounts will occur during Labor Day weekend of 2023. (While Schwab will hold your assets, you are not investing in Schwab.)

What Transition Means To You

Schwab will provide the same services TD Ameritrade, e.g., statements, tax documents, and trade confirmations. You will receive information from Schwab about how to access your Schwab account on its website around August 1. At that point you will create your own login username and password.

We’ve been working with Schwab to make this transition as seamless as possible for you. Watch this newsletter for the latest information about this transition.

How We Help

The Beauty of a Funded Revocable Trust

Approximately 90% to 100% of our clients could benefit from including revocable (or living) trusts in their estate plans because trusts can 1) protect estates from public scrutiny during (and cost of) the probate process, 2) protect heirs from creditors, and 3) control the distribution of their assets. The all-too-common problem is that unless revocable trusts are funded, they can’t deliver any of these benefits!

Funding Defined

Funding a trust involves changing the titles of your assets from your name to the name of your trust. Not all assets can be placed in a revocable trust, but many, such as real estate, business interests, personal property, financial accounts, life insurance and annuity certificates, can.

Many of our clients are comfortable with revocable trusts because during their lifetimes, they control the assets in the trust, and they can make changes to them.

If you are interested in a revocable trust or have one but haven’t yet funded it, let’s talk. Unless you fund a trust, it’s just another piece of paper.

Advisory Services offered through Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, LLC. Securities are offered through Triad Advisors, member ​FINRA/SIPC.​ Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, LLC, and Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, Inc, are not affiliated with Triad Advisors.

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