Falling energy prices and a positive jobs report helped stocks rebound Friday. Labor Department data showed the U.S. economy added 222,000 jobs in June, surpassing the 179,000 expected increase. The S&P saw its best gain in six sessions. For the week, the Dow rose 0.38 to close at 21,414.34. The S&P gained 0.14 percent to finish at 2,425.18, and the NASDAQ climbed 0.21 percent to end the week at 6,153.08.
Lack of Planning – Of U.S. households, 52 percent with people at least age 55 had no money saved in any pre-tax defined contribution account, e.g., 401(k) or IRA (source: Government Accountability Office, BTN Research).
Ramping Up – The number of operating oil rigs in the U.S. reached 941 last week, up 43 percent YTD. The total has now increased for 23 consecutive weeks. The price of oil closed Friday, June 23, at $43.01 a barrel, down 20 percent YTD (source: Baker Hughes, BTN Research).
Most charities receive 60 percent of their annual donations in November and December. In contrast, they often take in the least during the summer months when many of us are enjoying the sun and the sights on well-deserved vacations – and not thinking about donations. Yet needs are often great at this time. Many non-profits’ fiscal year ends June 30, and they depend on donations to close in the black. Charities who serve the poor face increased demand for food as families must come up with hundreds of additional meals when children are home from school.
If you want to make a difference this summer, ensure your gift has the impact you desire; avoid making donations over the phone. A few years ago, the Federal Trade Commission charged four national cancer charities with defrauding consumers of $187 million by using telemarketers who gave false information on how gifts were used. If you get a solicitation call, hang up, research the charity and give directly.
After checking out the organization’s website, read independent reviews. Verify it is registered with the IRS as a tax-exempt organization by reviewing its Form 990. Although this form can be lengthy, you can find other basic information on it. Look for a clear description of the organization’s accomplishments, how much it spent on fundraising and how it compensated its CEO or other employees. Watch for board members and top executives who are related; leadership should be independent.
Another way to see how effectively the organization uses resources is to ask for its combined audited financial statement, which will contain information on all of its entities. At least 60 percent of a well-run organization’s funds should go to its programs or services. You can also check out an organization on websites that evaluate nonprofit companies, such as GuideStar.org, CharityNavigator.org, CharityWatch.org, GiveWell.org or Give.org.
Before donating, ask if the charity has a policy to keep your information confidential because many charities trade contact information with other organizations.
For information on targeting your charitable efforts, give our office a call. We can help you identify causes that align with your values. We can also work with your tax advisor to help you and your causes get the most benefit from your gifts. (We do not provide tax advice; coordinate with your tax advisor regarding your specific situation.)
The Dorion-Gray Team
Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc. a Registered Investment Advisory Firm. Dorion-Gray Retirement Planning is a trade name of Dorion-Gray Financial Services, Inc. located at 2602 IL Route 176, Crystal Lake, IL 60014. Dorion-Gray and the Securities America companies are separate, unaffiliated entities.
Diversification seeks to reduce the volatility of a portfolio by investing in a variety of asset classes. Neither asset allocation nor diversification guarantee against market loss or greater or more consistent returns.
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*The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged, market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australia and Far East Index (MSCI EAFE Index) is a widely recognized benchmark of non-U.S. stock markets. It is an unmanaged index composed of a sample of companies representative of the market structure of 20 European and Pacific Basin countries and includes reinvestment of all dividends. Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged index comprised of U.S. investment-grade, fixed-rate bond market securities, including government, government agency, corporate and mortgage-backed securities between one and 10 years. Written by Securities America, Copyright July 2017. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. SAI# 1842363.1