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Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year! We hope you had a wonderful holiday season and that you were able to spend quality time with friends, family and loved ones.

Photos from this year’s wreath event are available for your viewing pleasure on our website. Looking back through the images, it appears that everyone had a great time! It was wonderful to see the sense of community created on the day: people chatting, helping each other, and giving encouragement. Not to mention the great food we all shared. Thank you, as always, to the family and friends who helped make the event possible.

With wreath making and the holiday season truly over, our thoughts move to the new year. We may not all make New Year resolutions, but it’s pretty common to set goals for the year, however loosely defined. When we set goals, whether privately in our mind, or publicly on Facebook, we want to achieve them. Sometimes it can seem that achieving our goals is frustratingly difficult, which is why we set them again and again, year after year. If you haven’t come across it before, there is a method for achieving your goals that is quite useful. It’s called S.M.A.R.T. This short video on YouTube gives a succinct and engaging overview of how to use SMART to successfully achieve (and importantly, set!) your goals.

Goals aside, policies and politics and how they will shape the global market going forward are predicted to go through a significant change when the new U.S. administration takes charge in Washington. The shape and size of future trade restriction, anti-immigration policies, U.S. dollar strength and global political conflict are all under debate in the news. In Blackrock’s recent Global Weekly Commentary, Richard Turnill also talked about rising nominal growth, wages and inflation. After the Fed embarked on the second interest rise in nearly a decade, a general view held by all is that the bond yield bottom has passed and 3 percent mortgage rates will be remembered with nostalgia. The jury is still out on how inflation will be affected. But it isn’t all doom and gloom. Have a look at Liz Ann Sonders’, Chief Investment Strategist for Charles Schwab, Luminous Times: Looking Ahead with Optimism in 2017, which is about the improvement in the economy and the positive earnings growth reported by companies. It should be an eventful year as we turn our attention to 2017.

In our reading on international economies and markets, the word “caution” is used often due to the uncertainty of U.S. policies and the possible political risks overseas. Lord Abbett, in their 2017 Investment Outlook, discussed the possible effect trade tariffs and monetary policies could have on economic growth in the United Kingdom/European Union and Japan respectively. Vanguard, in their 2017 Economic and Market Outlook, wrote that their experts believed global economic growth would remain modest in 2017. It appears there is still a lot of concern in the United Kingdom about their eventual ‘retirement’ from the European Union. We will learn more as summer draws nearer.

The U.S. stock market closed an erratic year on a high note – making the 12+% drop at the beginning of 2016 seem a bit unreal when looking through the rear-view mirror.  The blue-chip barometer (the DowTR)* advanced and added 3.44%  for the month. The S&P 500 Index (SPXTR)* came in second and advanced 1.98% for the month and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* continued the trend of advances by adding 1.19%. The S&P Case-Shiller 20-city composite October Home Price Index came in with a 5.1% year-over-year gain. Before seasonal adjustments, month-over-month data showed a fraction of a gain with the month of October posting a 0.1% increase over the month of September for the 20-city composite index.

Regards and Thank you,

The Team at White Raven Financial

*Indexes are unmanaged and do not reflect service fees, commissions, or taxes. You cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Returns for the DOW, S&P500 and the NASDAQ is the NAV total return provided by Morning Star as of 2016December31

Diane Jochimsen

Meet the Author:
Diane Jochimsen

Diane Jochimsen is the founder and lead financial advisor at White Raven Financial. Whether working on investment portfolios or with a financial plan, Diane always seeks to know more about clients’ values, aspirations, and end goals.