2013 Thanksgiving Thoughts from Us to You:

From Chris:

I am so thankful for another year spent as a husband, father, son and brother.  Each year offers a fresh perspective on life, bringing a healthy dose of gratitude in ways I haven’t experienced before.  I have been blessed with such a wonderful family and many friends over the last 30 years.  Hopefully, all of those experiences will shape the next 30 years as I look forward to serving you in the future.

 From Sam:

Having breached one of the biggest milestones of my life this year, I stand humbled with many things to be thankful for. In August of 2013, I was able to tie the knot with the woman of my dreams, Betsy, a woman that God has overwhelmingly blessed me with. She is the rock I needed to find, and I am excited for what the future holds for us. In addition, He has blessed me with the ability to extend my education into the investment profession. I was able to obtain my CFA charter this year, which stands to be the proudest moment so far in my professional career. I’m also grateful to get to spend the holidays with my family, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

 From Rick:

This year has continued to be one of changes and challenges and I am so thankful for all I have in this life.  I am thankful for my wife of 36 years, Jeanita, and our relationship that has grown as we adapt to becoming “empty nesters”.  I am thankful for my faith that continues to grow and allows me to face each day as a new day and a privilege.  I am so thankful that our family has stayed close as our children grow, and that we are all still here in the Oklahoma City area so that we can be together often, not just on Holidays.  I have learned to be more attuned to and thankful for the “little things” that make me laugh or smile, or simply keep me focused on what is really important in this life. (Like our 6 month old bulldog puppy that greats me every day after work and makes me laugh and just “feel good”!)  I am thankful each day for the privilege to continue to serve each and every one of you, and the ability to be in a profession that I enjoy and hope to continue to work in for years to come.

 The Markets:

Wall Street and investors continue celebrating but Main Street is still feeling the cold chill from the Great Recession. Consumer confidence (Conference Board’s survey) has yet to return to levels seen in the last decade, the unemployment rate remains above 7.0% (BLS data), and there’s general uneasiness regarding job security.  For many reasons we continue to be cautious and still see an overvalued stock market and look for a potential decline at any time.

The Federal Reserve’s ultra-loose monetary policy, which is keeping interest rates at very low levels, is probably the most important component of this year’s continued rise in the major stock indices.  I will spare you a detailed academic explanation, but in layman’s terms, money market accounts, CDs, and high-grade fixed income investments offer little competition for an investor that isn’t averse to taking some risks.

Last week, the minutes from the Federal Reserve Board’s October 30th meeting sent another strong signal that interest rates are unlikely to be rising anytime soon.  The Fed has been going out of its way to reinforce the idea that the fed funds rate, which heavily influences short-term rates, is likely to remain near zero long after the $85 billion in monthly bond purchases comes to an end.

The long and short of it – low rates have been helping to fuel gains in equities at the expense of savers looking for high-quality fixed income investments.

With the holiday week upon us, please take moment to pause and reflect on the many blessings that have come your way and that have been bestowed upon our nation. Please have a safe and happy and Thanksgiving!

God Bless,

Your TEAM at F.I.G. Financial Advisory Services, Inc.

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