Thanksgiving is the time of year we gather around the dinner table to feast on turkey, stuffing and apple pie. Amidst the feast we share with family and friends, it is also time to reflect on the blessings in our lives and what we are thankful for.
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This year I am very thankful for the newest addition to our family, my second grandson Thomas Casey. Along with Michael Scott, who is now 4 years old, they put a smile on my face, a lump in my throat, and fill a space in my heart I never knew was empty.
The Boomer is also thankful this year for turning 65 and enrolling in Medicare for my health care coverage. The best coverage I have had in years for almost half the cost. Baby boomers have a lot to be thankful for.
A boomer himself, Greg De Jong, financial advisor with Savant Capital Management discussed the following reasons boomers have to be thankful for in 2015.
A Resilient Stock Market: 2015 started the sixth year in a row without U.S. stocks experiencing a typical 20% “bear market” decline, causing many to predict that trouble was overdue. Although surprises from China helped trigger a late summer sell-off, the S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) declined as much as 12.5% before rallying yet again. While today’s year-to-date gain of about 1.2% seems anemic, it beats what might have been. The ability of the U.S. to shake off significant global weakness makes us the safest port in a storm.
Stronger Personal Balance Sheets: Whether it was you or someone close to you who suffered a financial “near death experience” during the Great Recession, what didn’t kill us has made us stronger. Most of us and our children have cut debt, became serious about saving and have healthier balance sheets today than we did in 2007.
Job Market Strength: As the unemployment numbers have continued to tick downward, job seekers are getting hired sooner. Your son-in-law should be back on someone else’s payroll faster than you think with the national unemployment rate down to 5% as of October.
Technology: Is it really making your life better? Look at the apps on your smartphone which regularly save you time or money and ask “How did I accomplish this 5 years ago?” Would you want to go back? Whether considering just your own time and convenience or the macro benefits of enhanced productivity nationwide, the tech revolution is delivering.
Continued Low Interest Rates: If you haven’t yet made that major purchase or locked in the ideal mortgage, be thankful you can still do so at bargain rates. Baby boomers who wish to help a child buy a house or condo may also want to research intra-family mortgages while rates are near historic lows. The current rate for a 30-Year Fixed Mortgage is around 3.93%. That said, the Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise interest rates soon, potentially as early as December 16 when they meet next.
Cheap Energy: We were paying $3.34 per gallon on average to fill our tanks just two years ago. With today’s national average only around $2.05, the typical two-car family is saving nearly $100 a month at the pump compared to 2013. In addition to money saved on gas and our heating bills, cheaper energy is cutting costs in industries from transportation to chemicals and manufacturing.
Economic Freedom: Despite a few warts and wrinkles, our free enterprise system encourages innovation, rewards hard work, creates lasting wealth and remains the envy of the world.