April 2016 Benchmark Bulletin

We “sprung forward” our clocks a couple weeks ago, shedding more light into the early evening hours. The market (S&P 500 Index), after a terrible start to the year, actually sprung forward as well. The index was down 10.5% for the year as of February 11th, but through yesterday, March 24, it has rallied back to near flat (-0.39%). As part of our 2016 Outlook, we maintain our view that the market will likely finish modestly higher for the year. We don’t expect it to be a straight line however, as several issues remain that will likely create additional volatility. Overall though, our economic fundamentals are not great but are currently sound enough to support continued modest growth in the near term. As always, please contact us with any questions.

Changes to Social Security Claiming Strategies
Congress has ended two popular Social Security claiming strategies, but depending on your age, you may still be able to take advantage of these options.

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Filing Your 2015 Federal Income Tax Return
For most people, the due date for filing a 2015 federal income tax return is Monday, April 18, 2016. As that day approaches, here are a few things to keep in mind.

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Quiz: Which Birthdays Are Financial Milestones?
When it comes to your finances, some birthdays are more important than others. Take this quiz to see if you can identify the ages that might trigger financial changes.

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What are required minimum distributions (RMDs)?
The law requires that you begin taking distributions, called “required minimum distributions” or RMDs, from IRAs and most employer retirement plans when you reach age 70½ (or in some cases, when you retire), whether you need the money or not.

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Should I delay taking my first RMD?
In general, you must take your RMDs no later than December 31 of each calendar year to avoid a 50% tax penalty. However, you have the option of delaying your first distribution until April 1 of the following calendar year.

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