March 2013 Benchmark Bulletin

Benchmark Bulletin
Your Personal CFOs March 2013
The short month of February left the S&P 500 with about a 1% gain, however not without some increased volatility, at least a little more than we’ve seen in a while.  Stay tuned as we expect the volatility may be with us for a while as we start to see how budget cuts due to sequestration unfold in our economy.“Spring is nature’s way of saying ‘Let’s Party!'”.
– Robin Williams
Cost-of-Living Adjustments: What They Are and Why They Matter
The rising costs of food, gas, electricity, and health care can strain anyone’s budget, but cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, are especially valuable to retirees and others living on fixed incomes.
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Looking Backward and Forward on Entitlement Programs
Last year’s presidential election, along with the more recent fiscal cliff and debt ceiling negotiations, have put the spotlight on our nation’s tax policy, deficit, and entitlement programs. For some, entitlement programs are necessary–a social compact for America. For others, entitlements are jeopardizing our country’s fiscal health and creating an “entitlement lifestyle.” No matter where you stand in the debate, do you know the basic facts on entitlements?
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Questions and Answers about Social Security
Whether you’re close to retirement or years away from receiving Social Security benefits, you may not know much about the intricacies of this important program. Here are some questions and answers that can help you learn more.
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How can my child get a better financial aid package?
Is it possible to request a more favorable aid package? The answer is yes. Financial aid administrators have the authority to exercise “professional judgment” to reduce the loan portion of an aid award and increase the grant, scholarship, and/or work-study component. Your chances of prevailing are best in two situations.
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Cartoon: Higher Education Costs
Higher education costs are nothing to laugh at!
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Refer a friend
Securities and Advisory Services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor,  member FINRA / SIPC.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or investment advice.  We suggest that you discuss your specific tax and investment situation with qualified tax and investment professionals. No strategy assures success.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing.
Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2013.To opt-out of future emails, please click here.