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New Year, New Goals

OK, we’re a week into the new year.  Have you already cheated on your resolutions?  We aren’t encouraging you to give up, but if you’d like to add some new resolutions – ones that would make your financial advisor proud – we have a few ideas.  In 2018, why not skip the line for the Stairmaster and at The Container Store; instead try our accessible, yet impactful ideas for re-resolving to make 2018 a great year. Rusty Resolve to eliminate stock certificates!  While the aesthetics may appeal to some, you’ll avoid potential headaches if you deposit those certificate shares into your brokerage account.  I’ve been working with a client for 4 years trying to recover shares his now deceased wife owned in certificate form.  The shares were originally for a small North Carolina bank which subsequently was part of several mergers and is now Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).  And because RBC is a Canadian company, there are additional hurdle ...

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Our Favorite Podcasts & Blogs

Our Favorite Podcasts & Blogs
by Kali Whitaker At Hilltop, we are big fans of podcasts and blogs – this is a golden age for content, with a virtually infinite variety of topics and perspectives available.  A client recently suggested we share our listening (and reading) list, and we figured now is a great time to share.  We hope you’ll find something to pass the time during a flight home for the holidays or on your evening commutes in 2018.   Rusty Eriksen - Planet Money – A twice weekly podcast explaining what’s happening in the economy with levity.  As Planet Money says, “Imagine you could call up a friend and say, ‘Meet me at the bar and tell me what's going on with the economy.’ Now imagine that's actually a fun evening. That's what we're going for at Planet Money.” Given the current debate about tax code changes, here’s a podcast with five economists spanning the ideological spectrum discussing six tax code changes they&rsqu ...

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Charities to Know in the Triangle

Charities to Know in the Triangle
By: Kali Whitaker “Make a positive impact on the world around you.” It’s more than just a key element of Hilltop’s mission statement. We believe that making a difference in the lives of others is a critical component to living a fulfilling life. There is a plethora of organizations in the Triangle working to improve lives – we have listed only a few. To be clear, we are not ranking or grading local charitable organizations, but we hope to make you aware of opportunities to get involved and make a difference in a way that aligns to your skills, hobbies or interests.   Big Brothers Big Sisters About (via bbbstri.org) As a proud big sister for over 4 years, I couldn’t not include Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle (BBBS) in my list of great charities in the triangle. BBBS is a non-profit organizations that matches kids in need of mentorship with a caring and kind adult. One of the things I find unique about the organization is that the mentor-mentee r ...

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U.S Economy and Markets Transcript

Ben Yeager, CFP (00:12) Hello, and welcome to the first series of videos for the Hilltop Views blog. I’d like to share some of our thoughts from the latest quarterly Hilltop review of the economy and markets. I’m Ben Yeager and today I’ll summarize our thoughts on the state of the U.S. economy and markets. (00:24) So far U.S. stocks have appreciated nicely through the end of the third quarter. U.S. Large-Cap stocks have posted gains of 14.2%. Big-Cap stocks have trailed with 11.7% gained, and small- cap stocks followed just behind with gains of 10.9%. (00:41) The market rally that started in February 2016 has coincided with improvements in many of the U.S. leading economic indicators. As we can see from this next chart, currently seven of the ten leading economic indicators are positives. But, we are very aware of the U.S. equity valuations reflected premiums to their historic norms were comforted by the strengthening economic conditions, in addition to significant improvement in ea ...

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U.S. Bond Market Transcript

Rusty Erikson, CFP: (00:11) Welcome to the first series of videos for the Hilltop Views blog. We’d love to share with you some of our thoughts from our latest quarterly Hilltop review investment meeting. I’m Rusty Erikson and I’ll be talking about the U.S. Bond market. (00:23) There really can’t be a discussion of the U.S. Bond market without talking about the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Reserve has been a busy place these days. First, Federal Reserve Chairman Yellen has signaled that the Fed will continue its plan of slow and steady Fed fund rate increases. (00:39) The Federal Reserve has voted to increase rates twice in 2017. Each an increase of a quarter of a percent and markets are expecting another quarter of a percent increase in December, and two or three more increases in 2018 and 2019. This measured interest rate increase is based on the present health of the U.S. economy, low unemployment, and subdued inflation with the Fed believing that those trends will conti ...

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International Investments Transcript

Chris Hostetler, CFP: (00:06) Hello! Welcome to the first series of videos for the Hilltop Views Blog. We would like to share some of our thoughts from Hilltop’s 4th-quarter review of the investment markets. I’m Chris Hostetler and today David Wise and I are going to discuss the international equity markets. (00:20) We believe at Hilltop that 2017 marks a changing of the guard between U.S. and international investments. For years following the financial crisis in 2008, the U.S. market outperformed the international markets pretty consistently. This year however, we’re seeing international equities broadly performing better than the U.S. (00:39) Let’s look at a chart that illustrates what we’re talking about here: This shows the last 20 years of performance for the U.S. and the international markets, but let’s focus specifically at the trend since 2009. The gray line shows the movement of the US stock market and the purple line represents foreign stocks. Over the la ...

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Retirement is a Great Time to Engage with Your Community

Retirement is a Great Time to Engage with Your Community
When you retire, you don’t have to travel the world to expand your horizons.  You can grow wherever you live.  In our October retirement panel event, we explored several ways to make the most of your retirement.  Of course, we learned about travel options (see “Enjoying the Latest Travel Trends in Retirement”).  But we also explored ways to become more worldly without crossing the county line. For inspiration and ideas on local enrichment opportunities, we heard from: Meri Mitchell, Director of Development at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle, shared thoughts on volunteerism in general and mentorship specifically.  Garry Crites, Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Duke University, encouraged us to never stop learning or teaching.  Daniel Dinkins, Manager of Operations at UNC Chapel Hill Visitors’ Center, enlightened us on engaging with familiar locations from a fresh perspective. Meri started with a reminder that s ...

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Hilltop Market Update

Hilltop Market Update

Welcome to the first series of videos on the Hilltop Views blog!  We just held our quarterly investment review and wanted to share what we are seeing in investments around the world.

 

Ben Yeager discusses the US – the state of the economy and the market’s recent expansion.

 

 

Chris Hostetler and David Wise address the international situation – ever volatile and evolving, foreign stocks come with unique risks and opportunities relative to US stocks.

 

 

Rusty Eriksen looks at the bond markets and shares some perspective on Jerome Powell, the nominee to be the next Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

 

Enjoy watching, and let us know what you think!

Enjoying the Latest Travel Trends in Retirement

Enjoying the Latest Travel Trends in Retirement
by Chris Hostetler & Kali Whitaker One of the great joys we experience as advisors is living vicariously through clients of ours who are traveling the world.  Often, this is the payoff for years of hard work and careful planning.  So we were excited to host an educational panel recently, “Envision the Retirement of Your Dreams”, with speakers discussing a range of ways to make the most of your time after the career phase of life. Two of our panelists were travel specialists.  Karen Garr is a travel consultant with Maupin Travel in Raleigh.  Tony Lewitt is a hobbyist travel agent who has developed a particular passion for cruising.  Both Karen and Tony shared some ideas and trends that could make travel more enjoyable for you. How many times have you said “When I retire, I’m finally going to (insert grandiose goal here).”  Maybe it’s walking the Great Wall of China or seeing the turtles in the Galapagos; maybe you just want to spend ...

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5 Top Fall Activities in the Triangle

5 Top Fall Activities in the Triangle
By Kali Whitaker, Client Services Coordinator As the leaves turn and college sports kick into gear, we love what the Triangle offers this time of year.  If you’re looking for the best ways to celebrate the season with family and friends, here are some of the things we are looking forward to. Triangle Oktoberfest – Oct 6-7 – Cary’s Booth Amphitheatre From polka bands to the Stein Hoist competition, this event brings a taste of Germany to the Triangle and is sure to delight festival goers of all age. Admission for children 16 and under is free, and don’t worry – beer is regulated and confined to 21+ only zones. The venue will feature numerous local and regional food vendors serving your favorite German treats, so grab your lederhosen or dirndl and enjoy a slice of Bavaria in Cary!    Hill Ridge Farms – Ongoing – Youngsville Hill Ridge Farms is a fun, family-friendly adventure only minutes north of Raleigh, in Youngsville. Create wo ...

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