A rough winter could create a psychological spending spree.


The economy and job growth are both slowly moving ahead. In addition, it has been a horrible winter for a good portion of the United States. As such, it would not surprise me to see weak corporate profits for the first quarter of this year.

However, all this bad weather may result in cabin fever and a pent up demand to spend as we enter spring. Yes, I realize spring is quite a ways off. That being said, I can see consumers possibly opening their checkbooks and rewarding themselves for surviving such an rough winter. Delayed gratification and a sense of reward could cause retail sales and corporate profits to turn up later this year, and this would be good for stocks.

It's tax time and 1099s are coming out.

You should have them by the end of next week. Let us know if you need any assistance with this.

What is one realistic financial resolution people can make for the year ahead?

(The following advice is from the February 10, 2014 Wall Street Journal's online panel of professionals from the investment / financial industry.)

 Start Tracking Every Dollar You Spend

By consistently tracking your spending—every dollar—this becomes the starting point for other good financial habits such as setting and adhering to a budget, regular savings and maximizing efficiency in your spending.

          Greg McBride, senior vice president, chief financial analyst, Bankrate.com

The 1% Secret to Getting Richer

Increase your savings rate by 1% this year, then do the same thing next year. And the year after that. If you start when you get your first job, you'll be saving at a good pace well before you hit the peak earning years of your career.

          Mike Piper, CPA, author, blogger

Create an Emergency Plan

Create a document instructing your spouse, children or trusted adviser on what to do if you are suddenly unable to manage your finances. Having an emergency plan helps to ensure your finances are managed the way you would like them to be. It creates one less worry for your spouse or children at a time when they will be stressed. It gives you a blueprint when you are worried about what the market is doing and are unsure of what the best long-term decision is.

          Charles Rotblut, vice president, American Association of Individual Investors

The Savings Plan You Won't Even Notice

When you get a raise, set aside half of it to fund your retirement savings, create a rainy-day fund or contribute to your kid's 529 plan. Because it's money you don't have today, you probably won't even notice.

          Matt Hougan, president, ETF analytics and global head of editorial for IndexUniverse LLC

Three Ways to Keep Resolutions

Reward yourself when you do something difficult. Dina Pomeranz shows us how to make not-spending fun with a saving buddy you text/email every time you move toward your goal. Set up a low-cost online savings account with a motivating title ("My Reward Fund"), and put any change you have toward it. It'll add up.

Make it easy on yourself. Put every bill you can on autopay, including the bill for your own retirement. Log on to your retirement-savings website and bump up your pension contributions enough to get your full employer match.

Invest in financial literacy. It'll pay you the rest of your life.

          Olivia S. Mitchell, professor of business economics and public policy, Wharton School


 "Character is much easier kept than recovered."

                   Thomas Paine

"Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out."

                   John Wooden

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!

Tony Moeller, CPA

The information listed in this commentary is a compilation of various publicly available sources and is for informational purposes only. It is not a recommendation or solicitation of any particular investment or strategy. A risk of loss is involved with investments in the stock and bond markets.


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