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News to 'KNOW' for the New Year | Consumers Expect Better Days Ahead

News to 'KNOW' for the New Year | Consumers Expect Better Days Ahead

December 21, 2023

During the holiday season, we all strive to look on the brighter side of things. We have the joy of Christmas to look forward to and a fresh start with a new year. The information below should also help brighten your holidays and give you something to look forward to in the coming year.

Many consider the University of Michigan the gold standard for reporting on consumer sentiment and trends. Among its 50 monthly reports, the most well-known is the "UMich Consumer Sentiment" survey, which measures consumer confidence.

I also follow the University of Michigan's “Expected Change in Financial Situation in a Year" report. As we see on the graph, the index has been trending higher for over a year as inflation has moved lower and financial markets gained.

Investors believe their financial situation will improve due to a wide range of factors, including interest rates and home prices, to name a few. Investors who are optimistic about the future tend to be more comfortable making long-term commitments.

So when you see negative updates on credit card debt, the jobs market, or other reports, remember what this chart tells us: Despite all the concerns, people believe their financial situation will improve.

To help improve your financial situation this holiday, don't only give gifts to those you care about, but also give yourself the gift of financial peace. Spend within your means; it is not the price or the size of the gift that matters; it is the joy that it gives and the joy you receive by giving the gift. You do not want to lose that joy when the credit card statement shows how much you overspent. You want to be a responsible spender and saver—financial peace is the perfect gift to give yourself.

The Team at Dixon Financial Group, LLC wishes you the happiest of holidays and all the blessings this season brings. Remember, we are here for you and would be happy to discuss ways to help you find financial peace.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

David S. Dixon, CFP®

Jacob S. Bierstedt, CFP®, ChFC

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What you need to 'KNOW' for the New Year:

Milestone Ages

  • 50 - Catch-up contributions to retirement plans and IRAs can start
  • 50 (or 25 years of service, if earlier) - Plan exception to 10% penalty for public safety employees
  • 55 - Plan exception to 10% penalty
  • 591/2 - 10% penalty-free withdrawals
  • 701/2 - Qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) from IRAs
  • 73 RMDs and required beginning date
  • 75 - 403(b) exception


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