AJA Weekly Recap

2023 | November 13


Here is your weekly market commentary. We hope you enjoy receiving our newsletters. If you have any questions about the following content, please let us know!

- The AJA Team

This Week….

  • The Markets
  • 2024 Retirement Contribution Limits
  • Retirement Healthcare Expenses

The Weekly Focus

Think About It

“The road to health is paved with good intestines!”


— Sherry Rogers, physician and author

The Markets

Stocks Gain Again

U.S. stock indexes rose modestly, maintaining positive momentum after a rally in the previous week produced the biggest weekly gain so far in 2023. In the latest week, the NASDAQ added more than 2%, the S&P 500 rose more than 1%, and the Dow finished with a fractional gain.

Shifts in the interest-rate outlook continued to drive fixed-income markets as U.S. government bond prices reversed course, retreating in the wake of a rally the previous week. As a result, yields rose, with the rate-sensitive 2-year Treasury climbing back above 5.00% after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank may not yet be done trying to contain inflation.

Oil prices fell for the third week in a row to the lowest level since mid-July as mixed data on the global economy raised concerns about demand for oil. On Friday, U.S. crude was trading for around $77 per barrel, down from about $89 three weeks earlier.

A week after surging nearly 8%, a U.S. small-cap stock benchmark posted a more than 3% weekly decline that significantly lagged the moderately positive results of its large-cap peers. The result left the Russell 2000 Index in slightly negative territory on a year-to-date basis and down 15% from a recent high on July 31.

The price of Bitcoin, the most widely traded cryptocurrency, jumped to the highest level since May 2022. Bitcoin was trading above $37,000 on Friday—a level that was up from a recent low of around $25,000 on September 1. Friday’s price was more than double Bitcoin’s year-end 2022 level of less than $17,000. 

A survey recorded a decline in U.S. consumer sentiment for the fourth month in a row amid concerns about high interest rates and escalating conflict in the Middle East. The University of Michigan’s preliminary reading on consumer sentiment also showed that consumers’ short-term inflation expectations rose to the highest level in seven months.

China’s government reported that exports fell for the sixth month in a row while imports rose. October’s 6.4% decline in exports compared with the same month a year earlier was steeper than most economists had forecast for China, the world’s second-largest economy.

A Consumer Price Index report scheduled to be released on Tuesday will show whether recently mixed inflation trends extended into October. The latest CPI report for September showed a 3.7% annual inflation rate—the same as the previous month. Excluding volatile food and energy costs, September’s core inflation fell to 4.1% from 4.3% the prior month. 

Source: John Hancock Investment Management

2024 Retirement Contribution Limits

The IRS has announced new 2024 investor contribution limits for 401(k) plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and other retirement accounts.

In 2024, more Americans may qualify for Roth IRA contributions, with the adjusted gross income phaseout range rising to between $146,000 and $161,000 for single individuals and heads of households, up from between $138,000 and $153,000 in 2023.

The Roth IRA contribution phaseout for married couples filing together will rise to between $230,000 and $240,000 in 2024, up from between $218,000 and $228,000.

How Much Will You Spend on Healthcare in Retirement?

Spending on healthcare – including amounts spent on healthcare, administration of insurance, health research, and public health through public and private funds – in the United States grew more slowly than usual during the pandemic, rising just 2.7% from 2020 to 2021, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Despite the slower rate of increase, Americans spent about 4.3 trillion on healthcare in total or about $13,000 per person. It’s a significant expenditure even before you consider the fact that the real median household income was about $70,784 in 2021 in the United States.


Here’s a different perspective: healthcare spending was equal to almost one-fifth (18.3%) of U.S. gross domestic product – that’s all goods and services produced by the U.S. economy in 2021. For comparison, U.S. manufacturing contributed $2.3 trillion (12%) to GDP that year.

In 2021, the fastest-growing segments of healthcare spending were:

  • Out-of-pocket spending ($433 billion, up 10.4%),
  • Medicaid ($734 billion, up 9.2%),
  • Medicare spending ($901 billion, up 8.4%), and
  • Prescription drug spending ($378 billion, up 7.8%).

Understanding the cost of healthcare is important – and not just because it rises quickly. Healthcare is an essential component of retirement planning. Some pre-retirees assume that Medicare (the federal health care plan available to most retirees at age 65) will cover all healthcare expenses after retirement. 

It does not.

As you prepare for the future, it’s important to understand what Medicare covers, when you can enroll, and the estimated cost of any premiums or co-payments that may be required.

Fidelity’s Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate suggests that an individual who reaches age 65 in 2023 may need savings of about $157,500 (after tax) to cover healthcare costs in retirement. For a couple, retiring at age 65 in 2023, the savings required to meet healthcare expenses in retirement is about $315,000.

If you would like to talk about retirement planning or review your current plan, please reach out!

AJ Advisors

Phone: (615) 709-8709

Fax: (615) 505-3306


Charles Schwab


John Stauffer, CFP®

Andrew Quinn, CFP®

Emily Triano
Operations Associate

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