The Markets

Even better than expected!

The United States economy is not performing the way anyone thought it would. Instead of tipping into a recession last year, it crushed expectations. Gross domestic product, which is the value of all goods and services produced in the country, expanded 2.5 percent, after inflation, for the year.

U.S. economic growth

1Q 2023:               2.2 percent

2Q 2023:               2.1 percent

3Q 2023:               4.9 percent

4Q 2023:               3.3 percent

It’s interesting to note that the U.S. economy has been outperforming other developed countries’ economies. For example, GDP for the Group of Seven (G7), which includes seven countries plus the European Union, has grown 4.7 percent, in total, since the fourth quarter of 2019 (prior to the pandemic). G7 GDP includes – and got a boost from – U.S. economic growth.

G7 economic growth

(October 2019 through September 2023)

U.S.:                      7.4 percent

G7:                        4.7 percent

Canada:                3.5 percent

EU:                        3.4 percent

Italy:                      3.3 percent

Japan:                   2.4 percent

UK:                        1.8 percent

France:                  1.8 percent

Germany:              0.3 percent

Here’s the really good news: Inflation continued to move lower while the economy grew last quarter. Last week, the personal consumption expenditures index reported that core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, dropped from 3.2 percent to 2.9 percent. Headline inflation was 2.6 percent.

Last week, major U.S. stock indices finished higher. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury finished the week in the same place it started.

Data as of 1/26/241-WeekYTD1-Year3-Year5-Year10-Year
Standard & Poor’s 500 Index1.1%2.5%20.5%8.3%13.1%10.6%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index1.7-1.62.3-
10-year Treasury Note (yield only)4.2N/A3.
Gold (per ounce)-0.5-
Bloomberg Commodity Index2.10.1-

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods. Sources: Yahoo! Finance; MarketWatch;; U.S. Treasury; London Bullion Market Association. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable. 


Many people are looking for ways to save more for retirement. An option that is often overlooked is the health savings account, or HSA. While some eligible people are using these accounts for short-term savings, most are not taking advantage of the potential long-term benefits, according to Bank of America’s 2023 Workplace Benefits Report.

Anyone who is enrolled in a qualifying high-deductible health plan (HDHP) can contribute to an HSA. It’s an attractive option because these accounts offer a triple tax advantage.

  1. Contributions are made with after-tax dollars.
  2. Any investment earnings grow tax deferred.
  3. Withdrawals taken for qualified medical expenses are tax-free.

This year, individuals can contribute up to $4,150 to an HSA, while families can contribute up to $8,300. Depending on the HSA, it may be possible to invest any money that is not used for current medical expenses.

For instance, imagine a 35-year-old saves about $2,000 in an HSA each year until retirement at age 65. They withdrew $500 a year to pay for healthcare, and invest the rest, earning 7 percent a year, on average. At retirement, the individual would have more than $150,000 in the account.

Best of all, after age 65, the money in an HSA can be withdrawn without penalty for any purpose at all. The caveat is that taxes may be owed on distributions taken for purposes unrelated to healthcare. In addition, the savings could be used to reimburse some Medicare premiums, as well as healthcare costs that are not covered by Medicare.

If you would like to learn more about HSAs, please get in touch.

Weekly Focus – Think About It  

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”

—Tenzin Gyatso, Dalai Lama

Your Team at Wellspring Wealth

David Glover

Dennis Wright

Mark Winston

Andrew Wright

Valeri Bishop

Dan O’Rourke