Equities extended their losses into February, though rebounded sharply mid-month as investors responded to crude oil prices rallying and economic releases in the U.S. showing signs of continued economic expansion. This was unfortunately not enough to erase earlier losses. Large cap stocks returned -0.1% during the month and small caps broke even. International shares fared worse, with developed economy stocks returning -1.8% over concerns of the health of European banks and whether Great Britain would exit the EU. Investment grade bonds generated positive results as investors sought relative stability, despite interest rates continuing to decline.

Roth IRAs, introduced in 1997 as part of the Taxpayer Relief Act, created an entirely new savings opportunity--the ability to make after-tax contributions that could, if certain conditions were met, grow entirely free of federal income taxes. These new savings vehicles were essentially the inverse of traditional IRAs, where you could make deductible contributions but distributions would be fully taxable. The law also allowed taxpayers to "convert" traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs by paying income taxes on the amount converted in the year of conversion.