"When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."
– Viktor Frankl
Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Most people don’t stand at the altar thinking their marriage will end in divorce. When you imagined your life it may have gone a little like college, job, wife, kids, retirement on the beach, or some variation. You probably didn’t add in a mid-life or “gray” (as it’s termed if you are over 50) divorce. But here you are. Life can be unpredictable that way. Considering 52.7% of marriages end in divorce, you’re not alone.[i]
Baby Boomers are divorcing at a much higher rate than the generation before or after them. Currently, 1 in 4 divorces are couples over 50, and the gray divorce rate has doubled since 1990.[ii] There are some theories as to why this is the case. For some, it’s the transitional periods like empty-nest, mid-life crisis, or retirement that trigger the desire to uncouple. The Boomers are also a unique generation in that they plan to live longer and are healthier than previous retirees. Divorce for Boomers also comes with less of a stigma than for previous generations. Unfortunately, there are some downsides to divorcing later and a big one is your financial security. Boomers are already coming up short on their retirement savings. They generally have not saved enough to offset the loss of pensions and The Great Recession. In fact, 48% of Boomers are not on track to afford the basic expenses of retirement.[iii]
Those who are corporate executives or in upper management may have different company benefit options for retirement.
Friday, 01 February 2019
It's important to look over your choices and have a plan in place for your retirement. In this article, we will discuss a few areas to look into before you retire.
Before we talk about the financials, it's good to take some time to discuss the bigger picture of retirement. If you've worked your way up to the executive level, there is a good chance you've invested a lot of your life and your time into your career. As you plan for how you will fund your retirement, it is prudent to also take stock in how you want to live your retired years day to day. Open communication with your partner and family about your goals is key. Having discussions of daily schedules, travel, volunteer work, and downsizing will all help give more structure and shape to this next big step. In that same vein, investing in your overall health through diet and exercise and possibly lifestyle changes may also help improve the quality of your retirement. Being financially secure is obviously very important but being healthy enough to really enjoy it is too. Make sure that you look at the whole of your retirement, not just the money side.
You’ve been working and saving, you have money in the bank for retirement. But, have you spent enough time thinking about what you are going to do when you retire?
Tuesday, 15 January 2019
Where previously in our lives our schedule is filled with work and kids, suddenly you may find yourself with a lot of free time. Oftentimes, people haven’t really set enough time aside to think about what they want to do once they are retired. This is troubling because lacking a clear plan of action or difficulty adapting to a big life change are what can really derail a retirement.[i] It’s easy over decades of working to think of retirement as a finish line, but the danger in that, regardless of how much you have in the bank, is once you are carrying that box off your desk for the last time, you are left with a feeling of now what?
It’s almost time. You’re in your 50s or 60s. You've worked your whole life, you've saved, and perhaps you've gotten some kids through college and into adulthood.
Thursday, 27 December 2018
Perhaps you're married and your spouse is close to retirement as well, or you’re divorced, or you’re single. No matter your situation, retirement is closer on the horizon. You may feel ready to take the plunge. New Year, New You right? Or you may feel anxiety about what life on the other side of working will look like. Who will you be? What will you do? How will you spend your days without the routine of a daily work schedule?
As Christmas approaches and the Congressional session comes to a close for the year, it seems only natural that of course there must be some kind of drama on Capitol Hill in order for 2018 to go out with a bang.
Friday, 14 December 2018
This holiday season Washington, DC has many to choose from. But the one that has gotten the most screen time in the past 48 hours is the threat of a government shutdown.
As unusual televised “negotiations” between Congressional Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and President Trump transpired on live television the markets responded negatively as the conversation quickly deteriorated, culminating with the President telling the democratic leaders that he would be “proud” of forcing a government shutdown if he didn’t get what he wanted. He was speaking to funding for a border wall expansion along the US southern border.
One of our responsibilities as an investment advisor is to help you put market news in its proper perspective.
Wednesday, 28 November 2018
If you're reading or listening to the popular press these past few days, you are probably seeing or hearing storm and fury having to do with government shutdowns, market corrections and the possibility that the Fed may raise interest rates. As the popular media scrambles to explain the unexplainable – current market volatility and how long it's going to last – we thought we'd share a headline of our own:
"The stock market is a giant distraction to the business of investing."
Said by Vanguard founder John Bogle in his 2007 classic, "The Little Book of Common-Sense Investing."
Technology has been changing at a breakneck pace for the last forty years. Massive computers that filled entire rooms now live comfortably in your palm.
Wednesday, 31 October 2018
And with each incarnation comes a whole new set of security protocols to protect your private data. Staying on top of the rapid changes to keep your information safe can be overwhelming, but by following some of the basic steps outlined below we hope you can feel more secure. After all, it’s in your best interest to understand how best to defend and protect yourself online.
Studies show that the number one cause of security breaches is the user[i]. The positive interpretation is that, with a little help and information, you can be safer and more secure when handling your sensitive information online.
Does the stress of planning and saving for retirement make your blood run cold?
Monday, 15 October 2018
Are you haunted that a little mistake down the line could cost you your livelihood in your golden years? If this sounds familiar, rest assured you are not alone. In fact, a recent survey found that only 24% of Baby Boomers feel confident they’ll have enough money to last through retirement.[i] That is a sobering number, but the good news is, there are ways to combat the stress and get on track no matter where you are. People make mistakes, it’s part of being human, and while some financial errors can have real financial repercussions down the line, better to forge ahead and learn from the mistakes. A little forethought and planning can make the world of difference not only for your retirement fund but also the stress around it. With a little motivation and some assistance, either in the form of educating yourself or seeking financial guidance, you can get back on track and cut that stress.
According to the Federal Reserve as of the first quarter of 2018, the total household personal worth in the United States now exceeds One Trillion Dollars.
Monday, 24 September 2018
That is a lot of zeroes, but what does that actually mean? To understand that level of wealth, consider that only 15 countries in the world have reached a GDP of at least Two Trillion dollars: Brazil, China, India, Germany, France, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.
That one trillion is the amount of personal wealth, not total GDP illustrates just how wealthy the United States actually is and how well, at a macro level, the people of this country are doing compared to the rest of the world. It may sometimes be hard to believe how far we have come since the 2008 financial crisis and the recession that followed it. There were predictions that it would take another decade at least to recover fully from the mortgage crisis and all that came with it. This is not to say that there aren’t plenty of everyday Americans still burdened with the effects of the recession, stagnant wages, underemployment, and shifting from the manufacturing to a service economy. But it is important to take note of how far we have come from the brink in just ten short years.
No one knows what the future holds. And all of us, at some point, will make a decision and later regret it.
Tuesday, 18 September 2018
Living with Investor Regret
This holds true in life and in investments. A bear market surrounded by pessimism and fear can affect even the most stalwart investor. There’s a lot of emotion and expectation tied to a long-term investment. Investments are dreams, hopes, and your retirement plan. And because of that, investors tend to sell winning investments too soon and hold losing investments too long. This behavior, one that leaves investors filled with regret, is common enough to have its own label: The Disposition Effect.[i]
It’s happening! Your child is going to college. This is both an exciting and financially taxing time to be a parent.
Monday, 13 August 2018
The tuition payments are secure, the car is packed up with XL twin sheets and lamps and all the things a young coed will need. And while it may feel that everything is in order, take a moment to ask yourself if your now legal-adult has given you a medical power of attorney, durable power of attorney, and their HIPAA release. These are documents you may not think of but in today’s environment with privacy rules, if your child were to have a problem it might be difficult for you to quickly assist.
Trade has been a hot topic lately. The question of tariffs and trade wars has been dominating headlines since spring and doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon.
Wednesday, 25 July 2018
It is important to remember, however, that trade tariffs are older than our republic and the pendulum has swung high and low throughout our nation’s history driven by a variety of policies for a variety of different reasons at any given time.
A Brief History of Tariffs
The great experiment that has been the United States’ economic evolution has included a great deal of experimentation with tariff policies. During the Great Depression, 50% tariffs were enacted in order to exact money from other countries during a time when the country needed more revenue and taxing the people would only further burden those who were struggling to survive already. Nowadays, in our global economy largely dependent on low tariffs to encourage the unencumbered flow of trade, the US import tariffs average just 3.5%. This low-tariff strategy has served the United States well because it was in our best economic interest to reduce reliance on manufacturing everyday goods and, instead, focus on innovations that are more significant in scale like medical research, new defense technology, and Artificial Intelligence.
When it comes to investing with success the greatest risk may be in taking no risk at all. Don’t trade the actual security of your retirement for the false sense of security that comes with investing solely in “low-risk” options.
Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Taking on the right degree of risk is something that many investors struggle with when crafting a retirement strategy. Many risk-averse investors believe that stocks (or equities) are too risky a proposition when it comes to building and protecting their retirement. The reality, however, is that not investing some of your portfolio in equities can also pose a serious risk to your long-term financial plans. With a portfolio composed of bonds, T-bills, and other “low-risk” investments you may find yourself underfunded for retirement if the growth of your portfolio does not outpace inflation.
Self-proclaimed risk-averse investors often take on a surprising amount of risk when they invest without the guidance of a financial advisor. They rely on forecasts, chase past returns, gamble on individual stocks, run up unnecessary costs and tax liabilities, and fail to rebalance their portfolios for shifting levels of risk over time. As fiduciaries, it is our duty to advise our clients on the best possible strategy to achieve their financial goals, and this includes helping you make sure that the risks you are taking are the right ones for you.
As financial advisors, we have seen what happens when people have not planned for the challenges that come with someone that has significant medical issues.
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, Dementia, or other chronic illnesses have led them or their loved one to substantially diminished capacity-- physically, mentally or both. They come to us trying to put together a plan. When we meet with these families, it is a constant reminder of why we recommend beginning an advisory relationship before the planning becomes overwhelming. The financial planning process helps people prepare for many unknowns. That way, if and when something diverts you from your original plan, it is not as difficult to adjust.
Preserving a legacy and providing a financial safety net to your family and loved ones after you pass is a personal, nuanced and uncomfortable aspect of financial and life planning.
Saturday, 09 June 2018
Advanced planning for a substantial family wealth transfer is paramount to the success of the transfer as well as the preservation of a positive family dynamic. Transferring your wealth to benefit future generations requires communication, listening, and understanding. Here are some tips for having family money conversations early and often.
Goals and Objectives
There are often several participants involved in family wealth transfer. Having a strong understanding of each participant’s objectives for their lives and the money they may stand to inherit can help you get a better handle on how and when you might choose to distribute the wealth. Having a candid goals and objectives conversation with everyone who you plan to leave money to can help make the transfer manageable, fair and void of discord. There are things that you might not have considered that can come to light in these conversations. The clarity can be empowering and give you a new perspective on the choices you are making when it comes to your bequest.