We know everyone is aware of the increase in cases of the virus in Florida. The reasons for this are varied i.e. more testing, more social functions and businesses opening, hot weather pushing people indoors together, etc.
We had just begun allowing clients in the office, downstairs in the conference room, with masks on all. We will be pulling back on this with an abundance of caution unless there’s an urgent reason. If this is the case, the room will be disinfected before and after use.
We can usually do everything we need either by phone, email or regular mail. If you need to sign paperwork for instance, we can mail it, or even bring it out to your car.
We do have other renters downstairs who are in and out of the building, and we don’t want you to be unnecessarily exposed. Even if you feel the risk is small, it doesn’t hurt to be careful, and there is really no downside.
Here is some good news for those who are over 70 1/2 taking RMDs.
Due to recent legislation that has passed, Required Minimum Distributions for IRA accounts have been suspended for 2020. Normally, if you are over 70 1/2 you are required to withdraw a certain minimum amount each year.
If you would like to suspend your withdrawals this year just give us a call. Also, if you are turning 70 1/2 this year or later, you will not be required to withdraw mandatory amounts until 72 years of age.
Also most people are waiting for their stimulus checks. If you aren’t required to file a tax return, will you still get one? Yes. Non-filers follow this link to the IRS website and fill out the form to receive your stimulus deposit right into your checking account.
Lastly, I was going through a file folder, cleaning out a drawer, (Oh, the projects we find during our quarantine) and came across a newsletter I wrote after 9-11 in 2001. And it is still so relevant today, I thought you might find it interesting. It is posted below this newsletter.
Life throws us small and large challenges. That is true whatever your background is, wherever you live, or who you are born to. One of the main tests in life is how you react to it.
All this recent news has me wishing I could just sell my children’s book and live in that world. But that wouldn’t be fair to all of our dear and valued clients who expect to hear from us during bad times as well as good times. As you should.
So, the stock market is appearing to fall into the basement. Where is the bottom? When will it stop? Will we lose our assets? And when will this virus recede? What will happen before it does?
No one knows the answers to these questions. The biggest clue to the future we have is found by looking at what went before.We have been here many times! Since I began my career in this financial industry in 1983, I’ve seen this type of situation many times: epidemics, pandemics, bear markets, and market corrections. And this is true: they are temporary. The markets recover. The viruses go away.
What is different is the modes of communication. The wide spread use of social media, the insidious use of news media continuously ramping up the use of alarming terminology when reporting information. In the 60s breaking news was used for an assassination or a huge global event. Now breaking news is every five minutes. The stress is high. The benefit is to the advertisers who know you’ll feel the need to continue to watch to prepare for some horrific future.
The short-term moves in the stock markets, (those less than 1 year, or even 3 years) are based more on emotions: fear, greed and hope, or guesses, than reality. Traders are constantly guessing what is around the corner. Most often they are just shooting in the dark.
We have always cautioned to ignore these short-term expressions in the markets. When we look year over year, we see a calmer vista, a long expansion of growth. I’m including a chart that illustrates how the stock markets fall within every year, sometimes a small amount, sometimes pretty deeply, but over the years the declines are filled in, made up, risen out of.
I will tell you a little story. We stockbrokers all sat at our desks one Monday in October in 1987 completely stunned, paralyzed, because the markets were in what appeared to be a free fall like we’d never, ever seen. It was the largest percentage one day drop in history (-22.6%). That week we were dazed and afraid. But I did know the worst thing I thought I could do was to sell into this horrible market. Brokers, money managers, financial advisors, whatever you label those in this industry, do have emotions too.
One of my coworkers panicked. He sold and went to cash that week in his own 401k. We had about the same amount in our 401ks, we had been hired the same year 4 years earlier. The markets rose again, of course, and sometime during the recovery, he went back into the market. But he had lost so much, and being out of the market when it was going back up he never was able to make up for the losses he took selling at that time.
What a lesson for me as a young, green broker. I never forgot it. And I don’t want you to either.So hunker down, stay healthy and take care. Kasey
I do hope you can read the attached graph. It shows each years close in orange and the lowest points during the year with a purple diamond. Big drops are common, but always big news in the media. To Your Prosperity and Wellbeing,
Having walked my clients through planning, approaching, and living in retirement financially for the last almost 40 years, I couldn’t help but pick up on other aspects facing us besides the money part, such as grappling with when to retire, what to do in retirement, and how to plan a full and thriving last third of life? As I heard someone say; what are you going to do between now and dead?
As we near our ‘golden years’, we observe our elders living in a great variety of ways, from scrapping by on social security, to cruising or flying around the world, and travelling between multiple homes. There is an undeniable correlation between financial health and satisfaction in the later years, but this doesn’t mean you need to be stinking rich.
A successful retirement appears to have several moving parts: financial, health and wellbeing, relationships, passions and purpose; and let’s face it, nearing death also brings in one’s beliefs and how they experience their own spiritual life. So how do we prepare ourselves for this last and significant period of our lives?
First, not planning for it or setting goals, not contemplating how you will live in retirement, can cause unnecessary suffering later on. With no plan, with no savings, with no interests outside of work, some retirees may end up spinning in their own exhaust, no where to go and nothing to do. This can be disastrous on the human spirit. Depression and other mental health problems can take hold, leading to unhappiness and even physical ailments. But let’s not dwell on this, because the fact that you are reading this means you are proactive, interested, and willing to learn. Yay you!
This topic could easily be a 400-page book, but I’m just going to give you the briefest of outlines here.
Never too early or too late to begin saving. Have your paycheck debited for your employer plan, or, have your checking account systematically debited to go into an IRA, as much as you can afford, and then a little more.
Invest in a broad, diversified portfolio with stocks and bonds, low fees and good, comprehensive management.
Beware if you have the tendency, like some parents of adult children, to financially help them to such an extent you harm your own comfortable retirement. I remember a client who borrowed against his home, and withdrew from his IRAs, to help a daughter who said she couldn’t find a job. He did this until he and his wife had to give up their plans on traveling with their friends in retirement. He died leaving nothing for his wife, and only after his death did his daughter go to work to support herself.
We used to say in the financial business in the 1980s, you needed at least as much in savings as your closest decade in a hundred thousand dollars. For instance, at 40 years old you should have saved $400,000, at 60, $600,000, and so on. Typical standards now in financial planning state it really takes much closer to one million to have financial freedom these days to enable no financial worries, and the ability to take care of all your needs. Yet, I have seen people retire with half that and get along just fine.
Of course, take good care of yourself. Eat a good, healthy diet with lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and lean proteins.
Get outside every day. Walk, bike, swim, play, explore, move. Take up yoga or Tai chi, dancing or some other social exercise. These good habits will be easy to follow into retirement. With good balance falls become much less likely among many other benefits.
Find a mindfulness practice you like such as meditation, contemplation, breathing techniques, prayer and self-reflection etc. Conditioning the mind for wellbeing is also essential.
If you do have anxiety, depression, or other emotional problems bothering you, find a good therapist. Most of these issues are resolved with the proper help. Our society still attaches an unfortunate stigma to getting assistance in this area, but it is so essential, shows emotional maturity, self-care, and can be a rewarding experience.
Develop a positive attitude toward aging and retirement. Day dream about all the activities and experiences you’ll be able to enjoy, and the friends and family to spend time with. If you don’t have a close circle of friends, join a club or a class. Get involved in something you enjoy, sports, a book club, knitting, hiking etc. and read, I can’t stress how much reading can enhance anyone’s life in so many ways. There are so many great books in the self-help genre, but even a great book of fiction is a positive experience.
Cultivate peace with your own passing. Our cultures in the West have a poor record of coming to terms with death. It’s not usually spoken about except in dramatic and negative ways; we pretend it isn’t inevitable, we try to extend the lives of our loved ones in often grotesque and extreme ways, making their last days, weeks or months, lying in a sterile facility hooked up to machines and on heavy medications. My recommendation is to have a good plan. Most states have a type of Dying with Dignity form to fill out describing what you want done and how in a terminal situation. Email us if you would like us to mail you one. Other than this, building a solid belief of your own, whether religious or faith in life and nature, can re-frame the end of life as something not to fear. There are many great books on this.
Fostering good relationships takes time, effort and the ability to forgive—maybe yourself or others. We all say or do things we don’t mean at times, are hurt by others words or actions, and without processing through these productively, we can be emotionally drained, hurt or worse. Forgive yourself and others. I know it’s hard. I will never forget a ninety-six-year-old, long-time client on his deathbed telling me he had been too hard on his wife and children. He was verbally abusive. He carried this all of his life. If he had been self-reflective, brave enough to look within, and been able to forgive himself, he wouldn’t have been so full of pain at the end.
Approaching this last stage of life, we can take the opportunity to develop a positive relationship with ourselves and others that will nurture us.
4) Passions and Purpose
What do you envision doing during retirement? So many people have jobs they don’t really enjoy, and so they dream of retiring as soon as possible, looking forward to having endless free days, like permanent weekends. But they’ve spent little time thinking about what they will do in retirement. I’ve seen some retire in their 50s and become bored, aimless and searching. Some go back to work. Some actually lose interest if life. On the other hand, I’ve seen people in their 70s who have no intention of retiring anytime soon because they love what they are doing.
Studies show the more control you have over what you do at work, who you work with and so on, the more satisfied you are. I believe that is why entrepreneurs often scoff at the idea of retiring, they are already living the life of their dreams.
To discover what your perfect retirement might look like, create a vision board of activities and places you’re interested in exploring. Think about what you enjoyed as a child.
Ask, how you may serve your community?
5) Deciding When to Retire
So, I am guessing you are beginning to see its not just at what age you can fiscally retire, it is so much more than that.
One, you want to retire when you are healthy and able to enjoy your passions
Two, you’ve figured out how you are going to fulfill your needs for community, purpose, interests and activities.
Three, make sure you aren’t just continuing to work because you have no idea what else to do with your life. Maybe you aren’t totally satisfied with work, but haven’t invested the time to explore what else might interest you.
Four, what about semi-retiring? This is getting very popular for those who have this option. And if you don’t, perhaps you could retire and pick up a part-time job doing something you’ve always wanted to do, like teach art or be in a counseling position.
Five, talk with your financial advisor about the income you will need during retirement. Take in to account how much your desired lifestyle will cost, your social security, and the amount of investments it will take to produce the income.
All of these subjects require some introspection; knowing yourself well will help you plan your later years to your benefit. Settling in to the idea of being an elder in the community, offering your hard-wrought wisdom, having loving relationships, enjoying the fruits of your labor, knowing how to still play, and exploring the world with a sense of wonder, can make your retirement the best time of your life.
We’ve definitively been here before; when seeing the market reports we’re alarmed by the descriptions of wild market swings. The markets hate uncertainty and they are showing it now with all this talk on trade etc.
We know that these moves are within normal parameters in the short term, and when we invest in the broader markets, such as your portfolios are, returns over time are generous. Some may say, but can’t we do better than the broader markets? Aren’t some stocks or mutual funds better to invest in right now than others? And, how do we know which ones to choose? This type of investing is using active management. Here is a quote out of an article on this topic on the Dimensional Fund Advisors website:
Dimensional recently studied the performance of actively managed mutual funds and found that even professional investors have difficulty beating the market: over the last 20 years, 77% of equity funds and 92% of fixed income funds failed to survive and outperform their benchmarks after costs.
Wondering why you’re hearing we may be going into a recession? Here is an excellent letter another Matson Advisor wrote explaining this complex topic in a clear, understandable way. And of course any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us. Now get out there and get some fresh air!