Thinking like a kid
Recently my nine-year-old daughter, Avery, showed me a picture of an amusement park she designed, Pony Land. She took me on a guided tour using the map she drew and described all of the fun elements. I love getting glimpses into her imagination and of course, I didn’t tell her of the impossibility of having a unicorn petting area (though I’m pretty sure she knows they aren’t real) or rides that defy the laws of physics. It dawned on me that when working with clients, sometimes I do illustrate reality as different than what they envisioned, hopefully in a nice way that is solution oriented, but still pointing out the misalignment of their expectations and reality. Of course, not everyone is off the mark. According to a 2018 report by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, 18% of Americans are very confident in retiring comfortably and 44% are somewhat confident. However, of those who provided an estimate of how much retirement savings they’ll need, 47% said they guessed. In other words, their reality could be very different. I think it is great to dream and I wish I could do it like a kid without constraint, but it is also important to plan. I encourage you to spend some time dreaming about your future goals and desires. Then ask yourself if that was just a fun thought exercise or an expectation. If it’s an expectation, put a plan in place to make it happen and start now. Even if you aren’t on track, doing something will make the future brighter than it would be otherwise. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.– Chinese proverb The plans of the diligent lead to profit, as surely as haste leads to poverty.– Proverbs 21:5 Advisory services offered through Arbor Point Advisors. Securities offered through Securities America Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Arbor Point and Securities America are separate companies. CA Insurance #0E88557
q4 2018 market Review
2018 was a reminder that volatility is part of investing. In recent years we’ve been spoiled by generally nice stock market growth with moderate to low volatility. Volatility returned in 2018 and accelerated in Q4. While many headlines can make this sound alarming, it is normal. In order to capture the long-term benefit of the market we must be willing to deal with the volatility that comes with it. A comparison of 2017 and 2018 illustrates how much things can change and how unpredictable short-term market characteristics can be. 2017 2018Performance: Emerging 37.28% US -5.24%(best to worst) International 24.21% International -14.09% US 21.13% Emerging -14.58% Below are graphs showing the performance of the MSCI Global Stock Market Index for 2017 and 2018. Note the relatively smooth growth of 2017 compared to the choppy losses of 2018. 2017 2018 In Q4 the US, international, emerging and real estate stocks all had negative returns. The same is true for the entire year of 2018. Bonds in the US and globally were positive in Q4, bringing returns for the year just into positive territory domestically, with better yearly performance by global bonds. For a detailed market overview covering Q4 and all of 2018, click here. Advisory services offered through Arbor Point Advisors. Securities offered through Securities America Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Arbor Point and Securities America are separate companies. CA Insurance #0E88557
'Tis the season...
I love this time of year and the magic it brings, especially with little ones at home. ‘Tis the Season… to be Merry, for Peace, Love, Joy, Family, Giving… All of those reasons put a smile on my face. However, the financial planner in me thinks, ‘Tis the Season for… Spending – It’s amazing how even those who are good at managing their spending can get caught up in the endless financial transactions in December. The momentum of spending can pick up speed and since we’re in that mode the budget flies out the window. Don’t let the holidays ruin your budget for the year. Giving – Last month I wrote about some of the benefits of giving. From a financial and tax planning standpoint, review your giving and be sure to complete any gifts you’d like a tax deduction for this year, by December 31st. Also, with a higher standard deduction than previous years, many people won’t itemize. You may consider “bunching” some of your giving into years that you will itemize to get the most tax benefit. Using a Donor Advised Fund can be a good way to manage your giving for this strategy. Savings – If you haven’t maximized the retirement savings vehicles available to you and have the ability to save more, make sure you do so. For an employer sponsored retirement account such as a 401K or 403B, contact your employer to find out the contribution deadline as plan rules can vary. The contribution deadline for IRAs and Roth IRAs is April 15th. Also, contribution limits increase next year so make any necessary adjustments to your contributions if you’d like to maximize your savings. Planning – It is a good time to review your financial plans and make purposeful decisions for the upcoming year. Are you saving enough? Are you paying down debt? Do you need to adjust your contributions or distributions (such as required minimum distributions)? Start the new year fresh. If you don’t have financial goals, make some. If you don’t have a budget or spending plan, create one. If you have questions on any of these topics or would like resources to get started please let me know and I’d be happy to provide them. Most of all, I hope you truly experience the peace that Christmas brings and don’t let finances, busyness, or the commercialization of the season, get in the way of experiencing the true reason for the season. Advisory services offered through Arbor Point Advisors. Securities offered through Securities America Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Arbor Point and Securities America are separate companies. CA Insurance #0E88557