April Is Financial Literacy Month

April is financial literacy month.  I'll let this flyer do the talking, but ask yourself where you stand financially.  What savings do you have, and is it enough?  Are you investing to match your goals and risk tolerance?  Do you have an adequate emergency fund?  It's never too late to think about these things, but doing so now reaps the greatest rewards.

What Will You Do With Your Tax Refund

Many people receive a tax refund.  Really, whether you owe or get a refund is simply a reconciliation of what you should have paid in tax during the year, so planning ahead could reap you benefits.  That's another discussion, though.  For those of you that do get a refund, what do you do with it?  Planning that ahead of time to benefit your savings and wealth could have big benefits over time as well.  Check out this piece for more.

From this flyer, I'd like to point out the idea of having a contract with yourself.  If you make a plan, and write it down, you are committing to yourself that you will follow through.  It's best to be true to yourself and do so, as that's the best way to get ahead.

I can help you figure out what to do with your refund.  Contact me today to discuss your options.

The 2019 Housing Cover Curse

Here's another good piece that talks about the media and investments in a slightly different way.  It talks about the "cover curse" and the housing market in 2018.  Essentially, when you have several publications with bullish images or coverage of a market on their cover, it could be a sign of a top.  Of course this isn't an exact science, but it could be a clue nonetheless.  I'd take it a step further and watch for how many of your friends, family, or the media talks about a market that just keeps going, or you have to buy this stock or that stock.  These can be ways to grab something that has momentum, but I'd caution to risk too much money on any of these types of "ideas".  

You should purchase investments based on your goals and risk tolerance.  If you go a step further, I'd even suggest purchasing investments from a business perspective.  For instance, when you look at a company or even a sector, what do you think the long-term prospects are?  Is it popular now or unloved?  Does valuation seem crazy, reasonable, or cheap?  These and many other factors are ways to look at and choose investments.  There is no secret formula, and I'd even argue there is an art to it.  All of this taken together can also help you screen for investments that may be at a peak or simply too expensive to purchase with reasonable expectations.

I'm happy to help you figure out where your investments stand in your bigger picture.  Give me a call to get started.

The Bears Are Wrong Again

The negative political headlines never seem to end, nor the calls for a recession or bear market.  Sure, there are reasons to worry a bit, but most of the news we see each day doesn't in the grand scheme of things.  This piece takes the point further, so check it out.  Remember, though, to keep your investments diversified for your risk tolerance and goals, so that the short-term noise hopefully won't keep you up at night.

Need help sorting through the noise?  Would you like another opinion on your investments and how the news affects them?  Call me today for a free review.

Be Honest with Yourself about Retirement Savings

You like to dream big, right?  It's a great feeling to imagine what you can do today to make life even greater in the future.  When you think about the future, though, and your goals, are you being honest with yourself in regards to your money and expenses.  If not, you could be setting yourself up for failure.  That's where a plan that is revisited at least annually comes into play.  Check out this flyer for more detail.

I particularly like the example of a client that starts calling in for extra money because they didn't see it as a regular expense.  The truth is, this does happen.  As an advisor, I can tell a client every time that they are taking more money than planned which creates a higher likelihood it won't last.  Usually the argument is, "I know, I really don't want to buy I need to."

The point is this:  create a plan if you don't have one.  If you have a plan, great.  Stick to it and revise as circumstances dictate.  Nothing is set in stone, but a plan will help get you where you want to go.

Lessons from Enron

The title brings back bad memories, but good ones to learn from.  This piece lays out a bit of history on the Enron collapse, but more importantly provides some tips for individual investors to make better decisions.  I think all are great, and many are ones I advocate for frequently, such as investing in what you understand and keeping your investments reasonable sizes, just to name a couple.  

Need help understanding the investments you own?  I'm happy to help.

Importance of Market Valuations

There is a lot of talk today about a global slow down and possible recession in the relatively near future.  Markets are still near all-time highs, and are close to setting some records in terms of longevity (how long we've had a bull market).  Market valuations are a key concern in this type of environment.  I'm not making any predictions in this post, but I would like to provide some thoughts about new investments in this type of environment.  Check out this piece for more info, but my take is below.

Let's say you are changing jobs and are looking to rollover your current 401k.  If your new plan allows it, you may decide to roll it into a new plan, or you may want other options and look for a simple IRA.  Let's say you go with the IRA.  So now you have this chunk of cash to reinvest, since you can't rollover the investments directly.  Do you invest all the cash at once in an array of investments, or do you do so over time?  I believe the best approach is to do so over time (maybe in as little as monthly for a year).  This is because we never truly know what the market is going to do in the future, regardless of our own assessments of market valuations or conditions.  You may think stocks are cheap, but sometimes that happens for a reason.  And as the flyer points out, investing at the wrong valuations doesn't necessary mean you will lose, but it could take much longer to come out ahead and seriously dent returns.

My point is this:  Never rush into an investment because you have a chunk of cash.  Assess the market and the opportunities out there, and ask your advisor for their advice.  Be skeptical if they want to throw it all in at once.  You worked hard for that money, it's not wise to invest it all at once without some homework and reasonable expectations.

Two Investing Questions to Ask Yourself

Whether you're just starting investing or have been for many years, if you haven't set any goals or plans for your invested funds, you may be doing yourself a disservice.  Establishing goals and plans gives you a framework from which to monitor performance and risk tolerance, among others.  Check out this flyer with great questions to ask regarding your investments.  

Contact me today for help with these questions, or if you simply want to get started or want a review of your investments.