A Note on Gold

Gold is a fascinating asset and concept. From Egyptian Pharaohs to Sir Isaac Newton to the “Nixon Shock” in the 1970’s, gold has been part of the story. Oh, and by the way, its price has risen over 35% so far in 2020.

Over the years there have been reasons (and not) for an investor to buy gold. One of the “catches” is that gold can be an extremely volatile asset, depending on the global economic cycle, level of interest rates and expectations for inflation. Another catch is that there are multiple ways for an investor to buy gold. Among these ways is to purchase gold in its physical form and insure and store it (expensive) or to purchase gold jewelry or gold wristwatches (also expensive but much simpler). OR, gold can be purchased in a non-physical form through gold futures contracts or via an exchange traded fund, or ETF, like the super-widely held SPDR Gold Trust whose trade symbol is GLD. The GLD trades like a stock and may be the closest way to own gold without having actual possession of the gold bars or coins.

bullion gold gold bars golden
Gold as an investment is not always as glittery and beautiful as the pure form.

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Why Do We Save Money?

As we persevere through the coronavirus pandemic, consider the following message from the 2019 Archives of TGIF 2 Minutes….

What is your reason for saving money? Is it retirement? Or are there “mini-goals” that would feel really great to achieve today?

Of course, retirement is often a primary long-term savings goal, but not always. “Retirement” encompasses more than simply stopping work and being on a “permanent vacation.” In fact, research published in the Journal of Financial Planning* reports that quitting work cold turkey often is not reality – for a number of reasons.

green typewriter on brown wooden table
What is your reason for saving money? Is it retirement? Or are there “mini-goals” that would feel really great to achieve today?

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YTD Market Performance Broken Down

After talking with a number of clients and friends in the past couple of weeks it became apparent that a breakdown of YTD stock market performance would be informative. There are major pronounced differences currently in the various stock categories. An explanation of these differences could illuminate why certain portfolios have gone up (or down) more than others. 

Please note that this discussion is not meant to minimize the importance of performance. Performance is critical; however, the time frame of performance evaluation and the concept of progress toward achieving goals are even more critical to successful investing.

business charts commerce computer
Performance is critical; however, the time frame of performance evaluation and the concept of progress toward achieving goals are even more critical to successful investing.

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Women, Men, Long Lives & Money

Married, Single, Divorced or Widowed – women tend to live longer than men. There are also new statistics of how mentally sharp and physically fit women stay longer into life. Why is this important? If you guessed that these facts mean that women need to save and invest more then you guessed right. Men AND women, please keep reading!

joyful adult daughter greeting happy surprised senior mother in garden
Women need to build an awareness of saving both on their own (married or not) and together with a spouse if married.

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Tax Payment Deadline

A quick note regarding taxes and upcoming tax payment deadlines. These details could come under the category of “Captain Obvious” but are worth mentioning all the same.

The April 15th filing deadline for 2019 taxes was extended to July 15thThere have been rumors of the deadline being extended even further to September or October. This looks ABSOLUTELY NOT to be the case.* The 2019 Tax Filing deadline remains July 15th . See here: IRS.GOV


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The Corona Purchase

This past week, at a neighbor’s drive-by 11-year old birthday gathering, I learned a new term: The Corona Purchase. The term refers to money spent on a larger one-time purchase amidst the sadness of being forced to stay home for the past three months. The concept also confirms an observation mentioned in a recent edition of TGIF 2 Minutes about families experiencing lower spending overall the past several months – so therefore possibly accumulating extra savings here and there.

Items reported to have been purchased or installed include:

  • Cars
  • Boats
  • Home gyms
  • Swimming pools (think: kids missing swim teams)
  • Outdoor landscaping
  • Small- and medium-sized home remodeling projects.
close up photography of white poodle
“Corona Purchases” may have added value to a home or saved money or monthly expenses in the long-term (in the case of a home gym) which is positive.

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Check Your Beneficiaries

Another quick note this week – but important!

Whatever, whoever you want to call them: Beneficiaries, “Bennys”, Heirs… make sure to check who is listed as Beneficiary or Beneficiaries on your retirement accounts, insurance policies, IRAs or in your Will (if you have a Will).*

Inevitably, time flies. Loved ones pass away or important loved ones, well, change. (Think: divorce, relationship changes). On the positive side, new beneficiaries, or heirs, are born or enter the picture! In the busy-ness of life, often the accuracy of beneficiaries goes unchecked.

angelic statue and sunset scenery
NO ONE enjoys talking about their death, but bottom line, after your death, it is too late to change beneficiaries.

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Silver Lining to Spending

Quick note for your weekend thoughts.

As difficult as it has been to find a silver lining to the pandemic, there have been one or two recurring themes that could be classified as positive, or at least opportunistic. One theme is that a fair number of people with whom I have spoken have reported far lower overall (or at least discretionary) spending in the past couple of months compared to “normal” times. Think:

  • Going out to dinner & drinks
  • Travel… whether weekend or vacations
  • Hair color & hair cuts
  • Nail salons
  • Massage & spa appointments/memberships
  • Traditional Gym memberships
  • Kids’ camps & activities
blue and white sorry we re closed wooden signage
As long as we are stuck with the coronavirus for a little while longer, there are ways to use this time to come out on the other side smarter and more aware of spending

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Portfolios & Mental Health – Part 2

Re-running this edition due to popular demand… Younger and less experienced investors (new college grads, younger workers buying a first home or saving in a 401k for the first time) can especially benefit by learning these steps, but really anyone can be better off:

If anything has been important since mid-February 2020 it has been being mentally strong and resilient – or having friends and family who are mentally strong to lean on. Believe it or not, this has nearly always been the case with investing.

green typewriter on brown wooden table
Pay attention to the present moment while knowing it is necessary that you and your adviser also consider the long-term.

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Luck, Timing & Investing

From the Archives of TGIF 2 Minutes….

There is an element of luck involved in investing. A specific term for this luck is, “Sequence of Returns.” What on earth is that? Answer: it is a risk. And it may just be the most important concept in the world if you ever wish to spend your savings – and have them last as long as you need.

green plants on black soil
There is an element of luck involved in investing. A specific term for this luck is, “Sequence of Returns.” 

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