IMPORTANT Cyber-Security Message

In light of the recent Russian aggression in Ukraine and surrounding areas, here is a quick and important message regarding vigilance around security of personal information, including:

  • Bank accounts – including in-person, online, PayPal, Venmo, etc.
  • Credit card accounts
  • Email & Texts
  • Tax time information
  • Social media
  • Even Crypto accounts!

It should not come as a surprise to read or hear this message. Hopefully, the major news outlets are broadcasting this warning as well:

The SEC has sent notices that the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a “Shields Up” notification.

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War, Invasion & Investing

Clearly, war and invasions have far more repercussions than merely financial. But somewhat luckily, the financial toll in most cases, for us as Americans (exception September 11th), has been what hits closest to home. And unluckily financially speaking, the biggest savers and investors are then most affected by the financial toll of war and invasions around the world.

Currently, the world – most notably the Ukraine, Eastern Europe and Russia – is experiencing the effects of an invasion that (God help us) may or may not turn into a larger situation. Specifically, the financial effects of the Ukraine invasion by Russia are being felt far beyond Europe and Russia. US and worldwide stock markets are down both from late 2021 highs and most notably in late February.

World events over the past 50+ years, and the accompanying market reactions that took place over the short-term and longer-term.

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Charitable Giving

I was quoted in a recent Investment News article about charitable giving. It seems that charitable giving during the pandemic increased and is continuing to rise. I’ve noticed this trend with my clients, too, especially clients in their 50’s and early 60’s, who are most able to give more freely.

You can read the full article here: “Charitable Giving Continues its Upward Trajectory

Crypto Superbowl

Well, well… if the citizens of planet Earth had not heard of “crypto” and “Coinbase” yet, they got a sensory overload of these terms and concepts when they tuned in to Superbowl LVI on Sunday night. And to further confuse the crypto uninitiated, the lines seemed almost blurred between electric vehicles, crypto, outer space, and beer (beer being easiest to understand).

Dubbed the “Crypto-Bowl” prior to kickoff, all sorts of researched news sources predicted the onslaught of cryptocurrency-related Superbowl commercials. Paul Vigna* of The Wall Street Journal summarized that ads of three crypto-related companies would be prominent. All three companies are exchanges upon which cryptocurrencies can trade:

  • Coinbase
  • FTX
  • Crypto.com
Experienced cryptocurrency traders and investors will say the concept and currency are beyond infancy and now in hyper-growth, thus leading to massive skepticism amidst adoption by risk tolerant investors.

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Double-Edged Sword of Aging

Clearly another topic with multiple sequels, aging has its positives and not-so-positives. Recently a slight positive – from the IRS.

Its Life Expectancy Tables, otherwise known as the “IRS Uniform Life Tables I, II and III”, have adjusted the American life expectancy UP by approximately two more years. That means that RMD amounts, or required minimum distributions, from IRA, 401k and other retirement accounts will be slightly lower when calculated. These RMDs count as taxable income so even a small break will be welcome!

Increasing longevity is a compelling reason to develop or maintain a well-laid out long-term savings plan.

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Inflation Is Funny (Not)

Inflation has a funny (not “haha” funny) way of changing consumer and market behavior. We are presently seeing these changes play out in the economy and stock and bond markets. Time for the rocket photo again, which equates rapidly increasing prices with a rocket launch.*

In conversations with clients and friends in every segment – younger newly-employed, mid-career folks, parents, single people, workers at the tops of careers, those not in the workplace, heads of families and (mostly) comfortably retired folks – every one of these groups reports noticing inflation in their daily lives. This fact is unlike any time in my 35+ year professional life…and then some.

Photo by Jared Haworth, http://www.wehadtoday.com/jared

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The Greatest Chart Ever

In times of stock market weakness, similar to year-to-date in 2022, it is human to experience fear. Part of staying on course with a savings and investment plan takes into consideration that fear is part of life.

Most recently, a number of investors may be expecting – and would be wise to expect – a market pullback due to more than a decade of steady market gains. However, this realization does not necessarily lessen or eliminate fear. Here is where the “Greatest Chart Ever” offers needed perspective.* Over a period of more than 40 years of intra-year stock market performance, the chart illustrates valid reasons NOT to allow short-term market moves (monthly, quarterly – even yearly) to lead to poor investment decisions. Why? Please read on.

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Important Early-Year Reminder

The following is an important reminder for every other year or so – more often if there are new people in your life:

Whoever, whatever 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, trusts or in your Will (if you have a Will).*

Inevitably, time flies. Sadly, loved ones pass away; important loved ones may, well, change. (Think: divorce, relationship changes). Happily, new beneficiaries, or heirs, are born or enter the picture! In the busy nature of life, often the beneficiaries currently on record are not accurate or have not been updated in years.

Make sure to check who is listed as Beneficiary or Beneficiaries on your retirement accounts, insurance policies, IRAs, trusts or in your Will.

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Crypto Quarterly – Vol. 1, Jan 2022

With the whirlwind of interest generated by December’s edition of TGIF 2 Minutes covering “To Crypto Or Not To Crypto”, demand exists for at least a quarterly dedicated to the topic of cryptocurrency. For those who are already crypto experts, this volume of “Crypto Quarterly” may be elementary but a great number of experienced investors admitted limited knowledge and appreciated the information.

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Looking Ahead in 2022

One thing is certain: numerous predictions about 2020 and 2021 in categories ranging, from the emergence of a pandemic, to continuance of the pandemic, how best to cure the pandemic, to rates of inflation, supply and demand in the economy, to the ability of technology to make accurate predictions… were wrong.

Possibly the largest factor affecting the US economy today, inflation, was not even on the list of biggest risks at the 2021 World Economic Forum.* This is not to poke fun at the predictors but rather an indication of how misguided predictions about risk can be.

Numerous predictions about 2020 and 2021 were wrong.

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