Are you familiar with the TV show “The Big Bang Theory”? The show is in its 11th season and lots of people by now have heard of Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, Howard and Penny… but for those who have not heard of the show it is really funny and has been a HUGE success.
And you thought going to the gym was hard?! Try Budgeting.
Please don’t quit reading yet – this may be one of the most frequent topics I discuss with my clients especially at tax time. Add in the ever-increasing future costs of healthcare and nearly everyone (wealthy or building wealth) will care about a budget at some point.
Typically, I do not get too far “into the weeds” of technical terms in my TGIF 2 minutes messages. However – this has not been a typical last two weeks in the markets – at least not “typical” as defined by the past several years of gradually UP markets (and portfolios) month after month. Thus, a short walk into the weeds to talk a little about inflation is warranted – and may shed light on the volatility we have experienced lately with more likely to come over the next months and year or so.
Also, see this visual of a rocket launch* – and not just any rocket launch, the Falcon Heavy launch as photographed by a friend of mine with years of clearance for NASA rocket launches – as an appropriate comparison to what inflation can look like.
Do we blame it on the Philadelphia Eagles winning the Super Bowl?? (just kidding- I am glad the underdogs won!)
From the archives of TGIF 2 minutes I found a very handy message – one that still holds true two years later for surviving the weakness we are currently experiencing in the stock and bond markets. Here is the original article: click here. The title of the message was “‘Gut Check’ in Rocky Markets” (Jan. 2016). As even as the most experienced savers and investors can tell you, down markets are not fun and they can be scary and stressful. However, I try to remind my clients and friends NOT to allow short-term market moves (weekly, monthly, quarterly…even lasting the course of a year) to lead you to make poor decisions.Rather, make your investing decisions alongside a trusted adviser – and ideally far in advance of a market decline. (Hint: most of my clients can stop reading here and say “TGIF”.)
A couple of planning “gems” to pass along from the plethora of great financial news reporting* on the new Tax Plan.
Use the Roth 401k whenever it is available at your employer or your company (there are NO income limits for a worker to contribute to a Roth 401k, unlike a Roth IRA).
For those of you doing Charitable Gifting AND because of the new, higher Standard Deduction that you may consider using instead of itemizing your taxes, consider doing your Charitable Gifting every OTHER year. This, in effect, “bunches” (to use Greg Iacurci’s word) your charitable gifting into LARGER amounts and then you may only need to itemize in years when your charitable gifting plus deductions is MORE THAN $24,000 for married couples ($12,000 for Single filers).
One topic that believe it or not comes up with nearly every client and prospective new client, no matter their age or level of wealth, is cars.
The conversation touches upon the following:
Buy or lease?
If buying, buy for cash or take out a car loan?
New or used? (I nearly always suggest used, a.k.a. “certified pre-owned”. Remember the book, The Millionaire Next Door?)
If buying, how often to replace?
If leasing* or taking out a car loan, what is a sensible payment amount? With a lease, buy at the end of the lease?
For younger people perhaps living in or near a city, is it possible to not even own a car? And take advantage of excellent (cheaper) alternatives as needed such as renting a car, Uber, or Zipcar?
* Leasing is not often my recommendation for first cars, mostly because I prefer not to add another sizable monthly outflow of cash early on in life. Early on, own a car you can afford for cash or a small loan. The future will look brighter.
Grandma moving in?? Traveling to help mom and dad from time to time? Sharing tasks with your siblings to help out your parents?
“Caring for Aging Parents” is an emotional and involved topic that takes FAR longer than 2 minutes to cover. However, it is a critical topic and one that comes up daily in my conversations with friends and clients. Think about it: how many times have you been part of this conversation in the past several months alone… among friends/family?? I bet more than once!
In times of stock market weakness – like we are seeing over the past month – we can tend to get scared. We are human. However, I stress to my clients and friends NOT to allow short-term market moves (monthly, quarterly…even yearly) to lead to poor decisions. Why? Please read on…
The following chart reads like a cartoon so not to worry that I am sending you a complicated graph. The RED DOTS = how much the market went down sometime during each year. The BLUE LINES = where the market finished at the end of the year.