These are trying times. Despite the strains of pandemic, home schooling, work furloughs, and entire families sitting at dining room tables on laptops… there are still BIG decisions and “leaps of faith” to be made. Namely,
Annual Healthcare Enrollment (deadlines looming)
401k contributions by year-end amidst a year of zany cash flows
Kids’ high school enrollments (these have changed for lots of people)
College semester enrollment and tuition payments
Home improvements like, “Do I add a home office?”… and more.
Don’t even get me started on – “Do I know who my beneficiaries are?” or “When do I start taking Social Security?”
Halloween can be pretty scary – but not as scary as Open Enrollment for health coverage! Dates for open enrollment typically go from November 1st to December 15th for coverage starting January 1st of the coming year. Enrolling for healthcare (Flexible Spending, Dental, Health Savings Accounts or Medicare, among others) can scare the living daylights out of even the smartest, strongest people. We are presently in or near the “Open Enrollment for Healthcare” season.
Is it just me or has the election season and political climate made it feel like someone died? In fact, in the case that someone actually has died in the past 8-12 months we have not even been able to grieve in a healthy way.
What a topic for a Friday! And why am I bringing it up? This topic could take far more than 2 minutes to cover (don’t worry, I’ll keep it short).
Unfortunately, people do pass away. I have experienced both tragic and sudden death in my family. Death is a terrible and sad topic, but certain aspects of death need to be addressed within the concept of money – as harsh as that sounds. Grief is part of the topic too.
From the TGIF 2 Minutes Archives earlier this year PRE-coronavirus…
Earlier this year in February things were GOOD! The economy was cranking, unemployment was low, wages were up, and it was a somewhat perfect time of the year to set goals. Think: it was pre-tax filing time and after the holidays.
Fast forward to today… the world has changed. Our savings have been tapped in the pandemic — and new savings and other goals need to be reset! While the kids may now be going back to school (followed by maybe not??) using this precious time to set just a handful of goals can pay off toward achieving those goals.
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.
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.
Retirement? What do you mean, Retirement?! That is in the waaay distant future, you may say.
Well the lock down, shelter in place, husbands and wives/girlfriends and boyfriends/parents and kids working from home TOGETHER is just that: a warm-up for retirement. Or a forced “retirement together” for those already retired.
Staying positive in a negative interest rate world just got a little easier. Sweden’s central bank, one of the world’s first to lower benchmark interest rates to below zero, this week raised its rate up to zero from negative 0.25%, or -0.25%.
Most people would define their primary savings goal as “retirement.” …Or would they?
Of course, retirement is often a primary long-term savings goal, but not always. The definition of retirement itself has morphed over the recent decade with people living longer lives. “Retirement” encompasses more than simply stopping work and being on a “permanent vacation.” In fact, recent research published in the Journal of Financial Planning* reports that quitting work cold turkey often is not reality – for a number of reasons.
“Is this the ‘Big Dip’ in the markets they have warned about?”
“Should I be selling my stocks?”
“Should I be selling my bonds?”
Although I stress to clients and friends NOT to listen to the Talking Heads on TV, radio & internet amidst dramatic market moves —and then make rash investment decisions – we are human! It is nearly impossible to ignore completely what is going on daily in the news and markets. And the stock markets have crept down a bit over the past few weeks. (Note, in 2019 the downturns and recoveries have been often.)Continue reading “Gut Check (Again) In Rocky Markets”