Murphy’s Law & YOLO Can Be Expensive

One of the most critical factors of long-term personal financial success is… guess:

  • The markets
  • Spending
  • Interest rates
  • Stock selection
  • Income level

And the answer is…. SPENDING. This fact is why a truly competent financial planner will spend the most time on discussing spending, both today and future projected, along with GOALS. (Goals are what people spend money on.)

Holding an amount of cash – un-invested cash savings – is key to surviving Murphy’s Law events.

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Taxes Make Ya Wanna Go #$%&!

Yup, it is tax season. This year as clients and friends were completing their 2021 tax returns* the cries of, “Are you kidding me?” and “This is by far the most taxes I have ever paid in my life!” were louder than ever. There were valid reasons for wealthier taxpayers paying more taxes for tax year 2021 – far more than for tax year 2020. A few reasons were somewhat UN-related to the coronavirus pandemic, and a number of reasons were directly pandemic-related.

The majority of my clients and friends simply made more money in 2021 than 2020. (Is that a bad thing? Most likely not.) The pandemic, in a delayed fashion, led to promotions and opportunities in 2021 for lots of individuals in corporate America and at companies that “dug in” amidst epic challenges in 2020. Retention and performance bonuses wound up being paid in 2021 (continuing in 2022), following a time in late 2020 when it seemed basic compensation and jobs were at serious risk. This turnaround was a huge irony and welcome relief to a number of people – and the “flip side” became higher taxes for tax year 2021.

Pandemic-related factors were to blame for higher 2021 taxes in several “hidden” ways.

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Financial Satisfaction in Crazy Times

These are crazy times, almost chaotic. Chaos is defined as complete disorder and confusion – and parts of the world and our lives may be nearing that point, or at least feel that way. How does an investor get financial satisfaction in times like these? Carefully and patiently.

“Carefully” can equate to:

  • having a plan that addresses saving, spending, taxes, & investments
  • being able to monitor and adjust the plan, perhaps with an adviser
  • then continually executing the plan.

The “patiently” part can be more difficult and is just as critical.

Storms are temporary and the worst of chaos and volatility will pass – be prepared for an unknown timeframe.

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Crypto Quarterly (& More) – vol. 2

Today’s TGIF 2 Minutes features:

  • A high-level update & follow-up on cryptocurrencies
  • Brief comments on Inflation & 1st quarter 2022

Crypto Update

Continuing with the whirlwind of interest generated by “To Crypto Or Not To Crypto” and “Crypto Superbowl” there is more to say including highlighting the recent 36% decline in Bitcoin since November 2021. There is broad evidence that high-profile, fiduciary financial advisers are hesitant – for good reason – to include cryptocurrency across the board in client portfolios. At the same time, a good number of high-profile, responsible, fiduciary financial advisers are including cryptocurrency in some – emphasis, “some” – client portfolios, depending on the client’s goals and risk tolerance.**

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No Pain, No Gain??

Another quick edition today, as the message is a cautionary one.

The rate of inflation has continued to increase recently. The Wall Street Journal quotes the nationwide inflation rate now at 7.9%. Most clients and friends with whom I speak say they feel little pain and that all they notice about inflation so far is the rising cost of gas and higher grocery store bills. How much longer will inflation continue “not to matter”? What if the US Federal Reserve gets impatient and starts raising rates more aggressively?

The jury is still out regarding how the US Fed will fight inflation today.

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A Little More on Caring For Mom (or Dad)

A short one today, and “Semper Fi” to a very special group of friends.

Last week’s edition of TGIF 2 Minutes titled, “Alexa, Remind Mom to…” led to a number of real-life responses and more resources regarding finding care for a parent or loved one. So here goes:

  • Good morning. FYI, I had a terrible experience with “A Place for Mom.” It was an aggressive marketing machine and I felt like I was buying a time share.

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Alexa, Remind Mom to…

Thanks to a couple of smart and very caring friends of mine for today’s quick post. Everyone with a mother, mother-in-law (MIL) or even a grandmother will want to read on.

We cannot ever have enough resources when a parent or grandparent needs care or help getting around. Women tend to live longer than men, so Mom and Grandma are the ones who need the most help in their later years. Family members provide the highest percentage of help but often get in over their heads. The next step becomes researching in-home care giving – which has become exorbitantly expensive while still necessary.

Planning for care ­– and the cost of care – now will make it more manageable down the line.

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It Takes More Than Financial Goals

As the country and our world emerge from the battering of the pandemic, the Russian aggression in the Ukraine has now added a different, far-away, uncontrollable stress on our minds. Not to mention the markets’ reaction and inflation, although markets naturally experience up & down cycles. In light of all this, one of my best – and as it turns out most insightful – clients sounded in on the following:

  • Now more than ever, our health and survival in the short- and long-term depend on Self-Care. (I would add that self-care includes having personal finances somewhere near “in order”.)
  • Realize, though, the financial stability part can only come about after the self-care part is addressed.

Before deleting this message, please read on… to Part One of this edition of TGIF 2 Minutes.

Now more than ever, our health and survival in the short- and long-term depend on Self-Care, including having personal finances somewhere near “in order.”

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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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