Is a Recession Coming?

Make no mistake: The media wants a recession.

How many of these items have you been bombarded about lately?

  • Inverted yield curve
  • Negative bond yields
  • Trade and Currency wars
  • “Fed Chairman Powell lacks clarity in his Q&A sessions” (talk about the ultimate throw under the bus)

A recession may or may not be coming soon. Recessions have been part of the US and global economies since the dawn of recording market data which dates to the 1920’s (with recessions dating back to the 1800’s).  Please see the accompanying chart that summarizes various scary events since 1970, several of which led to nasty recessions. Remember the Arab oil embargo?? The Dotcom bust?? Please also note the way the US stock market – which is based on a free market economy and the consumer – has recovered over time. Continue reading “Is a Recession Coming?”

Gut Check (Again) In Rocky Markets

From the archives of TGIF 2 Minutes comes a very handy message – one that still holds true 5 years later:

blue and yellow graph on stock market monitor
Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

August 2014:

Have you asked yourself lately…

  • “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”

Minimizing Danger to Your IRA

Last week’s topic was potential danger to IRAs contained in new legislation lingering in the Senate. Those affected would be most IRA beneficiaries including you or your kids or grand kids. The scenario would affect the lives of more than just the wealthy. Therefore, it makes sense to present a handful of ways to minimize the possible negative consequences.  Although, if the SECURE Act legislation is passed in its current form, these strategies will be even harder to come by.

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Several current solutions have been discussed in prior editions of TGIF 2 Minutes, namely using the Roth IRA, Roth 401k or 403b, or Roth IRA conversions (see the link below for quick details of various Roth strategies). Most important is to have this issue on your radar – to create a balance by using both traditional and Roth strategies TODAY side by side for diversification. Continue reading “Minimizing Danger to Your IRA”

Potential Danger to Your IRA

In the heart of this already HOT summer of 2019, the heat may only be beginning for your IRA. Under the seemingly friendly title of the “SECURE Act” Congress is considering plans to over-reach in the form of future taxes on IRA accounts.

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There are several positive and constructive elements of the bill recently passed by the House of Representatives and currently in review in the Senate. These include provisions to lower the threshold for small employers to offer 401k plans to their employees. However, a key part of the bill would do away with one of the most popular and widely used aspects of current IRA rules: the “Stretch IRA” for beneficiaries.

Currently, and dating back to the 1990’s, the Stretch IRA favors longevity by allowing a beneficiary to stretch inherited IRA monies over a lifetime, or until the IRA (or rolled over 401k) monies are depleted. This feature has come to be a popular and inexpensive long-term planning tool. The “Stretch” also aids in managing the tax consequences of becoming an inheritor of IRA monies. Continue reading “Potential Danger to Your IRA”

What to Worry About

Spoiler Alert:

Amidst the positive narrative playing out via recent stock market records in the US (including strength in European markets) the “next episode” in the markets and economy could be more of a letdown. Use this time amidst the market’s gains to identify what to worry about and actions that can be taken NOW to craft a better ending to the story.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The following is a non-comprehensive list of “constructive worries” (or concerns) that if managed year-round can greatly increase the ability to cope with inevitable market declines or letdowns – and enjoy more the experience of investing over our lifetimes. Continue reading “What to Worry About”

Graduation Inspiration for All

From the Archives of TGIF 2 Minutes…

In light of graduation season, it can be beneficial to review (or celebrate) the basics of personal finance which can lead to future peace of mind – both for ourselves and the kids, grand kids, nieces and nephews who mean the most to us. From May 2018:

accomplishment ceremony education graduation
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Continue reading “Graduation Inspiration for All”

Is There an Optimal 401k Balance?

More on the topic of 401k saving: Can there be an “optimal amount” to have in a traditional 401k? At the very least, adjustments can be made to get close-to-optimal. And timing wise with the calendar approaching mid-year there is ample time (unless you have already maxed out your 401k) to make meaningful adjustments to your 2019 401k elections and start the optimizing process.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This topic is especially important for those who take saving seriously and who have at least $400,000 TODAY in a 401k or IRA Rollover accounts combined with a 401k account. (For those with less, these concepts still matter but with less urgency.)

First: How old are you?

  • Age matters because TIME is one of the biggest determinants of how much a 401k balance can potentially grow.
  • If you are younger than 40, these concepts could affect you A LOT as the power of compounding can kick in over multiple decades (this does not mean trading; rather saving, allocating and allowing compounding to do its work).
  • If you are older than 60 and nearer to retirement or selling a business, these concepts matter greatly but the solutions will be slightly different.
  • If you are in your 50’s, a combination of strategies can work – and keep in mind the “catch up” that allows you to save more.

Continue reading “Is There an Optimal 401k Balance?”