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.
Wow… year-end 2021 is fast approaching. As if 2020 was the year we all wanted to turn the page… it is deja vu all over again in 2021. BUT a positive spin can still be put on year-to-date 2021, especially with respect to market returns.
It may be too early to say that stock market gains, to date, have been better than decent in 2021. From the US small-cap index up 12%, to large-cap S&P 500 up 22%, to Nasdaq up 19%, to the Dow Jones up 13%, these are all solid year-to-date returns.
From the Archives of TGIF 2 Minutes… with an addition on hopefulness.
Bottom line: Being Thankful, Grateful and Hopeful are all positive things.
Simply saying “Thank you” out loud is hard to do without smiling either inwardly or outwardly. Try it! Then say, “I am grateful for X” and it likely brings an even deeper feeling. Perhaps that is why gratitude is central to the science of happiness –yes, there is a whole branch of science around happiness. The newer science around hope is equally, if not more, powerful!
Tax planning is important stuff. Perhaps not as exciting as the markets but saving money on taxes can still be exciting! Mid-November begins the countdown to year-end. The following is a handy Tax Planning Checklist.* Some of these items, if done now, could make a big difference to the 2021 tax year AND add to savings.
1. How close are you to maxing out your 401k? The max is $19,500 for those under age 50 and an extra $6,500 for those age 50 and above. The deadline is December 31st and lots of 401k and 403b plans allow contributions of as much as 25-30% or even 100% of pay. Contribution rates can be lowered again in the new year.
Last week William Shatner – at 90, who knew?! – became the oldest person to achieve space flight. Completion of a 10-minute journey on the reusable New Shephard rocket, including four minutes of weightlessness, was cause for major celebration immediately afterwards.
But notable was that upon disembarking from the space capsule Shatner politely turned down taking part in the champagne shower amongst the crew, Blue Origin promotional people and members of the press.
Last week tgif2minutes.com explored a basic statement directly from Social Security’s SSA.gov summarizing that taxes will mostly likely need to go UP TODAY to afford Social Security in the mid 2030’s and for future generations – which is only 15 years away.
This week’s edition will present several possible changes that could take place along the path to higher taxes in order to preserve the Social Security that American workers pay into dearly and expect to receive someday.
Here starts a mini-series of TGIF 2 Minutes editions.
The following is taken directly from the current Social Security website. The italics below are copied from the website and presumably are meant for emphasis. Underlinesare mine.
The concepts of solvency, sustainability, and budget impact are common in discussions of Social Security but are not well understood. Currently, the Social Security Board of Trustees projects program cost to rise by 2035 so that taxes will be enough to pay for only 75 percent of scheduled benefits.This increase in cost results from population aging, not because we are living longer, but because birth rates dropped from three to two children per woman. Importantly, this shortfall is basically stable after 2035; adjustments to taxes or benefits that offset the effects of the lower birth rate may restore solvency for the Social Security program on a sustainable basis for the foreseeable future. Finally, as Treasury debt securities (trust fund assets) are redeemed in the future, they will just be replaced with public debt.If trust fund assets are exhausted without reform, benefits will necessarily be lowered with no effect on budget deficits.
One of the most critical factors of long-term personal financial success is… guess:
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).