Crypto Superbowl

Well, well… if the citizens of planet Earth had not heard of “crypto” and “Coinbase” yet, they got a sensory overload of these terms and concepts when they tuned in to Superbowl LVI on Sunday night. And to further confuse the crypto uninitiated, the lines seemed almost blurred between electric vehicles, crypto, outer space, and beer (beer being easiest to understand).

Dubbed the “Crypto-Bowl” prior to kickoff, all sorts of researched news sources predicted the onslaught of cryptocurrency-related Superbowl commercials. Paul Vigna* of The Wall Street Journal summarized that ads of three crypto-related companies would be prominent. All three companies are exchanges upon which cryptocurrencies can trade:

  • Coinbase
  • FTX
  • Crypto.com
Experienced cryptocurrency traders and investors will say the concept and currency are beyond infancy and now in hyper-growth, thus leading to massive skepticism amidst adoption by risk tolerant investors.

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Double-Edged Sword of Aging

Clearly another topic with multiple sequels, aging has its positives and not-so-positives. Recently a slight positive – from the IRS.

Its Life Expectancy Tables, otherwise known as the “IRS Uniform Life Tables I, II and III”, have adjusted the American life expectancy UP by approximately two more years. That means that RMD amounts, or required minimum distributions, from IRA, 401k and other retirement accounts will be slightly lower when calculated. These RMDs count as taxable income so even a small break will be welcome!

Increasing longevity is a compelling reason to develop or maintain a well-laid out long-term savings plan.

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Inflation Is Funny (Not)

Inflation has a funny (not “haha” funny) way of changing consumer and market behavior. We are presently seeing these changes play out in the economy and stock and bond markets. Time for the rocket photo again, which equates rapidly increasing prices with a rocket launch.*

In conversations with clients and friends in every segment – younger newly-employed, mid-career folks, parents, single people, workers at the tops of careers, those not in the workplace, heads of families and (mostly) comfortably retired folks – every one of these groups reports noticing inflation in their daily lives. This fact is unlike any time in my 35+ year professional life…and then some.

Photo by Jared Haworth, http://www.wehadtoday.com/jared

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The Greatest Chart Ever

In times of stock market weakness, similar to year-to-date in 2022, it is human to experience fear. Part of staying on course with a savings and investment plan takes into consideration that fear is part of life.

Most recently, a number of investors may be expecting – and would be wise to expect – a market pullback due to more than a decade of steady market gains. However, this realization does not necessarily lessen or eliminate fear. Here is where the “Greatest Chart Ever” offers needed perspective.* Over a period of more than 40 years of intra-year stock market performance, the chart illustrates valid reasons NOT to allow short-term market moves (monthly, quarterly – even yearly) to lead to poor investment decisions. Why? Please read on.

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Important Early-Year Reminder

The following is an important reminder for every other year or so – more often if there are new people in your life:

Whoever, whatever 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, trusts or in your Will (if you have a Will).*

Inevitably, time flies. Sadly, loved ones pass away; important loved ones may, well, change. (Think: divorce, relationship changes). Happily, new beneficiaries, or heirs, are born or enter the picture! In the busy nature of life, often the beneficiaries currently on record are not accurate or have not been updated in years.

Make sure to check who is listed as Beneficiary or Beneficiaries on your retirement accounts, insurance policies, IRAs, trusts or in your Will.

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Looking Ahead in 2022

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.

Numerous predictions about 2020 and 2021 were wrong.

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2021 What A Year So Far

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.

Take the time before year-end to evaluate portfolio gains and asset allocation.

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Thankful, Grateful & Hopeful

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!

Thanksgiving is dedicated to thankfulness, gratefulness, and, yes, hope.

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Year-End Tax Planning Tips 2021

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.

There is still time remaining in 2021 to accomplish tax-deductions and/or create new savings vehicles!

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Champagne & William Shatner

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.

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