Stay Optimistic and Focusing on What Matters
As we begin to transition seasons from spring to summer and excitement is in the air with warmer weather, high school and college graduations, summer vacations commencing and the like – I am reminded to stay positive in this world of 24/7 negative news culture. We are all constantly bombarded with negativity – and at the risk of the pot calling the kettle black – I don’t want to share any negative headlines. Fortunately, if you want an example, you need not look too far – just turn on any news channel (financial or otherwise) or go to any news website – trust me, it doesn’t matter which one…
Let us remember the media outlets are a business – and ratings/views/clicks is how they get paid. So, it’s in their best interest to constantly remind us of how incredibly dire everything is… even if it’s not. Remember – financial journalism has no interest is whether or not you become a successful investor or whether or not you achieve your financial goals. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be informed and have an opinion – because we should – but know what to filter and don’t let the “apocalypse of the day” get to you.
Instead – Our focus should always be on:
- Defining and quantifying your financial goals (I need X amount per month when I retire at 65 to fund a 30-year retirement, I want to leave a legacy of Y to my heirs, I want to fund the education of my children in 15 years, etc.)
- Establishing a long-term plan for the achievement of those goals
- Building a portfolio as the long-term funding medium for that plan
Lifetime and even multi-generational financial goals require patience, discipline and optimism for the long-term. Again, our focus is on identifying goals, establishing a plan for achieving them, then and only then creating a portfolio – but see that the portfolio is dictated by the plan, rather than by the last hour’s “breaking news” economic or market outlook.
“The positive thinker sees the inevitable, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” – Winston Churchill
Risk: How do you define it?
There is no such thing as no risk – there’s just the notion of what kind of risk.
For those of us who are still accumulating wealth and have plenty of time and human capital left in this world, we may not be as concerned about the volatility of the stock market or the risk of inflation and decreased purchasing power (or maybe you are – that’s okay!). After all, we have time on our side to save and accumulate more wealth, more knowledge, more raises and promotions, etc. We might be more concerned about other things – like what career or field we want to be in, where we want to live and raise a family, or making sure our children are provided for.
For someone approaching retirement, their view of risk may be entirely different. Time and human capital are steadily decreasing, and you may need to rely on your monetary capital and savings soon. Now the risks of longevity and inflation become more real and evident over a potentially 30+ year retirement as Americans live longer and longer nowadays.
We could keep going on about all the other types of risk out there, but the type of risk isn’t necessarily important, as much as how you are defending against those risks. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet that can solve for all of the potential risks out there no matter your stage of life. More often than not, it comes down to several strategies working together to give you the best probability of hedging these risks. It can be a combination of having investments in the equity markets to solve for longevity and inflation, maybe an income annuity to solve for guaranteed lifetime income not tied to the market, or maybe even life insurance if we need a tax-efficient source of supplemental retirement income after having already maximized qualified retirement plans.
Tough to say without knowing someone’s financial goals and what they are trying to solve for – but if you’re concerned about any specific risks, know that you can develop a plan and strategy to deal with them (if you haven’t already). Think about what might be concerning you the most right now, and then know you have a friendly set of eyes and ears here at MtM ready to sit down and discuss further when you’re ready (or during our next quarterly review!).
“Risk is not knowing what you’re doing.” – Warren Buffet
As summer approaches and we officially “kick things off” with Memorial Day weekend, please don’t ever forget those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Every Memorial Day I participate in The Murph Challenge, which is a physical fitness challenge to honor Lt. Michael P. Murphy and the fallen heroes of Operation Red Wings – as well as all of our fallen heroes. The Murph Challenge is also the Official annual fundraiser of the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation. The Foundation now awards over 27 scholarships annually. This Memorial Day as you are enjoying time with family and friends, please don’t ever forget all those who have given their lives in service to our country.
To learn more about “Murph” please see the website link below.
From Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.
And I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I’d gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.
Thank you for being my clients, it’s a privilege to serve you.
Until next time,
Variable annuities are long-term investments suitable for retirement funding and are subject to market fluctuations and investment risk, including the possibility of loss of principal. Annuity guarantees, including guarantees associated with benefit riders are subject to the claims-paying ability of the insurance company. Surrender charges may apply if money is withdrawn before the end of the contract.
Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information presented here should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice. This information is not intended to be a substitute for personalized financial planning, tax planning, or legal advice.
Securities offered through The Strategic Financial Alliance Inc. (SFA), Member FINRA, SIPC. Advisory and tax services offered through MtM Financial Group, LLC which is otherwise unaffiliated with SFA. 4505 Hanoverville Road, Bethlehem, PA 18020. SFA does not provide tax or legal advice. Supervising office 888-447-2444.