While 2020 has been a pretty miserable year for many activities, it’s been a great year for reading…..because, well, you can only stream so much. (Season 4 of The Crown is really good, by the way, as is the Queen’s Gambit, both on Netflix) So, if you’re looking for gift ideas for others or even for yourself, of the many I read this year, here are 10 I recommend.
“You must pay taxes. But there’s no law that says you gotta leave a tip”, said somebody once. So check now, while you still have time to do something about it, to see whether you’ll owe or get a refund when you file next year. If you believe you’ll owe, below are some moves to reduce or eliminate that amount.
I’ve been asked several times recently if gold should be a part of one’s portfolio to hedge against uncertainties such as inflation, a pandemic economy, high federal debt or a contested election. If you think the U.S. is ready for imminent and complete collapse – think France in WW II – and you and your family will have to flee with only the belongings you can carry, then sure, gold will always have value to someone and is relatively easy to smuggle across a border. As a hedge, however, my personal preference would be boxwoods. Here are my thoughts:
A friend – a friend of everyone he met, actually – recently died. Known affectionately by many as the “Silver Fox” as much for his personality as for his looks, our friend truly loved people and life. In fact, he was the kind of guy who never had a bad day. At his funeral, one of his several eulogists listed our friend’s 10 keys to living a good life. I find them so compelling I want to share them with you:
The day after the 2016 election an acquaintance sold about 30% of the stock mutual funds in his $750,000 retirement account and put it in cash. After the market jumped up over the next six months, he estimated he’d lost out on gains of about $35,000 due to his emotions ruling his decision making, he later told me. This year’s presidential election is heating up and many are worried how a contested election might affect the stock market. In fact, daily volatility – ups and downs – is rising in anticipation of the election, which isn’t unusual during pre-election months. As evidence, the S&P 500 was down 3.9% in September even as its 3rd quarter return was up 8.5%. 2020 year-to-date the index is up almost 4%. So, with things getting hotter by the day, what should investors do to prepare themselves – other than stay off Facebook and Twitter – to help avoid the mistake my acquaintance made four years ago?
As you might expect, I often get questions from clients, friends and acquaintances regarding finances. When 2 or 3 people ask, there are probably more as well, so here are two recent questions: 1) What does it mean to max out my retirement savings? 2) Should I pay off my mortgage early?
I have a cousin who was born when I was a freshman in college and we’ve grown rather close in recent years – mainly thanks to him – so when he called around the first of the year to tell me he had quit his high-paying job I was tempted to yell, “Are you crazy?!” I care for him a great deal, you see, so my financial planner brain started to mentally calculate the future value of his lost salary over the next few months. I didn’t react that way, fortunately, and I slowly started to see his wisdom as he explained his motivation. It wasn’t that he hated his job – he was a well-compensated regional manager for Target – but that he yearned to see the impact of his hard work more directly. As it turns out, his professional journey is actually becoming more common.
Born in Lexington, Kentucky in 1980, Moneywatch was one of the very first independent, fee-only financial advising firms in the country. Now, at age 40, we manage about $180 Million in assets owned by our 343 clients. Here is our story:
I’ve been asked a couple of times recently about Bitcoin as an investment, particularly as a hedge against the stock market. Here, then, is a primer on cryptocurrency in general and an opinion regarding adding it to your portfolio.
Several people have asked me recently why the stock market is up so much (the S&P 500 is up over 5% on the year) when the economy is doing so poorly (there are 13 million fewer people working now than in February). So, while the movement of the stock market is unpredictable because it consists of billions of trades each day, each motivated by individual investor’s own needs and beliefs, here are 4 broad reasons for the disconnect: