On Thursday, I hosted the latest session in my “Ask Me Anything” webinar series: “Caring for Aging Parents: Are You Ready?” Please click this link Passcode: ?%S9Q@ng if you would like to view the recording.
I hope you are staying safe and healthy.
When working with clients on financial plans, most want to know when they can retire. Some want to cut back rather than stop working completely. Working another year or two, doing some consulting work, or getting a part-time gig can have a positive impact on a plan’s projected outcome.
Working longer can provide meaningful benefits. It can improve your quality of life in retirement. It can keep you from spending down your assets too quickly. It can allow you to spend more after you are fully retired. For example, it might allow you to take that big vacation that’s on your bucket list. Maybe you could spend more time with your family.
For more on the benefits of working longer, please read this week’s first article.
Stocks have rallied this week. After trading in negative territory for most of the prior two weeks, the S&P 500 Index finished Thursday up 0.5% month-to-date. The S&P 500 is now up 5.7% quarter-to-date and 11.8% year-to-date.
This Thursday’s data showed the labor market is gaining strength as Covid-19 cases continue to decline. More Americans are getting vaccinated, and the government is easing restrictions on businesses. But the broader economic recovery remains uneven.
Signs of an economic rebound remain in place and demand for many goods remains high. As discussed in this week’s fourth article, the cost of many consumer goods has either increased or is expected to increase. Why? Many companies pass higher commodity costs onto consumers.
If higher costs cannot be passed onto consumers (oftentimes companies can only pass some of these costs onto their customers) then profit margins could fall. This could hamper company profit margins. Investors also worry the Federal Reserve could unwind its easy monetary policies sooner than expected. Central bank officials have yet to stray from their expectations that any jump in inflation will be transitory.
In this environment, we maintain our process and remain focused on the long term. We continue to have a positive long-term market outlook.
Here are the links to this week’s articles as well as a brief description of each:
1. The Benefits of Working Longer. Those who want to improve their retirement security should consider working longer. If you haven’t saved enough you might have to keep working. Those who have done the right things – maxed out their retirement plan savings, lived within their means, and stayed out of debt – can still benefit. Working a few more years, even at a lower salary, can benefit your quality of life in your later years. Even if you’re a decade or more from retirement, it’s worth thinking about how long you plan to continue working. You should also think about what you’d like to do in retirement. A financial plan can help in this decision-making process as well. This article provides some things to consider. It includes a table showing the estimated payoff, too.
2. Worker, Interrupted: The Cost of Task Switching. We are often interrupted while working. A study cited in this article found that, on average, people switched among some basic tasks once every three minutes and five seconds. Believe it or not, roughly half of the interruptions are self-interruptions. For example, we suddenly decide to surf the Web or check airfares. If the interruption matches the task at hand, it can have benefits. It can also help if it allows the problem to incubate. But most interruptions are counterproductive. It takes you a while to get back and remember where you were. The study found that we resume 82% of all interrupted work on the same day. But it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back on task. It can also increase stress levels.
3. What’s Your Strategy for Maximizing Your Social Security Benefits? Deciding when to start claiming your Social Security benefits matters. This article shares some important factors to consider. The topics it addresses include the following:
· Maximizing Social Security Benefits for Married Couples
· Understanding Social Security Survivor Benefits
· How Death, Divorce, and Remarriage Affect Social Security Benefits
· When Singles Should File for Social Security Benefits
For more on this important topic, you can review the following blogs:
· Social Security: Some Questions and Answers About Benefits
· Social Security: Some Key Benefit-Related Concepts
· Social Security and Taxes – Could There Be a Tax Torpedo in Your Future?
4. You’re Not Imagining it. Things Really Are More Expensive Since the Pandemic Started. When shopping, have you noticed the price of many things you buy on a regular or semi-frequent basis has increased? I know I have. Prices of raw materials have risen the most. The cost of household goods is increasing as well. Higher prices are driving inflation fears. Commodity costs are, to a large extent, driving the price increases. The cost of everything from lumber to aluminum is skyrocketing. Consumers are often asked to cover the difference. The article highlights some things we are paying more for now – or will be asked to pay more for in the coming months.
5. Now Is the Time to Protect Your Health Care Decision-Making Rights. Do your loved ones know your wishes for your medical care if you can no longer make decisions on your own? People often avoid addressing this important issue. We all have the fundamental right to make our own decisions about our medical treatment. But our wishes may not be honored. As we age, we should consider having all elements of what can be referred to as the big three plans for retirement: A financial plan, an estate plan, and a healthcare decision-making plan. When it comes to healthcare, consider the following statutory solutions:
· A living will
· A healthcare durable power of attorney
Healthcare representative laws can apply if you have not signed a living will or a healthcare durable power of attorney prior to becoming incompetent. The more planning you do, the better prepared you and any potential decision-makers will be if something happens to you. Doing so can give you the peace of mind that any treatment you receive will be in line with your wishes.
Our practice continues to benefit from referrals from our clients and friends. Thank you for your trust and confidence.
We hope you find the above posts valuable. If you would like to talk to us about financial topics including your investments, creating a financial plan, saving for college, or saving for retirement, please complete our contact form. We will be in touch. You can also schedule a call or a virtual meeting via Zoom.
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Phil Weiss founded Apprise Wealth Management. He started his financial services career in 1987 working as a tax professional for Deloitte & Touche. For the past 25+ years, he has worked extensively in the areas of financial planning and investment management. Phil is both a CFA charterholder and a CPA.
Located just north of Baltimore, Apprise works with clients face-to-face locally and can also work virtually regardless of location.