Client Newsletter 1Q20
Dear Ambassador Family,
I hope you enjoyed a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!
In 2019, I saw great success stories in our client’s lives. I want to congratulate those who invested in themselves to confidently walk into the next chapter of their lives. We have families who:
- Retired successfully
- Paid off their debts
- Bought vacation homes with cash
- Bought and/or sold businesses
- Invested in and/or updated their Financial Plans
- Families who established plans a few years back saw the rewards of their sacrifices come to fruition
Congratulations on your accomplishments! I am so excited and thankful to be part of your financial journey and look forward to seeing what you will be rewarded within 2020.
An Incredible 2019 in the Rear-View Mirror
Last year started with a lot of uncertainty. But as the months went on, we saw the market recover from two 2018 corrections, and things started to look promising. A few things contributed to a good year:
- Tax cuts stimulated the economy
- Deregulation has made it easier for corporations to do business
- The Federal Reserve cut interest rates three times, making borrowing more affordable
We have a lot to be grateful and thankful for. That said, history follows a pattern. It would not surprise us to see some sort of correction after the strong year in 2019. Economic and political issues such as China trade, unrest in the Middle East and the upcoming November elections are potential risks.
A Warning to the Sentimental
If you’ve been in love with a large position in a single stock, you should carefully weigh its potential impact on the success of your retirement.
Let’s learn from hypothetical Mike and see what might happen when he put all his eggs in one basket:
Mike worked for XYZ since the beginning of his career. He started at the bottom and worked his way to the top. He has grown to love and cherish the company that has taken care of his family for many years.
Now that Mike is retired, he continues to invest all of his money into XYZ. The stock has done great in the past, and he’s all in. Unfortunately, large distributors severed their partnerships with XYZ. The stock declined by 50% and took down half of Mike’s retirement portfolio along with it.
Mike’s emotional attachment to one large position has damaged his family’s prospects for a successful retirement.
Even in a strong market like 2019, one could lose a large sum. This is why we urge clients to diversify their portfolios. Don’t be like Mike.
Do you know where you stand?
Since the last great recession of 2008, we have had 10 years of a strong bull market, albeit with some temporary declines.
Let’s plan today so that when history repeats itself, you will have peace of mind, confidence, and freedom in knowing that you were proactively planning and taking care of your financial health.
Whether you are already in or are getting ready for retirement, ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I prepared for the unexpected?
- When the market corrects, how will that impact my income?
- How much can my assets go down before my lifestyle is impacted?
- Do I know where I stand?
If you’re not confident answering these questions, it’s time to review your plan.
What to look forward to in 2020.
- Towards the end of last December, Congress passed numerous new laws to take effect in 2020 (for instance, the SECURE Act that impacts IRA’s).
We will research and understand the implications of the new laws. Throughout the year, we will also have conversations with those of you who are part of the Financial Planning Club, to guide you through changes and steer you to success.
- As I’ve said repeatedly for the last two years, having a roadmap is the most important investment you can make in yourself to find peace of mind, confidence and freedom. Don’t short change yourself or get in the way of your own goals. Tomorrow comes faster than you think.
- I have been asked by Camas and Ridgefield Life magazines to write educational articles each month. If you live in the Ridgefield or the Camas area, I encourage you to look for our articles.
A Warning to the Sentimental Cont.
So what about holding onto your winners, even if that stock is the majority of your family’s nest egg?
Let’s learn from hypothetical Donna:
Donna spent many years working with Smokes Inc. and subsequently grew fond of the company. She continuously reinvested into Smokes Inc’s shares and was rewarded for it.
The stock did well, in fact Donna decided to go all in. In 2019 alone her shares doubled in value. Donna was over the moon. But what if the good times don’t last?
Should Donna bet her entire retirement on her emotional attachment to Smokes Inc?
Owning one large stock for your entire nest egg is a major risk to your family. You are not only betting everything on the stock market. You are also betting on the prospects of one company you have fallen in love with.
How much are you willing to lose before giving up emotional attachment to a single stock?
A well-diversified portfolio potentially reduces your risk of big losses and can stabilize your family’s nest egg if, and when, the market corrects.
Looking towards 2020, we continue to see similar themes that we have covered in prior newsletters (4Q19 and 3Q19).
Here’s a quick glance at investment trends:
- US growth remains positive, but subdued.
- International growth is still weak, but stabilizing.
- Prices in many assets are high, but interest rates still remain low.
- Macro volatility is still a risk, though unlikely to derail the broader economic story in 2020. Politics (US elections, China trading, unrest in the Middle East) might offer more risk than economics (Fed already cut rates, and are unlikely to raise in the near term).
After a strong year in 2019, we would expect positive but more subdued returns this coming year. We are projecting to see a good balance of risk and return.
If you want more in-depth resources on these trends, please visit our website and read our investment newsletters from 2019.
As you set your New Year’s resolutions, I encourage you to be proactive with your financial planning. You can control your future, but it’s up to you to make it happen.
Now is the time to set new goals and dreams for the year. I’m here to cheer you on along the way.
Let’s make 2020 a great one!
Petr Burunov, CFP®
President / Wealth Strategist