7 Things to Do During a Quarantine

The Coronavirus is spreading. Countries and cities are in lockdown. Our government and businesses are encouraging their employees to work from home, and senior citizens are advised not to leave their houses. It’s a dark and dire time for the global community, so how can you make the best of a bad situation? Here are seven ideas.

  • Go for a hike with your family and enjoy the great outdoors. You can explore new trails in your city while keeping a safe distance from others. My family and I hike our neighborhood trail with our dog Cricket. We put a bear bell on her to let the snakes and other creatures know we’re coming. The bell also helps us locate her because she’s a lab with a mind of her own. After being cooped up in our house, it’s nice to go outside and enjoy Mother Nature.
  • Read a book. It’s an excellent time to turn off your TV because there is nothing but bad news on the airwaves and there are no sports to watch. Here are a few of my favorite books: The Fountain Head, The Hunt for Red October, Jurassic Park, The Old Man and The Sea, Catch-22, American Rust, Atlas Shrugged, The Firm, Treasure Island, Oil!, The Invisible Man, The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Once and Future King, Lone Survivor, Amateur’s, The Worst Hard Time, The Right Stuff, Moneyball, Into Thin Air, The Perfect Storm, The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, For Whom the Bell Tolls, To Have and Have Not, and The Hobbit.
  • Play a game. As a family, we’ve played board games for years. When my daughter was younger, most of the games involved horses like Herd Your Horses or Horse Show. We now play Catan, Ticket to Ride, Hive, Monopoly, Uno, or Mexican Train.
  • Learn a new hobby. You can access hundreds of thousands of free platforms online to learn a new language or skill from the comfort of your home. Numerous universities are offering free online courses because of the crisis. I’m learning to play the guitar. I’m horrible, but I’m having fun.
  • Fix up your home. Have you been waiting to paint a room, clean your garage, or wash your windows? With time on your hand, you can now tackle your growing to-do list. My daughter and I are going to build two vegetable boxes and a border for our rose garden.
  • Write a letter to a friend or family member. A handwritten note is a novelty, so spread some cheer with your penmanship.
  • Read the Bible. The Bible has about 365 verses on fear or worry, one for each day. Proverbs is a great place to find wisdom, and it has 31 chapters in Proverbs, one for each day. Psalms, Romans, Hebrews, Galatians, Song of Songs, Ephesians, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the other 56 books are worth a read.

When I was growing up, I played baseball. During one game, while playing left field, a left-handed batter hit a line drive toward me, and because a left-handed batter hit it, it had a wicked slice. It was spinning away from me, and it was too late for me to adjust my path. It got past me and rolled to the fence. We lost the game; I burst into tears, and I thought my life was over. However, it wasn’t the end of the world. My dad, who is left-handed, spent hours hitting me fly balls, and I turned my weakness into a strength.

The world is not going to end tomorrow, and we will live to see another day. Don’t let the weight of the world keep you down. We will defeat the virus. Be strong and keep the faith!

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. ~ Isaiah 11:6

March 19, 2020

Bill Parrott, CFP®, is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management located in Austin, Texas. Parrott Wealth Management is a fee-only, fiduciary, registered investment advisor firm. Our goal is to remove complexity, confusion, and worry from the investment and financial planning process so our clients can pursue a life of purpose. Our firm does not have an asset or fee minimum, and we work with anybody who needs financial help regardless of age, income, or asset level. PWM’s custodian is TD Ameritrade, and our annual fee starts at .5% of your assets and drops depending on the level of your assets.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ from those posted in this blog. PWM is not a tax advisor, nor do we give tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for items that are specific to your situation. Options involve risk and aren’t suitable for every investor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Day in the Life of a Market Correction

Global stocks continue to fall, and each morning I wake up to check to see what the markets have in store for the day. I look at my phone (AAPL, T) to view the latest news. I turn on my TV (SNE, TWX) to watch CNBC (CMCSA).  While watching CNBC (CMCSA), I scan my email accounts (GOOG, MSFT, WORK).  Once I read the news, I click through Facebook (FB), LinkedIn (MSFT), and Twitter (TWTR) to get caught up on social media.

After I finish my channel checks, I grab breakfast and eat some Honey Nut Cheerios (GIS) with a glass of Tropicana Orange Juice (PEP). While eating breakfast, I listen to ESPN Radio (DIS) on satellite radio (SIRI).

After breakfast, I go for a run (NKE, UA) to get in a little exercise. After I work out, it’s now time to get ready for work, so I take a shower, shave (PG, UL,) and get dressed (JWN, DDS). On the way to work, I stop at the gas station to fill up my truck (XOM, AXP, TM).  With a full tank of gas, I drive to Starbuck’s (SBUX, AXP) to get a cup of coffee.

After my trip to Starbuck’s (SBUX, AXP), I visit my bank (WFC) to get an extra $20.00 for the day. I take a detour to Target (TGT, AXP) to get a few office supplies.

At the office, I turn on my computer (DELL, HPQ, MSFT) to start my workday.  I use The Wall Street Journal, Barrons, Fox News, The New York Times, (NWS, FOXA, NYT), Morningstar (MORN), Value Line (VALU), and T.D. Ameritrade (AMTD) to keep abreast of the market.

At lunch, I eat at McDonald’s (MCD, AXP, SQ) to get a burger, fries, and a Coke (KO).

Back at the office, I order a new book from Amazon (AMZN, AXP, UPS) and schedule a video conference call (ZM) with a client. After the call is over, I mailed her some information (STMP).

The market had another rough day, so I went home and took my dog (PETS, CHWY) for a walk.

After my walk, my wife and I went to dinner at Eddie V’s (DRI) to get something to eat and have a glass of wine (STZ, BUD).  We used Uber (UBER).

I’m now back at home to catch up on the day (CMCSA, DIS, TWX) and check the latest social media feeds (FB, MSFT, TWTR, GOOG, MSFT).  We’re now watching movies and playing games (NFLX, DIS, MAT, HAS, ATVI).

The weekend is coming, and I’m going to work on a backyard project (HD, LOW, YETI).

Until tomorrow…

The best thing that happens to us is when a great company gets into temporary trouble…We want to buy them when they’re on the operating table. ~ Warren Buffett

March 18, 2020

Bill Parrott, CFP®, is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management located in Austin, Texas. Parrott Wealth Management is a fee-only, fiduciary, registered investment advisor firm. Our goal is to remove complexity, confusion, and worry from the investment and financial planning process so our clients can pursue a life of purpose. Our firm does not have an asset or fee minimum, and we work with anybody who needs financial help regardless of age, income, or asset level. PWM’s custodian is TD Ameritrade, and our annual fee starts at .5% of your assets and drops depending on the level of your assets.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ from those posted in this blog. PWM is not a tax advisor, nor do we give tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for items that are specific to your situation. Options involve risk and aren’t suitable for every investor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Too Late to Sell?

The Dow Jones is down 18.8% for the year, so is it too late to sell? Investors have sold $34 billion in equity mutual funds and $17 billion in bond funds as they seek safety from the rout in global assets.[1] The news is ominous, and the headlines are bleak. Investors are voting with their dollars, and it’s clear they don’t want to own stocks.

In December of 2018, investors sold $133 billion in funds before stocks rose significantly in 2019. In October of 2008, investors liquidated $128 billion in mutual funds, a few months before one of the great bull markets in history.

It’s never too late to sell because stocks can always fall further. William O’Neil, the founder of Investor’s Business Daily, recommends selling your shares if they fall 7% to 8% because a small loss can turn into a big one if you don’t cut your losses. He said, “You don’t want to take a loss, so you wait, and you hope, until your loss gets so large it costs you dearly. This is by far the number one mistake most investors make.” Enron shareholders had the opportunity to sell their shares at $90, or $80, or $70, or $60, or $50, or $40, and so on before it traded to zero. I’m sure investors in Enron would have loved to sell at any price above zero, regardless of their cost basis.

An investor who sold their holdings in August of 1987, avoided the stock market crash on October 19, 1987. If you knew the Oil Embargo of 1973 was coming, you could have sold your stocks in 1972 and avoided a 41% drop in the S&P 500 from 1973 to 1974. If you sold your shares in 2007 before the Great Recession, you missed a 50% drop in the market. Of course, selling before a correction when stocks are at an all-time high is difficult, and predicting the future is impossible.

When stocks are falling, emotions transcend facts. Not many people care that stocks produce superior long-term results when their accounts have lost 20% in a few weeks.

It’s easy to look in the review mirror and say what you would have done, but what should you do today? Should you sell? Here are a few suggestions to help you decide.

  1. If your stocks are keeping you up at night, then sell your shares. If you’re losing sleep, you own too many stocks.
  2. If you need your money in one year or less, do not invest in stocks. My nieces and daughter must use their money to pay for tuition, room, board, and books, so they invested in a money market fund. I don’t need my retirement money for 10 to 15 years, so I’m 75% invested in stocks.
  3. If you’re retiring in the next two or three years, invest in U.S. Treasury Bills to cover three years’ worth of household expenses.
  4. If you don’t have a safety net, sell stocks. A recommended safety net is three to six months of expenses. If your monthly expenses are $10,000, keep $30,000 to $60,000 in cash.
  5. If you have high levels of debt, sell your stock to reduce your obligations – returns are fleeting, expenses are forever.
  6. If you need money to purchase a home, car, boat, plane, or any expensive item, sell your stocks and move the proceeds to cash.
  7. If you’re 100% allocated to stocks, reduce your equity exposure, and sell some of your holdings.
  8. If you know stocks are going to drop 20% tomorrow, sell today.

With the drop in stock prices and interest rates, bonds may be a riskier investment than stocks. The current yield on the 30-Year U.S. Treasury is 1.5%. The ten-year average Is 3.1%, and if rates rise back to the average, bonds will fall by 20%. In 1980, the 30-Year U.S Treasury yield peaked at 15.08%. If rates returned to their all-time highs, bonds would fall 75%![2] The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) is up 26.3% for the past year, but it fell 10.5% this week as interest rates rebounded from their remarkable lows.

Money market funds and savings accounts offer low rates. The one-month U.S. T-Bill is yielding .33%.  The current inflation rate is 2.33%, so you’re losing 2%, before taxes, to park your money in a safe account. Cash accounts and short-term bonds are not sustainable solutions for creating wealth over time.

The Dow is down 18.7% year-to-date and off 9.8% for the past year. It’s up 30.6% over the past five years, 118% for the past ten years, and 9,390% since 1930.[3] It’s impossible to know what stocks will do tomorrow, but over time they will rise.

My first full year in the investment business was in 1990, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 4.25% that year; from June to December, it dropped 21%. I was devastated because every stock I bought plunged in price. However, 30 years later, the Dow is up more than 740%.

Is it too late to sell? If selling your stocks will bring you peace, then sell. However, stocks have always recovered, so make sure you’re selling for the right reasons and not from a position of fear.

Be strong, keep the faith, follow your plan, think long-term and good things will happen.

We have nothing to fear but fear itself. ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt

March 15, 2020

Bill Parrott, CFP®, is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management located in Austin, Texas. Parrott Wealth Management is a fee-only, fiduciary, registered investment advisor firm. Our goal is to remove complexity, confusion, and worry from the investment and financial planning process so our clients can pursue a life of purpose. Our firm does not have an asset or fee minimum, and we work with anybody who needs financial help regardless of age, income, or asset level. PWM’s custodian is TD Ameritrade, and our annual fee starts at .5% of your assets and drops depending on the level of your assets.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ from those posted in this blog. PWM is not a tax advisor, nor do we give tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for items that are specific to your situation. Options involve risk and aren’t suitable for every investor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] https://ici.org/research/stats/flows/combined/combined_flows_03_11_20, Website accessed 3/14/2020.

[2] https://www.macrotrends.net/2521/30-year-treasury-bond-rate-yield-chart

[3] YCharts

Weekly Stock Market Update – 3/14/2020

Parrott Wealth Management Weekly Stock Market Update – March 14, 2020.

It was a tough week for global assets. Oil dropped significantly as Saudi Arabia and Russia failed to come to terms with a supply deal.[1] Stocks, bonds, and gold followed suit as they reacted to the Coronavirus news.

Stocks are down more than 21% these past four weeks. The Dow Jones went from a 52-week high to a 52-week low in less than three weeks, the fastest ever.

Thursday, the Dow Jones fell 9.98%, yesterday it rose 9.36%. With wide swings, it’s tempting to try to and trade your way to riches, but I would encourage you to avoid this impulse as most day traders lose money. Historically, 94% of your returns come from your asset allocation; the remainder comes from your investment selection and market timing.

Wall Street is the only marketplace where prices fall, and people panic. If Home Depot had a 25% off sale on appliances, they’d run out of inventory due to the buying demand – not so with stocks.

Here’s how stocks, bonds, and other assets performed this past week.

  • The S&P 500 fell 9.35%
  • The NASDAQ fell 7.54%
  • International Stocks fell 14.32%
  • Emerging Markets fell 10.50%
  • Long-Term Bonds fell 7.69%
  • Gold fell 9.06%
  • Oil fell 20.33%
  • Chinese Stocks fell 6.20%

We have several investment models ranging from conservative to aggressive, and they’re updated weekly. The models are currently selling bonds to buy stocks because bonds are expensive, and stocks are cheap. We automate this process because humans are almost incapable of buying stocks when they’re low and selling them when they’re high. It’s challenging to buy any investment when it’s falling, especially when everyone is yelling to sell. One of the best ways to create long-term wealth is to buy when others are selling and sell when others are buying.

A few weeks ago, we sold our high-yielding junk bond funds in every model and replaced them with a government inflation-protected bond fund. Junk bonds are down 9.9%, and the government bond fund is down 3.6% for the past month. We’re in the process of selling our long-term bond funds and replacing them with short-term bond funds with maturities of less than one year. Over the past year, our two long-term bond funds, the Vanguard Long-Term Bond Index Fund and the iShares 20+ Treasury Bond ETF are up 20.6% and 29.2%, respectively. A 30-Year bond will fall 25% if interest rates rise 2%. A one-year bond will fall less than 2%. The risk-reward ratio for owning long-term bonds is gone. As a result of the drop in stocks and interest rates, it’s now riskier to own long-term bonds than it is to own shares of great American companies.

Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet’s partner at Berkshire Hathaway, was interviewed by the BBC in October 2009 after the Great Recession when stocks fell 53% and here’s what he said about how much he worries when stocks fall, “Zero. This is the third time that Warren and I have seen our holdings in Berkshire Hathaway go down, top tick to bottom tick, by 50%. I think it’s in the nature of long term shareholding of the normal vicissitudes, in worldly outcomes, and in markets that the long-term holder has his quoted value of his stocks go down by say 50%. In fact, you can argue that if you’re not willing to react with equanimity to a market price decline of 50% two or three times a century you’re not fit to be a common shareholder, and you deserve the mediocre result you’re going to get compared to the people who do have the temperament, who can be more philosophical about these market fluctuations.”[2]

My first full year in the investment business was in 1990, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 4.25% that year; from June to December, it dropped 21%. I was devastated because every stock I bought plunged in price. However, 30 years later, the Dow is up more than 740%. It’s a challenging time for all, but we will recover.

If you want more information, please call me at 512-813-7642.

Have a great weekend.

Sincerely,

Bill Parrott, CFP®

President and CEO

Parrott Wealth Management

www.parrottwealth.com

 

[1] https://finance.yahoo.com/news/saudi-arabia-floods-markets-25-152631512.html, by Olga Vagova, March 13, 2020

[2] http://www.psyfitec.com/2009/10/buffett-and-munger-on-bbc.html

Can You Afford a 50% Loss?

Global stock markets are selling off, oil is crashing, and the Coronavirus is spreading. Year-to-date, the Dow Jones is down about 15%, and things can get worse before they get better.

No one wants to experience a significant drop in stocks, but they do occur. Over the past fifty years, there have been three periods where stocks fell by 50% or more.[1]

Stocks fell 56% in 1973 and 1974 because of the Arab Oil Embargo.

Stocks fell 49% from 2000 to 2002 during the Tech Wreck.

Stocks fell 53% from October 2007 to March 2009 during the Great Recession.

The worst period for shareholders occurred during the Great Depression, where stocks fell 76%.

How will your life change if stocks fell by 50%? To find out, divide your assets by two and then multiply your answer by 4%. If your current assets are $1,000,000, divide by 2 to get $500,000. Multiply $500,000 by 4% to get $20,000. With assets of $1 million, you can expect an annual income of $40,000. At $500,000, the income declines to $20,000. Will the drop in assets impact your daily living or current activity? If so, consider adjusting your portfolio. But, before you make a major change, let’s look at a few investors – Ginny, Barbara, and Margaret.[2]

Ginny is 100% invested in stocks, so when stocks rise, she’ll benefit, when stocks fall, she’ll suffer. If she invested in the Dimensional Funds Global Equity Index Fund (DGEIX), she would have enjoyed an average annual return of 7.46% for the past 20 years. In 2008, her fund dropped 41.3%. Ginny invested $10,000 in this fund on January 2, 2000; it’s now worth $32,100.

Barbara is more conservative, and she allocates her investments 60% to stocks and 40% to bonds by investing in Dimensional Funds Global Allocation 60/40 Fund (DGSIX). Her fund has produced an average annual return of 6.01% for the past 20 years. Her fund lost 22.7% in 2008, considerably less than Ginny’s account. Barbara invested $10,000 in this fund on January 2, 2000; it’s now worth $25,750.

Margaret is very conservative, so she allocates 25% of her investments to stocks and 75% to bonds by investing in Dimensional Funds Global Allocation 25/75 Fund (DGTSX). Her fund generated an average annual return of 4.26% for the past twenty years. Her fund lost 7.3% in 2008. Margaret invested $10,000 in this fund on January 2, 2000; it’s now worth $19,670. Her fund didn’t lose much money during the Great Recession, but her assets are substantially less than Ginny’s.

To obtain high returns, you need to invest in risk assets, and that means enduring a few years where stocks underperform conservative assets.  If your risk level is high, allocate a significant proportion of your assets in stocks. However, if you’re not ready to lose 50% of your assets, diversify your holdings. A 40% bond allocation reduces risk by 33%, compared to an all-equity portfolio.[3]

A financial plan will help you refine your goals and determine how much money you should allocate to various asset classes. A plan will help you balance your short term needs with your long-term goals. An investor who is too conservative may run out of money when they’re older. Likewise, an investor who is too aggressive may lose their assets during a market downturn. Risk and reward will be forever linked.

Stock market corrections and downturns are normal. Since 1970, the S&P 500 has closed in negative territory ten times or 20% of the time, with an average drop of 14.9%. However, 80% of the time, stocks finished the year in positive territory. A $100,000 investment on January 2, 1970 is now worth $3,196,100.[4]

Here are some suggestions to help you through the market’s turbulence.

  • Don’t panic. Stocks rise and fall every day. If you want to sell, wait for them to rebound. On October 19, 1987, stocks fell 22.6%. In the next two days, the Dow Jones rose by 16%.
  • Diversify your assets. To reduce risk, add bonds and other asset classes to your portfolio. During the decade of the 2000s, The S&P 500 had a negative return, but if you added bonds, international investments, small company stocks, and real estate holdings, your account finished in positive territory.
  • Follow your plan. A financial plan will guide you through a market downturn. It will help you determine how much money you’ll need to fund your goals. It will also quantify your risk level.
  • Examine your risk level. How much risk is embedded in your portfolio? If you’re not sure, give us a call.
  • Look for opportunities. In a crisis, there’s always an opportunity. You’ll probably be early on the purchase, but, over time, your stocks may recover.
  • Don’t time the market. It’s tempting to hunt for bargains, but you’re not going to pick the bottom, so don’t worry about buying at the lowest tick. You’ll know in about five years if you made a wise investment decision or not.
  • Avoid margin. When stocks are falling, avoid margin. A margin balance will magnify losses.
  • Rebalance your account. An annual or quarterly rebalancing will keep your asset allocation and risk level intact.

Today is the eleventh anniversary of the stock market low of March 9, 2009. The S&P 500 closed at 676, and it currently is trading at 2,972 – a gain of 339%.[5] The phenomenal increase follows the bear market loss of 53%. It hardly makes sense to buy during the dark days of a stock market thrashing, but it’s in the depth of despair where you get the best prices. And, to quote my dad, the sun will come up tomorrow.

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. ~ Albert Einstein

March 9, 2020

Bill Parrott, CFP®, is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management located in Austin, Texas. Parrott Wealth Management is a fee-only, fiduciary, registered investment advisor firm. Our goal is to remove complexity, confusion, and worry from the investment and financial planning process so our clients can pursue a life of purpose. Our firm does not have an asset or fee minimum, and we work with anybody who needs financial help regardless of age, income, or asset level. PWM’s custodian is TD Ameritrade, and our annual fee starts at .5% of your assets and drops depending on the level of your assets.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ from those posted in this blog. PWM is not a tax advisor, nor do we give tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for items that are specific to your situation. Options involve risk and aren’t suitable for every investor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Dimensional Funds 2019 Matrix Book

[2] YCharts for the three portfolios – January 2, 2000 to March 9, 2009

[3] RiskAlyze

[4] YCharts

[5] Ibid

My Friend Jackson

I received a text from a young man who wanted help with his investments. Jackson is in his early twenties, married, and a business owner. New to investing, he asked several great questions. He is excited to start generating his wealth, despite the current economic environment.

Jackson is a man of action, and he’s taking control of his financial future. He’s self-employed, hard-working and he’s not leaving anything to chance. After a few conversations, we opened a brokerage account at one of the large online investment firms. He made his initial investment, and in a few days, we’ll start a monthly investment program. In a couple of months, we’ll open a Roth IRA. Once these accounts are up and running, we will discuss creating a retirement plan for his business.

The account we setup is aggressive; more than 90% allocated to stocks. Jackson is young, so he might not need his money for 40 or 50 years! He has a long-term view, and he can care less about the Cornavirus or short-term moves in the stock market. His primary goal is to create wealth for his family. Of course, he doesn’t care about the short-term because he is so young, but neither does Warren Buffett, who is 89 years old.

I told Jackson stocks would trade up, down, and sideways for decades, so don’t get excited when they rise or depressed when they fall. In fact, he should be joyful when prices fall because he can buy great companies at lower prices.

Jackson is self-employed, and he knows it’s better to be an owner rather than a borrower. The best way to create wealth is to own things like stocks, real estate, and a business. You can’t borrow your way to wealth or invest in low yielding investments; you need to take risks and not play it safe.

Our firm does not require an asset or fee minimum, so we’ll work with anybody who wants or needs help – like Jackson. As a result, we receive inquiries from every type of investor – young, old, rich, poor, seasoned, rookies, etc. If we can’t meet their needs directly, we make sure they receive financial guidance from another source. We act like financial missionaries

To create wealth, we should all follow Jackson’s lead – think long-term, invest often, take risks, and focus on our goals.

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. ~ 1 Timothy 4:12

March 5, 2020

Bill Parrott, CFP®, is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management located in Austin, Texas. Parrott Wealth Management is a fee-only, fiduciary, registered investment advisor firm. Our goal is to remove complexity, confusion, and worry from the investment and financial planning process so our clients can pursue a life of purpose. Our firm does not have an asset or fee minimum, and we work with anybody who needs financial help regardless of age, income, or asset level. PWM’s custodian is TD Ameritrade, and our annual fee starts at .5% of your assets and drops depending on the level of your assets.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ from those posted in this blog. PWM is not a tax advisor, nor do we give tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for items that are specific to your situation. Options involve risk and aren’t suitable for every investor.

 

 

7 Reasons to Sell Stocks.

The Coronavirus is winning; global stock markets are losing. The Dow Jones is down 7.5% for the year, and volatility has spiked. In uncertain times, investors sell stocks to buy safe investments like U.S. Treasuries, CDs, or money market funds. Investors are seeking a port in the storm.

Does it make sense to sell stocks? Maybe. Here are seven reasons to sell.

  1. You’re 100% invested in stocks. If you’re allocated 100% to equities, sell shares to add bonds or cash to your portfolio. The bonds and cash will lower the volatility in your account.
  2. You need the money in one year or less. Stocks are unpredictable in the short term. On an annual basis, stocks finish in positive territory 73% of the time. Over twenty years, they have never lost money.[1]
  3. You need the money for a new home, to pay for college, buy a new car, or some other purpose. Invest in short-term bonds or keep your money in a money-market account. Liquidity is paramount.
  4. Your risk exposure is too high. Last year, stocks soared. If you didn’t rebalance your account, your stock exposure might be too high. For example, if your target equity exposure is 70%, and it jumped to 80% last year, sell 10% of your holdings to reduce your risk.
  5. Your goals have changed. If your financial goals changed, adjust your asset allocation to meet your current needs.
  6. You’re retiring this year. If this is your year to retire – congratulations! If so, buy bonds to cover three years of expenses, so you don’t have to worry about the stock market volatility. If your annual expenses are $100,000, purchase $300,000 in bonds.
  7. You’re donating your shares to charity. Donating stock to charity is not a sell, but a transfer. Regardless, you’re reducing your equity exposure. If you have appreciated securities or a concentrated position, consider donating your shares to your favorite charity. Your donation will lower your risk, but more importantly, you’ll help those in need. And, there’s always a need.

Selling from a position of fear has historically been a poor decision because stocks recover. When you react to volatility or a drop in prices, you’re probably selling near a bottom. If you sell your shares, when do you repurchase them? Uncertainty is a central theme for investors, and we never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. What is the price of safety? Currently, a one-year Treasury Bill is yielding .58%. The inflation rate is 2.49%, so if you invest your money in the T-Bill, you’re losing 1.91%, before taxes. Does it make sense to lose 2% per year while you wait for stocks to recover?

A financial plan will help you focus on your goals and your investment allocation. Most financial plans model for stock market drops through Monte Carlo simulations. Money Guide Pro, for example, will run a thousand scenarios to determine the soundness of your plan. It’s better to be partially right than completely wrong. The recent market swings have been wide, but, so far, it is not having any impact on our client’s financial plans.

If your time horizon is three to five years or more, use down days to buy great companies at lower prices. It’s hard to buy low and sell high, but if you dare to do so, you’ll be happy when prices rebound. Will people stop buying cell phones or hamburgers? I don’t think so, so take advantage of people’s fear to add to your stock holdings.

Stocks, like the tide, fluctuate daily, and they have been doing so for centuries. The Coronavirus will eventually pass as did SARS, Ebola, and Zika. And, unfortunately, we will have to battle another villain that will drive stock prices lower.

Create a plan, focus on your goals, think long-term, and good things will happen.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~ Matthews 6:34

March 4, 2020

Bill Parrott, CFP®, is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management located in Austin, Texas. Parrott Wealth Management is a fee-only, fiduciary, registered investment advisor firm. Our goal is to remove complexity, confusion, and worry from the investment and financial planning process so our clients can pursue a life of purpose. Our firm does not have an asset or fee minimum, and we work with anybody who needs financial help regardless of age, income, or asset level. PWM’s custodian is TD Ameritrade, and our annual fee starts at .5% of your assets and drops depending on the level of your assets.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ from those posted in this blog. PWM is not a tax advisor, nor do we give tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for items that are specific to your situation. Options involve risk and aren’t suitable for every investor.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Morningstar Classic Year Book – 2015

A 1% World

Interest rates continue to fall. U.S. Treasury investments with maturities from one month to thirty years are now yielding below 2% as investors pursue safety. The Coronavirus is generating global economic uncertainty, and our government bonds are benefiting.

The ability to generate current income from bonds is challenging. In year’s past, you could rely on a steady stream of income from bonds to meet your needs. Bond interest, plus Social Security were usually enough for individuals to enjoy a comfortable retirement. In 1990, the yield on the 30-Year U.S. Treasury bond was 8%. If you needed $100,000 in income, you purchased $1.25 million worth of bonds. Today, you need $5.26 million, or four times as much. If rates drop to 1%, you’ll need $10 million to receive $100,000 in income!

With Interest rates at historic lows, where can you find income? Here are a few strategies you can employ today.

Dividend-Paying Stocks. Currently, 2,304 stocks are yielding more than a 30-year U.S. Treasury bond at 1.9%.[1] Johnson & Johnson, Intel, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Merck, McDonald’s, Pepsi, Lockheed Martin, Qualcomm, Target, Walgreens, and Clorox are some names on this list. Who knows what interest rates and the stock market will do over the next few days, but I’m confident the prices for most of these names will be higher in 30 years.

Systematic Withdrawal Plan: If you own mutual funds, a systematic withdrawal plan (SWP) allows you to generate monthly, quarterly, or annual income from your existing holdings. For example, if you invested $100,000 in the Vanguard S&P 500 Index Fund (VFINX) in 1980, 40 years ago, and withdrew 4% of the account balance each year, you received over $1 million in payments, and your account balance is now worth more than $1.5 million! In 1980, the income generated from this strategy was $4,000; this year, it will produce $62,956, an increase of 1,473%.[2]

Option Writing.  Writing options or selling calls on stocks you own is a great way to produce more income. Let’s say you own 1,000 shares of ABC company trading for $37 per share. If you want to sell your shares at $40, you can use a covered call strategy. A hypothetical option expiring in April may cost $1. You can write ten call contracts on your ABC holding because one contract equals 100 shares of stock. One thousand shares, or ten contracts, at $1 will generate $1,000 before fees and commissions. The $1,000 will credit your account when the trade is complete.  If ABC stock closes at $40 or higher on the April expiration, you must sell your stock at $40 regardless of how high it trades above your strike price. If ABC stock closes below $40 at expiration, you keep your shares, and you can write another ten contracts for May or June.[3]

Fixed Annuity. Normally, I’m not a fan of annuities, but desperate times call for drastic measures. A fixed annuity allows you to receive monthly income for a certain period, or the rest of your life. The annuity will enable you to receive the income generated from the investments, similar to a bond, or you can annuitize your investment and receive a guaranteed payout for life.  When you annuitize, you won’t be able to make any changes to your income stream. However, it will help you avoid longevity risk or the risk of outliving your money. An annuity is an insurance product, so your fees will be higher than most other products.

It’s tempting to chase rates, but do not be lured into a product offering an extremely high level of interest. A high yield may signal trouble with the underlying investment. Instead, as you hunt for yield, look for an investment that produces a consistent stream of income without taking on too much risk.

If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die. ~ Warren Buffett

February 24, 2020.

Bill Parrott, CFP®, is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management located in Austin, Texas. Parrott Wealth Management is a fee-only, fiduciary, registered investment advisor firm. Our goal is to remove complexity, confusion, and worry from the investment and financial planning process so our clients can pursue a life of purpose. Our firm does not have an asset or fee minimum, and we work with anybody who needs financial help regardless of age, income, or asset level. PWM’s custodian is TD Ameritrade, and our annual fee starts at .5% of your assets and drops depending on the level of your assets.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ from those posted in this blog. PWM is not a tax advisor, nor do we give tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for items that are specific to your situation. Options involve risk and aren’t suitable for every investor.

 

 

 

[1] YCharts

[2] Morningstar Office Hypothetical Tool, 01/01/1980 to 1/31/2020.  Your rate of return may vary and your results may differ. The hypothetical does not include fees or taxes which will adjust the results.

[3] Options involve risk and are not suitable for every investor.

A Flight to Safety

This decade is off to a tough start. The Coronavirus is disrupting global trade, travel, markets, and economies. The 2020 U.S. Presidential election will also add to the uncertainty and confusion. With increasing risk, should you buy, sell, or hold your existing investments?

When forecasts are dire, and projections are bleak, selling your stock positions and moving to cash makes sense. It seems prudent to sell your investments and park the money in a bank until the storm passes, and, when it does, you can repurchase your stocks.

Let’s say, for fun, you invested $1 million in the S&P 500 in 2005 – 100% of your assets. After three years, your strategy paid off. Your account at the end of 2007 is worth $1.172 million, a gain of 17.2%![1]

Here’s where it gets interesting because, we now know, 2008 was a horrible year for the S&P 500. If you decided to hold, you lost 38.3%. Your original investment of $1 million is now worth $747,392, a loss of 25.2%.

With hindsight, you would have sold your investment on December 31, 2007, to lock in your gains. If you sold, you would’ve been a hero, admired for having the foresight and courage to sell after three years of substantial profits. However, it’s unlikely you would’ve moved from cash to stocks in January of 2009 because we were in the midst of the Great Recession. You probably would have waited two or three more years to get back in the market, missing a 40.5% return. If you reinvested in January 2009, you made 23.6% for the year. If you had the conviction to buy the dip in 2008 and 2009, you made even more when stocks recovered.

If you ignored the bear market and held your stocks during the correction of 2008, you made $2.76 million from 2005 to the year-end of 2019, an increase of 227%. Now that your account balance is $2.76 million, what should you do -sell or hold? If you sell, you’ll pay a capital gains tax of 20%, or $455,243 – a significant number. If you hold, you may encounter another stock market correction. A repeat of 2008 would mean a loss of $1.25 million, but still above your original investment of $1 million.

It’s impossible to time the market, but they’re a few strategies you can employ to protect your assets. The first is to diversify your holdings to include different asset classes like small companies, international stocks, and bonds. A globally diversified portfolio of mutual funds would have lost 20.3% in 2008, not great, but better than a loss of 38%. True, you give up some upside, but you protect your assets to the downside. A balanced portfolio of 60% stocks, 40% bonds generated an average annual return of 6.5% since 2005. Your $1 million investment grew to $2.48 million.[2]

More stock means more risk, but it also means more reward. Buy and hold investors have been rewarded for their patience, and, hopefully, this time will not be different.  If you want to find out the risk exposure in your portfolio, give us a call.

“Go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.” — Jimmy Carter

February 3, 2020.

Bill Parrott, CFP®, CKA®, is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management located in Austin, Texas. Parrott Wealth Management is a fee-only, fiduciary, registered investment advisor firm. Our goal is to remove complexity, confusion, and worry from the investment and financial planning process so our clients can pursue a life of purpose. Our firm does not have an asset or fee minimum, and we work with anybody who needs financial help regardless of age, income, or asset level. PWM’s custodian is TD Ameritrade, and our annual fee starts at .5% of your assets and drops depending on the level of your assets.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ from those posted in this blog. PWM is not a tax advisor, nor do we give tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for items that are specific to your situation. Options involve risk and aren’t suitable for every investor.

 

 

[1] YCharts – IVV, 1/1/2005 to 12/31/2019.

[2] Morningstar Office Hypothetical

My Gym

I work out at my local gym twice per week, mostly to lift weights. The amount I lift today is a fraction of what I used to lift while playing football in college, but it keeps me in shape.

My gym is a cross-section of men, women, young, old, fit, and almost fit. During the football offseason, members of the local high school team use our gym to supplement their school workouts. These young men are full of energy and bravado, and they have no coordinated plan for their workout regime. They lift, look in the mirror, look at their phone, talk to their friends, and repeat this process until they leave. They also say “bro” – a lot! I was probably that way in high school, too, except I didn’t have a cell phone. I know if they followed a routine, they’d see better results.

While playing football at the University of San Diego, we had two weightlifting coaches, one a former Navy Seal. They joined our program after my sophomore year and put our team on a weightlifting schedule for the entire year, including football season. I noticed a substantial improvement in my strength and endurance while following their plan.

Now that I’m older and, hopefully, wiser, I still follow their plan because it works. The formula is simple and easy to follow. It was because of their strategy and coaching that allowed me to experience better results.

A plan makes all the difference in the world for almost everything, notably investing. A financial plan can help investors improve their results by giving them a guide on how to achieve their goals. It addresses several issues, including investments, insurance, education, retirement, budgets, debt management, Social Security analysis, to name a few.

Like weightlifting, you won’t see results in a day from your financial plan. It may take months or years before your plan starts to bear fruit. And, like exercise, there will be up days followed by down days requiring you to be patient. During the down days or setbacks, it’s imperative to keep moving forward, regardless of your short-term results. If you completed your plan in October 2007, you were met with a wicked bear market where stocks fell more than 50%. I’m sure you didn’t expect to lose half your investment value within a few months, but if you followed your plan and stayed committed to it, you were able to enjoy a substantial rebound in the stock market from the lows of the Great Recession.

Exercising and investing require regular check-ups to measure your progress. Weightlifters constantly adjust their workouts depending on several factors, investors should do the same. Reviewing your strategy often is recommended based on your circumstances. At our firm, we offer quarterly reviews for our clients to make sure their plan and investments are meeting their needs. I also encourage clients to contact us during a life change – marriage, death, the birth of a child, a job promotion, retirement, etc. It’s easier to tweak your portfolio periodically than it is to do a significant restructuring.

Your plan desires action. If I have a written program for lifting weights, but I don’t follow it, I’m never going to get in shape. After you finish your written financial plan, you need to follow through with the recommendations of your advisor, don’t put it on your shelf to collect dust. Several years ago, I was working with a client who finished setting up a living trust for his family, but he didn’t transfer any assets into the trust. I told him he needed to follow through on his attorney’s recommendations to re-title his assets. He assumed, incorrectly, that since he finished the trust document, he did not need to do anything else. He needed to act on the plan.

Exercising is a lifelong pursuit, as is investing. A consistent, well thought out plan will deliver reliable results over time. Write down your goals, follow your dreams, work with a professional, and good things can happen.

What makes a weightlifting program successful? Your hard work and dedication. ~ Greg Everett

January 28, 2020

Bill Parrott, CFP® is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management located in Austin, Texas. Parrott Wealth Management is a fee-only, fiduciary, registered investment advisor firm. Our goal is to remove complexity, confusion, and worry from the investment and financial planning process so our clients can pursue a life of purpose. Our firm does not have an asset or fee minimum, and we work with anybody who needs financial help regardless of age, income, or asset level. PWM’s custodian is TD Ameritrade, and our annual fee starts at .5% of your assets and drops depending on the level of your assets.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ from those posted in this blog. PWM is not a tax advisor, nor do we give tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for items that are specific to your situation. Options involve risk and aren’t suitable for every investor.