A Few Ways to Lose Money in The Stock Market

The market loves to rip wealth from the hands of investors who panic as stocks fall. The Dow Jones fell about 7% from its high last week because the yield curve inverted for a few minutes.

Markets have been rising and falling for centuries. Since 1926 they’ve risen about 75% of the time. A quarter of the time they’re falling – hard. When stocks fall, investors panic.

Stocks have risen 173% over the past ten years. A $10,000 investment in 2009 is now worth $27,260. However, during this great bull run, the Dow Jones has fallen several times. It fell more than 10% in 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016 and 2018. In December it fell 25% from its high-water mark. Despite the drops, the market has always recovered. Investors who sold their stocks last December missed a 19% rebound in 2019.[1]

The graph below shows all the drops in the market for the past ten years. Despite these drops, the market has risen substantially since 2009.

^DJI_chart

The chart below shows the gain in the Dow Jones Industrial Average from 1950, producing a gain of 17,790%. Since 1950 the U.S. economy has experienced 17 recessions.

^DJI_chart (1)

As stocks gyrate, here are a few ways to lose money in the stock market.

  • You don’t have a plan on how to invest your assets. You trust your financial future to luck, hope, and chance, playing a guessing game as to which investments will do well.
  • Your investment ideas come from cable television shows or social media sites. Remember, the commentators aren’t talking to you directly; they’re broadcasting their message to millions of viewers.
  • You don’t do any research or homework before you buy a stock. And, more importantly, you don’t have a sell strategy. To make money in stocks, you must have discipline when you buy and sell. Knowing your entry and exit points are paramount to make money when you invest.
  • Investors mistake volatility for risk. If you do, you’re more likely to sell stocks when they’re down. The Dow Jones has a standard deviation of 1%, meaning a 1% drop in the Dow is about 260 points. When investors hear that the market is down 260 points, they panic. However, this move is typical and expected.
  • Time matters when you invest in stocks. The market is efficient in the long-term, but not so much in the near term. If you need money in one year or less, don’t buy stocks.
  • Trying to time the market is impossible. From 1990 – 2018, the S&P 500 returned 9.29%. If you missed the 25 best days, your return dropped to 4.18%.[2]
  • A lack of diversification hurts investors in a downdraft. A well-diversified portfolio owns several investments that rise and fall at different times. If all your investments are moving in the same direction, you’re not diversified. For example, the Dow Jones has fallen 5% for the past month, but long-term bonds have risen 10%.

Over the next 100 years, the U.S. will experience several recessions, maybe even a depression. The market will rise substantially and fall dramatically. No one knows! It’s impossible to predict a recession since most of the economic data is trailing, so by the time it’s been identified, it’s probably half over.

I do understand that market drops are scary. However, holding and buying stocks through market troughs has proven to be a winning strategy. If you invested $10,000 in the Dow Jones on October 1, 2007, just before the start of the Great Recession, your balance would be worth $18,340 today. At the market low, your balance dropped to $6,547. If you sold, you locked in a loss of $3,453. If you held on, you made $8,340.

What I do know is that investors who follow their plan, save money, diversify their assets, invest for the long-term usually win in the end.

Stay the course, my friends.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. ~ Psalm 23:4

August 23, 2019

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.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ than 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. Website Accessed August 23, 2019

[2] Dimensional Fund Advisors, Investment Principles

Headwinds

The stock market has hit a rough patch recently, falling 5.75% since the Federal Reserve cut interest rates on July 30. Headwinds have been stout as market participants react to the trade war, protesters in Hong Kong, Brexit, Trump’s tweets, and calculated language from Chairman Powell.

The recent selloff follows the May decline when stocks fell 7%. For the past 50 years, the average decline from a market top has been 10.7%.[1]

Are this year’s headwinds worse than in previous years? You might say yes because of recency bias. However, it’s in-line with previous market pullbacks.

Here are a few facts.

  • The Dow Jones is up 9.23% for the year and 171% for the past ten.
  • International markets are up 4.32% for the year and 19% for the past ten.
  • Long-term bonds are up 20.8% for the year and 57% for the past ten.
  • A globally diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds (60% stocks, 40% bonds) is up 10% for the year and 104% for the past ten.
  • The 30-Year U.S. Treasury bond is currently yielding 2.03%, a historic low. In 1990, it paid 8%.
  • The current U.S. inflation rate is 1.81%. In 1980 it was 14.5%.

Let’s review how a 60% stock, 40% balanced index performed during past routs if you held on until the end of last year.[2]

  • Stocks fell 48% from 1973 to 1974. If you purchased the index before the drop, your average annual return was 10.4%.
  • Stocks fell 19% in 1990 during the Gulf War. If you purchased the index before the drop, your average annual return was 8%.
  • Stocks fell 43% during the Tech Wreck. If you bought the index in 2000, before the drop, your average annual return was 6.8%.
  • Stocks fell 53% during the Great Recession. If you bought the index in 2007, before the drop, your average annual return was 4.7%.

Markets turn quickly, so it’s best to own a globally diversified portfolio of low-cost funds.

I understand that emotions trump facts when stocks fall 500 points or more. It’s human nature to want to sell your investments and wait for trouble to pass. When fear is high, investors want to trade stocks for bonds until the coast is clear. If you invest in a portfolio of U.S. Treasuries, your current yield would be approximately 1.8%, or about the rate of inflation, so after subtracting inflation, your net return would be zero. It will be less than zero after paying taxes on the income you received.

Are you concerned about the loss of your principal? If so, here are a few steps you can employ today.

  • Reduce your stock exposure. If your stock allocation is 60%, lower it to 40%. Lowering it will reduce your risk by 25%.
  • Increase your cash position to cover three years’ worth of household expenses. If your annual expenses are $100,000, keep $300,000 in cash or short-term investments. A three-year cash cushion will allow you to ride out most market corrections. For example, if you had a high cash reserve from October 2007 to October 2010, it would’ve allowed your stock investments time to recover. In other words, you didn’t need to sell your stocks at the bottom of the Great Recession.
  • Rebalance your accounts to keep your allocation and risk level in check. Since stocks and bonds fluctuate, your asset allocation will change if you do nothing. If you started with a 50% stock, 50% bond portfolio ten years ago, it would have a current allocation of 72% stocks, 28% bonds. By doing nothing, your risk level increased by 37%. An annual rebalance will keep your portfolio allocation at 50/50.[3]
  • Buy the dip. It takes courage and wisdom to buy stocks after they’ve fallen dramatically. Investors who purchased stocks in March 2009, after falling 53%, were rewarded with a gain of 322%! An investment of $100,000 is now worth $422,200.[4] Using the past 100 years as a guide, then buying stocks when they’re down is an intelligent strategy.

Investing is a courageous act, especially when your investments are tumbling. Short-term trading, mixed with short-term thinking, will derail your long-term plans. Rather than acting on impulse, focus on your financial plan. A well-designed plan accounts for multiple scenarios, including broad market declines. If you’re not sure how your investments will impact your financial future, give me a call and let’s figure it out.

I believe the market is going to fluctuate. ~ J.P. Morgan

August 15, 2019

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.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ than 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: August 1, 1969 – August 14, 2019

[2] Dimensional Funds 2018 Matrix Book. Returns ending 12/31/2018.

[3] Morningstar Office Hypothetical.

[4] YCharts: March 9, 2009 to August 14, 2019.

Trifecta

Picking a trifecta is difficult, at best. Identifying the first three winners of a horse race, in order, is called a trifecta. The 2019 Kentucky Derby had 19 finishers, so you had to choose from 5,814 potential combinations! If you were correct, the $2 trifecta paid $22,950.

During my career in financial planning, I’ve found three things to be true: individuals aren’t aware of the type of investments they own, how much risk they’re taking, or what level of fees they’re paying.

After meeting with someone, I’ll review their investments to give them an idea of their financial situation. Often, they’re surprised how they’re allocated, their risk level, and the fees they’ve paid. I’ll then compare the results to their financial plan to make sure all three (allocation, risk, and fees) are in sync. The goal is to achieve a financial balance.

Let’s look at the three components.

Asset allocation. Your asset allocation determines most of your returns and your risk level. You might be able to improve your results by investing when the market is low; However, the odds of picking a bottom are extremely rare.

For the past 45 years, a portfolio of 100% stocks generated an average annual return of 12.9%. A portfolio consisting of 100% bonds produced an average annual return of 6%. A balanced portfolio of 60% stocks, 40% bonds made an average annual return of 10.4%.[1]

The returns varied depending on the market conditions. The 100% bond strategy never lost money from 1973 to 2018. The returns have dropped dramatically since 1999; the average annual return has been less than 3% for the past 20 years.

The 100% equity portfolio has produced the best returns, but with the highest risk. From 1973 to 1974, it dropped 41.5%. In 2008 it fell 41.8%. Last year it was down 11.8%. To achieve double-digit returns, you need to take some risk.

The balanced portfolio had considerably less downside than the all-equity portfolio. From 1973 to 1974, it dropped 20.8%. In 2008 it fell 24.8%. Last year it was down by 6.2%. The losses have been about half those of the all-equity portfolio.

Risk level. Risk has several definitions. Losing money is a risk. Volatility is a risk. Longevity is a risk. Inflation is a risk. Liquidity is a risk. Investing all your money in a fixed income portfolio will expose you to inflation and longevity risk. Investing everything in the stock market exposes you to volatility and principal risk. It’s hard to identify your risk level, especially after a 10-year bull market. One test is to review your trading during the 2008 Great Recession. When stocks fell 50%, what did you do? Did you sell your shares? Did you buy stocks? Did you buy bonds? Did you do anything?

Using a service like RiskAlyze or Finametrica can help you determine your risk tolerance. If you’re curious, you can take a quiz on my website by clicking on the “free-portfolio risk analysis” tab located on the upper right-hand corner of my website. Here’s the address: www.parrottwealth.com.

Fees. The fees you pay for your investments matter. Of course, the lower your costs, the higher your return (all things being equal). If you and your brother-in-law own the same fund, but your advisor charges you 2% per year, and his advisor charges .5%, he’ll have better returns. Fees vary, so be aware. Your advisor may bill you by the hour, charge a flat fee, assess a percentage of your assets, or take a commission. Regardless, a fee is a fee. Also, your investments may include other charges if you own mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, or insurance products. If your investment is sold with a prospectus, you’re paying a fee.

If you’re not sure about your investments, then hire a Certified Financial Planner® to help you figure it out. But, before you do, ask your planner how they get compensated and what type of investments they recommend.

Last, completing a financial plan will help you organize and quantify your goals, so they’re in sync with your asset allocation, risk level, and fee structure – a trifecta!

A horse gallops with his lungs perseveres with his heart and wins with his character. ~ Federico Tesio

August 13, 2019

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.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ than 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] 2019-Dimensional Matrix Book returns from 1973 – 2018.

50 Days or 50 Years?

The summer season started 50 days ago, and 50 years ago, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. One short-term, one long.

Traders are short-term focused, and they use a bevy of indicators to try to gain an edge. One of their tools is the moving average. What is a moving average? Here is a definition from Investopedia: “A moving average (MA) is a widely used indicator in technical analysis that helps smooth out price action by filtering out the “noise” from random short-term price fluctuations. It is a trend-following, or lagging, indicator because it is based on past prices.” Since it’s a trend following system, traders will try to ride it for as long as possible.

Traders can focus on several moving averages – 10, 20, 30, 50, 100, or 200 days. When an index trades above its moving average, it’s considered a bullish sign for it to climb higher. When the index dips below it, traders consider it a bearish sign that the market will fall further.

Traders and commentators love to focus on a moving average as a key indicator of short-term moves in the market because it’s an easy indicator to follow. When the index crosses above the moving average, buy. When it dips below, sell. It sounds so simple.

Here’s a look at the most recent 50-day moving average for the S&P 500.

^SPX_chart

Currently, the S&P 500 is trading below it’s 50-day moving average. Should you sell? If you bought the index 50 days ago when the index was trading above the moving average, you’d be down 1.2% if you held on through yesterday’s close. In the past 50 days, the index has crossed through its 50-day moving average six different times.

Traders also rely on the Golden Cross and Death Cross. The Golden Cross occurs when the 50-day crosses above the 200-day, a bullish sign. The Death Cross occurs when the 50-day crosses through the 200-day and falls below it, an extremely bearish signal.

Should you trade the moving averages? If you’re a disciplined short-term trader, it may give you an edge. However, stocks and indices move through their moving averages constantly so you may get whipsawed by the numerous buy and sell signals.  And which indicator should you follow? A 10-day indicator will give a different signal than the 200-day moving average.

A buy and hold investor can save time and stress by ignoring the moving averages. Rather than looking for trading indicators, focus your efforts on identifying your financial goals so you can take advantage of the long-term trend of the stock market.

Fifty years ago, the S&P 500 closed at 93.94. This past Friday the index closed at 2,918.65 – a gain of 3,006%! If you tried to trade each move through the moving average, your returns probably would’ve been a lot less.

^SPX_chart (2)

The long-term trend of the market is hard to beat, but it hasn’t been a straight line. It has been littered with violent moves. The index has fallen 30% or more seven times since 1969, or about 1 in every 7 years. From September 2000 to February 2013 the index traded flat. Investors who grew frustrated with 13 years of poor performance and sold their holdings missed a 93% return from 2013 to 2019.

Is it better to focus on a short-term trading strategy or concentrate on a long-term buy and hold model? I prefer the buy and hold model. Here are a few suggestions to help you answer your own question.

  • If you need the money in one year or less, keep your assets in short-term vehicles like CDs, Treasury Bills, or money market funds.
  • If your money is earmarked for something like paying for college or buying a new home, then keep your money in short-term investments regardless of the time frame. For example, if you plan to buy a new home in three years, then your money should be kept in short-term, conservative investments.
  • If you want to try your hand at short-term trading, limit your risk capital to 3% to 5% of your investable assets. If you’re successful, it will enhance your returns. If you’re not, it won’t bring financial ruin.
  • If your time horizon is 3 to 5 years or more, invest in stocks.
  • Work with a Certified Financial Planner® to help you identify and quantify your goals.

Timing the market is extremely difficult regardless of the indicator you choose. Rather than trying to time the market, spend time focusing on your financial goals.

We don’t really look at the stock, you know. Because for us, it’s about the long term. And so, we’re very much focused on long-term shareholder value but not the short-term kind of stuff. ~ Tim Cook


August 11, 2019

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.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ than 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.

Predators

According to the African Wildlife Foundation, the lion population has declined 43% in the last two decades, and approximately 23,000 remain on the continent.[1] Other animals that face extinction are the Bengal Tiger, Northern White Rhino, Clouded Leopard, Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, and the Red Wolf.[2] Sadly there are over 41,000 species on the extinction list, and another 16,000 that are considered endangered.[3] From bees to zebras, animals are disappearing at an alarming rate.

Six of the eight species of bears are on the endangered list. Polar and panda bears are considered vulnerable.[4]

Predators are needed to maintain order in the ecosystem. A world without predators sounds nice, but it causes other problems. New Zealand wants to eradicate their predators by 2050. Stoats and ferrets aren’t native to the island, and they’ve been eating the Kiwi – the bird, not the fruit – at an alarming rate.[5] The Stoat and ferret don’t have any predators.

Bulls and bears dominate the stock market. Bulls represent a rising market, bears a declining one. Bullish traders expect the market to rise while bearish traders expect it to fall. Bulls are usually more optimistic than bears.

Can the stock market survive without bears? Wouldn’t the market be better off if everybody was bullish or optimistic? I don’t think so. Bears are needed to maintain order and balance in the marketplace. I believe their job is to identify problems, poke holes in rosy forecasts and look for accounting issues in financial statements.

Citigroup publishes the Panic/Euphoria index weekly. The chart ranges from positive .6 – euphoria to negative .9 – panic, but most of the time, the readings fall between .3 and -.3. When the indicator approaches .3, the market has risen substantially, bulls are winning, and investors are feeling euphoric, so it’s due for a sell-off. Conversely, when it drops to negative .3, investors are panicking, bears are winning, and the market is due for a rebound. Last December the indicator traded below -.3 as stocks were falling and then the market went on a terror, rising more than 27% during the next seven months. When Citigroup’s index trades to extremes, the market’s ecosystem is out of balance.

Jim Chanos is a famous short seller and one of the early bears to attack Enron. The accounting didn’t add up, so he shorted the stock in late 2000.  Enron declared bankruptcy in December 2001 – a good call by Mr. Chanos.

John Hussman, Ph.D., manager of the Hussman Funds, is expecting a market loss “on the order of 60-65%” based on his analysis of current market conditions.[6] The Hussman Strategic Growth Fund (HSGFX) has a 10-year average annual return of -7.46%. A $10,000 investment in 2009 is now worth $4,599. The S&P 500 Index returned 14.3% per year over the same time frame. A $10,000 investment in the index is now worth $30,870.

Harry S. Dent, Jr. is calling for the “biggest crash ever” coming by 2020. Mr. Dent is the author of The Roaring 2000s published in 1998 and The Great Depression Ahead published in 2009. The exact opposite happened for both books. If he had reversed the order of his books, he’d be an investing legend.

I’m habitually bullish on stocks because, on average, they’ve risen three out of every four years, and they’ve generated an average annual return of 10% for the past 93 years. However, I do read bearish reports to give me a perspective on what others are thinking. Negative outlooks and forecasts keep me in check. The bearish reports force me to ask, “What am I missing?”

If there are no predators, the ecosystem will get out of balance – in nature and the markets.

Life, uh, finds a way. ~ Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

July 29, 2019

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 any asset or fee minimums, and we work with anybody who needs financial help regardless of age, income, or asset level.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ than 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://www.awf.org/blog/recovering-africas-lost-lion-populations, March 2, 2018 by Jimmiel Mandima

[2] https://awionline.org/content/list-endangered-species#mammals, website accessed July 29, 2019

[3] http://www.endangeredearth.com/, website accessed July 29, 2019

[4] https://seethewild.org/bear-threats/ website accessed July 30, 2019

[5] https://www.kiwisforkiwi.org/about-kiwi/threats/predators-pests/mustelids/ website accessed July 30, 2019

[6] https://www.hussmanfunds.com/comment/observations/obs190714/, John P. Hussman, Ph.D., July 14, 2019

Does Age Matter?

Bloomberg recently published an article titled: The Old Rules for Building Wealth Are Obsolete. It highlights a few prominent financial advisors who target millennials. My take on the article is that older planners don’t understand younger clients. One advisor said, “Do you think someone’s going to tell some 65-year-old white dude, ‘Hey, we’re having trouble getting pregnant, can we take $20,000 out of savings?’’ She said, “They Won’t.”[1] Listening to the client, assessing their situation, and implementing their plan is universal – regardless of the age of the client or the advisor.

I was 24 when I started in the investment business. My friends and I didn’t have any money. We were concerned about paying down debt, getting married, raising kids, buying homes, and advancing our careers. We were struggling to save $50 a month, and we never talked about retirement. We had millennial-type issues.

Clients feel more comfortable working with advisors who think and act as they do, so it’s not surprising that younger clients want to work with younger advisors. My first branch manager told me clients gravitate towards advisors in whom they have much in common. My initial clients were in their 60s, 70s, and 80s primarily because I prospected with tax-free municipal bonds, a popular investment among people with assets. After obtaining a new client in his mid-80s, an “older” broker of 50+ approached me to see if I needed help. He was concerned I wouldn’t be able to handle the account because I didn’t understand the individual’s needs. I didn’t take him up on his offer.

If age is the key component for a client-advisor relationship, then boomers will work with boomers and millennials will work with millennials, and so on. Thankfully, this is not the case. Advisors most likely work with a slice of each cohort.

Unfortunately, the financial planning industry does have an age and diversity problem. It’s an industry dominated by older white males. 77% of Certified Financial Planners® are male[2] , and the average age is 50, while 11.7% of advisors are under the age of 35.[3] According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 86% of individuals working as a personal financial planner are white.[4]

I welcome the youth movement for the profession, maybe because I started in the business at a young age. When I talk to students, young professionals, or youth groups, I encourage them to explore the industry as a career choice. Colleges and universities have been offering degrees in financial planning for a few years. Schools like Texas Tech and Texas A&M are producing extraordinary financial planner graduates – a boon for the profession.

Next year I’ll be the president of my local financial planning association, and my mission is to expand our Women’s Initiative program and NexGen platform. Our women’s initiative is strong and robust; NextGen needs some help. I’m hopeful these two groups will flourish in our chapter for years to come. Our chapter does have a growing presence among women, minorities, and millennials. Two of our past five presidents have been African American women.

Financial planning and investment advice have always focused on relationships and trust. A good advisor will listen to a person’s needs, assess their situation, and give guidance. More importantly, they put the interest of their clients first and act in a fiduciary capacity. These old rules will never be obsolete.

Financial planning is life planning, and life is constantly changing. The young will grow old. Their wealth will increase. Their needs will change. My friends and I are much older now, and we’re concerned about retirement, helping our children launch their careers, worried about our aging parents, and giving back to our communities. The circle of life marches on; I doubt it will change soon.

Maybe I’m an old curmudgeon, but I still believe the planning and wealth management rules of yore still work today. Financial planning should be agnostic to income, age, race, gender, etc. It should be available to those who want or need help – based on trust and understanding.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. ~ 1 Timothy 4:12

Wisdom is with the aged and understanding in length of days. ~ Job 12:12

July 25, 2019

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 any asset or fee minimums and we work with anybody who needs financial help regardless of age, income or asset level.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ than 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://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-24/how-to-build-wealth-prepare-for-retirement-when-you-re-young, Suzanne Woolley, July 24, 2019

[2] https://www.cfp.net/news-events/research-facts-figures/cfp-professional-demographics

[3] https://retirementincomejournal.com/article/babybust-only-11-7-of-financial-advisors-are-under-35-cerulli/, Editorial Staff, March 8, 2018.

[4] https://www.carsongroup.com/insights/blog/advisors-face-a-diversity-problem/, Cameron Carlow, February 21, 2019

Working Forever

I’m going to work forever, never retire. I love my job, I like my clients, my commute is less than four minutes, and my office is air-conditioned with high-speed internet. What could be better? When I tell people I’m going to work forever, they think I’m crazy. Likewise, when I meet someone who’s going to retire early, I think they’re crazy. There’s probably a happy medium in there somewhere.

My movement is going to be called FINR (Finer): Financial Independent Never Retire, the opposite of the FIRE movement, Financially Independent Retire Early. Individuals who adhere to the FIRE movement save an excessive amount of their income so they can retire early.

Of course, if you’ve saved up enough money to retire early, go for it. If you want to work forever, knock yourself out. It’s your money. Someone once told me: “It’s my money; I can do whatever the hell I want with it.” If you have enough resources to cover your expenses for the rest of your life, then you can do whatever you want.

Several high-profile people are still working, or they never retired. Warren Buffett is 88 and his partner, Charlie Munger, is 95. Mother Teresa worked until the end. I’ve searched the Bible for the word retirement, and it doesn’t exist.

What are some advantages to working forever? Here are a few:

  • Live Longer. According to a Harvard Medical School study, they found that individuals who work longer also live longer and are in better health than those who retire early. They site physical activity, mental stimulation, and social engagements as key reasons.[1]
  • Delayed Social Security. Working longer will allow you to defer your Social Security benefits to age 70. You’re eligible to receive your benefits at age 62. For every year you defer your benefit, you’ll get an 8% raise. For example, at age 62, you may receive $21,475 per year, but if you wait until age 70, you’ll get $39,750.
  • No RMD’s. Working past age 70 will allow you to defer your required minimum distributions for the money in your 401(k). You’re still must take your RMD from your IRA if you work beyond age 70, however.
  • Save less. The longer you plan to work, the less money you need to save monthly. If your goal is to save $1 million in 10 years, you need to save $6,440 per month. Expanding your time horizon to 50 years means you only need to save $375 per month. Of course, you’ll never know when, where, or why you’ll need money, so save as much as possible today.
  • Give more. Working longer will allow you to give more money away through employee and employer contributions without dipping into your principal or savings.
  • Healthcare benefits. One obstacle to early retirement is paying for healthcare. Retiring before age 65 will force you to purchase private healthcare insurance — an expensive expense. Working beyond age 65 will allow you to use your employer’s health benefits.

Working longer doesn’t mean you have to forego living. I’ve seen most states and visited several countries. My family and I take vacations every year, and we enjoy hobbies. I still hike, bike, fish, run, read, and so on. Working hasn’t hindered our ability to enjoy life.

The end is inevitable Maverick; your kind is heading towards extension. Maybe so, sir, but not today. ~ Top Gun Maverick 2020 Movie Trailer.

July 20, 2019

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.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ than 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://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/working-later-in-life-can-pay-off-in-more-than-just-income, Published June 2018, website accessed July 20, 2019.

All Time Highs!

A record number of climbers reached the peak of Everest this year. In fact, it was so crowded that climbers had to wait in a long line to reach the summit and the approach to the peak was described as a “traffic jam.”[1] A climber spends about two months getting acclimated to the elevation before they start their ascent to the highest point on earth.[2] After a few minutes at the top snapping a few selfies to capture the view they’ll start descending to base camp. A slow climb to the top, a faster descent home.

This past week the S&P 500 hit an all-time high of 3,013. It’s been a long, slow ascent for the index to reach its current peak. In 1998 it crossed 1,000 for the first time. It broke through 2,000 in 2014. Fifty years ago, it was at 92. When I started in the business it was 330 and the Dow Jones was trading below 3,000!

The rise from 92 to 3,000 hasn’t been straight up, of course. During the Great Depression the index produced a return of .6% per year (1929 – 1943). In the decade of the ‘70s it rose 15 points, or 1.5% per year. It fell 42% from August 2000 to September 2002. It cratered 46% from October 2007 to March 2009. Despite these rough patches, the index managed to generate an average annual return of 10% dating back to 1926.

What now? Will the S&P 500 fall back to earth? Will it dip or dive soon? Who knows? I’m sure it will be as volatile as it has been in the past. When it does drop, use it as an opportunity to buy a few quality stocks or funds. Buy the dip, historically, has been good advice.

If you’re concerned about a descent from the ascent, here are a few strategies you can incorporate today to protect your assets.

  • Take some gains and sell your stocks. Locking in a profit never hurts. You can sell your winners or losers to raise cash. Ideally, you’ll want to sell your winners in a tax deferred account like an IRA and sell your losers in a taxable account for the tax write off. Regardless, selling stocks to raise cash makes sense if you’re concerned about a drop.
  • Buy bonds. Buying bonds yielding 1% to 2% sounds boring. It is. Bonds reduce risk and volatility in your account. During times of duress, however, you’ll be glad you own bonds. In the drops I mentioned above, bonds performed well. During the Great Depression, long-term government bonds averaged an annual return of 4.3% (1929 – 1943). During the ‘70’s they averaged 5.5%. In 2000 bonds rose 21.5% and they climbed 25.9% in 2008.
  • Buy puts. Use put options to hedge your portfolio for short term moves. Options are used to protect individual positions like Amazon or indices like the S&P 500. This strategy is expensive, so use it sparingly. Let’s look at a put option for Amazon. Amazon is currently trading at $2,012. Buying the August 16, 2019 $2,010 put option will cost $6,155 for every 100 shares you own. If Amazon falls below $2,010 on, or before, August 16 you may profit on your trade. If Amazon stays above $2,010, you’ll lose 100% of your investment. If a short-term option strategy is too risky, you can extend the maturity date. For example, the January 17, 2020 $2,010 put option will cost $13,410. Still expensive and risky. To employ this strategy only work with an advisor who is well versed in trading options.
  • Do nothing. Be still and let your stocks run. Trying to time the market may cost you more than a market correction. Over time, a buy and hold strategy performs well. A recent study by Dimensional Fund Advisors highlights this point. From 1926 to 2018, they found the market is significantly higher after a market reaches a new high. According to their study, the market is 14.1% higher one-year after reaching a new high. The three-year average is 10.4% and the five-year average is 9.9%.[3] Don’t sell your stocks If your only reason to sell is because the market has reached a new high.

Everest will always be there and so will the stock market. Unlike Everest, the S&P 500 can continue to soar to new heights – without limit. I’m not sure what the market will do in the next few months, but I’m convinced it will be significantly higher 50 years from now. My recommendation is to stay the course and enjoy the view.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? ~ Psalm 121:1

July 13, 2019

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.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ than 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://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/05/24/mount-everest-has-gotten-so-crowded-that-climbers-are-perishing-traffic-jams/?utm_term=.6d6dd10799e9, May 25, 2019 by Siobhan O’Grady

[2] https://www.nepalsanctuarytreks.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-climb-mount-everest/

[3] file:///C:/Users/parro/Downloads/Timing%20Isn%E2%80%99t%20Everything.pdf, July 2019

Call an Expert!

It was time to upgrade my laptop because my old computer was starting to show its age. I did my homework by comparing models, prices, warranties, etc. I had a working knowledge of computers and knew what I was looking for, so I didn’t consult anyone about my purchase.

After my due diligence was done, I purchased a brand name computer from a big box retailer. I spent one Saturday afternoon transferring the data to my new laptop. The transfer was easy and seamless. I was ready to go. However, my computer wasn’t. It was extremely slow. I was frustrated and upset at the lack of response from my new system, but I was going to give it a couple of days to see if it improved. No luck. The speed never increased, and the performance lagged my old computer. Most of my software systems were running at less than optimal performance.

I vented to my wife. She listened, for a while, and then told me to call an expert.

A few days later I contacted an IT expert to help me trouble shoot my system. The first thing he did was check the speed of the CPU. He showed me my CPU’s speed relative to others, and it was close to last, if not dead last. My computer would never be fast. Thankfully my purchase was still under warranty, so I returned it.

With the help of my IT consultant, we picked a new computer based on my needs. My new computer is smaller, lighter, and faster than my previous one. It works like a charm. Had I hired him prior to my first purchase I would have saved a lot of time, hassle and money.

Individual investors should hire an expert as well. Regardless if you’re a do-it-yourself investor or someone who has no interest in managing money, a professional can potentially help you improve your financial situation.  We can all use a little help.

Here are a few ways a Certified Financial Planner® can help you with your finances.

  • Budgeting
  • Financial Planning
  • Retirement Planning
  • Estate Planning
  • Education Planning
  • Special Needs Planning
  • Investment Advice
  • Investment Selection
  • Asset Allocation Models
  • Asset Management
  • Business Valuations
  • 401(k) Guidance
  • Cash Flow Planning
  • Charitable and Philanthropic Planning
  • Income Distribution
  • Required Minimum Distributions
  • Social Security Optimization
  • Beneficiary Updates and Reviews
  • Debt Management
  • Equity Compensation Analysis
  • IRA Rollovers
  • Life Insurance Analysis
  • Long-Term Care Insurance Analysis
  • Asset Protection
  • Risk Management
  • Fee Analysis
  • Second Opinions

This list gives you a good idea of the services provided by a Certified Financial Planner.® In addition, most planners have access to CPA’s, attorneys, mortgage brokers, bankers, and other professionals who can help you with most of your planning needs. Give us a call. Don’t go it alone!

for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory. ~ Proverbs 24:6

July 11, 2019

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.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ than 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.

 

 

 

Can I Get A New Toy?

On a recent trip to Target I heard several kids asking their parents if they could buy a toy, a shirt, a game, and so on. The kids were relentless in their pursuit of acquiring something, anything. Their parents were equally relentless in the denial of their children’s wants. This is a battle that will be waged for years to come.

My daughter wasn’t immune to acquiring new toys. She had a strong desire to own as many My Little Ponies and Breyer Horses as she could. Her mom and I had to tell her no quite often. When she’d get upset, we called it the Green-Eyed Monster from the Bernstein Bears Book: The Bernstein Bears and the Green-Eyed Monster.

When she was five years old, we gave her a weekly allowance of $1. When she received her first dollar, she wanted to visit the toy store to buy a very large Breyer Horse. I knew how this was going to turn out as her dollar was going to fall about $45 short of her goal. She was not going to be happy. When we arrived at the toy store, she pointed to the horse she wanted to buy and together we looked at the price tag – instant tears. She was upset because she couldn’t buy the horse, and, worse, it would take her months to save enough money to buy it. It was a great learning experience.

Her allowance taught her how to save money for buying things she wanted. More importantly, she stopped asking us if she could get a new toy every time we went shopping. If she had the money, she could buy what ever she wanted. In addition to saving her money, she started to give some of it away to her Church. She was learning the gifts of saving money, living within her means, and giving money away to help others. As a young adult, she has kept these important habits.

Here are a few suggestions to help you turn your child into a super-saver and smart spender.

  • Give them an allowance. A few dollars a week will allow them to start saving money and give them a sense of ownership.
  • Establish a savings account. It’s easy to open a savings account. Since they’re young, you’ll need to be listed on the account as well. They will, or should, get excited to see their account balance grow. I still remember my first savings account at a local bank, I was thrilled to see it climb above $60.
  • Let them spend their money. If they have $50 in their wallet, let them spend $50 at the store. At some point, they’ll get tired of spending their own money on things that won’t last. It will also be painful for them to see their bank account get depleted.
  • Encourage them to give money away. Let them decide on how best to donate their money. They can decide when and where it makes sense to help others. The joy of giving brings happiness to all.
  • Teach them to invest. After they have saved a few dollars, teach them how to buy a stock or mutual fund. Let them identify a few companies they have an interest in owning like Apple, Facebook, Coke, Pepsi, McDonald’s, etc. They’ll take pride in their ownership. They’ll also learn about the stock market, the economy, and investor behavior.
  • Invest for growth. Young investors should invest 100% of their funds in stocks or growth-oriented investments.
  • Open a Roth IRA. Once your children start working and earning income, open a Roth IRA. A summer job might pay them a few thousand dollars, so contribute a portion of their salary to a Roth. Kids can invest 100% of their income or $6,000, whichever is less, per year to an IRA. Contributing to an IRA at age 18 will pay huge dividends when they get older. In fact, your kids can let their money grow tax-free for more than 50 years! Investing $1,000 per year in the Investment Company of America Mutual Fund (AIVSX) for 50 years is now worth $2.14 million![1] Not bad for a summer job.

It’s unlikely your five-year-old will ask you to open a Roth IRA or set up a dollar cost averaging program. However, giving your child money to spend, save and give away will establish lifelong benefits. It will change their narrative and make your trips to the store more enjoyable.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. ~  1 Timothy 4:12

July 9, 2019

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.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ than 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.

 

 

 

[1] Morningstar Office Hypothetical: June 30, 1969 to June 30, 2019.