Last week the S&P snapped its losing streak, posting gains of about 3%. This follows the worst first half performance since 1970. The June jobs report showed the economy added 372,000 jobs in June, well above the expected 250,000. Some analysts expect that continued strong employment numbers will encourage the Fed to raise rates by another ¾ of a percent at its meeting later this month. 
Through all of the turmoil, our advice remains the same. A solid financial plan starts with positive cash flow, which means being conscious of your spending habits. Follow that with a strong emergency fund, aiming to build to six months of living expenses. Take advantage of dips in the market to reposition taxable accounts and harvest tax losses. Talk with your tax professional about Roth conversions. Keep adding to your retirement accounts.
If you are still working, market downturns like this are wonderful! I know it doesn’t feel like it. Shift your thinking to shares and not dollars. With each contribution you are buying more shares while the market is down. You haven’t lost any shares if you’ve stayed invested. Just ignore that nauseous feeling in the pit of your stomach.
We’ve been talking with clients about their wills and estate planning documents. Many have expressed an interest in saving money by having them done online, rather than working with a qualified estate attorney. It’s expensive to be cheap. Many of the online companies don’t offer testamentary trusts as part of their wills, so assets are left outright to minor children. The state will require the funds to be held in a UTMA, or Uniform Trust for Minors Account, which automatically becomes theirs at 21. Beyond that, we see people often forget to update all of their beneficiary designations.
Worse than that, many of these online companies will push people to Revocable Living Trusts, which cost more and can be more challenging to establish correctly. While these are appropriate for many people, they are not needed by most. And if you have one, you need to retitle your house and other assets into the trust.
We also see people who did everything online but never executed, or signed, the documents. Or funded their trusts. Or changed their beneficiaries. Chances are you’ll have the same will for many, many years. Consider the cost over a ten-year period, and it becomes much more reasonable. For a great checklist of things to consider when making your estate plan, give us a call or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your action item this week is to check your beneficiaries. Don’t forget old 401(k) plans or pensions from a previous employer.
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Investment advice offered through Great Valley Advisor Group, a Registered Investment Advisor.
All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.
The opinions voiced in this show are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which strategies or investment(s) may be appropriate for you, contact the appropriate qualified professional prior to making a decision.