Each October we remind you of important financial planning tasks to check off as we approach the end of the year. These include open enrollment for health insurance and Medicare, making sure you meet your annual savings goals, completing tax-efficient recommendations including charitable gifting. We remind you because they are important steps in achieving your long term financial goals. Checking off these annual milestones can help you see the contributions you are making to the things you can control, regardless of what world events we can’t control.
This October we pause to acknowledge you’re likely feeling the weight of the seventh month of social distancing, and next week’s election. Keeping with our promise to avoid sharing news you probably see elsewhere, we’ll focus on things we are doing for you, as well as positive actions you can take during these uncertain times.
We do not make predictions, but we have been recommending many of our clients “fill the cash bucket” as we head into the Fall. For those who rely on portfolio withdrawals each year, keeping up to two or three years’ needs in cash reduces the need to sell investments if the market declines. The past month has seen most stock indexes hitting highs, making this a relatively good time to fill up that bucket.
Who hasn’t worried about the possibility of market turmoil surrounding the election. Many scenarios could play out. Placing bets on any one is a dangerous game. Just have a look at how quickly the market recovered after it’s waterfall drop last March, followed by the biggest single day gain in 80 years on March 24 (over 9%). Neither was expected, and the best course of action was to stick with your long term plan.
Sticking with your plan can be hard, though. Knowing the right thing to do and actually following through with it is tougher if you’re feeling worried and uncertain. Our brains are wired to act, and when we are stressed and worried, doing what we know is right can feel wrong. This leads plenty of people to make choices they regret later. If you find yourself feeling this way, let us know so we can talk about positive actions you can take on the path to meeting your long term goals.
We take our own advice. We’ve been asked if we would have committed to our new office if we knew we’d all be working from home and over video. Admittedly, our timing was perfect, moving in just as the work environment seems to have permanently changed. It’s okay, though, because we didn’t build this office space for 2020, or 2021, but for the next ten years and beyond. Focusing on our long term goals is important when it’s hard making sense of the world at the moment.
When we can see each other in person, we’ll meet in our beautiful new space. Until then, we thank you for choosing us to help you through your big and small life events, and to achieve your long term goals.
Be safe and stay healthy,
Dave, John, Penny, Mariame, Cecilia, and Jack