2012: New Year, Same Advice

We have all been conditioned by the financial services industry to ask the question, “What will the markets do in the new year?”  There is always someone in the financial services industry who will attempt to answer that question with some prediction.  Sometimes they guess right, but more often than not they guess wrong.  Our answer to that question remains the same:  WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THE MARKETS WILL DO THIS YEAR!

We are not fortunetellers.  We do not own and do not want to own a crystal ball.  The financial markets are controlled by over six billion people making daily buying and selling decisions.  One of our basic views is that no one knows whether the markets will go up, down, or remain unchanged over the short or long-term.  What we do is properly position our clients with well-diversified, efficient portfolios to take advantage of market conditions.  Our goal is to obtain market returns.

One of our most important responsibilities to our clients is to provide the coaching to keep you disciplined.  We can help you to stay focused on your long-term goals and not panic when markets go lower and not to become greedy when the markets rise.  Investing this way is not necessarily glamorous or sexy, but very prudent.  Fear and greed are the two most powerful emotions that destroy investors’ peace of mind and their investment returns.

As we enter 2012, we hope you have peace of mind on your investments and retirement goals.  This is accomplished by attending our Coaching classes where we teach you more about our Free Market Investment Philosophy, our Free Market Efficient Portfolios, and our Free Market Strategy for capturing Market Returns with lower volatility.

Our advice remains the same:  turn off the hype on TV, don’t listen to the talking heads and recognize that they have no idea what is going on in the future with the markets.  Finally, as a believer in our investment philosophy, invite a friend or relative who is not taking advantage our coaching to come to one of our seminars.  We truly want to “save the world one investor at a time!”

Five Basic Tips for Creating a Solid Retirement Plan

retirement planWe all know what the retirement picture is supposed to look like.  We spend our whole life working toward that magical retirement age when your golden years begin–the hobbies, the travel, spending time with your grandchildren.  However, with a rocky economy and volatility in the markets your picture might not be so clear.

Consider these basic tips to see to it that your retirement is spent doing what you love.

  1. Set your retirement goals:  Think about what you want your retirement picture to look like.  Does it involve living in a paid-off home, buying a motor home, or relocating to a house on the beach?  Do you want to donate to charities, or provide for your children and grandchildren?  What will it take to make it all come together?
  2. Start Planning now:  Whether you are just beginning or looking to retire in five years, start taking the steps to prepare now.  Establish IRA’s or participate in your employer-sponsored 403b or 401k plan and fund them with as much as you can.  One goal would also be to increase your contribution each year to help insure that you have enough money to retire.
  3. Reevaluate your life expectancy:  It is no secret that with medical technology and living a good healthy life we are living longer than ever.  According to the Society of Actuaries, a 65-year-old man has a 41% chance of living to age 85, and a 20% chance of surviving to age 90.  A 65-year-old woman has even better odds.  She has a 53% chance of living to age 85, and an impressive 32% chance of reaching age 90.  With these statistics in mind, ramping up your savings is more crucial than ever.
  4. Determine your Social Security benefits:  Did you know the longer you delay retirement, the larger your Social Security checks grow?  While you can officially start drawing funds at age 62, if you hold off until age 70, you’ll double your benefit amount.  Even if you wait until age 66, your Social Security checks will grow by one-third.  While working past age 65 might not appeal to you, the higher payout amount certainly should.  There are many more strategies to get the most from Social Security, especially if you are married.  To explore your options and determine when you will begin to draw Social Security benefits, visit www.SSA.gov.  They even have an online retirement estimator to help guide your decision.
  5. Work with a trusted Financial Coach:  If you really want to get the best out of your retirement plan, it’s best to place it in the hands of a capable retirement specialist who will coach you through the process, recommend appropriate investment tools, offer practical advice on savings, and keep an eye on your retirement portfolio.  For more information on working with a coach versus an planner click on the tab at the top of this page called Why You Need a Financial Coach.

We hope this has been helpful to you.  If you would like more information click on the contact button and we will send you more information or set up a time to meet with you.

By Jim Hancock