Americans Savings Habits Remain Unchanged

Americans need to realize that they and they alone are responsible for their own financial future. The need for an investor coach has never been greater.

United States
United States (Photo credit: electropod)

Americans should keep in mind three basic tips to save, Salisbury said: Set a goal, make a plan and save automatically. Employers can help with this plan by using automatic tools such as payroll deductions, automatic enrollment and automatic escalation, he added.Having a plan is important because those with a savings plan are more likely to spend less than their income, Brobeck pointed out.

Jeanne Thompson, vice president of Retirement and Market Insights at Fidelity Investments, suggested that in addition to saving, employees should avoid cashing out their retirement plans when changing jobs and should also choose an investment strategy that works best for them.

Without a plan to save Americans will fail in reaching their long term financial goals. This holds true for your portfolio as well. You need a prudent portfolio customized for YOU and the discipline to stay on course. This requires a guidance of an investor coach. Someone can help develop your strategy and help you control your emotions.

Please comment or call to discuss.

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Simple Strategies for Beefing up Your Savings

English: ceramic piggy bank
English: ceramic piggy bank (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Without a disciplined savings strategy there is no need for a globally diversified portfolio and the discipline to stay on track. The easiest way to save for retirement is to start early and make it automatic. You should pay yourself first each month. Seek help if you cannot stay disciplined to your saving strategy.

Separate Your Savings Goals
Instead of socking away everything into one savings account, set up a separate account for each of your savings goals. You’ll want these funds to be FDIC-insured, so you may need to open a few extra savings accounts at your bank: one for your emergency fund, one for your new-car fund, one for your vacation fund, etc. Any money you intend to save toward retirement, however, should be invested in a different, tax-advantaged accounts, as the yields with traditional savings-only vehicles are too low for a retirement fund.Set Your Savings on Auto-Pilot
For an utterly hassle-free way to bolster your savings, arrange for your bank to automatically divert a predetermined dollar amount from each of your  paychecks into a savings account (or a few savings accounts). You’ll be surprised how quickly funds add up, and since it’s an automated process you needn’t lift a finger. For example, if you get paid twice a month and you have your bank automatically deposit $100 from each paycheck into your savings, in a year’s time you’ll have saved $2,400 — and that’s before accounting for any interest you may have accrued.

Give Yourself an Allowance
Instead of pulling out that well-worn debit card whenever you get the urge, withdraw a small amount of cash to pay for your weekly incidentals. These will vary from person to person and even from week to week, but might include things like a morning coffee, lunches or dinners out, treats and impulse buys. Stick to your guns — once your “allowance” is gone, it’s gone until next week. If you can see the financial impact of these purchases, you’re less likely to spend your hard-earned money.

Having a disciplined saving strategy is more important than any investment strategy.

Please comment or call to discuss.

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If You Follow the Herd, You Will Get Slaughtered….

English: Wall Street sign on Wall Street
English: Wall Street sign on Wall Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are constantly hearing and reading the next great idea to make money. How to invest in stocks or gold or index annuities or real estate or commodities or future contracts etc, etc….. and realize enormous profits with no risk or work. We all hope these claims are real. Unfortunately, these claims end up with very disappointing results.

If an investment strategy is on the cover of every magazine, and all of your friends and associates are doing it, it’s reckless to follow suit. Only hot, sexy, and speculative techniques make the cover. Don’t follow your friends!

Investors, who are truly investors and not speculators, do not need to know everything about investing. They just need to know the right things. One of those concepts is to own equities….globally diversify….rebalance. This is very simple, however for most people they are very difficult to follow on their own.  The media and our emotions get in the way. We are very likely to panic on our own. We need the help of like minded people to guide us through the tough times.

I have been accused of writing each week about the same subject with different angles. Well these people are right. Investing for a long term financial goal is about determining your investment philosophy, developing a prudent portfolio based on that philosophy. And to remain disciplined to that strategy.

The Wall Street bullies want you to believe that they have the right investments or strategy at all times. These bullies want you to believe they can show how and when to invest your money. Remember these bullies make money when money moves from one investment to another. Their profits are the number one concern, not your profits.

Don’t empower them.

It should be noted that no strategy works all the time. However, if you stick to YOUR strategy you will succeed over the long term.

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You May Be Suffering From ‘Abused Investor’ Syndrome

Project portfolio management
Project portfolio management (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No one in the financial instituions wants investors to realize that they CANNOT stock pick or market time with any consistency. NO ONE CAN. Investors would be better served with a prudent portfolio and the discipline to stay the course.

Most members of the securities industry are not criminals — at least not the kind defined in the penal code. They are far more dangerous. They claim to have “expertise” in stock picking, market timing, manager picking or the ability to put you in investments with big returns and modest risk. Most investors believe them.Sound familiar? If so, you can learn a lot from the literature on battered woman syndrome. Studies show the longer the women stay in the relationship, the more likely they are to be seriously injured.

The lesson for investors is clear. Your “market beating” broker or advisor can’t hurt you if you end the relationship.

Any stockbroker, adviser, insurance agent who claims they can ‘beat’ the market is selling performance not a prudent investment strategy. They offer anecdotal evidence of past successes. These results are a matter of luck and NOT skill and do not repeat.

Please comment of call to discuss how this affects you and your investment portfolio.

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Stable-Value Strategies Becoming Riskier

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 23:  Members of the news...
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After all fees are deducted your ‘stable value fund’ might show negative returns if circumstances change. Care must be taken when employment structure changes.

While stable value investment strategies have performed relatively well during the past few years compared to money market strategies, we believe the changed environment means investors should revisit these with a view to understanding all the risks now associated with this investment strategy,” said Peter Schmit, research manager in Towers Watson’s investment business and coauthor of the paper. “Regardless of upcoming regulatory decisions, we believe there has been a structural shift in competitive advantage away from plan sponsors and stable-value managers over to insurance providers and the investment strategy now faces distinct market risks and regulatory headwinds.”According to the research, stable value has long been a popular investment option in defined contribution (DC) plans, as plan participants have appreciated the principal preservation, benefit responsiveness, liquidity and consistently higher returns compared with money market options, with a similar risk profile.

However, Towers Watson notes that plan sponsors should be aware of the type of events that may trigger a violation of the wrap agreements and cause a potential market-value adjustment, such as a workforce reduction or the addition of a competing fund option (money market or self-directed brokerage option) within the DC plan.

Such risks include counterparty, term, credit and liquidity (at the plan level) and are exacerbated by:

  • Complexity
  • Lack of standardization
  • Less-than-ideal transparency
  • Changing markets prompted by uncertainty over Dodd-Frank, swap legislation, diminishing capacity and evolution of the wrap market
  • The reality of higher wrap fees and lower yields

There is no such thing as risk free.

Please comment or call to discuss how this could affect your company retirement plan.

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