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Financial Symmetry: Balancing Today with Retirement

When considering retirement, do you wonder what financial opportunities you may be missing? Busy lives take over and years pass without taking advantage. In this retirement podcast, Chad Smith and Mike Eklund unveil financial opportunities, to help you balance enjoying today so you are ready to retire later. By day, they are fiduciary fee-only financial advisors who answer questions about tax savings, investment decisions, and how to save more. If you’ve been putting off your financial to-do list or are just not sure what you’ve been missing, subscribe to the show and learn more at www.financialsymmetry.com. Financial Symmetry is a Raleigh Financial Advisor. Proudly serving clients in the Triangle of North Carolina for over 20 years.
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Now displaying: 2021
Feb 22, 2021

Have you wondered if there are any financial mistakes that you may have been making?

Video recap here: https://youtu.be/9fsWlp56R2U

Sometimes our financial mistakes aren’t obvious, so in this episode of Financial Symmetry, we discuss 3 hidden financial mistakes that you may be making and how you can spot them. 

Uncertain outcomes cannot be predicted

Are you guilty of believing an uncertain outcome is certain? Sometimes we feel confident that things are going to happen. This can be true even with geopolitical events like the Coronavirus. You may have known the virus would happen, but could you have predicted this current situation? 

People are naturally overconfident, but the market is smarter than you. Trying to anticipate corrections will cost you money. In fact, trying to anticipate market corrections will end up costing you more money than the market corrections themselves.

One way to prevent overconfidence is by talking through potential outcomes with a financial advisor or a financial accountability partner. 

Don’t underestimate the market’s ability for positive surprises

Many people have a negative money script or way that we view finances. This scarcity mindset could penalize their financial potential. There will always be reasons to wait it out or not invest, but instead of focusing on those reasons focus on not missing out on opportunities. You don’t want to take a pay cut in retirement because of missed opportunities. 

We often delay financial decisions to give ourselves time to think about it more or evaluate the alternatives and to consider all outcomes. But often the best investments are the most difficult ones that you have to make. This is why having an investment plan makes sense. 

“Investing is a lifelong journey. Making money slowly is much better than making then losing money quickly.” -- David Booth

Are you missing hidden tax opportunities?

There are different tax opportunities that can be taken depending on your phase of life and how the laws change. One opportunity that many retirees were able to take advantage of this year was the lack of required minimum distributions (RMDs). This allowed people to do Roth conversions. Retirement brings on a wealth of tax planning opportunities since you have more control over your income in retirement. Advanced tax planning early in retirement can help you save on your lifetime tax bill. Listen in to hear how long-term tax planning can save you money over your lifetime. 

Estate planning pitfalls

Estate planning is often the last part of a financial plan that people want to address since it is the least enjoyable part of financial planning. But if you want a say in what happens to your money after you are gone then you’ll need to create an estate plan and review it periodically. Check out episodes 102 and 122 to learn more about estate planning. 

Do you have enough? Are you saving enough? When is the best time to invest? Are you missing out? These are all questions that can be answered with the right financial plan. Think about what a financial plan can do for you. If you are looking for a financial advisor to help you create a financial plan click through to our website.

.Outline of This Episode

  • [2:40] Believing an uncertain outcome is certain 
  • [10:16] Missing hidden tax opportunities 
  • [14:50] Are you taking advantage of an HSA?
  • [17:15] Estate planning pitfalls
  • [21:18] Today’s progress principle

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Chad and Mike

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Feb 8, 2021

Stock market manias have an uncanny way of capturing our attention.

Short video recap: https://youtu.be/wr04xy1pDnU

Not only do they dominate weekly headlines, but create visions of what could be. The most recent example is the rapid rise of meme stocks, including Gamestop, AMC and Blackberry among others.

In this episode, we’ll explore what happened with this most recent mania, and describe the why behind how we can become enamored with this type of approach. We'll then offer three questions to provide a framework for the next time you're facing similar feelings.

What happened with Game Stop?

You may have seen a Game Stop store at your local mall or shopping center. Game Stop is a video game retailer whose future did not look promising. Many people compared it to Blockbuster Video.

This uncertain future attracted the interest of short-sellers and the retailer ended up becoming one of the most heavily shorted stocks. When an online Reddit group discovered what was happening to the stock, many people decided to jump in and stop the short. This sudden influx of investors drove the share price up to unprecedented levels.

There’s a difference between gambling and investing

Manias are nothing new. We've seen them in many forms including the Nifty Fifty in the 1950s, the tech bubble in the 1990s and BRIC Countries during the 2000s. The speed and size of these rallies can foster a fear of missing out feeling that's is more analogous to gambling.

There's a fine line between gambling and investing. In stock market manias, it's easy for people to throw risk considerations out the window because the possibility of life-changing gains takes over. Subsequently, this mentality could lead to detrimental results when investors are using money they can't afford to lose.

With Game Stop, investing quickly becomes interesting when the stock is increasing like a rocket ship within a week. For many, this strategy looks miles more exciting when compared to a disciplined long-term strategy. This is when the gambling temptation can circumvent the longer-term evidence based approach you may have used up to that point. Enter diversification.

That's because diversification decreases your investment risk. When you diversify, you invest in many different types and sizes of companies all over the world. The goal of diversification is to ensure the performance of one specific stock won’t impact your entire portfolio.

3 Questions to Ponder when Tempted

If you find yourself considering a specific stock purchase, there are a few questions that can help your decision.

  1. What does this strategy claiming to provide that's not already in your portfolio?
  2. What will this investment reasonably add to your portfolio by including it?
    • Could you increase your expected returns?
    • Will it reduce volatility in your portfolio?
    • Does this help you achieve a goal?
  3. Are you going to be comfortable with the range of possibilities this purchase creates?

Your investment strategy will be most appropriate for you when it's created in service to your financial plan. A plan that is specifically created for your goals and circumstances. Understanding the interaction between your income and future expenses for the next few years.

  • What will you need your savings rate to be?
  • How much longer will you plan to work?
  • Do you have other resources where this risk won't derail your long-term financial picture?

Carefully considering your investment decisions and ensuring that they align with a cohesive and diversified investment strategy will help you stay on target to reach your long-term goals.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:32] What happened with Game Stop?
  • [6:03] There is a difference between gambling and investing
  • [9:29] The benefits of diversification are far-reaching
  • [14:39] Time is the ultimate thief 
  • [17:33] Today’s progress principle

Connect With Chad and Mike

Subscribe To This Podcast

Jan 25, 2021

What is the most important thing you can do for building wealth?

Video recap: https://youtu.be/OVSKtk6TzB0

Recently, Jeff Levine (@CPAPlanner) put this question out into the Twitterverse: Other than saving and investing, what is the one single most important factor to financial success?

Too often when dealing with financial decisions, we try to overcomplicate what is best for us. We liked the simplicity of a single thing to focus on, so this week we are breaking down our version of the most important thing you can do in each decade to improve your financial journey.

Harness the power of compound interest while you’re young

If you are starting to build wealth in your teens and 20s you’re in luck. Time is on your side.

An often cited roadblock to getting this started, is the overwhelming debt obligations to student loans. While important to tackle high interest rate debt, carving out a small amount of automated savings can be life-changing.

For many, the first time we see a compound interest example, we are inspired. We included a powerful example below to demonstrate how much investment growth accumulates over 40 years, compared to the amount you are saving.

By saving small amounts early, compound interest becomes your super power. Automating this savings each month in an investment account with exposure to a diversified stock portfolio starting in your 20s, is arguably the single biggest impact decision you'll make in building wealth. Because of the natural discipline it creates, making it harder to stop it down the road.

Continue to pay yourself first

During your 30s, life often becomes busier. Between new marriages, job changes and growing families, consequential decisions can pile up. These exciting changes bring curveballs you often don't expect, like childcare for remote school over the past year.

This is when deciding to pay yourself first benefits you behind the scenes when life decisions are taking priority. If your saving and investing decisions are made only after you cover your expenses, then your budget is upside down.

Automating your savings and charitable giving can leave you better positioned as you head in to your 40s.

Don’t compare yourself with those around you

During this decade, it's tempting to continue moving the goalposts as you reach certain levels of success.

Comparing your financial situation to others is a common derailment to your long-term success in your 40s. Keeping up with the Joneses can feel like an endless treadmill.

In the The Psychology of Money, Morgan Housel writes, “the ceiling of social comparison is so high that virtually no one will ever hit it, which means it is a battle that can never be won or that the only way to win is to not fight it to begin with, to accept that you might have enough even if it’s less than those around you.”

Determine your definition of enough. Is it a certain amount of money in the bank? A bigger house? Being laser focused on your ultimate financial goals, allows you stick to your financial plan, providing peace of mind along the way.

Be flexible in your 50s

Successful financial planning begins with understanding potential high impact risks.

More and more, we see unexpected hurdles for people in their 50s. It could be a layoff or a loss of assets due to grey divorce, but understanding the potential impact with scenario planning beforehand can leave you more agile to adjust.

Investing in your personal and professional relationships through the years, allows for more flexibility when reinventing yourself in these circumstances. Additionally, understanding the impact of withdrawals on your assets can be valuable in the case you need temporary withdrawals to sustain you during a transition.

After building wealth, keep perspective

Hopefully, in your 60s you are reflecting on a life well lived. This is a time to gain perspective. Common rules of thumb or family recommendations may not be the best. Some common things we hear related to this are:

  • Because I'm retiring soon, shouldn't I reduce the risk in my investment strategy?
  • I need to pay off your mortgage before I retire.
  • Shouldn't I take Social Security at 62, because I not sure it will be there if I wait?
  • Why would I want to make withdrawals from my IRA before I have to?

Having a plan in your 60s provides confidence. Hiring a financial professional can help you develop a plan and to gain perspective so that you can create a long term plan for your money.

Outline of This Episode

  • [4:06] What is the one thing you can do in your teens and 20s to help build wealth?
  • [8:23] The one thing in your 30s that you can do to build wealth 
  • [10:57] What should you be doing in your 40s to build wealth?
  • [14:35] The one thing in your 50s that you can do to build wealth
  • [17:49] What can you do in your 60s to build wealth?
  • [21:30] Consider continuity in your 70s
  • [22:55] What should you be doing in your 80s?
  • [25:32] The progress principle

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Chad and Mike

Jan 11, 2021

From a historically quick bear market decline to a speedy rebound, 2020 certainly took us on a wild ride. But there is a lot we can learn from this crazy year.

Short video recap: https://youtu.be/fUfGwGk-gEY

In this episode, we are reflecting on the investment lessons we learned over the past year. What were the lessons you took away in 2020? Listen in to hear if there are any other lessons you can learn from the year.

Optimists make better investments than pessimists

Historically, the S&P 500 returns 8-10% per year. Since markets go up in the long term, people who focus on the long-term growth of the stock and bond markets, as well as the growth of the economy, will prosper.

This lesson was put to the test in March of 2020 when we had the shortest bear market in history. Investors that stuck it out profited greatly. From March 23 to the end of 2020 the market went up an astonishing 68%.

Since no one has a crystal ball, buying in a bear market can be scary. This is why we recommend having an investment plan or a rules-based process in place. 

If you lost sleep over or sold stocks during the decline then you need to reassess your asset allocation. How did you fare in the market decline? Were you an optimist or pessimist? Did you stick to your investment plan and wait it out?

Listening to the media is expensive

These days, the markets move at lightning speed. At this velocity, people often feel like they need to stay on top of all the latest financial news. However, listening to the financial media can hinder your ultimate goal. The media’s job is to sell advertising, not to help you reach your financial goals. 

Even if all the uncertainty drives you crazy, step away from the sensationalist news. The number one predictor of long-term investment success is investment behavior, so teach yourself the discipline not to act on every little thing you hear on the news. Turn off your notifications and guard your time instead. 

Watch out for fads

We all hear the rags to riches stories about the latest fads. Raise your hand if you have a friend who has struck it rich with Bitcoin lately. These stories can be so powerful, however, no one ever talks about the downside. 

FOMO (fear of missing out) is real and we often want to jump on the latest bandwagon, whether it be Bitcoin, gold, or whatever the new shiny thing is. At the end of the day, the value of what you own is only what someone else is willing to pay you. 

If you still want to jump on the latest bandwagon understand your motive and think about the impact of your investment on your financial plan.

  • Produced by Financial Symmetry
  • Hosted by Mike Eklund and Chad Smith
  • Recorded in Raleigh, NC
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