An Ice Cold COLA

The Social Security cost of living adjustment, or COLA, is designed to help retirees combat inflation.  The SSA recently announced the improvement for 2020.  Spoiler alert:  This is an ice cold COLA.

Video: An Ice Cold COLA

Each Episode of Monday Morning Money is also broadcast on Local Radio, WMOA (1490 AM and 101.3 FM).  You can hear it at 11:07 every Monday. 

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In addition, you can also hear this episode on our YouTube Channel.  Please take a moment to subscribe, as it helps our analytics and improves our reach.  This also appears on Facebook and LinkedIn.  

Audio Only Version: Click Here

What's On Your Mind?

Do you have a question about what’s happening in the world of finance or investing?  Is there a topic that has you curious?  We’d love to hear from  you.

 We’ll do our best to answer it in a future episode.  To submit your question, fill out the form.  If you prefer, you can send us an email directly.  That email address is neal@flemingwatson.com

Enter Your Question Here

Every Year, Everything You Buy Costs More.

Every year, everything you buy costs more. That is the simplest way to explain inflation.  When we use the consumer price index, something you bought for $1.00 in 2010 would cost $1.18 today.

One of the key parts of Social Security has been the annual cost of living adjustment—or COLA. This has helped retirees adapt to the constant increase in prices.

COLA

This Year Expect an Ice Cold COLA

Social Security announced the cost of living adjustment for 2020,  and the COLA is ice cold. This year the increase is 1.6%  

For the average benefit, his translates to a monthly increase of $24. Unfortunately, Medicare premiums will also increase next year. The premium should go up almost $9. This means the average net increase from Social Security is only $15 per month.

Not Like It Used to Be

Before 2010, Social Security benefits increased by 3.8% per year. But over the last 10 years, the increases have been far more modest, averaging 1.4% per year.

The statistics don’t always reflect what we see when we go to pay our bills. Some goods and services increase at a faster pace than others. Medical costs are a good example. And as we get older, we tend to incur more medical expenses.

The government is considering a change in how they compute the Social Security cost of living adjustment. But as you know, there is little productive work getting done in Washington DC.

How Does This Impact Your Retirement?

Over the past decade, retirees have had to rely more on their savings to cover their cost of living increases. And we should expect that trend to persist.

Many expect the smaller cost of living increases to Social Security to continue. Likewise, many also expect bigger increases to medicare premiums. This combination results in you getting smaller net increases in your Social Security benefits.

We all need to account for this trend in our plans.  Our savings will be a key element to fighting the constant battle of maintaining our purchasing power.

Stay Informed.

Monday Morning Money is a podcast talking about current events which  impact your bottom line.  

If you would like to be notified when a new episode is released, sign up for our mailing list.  Just complete the form.

Join Our List Today!

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Financial Planning

Neal Watson is a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional and a Financial Advisor with Fleming Watson Financial Advisors  He typically works with people who are planning for retirement.  Fleming Watson is a Registered Investment Advisory firm located in Marietta Ohio.  Our firm primarily serves Marietta, Parkersburg, Williamstown, St. Marys, Belpre, Vienna and the surrounding communities in Washington and Noble Counties in Ohio and Wood and Pleasants county in West Virginia.

Our Most Recent Videos And Posts

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The Best Reason To Not Sell Your Stocks Now

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When Planning for Retirement, Where Do You Start?

When preparing for retirement, where do you start?  That is a question submitted by Tony.  Today, on Monday Morning Money we’ll answer it.

Video: Answering A Reader Question, Where Do You Start?

Each Episode of Monday Morning Money is also broadcast on Local Radio, WMOA (1490 AM and 101.3 FM).  You can hear it at 11:07 every Monday. 

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In addition, you can also hear this episode on our YouTube Channel.  Please take a moment to subscribe, as it helps our analytics and improves our reach.  This also appears on Facebook and LinkedIn.  

Audio Only Version: Click Here

What's On Your Mind?

Do you have a question about what’s happening in the world of finance or investing?  Is there a topic that has you curious?  We’d love to hear from  you.

 We’ll do our best to answer it in a future episode.  To submit your question, fill out the form.  If you prefer, you can send us an email directly.  That email address is neal@flemingwatson.com

Enter Your Question Here

The Question:

“I’m 60 years old and want to retire in a few years. My wife and I have been saving in our 401k’s, but the thought of retiring seems overwhelming. I need to figure this out, where do I start?”

-Tony

The Answer: Where Do You Start?

This is a great question and one we hear quite often. 

Navigating retirement is about managing cash flow. And we need to follow one of the key rules for real-life financial success: spend less than what you earn.

In retirement, our income changes. We go from earning a paycheck to receiving Social Security or a state pension plan. It also means we need to use what we have saved to produce income. For most of us, there is a limit to how much income those resources provide.

So where do you start? Begin with understanding how you spend your money.

Many People Don't Create A Budget

Unfortunately, most Americans don’t know what they are spending.  They are happy if they have money in their bank account when the next paycheck arrives.

According to a survey conducted by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, almost 60% of Americans don’t track their spending. So, unless you are part of the 40% who do, this should be your first task.

Getting Started

Get out those bank statements and credit card bills. It’s time to see where it all goes. It also helps to categorize those expenditures into 3 major categories. Fixed expenses, essential expenses, and discretionary expenses.

Fixed expenses include things which are difficult to change. This is going to include car payments, mortgage, rent, insurance premiums, prescription costs, and taxes.

Essential expenses are necessary items to living, but you do have some control. This will be groceries, your electric bill, cable bill, and other utilities.

Then the discretionary expenses include everything else. Hobbies, eating out, recreational expenses, vacations, entertainment. These are things you could eliminate.

Download Our Free Cash Flow Worksheet

To help you with the budgeting process, we created a free worksheet. You can download it by clicking on the picture to the right. It will help guide you through each of the categories mentioned above.

Where Do You Start

Why Should You Do This?

Why is understanding your spending so important? In our experience, overspending is the biggest threat to your retirement savings. When you can control your spending you improve your chances of longer-term success.

After you go through this exercise you can begin to work on the income part of your retirement puzzle. But that’s a topic for a different episode.

Stay Informed.

Monday Morning Money is a podcast talking about current events which  impact your bottom line.  

If you would like to be notified when a new episode is released, sign up for our mailing list.  Just complete the form.

Join Our List Today!

* indicates required
Financial Planning

Neal Watson is a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional and a Financial Advisor with Fleming Watson Financial Advisors  He typically works with people who are planning for retirement.  Fleming Watson is a Registered Investment Advisory firm located in Marietta Ohio.  Our firm primarily serves Marietta, Parkersburg, Williamstown, St. Marys, Belpre, Vienna and the surrounding communities in Washington and Noble Counties in Ohio and Wood and Pleasants county in West Virginia.

Our Most Recent Videos And Posts

Should I Take Money From My 401k Plan

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Watch Now

The Best Reason To Not Sell Your Stocks Now

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Earnings Matter

On any given day, a headline—or even a tweet—can move the stock market. And sometimes those moves are extreme. But what really drives stock prices over the long-term?  Spoiler alert: Earnings matter.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Do Presidential tweets move the market?
  • There is a lot of noise, but over time, profits drive the market.
  • There is a strong correlation between stock prices and earnings.
  • Business in America is good.

Video: Earnings Matter

Each Episode of Monday Morning Money is also broadcast on Local Radio, WMOA (1490 AM and 101.3 FM).  You can hear it at 11:07 every Monday. 

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In addition, you can also hear this episode on our YouTube Channel.  Please take a moment to subscribe, as it helps our analytics and improves our reach.  This also appears on Facebook and LinkedIn.  

Audio Only Version: Click Here

Tweets Moving The Markets

If you haven’t heard, our current president likes to tweet. A lot. Since 2016 the president has tweeted over 10,000 times. About 10% of those tweets are about something important to the financial world.

Some of the big firms try to track the impact of the tweets on the markets. JP Morgan found his musings have had a significant impact on the bond markets. And Merrill Lynch discovered his twitter activity has had a modest impact on the stock market.

But does it really move the needle on stock prices over the long term?

Earnings Matter

The real driver of stock prices and returns extends beyond headlines and tweets. In fact, that stuff is mostly just noise. Sure, it has a short-term impact. But over longer periods of time, people forget those things.

The real driver of prices and returns are corporate profits. When you buy stocks you are buying the future earnings of those companies. When earnings increase over time, the prices tend to follow. And when earnings decrease, you see the impact on stock prices.

In other words, earnings matter a lot.

Consider this:

  • Over the past 30 years, stock prices have increased 7.7% per year. And that doesn’t include the return from dividends. Corporate profits have increased 5.7%.
  • Over the past 20 years, prices have increased 3.8%, profits 6.3%.
  • In the last decade, prices are up 12%, earnings are up 34%.
  • And in the last five years, prices are up 8.5% and profits are up 5.75%.

If you look at a graph of stock prices and corporate profits, they tend to follow a very similar path.

(Click On the Images To Enlarge)

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30 Years
Corporate Earnings Matter
10 Years
Corporate Earnings
20 Years
Earnings matter
5 years

So why is this important to talk about now?

There has been a lot of noise lately. We have a trade war, talk of a recession, an election and political bickering. But what tends to get lost in the shuffle is how American businesses are really doing.

According to Standard and Poors, 498 of the 505 companies in the S&P 500 have reported earnings for the second quarter. Nearly three quarters of those who have reported earnings have beaten their estimates. Only 17% reported lower earnings than expected. The “misses” are well below average for the past several years.

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Click To Enlarge

Things Can Change (Without Notice)

Right now, the earnings news has been quite good.  But that may not always be the case. Profits go in cycles just like the economy.  There will be another period where earnings contract.  In fact, we are starting to see some predictions for a decrease in profits. 

Whether the contraction happens or not remains to be seen.  But that is the nature of the investment world.  We don’t know, in advance, what these outcomes will be.  And that adds to the challenges we face.

The financial world can be a noisy place. It is difficult to sort through what matters and what doesn’t. In our experience, earnings matter.  And like most things in the investment world, the future is very unpredictable.

Stay Informed.

Monday Morning Money is a podcast talking about current events which  impact your bottom line.  

If you would like to be notified when a new episode is released, sign up for our mailing list.  Just complete the form.

Join Our List Today!

* indicates required
Financial Planning

Neal Watson is a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional and a Financial Advisor with Fleming Watson Financial Advisors  He typically works with people who are planning for retirement.  Fleming Watson is a Registered Investment Advisory firm located in Marietta Ohio.  Our firm primarily serves Marietta, Parkersburg, Williamstown, St. Marys, Belpre, Vienna and the surrounding communities in Washington and Noble Counties in Ohio and Wood and Pleasants county in West Virginia.

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Why Do People Run Out of Money During Retirement?

Nearly Half of Americans say running out of money is their primary concern.  So, why do people run out of money during retirement?  

In this episode we will discuss:

  • There is almost never just one singular reason, it is a combination of factors.
  • A major stock market decline is one factor, but it takes more than a bear market to derail retirement.
  • We identify four of the other common factors which lead to disaster.

Watch Now: Why Do People Run Out of Money During Retirement?

Each Episode of Monday Morning Money is also broadcast on Local Radio, WMOA (1490 AM and 101.3 FM).  You can hear it at 11:07 every Monday. 

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In addition, you can also hear this episode on our YouTube Channel.  Please take a moment to subscribe, as it helps our analytics and improves our reach.  This also appears on Facebook and LinkedIn.  

Audio Only Version: Click Here

What's On Your Mind?

Do you have a question about what’s happening in the world of finance or investing?  Is there a topic that has you curious?  We’d love to hear from  you.

 We’ll do our best to answer it in a future episode.  To submit your question, fill out the form.  If you prefer, you can send us an email directly.  That email address is neal@flemingwatson.com

Enter Your Question Here

Last week AARP published an article. It had the results of a survey conducted by three organizations. They asked workers about retirement. Here are some key findings:

  • Only 36% of Americans were very confident they could retire comfortably.
  • 44% said declining health as a major concern.
  • 49% listed running out of money as their primary concern.

So, Why Do People Run Out of money During Retirement

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The first contributing factor is a major bear market. That includes one like we saw in the great financial crisis or the dot com bust. We could define this as a period where stocks decline 30% or more. Fortunately, these are not a frequent occurrence. Since the 1960’s, it has happened five times.

Many want you to believe bear markets are the sole reason people run out of money. But, that’s not usually the case. There has to be something else at play.  Sometimes those other factors can be more significant.

The Other Contributing Factors To Running Out of Money in Retirement

Run out of money during retirement spending

Let’s start with how much you spend. There are plenty of debates about what constitutes a safe withdrawal rate.  If you talk to ten different financial planners, you might find ten different answers. But you can reach a point where you are taking too much income from your nest egg.  That dramatically increases your risk of running out of money.

Why do people run out of money

The next is when the bad year—or years—happen early in your retirement. There have been many studies about sequence of returns risk. This data shows bad returns early in a person’s retirement can create big challenges.

Reasons 4 and 5

Click to enlarge.

The fourth contributing factor: people get too aggressive with their allocation. The better the stock market does, the more people want to pursue those returns. They often get more aggressive near the top of a market cycle. Growth is important. Remember, increasing your allocation to stocks to pursue returns increases your risk.

The fifth common element is selling low. It is hard to stick to your long term plan when you see your nest egg shrink. The declines can be extreme. Remember this. In every prior instance of a major market crash, stocks have recovered their losses and set new highs. If you sell your stocks at low points, it makes it impossible to participate in the recovery.

Rarely does “one thing” cause a financial disaster for retirement. Creating a plan can help you address these factors and avoid a potential disaster.

Stay Informed.

Monday Morning Money is a podcast talking about current events which  impact your bottom line.  

If you would like to be notified when a new episode is released, sign up for our mailing list.  Just complete the form.

Join Our List Today!

* indicates required
Financial Planning

Neal Watson is a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional and a Financial Advisor with Fleming Watson Financial Advisors  He typically works with people who are planning for retirement.  Fleming Watson is a Registered Investment Advisory firm located in Marietta Ohio.  Our firm primarily serves Marietta, Parkersburg, Williamstown, St. Marys, Belpre, Vienna and the surrounding communities in Washington and Noble Counties in Ohio and Wood and Pleasants county in West Virginia.

Our Most Recent Videos

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The 2020 Bear Market: Here’s Where We Are

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Not As Bad As It Seems

In the investing world, things are often not as bad as they seem. The data doesn’t always match the headlines.  

Today we talk about:

  • August was not good, but was it really bad? It felt really bad.
  • The worst month for stocks (so far) this year is…
  • Have we even had a correction in stocks yet?
  • Don’t look now, but the US stock market is having a really good year.
  • So is everything else.
  • Things also aren’t as good as they look either.
  • The fourth quarter is the “money quarter” for the stock market.

Monday Morning Money: Not As Bad As It Seems

Each Episode of Monday Morning Money is also broadcast on Local Radio, WMOA (1490 AM and 101.3 FM).  You can hear it at 11:07 every Monday. 

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In addition, you can also hear this episode on our YouTube Channel.  Please take a moment to subscribe, as it helps our analytics and improves our reach.  This also appears on Facebook and LinkedIn.  

Stay Informed.

Monday Morning Money is a podcast talking about current events which  impact your bottom line.  

If you would like to be notified when a new episode is released, sign up for our mailing list.  Just complete the form.

Join Our List Today!

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August Was Bad, But Not As Bad As It Seems

I’m a big Ohio State Football fan. I admire Jim Tressel who was the head coach for one of the more successful periods in school history. One of the things I can remember him saying in his press conferences, was “things are rarely as good or as bad as they seem.”

You can say the same thing about the investment markets. August seemed like an awful month. We had “headliner” down days of 767, 623, and 800 points. We were bombarded with the negative news. The trade war with china, the inverted yield curve, and the looming recession all dominated the headlines.

It felt like August was a dismal month. If I didn’t keep score, I would have guessed things were far worse than they were. On a total return basis, the stock market, as measured by the S&P 500, was down a little more than a percent and a half. It was not as bad as it seemed.

In fact, August wasn’t even the worst month this year. That distinction belongs to May when stocks declined more than 6%.

(Click image to enlarge)

The Headlines Make it Sound Bad, But It's Not As Bad As It Seems

If you only follow the headlines and sound bites, you may think we’ve had a difficult year. The maximum draw down in stock prices this year is less than 7%. That doesn’t even classify as the textbook definition of a correction. A correction is a 10% decrease in prices. And it is half of the average correction we have seen since 1980.

The endless parade of pessimism makes us think things are worse than they seem. August was not a good month. But, The S&P 500, which is the primary index we use to keep score, is up over 18% on a total return basis through the end of August. 

(Click images to enlarge)

Most of the Major Asset Classes Are Doing Well

In fact, most of the major asset classes we follow have had an outstanding year—so far. Bonds are doing well. Remember last week we talked about the relationship between yield and price. When yields fall, bonds prices go up. And yields continued to fall.

Gold is up more than 18% for the year. And Real Estate is up more than 27% for the year. International stocks are also up for the year.

(Click image to enlarge)

An Interesting Nugget

Over the past 25 years, October has been the 3rd best month for stocks. November has been the 2nd best. And December has been the 5th best. Combined, the fourth quarter has generated an annualized return of 4.3% per year.

Over the past 25 years, the stock market has averaged a gain of 8.9% per year. Nearly half of the return for the last quarter century was generated in the fourth quarter.

(click image to enlarge)

What's On Your Mind?

Do you have a question about what’s happening in the world of finance or investing?  Is there a topic that has you curious?  We’d love to hear from  you.

 We’ll do our best to answer it in a future episode.  To submit your question, fill out the form.  If you prefer, you can send us an email directly.  That email address is neal@flemingwatson.com

Enter Your Question Here

Financial Planning

Neal Watson is a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional and a Financial Advisor with Fleming Watson Financial Advisors  He typically works with people who are planning for retirement.  Fleming Watson is a Registered Investment Advisory firm located in Marietta Ohio.  Our firm primarily serves Marietta, Parkersburg, Williamstown, St. Marys, Belpre, Vienna and the surrounding communities in Washington and Noble Counties in Ohio and Wood and Pleasants county in West Virginia.

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The Hidden Risk In Bonds

Recent volatility in the stock market has many investors looking for “safety”. Many turn to government bonds. But is now the right time to invest in these notes? Today we’ll talk about the hidden risk in bonds.

Podcast: The Hidden Risk In Bonds

What's On Your Mind?

Do you have a question about what’s happening in the world of finance or investing?  Is there a topic that has you curious?  We’d love to hear from  you.

 We’ll do our best to answer it in a future episode.  To submit your question, fill out the form.  If you prefer, you can send us an email directly.  That email address is neal@flemingwatson.com

Enter Your Question Here

To understand the hidden risk in bonds, there are two important concepts.

Key Concept 1: Yield

When talking about bonds, the first key concept is yield. Yield is the return you will earn when you buy a bond. It factors in the current price, the interest rate, the date it matures, and the return of principal.
 
If you buy a bond with a 2% yield and hold it until maturity, that is the return you will realize.

Key Concept 2: The Relationship Between Yield and Price.

The second concept is the relationship between yield and price. Bond yields and bond prices are inversely related. This means when bond prices go up, yields go down. And when yields go up, prices go down.

Where is the Hidden Risk In Bonds?

Bond yields are near historic lows. And it is hard to imagine them going lower. When they increase, it could create a very difficult situation.
 
Those who buy these longer term notes will face two choices. The first is to accept a low rate of return over the next several years. The other option is to see the value of their investment decline as yields move higher.
 
Let’s show you an example.
This is an actual bond quote from Monday, August 12.  (Click image to enlarge).  This note matures in May 2029.  The yield was 1.595%.  If you purchased this bond your price was 107.  

Hold it until it matures

If you hold this note until maturity, you will earn 1.595% over the life of this bond.  You’ll collect the interest payments, and most likely the principal.   (US Government bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States).  

What if Yields Go Up?

Though complex, you can calculate the price of a bond if yields change.  What happens to the price of this bond if yields increase to 2% in 60 days?
 
The price will drop, remember the inverse relationship. In this instance, the price drops 3.5% to 103.26
Hidden Risk In bonds

The moves can be more extreme if yields increase even more.  In this example, we show what happens to the price if yields increase to 2.5% in 6 months.  

The price of this bond drops to 98.68, a decrease of 7.5%

Hidden Risks Bonds

If yields move high enough, the price decrease can be more like a stock investment.

Here we show what happens to the price of this note if bond prices move to 3% in one year.  

A price decrease of 11% is not what anyone bargains for when they buy a so called “safe” investment.

Bond risk

Lower Return, Higher Risk

Right now, longer term bonds present a low return, higher risk environment. Investors buy these because they think they are safe. And if you hold this note until it matures, you’ll collect the interest and get your money back.
 
But you lock in a low return—1.6% over 10 years is not attractive. In the meantime you’ll see the value of this bond decrease when yields increase. And if you sell it before 2029, you’ll likely incur a loss.
 
This is why we have been using short term bond investments—with maturities of 1 year or less. There is less price fluctuation, and fewer opportunities for big price decreases as yields move higher.
Financial Planning

Neal Watson is a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional and a Financial Advisor with Fleming Watson Financial Advisors  He typically works with people who are planning for retirement.  Fleming Watson is a Registered Investment Advisory firm located in Marietta Ohio.  Our firm primarily serves Marietta, Parkersburg, Williamstown, St. Marys, Belpre, Vienna and the surrounding communities in Washington and Noble Counties in Ohio and Wood and Pleasants county in West Virginia.

Stay Informed.

What’s Happening Now is a podcast talking about current events which  impact your bottom line.  

If you would like to be notified when a new episode is released, sign up for our mailing list.  Just complete the form.

You can connect with us in other ways. 

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

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Our Most Recent Videos

Should I Take Money From My 401k Plan

Should I Take Money From My 401k? “Should I take money from my 401k to help me get through these tough times?” That’s a question we received from a listener. 
Watch Now

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A More Conservative Approach

As the stock market and the economy have continued to chug along, we felt it was time for a more conservative approach.  Today we talk about some of the steps we are taking to reduce investment risk for our clients.  

What's Happening Now: A More Conservative Approach (4:36)

What's On Your Mind?

Do you have a question about what’s happening in the world of finance or investing?  Is there a topic that has you curious?  We’d love to hear from  you.

 We’ll do our best to answer it in a future episode.  To submit your question, fill out the form.  If you prefer, you can send us an email directly.  That email address is neal@flemingwatson.com

Enter Your Question Here

Our Expectation: Stocks Will Act Like Stocks

We expect stocks to act like stocks. This means we believe—over the long term—they will perform well. They will generate the returns we need to improve our purchasing power and grow our assets.
 
It also means the growth won’t happen in a straight line. There will be periods of stress and pain along the way.
 
The market is at all time highs. And we haven’t seen a true bear market in over a decade. The current economic expansion is the longest on record. We felt it is time for a more conservative approach.  
 
Here is how we are doing it.

Step 1: Rebalancing

Rebalancing your account means we reset your asset allocation. Here is an example. A couple of years ago, John’s account had 60% of its value in stocks. The other 40% was in bonds. Because the stock market has done extremely well, the stock allocation grew to 65%.
 
Rebalancing his account sells some of the stock holdings and buys bonds. When complete, his allocation is reset back to 60% equity and 40% bonds.
 
In September, we will have an episode of Monday Morning Money about rebalancing.

Step 2: New Core Holdings

 Over the past two months, we have reviewed many of the core holdings in our portfolios. We determined several funds needed to be replaced. One of the by products of these changes was reducing some of the investment risk.
 
One tool we use to help measure the investment risk of our portfolios is a service called Riskalyze.  We measure the risk characteristics of the funds and ETF’s we use.  
 
Riskalzye also helps us to better understand how you feel about the risk and reward.  You can complete a brief survey to find your Risk Number.  There is a link below.  It costs nothing, and it takes 5 minutes or less to answer the questions.
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How Much is Too Much?

How much risk can you tolerate?  Would you be uncomfortable if your portfolio was down 10% in the next six months?  What about 20% or more?  Our 5-minute risk assessment questionnaire (powered by Riskalyze) will help you identify your appetite for risk and reward.  We can then take a look at your accounts to see if your investments align with the results. 

Taxes Matter

Most of these changes will occur in IRA’s or other types of accounts which don’t create a tax bill for you. If there are changes which need to be made in a taxable account, we will call you to discuss the tax implications.

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Financial Planning

Neal Watson is a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional and a Financial Advisor with Fleming Watson Financial Advisors  He typically works with people who are planning for retirement.  Fleming Watson is a Registered Investment Advisory firm located in Marietta Ohio.  Our firm primarily serves Marietta, Parkersburg, Williamstown, St. Marys, Belpre, Vienna and the surrounding communities in Washington and Noble Counties in Ohio and Wood and Pleasants county in West Virginia.

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What's On Your Mind?

Do you have a question about what’s happening in the world of finance or investing?  We’ll create a video or audiocast of the answer and post it here on our website, our Facebook page, and our YouTube channel.

Complete the form to the right to submit your question or comments.

Enter Your Question Here

The Worst Month for Stocks

If I had to guess the worst month for stocks, I would have said January.  As it turns out, August is the worst month for stocks.

Only two months—August and September—have a negative average return.  The rest are positive.

Click on the graph to enlarge

August Has Been Rough – Sometimes.

August has been a bad month for stocks.  But that doesn’t mean you should make any major decisions.  In the past 25 years,  August produced gains in the stock market 17 times. 

Six of the eight times stocks fell during the month, it was ugly. 

Click on the graph to enlarge.

Why does this matter?  The Federal Reserve meets at the end of July.  Most anticipate an interest rate cut.  But if it doesn’t happen, it could start a sell off in the stock market—starting in August.

Stay Informed.

What’s Happening Now is a podcast talking about current events which  impact your bottom line.  

If you would like to be notified when a new episode is released, sign up for our mailing list.  Just complete the form.

Join Our List Today!

* indicates required
Financial Planning

Neal Watson is a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional and a Financial Advisor with Fleming Watson Financial Advisors  He typically works with people who are planning for retirement.  Fleming Watson is a Registered Investment Advisory firm located in Marietta Ohio.  Our firm primarily serves Marietta, Parkersburg, Williamstown, St. Marys, Belpre, Vienna and the surrounding communities in Washington and Noble Counties in Ohio and Wood and Pleasants county in West Virginia.

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We have been following First Trust Portfolio’s commentary for some time.  You can read their post about their increased forecast and the methodology they use, here

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Do you have a question about what’s happening in the world of finance or investing?  We’ll create a video or audiocast of the answer and post it here on our website, our Facebook page, and our YouTube channel.

Complete the form to the right to submit your question or comments.

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Is This The Top of the Stock Market?

As most of you know, we are not in the prediction business.  Most who are have limited success.  But, it rarely stops anyone from trying.  

The stock market will either go up or down from here.  The only way we will know who guessed correctly is to wait and see.  We rarely believe any of them to be reliable indicators of future performance.

We are certainly hopeful the S&P 500 passes the 3,250 mark.  But, if it doesn’t, we won’t be surprised.

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Financial Planning

Neal Watson is a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional and a Financial Advisor with Fleming Watson Financial Advisors  He typically works with people who are planning for retirement.  Fleming Watson is a Registered Investment Advisory firm located in Marietta Ohio.  Our firm primarily serves Marietta, Parkersburg, Williamstown, St. Marys, Belpre, Vienna and the surrounding communities in Washington and Noble Counties in Ohio and Wood and Pleasants county in West Virginia.

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Our Most Recent Videos

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