As I write this, snow is falling on a November day. Strange, as the week leading up to Halloween didn’t feel very autumn-like with temperatures here reaching into the high 70s. Everything feels upside down: the weather, markets, interest rates.
When the world around me seems topsy-turvy, I look for ways to ground myself. Hikes in the woods and being in nature, quality time with loved ones, and comfort foods. Time to get out the soup recipes!
During the third quarter, stocks retraced much of their gains for the year and US Treasury yields continued to climb, putting continued pressure on bond mutual funds. Cash was the place to be. So far, the fourth quarter is continuing this year’s volatile and confusing signaling, which can make it difficult for the average investor to feel grounded.
Maintaining Your Balance
As always, we use each client’s individual financial plan as a starting point and a way to anchor the investment portfolio. Start with this question: What is the purpose of this particular investment? Do I need this money in the next six to eighteen months? If so, that is probably a short investment time horizon. Is this money for a large purchase that I plan to make in the next three or four years? That is an example of an intermediate-length time horizon. However, once our time horizon for a bucket of money extends beyond 10 years, we usually consider it long-term. In that case, we should probably stop focusing on current market movements and remember that our overall asset allocation – the ratio of stocks, bonds, cash, and other assets – is designed to help us achieve our long-term goals. We must try to tune out the noise from market volatility and the news and remain focused on our long-term financial goals.
We will be reaching out to those of you who are required to take a minimum distribution from a retirement account here (an IRA, 403(b), et al.) if you have not yet met that requirement for this year. You have until December 31 to do so, but we always need to leave plenty of time for our back office to process requests, especially with all the upcoming holidays.
We already sent a reminder to clients who do their charitable giving through our office, but if you have not yet reached out to us to get that done, please make sure not to leave this until the last minute.
More Exciting News
Harold has started preparing for the Series 7 exam and Rheagan has been promoted! She is in Salem pretty much full-time now and oversees client onboarding, new and account maintenance paperwork processing, and a host of other important responsibilities. Consequently, we have started our search for a new assistant to take over clerical duties and scheduling. We are very excited about the firm’s ongoing growth and development. With each phase, we are better able to focus on our clients’ tailored financial and investment plans.
Wishing every one of you a healthy and joyous holiday season!
Rachel and The Flex Financial Planning Team
This material is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney or tax adviser. Before making any financial commitment regarding the issues discussed herein, consult with the appropriate adviser.