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About Mike McCann

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So far Mike McCann has created 55 blog entries.

Estate Planning is Not Perfect

There are a number of reasons why you may want to consider creating or updating your estate plan this year (i.e. marriage, divorce, birth, COVID-19, retirement). And there are an equal numbers of reasons why you might be inclined to put it off. What holds most people back? The “popular” answer is we’re all afraid to face our own mortality. That hasn’t been my observation. The biggest challenge that holds many people back is failing to understand estate planning is not perfect.

Here is a breakdown of the common obstacles I see:

Becoming frozen in procrastination.

Getting started on what feels like a big, complicated task is the number one killer of success in any venture. “I don’t have time.” “I need to finish (fill in the blank) first.”  “I’ll have to give these questions some thought.”

Solution: Start with one simple task. Schedule a meeting with your advisor.

Choosing people and assigning priorities is tough.

This was huge for me when our kids were born and we had to name a guardian in our will. “I want the best for my kids. Nobody will do as good of a job raising them as I would.” We face the same challenge when selecting trustees or executors. “What if they don’t do things the way I would do them?”

Solution: Find comfort in knowing the guardians, trustees and executors you choose will do their best. That’s all you can expect of them, or of yourself.

Thinking decades down the line.

We often get stuck trying to predict future circumstances based on what we know today. “My kids aren’t ready to inherit money now. What if they’re still not ready in 15 or 20 years?” “What about my grandchildren? Will they be ready?”

Solution: Focus instead on the next five years.

Estate planning isn’t perfect. Perfect is the enemy of good. Remember, these documents are written on paper, not on stone. They don’t need to last 10, 20 or 30 years. Make the best decisions with the information you have today, and know that you’ll be updating your documents (making them better again, not perfect) in three to seven years. It takes the pressure right off the table.

For successful estate planning, your new plan just needs to be better than the current plan. Hire the right professionals, and let’s work to get it as good as we can.

By |2020-08-14T10:54:00-07:00August 17th, 2020|Estate Planning|

Pandemics and Economic Cycles

It’s reasonable to worry about the outbreak of a previously unknown virus, and taking safety precautions is prudent. Yet, fear of the unknown should not drive our decision-making or cause us to shut down our lives. We may not be able to control travel bans, event cancellations and school closures. We can control our emotions and how we respond to challenges. The past is not predictive of the future, but it does offer valuable perspective. Consider the following information about previous pandemics and economic cycles.

  • When most travel was by boat, infectious diseases typically spread around the world in six to nine months. Everything seems to happen faster today. With global air travel, a virus can become a pandemic within three months. That has been the case with Coronavirus, which first emerged in China in November 2019. The typical duration of a pandemic is 12 to 18 months; it can come in waves of about three to 12 months apart, according to the CDC.
  • Schwab recently conducted an analysis of 13 global pandemics in the past 50 years. The data shows that once the number of newly identified cases starts to decline, economic activity and the stock market tend to quickly rebound.
  • Data compiled by Capital Group shows that past market corrections and bear markets haven’t lasted forever. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Composite Index has typically dipped at least 10 percent about once a year, and 20 percent or more about every six years, according to data from 1950 to 2019. Each circumstance has been followed by a recovery and a new market high.

Recessions are part of the natural economy. Similar to the ebb and flow of the tide, expansions and contractions in the financial system are expected. At Perspective, we factor that into the long-term investment plans of our clients. While stocks rise and fall in the short term, they tend to reward investors over longer periods of time. Keeping your view on the long-term horizon will help you maintain a positive outlook.

Keeping all this in mind, we do recognize that each person’s situation is unique. There is not one right or wrong course of action. If you’re feeling anxious about your financial situation or simply want to know your options, please talk with your Perspective advisor. Being informed and talking about your concerns can go a long way in relieving stress. We are always available to help.

As we all ride out this latest challenge, focus your time and energy on things you can control. Do your best to continue the activities you enjoy. Spend time outdoors, visit with a friend, whatever makes you feel happy.

By |2020-03-18T10:35:13-07:00March 18th, 2020|Current Affairs, Investing|

Empowering Young Adults with Autism

SEEDs for Autism provides a path “from learning to earning” by empowering young adults with autism. The program has been a blessing for my family, and I am so proud that our firm is able to sponsor its inaugural Discovery Day event. (Scroll down to see event details!)

Empowering young adults with autism

Jake McCann works for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The program teaches vocational job-development skills, while practicing life and social skills. My son, Jake, has participated in SEEDs for about three years. During that time, he has grown in confidence and abilities. With encouragement and coaching, Jake got a job as a 50/50 raffle sales person for the Arizona Diamondbacks. During the 2019 baseball season, he was one of the top sellers and was named Employee of the Month in August. Jake’s is only one of many success stories.

About 40 of SEEDs’ approximately 250 participants have found outside employment as a result of what they learned there. Skills are taught in welding, sewing, weaving, wood-turning, ceramics, jewelry, writing, computers, video production, screen printing and more. Participants learn from professionals who are experts in their fields and know how to create products that are beautiful and functional. SEEDs is also creating a business model intended to eventually create on-site jobs for a percentage of those who are in the program.

SEEDs contracts with a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) who helps write language and social-skill goals. Classes and departments have a 1:1 to 1:4 teacher-student ratio, which allows for concentrated attention. This hands-on approach empowers participants to contribute and gain a better understanding of what is required to communicate, manage anxiety and work with others.

Community involvement is vital to SEEDs’ long-term success. Volunteers, donations and purchases are always appreciated. Take a moment to watch the video below and explore their website at www.seedsforautism.org.

Discovery Day will be a fun event and a great opportunity to do some early holiday shopping. We hope to see you there!

Empowering Young Adults with Autism

 

Discovery Day

November 16, 2019

10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

3420 S. 7th Street, Phoenix

Experience a variety of autism-friendly activities and explore new interests at this FREE community event.

Activities include carnival games, prizes, face painting, obstacle course, puppets, archery, martial arts, remote control cars, therapy dogs and more.

Meet-and-greets with Phoenix Police K-9 unit, Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary, chess club and other groups. Buy delicious food and drinks, and visit Creation Stations to make origami, leather ornaments, wire bracelets, bath salts and more.

Get more details here!

By |2019-10-21T09:14:50-07:00October 21st, 2019|Charitable Giving, Company News|

Explore Long-Term Care Options

Mike McCann, CFP, AIFThe common U.S. life expectancy is 87 years. When you live into your 70s and beyond, the likelihood that you’ll need long-term care is considerable. Of course, much younger people can require these services, too, as a result of accidents or illnesses. About 30 percent of new long-term care insurance claims begins by age 80, and another 25 percent between ages 81 and 85, according to industry data for 2018. It’s important to explore long-term care options sooner rather than later.

Long-term care expenses average from $4,000 to $8,000 per month, depending on the level of care.

Yet, private health insurance policies, Medicare supplemental plans and group/employer plans generally do not cover long-term care costs. Medicare benefits are limited to 100 days and offered only after a hospitalization or injury. The Veterans Administration typically only covers long-term care for those with service-related disabilities.

Long-term care insurance pays for care when you become unable to care for yourself due to a disability or chronic condition; 99 percent of policies cover nursing home, assisted living and home health care. Annual premiums average $2,800. That said, different companies offer different rates and discounts, so premiums can vary by as much as 60 to 90 percent.

Our health changes, especially as we grow older. So it’s smart to look into care options well before reaching retirement age. This is especially true if you have a family history of chronic disease or disability.

There are many options for funding long-term care, and it’s important to gather as much information as possible to find the best one for you. Here are some examples:

  • Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) allow you to put money aside tax-free for medical costs, including long-term care insurance premiums.
  • Specialty or hybrid products like Life/LTC policies and LTC Annuities are becoming more common.
  • Pensions or Social Security benefits can help, depending upon the amount of money you receive and the care you need.
  • Retirement and other investment savings, if significant, may provide for your long-term care needs.
  • A home equity credit line, reverse mortgage or outright home sale can help fund care.
  • When all options have been exhausted and your income/assets have been depleted, Medicaid programs will cover nursing home care (but not assisted living care).

Before making any decisions, talk with your financial advisor. He or she can help you explore long-term care options and find the best financial solution for you and your family.

Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (longtermcare.acl.gov), American Assoc. for Long-Term Care Insurance (aaltci.org), Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Morningstar.com Center for Insurance Policy and Research, Genworth.com
By |2019-10-15T12:14:27-07:00May 27th, 2019|Health Care, Insurance|

Bitcoin Products and Pyramid Schemes

Pyramid schemes share one overriding characteristic, according to Debra Valentine, former general counsel of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): They promise consumers or investors large profits based primarily on recruiting others to join their program, not based on profits from any real investment or real sale of goods to the public. Bitcoin products and pyramid scheme share this description, according to Jonathan Harris. He offers a cautionary view in a recent opinion piece for the CFA Institute.

“Bitcoin is too inefficient to be a currency. Certainly, no government has any plans to use it as one,” he wrote. Harris is a chartered financial analyst and vice president, manager of nonretail credit analytics for TD-Bank. “Thus, the sole way most promoters will realize value from their bitcoin holdings is through new entrants into the market.”

Some proponents of bitcoin equate it to investing in gold. This may be a reasonable analogy. Still, even in the best case scenario, both bitcoin and gold share the characteristics of being volatile investments with poor long-term returns. While gold has other uses (e.g. jewelry or art), Harris points out that bitcoin does not. Furthermore, after the supply of new bitcoin buyers is exhausted, final investors will find themselves with assets that decline in value as early investors sell off.

“If it looks like a pyramid scheme and sounds like a pyramid scheme, we should treat it like a pyramid scheme until proven otherwise,” Harris stresses.

Creating Diversified and Balanced Portfolios

At Perspective, our time-tested investment strategy focuses on building a well-diversified portfolio of stocks and other securities. The Perspective Investment Committee meets quarterly to review and fine-tune the list of funds our advisors utilize to build balanced client portfolios. It is part of the firm’s strategic process. Funds are selected based on several criteria. Considerations include factors such as cost and the fund manager’s tenure. It also includes overall performance and risk vs. return (both of which we compare to peer funds and other benchmarks).

For Harris’ full article on the CFA Institute website, click here.

By |2019-08-14T13:59:47-07:00January 7th, 2019|Current Affairs, Investing|