Blog/Newsletter

US Economy Showing Resiliency

Amid a period of scary viruses and social unrest, it’s time again for a reminder that the wise investor maintains a written long-term investment plan, then holds on tight and stays invested when markets are volatile. Despite everything, U.S. markets and the economy are showing remarkable hardiness. How is the US economy showing resiliency? Read on.

We experienced a nerve-wracking stock market correction in March 2020, with U.S. stocks declining about 33 percent. Since then, markets have come back strong. Stocks rose around 30 percent from mid-March to mid-June 2020, as measured by the S&P 500 large company index. Who could have guessed?

Then May brought surprisingly strong employment numbers as the economy gradually re-opened. The number of unemployed fell by 2.1 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Note: the bureau acknowledged misclassification of workers on temporary layoff in its reporting since March. While May’s unemployment rate remains high at 16.4 percent, it still represents a dramatic drop from April.)

It’s wise advice to remain calm and steady in challenging times. Doing so helps us endure and navigate the unpredictable. Investors, too, are often rewarded for staying calm in volatile markets.

“Emotions can have lasting consequences, and this is particularly true when you try to time the markets,” says Josh Hile, a Seattle-based investment analyst.

Perspective Financial clients have a clear, written, long-term investment plan, executed using broad diversification and reputable mutual funds. Rough times tend to be easier to get through, as a result.

Speaking of the U.S. economy – built on grit and a never-give-up spirit – allow me to share a book recommendation. Graham Moore’s The Last Days of Night is a historical novel about the invention of the light bulb and efficient electricity transmission. Featured in the story is the sometimes-nasty rivalry between Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla. It’s an engaging read and wonderful break from every-day stress.

As Moore describes his work, “I love the notion that I could write something that two people could share. That’s the goal.”

By |2020-06-15T16:15:06-07:00June 22nd, 2020|Books, Current Affairs, Investing|

Lupe Camargo Serves Arizona Girl Scouts as Board Chair

Lupe Camargo Serves Arizona Girl Scouts as Board Chair

Lupe Camargo serves Arizona Girl Scouts as board chair: Perspective Financial Services is proud to announce that Lupe was recently elected as chair of the Girl Scouts – Arizona Cactus-Pine Council (GSACPC) board of directors. A longtime community leader, Lupe has a strong connection to Arizona and the needs of women and girls in our state. She has supported and advised the local Girl Scouts council in many capacities for more than a dozen years, including as a parent, troop leader and long-time board member.

The Council welcomed Lupe during its annual meeting, which was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Fifteen years ago, I walked into my first Girl Scout meeting,” Lupe said during her address at the meeting. “My daughter, now 20 years old, started as a Daisy in her Kindergarten class. We were both excited for the fun she would have, especially the 3 Cs we would experience: Cookies, Camping, and Crafts. As she remained involved, and I eventually became her troop leader I learned that yes, Cookies, Camping and Crafts were an important part of Girl Scouting… however, we learned there was much more.”

Click here to read Lupe’s speech, which the Council shared with AZ Big Media “as a means to empower, inspire and advocate for girls and women across Arizona.”

Photo by Mark Skalny

Budgeting for a Pet

Budgeting for a petOne of the effects of the stay-at-home rules and lockdowns due to COVID-19 is that pet adoptions are on the rise. That’s great news for the many rescue animals that have been waiting for a forever home. At the same time, it’s important to remember the “forever” part. Adding an animal to your family shouldn’t be a spontaneous decision. It takes forethought and budgeting for a pet.

Think about what sort of pet will best fit your personality and lifestyle, today and a year from now. It could be wonderful to have a kitten to keep you company while you’re working from home or a dog to take for long walks while your gym is closed. But also consider how the animal will respond when you return to the office and gym. Even pets typically considered low-maintenance – like rodents, birds, fish and reptiles – require a regular time commitment for providing food and fresh water, and cleaning cages and tanks.

Budget for initial and long-term expenses of the pet you choose. Initial costs are adoptions fees, medical expenses such as vaccinations, spay/neutering and microchipping, and supply costs for items that may include a bed, litter box, leash, cage, tank, toys and so on. Food is the most obvious ongoing expense, but other costs may include grooming, training, medications and emergency veterinary care.

Americans spent nearly $96 billion on their pets in 2019, according the American Pet Products Association annual  consumer survey. Basic annual expenses for dog and cat owners averages $1,380 and $900, respectively.

 

Credit Card No-Nos

credit card no-nosAccording to an Experian survey, 21 percent of people who experienced credit card fraud lost money as a result. The best way to avoid this, while still owning a credit card, is to follow a few basic security measures. You probably know to not read your card number out loud in public. Here are a few more credit card no-nos to keep in mind:

  • Never email, text message, or send a message via social media that contains your credit card number.
  • Never save or store your credit card number online or use the same password or pin as an online account for your credit card.
  • Never give your card number to someone who called you over the phone. You don’t know who is really calling you, and it is better to get the reference number and call back using a customer service phone number you verify online. Any legitimate company requesting this kind of personal information will be understanding and allow you to hang up and call back.

Tobi McCann

Keep reading about credit card no-nos: Senior citizens are often targets of credit card fraud.

Click here to read a previous article on how to guard against financial elder abuse.

By |2020-05-12T14:45:06-07:00May 26th, 2020|Current Affairs|

The Lockdown Test

the lockdown testThis time of uncertainty and pandemic lockdown has been a test for many of us on many levels.  For me, working from home since March 13, the lockdown test and struggle has primarily been managing my time.

My daily routine typically includes a lot of time reading or consuming information. Lately, that has meant reading articles about COVID-19 and how the economy and markets are being impacted by this virus, as well as about what else is going on in the world.

In my initial weeks working at home, however, I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time reading. That realization made me pause. While staying informed is important, I do not need to spend four to five hours a day on this task. It’s not the only thing on my plate, at work or at home.

Prioritizing my tasks and putting time parameters on each has been a good personal exercise during this quarantine.

We all know how important it is to empty the dishwasher every day, right? If that doesn’t get done, it puts a jam on dishes and the kitchen becomes messy pretty quickly. That’s my job at home, and I make sure to do it before I fire up the computer for the day. It’s a lesson I learned early on and something my family appreciates.

The need to balance work duties and household chores forced me to clearly define my priorities and set aside appropriate time blocks for the most important tasks each day. Having all of these tasks now wrapped up together under one roof has been an interesting new test. It also has been an important reminder to occasionally review my process and fine-tune my productivity.

Our firm’s technology has given us a tremendous platform to serve clients, stay competitive and work remotely. This technology also enables us to be highly efficient, as long as we remember to use it appropriately.

How are you spending your time in quarantine? Are there things you can learn from this experience to improve your daily life and balance, both today and after life returns to normal?

By |2020-05-12T14:39:18-07:00May 12th, 2020|Advisors, Current Affairs|