Financial Planning

Your Investment Policy Statement

Have you ever wondered why we at Perspective Financial Services have annual reviews and discussions about your Investment Policy Statement (IPS)? A well-written, up-to-date IPS is a powerful communication and planning tool, with three key benefits:

  1. It allows you and your advisor to discuss and document your goals, as well as your tolerance for investment risk, to create an effective investment strategy and asset allocation.
  2. It helps clarify how and why your portfolio’s investment mix determines its performance over the long-term. (The chart below offers a good visual regarding why asset allocation is so important.)
  3. It enables you and your advisor to periodically re-visit your goals and strategy, to ensure they remain appropriate to changes in your life and needs.

An Investment Policy Statement (IPS) is a document prepared by an investment manager and their client. It states the goals and the strategy for how to reach those goals through a specific investment mix agreed upon by the client and the investment manager. It’s prevalent within the institutional investment management space and is becoming more so at the individual or retail level. Perspective Financial Services has utilized the IPS for its clients since Mike McCann founded the firm in 2003.

Your Investment Policy StatementCall or email your advisor if you have any thoughts or questions about your IPS. We’re happy to go over it with you any time.

 

By |2021-12-02T14:05:37-07:00January 3rd, 2022|Financial Planning, Investing|

Shifting Priorities and Changing Plans

Shifting priorities and changing plansPivot. Fans of the television show Friends may always get a chuckle from that word. For many, however, it now represents a strategy for dealing with life in a post-Covid world. Shifting priorities and changing plans have been dubbed the “new normal” and it can be pretty stressful.

Yet, change doesn’t have to be random and scary. With the right preparation and planning, unexpected change can be manageable and intentional shifts in direction can be exciting.

The Covid lockdown became a time of self-reflection, evaluating priorities, and taking stock in careers. Some people found themselves out of work, while others gained a new sense of pride in their jobs when they were deemed “essential” for the first time.

Many of us adapted to working from home. We attended online meetings with kids clambering on the sidelines, conducted business while the dog barked at the Amazon delivery person, or focused on tasks with a quiet home as the backdrop. Some learned to enjoy it, others found it maddening. The idea of work-life balance took on new meaning.

Roughly 20 months into this radical shake-up of our lives, many people are seeing new opportunity, a chance to pivot with purpose – to reboot our lives, go back to school, start a family, change careers, retire early. The highest pay or the fastest path to promotion may be lower on the list of priorities. Flexibility, family-friendly policies and mental health care benefits are in higher demand.

If you’re experiencing a major life change or shift in priorities, talk with your financial planner. Any adjustment in your short-term and long-term personal plans and goals will impact your short-term and long-term financial situation. Areas to consider include:

  • Changes to current income and expenses;
  • Adjustments to savings and investments;
  • Emergency-fund needs;
  • Retirement and education account funding; and
  • Compatibility of your risk tolerance with your overall goals and needs.

A pivot in life, whether voluntary or forced, can be an opportunity. Make the most of it. We’re here to help.

By |2021-12-02T13:49:36-07:00December 20th, 2021|Current Affairs, Financial Planning|

An Eye on Inflation

an eye on inflationBy most measures, the economy is running hot. But even the casual observer can’t help but notice a strong economy can come with a down-side. Inflation is becoming more and more obvious, as we fill our gas tanks and are alarmed by higher prices of everyday items like groceries. Inflation had been for many years an afterthought, but now it is getting more mainstream attention as we all keep an eye on inflation.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’s August reading of the core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index — the Fed’s preferred inflation measure — was up nearly 4 percent year over year, the highest inflation in three decades. September’s consumer price index, the more familiar CPI, rose 5.4 percent compared to a year ago.

The price of many basic family goods is up much more than that. For households earning the U.S. median annual income of about $70,000, the current inflation rate has forced them to spend another $175 a month on food, fuel, and housing, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

It’s causing many to ask if inflation will stay elevated or head back down toward the long-term trend. Economic analysts at The Vanguard Group believe inflation dynamics will be volatile in the short-term. This is mostly due to supply shortages and other economic disruptions caused by virus-related shutdowns and the subsequent re-opening. However, Vanguard believes by the end of 2022 inflation will decline back to the 2.5 percent neighborhood.

What can we do to control inflation? The answer is, of course, not much.

You can improve your odds of long-term financial success, though, by working with the right advisor. An independent, fiduciary advisor, like Perspective Financial Services, will help you map-out, document, and stick to a disciplined plan to get you through uncertain times.

By |2021-11-09T08:38:28-07:00November 22nd, 2021|Current Affairs, Financial Planning|

Helping Aging Parents Manage Finances

Helping aging parents manage financesHelping aging parents manage finances: it’s a sticky situation. As our parents age, we worry about their ability to make sound financial decisions. We know they’re targets for financial fraud. How do we protect them, while also respecting their desire to remain independent?

Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, CFP®, is president of the Charles Schwab Foundation and has served two White House administrations on financial capability policy. In a recent article, she offered the following insights.

Helping Aging Parents Manage Finances

Communicate: Talking about money can be hard, but it’s the most important first step. Let your parents know you are willing to help and why. Be upfront about the fact that seniors are targets for financial exploitation. Ask them if they have any concerns and in what areas they might welcome some help. Look for cues that might indicate they’re confused or vulnerable. The more two-way conversations you have about money, the easier it will become.

Collaborate: Offer to become part of their team. Beginning a dialogue with their financial advisors and health care professionals will help you spot any troubling signs as your parents age. If you establish clear roles and responsibilities before troubles arise, your parents will be less likely to feel you’re hovering or controlling them. Instead, they’ll know you’re available and informed to offer specific support when needed.

Evaluate: Offer to help assess their assets and liabilities, income and expenses, and insurance needs. If they already have a financial plan, suggest a review. Once you understand their needs, remember to check in with them regularly. Their needs may change. By laying the groundwork now, you’ll be better prepared to help them. And knowing that may make your parents more willing to let you.

Compound Interest and Habits

Eng-WEBHabits – both good and bad – are something we all have. They’re part of our everyday routines, something we often do without any thought. Yet, we can all benefit by giving our habits more thought. As a financial planner, I love the idea that there’s a correlation between compound interest and habits.

“Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement,” wrote James Clear in his best-selling book, Atomic Habits*.

This idea really resonates with me.

I understand the benefits  of how investments compound interest (we essentially earn interest on our interest). The opposite is also true. If we get into debt and owe interest on the interest that is owed, that negative compounding is a detriment.

Good and bad habits work the same way. Years ago, I was in the habit of eating a bag of chips every day at lunch. I love potato chips, but eating them daily wasn’t a great habit. A good friend knew I was trying to lose some weight, and he suggested I substitute the chips with a piece of fruit. It was a small change, but a significant one for me.

The success that came with that small adjustment led me to rethink my daily soda with lunch, as well. Each small change moved me closer to being the healthier person I wanted to become.

“Success is the product of daily habits, not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.” — James Clear

Consistency

Once you decide to make a change, how do you make it stick? Consistency. Making the change automatic and trying not to miss more than two times in a row are two things that can help.

Let’s use a savings example. I have a friend who had never invested in the stock market. When she began a new job years ago that offered a 401K plan, I encouraged her to have automatic contributions withdrawn from her paychecks. Fast forward about 20 years, and she’d accumulated more than $250,000. Even though she did take some money out of the account along the way, she had still managed to save a nice sum of money for retirement.

We’re all human. We all get off track from time to time. Sometimes we miss deadlines, avoid workouts, or skip saving contributions. Give yourself room to be human. Know that you will have setbacks, and know that you can rebound. Commit to getting back at it as soon as possible.

The biggest rewards come when you have been consistent over long periods of time and your habits compound.

*When you  purchase books from Bookshop.org, a portion of the proceeds supports the independent bookstores and authors listed on the site.
By |2021-08-16T12:43:20-07:00August 9th, 2021|Financial Planning|