More than Money with Gene Dickison
“Real Life Questions – Real World Answers”
“The stock market seems to be poised for a drop. We’re about two years away from retirement. What should we do to protect ourselves against the drop that’s about to come?”
Your question echoes the questions we receive nearly every day – ‘what happens if?’
Let’s immediately clear up one important point – it is not a case of if the stock market will have a significant drop – it is a case of when. It will happen. And, if you enjoy a wonderfully long retirement, you will likely see three or four significant drops in the stock market before you are called home to heaven.
And let’s be clear about what won’t work – psychic ability. Many over the years have claimed or continue to claim the ability to see the future of the markets. While they appear to use charts and statistics rather than tarot cards and tea leaves – the results are precisely the same. No one can predict the markets. Not for five years out. Not for one year out. Not for tomorrow. And the people who do claim the ability to predict the markets fall into one or more of a short list of categories. Delusional. On mind altering drugs. Should be on mind altering drugs. Crooks.
In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, I for a short period of time thought myself to be psychic. Then my wife helped me identify the correct word – psychotic. So close. So different. Good job, honey!
What are you to do to prepare for the stock market drop to come? For the purposes of our discussion, let’s agree there are hundreds of choices you can make that would be remarkably wrong. Cash everything out and put it in the mattress. Bad idea. Cash out and go into gold. Not good. Grab anything being touted on TV and radio that those loud guys have been trying to scare you into for the past five, six, seven years – all the while the markets have been going up. Nope. So how do you know what ideas you should consider?
You (likely working with a trusted advisor) must start with an investment design that fits you and your goals. Your design (some call them ‘evergreen’ designs or ‘all-weather’ designs) should function quite well during all the reasonably expected ups and downs of the various (stock, bond, real estate, commodities, etc.) markets. Such a design will reflect your required rate of return to meet your financial goals while pushing your investment risk as low as possible while still getting you where you need/wish to go. Such a design will almost certainly be broadly diversified across many sectors of the investment world. And since this design is intended to be evergreen, it will almost certainly hold a significant portion (half/more) of your assets out of the stock market.
Second, you must commit to regular ‘maintenance’ of your investment portfolio. We believe quarterly reviews and monitoring meet that maintenance need quite well. We also believe annual reviews are almost always insufficient.
More than Money reviews look at the portfolio performance (to the penny), examine all the individual investments (buy, sell, hold), and develop recommended adjustments – if any. Between scheduled reviews, calls, emails, etc. many of our clients have discussions about their investments six (6), eight (8), or more times a year. Paying attention pays dividends.
My last point for this discussion encourages you to make the most rational, appropriate, and personally beneficial investment decisions you are able. Since many of these decisions come during very stressful times it is difficult to separate emotions from logic. At times like these it can be very helpful to have a trusted advisor at your side. Your advisor can help you stay the course when that is in your best interest. A trusted advisor can also help you move out of the way of a financial tsunami when that is your best choice.
When ‘best choice’ is defined as what most benefits you and those you love – you’ll likely have a long, prosperous, and joyous retirement whatever comes your way.
“I don’t think many people know that More than Money works with young people as well as baby boomers. My son is 29 and has been a client of your company’s for almost 5 years. He showed me the return he got on his account last year and it was tremendous. To tell you the truth, I was a little jealous.
I just thought more young people should take advantage of your services.”
Thank you. You are very kind.
Our More than Money advisors are very pleased at the number of younger folks (some in their teens) we are privileged to serve. To complete the picture, we have clients in the teens and in their nineties and everywhere in between. The rumors that all young people are financially clueless, feel entitled, and have no ambition are simply poppycock (how’s that for an up-to-date, ‘hip’ thing to say?!). Tons of the clients we serve in their teens, twenties, and thirties are brilliant, hardworking, and have important goals for themselves and their families.
Now that we have the pleasantries well handled, let’s turn to two very important points. First, while your view of your son’s returns are ‘tremendous’ – everything in life is relative. One man’s tremendous is another man’s disappointing. A tremendous return for a young man of twenty-nine (29) would likely be way too much risk exposure (nearly 100% in the stock market) for a man of fifty-nine (59) who’s goals might require keeping half or more of his assets out of the stock market.
Second, you have heard ‘past performance does not guarantee future performance’. Duh. If this is not your first rodeo you know that what an investment has done provides no guarantee of what an investment will do. However . . . this guidance actually means something a bit more important in the case of the lad and his dad.
Dad’s envy of son’s success will likely fade when, at some point in the future (virtually guaranteed!) his son’s portfolio endures a significant (and perhaps protracted) drop in value. Son’s near total commitment to the stock market carries with it the absolute assurance that he will feel the full wrath of a stock market downturn when it comes. If an investment can rise 30% (‘tremendous’) it can also drop 30% or more (intolerable to Dad!).
Son has thirty (30) or more years to ride the roller coaster with (appropriately) little or no concern for the wild swings he will experience during that time. Dad has (maybe) six years to retirement and must have considerable concern about – not how high is high, but how low is low?
Investing in the stock market? In a very real sense past performance does for-tell the future. In the past the stock market has taken investors on a dramatic roller-coaster ride of ups and downs. We have no reason to suspect the future won’t bring the same ‘excitement’.
“Thank You for Remembering 9/11”
All of us at More than Money want to thank all of you who stood with us to remember 9/11 and raise funds for Keystone Warriors. Through your immense generosity, we raised more than $32,000 during this year’s event eclipsing last year’s record total. In this our tenth year, our total funds raised have passed a quarter of a million dollars – thanks to you.
Your contributions of funds, supportive thoughts, and prayers are more appreciated than you could ever know. Veterans and their families will be given the help they so deserve to live the American life they fought to defend.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
More than Money Radio
Have Breakfast with Gene every Saturday Morning at 8:06 as
More than Money with Gene Dickison airs on AM790 WAEB.
Two Full Hours – 8:06 through 10:00 AM.
Words are Powerful Tools for American Freedom
This morning, as I prepared to write this letter to you, I reviewed my notebooks for a powerful quote about the importance of voting. And trust me, I’ve accumulated a ton of quotes that might work. Some are meant to be inspirational. Some are meant to be humorous. Some are meant to make us angry. Some are meant to shame us into doing our civic duty.
I don’t want to share any of them.
The events of the last two years should be all you need to get you off your chair, into your car, and out to vote.
The election of 2016 produced the most unexpected result in Presidential history. Your votes did that. The positive results of your votes have been felt every day in the two years since. The list of accomplishments of this administration is nothing short of staggering. And perhaps even more important – Americans are feeling more pride in our country than we have in decades. Your votes did that.
The Kavanaugh confirmation process revealed the most noxious underbelly of vile political ambitions we may have ever seen. The actions of Kavanaughs’ opponents revealed for all Americans to see a very clear demonstration of who they really are. If you support those actions, so be it. If you are revolted as I am and wish – to the greatest extent possible within our current system – to stop this from becoming the new normal – vote!
“Vote. Vote as if our American way of life is at stake. Because it is.”
Please allow us to serve you and those you love.
P.S. Thank you again for your generosity on 9/11. We thank God every day that we get to share our lives with wonderful people like you.