Open notebook on desk.

A Message for You

Investing Is About People

A message from American Century Investments Wayne Park, Senior Vice President, Personal Financial Solutions.

The year has been filled with many ups and downs from the markets and more. However, with Thanksgiving just a few days away, I’m reflecting on everything for which I’m thankful. Personally, I’m grateful for family and friends. Professionally, it’s still about people.

Are You Thankful the Midterm Elections Are Over?

Regardless of how you view the midterm results, we all seem to sigh in relief when it’s over. Here’s our recap and views on what it might mean for policies.

While there is still uncertainty in our world, we are in a season of thanks. I don’t want to lose sight of that amid all the things that make us feel unsettled. It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers that go up and down with the markets and other economic news.

For me, it helps to focus on why I do what I do, and that investing is about people. I’m thankful for the connections we make; they make my job more meaningful. It’s actually true for most jobs, whether you’re creating a product far from the client’s eye or up close and personal. It’s still about people.

Why am I talking about investing and people? My team at American Century Investments interacts with customers every business day. And it really hits home for me when I hear about their experiences. It’s a great reminder that what we do matters.

People Make Investing About More Than Numbers

As an investor, you may get caught up in the numbers too. But your investments are also about more than the total amount listed on your statement. They represent hopes for the future—for yourself and others for whom you invest. We don’t take that lightly.

On the way to your future, we also know that life happens, and it can change the priorities for your investments. For that reason, you’ll hear many of us talk about the need for an investment plan or financial planning. I’ll take this opportunity to say it again.

It’s so important to have a plan because life can be unpredictable. We hear it every day on the calls we receive. A life change, a job change, a new family situation, or an illness in the family can change how you look at your investments. I’m thankful that you trust us enough to talk about it and allow us to help.

Thankful for You

I know it can seem cliché to hear thanks from the companies you work with, but I hope you find we mean what we say. It’s tough to entrust your money with someone—it’s even more challenging when the markets are all over the place.

We appreciate that you remain confident in us through the ups and downs. And I hope you know that we are committed to doing the right thing for you and your investments.

Now About That Plan

If you don’t have one or are not sure your plan fits your life, we can help. Or, if you’re feeling the uncertainty we see play out in the markets, a review of your portfolio might be therapeutic. We’d welcome the chance to review your current investments and answer questions. Call us and let us help.

I hope the upcoming holiday is filled with many reasons to make you thankful. As always, we’re grateful for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Best Regards, 

Wayne Park signature

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Great (and Realistic) Expectations

January 7, 2022

The start of a new year is always a good time to think about what’s in store. But this year, it seems even harder to know what to expect. Of course, no one can predict what will happen, but we all have expectations—some optimistic, some not so much. My thoughts: Let’s be hopeful and realistic, especially for our finances. Here are some ideas on how.

The Economy is On the Road to Recovery With a Few Bumps

Review our investment professionals’ views on opportunities for 2022, tempered with some obstacles we may encounter along the way.

Setting Your Expectations

There are many reasons to be hopeful and reasons to be realistic this year, both on the financial front and in general. Many people aren’t sure what to expect right now. A recent social media meme may sum up our sentiments best:

Nobody claim 2022 as “your year.” We’re all going to walk in real slow. Be good. Be quiet. Be cautious and respectful. Don’t touch anything.*

While it makes me chuckle, I think there’s some truth in the way people view 2022—uncertain and with caution. And it’s no wonder after the past couple of years. But I believe we can be both realistic and have hope.

Real Challenges, Real Expectations

While the economy continues to recover, it’s not without risks such as higher inflation and ongoing supply chain issues. And no one knows how COVID may continue to impact our lives and finances.

None of those scenarios are particularly good news for investors either. However, I’d also caution against high expectations only based on recent market history. Expecting similar results from one year to the next without seeing the bigger picture or potential challenges ahead is likely unrealistic.

It can be difficult to ignore recent history when things are going well. For example, basing investing expectations on the number of record-breaking market days in 2021—70 for the S&P 500® and several for the Dow Jones Industrial Average**—you’d likely have high hopes. But you’d also overlook the fact that volatility is no stranger to the markets.

Where’s the Hope?

Balancing the good, the bad and the ugly of what we may experience this year starts with focusing on what you can control, such as your investment plan. A plan helps you keep perspective. Equally important, it signifies your hopes for the future.

No matter what markets or the economy may do short-term, keeping a long-term view helps you make decisions based on your goals rather than on recent history. Your plan should also include good strategies to help you weather different challenges.

A good place to start is to make sure the plan fits you and your goals. That’s where we can help. Call us for a review and let us help evaluate whether your plan will help you stay on track in 2022 and for the long term.

As we begin this year, I want to thank you for continuing to entrust us with your financial goals. Our hope is for great things for you and your loved ones.

*, author unknown, Dec. 23, 2021.

**S&P 500 hit 70 record highs in 2021, Investopedia Express, January 3, 2022. Dow Jones Highest Closing Records, the Balance, November 9, 2021.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Should Cash (Equivalents) Rule Your Portfolio?

January 21, 2022

They say that "cash is king" when talking about money, but what about cash-equivalents, like money markets, for your investments? While money markets can be important for specific short-term goals, what happens if you don't have enough of other types of investments for your long-term plans. The answer may be especially critical considering today's inflation rates.

How Does the Federal Reserve Manage Inflation?

The Fed is charged with maintaining price stability for all of us, but last year it adopted a flexible average inflation rate. What does that mean?

The Role of Cash Equivalents

Money markets and other cash equivalents can be necessary for a few reasons. Besides being considered relatively safe, they may help preserve your money and give you easier access to it. They can also help balance out a portfolio in a volatile time. What are some good reasons to use money markets?

Stability. When the stock market moves up and down, money market values still aim for a set price of $1 per share.

Emergencies. Because they can help preserve capital, a money market may be a good choice for your emergency fund.

Purchases. With their relative ease of access, money markets may be suitable for a one-time purchase, such as a new car or house down payment.

Confidence. Let’s not forget the emotional side of investing. Having some buffer of cash may help those particularly anxious about their investments to sleep better at night.

Can You Have Too Many Cash Equivalents?

For your investment portfolio, the answer is likely yes. However, it all depends on your goals. Current conditions could also impact the response. Here’s what I mean.

Unless you’re investing for one of the reasons I mentioned before, most investments are long-term prospects. If your goal is retirement, money markets won’t provide enough growth for the money you’ll need to live on in the future. The same is generally true for any goal that’s five to ten years’ out, such as investing for college.

And when inflation is on the rise, there may be even more reason to consider other investments. When your money won’t buy as much as it once did, you’ll likely need more growth to help overcome the gap—something a money market is not designed to do.

What About Risk?

Money markets may give some confidence when markets turn volatile, but also consider what you might be missing. I know some worry about a potential correction after two years of high market performance—history tells us that corrections occur about that often.* However, having no growth opportunity can also be a risk.

If you’re investing for the long-term, temporary market drops may not be as significant as you think, especially if you have years to go. Those closer to retirement would have a much different view but still likely need some growth.

In my opinion, the best way to manage risk is to have the right balance of different types of investments to help manage volatility and achieve your goals.

Let’s Talk About You

The best way to know if your portfolio properly balances risk and return is to have a professional evaluate it in relation to your goals. That’s our job. Call us to see how your portfolio is working. We’re ready to help.

*Source: Morningstar and American Century Investments, based on data as of 09/30/2021.

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.


Investing On Trend

February 4, 2022

When you're "on trend" with your clothing, it means wearing the latest fashion. My kids know all about it and don't have a problem telling me when I'm "off trend." But what about your investments? Should you follow a trend in hopes of finding new opportunities? It depends on your goals. The market's recent ups and downs may leave you wondering if it's worth it. However, if you decide to invest in a trend, there is more than one way to do it.

Electric Vehicle Race Is Gaining Speed

Purchases of electric vehicles are expected to continue to rise, and more players are set to enter the market. Review our investment professionals’ views on this trend.

Trend Versus Fad Investing

Trend investing is not the same as investing in a fad. Fads tend to be short-lived—what's popular today may not be popular tomorrow. Investing trends are more long term and consider underlying fundamentals—such as a company's financial wellbeing. Paying attention to financial health helps you know if a stock price is based on things like balance sheets versus popularity alone.

With trends, there may also be more long-term demand. Examples would be hybrid and battery electric vehicles, which are expected to grow in acceptance over the next 20 years. The problem is that sometimes you don't always know if something is a fad until it fizzles out quickly. Hype and ignoring the fundamentals may clue you in.

Just because something is a trend doesn't mean you won't experience volatility. Consider the recent activity with tech stocks, which have experienced their share of ups and downs already this year.

There’s More Than One Way to Invest in Trends

Investing in trends doesn't always have to mean purchasing the stock of an up-and-coming company and hope it's not a one-hit wonder. Investors can participate by investing in affiliated companies too. For our electric car example, we consider companies that manufacture the batteries or produce the chips used in vehicles' electronic systems.

One way you can take part is to invest in a mutual fund, which invests in various companies and doesn't rely on one stock for results. This may be an opportunity to invest in both newer and traditional companies. 

Active management of a mutual fund may also be crucial when considering new trends. Having investment professionals who dig into the fundamentals of companies and pay attention to emerging industries can help you participate without expending a lot of your own time and effort—or worry. Active managers have access to information that the typical investor doesn't have time to pursue. The managers also balance that information with what's going on in the economy, politically and around the world. It’s what they get paid to do.

Is Your Portfolio Trendy Enough?

Let’s talk about it and see if there are more opportunities you could be pursuing as part of a well-balanced portfolio. Call us to let us help review options for your goals. We are always happy to help!

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Viewing Volatility: Zoom Out

February 18, 2022

Choppy markets can make you uneasy, especially after a long period of smooth performance. It often feels like wading through unchartered territory, no matter how many ups and downs you’ve been through before. Regardless of how the markets move, it’s important to keep perspective. Focusing on a short timeframe can give you a distorted view—zoom out to see the bigger picture. 

Is The Federal Reserve Policy Fueling Volatility?

The Fed’s policies may contribute to volatility, but other forces are along for the ride. Find out what else may contribute to a potential bumpy ride ahead.

Reacting to Volatility

We usually pay the most attention to market swings that are more significant and happen more frequently. Those larger dips also make the most dramatic headlines.

How do you view a market volatility? It’s natural to focus on the event at hand and have questions. How long will it last? Will I lose money? Should I do something with my investments? Before you react, I propose taking a deep breath and looking at volatility through another lens: a long-term one. You may get a different perspective.

Volatility Through a Wider Lens

Even looking over the past year can put recent volatility in context. For example, from January 3 to January 24, 2022, the S&P 500® Index declined by about 6%. It seems significant, but when you zoom out to the past 12 months, you find that the decline was roughly equal to the gain experienced in October 2021 alone.1  

S&P 500 Index, January 31, 2021 to January 31, 2022

Source: FactSet. American Century Investments, January 31, 2022.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investment returns will fluctuate and it is possible to lose money.

Zoom out five more years, and the January 2022 volatility will seem more like a blip through a period of solid performance.

Taking an even longer historical view of market activity clues us into a few things: Swings are typical and may occur more often than you think. For example, the S&P 500 has experienced declines of at least 10% (called corrections) on average every two years since World War II.2

A long-term view also tells us that the stock market has a history of rebounds. That’s not to say we can always count on the same results. A key to finding your footing during volatile markets is to keep a long-term perspective on both the markets and your investments.

Keep Your Focus

As often as we hear market swings are normal, that doesn’t always help with emotions that come with them. What may help is to be confident in your investment mix. Having several different types of investments—that don’t all react the same way during a market event—can help manage volatility. 

Are you confident in your plan? Let us help evaluate it and offer ideas to keep your investments on a smooth course. We’re here for second opinions too. Call us and let us know how we can help. We’re always grateful for your confidence and are here for you through all market conditions.

1 S&P 500 Index results from January 3, 2022, to January 24, 2022, American Century Investments, February 2022. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

2 Sources: Morningstar and American Century Investments. Data as of 09/30/2021.

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.


Connecting the Dots

March 4, 2022

Unrest in the world, supply chain shortages, inflation—the factors that influence the markets can swirl around us like a storm. It may help to understand how these elements could be interrelated and how they shouldn’t be the only influences on your investments. Let’s connect the dots.

Russia-Ukraine Update

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has increased volatility in an already uncertain economic environment. We are assessing the potential impacts—while keeping history in mind.

Linear Dots

Factors affecting the markets can be linear, meaning one or more issues can create a chain reaction. An example might look something like this:

Geopolitical events cause supply chain disruptions and prompt inflation pressures.

Inflation pressures prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.

Inflation and potential rising rates result in market volatility.

Of course, this is a very simplified explanation, but you can see how events can be linked. These factors may affect your portfolio and your personal finances. But for your investments, you can prepare now and consider a longer-term approach.

For example, the inflation rates we’re experiencing right now may not be the same as when you retire. Supply chains could recover, factories could catch up on production and inflation pressures could diminish. However, we know that even low inflation can affect what you may buy in retirement, so it’s always wise to prepare for it.

Uncertain Dots

Major world events, such as the recent invasion of Ukraine, are difficult to anticipate and can trigger broader uncertainty. Investors might look toward perceived safe havens, driving bond prices higher (and yields lower), pressuring stocks, and roiling commodities markets, etc.

Government policies, elections and economic factors can also affect market movements if investors aren’t sure what policymakers will do or how fast an issue may be resolved.

The truth is, these events (and the resulting market volatility) will always occur, but you can prepare for them too.

The Ultimate Dot: Your Finances

If you find yourself in the “perfect storm,” how does it really impact your investments? The actual events may not at all, but the uncertainty may. The good news? Investing is long term, and downturns have usually been more temporary.

What can you do about it? Remember your own goals and timeline should be the most significant factors in investing decisions. Yes, it’s important to consider strategies that may help combat outside forces such as inflation, rising rates and volatility, but your goals should be the plumb line and where you focus.

Connect With Us

One way to stay focused is to be confident in your investment plan. Let us help with a review of your portfolio to see if you have all the elements in place. Call us—we’d like nothing better than to help.

Keep Moving Forward

March 18, 2022

Even when the headlines are new, the volatility isn’t. Market shocks are a normal part of investing, even if they are unnerving in the moment. But no matter what’s happening around you, it’s important to have a plan—and stick to it—to keep moving forward.

The Headlines

The Russia-Ukraine conflict is the latest source of heightened uncertainty. The human tragedy, along with global economic and market impacts, is the dominant story in our news feeds. Watching it play out—and likely feeling helpless—is an added emotional weight we can all relate to.

Add in inflation pressures and rising interest rates, and it might feel like the current environment is different from events that have come before.

Is it different? Yes. But the resulting market volatility is not.

The Fed Is On the Move

The Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates for the first time in more than three years. What could this mean for U.S. economic growth?


Moving Markets

Volatility is a constant presence in the financial markets, even if it doesn’t feel like it. While previous years might have seemed calmer, it certainly hasn’t been a smooth ride. In just the past decade, we’ve seen several corrections (market drops of 10% or more) as well as a brief bear market (a decline of at least 20%).

Yet, the overall trajectory has been positive over time. The markets eventually recovered and moved forward, albeit over different time frames. 

Volatility Is a Given

Corrections and Bear Markets in the S&P 500® Index

Sources: Morningstar and American Century Investments. Data as of 01/31/2022. 

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investment returns will fluctuate and it is possible to lose money.

Portfolio Moves

Moving forward with your own finances doesn’t have to mean making changes to your portfolio. It means tolerating the (sometimes stressful) short-term events while keeping your focus on the future.

If you’ve selected your mix of investments with a long-term goal in mind, you might be right where you need to be. You can let your portfolio do what it was built to do.

But if your risk tolerance has changed and you feel the shocks are too much, it may be time to consider a different allocation that’s more in line with your needs.

Your Path Forward

Need help knowing if you’re on the right track? Call us and let’s review your portfolio together to see if you’re ready for whatever market environment is next. As always, we’re here for you.

©2022 Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC. All rights reserved. For intended recipient only. No further distribution and/or reproduction permitted. Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC ("S&P") does not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any data or information contained herein and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such data or information. S&P GIVES NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE IN CONNECTION TO THE DATA OR INFORMATION INCLUDED HEREIN. In no event shall S&P be liable for any direct, indirect, special or consequential damages in connection with recipient's use of such data or information.


Riding Out Volatility With Mutual Funds

April 1, 2022

Market volatility often feels like a roller coaster—large and small dips can make your emotions do a few loop-de-loops. A big drop may be fun at the amusement park, but not when it’s your investments. You may already have something in your portfolio that has built-in diversification, helps you stay disciplined and where the professionals are in charge—all of which are important in volatile times. It’s your mutual fund. Let’s explore why.

Will Inflation Bring More Volatility?

Inflation can make investors nervous, especially when they aren’t sure how high or how long it might last. But focusing on the level of inflation may not tell the complete story. See why we think the rate of inflation change matters.

Sharing the Ride

The modern mutual fund has been around since the 1920s. Although that doesn’t sound very contemporary, the value of pooling your money with other investors in a variety stocks, bonds or cash equivalents is still an important feature. It may be even more so when there’s more volatility.

When market ups and downs occur, having your money spread across various companies provides diversification benefits. That’s because you aren’t relying on just one company for results. Risks may be higher when investing in a single stock, especially if the company is affected by the same conditions causing volatility—inflation, supply chain shortages, geopolitical unrest.

Staying On the Track

Another benefit of a mutual fund is that it can help you stay disciplined. Unlike stocks, mutual fund purchases and sales are made at the close of the market day. Your transaction is based on the fund’s net asset value (NAV) for that day, and the intraday price doesn’t fluctuate. This keeps any one investor from causing potential harm to the fund by trying to take advantage of short-term changes in the fund’s NAV. There’s no room for day trading in a mutual fund.

Letting the Professionals Steer

Finally, professional portfolio managers choose the securities in a mutual fund. During volatile times, it’s especially reassuring to rely on the expertise of a fund manager to do the picking and choosing. And if the mutual fund is actively managed like ours are, you know the managers are digging deep into company financials, observing market trends and making those selections. I don’t know about you, but the fact that really smart people are managing my mutual fund is comforting.

Driving It Home

By all accounts, volatility will likely stick around, so it is crucial to be confident in your portfolio. Our consultants can help review your investments and make sure they fit your goals and how you feel about risk—two factors that can help you stick with your plan. Just call us. We’d love nothing more than to help.

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Dealing With Uncertainty: Be In the Moment

April 15, 2022

The upheavals of the past few years remind us that the world is full of uncertainties. We’ve had our share with the pandemic, followed by supply chain shortages, inflation, interest rates and volatility. If you’re a planner like me (some might say extreme), it’s challenging to strategize when the world keeps changing. And you could find yourself focusing so much on the future that you miss enjoying today. The solution? Still plan but balance it by thinking like a horse. That’s right, a horse.

Headlines Can Feed Uncertainty—Our Outlook May Help With Perspective

Review our investment professionals’ views on what’s ahead for the markets, economy and more to help make sense of headlines for investing.


Horses and Investing?

Why is a city person talking about equine animals? A while back, I visited a horse farm and discovered some interesting facts that might help us approach today’s uncertainties. It’s not “horse sense,” though common sense is always a good way to approach investing.

A horse’s ability to live in the moment caught my attention. I think it’s something we can embrace to avoid over planning when uncertainty makes us feel the need to act. And focusing too much on today’s events may take away from good experiences we can have right now. As an avid planner, I’m taking my own words to heart.

Horses Live In the Now

According to horse experts, the animals always have a current state of mind. They don’t think about what happened in the past or what might happen. It’s all about now, and interestingly, they can sense if people live in the present.*

How can that help when we’re concerned about today’s events and their effects on our financial futures? Let’s look at an investment plan a little differently.

Rein In Planning

View your plan as a guard rail—solid enough to keep you from potential harm (such as making knee-jerk reactions) but also flexible enough that you can change it when needed. And to be clear, that shouldn’t be every time a market event happens.

Our active managers follow a similar path. The guardrails are their 'portfolios' investment objectives and designated investment disciplines. They adjust assets or weightings within the rails when they anticipate the need. The goal is better results for our clients. Are they always looking ahead? Yes, but it’s their job.

As investors, our job is to keep a long-term perspective by having a plan we don’t have to worry about with each new incident that comes our way.

Where to Start

Life will always be full of uncertainties, but I believe we can prepare for the future and still live in the now. Start with a plan that gives you confidence—one that doesn’t need revisiting too often. If you’re not sure about your plan or want a second opinion, call us and let us help. Then enjoy what life offers now.

As I think about the past few years, I’m grateful for the trust you continue to place in us. It’s certainly been a wild ride, and that may continue. I hope you know we’ll still be here to help with your finances.

*Top Ten Reasons People Love Horses,, January 2022.

The Value of “Values” for Investing

April 29, 2022

Several ideas can come to mind when you hear "value" regarding investing. I'm thinking about an investment company's values and whether they match what’s important to you for any kind of relationship—personal or professional. It may come down to how the company treats you and your money.

ESG Investing: One Way to Align Values

More and more investors of all kinds include environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors when making investment decisions. Find out why they find ESG appealing.

Values and Your Money

Value (the singular form) can mean different things for investing. Many people think about the "value strategy" or investing in undervalued companies at a discount. Others think about whether they are getting a good deal for their investment. That can refer to fees or whether you're getting enough reward for the risk you take. However, these are not the same as our "values," or the essential ideas for what we believe and how we act.

As consumers, sharing values with companies we do business with is not new. More and more people want to support companies that do good—for the environment, people or our society. Consumers may even pay more for products they believe are better for the world.

More investors feel the same way about the companies they invest in, as we see with the increasing interest in ESG. Whether investor or consumer, the decision to continue a relationship with a company may ultimately be decided by its conduct.

Values to Look For

Values are not the same as a company's expertise—though that's extremely important when you entrust someone else with your money. Equally vital is how the people in the firm act and treat you.

Essential investment company values are like those you may seek out in partners, friends and colleagues. Here are a few that are critical:

  • Integrity. The company does what it says it will do and keeps its commitments to clients. That can also apply to your investment products: Are you getting what you think you bought?
  • Respect. As a financial company client, you should be treated with respect and never feel like your question is too small, or that you don't know enough.
  • Authentic. Your investment company should stay true to the values they profess. If they say they put your needs first, it should feel that way with every interaction.
  • Care for People. Sure, it's money they are managing, but your needs and goals should feel like they matter at the end of the day. Does the firm demonstrate that its mission is about more than just money?

The Values We Share

I hope you find each of the values I described as you work with us. In fact, the values American Century was built upon first drew me to work here. Helping people with their financial goals is our north star, and our purpose to give back is equally inspiring. If you haven't read our company story, I invite you to explore it to get an idea of the values we share.

A core value is putting clients first. As such, we’re here to help with your investments plan or if you have questions. Call us and experience the values we believe are essential for your success.

Many of American Century's investment strategies incorporate the consideration of environmental, social, and/or governance (ESG) factors into their investment processes in addition to traditional financial analysis. However, when doing so, the portfolio managers may not consider ESG factors with respect to every investment decision and, even when such factors are considered, they may conclude that other attributes of an investment outweigh ESG considerations when making decisions for the portfolio. The consideration of ESG factors may limit the investment opportunities available to a portfolio, and the portfolio may perform differently than those that do not incorporate ESG considerations. ESG data used by the portfolio managers often lacks standardization, consistency, and transparency, and for certain companies such data may not be available, complete, or accurate.


Feeling Investing Pressure? Stay Calm

May 13, 2022

Today's economic and market conditions may be causing you to stress about your investments. Where's the source of the tension? It may actually be from within if you're wondering (and worrying) if you need to "do" something about it. Before making any changes, let's put it in perspective. The view that counts the most is yours.

Electric Cars: Peer Pressure and More

More people are showing interest in battery electric vehicles. Our investment professionals are watching, too, but not just because they're becoming trendy or even due to high gas prices.

What’s Causing Investing Pressures?

Inflation drags on. Interest rates rise. Markets drop occasionally. The Ukraine war continues. These events may leave you unsettled as a human being and under pressure as an investor. And there could be an additional stress: wondering if you should do something different with your portfolio.

In uncertain times, it can be difficult to know whether to stay the course or make a change. Before you make any decisions, it might help to step back, breathe and figure out how today's conditions affect you personally.

Pressures and Your Reality

For example, a friend in Hawaii recently told me about their incredibly high gas prices. Costs have since eased some, but Hawaii is among the top three states with the highest prices per gallon.* Interestingly, my friend didn't seem phased.

He lives on a small island that round trip takes him only 20 minutes to drive. Did he think prices were high? Yes. Does it impact him much? Not really. It could be similar with your investments and your lifestyle in the future. If you're closer to retirement, the pressures may feel very different (rightly so) and worth reviewing your current plan.

Keep Calm When Markets React

We intuitively know that markets go in cycles, but it can still catch you off guard. However, there are ways to help reduce stress.

One way is to be confident in your investment plan. Are you comfortable with the amount of risk? Does your plan fit your goals? Are you making progress over time—despite the occasional market drop?

Another potential stress reducer: a diversified portfolio. A variety of assets can help you withstand different market conditions. With a diversification strategy, it's essential to understand what it is and what it isn't. The actual test is owning different assets that don't all react the same way under a specific market condition.

Let Us Help Carry the Load

Still another way to help relieve the pressure is to talk it over. If you're unsure about your plan or wondering if you have the right mix, call us and we'd be happy to help.

As always, we appreciate your continued confidence in us through these times. We're committed to helping you find success, so please don't hesitate to reach out.

*U.S. gas prices, AAA,, as of 4/24/2022.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.


Automation & Investing: Goodbye Emotional Decisions

June 7, 2022

A message from American Century Investments Wayne Park, Senior Vice President, Personal Financial Solutions.

Automation and robotics have become mainstream for helping make our lives easier. From vacuum cleaners to lawnmowers and even the voice taking your order at the drive-through, we see more "bots" in our daily lives. You can apply an automation strategy to make investing more convenient too. And it may be especially helpful during market upheavals when emotions can take over.

Automation as an Investing Theme

Automation is an investing theme our professionals are keeping an eye on for helping companies be successful and, in turn, as an opportunity for long-term results.

Automating Your Investments

For years, automation has helped make activities, processes, and life more manageable, many times without us realizing it. More recently, automation plus robotics and artificial intelligence have brought us into a whole new world. For your goals? Automation can help you practice the longstanding principle of regular investing.

Automatic investing is a convenient way to invest a set amount directly from your bank account at regular intervals. In addition to convenience, there are several benefits from consistently investing. And with today's market volatility, it may be even more appealing. Let's explore why.

Replace Market-Swing Anxiety With Action

Investing automatically may help you take advantage of market ups and downs by averaging your share price over time. You can buy more shares when prices are low and fewer shares when they're high.

This principle, known as dollar-cost averaging, can also help keep you from trying to time (or guess) when to invest to get the best price. Instead, you're already following the plan and taking advantage of the average.

Ease the Day-to-Day Emotions

When markets turn volatile, it can be hard not to feel some emotion. Automatic investing can help you stay disciplined and reduce the temptation to make decisions based on daily market events. Sticking to your plan—even through rough patches—may help you get better returns in the long run because you won't be on the sidelines during a recovery.

Automation and Your Goals

Finally, consistent investing helps build your investments over time. Starts and stops may be detrimental when markets turn rocky and lead to selling low or buying high—the opposite of what you want to do. Both are usually done out of fear—of losing more money when markets fall or missing out when markets start to rise.

Automatic investing keeps you focused on your goals rather than what the markets are doing on any given day. In my opinion, that's always the best place to look when you're investing for the future.

If we can help you figure out how much to invest each month or evaluate if your investment plan is working for your future, don't hesitate to call us. We'd love to help you keep progressing toward your goals.

Dollar cost averaging does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss in declining markets. This investment strategy involves continuous investment in securities, regardless of fluctuating price levels. An investor should consider his or her financial ability to continue purchases in periods of low or fluctuating price levels. 

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Keep Your Investing Mojo

June 21, 2022

Investing for significant goals is essential. In my opinion, it's the best way to have the money you'll need down the road. But there's a hitch. Long-term investing has no quick rewards, making it easy to lose energy or enthusiasm, especially if market activity causes a discouraging setback. The answer may be in breaking down the big goals.

Set Your Next Goal

If you've reached a short-term goal (like paying off debt) and are ready to move on, these tips can help you figure out how to take your next investing step.

Investing for Big Things

Sure, there are short-term goals (like vacations or vehicle purchases), but most people think about long-term ones, like retirement. It's not for the faint of heart—investing takes patience and commitment, especially when considering the extended time frame. As we've experienced lately, market obstacles don't make it any easier.

Both the longer-term nature of investing plus current conditions can make some want to give up or maybe even wait to get started. At the very least, big goals can look almost too big and contribute to a loss of inspiration—or losing what I'm calling your investing mojo.

Mojo for the Long Haul

Recently I heard author and speaker Jeff Haden share his thoughts about staying motivated for a big goal.* He believes that frequently looking at big goals too far out can actually demotivate us. His suggestion is to break down larger goals into small ones. Here are my ideas for how to apply them to investing.

  1. Set Milestones. If you're investing for something 10, 20 or 30 years away, try setting goals for shorter periods within the larger goal. You could use rule-of-thumb checkpoints to gauge how much to save by a certain age and income.

    If the checkpoints are still too far away to stay motivated, break it down even further into one-year or five-year time frames.

  2. Increase Incrementally. Rather than staying focused on the big number you need in the future, set goals to increase your investment every year. Some workplace retirement plans, like 401(k)s, make it easy with automatic increases, but you can do it with your personal investments as well.

    A convenient way is to set up a monthly automatic investment and then mark your calendar to increase the amount each year. You may be surprised about how much those incremental increases can add up.

  3. Celebrate Your Progress. As much as I've championed looking forward, this time, I'm saying look back to when you started investing to see where you've come from. Even with market ups and downs, you will likely be surprised at your progress. And I think it can motivate you to stick with it.

Thinking Short Term for the Long Term

Long-term thinking is good for not letting market hiccups cause you to stray from your investing plan. But breaking those longer goals down can inspire you to keep going. If you're not sure how, let us help. Call us to evaluate your plan or for ideas. We're always happy to help.

*Haden, Jeff, The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win, Penguin Publishing Group: 2018. 


Next for the Economy—Avoiding a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

July 12, 2022

Economic changes make big headlines and may cause us to feel uneasy. From the daily news on the average price of a gallon of gas to the latest shortage (not hot sauce, too!), what's next is the debate of the day. Hearing various reports has me wondering how much of what happens results from people acting out of fear, almost creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. And while we can't always change the circumstances, we can avoid making a bad situation worse.

Inflation Still a Heavy Weight

Even as the economy becomes a top headline, inflation pressures still affect many people's wallets and emotions. Learn how inflation stress can impact decisions and find a better way to make choices.

Influencing the Economy

Much of the U.S. economy is driven by what we purchase, how much and when. It's about supply and demand. Consumers generally spend less when prices and interest rates are higher and when they're uncertain about what will happen next. And so, the cycle begins.

Less spending affects business sales, economic growth and jobs over time. It's a sequence that seems scary on the downside but positive on the upside. We may pull back on spending when we hear negative news. Does it become a self-fulfilling prophecy? Possibly. It has a lot to do with confidence.

Economists use the Consumer Confidence Index, among other things, to forecast the direction of the economy. The index measures how hopeful people are about their finances. The idea is that when there's more confidence, consumers will spend more, stimulating the economy.

Should we be worried now? While conditions may point to a possible recession or stagflation (high inflation plus a slowing economy), consumer confidence has dropped just slightly from month to month,* but not to 5%, which may indicate a shift in the economy.** Of course, that's just one aspect—and personally, I'm more confident knowing our investment professionals are actively monitoring for possible scenarios.

Self-Fulfilling Investing Prophecies

As bad news can make what happens in the economy seem like a self-fulfilling prophecy, it's true for market volatility too. Even though market activity results from what investors anticipate will happen in the future, sometimes we don't act that way.

Many believe recession concerns are already baked into current market prices, but that doesn't stop a sell-off after negative news. So, the volatility we worry about may become more volatile—making a difficult situation worse for investors.

Choose Planning Over Prophecies

Does this mean you should spend more to ward off a recession or always ignore market news? No. Regardless of the investing environment, the most critical factor for your money is what's best for you, your loved ones, your budget and your future. And planning for different scenarios can help you feel more prepared and avoid acting out of fear.

Another confidence builder is to get a second opinion on your investment plan, especially if current conditions are causing concern. Our consultants are available to assist, so don't hesitate to call us. As always, thanks for trusting us to help.

*U.S. Conference Board, Consumer Confidence Dropped Slightly in May, May 2022.
**Understanding the Consumer Confidence Index, Investopedia, August 2021.

Retro Markets Aren't Cool, but You Can Be

July 25, 2022

The S&P 500® experienced six-month losses not seen in 50 years. Inflation hit 40-year highs. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by the most in 20 years. Anybody else tired of these retro market conditions? Whether you have invested through tough times before or this is your first volatility ride, today's markets can be unsettling for just about everyone. One thing that may help is to stay committed to your future.

Women: Commit to Yourself

It's been 30 years since Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment—making it unlawful to discriminate based on gender. However, women still experience investing gaps. Find out how women can make a move for their futures, starting with a promise to themselves.

Retro Is Cool, Unless You're Talking About the Markets

If you're keeping an eye on market news, you're hearing a lot of "this hasn't happened for decades." While it may sound sensational, the numbers don't lie. The first six months of 2022 have been a time of revisiting past records. If you're ready for the markets to chill out, you're not alone.

Some investors seek safer paths when markets turn rough. But high inflation is now a roadblock—especially if you are getting close to retirement. Running to cash equivalents (like money markets) can dampen your growth needs—especially when your money won't be able to buy as much with higher prices. The best 70s phrase I can think of to describe what we're experiencing now: It's a real bummer!

So How Can You Keep Your Cool?

It may help to keep today's market landscape in perspective. While taking a trip down memory lane with higher prices, higher interest rates and market volatility is not enjoyable now, the markets have experienced these conditions before.

History shows us that market declines are normal, with corrections (drops of 10%) occurring about every two years on average and bear markets (drops of 20%) occurring less often.1 June 2022 marked the latest bear market with a drop of 21.8% in the S&P 500® from its previous market high.2 But history also shows us that the markets have recovered, as shown in the table.


Bear Markets and Recoveries, 1928  to 2021

There have been 14 bear markets over the period but also 14 recoveries.

Average Length of Bear Market 21 Months
Average Percent of Decline 39.9%
Average Cumulative Returns 1 Year Later 48.7%
Average Cumulative Returns 5 Years Later 109.1%
Average Cumulative Returns 10 Years Later 194.6%

The table above shows all bear markets since 1928, based on S&P 500® Index data. Returns are price returns only, not total returns, and do not include dividends. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Thus, the table should not be taken as an implication of future returns. Instead, it should serve as a reminder of the past resiliency of U.S. financial markets. Sources: Standard & Poor's; American Century Investments 12/31/2021.


What else does the table show? Investors who commit to a long-term plan may be better positioned to weather volatility and take advantage of it on the other side of a downturn, as shown by the recoveries one year, five years and 10 years later.

Of course, sticking to your plan means having one in which you're confident. One of the best ways to manage is by investing in several asset classes—known as diversification—and having the right amount of risk for you. The closer to your goals, the less risk you may want. Those with more time can usually tolerate more risk because their investments have time to recover.

Commit to Coolness

Investing for long-term goals—especially through volatility—is not for the uncool. It takes commitment and stamina to ride it out. It also takes a solid investment plan that matches your goals and timeline. If you're wondering about yours, let us help. Call us to evaluate your portfolio or answer questions you may have during these turbulent market times. We're here for you.

1Source: FactSet and American Century Investments, 1/1/1946 to 3/31/2022.

2Reuters, Bear Market Confirmed as U.S. Stocks' 2022 Descent deepens, June 14, 2022.

©2022 Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC. All rights reserved. For intended recipient only. No further distribution and/or reproduction permitted. Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC ("S&P") does not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any data or information contained herein and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such data or information. S&P GIVES NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE IN CONNECTION TO THE DATA OR INFORMATION INCLUDED HEREIN. In no event shall S&P be liable for any direct, indirect, special or consequential damages in connection with recipient's use of such data or information.

The S&P 500® Index is composed of 500 selected common stocks most of which are listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It is not an investment product available for purchase.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.


Volatility Survival Tips

August 9, 2022

Market volatility often gets compared to riding a roller coaster. But somehow, the fun and thrill of the amusement park ride doesn't translate well. No one asks to ride again when it comes to their money. How can you endure? Let's apply roller coaster rules to our investments when markets take us for a ride.

The Do’s and Don’ts (and Maybes) During Volatility

Learn some best practices for dealing with volatility from our Multi-Asset Strategies Chief Investment Officer.

The Roller Coaster of Volatility

You hear all the time that market volatility is normal—and it is. But if it's typical, expected and a regular part of the investing journey—why does it seem abnormal, unexpected and out of the blue? It might come down to fear and uncertainty. No one wants to think they may not have enough money, especially for retirement or sending a child to college, or any other important investment goals.

Riding Out Volatility

What can we do about it? You might assume the answer is to get off the roller coaster. But that could interfere with your goals in the long run. How about following guidelines* for riding a coaster instead? Here are some to consider.

Adhere to Requirements

Rollercoasters have age, height, weight and health requirements. If you don't meet them, you shouldn't ride. For your investments, follow risk rules so you can ride. Having the amount of risk that fits your goals, timeline and comfort level can help you stick with your investment plan. You're more likely to ride our volatility when you can tolerate the risk you’re taking.

Stay Inside the Coaster

"Stay seated and keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle" is what you’ll hear before every roller coaster ride. When investing in volatile times, the reminder may sound like, "Stay calm and keep investing in your plan." Too many people are tempted to stop investing when things get rough. In the long run, those decisions could cause you to have less money for your goals.

Eyes Forward and Head Up

On a roller coaster, this helps protect your neck during abrupt direction changes or jerks. For your investments, it means keeping your eyes on the long term. Focusing only on short-term price fluctuations may cause you to miss the bigger picture. For example, long-term earnings are what may matter for your goals, not temporary changes in stock prices.

Choose Well-Maintained Coasters

You may want to pass if the ride looks rickety and poorly maintained. Choose one that’s been professionally serviced. For your investments, you may want to rely on a professional money manager who has experience watching market moves—and can adjust their portfolios accordingly when necessary.

Leave the Cell Phone Behind

More amusement parks are banning cell phones on attractions because losing one during the ride can be dangerous to yourself or someone on the ground. Your cell phone won't physically hurt you during market volatility but spending too much time focused on account balances may harm your emotional health. It might be best to pocket it and skip daily monitoring in favor of scheduled reviews.

Don’t Ride Alone

It's more fun riding a roller coaster when you can share the thrill (or more comforting when you have someone beside you). For investing, knowing you're not alone may help you stay on course too. Don't hesitate to call us if you're unsure about your risk level or whether your investments can ride out the volatility. As always, we'd love to help.

*Tips based on those published by the Global Association for the Attractions Industry, Amusement Ride Safety Tips, IAAPA, July 2022.

Recession, No Recession—So, What Now?

August 23, 2022

“Will we or won’t we” questions about a U.S. recession have turned into “did we or didn’t we.” Nevertheless, the economy did shrink (slightly) for two consecutive quarters. The real question for you and your finances may be, “what now?” Recession is an economic term that’s easy to dwell on, but I think there’s a better place to focus.

Despite the Recession Hubbub—Inflation Still Rules Here and Abroad

Recession news doesn’t deflect from the squeeze inflation still has around the world. Our investment professionals analyze the difference between U.S. and European inflation and what it means for global investors.

Recession Uncertainty        

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)—the organization responsible for determining if the U.S. is in a recession—has not called it (as of August 23), which could add to the debate. And it defines recession in more detail as a significant widespread decline that lasts more than a few months.*

Recessions can make you feel uncertain about more than whether we’re in one or not. Some people recall the Great Recession of 2007-2009—a period considered one of the worst economic times since the Great Depression. Others may worry about employment because, historically, people have lost jobs. Today, unemployment rates are still relatively low.

The concern about a recession can still be there, but how does it really affect you? In my mind, not much changes between the day before a downturn is announced and the day after. Can you prepare if things should take a turn for the worse? Yes. It goes back to practicing good financial habits.

Good Habits for Recessions (Or Anytime)

No matter what happens with the economy, good financial habits are always smart. We certainly saw that when the pandemic hit. But two years later, it’s easy to forget. Here’s a refresher of some essential habits.

  1. Keep a Budget. Don’t spend more than you make. Knowing where you spend your money will help you have more control over it and make it easier to cut back if needed.
  2. Pay Down Debt. Rising interest rates are a good reason to pay down debt, but it is also smart for your budget and could free up more money to save.
  3. Maintain an Emergency Fund. Save enough to cover expenses for three to six months, and don’t dip into it for anything but a real emergency.
  4. Stick With Your Investing Plan. Recessions and other economic conditions don’t last forever, so keep investing for long-term goals. Gains and losses are on paper only until you sell your investments. Sticking with your plan may also give you a better chance to recoup any losses when markets recover.
  5. Equip Your Portfolio. Make sure your portfolio can help you better weather storms with diversification (a mix of different investments) and the right amount of risk for your goals and timeline. A portfolio that matches you can help you feel more confident no matter what markets do.

Recession or Not, We’re Here

If you’re wondering about your portfolio or have questions, don’t hesitate to call us. One of the best things you can do for you and your family is to prepare for whatever comes next. We’re happy to help.

*National Bureau of Economic Research, What Is a Recession? Q&A, August 2022.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.


Be a Lifelong (Financial) Learner

September 6, 2022

September reminds me of change. Fall and football season are right around the corner, and children are back in school. And it won’t be long before pumpkin spice is, well, everywhere, if it isn’t already. For me, this year brings more change as I send my first kid to college. Beyond the sticker shock, it makes me think about how important education is—for your finances too. We should all be lifelong money learners, especially because things can change so fast.

529s for College Tuition and More

One way to manage college sticker shock is to plan for expenses with a 529 education savings account. But your investments can be for more than tuition. Find out what else you can do with a 529.

Continue Your Financial Ed

If you’re like me, it’s been a while since that high school personal finance class. What I learned back then seems nothing like what’s being discussed about money today. Sure, the basics are still there—budgeting, paying down debt, saving and investing. Beyond that, it feels like a whole new world, and one that can easily pass you by if you don’t take time to learn.

Terms like bitcoin, cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) weren’t even in most people’s vocabularies until the past few years. And even if you wouldn’t consider them for investing, it can help to know what they mean and how they’re used. Even environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing—though not new—is becoming a household word. It’s the same with exchange-traded funds (ETFs); so many new acronyms to keep track of!

My point is this, it’s no longer our parents’ traditional portfolio choices anymore. Investing and finances are changing rapidly beyond traditional stocks and bonds, and it will continue. Keep learning so you can make decisions based on knowledge and not hype.

Relearn to Address Changing Markets

Investment vehicles and methods are not the only changes for investing. Lately, market conditions always seem to be in a state of flux. It’s been so long since many of us experienced the current conditions, you may need a refresher on how to deal with them. Knowing which strategies may help you manage whatever the markets throw our way—volatility, inflation, interest rate changes—can help you make smarter decisions too.

Where to Learn?

There are many reputable financial publications and blogs that can help you stay educated about investing now. You can also rely on a financial professional to walk you through what you want or should know.

For market education, our investment professionals publish a quarterly Investment Outlook from each of our chief investment officers. You can also find timely insights on a variety of topics ranging from economic factors to specific investment themes and disciplines from us.

It’s All About Smarts

The ultimate reason to become a lifelong financial learner is so you can make the best possible decisions for your money. But don’t throw out the basics—like sound financial principles.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a tutor either. Our consultants are here to help, especially with changing markets and portfolio strategies, so please call us. We’re committed to helping you pass the grade for your goals.

What Was He Talking About? Definitions for You

Bitcoin is a type of digital currency that acts as money and a form of payment that is created, distributed, traded and stored using a decentralized ledger system, called a blockchain.

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency intended to be used for buying and selling goods and services. Transactions from an online “blockchain” ledger are secured with complex algorithms to prevent fraud.

A Non-fungible token (NFT) is a unique digital identifier that can’t be duplicated and is recorded on a blockchain. NFTs can represent real items, such as a piece of art. The “token” makes them easy to buy and sell while reducing fraud.

Exchange-traded funds (EFTs) are similar to mutual funds in that they represent a group of securities. EFTs trade on an exchange like an individual stock and generally follow the performance of an index.

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing is looking to invest in companies that do good (and minimize harm) to our physical earth, for people and have good corporate practices and policies that do the same.

Many of American Century's investment strategies incorporate the consideration of environmental, social, and/or governance (ESG) factors into their investment processes in addition to traditional financial analysis. However, when doing so, the portfolio managers may not consider ESG factors with respect to every investment decision and, even when such factors are considered, they may conclude that other attributes of an investment outweigh ESG considerations when making decisions for the portfolio. The consideration of ESG factors may limit the investment opportunities available to a portfolio, and the portfolio may perform differently than those that do not incorporate ESG considerations. ESG data used by the portfolio managers often lacks standardization, consistency, and transparency, and for certain companies such data may not be available, complete, or accurate.

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are bought and sold through exchange trading at market price (not NAV), and are not individually redeemed from the fund. Shares may trade at a premium or discount to their NAV in the secondary market. Brokerage commissions will reduce returns.

A Case for Dry Powder

September 27, 2022

For your finances, “dry powder” refers to cash, cash equivalents or investments that are typically lower risk and liquid—you can get your hands on the money more quickly. Are they essential for investing? Yes. Let’s explore why it’s an important tactical strategy, especially now.

Consumer Behaviors Have Changed (Again)

How people spend their money can be important for investors, too, especially when there is a significant shift. Learn what’s in the shopping basket now and what it means for investing.

Dry powder is a term we use in the investment world. It originated in the 1700s when powder was required for military weapons, such as canons. The powder needed to be kept dry and plenty on reserve for battles. That sense of “reserves” and having it readily available for emergencies was adopted by financial people to represent investments that can help individuals prepare for down markets. The term has stuck.

What Are Dry Powder Investments?

Cash equivalents or investments you can easily convert to cash are considered dry powder. Examples are money markets, short-term bonds and even money you have in a bank savings account. It is usually money separate from investing in stocks.

Some people think certificates of deposit (CDs) are good for reserves and consider them when trying to avoid market risk. However, traditional CDs have penalties and fees for cashing out early, so they would not be regarded as liquid as other forms.

Do You Need Dry Powder?

Most people think of dry powder in terms of emergency funds. More liquid investments can be helpful when you need them—such as for a job loss, a medical emergency or a significant unplanned expense. We saw the benefit of reserves during the tumultuous health and economic events of 2020.

Personal savings rate in June 2022, down from 10.5% in July 2021. Source: Statista, August 2022.

The pandemic made us realize (again) the critical value of an emergency fund. And afterward, the savings rate among Americans increased. Two years later, how soon we forget. In the last year, the personal savings rate in the U.S. has decreased by 50%.

I realize there could be other explanations for the now lower savings rates, including dealing with inflation. Still, good reasons to build a backup account are the uncertainty surrounding the economy and the continued bouts of market volatility.

If your emergency fund is intact and can comfortably cover three-to-six months of expenses, dry powder may also be suitable for investment opportunities. While we never advocate timing the market or investing in fads that could quickly burn out, there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of a new opportunity that has been well-researched and found to be appropriate for your situation. Remember to keep your long-term view with these decisions too.

Dry Powder Means Discipline

If there’s any encouragement I could give, it’s to replenish any emergency funds you may have used. And going forward, only use the funds for emergencies. Investing takes discipline, maybe even more so if your budget is stretched. However, I don’t want anyone to experience an emergency without funds to help cover it. Once your dry powder reserve is built, see how you can invest more in your future.

How Can We Help?

Being ready for market or economic changes is a wise financial practice. If you’re looking for ways to invest for your emergency fund—or beyond—don’t hesitate to call us. One of our goals is to help you prepare for the future. Thanks for allowing us to be part of it.

You could lose money by investing in a mutual fund, even if through your employer's plan or an IRA. An investment in a mutual fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency.


When Markets Give More of the Same—Time for Pumpkin Spice?

October 11, 2022

A few weeks ago, I asked my team how many ways we can talk about this year's recurring investing themes. It's been inflation, volatility, inflation, volatility, and a little or a lot of rising interest rates sprinkled in. We all decided: It might be time to find a comfort zone amid these uncertain conditions, and for most, the choice was a pumpkin spice drink. What about you?

Inflation Is Far From Over Say Our Investment Professionals

The latest investment outlook examines their views looking ahead and encouragement to keep planning for the long-term.

Comfort for the Same Old Inflation and Volatility

Just when we think things may be slowing down, there's a new inflation report, and last month the major market indices experienced their worst day of the year. For the Dow Jones Industrial Average, it was the worst in two years.1

Inflation and volatility are lingering in lockstep, and there doesn't appear to be much relief. So how do we deal with these ongoing conditions? It might help to find your comfort zone and hold on—your version of pumpkin spice for investing.

Where's the Comfort for Investors?

If you're a long-term investor with lots of time before retirement, volatility may be unsettling your emotions. You may wonder about your nest egg if you're closer to retirement. And it doesn't help that everything costs more, including a pumpkin spice latte at 4% higher this year.2

We're finding that clients with an investing plan feel more confident about the future—even if retirement is nearer. Sure, there's the occasional question. But for the most part, the plan is their comfort zone—their pumpkin spice drink on a stormy evening.

You may also find comfort in sticking with your plan. When things are uncertain, but your plan is clear, this may not be time for changes. That is unless it’s a strategic move rather than a knee-jerk reaction to what's happening today.

Comfort in Numbers

Still, another place you might find comfort is in diversification. A mix of several different kinds of investments has historically helped smooth out market volatility because they generally react differently to market changes. But this year has seemed unusual because both stocks and bonds declined at the same time on a few occasions. You may be reassured to know this has happened before, and usually the periods have been short-lived—over a quarter or two and rarely over an entire year.3

Also, realize that diversification isn't balancing the performance of just one stock and one bond. True diversification includes many variations, such as U.S. versus international stocks, large companies versus small companies, developed versus emerging economies, long-term bonds versus short-term bonds, etc.

Choose Your Comfort Zone

When pumpkin spice came up in the conversation I mentioned, I had to confess that I'm not a fan. I know! The team was surprised too. How could I not love PSL—a drink with an acronym that defines a season? My comfort zone is wearing an old flannel shirt from the 90s. I'm saying this because not every investor will find comfort similarly. But all of us should keep the future in mind through these rocky times.

Please don't hesitate to call us if you need help or a review of your plan. Grab that PSL and relax; I'll wash my flannels. And as always, we’re here to help.

1Dow tumbles 1200 points for worst day since June 2020 after hot inflation report,, September 13, 2022.

2Starbucks' pumpkin spice lattes are back in stores Tuesday—with a price bump due to inflation,, August 29, 2022.

3Callan Investment Consulting, What to do when stocks and bonds fall together, May 13, 2022.

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.

Generally, as interest rates rise, the value of the securities held in the fund will decline. The opposite is true when interest rates decline.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

The (Year) End Is Near

October 17, 2022

Halloween appears to kick off a time when everything speeds up. Does the clock move faster after October 31? It must, because we all seem to be in a flurry around the holidays. Right now, inflation, market volatility and the election buzz may make the “rush” extra stressful. If it feels that way, it may help to focus on what you can control—especially for your finances.

Will Mid-Term Elections Stress Us Out More?

Our take: Don’t invest based on election outcomes. See why we vote for sticking with your plan.

Manage the Rush (and the Stress)

In a year of uncertain markets and continued inflation, is there a way to have less stress over the next two months? I think so. I’ve always believed focusing on what you can control can help ease worry over what you can’t. That’s true for your year-end plans and your investments. Here are my three ways to beat the rush.

1. Stick to your holiday budget

On top of everyday sticker shocks, there’s the holiday shopping dilemma. Will you spend more? About 40% of consumers say inflation will affect their holiday purchases. Many say they are starting early to spread the costs over a longer time. At the same time, 84% said they plan to reduce costs through coupons, discounts, sales or buying fewer items.*

While higher gift prices may be a challenge, overspending will likely be a more significant stressor later. My thought? Give yourself the gift of a holiday budget and follow it.

2. Rein in taxes now

I don’t want to spoil holiday spirits with tax talk, but now is a good time to make decisions that could help reduce your taxes next April. Here’s a short list, but you can also read more in 9 Year-End Tax Tips. Some deadlines are December 31, so consider your options now.

  • Harvest losses. If you withdrew from your investments this year with a gain, you might be able to offset taxes with losses on another investment. You’ll want to discuss this “tax-loss harvesting” strategy with a tax advisor and follow the rules.
  • Fund your future. You can contribute to a traditional or Roth IRA for 2022 until next year's Tax Day but investing up to the maximum now means more time in the markets. If you’re eligible, you may be able to deduct traditional IRA contributions.
  • Support an education. Make 529 education savings plan contributions before December 31 to qualify for applicable state tax deductions. Anyone who contributes to a student’s account may be able to take the deduction.
  • Remember RMDs. If you’re over age 72, don’t forget to take your required minimum distribution before December 31 and consider how much the IRS withholds in taxes. Underpayment can come with a 50% tax penalty.

Review Your Portfolio

Evaluating your portfolio may be particularly helpful after a year of market ups and downs. Knowing that your plan is still working—and adjusting it if needed—can help you keep going with confidence.

Even better? Review your plan with a professional to discuss the amount of risk you have, whether your investment mix is balanced enough or if there are strategies to help prepare better for current and future market challenges.

Beat the Rush

I’m a planner, so right about now, I’m adding my year-end “to-dos” to my calendar. That may not be your style, but I encourage you to take care of your financial list earlier rather than later. We’re always here to help too, so don’t hesitate to call us.

Most of all, I hope you enjoy the next two months and focus on the things worth celebrating. Cheers to less stress! Let us know how we can help.

*Bankrate Survey: Half of Holiday Shoppers to Begin By Halloween, September 2022.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Please consult your tax advisor for more detailed information regarding the Roth IRA or for advice regarding your individual situation.

Taxes are deferred until withdrawal if the requirements are met. A 10% penalty may be imposed for withdrawal prior to reaching age 59½.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: American Century Companies, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide tax advice. Accordingly, any discussion of U.S. tax matters contained herein (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, in connection with the promotion, marketing or recommendation by anyone unaffiliated with American Century Companies, Inc. of any of the matters addressed herein or for the purpose of avoiding U.S. tax-related penalties.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for more detailed information or for advice regarding your individual situation.


Elections Affect Policies (But Markets Don’t Care)

November 8, 2022

Elections get a lot of attention. For policies and the direction of your city, state and the country—they should. Today’s midterm elections are no different. But for investing? Your financial plan may matter most. Let’s explore why.

Fed Votes for a Sixth Rate Hike

After the fastest rate-rising cycle in modern history, will the Federal Reserve (the Fed) continue or pivot their policy soon? See what our professionals have to say.

Judging by news coverage leading to today’s election, there may be policy implications based on the outcomes. At the same time (and what we hear less about) are policies with bipartisan support—including ones that may be important to our daily lives, such as infrastructure, health care, housing and energy.

Many investors assume that election results will impact the markets and wonder how they should invest. However, historically, that just hasn’t been the case.

Markets to Elections: “We Do Not Care”

How markets react to elections remind me of a social media meme from a couple of years ago. It was based on a professional football coach’s response to a reporter about his team potentially playing 13 games in a row in 2020. His answer: “We do not care.” I think the translation was: We’ll keep doing what we do, no matter the circumstances. I imagine the markets would say something similar about elections results (if they could talk).

Although elections can impact economic policies that affect the industries and companies we invest in, it hasn’t been true for the broader markets. And no data suggests the markets perform significantly better or worse under one political party versus another. That’s true whether one party controls the White House and Congress, or the power is split.  

The markets have also been indifferent during presidential and midterm election years—even when you include significant economic events in election years, such as the bubble in 2002 and the housing crash in 2008. The chart shows stock market results with and without those events.

Stock Markets in Election Years

S&P 500® total return in election and non-election years since 1933

Source: Clearnomics based on S&P 500® data as of December 31, 2021. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.


Care About Your Long-Term Plan

Regardless of which direction you want for our government, your own long-term plan is the most important element for your investments. And since elections haven’t proven to be good for making investment decisions, your goals, timeline and how much risk you can live with still hold the key to your financial future.

You may think this time is different because of an uncertain and challenging investment climate. There’s no doubt inflation, the Federal Reserve’s response to it and geopolitical events have weighed on the markets this year. But it’s also true that new policies would not bring relief overnight.

Stick With It

No matter what happens in this year’s midterm elections, I believe the best approach is a balanced portfolio with a mix of asset types that can help prepare you for whatever conditions may be ahead.

If you’re not sure about your investment plan, call us for a portfolio review and to get the answers you need. We’d love to help you feel prepared for your future.

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.

You could lose money by investing in a mutual fund, even if through your employer's plan or an IRA. An investment in a mutual fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency.

©2022 Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC. All rights reserved. For intended recipient only. No further distribution and/or reproduction permitted. Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC ("S&P") does not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any data or information contained herein and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such data or information. S&P GIVES NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE IN CONNECTION TO THE DATA OR INFORMATION INCLUDED HEREIN. In no event shall S&P be liable for any direct, indirect, special or consequential damages in connection with recipient's use of such data or information.

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New Year, New Confidence?

January 15, 2021

Even as COVID-19 continues to be a threat for many around the world, I think most of us breathed a collective sigh of relief and looked forward to a new year. It’s understandable to want a fresh start and leave past worries behind. Inevitably 2021 will come with its own set of challenges, but I’m hopeful for more on the positive side. Big or small issues ahead, I encourage you to stay focused on what you can control with your finances.

Control What You Know

One way to stay in control is to be informed about changes that can impact your money. Typically details about Social Security and Medicare get updated annually. Read what’s new for these benefits in 2021.

Some Positive Glimmers

While we all know that changing the year on the calendar doesn’t mean all the challenges from the past go away, but there’s nothing wrong with having a more positive outlook. In fact, there are some reasons to have optimism, such as the continued rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and more effective treatments.

For your money, our investment professionals see some improvements in economic growth and some companies may see profits return, possibly sooner than was first expected. As individual investors, your portfolio has also gotten somewhat of a break from the extreme market turbulence we experienced in early 2020. But as always, that’s no reason to be complacent or to stray from your solid investment plan.

Keep Your Plan in Sight

Speaking of your plan, I encourage you to follow it no matter what may change around us. A new year can be a good time to see if what you have in place is working, or whether you need to adjust. Remember that even in times of higher market performance, it’s important that your risk level is consistent with your goals so you can be prepared for any environment. If you need help with your plan, just call us.

And if I can offer one more thought about the new year: I believe the resiliency shown by many through the trials of last year is reason enough to have confidence in our ability to endure whatever 2021 has in store. As always, thanks for your continued confidence in us.

Unboxing Active Management

January 29, 2021

Over the past several years, tech stocks have gotten a lot of attention, especially the big names we all know and use every day. While it’s nice to benefit from investing in popular companies, there’s always the caution of too much of a good thing. It’s one reason we believe active management is important—to help manage exposure. Active investing isn’t new, but given the new year and this week’s headlines, now may be a good time to revisit what it is and why it may be important for long-term goals.

Investment Ideas Beyond “Big Tech” Stocks

Find out what companies our investments managers are exploring, beyond those that are grabbing the headlines. It’s an example of how active management can work for you.

Active Management User Manual

What Is It?

With active management, a professional buys and sells investments in a portfolio—in our case a mutual fund portfolio. The goal? To create a portfolio that performs better than its benchmark, usually a financial index that tracks similar assets. The S&P 500® Index is one example.

On the flip side is passive investing, which is buying investments that mirror an index—and getting similar returns. Passive investments seek to follow an index; active managers seek to outperform it. As active managers, we believe there’s a place for both approaches in a balanced portfolio.

Why Use It?

A benefit of active investing is the experience, knowledge and analysis the manager brings to the table. For example, active managers will dig deep into a company’s financial health. They may consider the competitive landscape too. Is there a new innovation that will offer opportunities, or a new competitor that may pose a challenge?

Political or environmental forces can also be a reason to rely on active management. Last year’s health, financial and social uncertainties are good examples of when it may help to have an expert in your corner. Even new government policies can bring changes that a manager can navigate.

Lastly, active managers have more options when unsettling market activities arise; they are not locked in to following an index like passive managers. But that’s not to say they should follow every trend.

Our approach to active management is to keep a disciplined, long-term view no matter what happens. For us, it’s about pursuing enduring opportunities for clients, even in the face of short-term issues like this week’s headline-grabbing, speculative trading. To get our professionals’ latest views on this market event, read more.

Active and Your Portfolio

As our client, active managers oversee your mutual fund. When thinking about your own portfolio or considering new investments, it’s important to examine the approach, the cost and if the investment works with what you already own.

As much as we believe in active management, we also believe in the value of a balanced and diversified portfolio—one that fits you and your goals. To learn more about the potential benefits, read The Surprising Truth About Diversification. If you want to talk over choices or your portfolio, remember we’re here for you. All you have to do is call us.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.


A message from American Century Investments Wayne Park, Senior Vice President, Personal Financial Solutions

A History of Bubbles (And What to Do)

February 12, 2021

You may be hearing murmurings about a potential market bubble (when asset or stock prices dramatically surpass their historical norms or values). It’s natural to wonder when markets continue to rise while we still face economic and health challenges. Of course, the biggest concern about bubbles is the fallout if they burst. Let’s explore some past events to see what we can learn. 

Investment Ideas Beyond “Big Tech” Stocks

Find out what companies our investments managers are exploring, beyond those that are grabbing the headlines. It’s an example of how active management can work for you.

Historic Bubbles and Signs

Past events may provide some clues about what causes bubbles and how to know if you’re in one. Here are a few from history.

Holland Tulip Bubble (1636-1637)1

In one of the earliest recorded bubbles, prices of Holland’s famous flower soared for about four months before dropping 99%. Considered a textbook irrational event, the bubble grew from the tulip’s high demand as a status symbol. As quickly as demand rose, it fell, leaving many with bulbs but no buyers. Some now question if details were exaggerated, but it is still a story of speculation.

South Sea Bubble (1720)2

This bubble grew on an assumption that the South Sea Company would get exclusive rights from England to trade in South America. Investors bought shares on that premise and the promise of riches in an unexplored land. This bubble is said to be an example of how fraud may have impacted the market.

Dot-Com Bubble (1990s)3

Size and reach describe the famous tech stock bubble that led to a U.S. recession in 2002. The popularity of the internet caused much speculation as many dot-com businesses were valued at billions as soon as they went public. The result is an example of investing in companies that don’t have the profits to back them up.

U.S. Housing Bubble (1996-2009)4

Housing prices nearly doubled between 1996 and 2006. As prices rose so did sub-prime mortgages and house flipping. Prices peaked in 2006 and by 2009 the average home value dropped by a third. Speculation, changing demand and looser credit guides contributed to the bubble.

Bubble or Bust: Your Plan Matters

In hindsight, there were signals that could have indicated a bubble. But people rarely recognize when they’re “in” it. Similar to the drop we experienced 12 months ago, one thing the events had in common is that everything seemed to be going well—until it wasn’t.

Trying to predict the next bubble is a form of market timing—which rarely works. So what can you do? Stick with a disciplined investing plan to stay focused on your future. It can help you avoid being tempted by a trend that may not reward you later.

If you’re feeling anxious about the current frothiness in the markets or want to confirm your plan, please don’t hesitate to call us. We’re here to help.

1Barron’s, The Real Story of the Tulip Bubble is More Fascinating Than the Myth, May 2019.
2South Sea Bubble,, January 2021.
3What is the Dot.Com Bubble, Certified Financial Institute, January 2021.
4The Causes of the Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis,, September 2020.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Plan for the Certainties

February 26, 2021

We talk a lot about planning for uncertainties, but some inevitable things require just as much thought. Two of those are taxes and retirement. Current unknowns, along with new and proposed government policies, may leave you wondering how to proceed. Here are a few thoughts that may help. First and foremost, don’t stop planning and be sure to seek help from a consultant or tax advisor.

Taxes Are Certain: Plan for Now and Later

One inevitable task the pandemic has not stalled is tax time—the deadline is still April 15. It’s important to understand taxes and your investments, but also consider what may be new this year, including these:

  • You can now contribute to an IRA past age 70½ thanks to the SECURE Act. This could help with taxes right now—actually for any age—since Traditional IRA contributions are usually deductible and can be made up until the tax deadline.
  • The CARES Act allowed people under 59½ who were negatively impacted by the pandemic to make penalty-free withdrawals from retirement accounts. Remember penalty-free is not the same as tax-free; it will be counted as income for 2020.
  • 529 withdrawals may have been a little dicey last year if you received a refund for college expenses due to the pandemic. If you weren’t able to redeposit the money into your account within 60 days, you may need to pay taxes and a penalty on the withdrawal.

For the future? There’s a lot of talk about tax policy changes or higher taxes. Regardless if that happens now or some time down the road, planning for taxes is always smart. Find out some potential ways to combat taxes.

Retirement Is (Mostly) Certain: Plan Ahead

Retirement may be certain, even though sometimes the timing is not. Job losses, health concerns and family issues may cause people to retire sooner or later than expected. Either way, there may be new considerations for your plan this year.

The pandemic may have changed some timelines if your savings took a hit. However according to most reports, few people withdrew money from their retirement accounts as allowed by the CARES Act.* Market changes may also warrant a second look at your plan. If retirement is far off, check if you’re still on track. If you’re getting closer, it’s even more important.

Another thing to consider is how much growth potential you may need in retirement. Many people think only about the lower volatility of bonds, but growth has a place too. The continued low-interest-rate environment may be problematic for bonds; if you need that income for retirement, you might need to factor that into your plan. 

How Much Growth Is Enough?

It depends on what type of investor you are. Use our Building a Growth Engine information to help you identify your potential needs now and for your future.

The Need for Planning Is Certain

I’ve covered just a few thoughts about planning for taxes and retirement—and there are many more facets to consider for both. And the good news? You don’t have to plan alone. We’re here to answer questions about your financial plan. Please don’t hesitate to call us.

*"Most savers resist temptation to raid their 401(k) plans amid COVID hardships,”, December 2020.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

You could lose money by investing in a mutual fund, even if through your employer's plan or an IRA. An investment in a mutual fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: American Century Companies, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide tax advice. Accordingly, any discussion of U.S. tax matters contained herein (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, in connection with the promotion, marketing or recommendation by anyone unaffiliated with American Century Companies, Inc. of any of the matters addressed herein or for the purpose of avoiding U.S. tax-related penalties.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for more detailed information or for advice regarding your individual situation.


It’s Been a Year

March 12, 2021

I don’t know when things changed for you, but for us it’s been a year since most of our staff packed up to work remotely. Back then, we thought it would be for a few months. Since then, the world has experienced numerous changes that are now becoming the norm. Some may have impacted the way you view your finances and long-term investing plan.

Travel and Tourism Changed Dramatically

See what our investment professionals say about travel sector investments going forward.

It’s Been a Year of Change

Recently National Public Radio (NPR) asked people to share on social media the moment they realized life as they knew it had changed. Using #TheMoment, there were many responses from seeing long lines and empty shelves at the grocery store, to when people became both full-time employees and full-time child care providers at home. Others said it was when major events—sporting, concerts—began to cancel.1

Whatever it was for you, 2020 was definitely the year the world changed. Let’s look at some ways it altered finances.

More Savings, Less Leisure

A way COVID-19 positively impacted people’s finances is their decisions to save more. Some of that may have been by default because of fewer opportunities to spend on leisure. But the initial market volatility and recession shock was a good reminder that emergency savings are important no matter what.

According to a recent survey,2 better financial habits are resulting from the pandemic: 43% of people said they picked up a new habit and 94% say they plan to continue it this year. Among those are setting a budget, reducing spending, saving and tracking credit scores—all good news for finances.

More Retired, Fewer Wanted To

According to another study, 70% of people who retired in 2020 said they did so earlier than expected. Of those, a majority said it was involuntary, citing health issues or job losses. The same survey said retirees were more anxious about their situation than before.3

We know from previous studies that many people expect to work longer than they actually do, but this year the pandemic contributed to some retirees ending employment when it didn’t feel physically safe to work outside the home. On the positive side, more pre-retirees—those within 10 years of retirement—are more actively planning for their future.

Either way, planning for retirement is always critical. Retirees will also want revisit their plans and budgets to make sure they are on track.

Pandemic or Not—There’s Always Change

No matter if COVID-19 made you take a second look at your finances or it was business as usual, change is always present. It doesn’t take something as large as a pandemic to alter life. Markets and personal situations can change things overnight too.

That’s why it’s always important to periodically review your personal finances and to check if your plan still matches your situation. Don’t hesitate to call us if you need help.

As I reflect on what a year it’s been, I want to sincerely thank you for your continued trust in us. We often said, “We’re in this together.” Looking back, I see it was true.

1People Share #TheMoment They Realized The Pandemic Was Changing Life As They Knew It,, February 2021.
2Credit Karma and Qualtrics Survey, December 2020.
3Pandemic Brings Big Jump in Early Retirees: Survey, Ignites March 2021.

This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal or tax advice.

Find Your Investing “Why”

March 26, 2021

A few weeks ago we asked clients how their investing interests had changed after a tumultuous 2020. About a third said, “no change.” Others said they were now paying more attention to trends, are more focused on a solid future for their families and are more interested in giving to charity. Regardless of how you might answer the same question, your motivation may matter most. When you define clearly “why” you invest, it might help you be more successful.

Interested in New Trends? Here’s One We’re Watching

Changes to how and where people work are a trend that can change where we invest. See what our investment professionals are watching now.

Investing Is More Than Money

When thinking about why you invest, some people list goals that are about the money:

  • To grow it
  • To build wealth
  • To get returns

These are good explanations of why to invest in general, but the motivation behind them are much more meaningful. “Growing your money” may mean you want to take care of the next generation. “Building wealth” may mean you want to start a new business in the future. "Getting returns" could mean your goal is a comfortable lifestyle after you retire.

Money may be the means to help, but it’s not the ultimate reason. Focusing on the “why” makes investing that much more important—and maybe a little more serious too.

Is a college education for a child or grandchild one of your motivations? Find out what 529 education savings accounts can pay for now. 529 Plan Qualified Expenses

Your Motivation Matters

Why is your motivation important? I believe it can help you more clearly define your goals and in return, the path you take to achieving them. Like anything else you set out to do—you may be more successful when there’s a clear purpose, a clear destination and a clear path to getting there.

The pandemic may have changed your focus or made it stronger. That could be especially true for those who were separated from family and friends because of travel restrictions and lockdowns. Or maybe it made you take a closer look at how you plan for emergencies or take care of your health. In my opinion, these are all silver linings for a very difficult year that hasn’t fully ended for some. A new or changed point of view can help you determine if your “whys” have changed.

Help for Why You Invest

Whether the past 12 months changed everything you think about money or made your focus a little clearer, it’s a good time to revisit your goals. I encourage you to think about the purpose and why it really matters. That can help you clarify details, such as how much money you need and how many years until you need it.

If you need help revisiting your goals, remember we’re here to help with your investing plan. Just call us. As always, we appreciate your continued confidence in us.

This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal or tax advice.


Is Inflation the Next Hurdle?

April 9, 2021

Following a year of upheavals you might be sensitive to potential investing hazards. Today’s headlines don’t help either. Hearing news about government spending, such as the newly proposed infrastructure package, can raise questions about the possibility of higher inflation. Whether it will actually rise is up for debate. But let’s look at why it’s important to prepare for inflation—even when rates are low.  

Inflation and Investing

See what our investment professionals are saying about three potential inflation pressures now.

Why Keep Pace?

Inflation is an economic trend of rising prices for a “basket” of products that includes housing, clothing, transportation, education and more. If just one product price rises, such as gasoline, that’s not necessarily a sign of inflation.

But what can it mean for you personally? If you’ve ever received a cost of living adjustment (COLA), you’ve experienced a way to keep pace with inflation firsthand. Not receiving a COLA means you may have experienced the downside. If prices rise, your dollar doesn’t buy as much as it did the year before. And that can affect your budget.

Your investments can also fall victim to inflation. Even at relatively low levels, it can impact how much you can buy in the future. To keep pace, one solution may be to build your portfolio for growth. Diversifying with some growth investments may be important for most investors, regardless of age. How much depends on your situation and timeline.

Historic High Jumps

If lower inflation levels can affect your money, the thought of drastic price increases is more worrisome. But is extreme inflation a real threat? For the past 25 years inflation has averaged just 2.2%.1 The U.S. has typically experienced double-digit inflation only during wartime.

Higher inflation in the 1970s was an anomaly, even though the U.S. was funding the Vietnam War. From 1965 until 1982, a period known as the Great Inflation, the U.S. endured four recessions, two severe energy shortages, and unprecedented peacetime wage and price controls. Inflation peaked at over 14% in 1980. Still, this dismal economic time resulted in Fed policy changes that aimed at not repeating history.2

Run the Race With Inflation

If you’re tempted to sit on the sidelines (or in cash) until potential trouble passes, that could actually give inflation a larger lead. You may want to consider options to help you stay ahead of inflation, including inflation-hedging choices or growth investments as I mentioned before. As always, think about your goals, timeline and how you feel about risk before you make a change.

If you need help, please call us. Regardless if it’s inflation or some other economic factor, we’re here to help. As always, thank you for your continued confidence in us.

1What’s the Highest Rate in Inflation History? Investopedia, 2019.

2The Great Inflation,, 2021.

This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal or tax advice.

Engage or Retreat—What’s Your Risk Strategy?

April 23, 2021

You likely know that all investments come with risks. Some higher. Some lower. Fortunately there are strategies that can help you manage them. It reminds me of the board game Risk I played in college. My opponents and I would try to outwit one another to gain “world domination.”

Figuring out your strategy for “outwitting” risk can feel like that too. Let’s review some approaches that can help, and some that may not be as wise.

Investing Balancing Act

Investing comes with the need to balance the potential to make money with the risk of losing it. Learn about the different risks and strategies used to combat them.

Playing Risk vs. Managing Risk

If you’ve ever played the game of Risk, you know there are different strategies to deploy. In our school competitions, some tried to form alliances, some would attack from the beginning and others would play friendly and hold back. For the latter, it almost always was a losing strategy over the long run because eventually you have to engage. By then, everyone else had amassed such large armies that the player couldn’t overcome the deficit no matter the luck of the dice.

Investing is surely different, but some of the same lessons can apply. There are those who take a proactive approach to managing risk by employing long-held investing strategies. Others hold back or even try to avoid it altogether.

Avoidance can come with its own set of risks. We see that now with worries about inflation. Not managing this risk or choosing to sit it out can hurt you in the long run because your investments won’t keep pace with rising prices. You might risk losing purchasing power—the ability to buy as much in the future as you can now.

Playing It Smart With Risk

How you approach risk is one way to think about managing it. For market risk, one thing to consider is how much you should personally take with your investments. Too little may not get you enough growth to reach your goals. Too much can set you up for more loss than necessary—and perhaps some sleepless nights.

For other investment risks such as interest rates, inflation, credit and taxes, there are ways to manage those too. Regardless of which strategy you employ, the smartest ones start with having a variety of investments—or a diversified portfolio—then adding specific strategies to combat specific risks.

Make Smart Alliances Too

Where to start with managing risk? One of the most important things to consider is understanding your own risk comfort level—how much you can honestly tolerate. That’s important because stepping outside your comfort zone can lead to emotional decisions over strategic ones.

Getting help when you need it is also a smart tactic. Our consultants are here to help you figure out your own risk tolerance, answer questions about specific risks and offer ideas to help you outsmart any barriers. All you need to do is call us.

We’re serious about helping you build the right investment plan because we believe it may give you a better chance of reaching your goals.

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.


Replacing Your Paycheck for Retirement

May 7, 2021

When planning for retirement there’s a lot of focus on how you will spend your time. While some look at retirement as a second chance at unfulfilled dreams, others may look for something simpler or want a nest egg for “just in case.” Regardless of which way you see it, one of the most important things your retirement plan should do is replace your paycheck after you quit working.

Investing for Income? Dividend-Paying Stocks is One Way

Review 3 Reasons Why Dividends Still Matter

Investing for Your Retirement Income

Income for retirement isn’t as easy as it once was when more employers provided pensions—not many have that luxury any more. And you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks Social Security will provide all they need. It was actually never intended to replace your salary.

So what’s left? It likely comes down to a commitment to invest for your future through an employer’s retirement plan or setting up an IRA, or both. Equally important are the kinds of investments you choose. For ideas, read what you should know about investing for income.

As you draw closer to retirement, or if you’re already retired, income becomes a bigger deal. Most people start taking a closer look about five to ten years before they stop working. It’s when you will need to answer one of the most important planning questions, “How much will I need?” Figuring out what you will spend your money on is an important step to finding that answer.

How Will You Spend Your Retirement Income?

There are different ways to determine how much money you may need in retirement. Some follow rules of thumb, such as the one that says you’ll need to save 70% to 80% of your current income. We prefer more precise planning and encourage people to estimate a budget based on what they spend before retirement.

However you plan—and I hope you do—consider that some of today’s expenses may go up or down in retirement. A recent analysis by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) came to the same conclusion based on what current retirees spend on today and how it changes with age.*

The EBRI noted that retirees have different focuses in retirement. Your focus may be determined by how much money you have, your health and whether you are part of a couple. About 56% of people are “Typical Spenders”—their spending focus doesn’t change too much with age—although it can if different circumstances arise.

Others are “House Spenders,” with more than 60% of their budgets going to that expense. “Health Spenders” use 20% of their budget on health care. The number of people in the health category grows as people age. Finally, “Discretionary Spenders” use 25% of their income on entertainment, gifts and contributions. This category also becomes more of a focus with age.

Your Retirement Income Takes Planning

Two of the takeaways from the analysis above are that spending in retirement is not one-size-fits-all and your focus may change over time. That’s why it’s so important for you to have your own plan based on your individual needs and wants, and to revisit it at least annually.

Planning for your retirement income may be one of the most important things you do as an investor. I encourage you to not put it off and remember our consultants are here to help with your plan. We can also help you find out how much you may need and how to invest for income. Please don’t hesitate to call us.

* EBRII Issues Brief: Older Americans' Spending Profiles: One Size Does Not Fit All, December 2020.

This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal or tax advice.

Rising Taxes? Respond Carefully.

May 21, 2021

Proposed higher taxes is one of those topics that can leave you unsettled. It seems like I’m saying that a lot these days. But change was bound to happen with a new administration and the country still adjusting to this post-pandemic world. Are taxes the next big change? More importantly, should you act? Let’s discuss what I believe may be the best way to respond—with care, especially when it comes to your investments.

Will Higher Taxes Affect Your Finances?

Get an overview of proposed tax law changes.

Rising Taxes—Should You Worry?

With the unveiling of President Biden’s proposed American Families Act (on the heels of the American Jobs Plan announcement), there’s been some urgency to plan for higher taxes. Combined, the proposals add up to $4 trillion in spending. Is the push to address taxes warranted?

Possibly, depending on your circumstances. If you earn over $400,000, the proposed income tax increase may be a good reason to talk to a financial or tax advisor. Those with even higher incomes may also want to look into strategies for proposed changes to capital gains taxes for those making more than $1 million.*

But also remember that these plans still need to go through the process of becoming law and they may look different than they do today. Also consider that taxes and your own circumstances could look very different in the future. That could mean that current proposals may not mean as much over the long run.

Higher Taxes—Time to Convert?

One of the biggest calls to action I’m hearing is to convert Traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs to help remedy tax burdens. My response? Not so fast. While the conversion process may be right for some people, you still need to look at your own circumstances not just for now, but also your expectations for retirement.

As a refresher, a Roth conversion is changing a Traditional IRA, where you have made pre-tax contributions (which likely gave you an income tax break) to a Roth IRA. With Roth IRAs you make after tax contributions, but qualified withdrawals (such as after age 59½) are tax free.

The conversion drawback? You must pay taxes now on the amount you convert. For example, if you want to convert $100,000 and your tax rate is 25%, you will owe $25,000 in taxes. As you can see, it can require a hefty tax bill. The other thing to consider is that most people’s tax bracket in retirement may be lower than they are today. A question to ask is whether paying the tax bill now will be worth it for the future?

Consider Account Variety

Just like a mix of investments may help manage risk in your portfolio, a mix of account types may also have advantages. One thought is to have both Traditional and Roth IRAs in your toolbox to potentially draw on the benefits of each. Or you could consider other ways to add to your nest egg, such as with a Health Savings Account.

Deciding on account types is just one factor when it comes to planning for taxes or retirement. Your plan should consider other factors that are unique to you, such as your timeline. The goal is to reach retirement in the smoothest way possible, and to accumulate the amount you need to cover expenses and hopefully the fun stuff too. If you need help with your plan, or have questions about your current accounts, please don’t hesitate to call us.

We appreciate your continued trust in us.

*Fact Sheet: The American Families Plan,, April 28, 2021.

You could lose money by investing in a mutual fund, even if through your employer's plan or an IRA. An investment in a mutual fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: American Century Companies, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide tax advice. Accordingly, any discussion of U.S. tax matters contained herein (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, in connection with the promotion, marketing or recommendation by anyone unaffiliated with American Century Companies, Inc. of any of the matters addressed herein or for the purpose of avoiding U.S. tax-related penalties.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for more detailed information or for advice regarding your individual situation.

Please consult your tax advisor for more detailed information regarding the Roth IRA or for advice regarding your individual situation.

Taxes are deferred until withdrawal if the requirements are met. A 10% penalty may be imposed for withdrawal prior to reaching age 59½.


Take a Summer Break, Then Back to Your Future

June 11, 2021

This summer looks to be different from last year—especially for travel. Many will take their first trip since the pandemic. Others are planning “vaccications”—a vacation after being fully vaccinated for COVID-19. I think we all deserve a break and encourage you to take time for yourself and your family. Even if that means just disconnecting from your regular routine. And after that much-needed break, remember your future is still waiting.

The RMD Vacation is Over. What Now?

If you are age 72 or older, you may have gotten a break from taking a required minimum distribution (RMD) from your retirement accounts last year. This year, they’re back on schedule.
Review ideas for what to do with your RMD.

The Benefits of Taking a Break

According to research, taking time away from your day-to-day schedule has several benefits. It can lead to more productivity, better mental health and lower stress.1 Last year, plans were canceled due to the pandemic, but some still found ways to relax. I hope that you were able to recharge during what for many were desperate times.

Now that things feel a little better, some can’t wait to take the long-awaited trip. I say go for it safely. And the financial guy in me whispers, “and don’t forget about your budget.” I also don’t want you to take a break from your investing plan for your future.

Don’t Vacay From Your Plan

As much as vacations are good for your wellbeing, taking a break from financial priorities may have the opposite effect—especially if you are retired or getting closer. If retirement is several years away, you may not feel the effects until later, when it becomes more real.

One potential side effect of pulling back on your plan is increased stress about having enough money to pay for expenses in retirement. According to one survey, 49% of pre-retirees are concerned about running out of money. Another 53% in their 50s are worried about covering medical expenses.2  That means about half of us are feeling pretty stressed as we think about our futures.

Another sentiment that some have is regret. In fact, our own research of retirement savers shows that not saving enough is one of people’s biggest personal regrets. And it ranks higher than not doing better in our careers and not focusing more on personal relationships.3

Stick With Your Future

Stress over money? Regret about past savings habits? These are not feelings anyone should have after a lifetime of working for yourself and for those you care about. And while fewer and fewer people now see retirement as that proverbial “day” you stop working, thinking about new adventures or new endeavors is even more reason to stick to your plan.

Consistently investing is important, but so is knowing if you’re invested the right way and that your plan fits your timeline and how you feel about risk. If you need help confirming that your plan has you on the right track, don’t hesitate to call us for help. Put checking up on your plan at the top of your to-do list this summer (along with the vacation, of course).

1Thinking of Skipping Vacation? Don’t!, Harvard Business Review, August 2020.
2Retirement Confidence Index, Simply Wise, January 2021.
39th Annual Survey of Retirement Plan Participants, American Century Investments, May 2021.

Back to Your Future

June 25, 2021

Getting back to “normal” after the disruptions of 2020 is something most of us have longed for. But now that it seems closer, is it difficult to get back in the driver’s seat? One thing we should all do is make our futures a priority again. But that may not be as easy as it sounds. Some might feel like Marty McFly in “Back to the Future” trying to navigate his way back to 1985 (with a time-traveling car, of course). Like that character, you may find obstacles, but pushing through will be worth it.

Get Retirement Back on Track

Did the events of 2020 cause you to take a detour from your investing plan? Review ways to help make up for lost time with retirement contributions.

Going Back May Be Uncomfortable

In “Back to the Future,” traveling from decades ago wasn’t exactly easy. According to psychologists, returning to (almost) life as we knew it before the pandemic could cause stress. Making the transition may be harder than we thought.*

There may be anxiety about your investments, too. While the markets recovered after the initial drops early on in the pandemic, the constant headlines can keep us unsettled. Reports of potentially higher inflation and taxes are two that come to mind.

Even if you’re not old enough to remember double-digit inflation rates of the 1970s or a time when taxes were higher, few of us want to time-travel back there. But that shouldn’t stop you from following your investing plan for whatever the future brings.

It’s a Race Against Time

Time running out is one of Marty’s biggest challenges. Will he be stranded in 1955 forever? Or worse, interfere with his own future? While we don’t feel the same urgency as Marty, there is a race against the clock for all of our futures. How fast it goes depends on how long you have to invest.

Over the last year, it may have felt necessary to put on the investing brakes. But if you can get back on track, it can help build your confidence. And unlike Marty, you won’t be able to travel back in time for a do-over.

Your Future Is What You Make It

In the final Back to the Future sequel, Marty’s girlfriend asks why her note from the future has been erased. She’s told it’s because her future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. The future is what you make it.

I can’t think of a better analogy for why investing should be a priority. Getting back to your plan can help you make the future what you want it to be.

Let Us Help With the Load

If you’re struggling to return to your pre-pandemic priorities, we can help you get back to your plan—no time machine needed. All you have to do is call us.

As always, thank you for allowing us to help you navigate.

*Stress in America Survey, March 2021, American Psychological Association.


Golf & Investing—Both Take Commitment

July 9, 2021

Today NBC Sports starts broadcasting the 2021 American Century Championship (July 9-11). This annual charity golf tournament brings together sports and entertainment celebrities in a fun and meaningful competition. Thinking about the championship reminds me of my own quest to pick up the game again. It taught me some good lessons about sticking with a plan, despite some obstacles. That’s a lot like investing.

You May Encounter Hazards

With golf and investing, there are hazards along the way. But there are ways to manage them too. In the article “A Tale of Two Investors,” learn how the timing of losses can make a difference and what you can do to help combat them.

Like Riding a Bike?

It sounded like a good idea. When searching for something I could do safely outside, social distance and enjoy exercise during the pandemic, I decided to try my hand at golf again. I learned quickly it’s not like riding a bike. Getting back into the game isn’t so easy. But some things it did teach me are perseverance, how to manage inevitable obstacles and that a good coach can help. That feels a lot like investing.

Investing Takes Perseverance

Like golf, it’s rare to see instant success with investing. But with your money, overnight success might come with the risk of overnight losses. Few of us want that kind of roller coaster ride with our finances.

The alternative? Keep your long-term goals in view—always. Sure, there will be hazards and outside forces along the way. In golf, it’s sand traps and wind. In investing, it’s volatility and economic events (think pandemic, new government policies, etc.). But, if you stick with a good investment plan, I believe you will get closer to your goals, despite bumps along the way.

Manage the Obstacles

The good news about golf is that you can decide  how you get to the green. Your choices—a  wood, an iron—depend on your swing and the conditions that day. Investing is the same. A mix of different investments can help guide your portfolio through changing market conditions to your end goal.

Obstacles are inevitable too. In my golf game, water is a magnet. No matter what I do, my ball heads for it. Market ups and downs will happen, too, because that’s what markets do naturally. A key is to have strategies—ones that fit you and your goals—to help you through.

Call On a Coach

The last thing I learned about my golf game is that I occasionally need professional help. As an amateur, I certainly don’t need coaching every day, but having my swing videotaped (though painful to watch) and evaluated actually improved my game.

Periodic coaching from a professional is also smart for investing. In golf, your final score depends a lot on how you perform on the green. Likewise, it may be even more important to check in as you get closer to scoring your goals—like retirement.

Need to Check In?

We offer complimentary portfolio evaluations upon request. No matter how near or far you are from the green (your goal), don’t hesitate to call us.

I hope you get a chance to tune in to the American Century Championship this weekend. And as always, thanks for your continued trust in us.

The Personal Side of Inflation

July 23, 2021

Inflation continues to top headlines just about every day. It can make us nervous when we see prices going up. But like most things we hear about, there are many sides of the inflation story. What may matter most is how it affects you. Let’s examine the three sides I think make it personal.

How Can You Stay Ahead of Inflation?

Find out what causes inflation and ideas for what you can do.

The Real Impact of Inflation

For me, inflation comes down to three things: what I can buy now, how my income is impacted and how it might affect my future. Let’s look at each of these and consider what they may mean for you.

Inflation and You Today

You are likely hearing about changes in the consumer price index (CPI)—the go-to for tracking prices of many goods and services and the most common measure of inflation. But at the end of the day, CPI is a number. What matters more is how rising prices affect the things you pay for every day—such as food, gas, utilities, clothing and medical care.

An example is if you’re in the market for a car. According to Kelly Blue Book, new car prices are up 7.9% since 2019, and used car prices are at all-time highs. Among other things, they cite microchip shortages and higher demand after COVID-19 for the rise in prices.*

Inflation and Your Paycheck

Rising prices mean your paycheck won’t stretch as far. Wages may also go up, but some believe that is a chicken and egg scenario. Do higher wages help with higher prices, or do they push them higher? You can find scholarly and economic research on both sides of that debate, but the real question is whether you can continue to afford your expenses.

Employers may offer cost of living adjustments (COLAs) or pay higher wages when there is a higher demand for workers. It can become an inflation component if the cost of doing business from higher wages is passed on to consumers.

Inflation and Your Investments

For your investments, inflation matters for what you can purchase in the future. That’s especially important as you think about your retirement nest egg. Will your dollar go as far as it once did? Even with the relatively lower inflation rates of the last decade, the answer is no.

Even low rates of inflation can impact what you can buy in the future. However, there are ways to manage inflation with your investments, which I believe is always smart to do.

Will Inflation Keep Rising? What Can You Do?

Our professionals think it will rise, but don’t expect soaring prices. They also agree with the experts at the Federal Reserve, who believes that some higher prices are temporary due to higher demand now, after lower demands during the pandemic.

One caution I would offer is to ignore alarming news and determine the true effect inflation has on you and your family. Also realize that inflation in one area doesn’t mean that all prices will go up and not all at the same time. That’s not to say that you should be complacent. Consider your personal needs, then decide if you should act.

When It’s Personal, Let Us Help

Financial planning is one way to help figure out what to do about inflation. If you need help going over your plan or are looking for ways to manage it with your investments, we’re here to help.

Like most economic issues and your money, the best time to address concerns is when things are calm, or in this case, when inflation is still relatively low. Don’t hesitate to call us for help.

*Uncharted Territory: New Vehicle Bargain Hunters Will Find Limited Supply, High Prices This Memorial Day Weekend, Kelly Blue Book, May 2021.


Staying Cool When Things Heat Up

August 6, 2021

We’ve all heard about the “dog days of summer.” It’s that time of year when some say the heat isn’t fit for a dog, though the true origin isn’t about canines. It’s the period when the sun and the brightest star—Sirius or the Dog Star—occupy the same space. For your investments, you may be feeling some heat that has nothing to do with temperatures outside or the position of the stars, but everything to do with change around us. Here are some ideas to keep your investing cool.

The Do’s, Don’ts and Maybe’s During Market Volatility

Seeing ups and downs can put your emotions on a rollercoaster. Here are ways to manage.

When Things Heat Up

“Hot” is a relative word that can mean good or bad. For example, if a certain market sector heats up, it can be seen as good if you happen to be on the ground level when it starts to sizzle. On the other hand, no one wants inflation to heat up. Or to think about COVID cases rising from new variants.

The markets may react similarly to how our emotions do: rising when the economy appears to be recovering and falling when there’s concerning news about the virus. We saw this just last month in market activity. But that’s how the markets roll. We just don’t like how it makes us sweat sometimes.

Change seems to be the climate in which we find ourselves—again. As an investor, how can you keep your cool? If you’re like many people, you want to “do something.” But sometimes “doing” means purposefully staying the course. Other times you may need to act. Regardless of your situation, here are my ideas for staying cool this summer.

1.  Apply a Long-Term View Like Sunscreen

Long term doesn’t mean a month or even a quarter. Instead, keep your eye on when you’ll actually need your money to decide if adjustments are needed. You may feel nervous over market fluctuations and changing economic news. However, if you have a solid investing plan in place, it’s important to stick to it—sort of like adding SPF to block out rays of unwanted emotions.

People seem to get in more trouble when they make investment decisions based on knee-jerk reactions instead of keeping their goals front and center. Some of the pitfalls of pulling back or selling due to a market drop could be in missing some of the markets’ best days or not having enough growth potential to keep up with your timeline (or inflation).

2.  Rebalance to Avoid Overheating Risk

It may sound odd to tell you to rebalance after encouraging you to stick with your plan. But periodically adjusting your portfolio is part of that plan. Rebalancing means to buy or sell funds to get your portfolio back to its original asset allocation mix—the mix of stocks, bonds and cash equivalents that match your timeline and risk comfort.

Market activity can cause your asset allocation to get out of balance and may put you in a position to have more risk than you intended. It can feel counterintuitive to sell a high-performing fund to get you back in balance, but it may be necessary to keep your mix appropriate for you. Our latest article on when and how to rebalance can help you learn more about this important strategy.

3. Beat the Heat With a Professional

Finally, if you’re not sure if or when to make a move—or if you need to rebalance—don’t hesitate to ask for help. A portfolio review and a reevaluation of your goals may be just the thing to help you feel refreshed during these long days of summer. Just call us and we can help.

Remember we’re here when things heat up, or if they cool down too. We appreciate your continued trust in us through all investing climates.

Rebalancing allows you to keep your asset allocation in line with your goals. It does not guarantee investment returns and does not eliminate risk.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

You could lose money by investing in a mutual fund, even if through your employer's plan or an IRA. An investment in a mutual fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency.

Keeping Up With…Everything

August 20, 2021

In this digital world we live, it feels like things move faster than ever. Yesterday’s new technology can quickly become old news. Time also moves swiftly as you get closer to your investing goals—especially retirement. And evolving investing vehicles can make you wonder if you’re in the right place. Are you questioning whether you can keep up? Here are my thoughts.

But Everyone Wants Medicine to Move Quickly

Medical advances can change lives and also may create investment opportunities. Our professionals discuss how the latest in Alzheimer’s medication may mean good news.

Are Things Moving Faster?

Or is it just our imagination? In technology,* for example,  what we’re feeling is true:

59% of the world’s population uses the internet.
90% of the world’s data was generated in the past two years.
62% of the world’s population owns a mobile device.
4 billion people use social media.

And that’s just technology. In the financial world, things can move quickly too. From renewed interest in digital banking prompted by the pandemic to non-traditional cryptocurrency and the use of blockchain technology, new advances can make you wonder if you’re missing out.

Keep Up With Your Goals

No matter what changes we experience, it’s important to keep an eye on your long-term goals. That doesn’t mean you should ignore the latest investing trends. But what matters is if an investment will help you achieve your goals—and that its risk matches your comfort level.

It’s also not just what you’re investing in or how, but whether you’re investing the right amount. Rarely does one worry about investing too much, but many are concerned about not saving enough. The time to find out if you’re doing enough is now. Consider that people live longer—partly because of those medical advances—and that your money may need to last longer than you think.

Are You Investing Enough?

These two articles may help you figure out if you’re on track:

How Much Money Do You Need to Save for Retirement?

Longevity Risk: What It Is and How to Manage It

Let the Professionals Help You Keep Up

Keeping up with the latest investing trends can be time-consuming and sometimes confusing. That’s why we also believe it’s beneficial to have actively managed investments in your portfolio. With active management, highly skilled professionals don’t just aim to keep up with the latest advances, their goal is to stay ahead of them. That includes searching out opportunities and identifying risks they may present.

If you’re wondering if your investments are keeping up with the times, or more importantly, your goals, don’t hesitate to call us for help. We’re here to answer questions and evaluate your investment plan if you need that too.

*Source: How Fast is Technology Advancing in 2021,, August 2021.


Investing Through the Unknown

September 10, 2021

Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S. It reminds me that certain events can cause us to think differently about life and our well-being. Our experiences with COVID-19 are certainly an example of that too. But even when we aren’t sure what will happen next, these events have shown us it’s possible to keep moving forward. It’s the same for your finances.

Unknowns Lead to Uncertainty

Those old enough to remember the events of September 11, 2001, can usually name where they were when they heard the news or watched it unfold on TV. I lived in New York at the time and remember the fear and uncertainty of wondering what would happen next. The effects of 9/11 are still felt by the nation today and especially by those who lost loved ones.

Like the significant incidents we collectively experience, personal events can also make you feel uncertain and usually come with financial implications. However, I believe you can get your finances through periods of the unknown by focusing on what you know.

Trade the Unknown for the Known

How do you do that? Here are a few ways to prepare your finances for uncertainties that may lie ahead.

Have a Plan. There is power in having a financial plan, and not just one in your head. In my experience, those with written plans have more confidence about reaching their goals.

Work the Plan. Following a plan may also help you have healthier money habits. That includes having an emergency fund, paying down debt and making investing decisions based on your view of risk rather than events around you.

Remember the Basics. Whether you’re new to it or have been investing a while, it never hurts to revisit some basic strategies to see if you have them covered.

Take Care of the Future. Strategies are important, but so is buttoning up the future with an estate plan. And don’t forget the seemingly small things such as making sure the beneficiaries on your investment accounts are updated.

Retirement Can Feel Like An Unknown

For most people, retirement also means filing for Social Security. Watch our latest webcast to learn about different scenarios for filing to help you plan better.

No one can predict what may happen in the future, but you can prepare your finances. If you need help with your plan or any other financial need, our consultants are here to help. The best time to plan is now, so don’t hesitate to call us.

5 Not-So Secret Habits of Successful Investors

September 24, 2021

What does it take to be a successful investor? Here are five habits that come to my mind—some are about how you think and others about what you do. They’re not new—or always easy to stick with—but seem to stand the test of time. How many of these are you practicing? It’s never too late to start.

1. Practice Patience

If you’ve invested with us for a while, you know we champion a long-term view over seeking quick results. Fast gains can quickly become fast losses. Patience can help you stay focused and keep you from making emotional decisions—chasing performance or selling in rough markets. Either action can take a toll on your portfolio.

2. Buy Variety

Variety means having a mix of investment types. It’s also called diversification, and it’s essential to be clear about what it means. It’s not having several different stocks only; that can make a portfolio too risky. A variety of only bonds can have the opposite effect. The secret to diversification is having investments that don’t all react to markets the same way to help potentially offset losses.

Closely tied to diversification is a proper asset allocation—or how much of each kind of investment you have (stocks, bonds, etc). It won’t be the same for everyone because your allocation needs to match you.

3. Take Smart Risks

Being a smart risk taker means realizing that all investments involve some risk. How much you take depends on your goals and timing. Risk for a person who’s 15 years from retirement should look very different from a person who’s just five months away.

Being smart also means not taking unnecessary chances with riskier products to grow your account fast or going the opposite way and taking too little risk that your investments don’t have a chance to grow. Find the level that works for you.

4. Invest Regularly

Some experts point to the math that says investing a lump sum can be better than smaller amounts over time. However, aside from a potential regular bonus, how many lump sums will you actually get? I’m a fan of both. Invest the windfall if you get one, but also invest regularly, such as every month. It can help you become a disciplined investor and take advantage of market swings too.

5. Check In

Wouldn’t we all like a portfolio that you could set and forget? The problem is things change: the markets, your timeline, your priorities. Even if professional investment managers designed your portfolio, you still want to keep tabs at least annually to see if changes are needed. Taking that time—especially with a professional—can help you know if you’re on track.

Make The Secrets Yours

All the secrets I’ve shared are connected in some way. Patience translates into not taking on too much (or too little) risk and investing regularly. Being smart about risk influences your asset allocation. And checking in regularly connects to them all. Our consultants can help with any of these when you call us. I encourage you to make these secrets your own, then pass them on.

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Dollar cost averaging does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss in declining markets. This investment strategy involves continuous investment in securities, regardless of fluctuating price levels. An investor should consider his or her financial ability to continue purchases in periods of low or fluctuating price levels. 


Your Network Matters

October 8, 2021

If you use technology, such as electric or hybrid cars, smart TVs or 5G wireless anything, you know a critical piece is having the right network. Technology doesn’t work if it’s not connected correctly.  That can be true for investing too. It also helps to have the right network—but in this case, that can mean what you invest in and having the right people in your corner.

Technology Needs the Right Network

What’s the most important thing you need if you’re thinking about purchasing an electric vehicle? Besides the money to pay for it (your budget is always essential), you need to know how to charge it. Can you do it at home? Do you need a particular outlet? Some people purchase a high-output charger or opt for a higher capacity outlet that will speed up charging time. You probably need an electrician to install it.

The same holds true for your laptop, tablet or cell phone. Without the right network or wi-fi connection, your device’s usefulness is limited. Even traditional electronics need a proper link to electricity or battery power. All these examples follow my premise—you need the appropriate connection to make things work or perform at their best.

Investing Needs to Connect Too

Just like technology, your investments need to be plugged into the right sources and connected properly. What do I mean by that? First and foremost, they need to fit your goals. Is your goal retirement? You may need to be hooked up to solid growth investments. How much depends on how many years until you retire.

For the connection part, your investments need to work together. That could mean having a mix of different kinds of investments to help withstand rocky markets or enough growth potential in hopes of combating the effects of inflation. Not having the right amount for your goals can be like having a tablet without wi-fi, or a slower wi-fi that can’t keep up with your needs.

Your “network” also includes the people who help with your investments, starting with the professionals who choose the stocks or bonds that make up your mutual funds. Here, our teams actively manage the portfolios—seeking opportunities and balancing out risks—according to what the fund is designed to do.

Tracking Trends Is Part of Our Gig

Investing in the latest innovations—like those electric cars—requires analysis. Other trends, such as environmental, social and governance investing (ESG), need an expert lens too. Explore what our professionals are tracking to keep our portfolios connected.

The Personal Connection

Another vital part of investing is getting help when you need it. There’s confidence in knowing that someone is there for you—like our consultants. We can help keep your investments plugged into your goals with portfolio evaluations or answering your questions.

Whether you’re curious about a new investing trend or need a second opinion, we’ll be here when you call us. As always, we’re grateful to be part of your network.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.

Wag the Dog? Take the Lead Instead

October 22, 2021

You’ve heard the idiom, “Don’t let the tail wag the dog.” It means not letting something of lesser importance control something that is really important. For your investments, I’m thinking of it a little differently. Don’t let things you can’t control—like economic conditions, potential legislation, market volatility—be the tail that wags your investments. Instead, focus on the fundamentals.

Don’t Let Headlines Wag Your Plan

There are lots of headlines that could tempt us to let today’s environment influence our investments—and make us nervous too. While inflation, proposed tax policies, market highs and lows are noteworthy, we can’t change what happens. But we can learn about them and plan accordingly.

Things You Can’t Control (But Can’t Ignore)

It’s important to stay informed in the context of your plan, but not for knee-jerk reactions. Here are two articles that may help as you review your investments.

  • Tax Proposal Highlights – Get a summary of the current tax plan for high-income earners and corporations from a discussion by political observer and tax expert Andy Friedman.
  • Debt Ceiling Debate – Read our investment professionals’ views on the fight over the federal debt ceiling and what it might mean for the markets.

We can also take care of foundational tasks that may give a better chance at success down the road. What are those? I have a few ideas for a to-do list—many of which would be nice to take care of before the new year.

Make Your Future a Priority

I encourage you to keep investing in your future. Staying focused on your goals isn’t just a mindset (though that’s important too). It may also mean taking the lead and doing important things like:

  • Bump up your retirement plan contribution for the new year.
  • Contribute more or the maximum to an IRA.
  • Decide what to do with a 401(k) if you’ve left one in a former employer’s plan.

And for those getting close to retirement, create a retirement income plan to help prepare for the transition from working to living off your nest egg.

Take Care of Loved Ones

Caring for those you love Is an important part of investing for many people. That could include immediate or extended family, friends and neighbors. Think about these, and check off ones that may apply:

  • Open or contribute more to a 529 education plan for a student in your life. The gift of education makes good holiday gifts too.
  • Make sure your estate plan is buttoned up—or start one if you haven’t already.
  • Check the beneficiaries on your financial accounts to make sure they’re up to date.

Be sure to schedule time for important money talks about things like budgeting, caregiving needs or educational expenses. It may go smoother when you plan together.

An Investor’s Best Friend—A Plan

Even though you can’t change circumstances that may or may not impact your investments you may be able to plan for them. The last to-do on my list is to make sure your plan meets your needs. Is it time to consider strategies for inflation, taxes or volatility? You’ll never know unless you evaluate now. What better feeling than to start the new year with confidence about your plan?

As always, if you need help with your list or reviewing your investments, we’re here to help. Just call us. We’d love nothing more than to help.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.


For Inflation & Tax Planning: Honesty Is Best

November 5, 2021

Inflation and taxes are two topics that can cause an investor’s heart to beat faster—especially when considering how they might affect the future. But how you realistically look at what your personal experience may be in retirement is a critical piece of the planning equation.

Inflation: Investing Under Pressure

Get perspective on inflation—where it’s been, where it could go and considerations for managing its effects. You’ll find it in our latest Office Talks video and session guide.

Honestly Judge Inflation and Taxes

People wonder how rising prices and potential tax hikes may affect their investments and, in turn, their futures. But how do you figure out what they could really mean for you? It takes an honest conversation—with yourself. Answering these questions may be a good place to start.

For Inflation: How Much Will My Expenses Be?

Some retirees spend more in the first few years of retirement but later spend less. You may pay off your mortgage before retiring or not need the same daily transportation or clothing expenses. If you spend less, inflation may not affect you as much as you might think in retirement.

On the other hand, retirees can face considerable expenses for health care. Those costs have been rising faster than inflation for several years. Health care should always be an essential part of a retirement income plan, whether prices on everything else rise or not.

For Taxes: What Will My Income Be?

Your income in retirement will affect your tax bill. If you live on less, you can take less income from your investments. That will impact the amount of taxes you will pay. Less income means fewer taxes.

Also, remember that the proposed income and capital gain tax increases are for those who make $400,000 or more ($450,000 for a couple). If they do become law, consider how it may impact you—or not—especially in retirement when people typically have lower incomes.

Honestly? You Control More Than You Think

Hearing about issues that could impact your money can make you feel powerless, especially when you can’t predict what will happen with your health or employment status. But there are things you can control right now, including your lifestyle, spending habits, the choice to live within your means and how you care for your health. Equally significant are how much you invest for your future and how you plan.

For the latter, let the guiding force for your investment strategy be a realistic view of what your future may look like, rather than what may happen with inflation and taxes. And be sure to include loved ones in the planning because it will affect them too.

Candid Conversations For You

If you need help with your finances, we’d love to help. A consultant can help you plan and offer ideas for those potential issues that may impact your investments. All you need to do is call us. As always, thank you for your continued trust.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: American Century Companies, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide tax advice. Accordingly, any discussion of U.S. tax matters contained herein (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, in connection with the promotion, marketing or recommendation by anyone unaffiliated with American Century Companies, Inc. of any of the matters addressed herein or for the purpose of avoiding U.S. tax-related penalties.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for more detailed information or for advice regarding your individual situation.

Focus On Gratitude Now—Talk Money Later

November 19, 2021

By many reports, Thanksgiving may be more “normal” than it was last year. That’s something to be grateful for, especially if we can spend time with family and friends (safely, of course). Being with loved ones can bring the possibility of awkward conversations too; and finances may rank high on the uncomfortable topics list. As important as they are, I suggest focusing on gratitude this upcoming holiday—and do schedule time to have the money talks soon.

Is Estate Planning On Your List of Things to Talk About?

Your estate plan is an important piece of your financial plan. And sometimes it can seem hard to get started. Learn about the four key documents to know about for planning. Remember to talk over your plans too.

Why Are Money Talks So Awkward?

There are lots of reasons why financial talks aren’t easy. Those very personal conversations can make us feel vulnerable or uncomfortable if we make a loved one feel uneasy. But some of the talks really can make it easier for everyone later—especially talks about budgets, the future, caregiving and estate plans.

Your Take on Money Talks

Recently we asked clients to share thoughts about those sometimes-difficult money conversations. The majority said the most important talk to have with children is how debt can impact them. The toughest talk with aging parents was about moving to assisted living. Discussing end-of-life wishes was a distant second, along with telling a parent they should stop driving. What’s the most awkward talk clients have had? Ranking first and a close second were talking to parents about their estate and speaking with a significant other about budget concerns.

I can relate to many of these responses, as I’m sure you can too. But I wouldn’t tell you to skip any of them. Including loved ones in planning and/or communicating about your plans and wishes can help eliminate confusion and strife—especially in highly stressful situations.

Are Holidays a Good Time to Talk?

After all we’ve experienced over the past two years, I’m taking a different view than I may have before. Your loved ones may be together this Thanksgiving—in person or virtually—so let’s focus on that. I’m not saying you should skip awkward talks altogether. Book time on your calendar—the sooner, the better. And remember if you need help with your plans, don’t hesitate to call us and let us know how we can help.

On behalf of our team, I want to wish you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving. Your continued confidence tops our list of things for which we are most thankful.


Investing Relationships Matter

December 10, 2021

During the holidays, we do a lot of thinking about friends and family as we shop for gifts and plan get-togethers—hopefully this year will bring more opportunities to do so. It has me thinking about our clients and the relationships we have built. Of course, one of the primary things anyone looks for when investing is results. But connection and working towards the same goal (your future) matter too.

Relationships With Financial Advisors Start With Knowing How to Pick One

Word of mouth and recommendations from friends and family are important, but you also need to have essential answers before you decide to enlist someone. Find out what to ask prospective advisors.

Who You Work With Matters

During this holiday season, I’ve been thinking a lot about my relationships with friends and family. After not being able to enjoy the company of too many people last year, I’m looking forward to what I hope is different as we celebrate this year. And while not the same as the bonds you have with loved ones, the ties with your financial company are important too—and above all, should benefit you.

You should expect the same things from a financial firm that you get in a healthy relationship. Understanding, trust, integrity and acceptance are all critical qualities for a successful one. And when it’s about your money, I think they are all must-haves.

How do you know if the company you’ve chosen fits those standards? We all want someone who cares about us and makes our needs a priority. I know many companies say that’s what they do, but what you experience when you interact with its people will reveal whether the words are genuine—or if you need to consider a breakup.

Finding Your Match

For investing results, you may look at the track record, how long the company has been in business and its reputation. And then there are more specific details such as, does it have the breadth of investments and service options that fit you.

You might ask yourself these questions for the relationship part: Can I talk to a real person when I call? Does the person on the other end of the line understand my financial needs? Do they offer investment suggestions with my best interest at heart? Do they seem to care?

Our Relationship

When you work with us, I hope that you can answer yes to all the questions above because we take our relationship with you very seriously. From my perspective, it’s rewarding to work for a company founded on putting clients first. It was a novel idea 63 years ago, and it’s still what we believe today.

I hope you know that we’re here when you need us. If you haven’t reached out in a while—or even if you have—don’t hesitate to call us for questions, to bounce off ideas, or if you’re looking for deeper financial planning and advice. Let us prove that we care about you and your future.

Experiences Make Good Teachers

December 22, 2021

Holiday gatherings are a tradition for many, and I hope the latest COVID-19 variant won’t curtail our ability to be with loved ones this year. My family gatherings often involve stories about how others have dealt with challenging circumstances or funny situations. Those experiences can teach you a lot about the people around you and even yourself. The same is true when hearing about others’ experiences with money. Let me share a few of my own.

Learn From Experienced Investors Too

Know someone new to investing? Here are six tips from seasoned investors that can help them get started and avoid pitfalls as they begin their investing journey. 

My Trial-and-Error Experiences

I’ve been in financial services for a while now, and I would describe my early career as “hit or miss”—some challenges and some successes. But you can learn from “misses” too. Here are a few, some of which I discovered the hard way.

Don’t follow the crowd.

Remember the “dot-com” era where everyone made money on the new tech industry? It was a buying frenzy that ended with a lot of losses. Why? Few people did their homework about the companies in which they invested. Instead, they followed the crowd. (Guilty!)

Choose investing over trading.

There may be a time and place for short-term trading, but long-term investing is vital for future goals. When you look forward, you think and act differently with your money. You’re not angling for today’s best deal; instead, you’re creating a plan for your future. Few of us want to risk that. (Again.)

Say no to market timing.

You hear a lot of news about investing trends, but it’s a distraction and can lead to market timing. To make it work, you must be right about when to get in and when to get out. And from my experience, very few are good at it.

Experience Taught Me Discipline

Having made most of the mistakes in my early days, I often describe myself today as an “intentional investor.” Past experiences taught me that a good foundation can give you a better chance at reaching your goals. I’m a true believer in the following principles:

Stay invested.

Investing success is about time “in” the markets. Among other benefits, “time in” lets you potentially take advantage of compounding—earning money on the original investment, then earning on the earnings. It can be like a snowball effect over time.

Diversify your portfolio.

Diversification means having a healthy mix of different investments. The amount of each depends on your goals, how much time you have and your tolerance for risk. And when your investments don’t all act the same way to market changes, it may help offset losses.

Tune out the noise.

It’s easy to pay too much attention to daily market movements, news headlines and even your daily investment performance. But once you commit to the long-term with a portfolio that fits, it’s easier to keep your eye on the goal—even through short-term fluctuations.

Remember the Trust Factor

A final lesson is to invest with a financial firm with whom you trust. The professionals you work with should believe in the same principles you do. And although all investing involves a degree of uncertainty, they shouldn’t take unnecessary risks with your money.

Is your investment plan in sync with your beliefs and what you want for the future? Before the new year starts may be a good time to find out. Don’t hesitate to call us for help.

As always, thank you for entrusting us with your financial future. And with warmest regards, we hope your holiday experiences are safe, filled with hope and good memories to share. 

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Jump to: April • May • June • July • August • September • October • November • December


When Normal Does a Backflip

April 10, 2020

If these were regular times, you might find yourself rushing to meet an April 15 tax deadline or making a last-minute IRA deposit to squeak in one more deduction. But this is 2020 and nothing is normal.

If we ever needed a break, it’s now. Fortunately, financial relief is on the way with the stimulus package and an extended tax deadline—now July 15. What will these changes mean for you?

Unraveling Relief Packages

Congress passed the CARES Act to assist Americans as we experience threats to our health and finances. It offers help for individuals, families, businesses and industries. With several rules and guidelines included, you may need help unraveling the details.

Find those in our CARES Act: Your Questions, Answered article, as well as answers to questions we’ve received from clients like you. In addition, you’ll find an article about ways to free up emergency money if you find yourself needing to cover expenses quickly.

We’re Here for You

Whatever your circumstance, remember our consultants are available to help you walk through decisions that may impact your finances now and in the future. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

We continue to hope for the best for you and your loved ones’ health and safety.

How Are You Managing?

April 17, 2020

The current global crisis is proving to be the ultimate stress test. While we all cope in our own ways, I hope there’s comfort in knowing that we’re in this together. This week we’re focusing on ways to help manage the challenges we’re all facing—from investments to home life.

Your Personal Stress Test

  1. Know what you can control. You can make sure your portfolio risk fits you. If you can’t sleep or shake the need to sell and cut losses because of volatility, it may be time to re-evaluate. Don’t wait to find out, request a call.
  2. Rely on the experts. Knowing that professionals are managing your money can be a stress reliever in uncertain times. Here, they actively manage your investments so you don’t have to. Learn more about active management in this week’s video. Watch CIO Rich Weiss.
  3. Relieve stress at home. We know there’s more on your mind than investing. Balancing everything may be the ultimate struggle right now. Read 7 Ways to Actively Manage Your Household for some of the best ideas we’ve found.

Let Us Help

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with your questions.

Take care of yourself and your loved ones. It’s what matters most.

Hope and Planning: They Really Do Go Together

April 24, 2020

The need to have financial and health plans in place because of COVID-19 is not a topic any of us like to think about. However, it would be a disservice if we didn’t encourage you to take steps to prepare. It doesn’t mean you don’t have hope, it means you care.

Estate and Other Plans Right Now

It’s unnerving to think that you or someone close could need to be hospitalized, but it’s equally distressing not to have a plan. That’s why this week we’re focusing on what you can do. You’ll find a podcast on how to prepare for the unexpected, as well as an article about talking to your family about your plans.

Communicating helps ensure that loved ones understand your wishes. How do you do that in these no-contact times? Review ways to stay connected—not just about money and estate plans, but also to keep family and friend ties strong too.

Planning may also include what everyday life may look like post-pandemic. I hope you were able to listen in to Dr. Sanjay Gupta—neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent—discuss this topic. If you missed it, a webcast replay is now available at our COVID-19 center.

Where Are You With Your Plans?

See how you compare with the results from last week’s family money survey. Don’t worry if you feel behind. Remember our financial consultants are here to help.

As always, we’re wishing health and safety to you and your loved ones.


Investing in Emotional Times

May 1, 2020

It’s an emotional time for many with health and financial fears. The worst fear may be the unknown. It’s also a time when many make hasty decisions. But sometimes the best course is to take a step back, weigh the options and rely on what you know to be true. 

What Are You Worried About?

Last week we asked what worries you most right now. Not surprising, health concerns ranked first. Many expressed that they were equally anxious about the combination of their financial futures, employment, life after the pandemic and market volatility. Let me address health and financial worries here.

Plan for Health Concerns

Caring for yourself can take on many forms, but one that may be overlooked is having plans in place to address health issues. These include health insurance, medical, estate and comprehensive financial plans. All can be critical if you experience a health problem. In addition, planning goes a long way to helping relieve stress and anxiety because you know you’ve taken steps to prepare.

Choose Strategies Over Emotions for Your Finances

While the answers to many concerns may take time for individuals and the nation to figure out, there are strategies for addressing market volatility anxiety. Large market dips—even for a few days—can rattle the most confident investor. In the midst, I encourage you to resist quick moves that may do more harm than good in the long run.

Below are two strategies to help keep emotions in check and your money working for you. You can also find more about these in our COVID-19 Center.

  1. Focus on your long-term plan. You have an investing plan for a reason, and it’s designed to help you reach your end goal—even through market turbulence. Our CIO Rich Weiss says that there’s no room for knee-jerk reactions in your plan. Watch his latest video for more perspective. (No plan? Call us.)
  2. Take advantage of market swings. It sounds counterintuitive to invest more when all you want to do is protect what you have. However, volatile markets can offer opportunities.

Is it complicated? Only if you try to time the markets. Market timing requires you to be right twice: When you buy and when you sell, and few, if any, are successful at it.

A better option is to invest regularly and take advantage of dollar-cost averaging—buying more shares when prices are low and fewer shares when prices are high. The easiest way is to set an automatic investment at an interval of your choice. Doing it automatically takes the emotion and guesswork out of “when” to invest. Read more about dollar-cost averaging in our latest article.

Confidence as You Look Forward

Fear and worry are normal when everything around us isn’t. I hope you take comfort in knowing we are in this together, and we are here for you. If your investment plan has you concerned, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a consultant for help.

As always, our best to you and your loved ones.

Risk Is Inevitable. Let’s Manage It.

May 8, 2020

As we experience market ups and downs sparked by the pandemic, it’s a good reminder that risk is a natural part of using money. While there’s no way to get around risk, there are ways to manage it. 

Risks to Your Money

From hiding your money under the bed to investing in the latest trends, risk is involved in all the ways you seek to preserve or grow your money. Even the mattress option has risks: It’s not insured. It won’t grow. And, it won’t keep up with inflation. I encourage you to know the risks before you decide where to put your money.

Saving vs. Investing vs. Trading

It might help to compare these and their potential risks and rewards. Many confuse them and how they’re different, so let me break them down.

Saving is putting money aside for the near future.

Bank savings are the traditional way, but others have gotten creative. Think coffee cans, freezers and of course, under the mattress.

Preservation is the goal; however, in the best of times you may earn interest, but right now the annual interest rate is only about .07%.1

1Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, as of April 27, 2020.

Investing is buying and holding assets for long-term results.

Investing can help you build wealth over time for long-term goals such as your retirement. There are many investment vehicles, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds and exchanged-traded funds. Within each category are a variety of choices too.

Rewards can be much higher than a savings account but investing carries more risks—one of which we know well: market risk. The stock market’s average annual 10-year return is 11.68%, but its one-year return is .86%.2

2S&P 500 Index data as of April 30, 2020. The S&P 500 Index is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 widely traded stocks. Created by Standard & Poor’s, it is considered to represent the performance of the stock market in general.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate and it is possible to lose money.

Trading is buying and selling assets for short-term results.

Trading attempts to take advantage of market ups and downs at a given point. Stocks, bonds and commodities (goods that can be sold on an exchange) can all be traded.

Rewards can be higher, but the lows can be much more dramatic too. You don’t have to look too far into the recent past to see how risky it could be. This year alone, the stock market fell approximately 34% between February and March.3

3Source: Wall Street Journal Markets, S&P 500 Charts, May 2020.

At American Century Investments, we invest for the long-term and believe you should too.

How Much Risk?

The answer is personal and one you should base on your goal for the money—preservation, long-term or short-term—and your feelings about risk. Start by answering these questions:

  1. How much can I afford to lose? For the answer, you should also consider how much you are willing to lose.
  2. When do I need the money? Your timeline can clue you in on how much risk to take. More time can equate to more risk because you have time to make up potential losses. Usually you’ll want less risk when you don’t have time to recoup losses.

Don’t Avoid Risk, Manage It

There’s no way to avoid risk if you want your money to have growth potential. However, let me offer some ways we can help you manage it:

  • Understand your true risk tolerance. It’s one thing to say how you feel about risk on paper. It’s another to experience a real loss. Our consultants can walk you through questions to help you figure out yours.
  • Know your actual timeline. Let’s take the guesswork of when you might need the money and help you create an actual plan for it.
  • Match your investments. After settling risk and time answers, we’ll help you choose investments that fit. That includes making sure you have a mix of different kinds (diversification) and the percentages that add up to your ideal risk level (your asset allocation).
  • Make it work for you. Finally, we’ll offer ideas to help you stick to your plan. One we champion is automatic investing—setting a regular time and amount to invest—so you don’t have to worry about “when,” and you can stay invested no matter what markets do next.

Why Manage Risk?

The alternative to managing risk is to avoid it, and that can have a long-term effect on your money and what you’re investing for. Some jumped out of the markets at the first sign of rough waters as COVID-19 began to spread. They may have also missed the moderate rebound we saw later, and unfortunately locked in those losses. Let us help you find a better way.

Bulls, Bears & Recessions. What’s Your Next Move?

May 15, 2020

In the financial world, we use labels to describe what’s happening in the markets or the economy. What labels don’t do is tell you what to do with your portfolio. Honestly, they shouldn’t. Focusing on long-term goals is a better way to make decisions—especially during uncertain times.

Labels Can Trigger Emotions

Some labels can spark anxiety or make us feel too confident. Many experience fear when they hear terms like bear market, or even worse, recession. Out of distress, some will act without considering potential long-term effects on their money.

On the flip side, bull markets tend to give us more confidence. Unfortunately, they can also make us forget that bear markets occur too. Extended bull markets, like we experienced over the past decade, can make a decline seem even more dramatic.

A bear market is a 20% drop in an index (often the S&P 500 Index) from its most recent high. It’s not the same as a “correction,” which is a 10% drop.

A bull market is a 20% increase from the most recent low.

Recessions describe economic slowdowns. Officially, they are indicated by two consecutive quarters of decline in the gross domestic product (GDP)—the output of goods and services in a country or economy.

The S&P 500 Index is used as a benchmark for stock market performance. This performance is not an indicator of economic health, but the two are related.

Bears and Recessions: Chicken and Egg?

Recessions and bear markets are often discussed in the same conversation because recessions tend to follow bears, but not always. For example, right now the stock market has returned to bull territory—having risen 20% from its most recent low—but most economists agree that the U.S. economy is in recession.

It’s important to note that markets usually recover before the economy does and recessions can last longer. Why? The stock market looks to future earnings of businesses and where investors believe the economy is headed, versus current economic output.

As the U.S. gradually reopens, many are hoping that the economy will recover soon. To hear about possible scenarios, be sure to watch Multi-Asset Strategies CIO Rich Weiss’ latest video.

What Next for Your Portfolio?

Investing through a recession isn’t something you’ve had to deal with in a while—newer investors may have never had to at all. Before the pandemic, the markets had been so good for so long, so it feels like new territory.

Whether you acted after the initial market declines in the first quarter or decided to hold the line, recent volatility and a slowed economy have likely impacted your portfolio. However, those events shouldn’t necessarily dictate what you do next. Instead, base portfolio decisions on your own goals, how much time you have and how much risk you want to take.

Call for Backup

You don’t have to navigate market conditions alone. Whether you need to stay the course or reallocate, it’s important to talk through your options before you make a move. That’s why we’re here. Please don’t hesitate to call and let us help.

When Doing the Right Thing Matters Most, We’re Here

May 22, 2020

Times of crises often drive people to seek help—even if they have never asked before. That’s a good thing. Who can go through life without needing assistance from time to time? When you want to know if you’re doing the right thing with your money or just need a second opinion, you’re in the right place.

Help From a Name You Know

Many of you are long-time clients, having first invested with us 20 or more years ago. Thank you!  We appreciate the loyalty and commend you on your long-term investing view. That same view guides how we manage your money.

There’s something else we’re passionate about that you may or may not know. While we started out as a mutual fund provider, we’re also here to help answer the question many people want to know: Am I doing the right thing with my money?

You’re in the Right Place

I want to make sure you know about the services available when you need help. The following may be especially helpful during the uncertainty we’re experiencing now in both the markets and the economy.

Investment Guidance – Get help choosing investments that address a specific need—such as capital preservation. A consultant can help you understand the different funds we offer and which may match what you’re looking for. The service is free to any American Century® client.

Portfolio Reviews – Go a little more in-depth with a portfolio review. A consultant will look at your portfolio as a whole and make sure it fits your specific goals, your timeline and especially for right now: whether you have the right amount of risk. Portfolio reviews are also free upon request to clients.

Advice and Planning – If you’re looking for more attention to your finances, check out our Private Client Group.* This newer service may be our best kept secret yet. About 1,000 of our clients have already taken advantage of it because they like having dedicated financial consultants in their corner—plus the financial advice, in-depth planning and expert portfolio oversight if offers. 

You might also be surprised that our premium service does not have the high minimums required by other advisors and it’s available for one-fee**—a truly unique feature in our industry.

Want more information about working with an advisor?

Connect With a Person When You Need It

I know there are many online, or robo advisors, out there and they’ve been popular among those who like to manage investments on their own. While those have their place, there are times when it’s nice to talk to a person. You can get that here when you need it.

Also know that our consultants do not work on commissions and don’t benefit from recommending a particular investment over another. The heart of our services is to help you know if you’re doing the right thing for who and what you’re investing for. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.


Private Client Group advisory services are provided by American Century Investments Private Client Group, Inc., a registered investment advisor. This service is generally for clients with a minimum $50,000 investment. Call us to determine the level of service that is appropriate for you. The advisory service provides discretionary investment management for a fee. All investing involves risk.


Annual Investment Advisory Fee is 0.90% for balances $5 million and under and 0.70% for balances over $5 million. American Century Investments Private Client Group charges a single annual fee based on the value of your assets under management with us. The single fee includes our Private Client Solutions, along with any underlying trading costs, commissions, and custody services related to our recommendations. American Century Investments' financial consultants do not receive a portion, or a range of the advisory fee paid by clients. Client-oriented trades outside of our recommendations and other activities like wire transfer fees, may result in additional cost. 

Look to the Future—Even

May 29, 2020

Through StormsIt’s hard to think about what’s down the road when there’s so much happening right now and probably more uncertainty ahead. One thing I believe: You and your loved ones deserve a bright future. Having a plan is one way to help you on your way to what matters most.

The Future of Us

All of us will likely look back with unbelievable stories about how we spent our time in 2020. Some will have sad memories about the virus. Others will have funny tales about sheltering in place and working from home. Graduates will remember virtual ceremonies, and our kids may tell stories about how parents didn’t know math as well as the students.

What we discover about living through the pandemic may very well impact the future and how we view our finances too. We’ll likely have a different perspective about emergency accounts, savings priorities and the value of financial planning for critical times.

Plan for Better Days

Regardless of what life will look like years from now, I encourage you to not lose sight of what it could be. Planning now will be one of the best investments you can make in your own life and those closest to you.

If you don’t have the means to invest right now, don’t feel guilty. You can still have a plan regardless of your current financial status. As soon as you’re able, put these on your list of to do’s—replenishing your savings, adding to an emergency fund and investing more.

If you have children, also add saving for their education, so they can reach for their dreams. For yourself, add retirement savings too. Sometimes we think about others and immediate expenses and put off our own retirement planning. It you need help with all these priorities, we can help.

Celebrate 529 Day with Us

Despite what’s happening in our world, we are choosing to celebrate 529 Day today. May 29 is a time to focus on the importance of saving for an education and the benefits of 529 savings plans. A 529 is not only an easy way to save for your student’s future, it also offers some nice tax breaks for you now. 

The availability of tax or other state benefits (such as financial aid, scholarship funds and protection from creditors) may be conditioned on meeting certain requirements, such as residency, purpose for or timing of distributions, or other factors.

If you don’t have a savings plan for your student, I invite you to learn more, by reading our article that busts myths about 529s. You can also enter our contest for a chance to win $1,529 in a new or existing Learning Quest® 529 Education Savings Program. It will make a nice start or addition to your savings. The contest ends May 31 so you still have a few more days to enter. 

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. See contest rules

Pave the Way for Your Future

Education savings and retirement planning are just two ways to prepare for the future. Another way is to check up on your portfolio. A portfolio review is as important to your finances as an annual physical is to your health. Find out more about portfolio reviews, and don’t hesitate to call us to evaluate yours. It's free, and it's all part of the services you get from us.

Join me in looking towards the future with hope.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: American Century Companies, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide tax advice. Accordingly, any discussion of U.S. tax matters contained herein (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, in connection with the promotion, marketing or recommendation by anyone unaffiliated with American Century Companies, Inc. of any of the matters addressed herein or for the purpose of avoiding U.S. tax-related penalties.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for more detailed information or for advice regarding your individual situation.

Before investing, carefully consider the plan's investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This information and more about the plan can be found in the Learning Quest Handbook, available by contacting your financial advisor or American Century Investment Services, Inc., Distributor, at 1-800-579-2203, and should be read carefully before investing. If you are not a Kansas taxpayer, consider before investing whether your or the beneficiary's home state offers a 529 Plan that provides its taxpayers with state tax and other benefits not available through this plan.

Notice: Accounts established under Learning Quest and their earnings are neither insured nor guaranteed by the State of Kansas, the Kansas State Treasurer or American Century Investments.

Administered by Kansas State Treasurer Lynn Rogers
Managed by American Century Investment Management, Inc.
Distributed by American Century Investment Services, Inc.

As with any investment, it is possible to lose money by investing in this plan. The value of your Learning Quest account may fluctuate, and it is possible for the value of your account to be less than the amount you invested.


Unsettled World, but Still Hopeful

June 5, 2020

I think it’s safe to say that the past few weeks and months have been challenging for most people in our country. Impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic have led to financial market volatility, staggering unemployment and a potential recession.  

On top of that, our nation is experiencing deep pain. I recognize that as much as I am troubled by events in the U.S., I cannot fully appreciate what George Floyd’s family, friends and the African American community are feeling. My hope is that you, your family and community are healthy and safe; and that the remainder of 2020 will be a time of renewal and recovery. 

The Market Echoes Hope 

Despite a world pandemic, signs of recession and a distressing social environment, the stock market continues to remain positive because of investors’ expectations and their hopes for resolutions. We believe this reinforces the stock market’s forward-looking view versus the bond market, which reflects today’s volatile elements. However, like many circumstances these days, markets can change quickly. Regardless of which direction, we are here for you. 

Through times of uncertainty, we are thinking about you and your investing goals. It’s why our investment professionals stay focused on the long term and manage your money with the same steadfastness as always. We believe it can help you find success through the many ups and downs the markets may encounter. 

How can you be ready for any environment? Follow our lead and keep a long-term view of your own investments. To stay focused, it helps to have a plan. If you don’t have one, or want to recheck a current plan, remember we’re here to help. 

As always, we appreciate your confidence in us. 

Innovations and Evolutions

June 12, 2020

Six months into this decade, and who would have thought that 2020 would prove to be a time of so many drastic changes? Many have altered their personal lives regarding health, perspectives and much more. It takes innovative thinking to adapt—and that also applies to your finances.

Innovations and Your Investments

Innovation is a significant piece of the puzzle that our portfolio managers look at when deciding in which companies to invest. Companies that adapt and change often signal good opportunities for growth, even in uncertain times.

Evolving Services

Just like your investment needs can change, so can what you require from services. Maybe you want to make account changes faster or need help navigating market turbulence. Two of our most recent service changes include:

  1. Enhanced measures to help keep your private information safe when you log in to If you haven’t used our convenient online services, register to try them.
  2. Lower minimums for our advisory service mean more clients can access financial planning and personal advice from a real person. I encourage you to find out about our Private Client Group.

A Foundation of Innovation

Innovation is also part of our DNA. You may not know that our primary owner is world-class biomedical research organization, to which we pay annual dividends ($1.6 billion since 2000).

This ownership gives us a story unlike any other in the investment world. Read how it allows us to have a different kind of purpose that has the potential to save lives. You play a role in that too.

Your investment helps us support this ongoing medical research, and we can’t thank you enough. We’re also committed to continue evolving as you change. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have a need right now.

Private Client Group advisory services are provided by American Century Investments Private Client Group, Inc., a registered investment advisor. This service is generally for clients with a minimum $50,000 investment. Call us to determine the level of service that is appropriate for you. The advisory service provides discretionary investment management for a fee. All investing involves risk.

Today’s Road Bumps Won’t Stop the Future

June 19, 2020

Current conditions are causing us to focus only on today’s financial needs—for good reason. But there’s another reality we should not lose sight of: Today’s road bumps won’t stop the future, and that includes your retirement. The solution? Balance today’s needs with tomorrow’s goals.

Sidestep Roadblocks: Stay Balanced and Informed

Balancing finances for now with your retirement goal is essential. If you’re already retired or it’s a few years away, it’s even more critical. I encourage you not to allow current road bumps (or craters) steer you completely off track.

Instead, refocus some of your financial energy on the future. That includes being aware of some important aspects for retirement. We have some resources to help.

  1. Social Security is a major player for retirement income. Review the latest updates, or if you need the basics, learn how to maximize your benefits.
  2. Medicare will be important for health care in retirement. Review the 2020 Medicare changes and what they may cost.

New Realities for Retirement

Developments since COVID-19 could also affect your retirement plans. Here are a few to consider as you reassess:

  • New timeline? Market activity has been down, up and down again. Perhaps your portfolio is a bit out of alignment from the turbulence. Or maybe you are second-guessing a quick buy or sell decision when the markets (and you) first reacted to the pandemic. A portfolio tune-up and an evaluation of your timeline may be a good place to start.
  • New tax implications? Government stimulus packages could have a long-term impact on U.S. taxpayers, including retirees. Now may be time to consider some tax-advantaged options, including IRAs.

Pre-tax verses post-tax contributions, taxes when you withdraw or tax-free withdrawals—compare Traditional and Roth IRAs to see which might work best in a new tax world. You may also want to look at other tax-advantaged investment choices, including municipal bonds. Call us to find out more.

Detours Don’t Have to Derail Your Future

Looking ahead, there’s still much uncertainty about outcomes for the pandemic, social distress and how the economy and markets will react. But we can all be certain about this: The future will come. Let us help you refocus and reevaluate so your plans don’t break down along the way.

Please consult your tax advisor for more detailed information regarding the Roth IRA or for advice regarding your individual situation.

Taxes are deferred until withdrawal if the requirements are met. A 10% penalty may be imposed for withdrawal prior to reaching age 59½.

IRA investment earnings are not taxed. Depending on the type of IRA and certain other factors, these earnings, as well as the original contributions, may be taxed at your ordinary income tax rate upon withdrawal. A 10% penalty may be imposed for early withdrawal before age 59½.

Money Smarts: Pass It On, Build It Up

June 26, 2020

If recent market ups and downs have done anything positive, it’s reminded us how crucial it is to make wise financial decisions and to know how to handle money properly. That’s also an important lesson you can share with kids because, like it or not, they’re watching and learning from you. The good news? We can help you teach money smarts with our five lessons.

The Right Time to Teach

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or family friends—anyone can make a difference in a young person’s life when it comes to teaching them about money. It doesn’t matter if you sailed through this current financial upheaval or have taken a few missteps. Either situation can be a good life lesson for kids. At the end of the day, we want them to be successful and avoid pitfalls we or others may have experienced.

Is financial knowledge important? A recent survey suggests that it’s more important than ever. Nearly 9 in 10 Americans report that the COVID-19 crisis stressed their personal finances. The biggest culprits?

Money Stressors During Covid-19

  • 54% said they did not have enough saved
  • 48% said they’re worried they don’t have enough to pay bills
  • 39% said they are stressed about job security

Source: National Foundation for Financial Education, April 2020

Enroll Kids in “Money Camp”

Help your kids be more prepared for their futures. This summer may be a great time to get them learning about all aspects of money. With limited openings of camps, swimming pools and other typical summer activities, take advantage of the extra time they may have and enroll them in your own “money camp.” Not sure how or where to start? We’ve got you covered.

Our Raising Financially Aware Kids eBook includes activities for any age—from understanding the value of money to saving and investing to managing credit for older teens, you’ll find a variety of activities to keep them busy. Download the free eBook.

Sharpen Your Money Smarts Too

While you’re exploring ways to help the kids learn about money, don’t forget to stay on top of your own financial education. Right now, it’s particularly important to understand how markets can react to crises, and what you should (or shouldn’t) do about it. Below are some resources that can help.

Sharpen You Own Money Smarts

Bear markets? Bull markets? Watch our video to learn what they are and how they relate to the economy.

Buy, Sell, Hold? Learn the do’s, don’ts and maybes of managing finances in volatile markets.

Be a Lifelong Money Teacher and Learner

It’s never too early to start teaching kids about finances. It’s never too late for you to increase your own knowledge. For you, another important aspect is learning about your portfolio. Is it working smart for you? If not, how and why? Call to let us help


Together: How We "Play" It

July 2, 2020

July is a special month for us, and not just because of Independence Day. Every year we look forward to the American Century® Championship—a celebrity golf tournament that brings sports and entertainment personalities together in an exciting competition.

It’s fun to watch even if you’re a non-golfer. But the Championship isn’t just about the game or us. It’s about changing lives by supporting causes we’re passionate about. After the hazards so far in 2020, the Championship is just one way we’re choosing to play out the rest of the year with conviction. Let me share how we can make a difference—together.

How We Play It

Playing golf is one thing, but managing your money and making a difference are serious business for us. Our inspiration for both started with our late founder and his desire to do something meaningful for people. In the beginning, it was about helping individuals become financially independent.

Now, our purpose also includes impacting others through medical research that has the potential to save lives. It’s the heritage the Stowerses—our founder and his wife—gave to us.

Learn how Jim and Virginia Stowers turned their passion into a legacy. Read their story and find out how you play a part too.

How Will You Play It?

Helping you with your investments is still as important today as it was when Jim started the company. How you personally approach your finances is just as important.

You may be rethinking your previous planning methods; especially given the unexpected events we’ve experienced. Continued market ups and downs may also have you wondering what to do next.

Like a golfer who faces challenges on the course, market turbulence can threaten to take you off track. It helps to know how to adjust when difficulties arise. Our Weathering the Storm: 4 Time-Tested Investing Strategies article is a good resource for you. If you’d like to speak with someone about your finances, please call us.

As always, we appreciate your confidence in us. Together, let's reach for new ways to impact the future of prosperity and health for others.

The Future. How Will You “Play It?”

July 10, 2020

If there’s a lesson from 2020, it’s that you can’t always know what’s coming your way. However, you can decide what you will do. You’ll hear that message this weekend when you tune in to the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament. We’re asking ourselves and you: How will you “play it?” How can you respond to make the future better for yourself and others?

Let me share how we’re choosing to respond. It’s starts by sticking with our convictions—both in how we manage money and seek to positively impact the future. I also have some ideas about how you can “play it” for the people in your life.

How We Play It for You

For you, our number one job is delivering investment results to help you save for college, retirement or for any other reason you invest. Your goals are important and we actively manage money to help you be successful. Our investment professionals work to outperform by:

  • Repeating strategies they believe can work time after time.
  • Staying vigilant and knowing what makes markets move and change.
  • Taking smart risks, not unnecessary chances, with your money.

Learn more about how we’re invested in you and your future.

How We Play It for Others

Making a difference is part of our DNA. Throughout our history, we've been committed to helping people become financially independent. And through the unique relationship with our primary owner, the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, our dividend payments support the Institute's work of uncovering the causes, treatments and prevention of life-threatening diseases.

The American Century Championship is an extension of that purpose and will support some of today’s most critical causes.

As our client, you play a role in all of it. Your continued confidence allows us to keep reaching for ways to impact not only your future, but the future of others. Thank you for that.

How You Play It

You wouldn’t be investing if you weren’t playing it for the future. But I also know that investing can be complicated. It’s our job to break it down and help you stay informed so you can make decisions that are right for you.

Part of it is making real people available to answer your questions, but you also need the right tools. It’s why you hear from us about the markets, events in our world, and other topics that may impact your finances. Find our latest insights and news in our COVID-19 Center.

Play It for Others Too

Whether it’s family, friends or other important people in your life, I’m convinced that few of us invest only for ourselves. How can you impact your loved ones? This year has made it evident that planning is crucial—especially for the unexpected.

Read Plan Your Legacy at Any Age to find out why estate planning is important for your loved ones and get information to help you start.

Together: How We Play It

Large scale or for the people in your circle, making a difference motivates us to do our best. We’re here to help you make an impact for those you love. Help us impact others by tuning in to the American Century Championship.

Let’s play this together for the future. If you need help, don’t hesitate to call us.

Best Regards.

What's Next for Your Money?

July 17, 2020

While markets continue their up and down reactions to headlines and economic news, it can be hard to know what to do with your investments. Should you stay the course? Run to safety? Uncertainty can make you wonder what the next move should be. Let’s review some basics to consider for money decisions.

In or Out? There Is an In-Between

Many people think about investing as being “in” or “out” of the markets. We perceive “in” as risky and “out” as safe during volatile times. Let me remind you that investing has a risk spectrum—from low to high. In between cash and the most aggressive stocks are many different levels of risk.

The risk spectrum also relates to rewards—generally the higher the risk, the higher the potential returns, and vice versa. What’s important is that the risk/reward balance in your portfolio fits your goals and your timeline.

Understand the importance of risk for your short- and long-term goals. Read Golf and Investing: More in Common Than You Think to put it in perspective.

One-Fund Wonder?

In music, a one-hit wonder is a song that’s briefly popular. Investors with just one investment—unless it includes a mix of others like a fund-of-funds or model portfolio—may set themselves up for a one-fund wonder. Like that one ‘80s song, your investment could be famous for a performance spurt followed by an infamous sudden drop. We advocate a diversified portfolio.

Expand Your Playlist

A diversified portfolio includes a mix of the broad investment categories below. Each category plays a different role in a portfolio and within each are several choices with varying levels of risk and reward.

Money markets fill a stabilizing role and give you easy access to your money. However, sitting in a money market fund to avoid risk can be risky too. Returns likely will not keep up with inflation.

Bonds play the lead for income. They are essentially loans from you to entities (corporations, governments) that agree to pay you back with interest over time. While most can have less risk, the rewards are generally lower than stocks.

Stocks take center stage for growth, allowing you to participate as companies grow. Stock funds range from moderate to very aggressive—depending on the kinds, sizes and locations of companies they invest in. They typically offer the highest rewards with the highest risks.

Need help putting your portfolio together? Call us for help.

Find Your Fit, Repeat

Deciding what to do with your money should not be an emotional choice. Having your portfolio risk match you and your goals is one way to do that. Another way is to invest regularly. That helps take the emotion out of when to invest.

Read Keep Emotions in Check—Automatically to see how automatic investing can help you remove the emotional decisions and take advantage of market swings.

Your Next Step

Deciding if you should make a change with your money is an important step. Being aware of the investing principles I’ve discussed is a start, but sometimes talking it over with someone can help. That’s why we’re here. Please don’t hesitate to call us.

As always, thanks for your continued confidence in us.

Best Regards.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal or tax advice.

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.

Generally, as interest rates rise, the value of the securities held in the fund will decline. The opposite is true when interest rates decline.

Financial Decisions: It’s Personal

July 24, 2020

What’s more personal than money? Not much. That’s because personal decisions are intertwined with finances, and vice versa. It’s nearly impossible to make a financial decision without it affecting your loved ones too. Below are some thoughts for how to align personal and financial decisions, and not lose sleep over them either.

Consider Family and Finances as One

Financial matters that impact you also affect those around you. An income setback, a job loss, and as we know well, a global pandemic, can change more than your money. Situations such as these and even less critical ones can also affect relationships, so it’s important to consider the impacts of your choices.

A current example: As states and administrators navigate reopening (or not) parents may need to adjust their work life (again). Grandparents and other family members may also be called upon to help, giving caregiving a whole new meaning.

Traditional and expanded caregiving needs can change family dynamics overnight. But even non-critical events need a plan. Hopefully you can prepare for these very personal and financial decisions before they occur, though I realize sometimes it’s not possible. Either way, I encourage you to consider your family and your own financial future in decision making.

Read Caregivers: Take Care of Yourself, Too for information about how you can manage finances in a caregiving situation.

Evaluate Tradeoffs and Priorities

Financial decisions often boil down to tradeoffs. A decision to invest for retirement may mean you spend less now in exchange for a potentially comfortable lifestyle in the future. Saving for an education could equate to cheaper family vacations, but hopefully less reliance on student loans for your child later.

These examples affect your bottom line today but may be worth a payoff later. Choosing the opposite—spending today—will also affect your future finances. Weigh priorities and their impacts when making financial decisions.

Give Yourself a Break

Finally, knowing your financial decisions impact your loved ones can feel weighty. However, I encourage you to not fret over your choices—past or present. As humans, we feel proportionately worse about losing money than we feel good about gaining it.

Even if you’re rethinking a decision, you can keep moving forward. And if you need to talk over your money decisions with someone, remember we’re here. Don’t hesitate to call us.

Thank you for allowing us to be part of your personal financial decisions. We don’t take it lightly.

Best Regards.

Are You Feeling the Pressure?

July 31, 2020

It’s the end of July, and who would have imagined our lives and finances would still be under such pressure? With virus cases continuing to rise in many places, social questions still outstanding and the markets responding differently from day to day, it’s no wonder we’re feeling the weight. Taking control may offer relief.

The Link Between Health and Wealth

Stress of any kind can have an impact on our wellbeing. From sleepless nights to physical symptoms, it’s clear that prolonged stress is a concern. Beyond our health, worries about how COVID-19 did or still could affect your finances is real, too.

According to a recent survey , Americans report that they are nearly 15% more financially stressed now compared to the end of last year. Unfortunately, the respondents believe this heightened stress could have a lasting effect. On the bright side, the study indicated that people are paying more attention to their finances. If you are stressing over money, the resource below may help.

Feeling the Pressure?

Read Beat Financial Stress: The Connection Between Health and Wealth.

Just Do One Thing

Taking control of your finances is one way to help relieve stress. If that sounds stressful, the key may be to take one step at a time. You don’t have to solve all your financial questions at once.

A way I relieve stress is to organize something. It’s my way of controlling one thing amid so many things that I can’t. I encourage you to do the same with your finances.

What could that look like for you? Maybe it’s requesting a portfolio review from one of our consultants to make sure you have the right amount of risk for your current situation. Or reviewing your budget to see if it still works for your family.

Another thing you can do is simplify, especially if your investments are spread out among different places. How about bringing that old 401(k) together with a retirement account here? Viewing your investments in one place can make it easier to keep track of everything and see how you’re progressing.

Bringing your money together can relieve stress and more.

Read 3 Smart Reasons to Streamline Your Financial Picture.

Taking care of just one thing is a good place to start in reducing financial stress. Talking it over with a real person can help, too. That what we’re here for. Please don’t hesitate to call us.

And as always, thank you for letting us help with your financial future.

Best Regards.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a personalized recommendation or fiduciary advice. There are different options available for your retirement plan investments. You should consider all options before making a decision. Our representatives can help you evaluate all of your distribution options.


Lose Out or Miss Out? A Strategy Can Help.

August 7, 2020

Many people have worries about money. These can lead to abandoning your investments during rocky markets or making decisions that may not pay off in the long run. The alternative is to follow a sound plan that can anchor your emotions.


Have you heard about FOMO—the fear of missing out? It’s the anxiety people have when they feel left out. And it’s not just for 20- and 30-somethings on social media. People with investing FOMO fear missing out on high performance. They may chase a hot investment one day only to sell later when it fizzles.

There’s also FOLO—the fear of losing out. Not as widely known as FOMO, I’m using FOLO to refer to the anxiety investors have about losing money. This can lead some to sell or move to cash investments at the first sign of a rocky market and stay there.

Is anxiety dictating your investment decisions?

A plan can help alleviate worries and put you on the path toward your goals.

Self-Fulfilling Choices

Worry can skew perceptions and lead to decisions that give the very results you don’t want. For example, in the first six months of 2020, the stock market experienced one of the worst drops in history, but also one of the highest gains. The average for that period is actually modest, but many did—and still do—only focus on the dramatic drops.

Those in the FOLO camp may have moved into a money market (or out of the markets) and missed the big loss, but also the big gain. Unfortunately, this could have resulted in locking in the losses and missing the rebound.

Succumbing to FOMO can play out as selling at a loss and later buying high—the opposite of what you want to do. This market timing can expose you to missing out on what you want: Some of the market’s best days. That’s why we advocate time in the market as a better strategy.

Opt for Strategic Decisions

The good news is that you can make investing decisions based on proven strategies instead of emotions. There are ways to strike a balance and avoid guessing what to do next, including practicing these:

  1. Balance Risk. An alternative to staying on the sidelines is to match your portfolio risk to your goals and timeline. Also, realize that the extremes of “low risk” and “all risk” are not the only answers for your portfolio.
  2. Diversify. Adding a mix of several different investments in your portfolio has long been hailed as a practice to manage loss. The idea is that when one investment performs badly, others may offset it by performing well.

Add Balance to Your Portfolio—Two Resources for You

Trading One Risk for Another? Find the Right Balance explains how low risk impacts your rewards. It also reviews choices to keep your money growing. Read now

The Surprising Truth About Diversification further breaks downs this important principle and sets the record straight on what it is and is not. Learn more

Let Us Help

Investing during uncertain times can feel scary, but I encourage you not to lose heart—even if you made a knee-jerk reaction along the way. Instead, focus on a long-term plan that’s built just for you and your goals—including how you feel about risk. Need help with your plan? Don’t hesitate to call us.

As always, thanks for your confidence in us.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.

The Urgency of Emergency Planning

August 14, 2020

If this was 2019, I might be talking leisurely to you about the need to have an emergency plan. Now 2020 has made us more aware of how important that is. Fortunately, if we missed it the first time, hopefully there's a second chance to plan. Let’s take advantage of it.

The Best Time to Plan

Of course, we all know that you should plan BEFORE an emergency strikes. You don’t have to look far to see what happens when we’re caught unprepared. One of your top priorities should be working towards saving enough to cover three to six months of expenses. Sound daunting? Like most things in life, there’s nothing wrong with tackling it one step at a time.

There are a few things to consider for an emergency account.

Read Setting Up an Emergency Fund—What You Need to Know for some tips.

Remember the Basics

While the investment and saving side of planning are critical, other details require your attention. Having your accounts in order is also important in an emergency. And doing it now gives one less thing to stress over. Here are four things to do:

  1. Solidify your long-term plans. If you’ve put off an estate plan, I encourage you to take that step. Your financial plan isn’t complete until you have that in order. Legal documents include a will or trust, power of attorney and medical directives. You’ll also need to appoint people to carry out your wishes.
  2. Name names on your financial accounts. Make sure you have other people on your accounts who can or will take over. That includes beneficiaries on retirement accounts and interested parties on brokerage accounts. Bank accounts, credit cards and other investments will need the same.
  3. Stay organized. Keep papers in order, including account information, statements or other documents that you may need to get your hands on quickly. That also includes who you work with—financial advisors, attorneys, doctors, insurance agents, etc. Hard copy or electronic, make sure you can easily access the information, and others can too if needed.
  4. Share with loved ones. Finally, communicating with your family is a key part of being prepared. They’ll need to know where to find things and what’s in your plan. Together, you should also decide who will do what in an emergency.

It’s Work, but Worth It

Planning takes thought and commitment, but the result will be worth it. I hope you take that time for yourself and your family. And if you need help with your financial plan or updating your accounts, we’re available. For fast service, you can also update your beneficiaries on our website.

We’d love to help you prepare for whatever comes next. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

Family Money Discussions? Practice, Practice.

August 21, 2020

Why is it so hard to talk to our families about money? It can be uncomfortable for parents and children to have conversations about financial issues, even if they are your plans. Maybe it’s like other things we do—it just takes practice.

Money Talk Opportunities and Necessities

There are certain times in a family’s lifecycle when opportunities to discuss money arise and other times when it’s critical. Talks may be easier if you have them more often, starting when children are younger. But, if they’re older—even grown—it’s not too late.

Starting an allowance for a younger child or sending your high school grad to college (even virtually) are great opportunities to talk about money responsibilities. What if your grown child comes back to the nest? It’s also a good time to discuss finances.

Money talks with aging parents may be hardest for adult children and the parents themselves. No one wants to think about the need to help mom or dad with finances or caregiving. Parents may find it difficult to share their plans. However, these may be the most important conversations.

Need Help Discussing Money Plans With Your Family?

Get ideas and how-to’s in Family Money Talk: The Key to a Strong Financial Plan.

More Talk Can Make It Easier

I encourage you to make money talks a regular habit and to start somewhere. COVID-19 may give you an opening. As the pandemic stretches on, the need for planning continues for finances, retirement plans and unfortunately, health plans. Your family—even children—may feel more confident knowing there’s a plan.

Start Talking. We’ll Help With the Plan.

Remember we’re here to help with questions about your finances. If you find yourself facing a family tragedy, our estate transfer services may be able to help. Don’t hesitate to call us.

As always, thanks for your confidence in us.

Winning by Not Losing—A Good Strategy?

August 28, 2020

Discussions about upcoming sports seasons—or not—remind me of a long-held thought that more games are won by not losing. While that can be debated among sports fans and statisticians, the theory applies to investing as well. Let’s explore why.

“Winning by Not Losing” in Investing

Not losing in sports can mean building a strong defense or avoiding turnovers and errors. These also apply to how you handle your investments, which is especially important during volatile market times.

Do You Know How to Invest During Rocky Times?

Read our latest article: Volatile Markets? Kick Up Your Financial Knowledge.

Playing Defense

In sports, the goal of defense is to prevent the other team from scoring. For investing, the goal is to position your portfolio against losses. While we like our investments to perform well, behavior finance tells us that investors focus more on not losing than they do on winning big gains. 

There is something behind that fear; mathematically, investments are penalized more from losses than they are rewarded from gains. How? For every loss, you need exponentially higher gains just to break even, as shown in the illustration.

Cruel Math of Losses

Market corrections and losses will happen. When they do, investors must make up the loss—and more—just to break even.

Avoiding Turnovers

Turnovers in sports give the opposing team an advantage. With investing, mistakes or straying from your plan—such as jumping in and out of the market or chasing performance—can be negative for your long-term goals. These “errors” may result from fear or forgetting that losses can occur even when markets are performing well.

What Can You Do?

A principle that can help you play defense is having a proper asset allocation. It starts with diversifying, or including a variety of different stocks, bonds and cash in your portfolio, which may help cushion losses. Asset allocation is how much of each kind of investment you have based on your timeline and how you feel about risk. Having a mix that fits you can help you stay the course no matter what the markets are doing. It can also help you avoid the mistake of chasing the highest performers.

Let Us Help

Need help seeing if you are diversified properly and your portfolio risk matches your needs? Request a free portfolio review or let us answer questions you may have; just call us.

We’re serious about helping you reach your financial goals. Thanks for entrusting us with them.

Best Regards.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.


Your Investments in “This Normal”

September 4, 2020

While many are accepting life with the pandemic—rather than wondering when we’ll resume normal—one thing we’re not quite used to are stock market movements. Many were shocked by the drops earlier this year and the recent market highs have left some wary. When markets experience dramatic movements, it may be a good time to stick with active investments. Let’s explore why.

Get our perspective

 on what’s happening with the stock market and possible recovery scenarios in our latest article: The Disconnect: Pandemic vs. Market.

The Market Reflects Our Normal

If this were 12 months ago, few of us would blink if markets were hitting records. We had grown accustomed to the markets going up—at least most of the time. Today it’s different. The makeup of the market also tells a different story from what we knew just nine months ago.

Looking at the so-called “COVID-19 winners,” you see some stocks that were excelling before. The FAANG—Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google—stocks were doing well prior to the pandemic. As technology companies, their products also fit nicely into our new way of living.

However, that's not to say that the winners will always continue breaking records—as we saw this week. And other companies might be considered COVID losers because they have not rebounded at all. The market makeup is different from what we knew and it's not likely going back. It's a different economy.

Should You Change How You Invest?

If you’re confident that your investment plan still fits your long-term goals, the answer is no. If not, or you made sudden moves when the markets got rough, it might be time to evaluate. I believe the best place to be is in a diversified portfolio that fits your situation. However, given this different economy and new environment, now may be a good time to evaluate actively managed investments versus index or passive ones.

Active Investments in Volatile Times

Both active and index funds can have a place in your portfolio—it’s usually not an either-or choice. However, for volatile times, there may be some advantages to relying on the expertise and experience of an active portfolio manager.

Active managers can look below the surface of a company’s performance to see if its financials match what’s happening with the stock. They can also take advantage of opportunities or back away from risky prospects more quickly. The ability to pivot may be especially important during times of big market swings or uncertainty. Index funds don’t have the same luxury.

Are You Confident in Your Plan?

As important as the makeup of your portfolio is, it’s also important that you feel prepared for whatever comes next. If you need help evaluating your portfolio, you’re in the right place. A free portfolio review is available upon request. Just call us.

As always, thanks for your continued confidence in us.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.

References to specific securities are for illustrative purposes only, and are not intended as recommendations to purchase or sell securities. Opinions and estimates offered constitute our judgment and, along with other portfolio data, are subject to change without notice.

Going the Distance

September 11, 2020

There’s not much most of us wouldn’t do for a loved one. Sometimes we care for a parent or someone else who can’t do it alone. The physical and mental strain can be difficult—especially if you don’t live close. But you go the distance no matter what. That same principle applies to investing, too.

Are You Caring for Someone From a Distance?

Get practical help about how to set up a long-distance care plan.

Caregiving: Pace Yourself

Dedicating your time and energy—and likely your money—caring for a loved one is not easy. It’s even harder when you don’t live nearby. I’ve experienced it myself, including the urgency of wanting to be there. One piece of advice: Don’t burn yourself out.

Instead, go step by step and enlist the aid of others. The last thing you need is to have your own health or finances suffer. Think of it as providing steady care rather than racing to do everything all at once. That’s actually a good idea for your investments as well.

Find Your Stride

Long-distance runners pace themselves so they can cross the finish line. With investing, setting your stride starts with an investment plan that is your “speed”—one that considers when you need the money and how much risk you can tolerate. What does not work are “sprints” or “detours.”

  • The sprint is attempting to reach the finish line with highly aggressive investments—usually to make up for a lack of savings or losses. It can be too risky, especially with uncertain markets.
  • The detour is side-stepping a solid plan by jumping out of the market to avoid losses or jumping in to capitalize on gains. Market timing can be detrimental to your goals.

Take Your Time

We believe time in the market is superior to trying to time it. Staying invested lets you take advantage of compounding—making money on your original investment as well as on the earnings. Also, when you’re already invested, you won’t miss a potential market spurt.

How Can We Help?

When caring for a loved one, remember to care for yourself and your own finances—pace yourself. Do the same with your investments. In either situation, we’re here for the financial side. If you need help, please call us.

Thanks for putting your confidence in us to manage your money.

Best Regards.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

What’s Your (Investing) Type?

September 18, 2020

People have different relationships with their investments—just like they have different connections with people. Some believe it has to do with your investing personality. It’s an interesting concept and one that may give insight into how you make decisions.

Your Investing Personality

Your relationship with your investments is likely linked to your family’s view of money and your own experiences. Psychologists and behavioral finance professionals say it also involves your personality, which they classify into different types based on research.

Let’s review those developed by Jonathan Myers,* an industrial psychologist who believes your investing personality doesn’t change much under different circumstances. Based on that premise, events such as COVID-19 would not have much impact on how you handle investing decisions.

Professional Money Managers Use Multiple Traits

Our experts use research, data analysis, experience to manage money. Get a sense of how they do it in our latest article: Fundamental vs. Quantitative Investing: Same Goal, Different Process

Do You See Yourself in Any of These?

  • Cautious Investors don’t like risk or losing money. They usually make few portfolio changes and may be wary about financial advice, preferring to do their own research.
  • Emotional Investors follow the latest trends and make decisions on instinct. They may hold on to an investment—even if they shouldn’t—because they believe everything eventually works out.
  • Technical Investors follow the numbers when making investment decisions. Research and diligence are their mantras.
  • Busy Investors are aware of everything that’s happening with the markets and may make decisions based on what they hear. They check prices often and may buy and sell—a lot.
  • Casual Investors are busy with work and family, using a “set-it-and-forget-it” style. They rarely check on their finances, preferring to leave it to professionals who they may or may not be in contact with regularly.
  • Informed Investors use information from many sources and keep watch over their investments, markets and the economy. They listen to experts and are confident in their decisions—relying on knowledge and experience.

The Markets Speak—Should You Listen?

Some investors tune in daily to market feeds, economic news and government actions, such as the Federal Reserve meeting this week. Should you react? It may depend on your knowledge and how close you are to your goal—such as retirement. We can help with the big picture. Learn about the Fed’s monetary policy and how changes may affect you.

Work With Your Style

Knowing the personality type(s) that made you say, “That’s me!” may help. It can enable you to lean on your strengths and avoid potential pitfalls when making investing decisions.

All personalities are welcome here. It’s why we offer a variety of services for how people like to work with us. Whether you’re a DIYer, looking for occasional guidance or prefer to leave it to the professionals—we’re here for you. Don’t hesitate to call us.

*Myers, Jonathan. What Kind of Investor are You?, 2017.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Down the Home Stretch: Rein in Emotions

September 25, 2020

Whew! We made it to the fall and are nearing the final lap of the year. It’s still 2020, so that doesn’t mean we’re “home free.” What could possibly go wrong? From continued COVID-19 cases to economic uncertainty and a charged election period—there’s plenty to stir our emotions. Let me offer possible solutions for feelings about your finances.

Concerned About the Elections and Your Investments?

Get perspective in our latest article: Stocks Are the True Independents in This Election.


Keep Blinders On (When Needed)

When emotions run high, I recommend tuning out distractions. The latest news can prompt undue worry, especially if your investment plan fits your goals. If you’re less confident, it may be time to revisit your plan.

Another way to tune out noise is to practice healthy financial habits. Stay invested and avoid knee-jerk financial decisions. It can have a negative impact on your goals.

Beat Money Stress With Healthy Habits

Read Financial Stress: The Link Between Health and Wealth

Refocus Your Emotions

What does an emotional decision look like? According to one psychologist, an emotional investor may follow the latest trends and make choices based on instinct.1 Emotions may drive you to:

  • Choose investments based on a gut reaction
  • Jump into a high-performing investment without much research
  • Hold on to a bad investment because you still hope for the best

Is there a place for emotions when investing? Money is one of the most personal things we deal with so it naturally evokes feelings. The solution may be to refocus them.

One way is to rein in your emotions for short-term decisions but use them to your advantage for long-term ones. Turn your ability to persevere into a commitment to a solid financial plan. And channel gut instincts into taking smart risks—ones that offer potential rewards—and aren’t merely popular trends.

Another way you can offset emotions is to set up convenient automatic investments. Automatic investing removes questions about when to invest and lets you take advantage of market swings. You buy more shares when prices are low and fewer shares when they are high.2

Keep Calm and Ask for Help

Whatever sparks your emotions, I hope you find peace in focusing on what’s important, including your future. And if you need help with the financial side, don’t hesitate to call us. Like everything else in 2020, we can get through the rest of this year together.


Myers, Jonathan. What Kind of Investor are You?, 2017.


Dollar cost averaging does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss in declining markets. This investment strategy involves continuous investment in securities, regardless of fluctuating price levels. An investor should consider his or her financial ability to continue purchases in periods of low or fluctuating price levels. 

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.


Different Season, Same Principles Apply

October 2, 2020

Normally this is the time of year when people start looking forward to the holidays. In fact, the shopping countdown has already begun. (If you’re keeping count, it’s less than 90 days!) Like everything else we’ve experienced in 2020, this upcoming season will likely not be the same. Even when everything is different, there are principles that don’t change.

What Does the Last Part of 2020 Have in Store?

Read our investment professionals’ outlook for the fourth quarter.

A Different Season

Some predict a disappointing holiday season due to the pandemic. Even the fate of trick-or-treating hangs in the balance. The continued fallout will certainly impact many families in varying degrees and possibly yours too. Remember, we’re here if you have questions or need help with your finances.

In a normal season, we’d talk about not overspending and sticking to your budget. It’s still a smart plan for your cash, whether you celebrate the same or not. For your investments, there are principles that apply through all seasons.

Principles Are Always in Season

Smart investing principles are never out of season. It’s true when markets go up and when they go down. It’s especially true in times of uncertainty. Below are three principles for the top of your list.

  1. Practice proper asset allocation – The appropriate percentage of stocks, bonds and money markets can help balance your portfolio and aims for a risk level that fits you. This balance may help your investments withstand a variety of market conditions. And having several investment types is designed to offset losses in one area with potential gains in another.
  2. Stick with it – As important as asset allocation is, it may not help if you knock your portfolio off balance. Some investors may be tempted to sell stocks and bonds, moving their funds to a money market in an effort to avoid losses and “play it safe.” Taking such actions may come with “opportunity costs.” It’s important to consider how much growth (opportunity) you might miss out on in a potential market rebound.
  3. Match actions to you – Don’t get me wrong, money markets play an important role in a portfolio. The question is how much you need. Depending on how soon you need the money, a higher percentage may be the right choice. My point is that whatever actions you take need to match your goals and timeline.


Read Trading One Risk for Another? Find the Right Balance.

Different Season, Same Promise

Another thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to you. We’re still in the business of hope for the future and for your success. 

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.

Generally, as interest rates rise, the value of the securities held in the fund will decline. The opposite is true when interest rates decline.

Who Wants to Hear a Scary Story? Not Me!

October 9, 2020

There have been plenty of frights for investors this year—the pandemic, market volatility, economic news, political uncertainty and more. We’ve covered them frequently over the past several weeks. Now I want to turn to some practical ways to help manage two things that people can get the jitters about: Taxes and protecting your personal information. Both can be scary topics, but there are ways to alleviate their threats.

Bust Tax-Time Fears

Tax time can be an investor’s—really anyone’s—least favorite time of year, especially when figuring out if you owe taxes. Did you have a gain or a loss? Did your fund pay dividends? Then there’s the sometimes-complex task of figuring your cost basis—used to calculate gains or losses based on the price you originally purchased a security or share. Some may dread the paperwork. Others just get nervous when it comes to anything dealing with taxes.

Why am I talking about taxes in October? There are things you can do—even starting now—to make tax time less frightening next April. A few have a December 31 deadline so I’m bringing them to your attention now. And yes, it also goes with my spooky Halloween theme, but that’s not the main point. Read the article below for nine tax items that you can start thinking about now.


Thwart Identity Tricksters

Identity theft has been a threat for a while. Unfortunately, the pandemic has not slowed down scams, or people’s fears. According to a recent Transunion study, 83% of people are worried about having their identities stolen and stress over it has risen 32% during COVID-19. Even more scary,10% of U.S. adults became victims of the crime during this time.*

Here at American Century Investments, we take seriously your private information and the security of your money. Along with the precautions we take, we also know that protecting your identity requires a partnership between us and you. There are things you can do both online and offline. Read the article below to get our latest tips on protecting your information. 

Find out what you can do to help safeguard your private information and your money.

Read Protect Your Data — and Your Dollars

Handle the Tricks, Enjoy the Treats

After what we’ve experienced so far in 2020, I think we could all use a break for the rest of the year. Will we get it? Who knows, but I encourage you to take advantage of our tax-time tips and learn ways to help protect your identity. Acting now may allow you to treat yourself to less stress in the coming months.

If you need help with your investments, remember we're here for you. You can still speak to a real person when you need to. Please don’t hesitate to call us. As always, thanks for your confidence in us.

*COVID-19’s Impact on Online Government Services, Transunion, August 2020.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: American Century Companies, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide tax advice. Accordingly, any discussion of U.S. tax matters contained herein (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, in connection with the promotion, marketing or recommendation by anyone unaffiliated with American Century Companies, Inc. of any of the matters addressed herein or for the purpose of avoiding U.S. tax-related penalties.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for more detailed information or for advice regarding your individual situation.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Beyond Who’s President, There’s SALT

October 16, 2020

As we count down to the November elections, many people focus on who will be president for the next four years. Presidents may help decide the direction of the country, but for your personal finances, you may want to look closer to home. Local races may have more impact because of SALT (state and local taxes).

The President and the Stock Market

Presidential elections can definitely impact the markets—especially leading up to election day. The oftentimes-charged season can result in uncertainty, and that can be unnerving to investors. In fact, in one of our recent surveys, 32% of clients said that the election was their single biggest investment concern, followed by market volatility and the pandemic.

But after an election, the individual and party winners don’t seem to matter much to the markets, if history is a guide. Still, the results may have a role in policy decisions and affect certain industries. Read our take on some of the potential outcomes.

Global Markets at a Crossroads


Don’t Pass On the SALT

State and local taxes may actually have more of an influence on you than who lives in the White House. From schools to water service to roads, local governments play a big role in quality of life. And because they are typically smaller elections—with lower turnouts—your voice may count even more.

You’ll also see impacts on your money. Local governments impose property taxes and sales tax on what you purchase and consume. That can affect you and your family’s discretionary income and the amount you can invest for the future.

Be Heard and Stay Calm

Voting is a privilege we should all exercise—for all levels of government. I encourage you to also stay strong in your investment plan, particularly if you’re watching the markets react leading up to Election Day. In the next few weeks, be sure to watch your inbox for more perspective about elections and the markets.

In the meantime, remember that volatility is normal—even in this everything-but-normal year and election process. Our Volatile Markets? Kick Up Your Financial Knowledge article may help give you some perspective.

Also, if you’re wondering about your investment plan, remember we’re here for you. Please don’t hesitate to call us.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: American Century Companies, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide tax advice. Accordingly, any discussion of U.S. tax matters contained herein (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, in connection with the promotion, marketing or recommendation by anyone unaffiliated with American Century Companies, Inc. of any of the matters addressed herein or for the purpose of avoiding U.S. tax-related penalties.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for more detailed information or for advice regarding your individual situation.

Don’t Invest Based on a Single Story

October 23, 2020

Election decisions based on one candidate or policy may not provide the results you expect—rarely are issues settled soon after all the votes are in. Investing decisions on a single event, such as an election or a market reaction, may not give the desired results either. You could succumb to what novelist Chimamanda Adichie calls the “danger of a single story” and miss the bigger picture.*

When you consider a collection of stories and experiences, it can help you make more informed decisions. It’s how we manage your money. I believe it’s a good approach for you too.

Find out why our investment professionals make decisions based on process over politics.


Add to Your Collection

How do you look beyond single stories that market and news headlines tell us nearly every day? Take a page from our investment professionals’ playbook: They make decisions objectively (based on data), systematically (following repeatable processes) and in a disciplined way (true to their objectives). Here are my thoughts on how you can do the same with your investments.

  • Stay Objective – Ignore the emotions of today’s turmoil and keep focused on your long-term goals. There will always be uncertainty, but history shows that long-term investing can have rewards.**
  • Make It Systematic – Keep investing even through the trying times. Investing regularly helps you keep your long-term goals a priority.
  • Practice Discipline – This has to do with your investment plan. Have a mix of different investments—known as diversification—to help balance your portfolio through market ups and downs. Then, stick with it no matter what stories you may hear, but remember to reevaluate periodically to ensure you're on track.

Let Us Help Unravel the Plot

Sometimes it’s hard to know which stories to pay attention to. That’s where we can help with both how we actively manage your investments and our commitment to help you reach your goals. Our consultants are here to evaluate if your plan fits, so you don’t have to be swayed by a single story. Don’t hesitate to call us if you need help.

*Chimamanda Adichie, TEDTalks: The Danger of a Single Story, 2009

**The average annual returns of the S&P 500 since 9/30/2000 is 6.42%. Cumulative returns since that time are 247.10%. Fact Set data as of 9/30/2020.
The S&P 500® Index is composed of 500 selected common stocks most of which are listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It is not an investment product available for purchase.

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Election Drama: It Just Takes Time

October 30, 2020

This year’s election seems more charged than usual—although we may have thought that four years ago as well. Add in dramatic predictions that final results may not be known for a while, and we could be in for more market uncertainty past Election Day. What should you do? Remember that time in the market is a better strategy than attempting to time when to buy and sell to achieve a gain or avoid a loss.

A Repeat of 2000? Sort Of

The thought of an unresolved or contested election feels unnerving. However, not all races have had an immediate clear winner. In the 2000 election, we waited for Florida recounts and “hanging” chads (paper fragments from punched ballots) to have their day in court. The Supreme Court settled the matter on December 12. And while lingering election results can lead to more uncertainty, it shouldn’t change how you invest when you have a solid, long-term plan.

Election Plus Pandemic Equals More Uncertainty

Find out what steps you can take for your portfolio in our latest article: “Ballots, Bulls and Bears.”


Time In vs. Timing

Why is it important to keep investing during uncertain times? For the same reasons you should continue to invest when markets are going up. No one can predict the best time to buy or sell. Even if some claim occasional success, market timing is not sustainable. Jumping in and out of the markets can lead to missing some of its best days and that can impact your goals.

No Guessing, No Speculating—Investing Is Long Term

The purpose of investing is to accumulate money for your goals. It’s not about timing, guessing or even speculating. An investment plan helps you focus on your future and take advantage of the power of compounding over time.

Compounding means earning money on your original investment plus on those earnings. The longer you stay invested, the more potential it has to grow exponentially. This can be demonstrated by the Rule of 72* —a long-held rule of thumb that estimates how long it might take to double an investment based on an fixed average rate of return. It is calculated by dividing 72 by the rate of return. 

According to the rule, here’s how long it could take to double an investment:

Rate of Return Estimated Time to Double an Investment
6% 12 years
8% 9 years
10% 7.2 years

This hypothetical situations contain assumptions that are intended for illustrative purposes only and are not representative of the performance of any security. There is no assurance similar results can be achieved, and this information should not be relied upon as a specific recommendation to buy or sell securities. The examples assume a fixed 6%, 8% and 10% average annual rates of return.


In addition to showing the potential effects of compounding, the rule illustrates the potential value of investing over time. But note that these are estimates only. You need to hold an investment for a length of time to get an actual average. For a more detailed estimate for an invested amount (such as $5,000) at a fixed return rate, use our future-value calculator.

Time Will Tell

Elections may not get resolved as soon as we want and uncertain markets may continue, but don’t discount the reasons to keep investing. If you need to confirm that your investment plan fits your goals, don’t hesitate to call us.

*The Rule of 72 was first mentioned in 1494 by Italian mathematician Luca Pacioli. There is no explanation as to why the number 72 works but the results are fairly close to calculations using more complex equations or a calculator. Source: Dennis Hammer, Wealthsimple, May 2020.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.


And Now We Wait

November 5, 2020

As some predicted, we’ve entered into more unknowns for the 2020 election. Is it a surprise? Not really, given the pandemic, record numbers of mail-in ballots and varying deadlines for each state. 

Delayed results feed market uncertainty, but history shows us there’s nothing new about volatility surrounding elections—even contested ones, as we saw in 2000. In this case, it may linger until we know the final outcome. However, the current uncertainty is not a signal to change how you invest or to make snap decisions. 

Stay Focused as You Watch and Wait

Regardless of who ultimately wins or loses, I believe keeping a long-term view is important for these times. Also keep in mind that historically, the markets don’t care who is in the White House, or which party they belong to. 

Policies may be more important in the long run. In my opinion, that’s one more reason to rely on professional money managers to stay on top of how any changes may impact investments. Our experts are already thinking ahead. Read their views on how each candidate’s policies might affect certain industries in Global Markets at a Crossroads.

We’re Here to Help

It’s natural to feel unsettled when there’s no deadline on the uncertainty. But don’t let that deter you from your long-term plan. Our consultants are here to review your plan or confirm that you’re on the right path. Want to talk? Request a call.

We’re in this together, and for your finances—we’re here for you.

Now What?

November 13, 2020

With the current state of the 2020 election, there’s talk about what happens now. Will there be a shift in direction? The upcoming balance of power won’t likely spell sweeping change. But there are policy transitions to watch—some of which may affect your finances.

Biden Won’t Ride a Blue Wave, But Change Is Coming

Read our chief investment officer’s perspective on what a Biden presidency could mean.

Your Finances and What We Do Know

Regardless of the specifics about the election and who’s in or out of office, there are certain things to consider for your personal finances. One is potential taxes and the other is current low interest rates. Let’s look at each one and how they may impact your financial situation.

Taxes: Covering the Cost of the Pandemic

While our chief investment officer doesn’t foresee Congress raising taxes for corporations and high wage earners anytime soon, the bill for the pandemic still lingers. The necessary stimulus to keep our people and economy going did not come cheap. It’s no secret that federal and local budgets are feeling that distress. Sooner or later, we’ll need to address government budgets and the national deficit. Down the road, our choices may be higher taxes or fewer services.

For your own finances, future taxes can be significant, especially in retirement. Typically retirees experience lower taxes during that time. The choice regarding a Traditional IRA, Roth IRA or both can have meaningful tax consequences now and later. Compare here.

Low Rates: What Does That Mean?

Another given is that the Federal Reserve (the Fed) plans to extend current low interest rates for some time. Their most recent statement indicates rates will remain near 0% through 2023. This commitment signals the Fed’s effort to help the U.S. economy recover. While low interest rates don’t do much for savings accounts and some bond investing, you may find other advantages for your finances.

If you’re in the market for a new mortgage or looking to refinance or take on other debt, borrowers benefit from low interest rates. It usually results in having more money to spend. If you’re retired or getting close, you might have a different view of low rates, and may be seeking higher yields.

For higher yields, there are a number of investments you could consider, with varying degrees of risk. Some of those include securitized (a collection of underlying bonds) and corporate bonds, high-dividend stock funds or even convertibles/ preferred stocks.* Of course, any decision you make depends on your individual situation, risk tolerance and timeline. A consultant would be happy to review your options.

Keep Your Long-Term View

Whatever decisions you make for your personal finances, remember to keep a long-term investing view. Through the pandemic, election fallout or policy shifts, a solid plan may help you have a better chance for long-term success.

If you don’t feel as confident as you’d like about your plan—or just need a second opinion—that’s where we can help. Don’t hesitate to call us.

*Convertibles/preferred stock are offered by corporations to raise capital. They do it by selling shares (equity) instead of debt like they would with a bond. Preferred shares are a type of hybrid security, falling somewhere between debt and equity. Convertibles are stocks that a holder can convert to common shares at a predetermined date. The value is based on the common stocks’ performance.

Generally, as interest rates rise, the value of the securities held in the fund will decline. The opposite is true when interest rates decline.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: American Century Companies, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide tax advice. Accordingly, any discussion of U.S. tax matters contained herein (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, in connection with the promotion, marketing or recommendation by anyone unaffiliated with American Century Companies, Inc. of any of the matters addressed herein or for the purpose of avoiding U.S. tax-related penalties.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for more detailed information or for advice regarding your individual situation.

Please consult your tax advisor for more detailed information regarding the Roth IRA or for advice regarding your individual situation.

Taxes are deferred until withdrawal if the requirements are met. A 10% penalty may be imposed for withdrawal prior to reaching age 59½.

Could There Be a Silver Lining to Spending Changes?

November 20, 2020

This year we’ve all made life adjustments—how we connect with each other, where we work and maybe even our perspectives. A pandemic can have that kind of effect. However, one thing that hasn’t changed for your personal finances is the need for a budget. As we think about the changes—and head into holiday shopping season—now may be a good time to revisit or start a spending plan. You may find some of the budget updates are good for your finances.

Living and Spending With COVID-19

Months ago we talked about life after the pandemic. Now? Most people have settled in to life “with” COVID-19. Unfortunately, we’re hearing talks of a second wave and reports of higher positivity rates in many states. Work as we knew it also changed, with 40 to 50% of Americans now working from home.1 Not only has that changed how people do their jobs, but also how and where we spend money. And that can affect our economy and investments too.

How Has Working From Home Changed Our Economy?

Read our investment professionals’ analysis on the impacts of spending changes.

A Potential Silver Lining for Your Finances

If you’ve pulled back on discretionary purchases (spending on extras) since COVID-19, you’re not alone. A recent survey reports that even now, most people are focusing on necessary purchases. They also look for value, choosing lower-cost brands. For the holidays, many plan to shop online and spend less than in previous years.2

Less spending can be positive for personal budgets. If you find yourself spending less on discretionary items, you may have more to save and invest, or to pay down debt. That can mean good news for just-in-case funds, your long-term goals and your overall financial health. If you’re close to retirement, you might also think of this time as a trial run for the future—when you may want to possibly live on less. All these good financial habits are a gift you can give to yourself this season.

We’re Here to Help

If you need help with budgeting or any other financial needs, our consultants are here to help. You can also find out more about budgeting in our New Normal, New Budget? article. And don’t hesitate to call us.

1Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), data from a survey of 2,500 U.S. residents carried out between May 21-29, 2020.

2McKinsey & Company, Survey: US Consumer Sentiment During the Coronavirus Crisis, October 2020

Give Thanks, Take Time

November 25, 2020

Despite the health and financial issues we still face this year, I think most of us can find things to be thankful for. And while we may not celebrate as we have in the past, I hope your Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving is meaningful; that you connect with others (even virtually) and take time for yourself. I say we all deserve it.

Give Your Budget a Break Too

Some of you look forward to the kickoff of holiday shopping, but we know that will be different too. As always, we encourage you to set a spending limit that works and stick with it. That’s one way to give your finances a break this season. Read our tips to help make it less stressful.

Even Santa Has a Budget

Holiday spending can make or break your budget—and your future.

Have “We” Time and “Me” Time

With the guidelines from public health officials, most of us won’t find ourselves around a crowded table or in large groups. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy other people. From outdoor small gatherings to toasting virtually, I hope you find ways to make those connections—and remember those who may be alone. Maybe that’s delivering a meal to a friend or neighbor’s doorstep or to a local shelter.

Also find time for yourself. Take time to relax and find ways to refresh mentally and physically. And whatever you do, leave the guilt behind for taking time to pause.

We’re Thankful for You

From our entire team here, let me share our thanks for you. It’s been a tough year, and we’re grateful for how you’ve stuck with us and allowed us to share our perspective in these trying times.

Many of you have gone the distance with us—nearly 20 years or longer—which is actually the average tenure of our clients. We appreciate your trust; your success is still our primary commitment. If you’re newer to American Century,® I hope you feel that same dedication to you and your financial goals.

And as always, if you need help, please don’t hesitate to call us. We’re here for  you.


Finances Today and Tomorrow: Time for a Reset?

December 4, 2020

If this were any other year, we’d be talking about rebalancing your portfolio: buying and selling investments to get it back to your original risk level after a bumpy market year. While rebalancing is still important, a larger reset may be needed after all the life changes of 2020. There won’t be a replay of pre-COVID-19 days—things have changed too much. It might be time for a financial reset.

The Financial Restart After COVID: Reevaluating Choices

Consider whether your goals have changed since the pandemic.

Reset Today’s Finances

In addition to reevaluating future goals, you might also consider what changes may impact your finances in the next few years. And that’s not just for those who may have experienced a major financial setback from the pandemic. If that describes you, let us know how we can help.

What if your finances stayed similar, but every other way you live has changed? That may call for a reset too. Even with the promising news about vaccines and other treatments for more serious COVID-19 symptoms, none of us should assume that life will be exactly the same as before.

In fact, many believe the changes will be more permanent, including how we work and spend money. Both have impacted businesses and our economy long-term. These may be reasons to rethink your personal finances and investment choices. Our investment professionals are already doing that for you too, as they consider companies and investment trends in the current environment and as they look ahead.

Reset Your Perspective

The pandemic may have also given you a new perspective. Before the pandemic, few could fathom quarantines or long-term school and business shutdowns. And who would have thought masks would be the new fashion trend?

Now we know the very real importance of preparing for such things. It also may mean your priorities have changed. What was important to you 12 months ago, may not be the same. A change in mindset can alter how you view your finances today and for your future.

Let Us Help

If you need help talking through your finances or goals, we’re here to help. We can also help with a rebalance to make sure you have the right amount of risk for you. Either way, please don’t hesitate to call us.

Rebalancing allows you to keep your asset allocation in line with your goals. It does not guarantee investment returns and does not eliminate risk.

Consolidating: Gift or Grind?

December 11, 2020

A lot of financial companies talk about consolidation—having your investments in one place. Why? Streamlining with one firm does have its benefits. So why does it seem complicated and almost opposite of “not putting all your eggs in one basket?” Let’s explore these ideas and some thoughts that might make it more of a gift for your investment goals.

A Gift of Simplicity

The idea of consolidating money isn’t new. Many people consolidate debt or student loans to get a single lower payment. That kind of consolidation can save you money and make it easier to manage your bills. However, the caution is not to take on new debt and wind up owing even more.

For your investment accounts, easier management can be a reason to consolidate too. It can also help you have a clearer view of the amount of risk you have or let you know if you have overlaps you don’t need. Read more about these benefits in our article below.

The Grind of Consolidating

I’ve heard more than one investor say they are wary of consolidating because it seems to contradict not putting all your eggs in one basket. While the egg analogy actually is about diversification—not investing in all the same kinds of assets to avoid a big loss, I understand the sentiment. Others think it sounds complicated, and it can be if you have to do it on your own.

Still others go so far as to have more than one advisor—maybe that’s the “two heads are better than one” thinking but it can also be confusing. What if your advisors don’t agree? It can also cost you more in fees. So what’s the answer if you’re wary of having just one company or one advisor? Maybe look at it more in terms of location.

Consolidate by Location

When you consolidate in one place, it can feel like you’re losing something—maybe variety. What if you look at it in terms of location instead? For example, I have my growth investments here, I have my fixed-income investments there.

Or look at it in terms of goals. I have my long-term investments at this firm and my short-term investments with that one. This idea of a “semi consolidation” could still help you simplify managing your accounts, but also help you not overlap investments for certain goals or run the risk of having too much of one thing.

When to Consolidate

Still I think there are circumstances when you may want to consolidate in one place. If you have 401(k)s from former jobs here and there, it might make sense to have your retirement money together where you have more control, especially if your money is in a default fund and if you can’t add to it.

Another time people like to consolidate is when they get closer to retirement. At this critical time for your investments, you especially want to know the amount of risk you have and you may also want to have that one trusted professional looking out for you.

Let’s Talk About You

Consolidating your investments (or not) is a significant decision, but it’s one you don’t have to make on your own. Our consultants are here to help. Please don’t hesitate to call us. And if you do decide to consolidate here, we ’ll help with that too.

Diversification does not assure a profit nor does it protect against loss of principal.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Make Your List; Check It Twice

December 18, 2020

From gift shopping to special menus, holiday lists can help us remember all that needs to be done to celebrate our traditions—regardless of how they’ll look this year. With the holiday bustle and news headlines about all that’s happening in our world, it’s easy to get distracted. Let’s not lose sight of some things that can help us stay focused on future goals, starting with keeping your investment accounts updated.


These simple steps can help you keep an eye on your money and make informed decisions.

Add These to the List, Too

In addition to checking items off your account management list, there are other important tasks for managing your money. Here are a few to consider for this month and the year ahead.

1. Stick to your budget now.

Holiday time has traditionally been a period when people overspend. Early on, retailers predicted that shoppers would spend less due to the pandemic. However, the latest forecasts show that retail sales will rise, up to 5.2% this year.*

While projections for a strong ending are good news for retailers and the economy, don’t let it turn into bad news for your personal budget. The last thing you want is spender’s remorse when the bills come due in January. For information on budgeting and why it’s important for your financial future, read our Holiday Gift Guide: Is a Budget on Your List?

2. Start thinking about next year.

Just like a long-term plan is important for your future, short-term to-dos can help you stay on track with some investment must-dos. Here are a few that you might want to plan for now:

  • Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). If you are age 72 or older, start a list for these IRS-required withdrawals from retirement accounts. While RMDs were waived for 2020, that’s not the case for 2021. What should you think about? First, it’s important to calculate the right amount to avoid penalties. Secondly, have a plan for the money. If you don’t need it as income right now, you have alternatives such as moving it into a taxable account. To get started, familiarize yourself with RMD guidelines.
  • Tax time is coming. Who wants to think about taxes at the holidays? I’m only mentioning it because the end of the year means some funds may pay distributions. And, if you transacted on your account this year, you’ll be receiving tax forms  a few weeks after the new year. Get a jump on tax-time planning with the many resources you’ll find in our Tax Center.

Lists Are Good, but So Is Personal Help

Santa has lists and we know he checks them twice, but he also has lots of helpers. Actually, so do you. Our consultants are available to help you check some items off your list, or with any other financial need. Please don’t hesitate to call us.

*National Retail Federation, November 2020.

The Gift of Family Money Talks

December 24, 2020

Many look forward to time spent with family over the holidays. Even if virtual or socially distanced this year, it can still be a special time. Sometimes awkward topics surface, including discussions about money. Do you avoid those uncomfortable subjects? They can be difficult for sure, but consider how these talks could be a gift for you and your family.

Money talks are important, but so is managing your home life.

As we continue to deal with the pandemic this holiday season, controlling what you can is still important. Read our top tips for managing your household.

Which financial conversations do you dread the most?

In a recent survey, we asked clients which conversation topic is the hardest.
Here’s how they ranked the top three:

Inheritance and final wishes


Taking/giving up financial control


Need help with these talks and others?  Get tips with our family and finance articles.

Source: American Century Investments, December 2020.

A Hidden Gift

Parents may find it difficult to talk to their children about money because they don’t feel qualified—especially if they’ve had a financial stumble along the way. However, the lessons you learned may be the best gift to help your kids avoid the same pitfalls.

On the flip side, adult children may dread money conversations with their parents—especially about getting older and the struggles they may face. No one wants to consider the unthinkable, let alone talk about it. But the truth is, these conversations will help you all be prepared. More importantly, it will help you be on the same page for whatever the future holds.

Give This Gift to Your Family

Many will give and receive gifts over the holidays. I encourage you to put the gift of conversation—even awkward money talks—on the list for you and your family to discuss one day soon. Remember, we’re also here to help if you need to talk over the finances. Don’t hesitate to call us.

From our American Century Investments family to yours, we wish you the happiest of holidays and much peace in this year like no other.

Great (or at Least Hopeful) Expectations

December 31, 2020

The new year brings hopes that 2021 won’t be a repeat of this year. Many look forward to a new start and anticipate that next year will be better, or at least not worse. I’m glad that we can still have some optimism after this year of struggles. And in spite of ongoing economic challenges, our investment professionals will continue looking for opportunities created in this environment. We’re also making a small change to our email newsletter that I want to let you know about.

What do our investment professionals anticipate as the new year begins?

Find their latest views in the 1Q 2021 Investment Outlook.

What Are Your Expectations for 2021?

A recent survey reports that 44% of Americans say 2020 was bad or terrible, while 37% said it was OK. Will next year be better? The same survey says that 44% of us expect it to be, and 30% say 2021 will be about the same. The rest aren’t sure or expect it to be worse.*

Compare that to a similar poll a year ago where 58% of people were full of hopes for 2020.* The results show the pandemic’s effect on our optimism a year later. Still, some may wonder if it could get any worse. I think it depends on how severely the health and financial trials touched you or your loved ones, as well as how deeply you may have been impacted by the social issues that came to the forefront.

Personally, I’m hoping advancements on the medical front and our improved awareness point to a more peaceful new year. And if 2021 doesn’t meet our expectations? We can build on the lessons and adjustments we made this year and keep moving forward. No matter what’s in store, I’m confident we’ll get through next year, too.

Small Changes for 2021

One of our responses to the pandemic and subsequent market volatility was to communicate to you weekly. Things moved fast and we knew it was important to help you stay informed and give our perspective.

For 2021, you’ll still hear from us about topics that are relevant for your finances and your families, just not weekly. In addition, you’ll receive other communications that align with your investments.

Expect Us to Help

Regardless of how often you receive an email newsletter from us, our availability to you will stay the same. You can continue to connect to a real person, so please don’t hesitate to call us.

Let me end this anything-but-normal year by thanking you for your continued trust and confidence. And from all of us here, we wish you and your family hope and happiness in the new year.

*Many Americans Say 2020 Was Terrible, But 2021 Will Be Better and Are You Feeling Optimistic or Pessimistic About 2020,, December 2020 and December 2019.

Review Your Plan for You and Your People.

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The opinions expressed are those of American Century Investments (or the portfolio manager) and are no guarantee of the future performance of any American Century Investments' portfolio. This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal or tax advice.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.