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Posts Tagged ‘Investment management

Six Tips for Surviving Challenging Markets

Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®

Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®

Here are six tips to help cope with challenging market environments:

1. Stay Engaged

When you sell an investment simply because it has declined in value,  it becomes impossible to benefit when it rebounds.  The same is true of the broad market in general.  Many of these major upside moves can happen quickly, often in just a few days.  To avoid missing these key days, you may want to consider staying invested and avoid panic selling. Consider this hypothetical example furnished to us by the folks at Principal Financial Group:

An individual who was invested in the S&P 500 from January 2, 1991, until December 31, 2010 would have turned a $10,000 investment into $58,137.02 for an average annual return of 9.20%, while an investor who panicked and sold their positions during this same period and missed the 10 best trading days in this period would have seen their return fall from 9.20% to 5.47%. [Source: Ned Davis Research]

The lesson is clear: No one can predict when the market will experience its best days.

2. Keep a Long-Term Focus

Studies show that time is your ally.   Of the three types of investments studied (stock funds, bond funds, and asset allocation investment options), the average investors in asset allocation funds held their investment options the longest (an average of 4.30 years) over the five time periods studied (1-, 3-, 5-, 10-, and 20-years).  It’s little surprise that these investors successfully weathered one of the most severe market declines in history (2000-2002). [Source: Dalbar 2010 QAIB study]

3. Have a Diversification Plan

According to the Dalbar study, investors guess incorrectly about the market’s direction 50% of the time.  So, diversification helps guard against those errors; but, many people mistake duplication for diversification by buying multiple mutual funds not knowing many of the underlying holdings are identical.

Choosing different management styles and market capitalizations of equities and bonds isn’t as simple as you’re lead to believe on television.  When was the last time you heard a financial entertainer the impact of highly correlated assets?   It’s boring stuff and makes for poor television, which is why it isn’t discussed, but it’s what you need to know.  Quality diversification enhances the benefits of asset allocation so investment balances are less affected by short-term market swings than they would be if you invested in a single asset class.

If you are an investor who is nearing retirement, consider consulting your advisor about this issue.  Remember, asset allocation/diversification does not guarantee a profit or protect against a loss, but it will likely make your journey much smoother.

4. Utilize an Auto-Rebalance Strategy

Historically, business cycle contractions last about one-sixth as long as expansions.  Now may be a good time to re-evaluate your risk tolerance. If you want a professionally managed investment option to handle this complicated task, you might want to consider a unified managed account (UMA).  It’s an option that simplifies your paperwork, virtually automates the rebalancing process, gives you consolidated reporting while providing the diversification of management, styles, and investments needed to do the job right.  UMAs can hold mutual funds, index funds, ETFs, institutional separately managed accounts, and more.  A UMA is not an investment; it’s a type of account you use to execute your investment plan.  Ask your advisor or – shameless plug – feel free to contact me for information about UMAs. 

There are also target-date and target-risk asset allocation funds available on the market; but, tread carefully.  Different funds with the same target date or target risk can still have very, very different holdings, styles, and risk profiles.  Not everyone retiring in the same year has the same financial picture or ideas about how they want to make the financial journey.  As you can tell, I’m not a big fan of ‘cookie-cutter’ solutions.

5. Keep Your Focus

Discipline is something everyone has until panic sets-in.  Quite often, that’s when an advisor can show the most value.   Successful investing is a marathon, not a sprint.  The tortoise did win the race, you know.

6. Get Regular Checkups

Too many individual investors are still stuck in the old paradigm under which their advisor, actually a broker, would call them with investment ideas or changes they should make.  Today, with the emergence of the fee-only – that’s different from fee-based – business model utilized by ‘pure’ Registered Investment Advisors (not dually registered to sell securities, too), the new paradigm operates more like other professional practices in law, medicine, or accounting.  In short, you need to make an appointment for your checkup, at least annually.   And, today, with online meeting technology, you can even do it without getting in your car… so there’s no excuse.   Get your checkup!  If you don’t, your financial health will likely suffer.

If you like information UMAs, you can request it here:

 
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The Independent Financial GroupSubscribe to IFG Insights letters for individual investors. 

Jim Lorenzen is a Certified Financial Planner® and An Accredited Investment Fiduciary® in his 21st year of private practice as Founding Principal of The Independent Financial Group, a fee-only registered investment advisor with clients located in New York, Florida, and California.   IFG provides investment and fiduciary consulting to retirement plan sponsors, and retirement and wealth management services for individual investors. IFG does not sell products, earn commissions, or accept any third-party compensation or incentives of any description.  IFG also does not provide tax or legal advice.  The reader should seek competent counsel to address those issues.  Content contained herein represents the author’s opinion and should not be regarded as investment advice which is provided only to IFG clients upon completion of a written plan.  The Independent Financial You can reach Jim at 805.265.5416 or through the IFG website, www.indfin.com, Keep up to date with IFG on Twitter: @JimLorenzen

Underperform the Market and STILL Beat It?

The Independent Financial GroupJim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®

What?  Never beat the market and STILL end-up outperforming it? 

Could that be possible?

If you watch enough tv or read enough articles, blogs, newsletters and e-letters, you’ll soon easily conclude that the two most important investment concepts seem to revolve around one of two basic concepts: Outperforming the market and/or limiting expenses.

What if they’re both wrong?

While I’ve never promoted the idea of trying to outperform the market, I have often talked about controlling expenses.  After all, it’s logical, isn’t it?   Any money you save on expenses goes into your pocket!   Not rocket science.

But, what if I’ve been wrong, too?

What if we’ve all been looking at the wrong things?

What if all the financial advisors – the ones who’ve been talking about managing risk and limiting the downside – actually have been telling everyone the little-known secret:  It’s maybe about limiting `downside capture’!

Let’s take an example and, just too keep our comparison of performance outcomes `apples to apples’, we’ll make all expenses equal at zero.

The following hypothetical example reflects a fictional market return showing 20% swings each year over a ten year period and what would have happened to Portfolio A, which invested $100,000 in ‘the market’.  As you can see, even though 6 of the 10 years were ‘up’ years, including both the first and last year, and even though 3 of the last 4 years were ‘up’ years, the market portfolio achieved an annualized return of only 2.12% and a gain of only $22,306. 

What’s interesting is what happened in portfolio B!    Portfolio B’s management emphasis was not on beating the market.  In fact, during the ‘up years’ it underperformed the market by 20% each time!   But, while the managers captured only 80% of the upside, they were successful in capturing only 70% of the downside.    How important was limiting the downside?   Take a look!

Interesting!   Now this is a hypothetical mathematical excercise, to be sure; but, it does illustrate the importance of managing risk and how unimportant ‘beating the index’ actually is!   It also demonstrates another important principle:  While it’s important to limit expenses, you don’t want to get caught in a ‘race to the bottom’.  Managers who know how to ‘optimize’ portfolio performance just might be worth what they’re paid.

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Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®Jim Lorenzen is a Certified Financial Planner® and An Accredited Investment Fiduciary® in his 21st year of private practice as Founding Principal of The Independent Financial Group, a fee-only registered investment advisor with clients located in New York, Florida, and California.  IFG provides investment and fiduciary consulting to retirement plan sponsors and selected individual investors.  IFG does not sell products, earn commissions, or accept any third-party compensation or incentives of any description.  Nothing contained in this material is intended to constitute legal, tax, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment to the individual reader.  The general information provided should not be acted upon without obtaining specific legal, tax, and investment advice from an appropriate licensed professional. 

Additional IFG Links:

IFG does not sell products, earn commissions, or accept any third-party compensation or incentives of any description.  IFG does not provide legal or tax advice and nothing contained herein should be construed as  securities  or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment to the individual reader.  The general information provided should not be acted upon without obtaining specific legal, tax, and investment advice from an appropriate licensed professional.  The Independent Financial Group does not sell financial products or securities and nothing contained herein is an offer or recommendation to purchase any security or the services of any person or organization.

Think You’ll Spend Less in Retirement? Really?

IFG BlogConventional wisdom:  When you retire you’ll be spending less.  You’re not commuting and you won’t need clothes for work; so your financial needs in retirement will be less.

Not my experience.

I’ve been helping people plan for, and manage, retirement for more than twenty years, and here’s what I’ve learned:

When people retire, they have time to do all the things they’ve been wanting to do for years:  Travel, play golf, visit family and spoil grandkids, take classes, start new hobbies… you get the idea.

Advisors – me included – have been preaching the 4% rule:  “You probably don’t want to take more than 4% of your initial assets, plus a cost-of-living increase, each year you’re in retirement.   It’s a mantra we all have preached.

But, people are living longer and there’s a factor many haven’t considered:  Inflation.

Yes, we did address cost-of-living increases in our 4% distribution formula; but, there’s more that hasn’t been addressed, even by yours truly!

Some time ago, I wrote a paper, ‘Why Investors Fail’, in which I addressed the `order of returns’ as a significant factor in retirement success.  I was by no means the first to talk about this and I certainly didn’t discover it.  But my discussion of the order of returns was limited to the investments.  It applies to inflation, too!

Bob Veres, writing in the current issue of Financial Planning, pointed out something interesting:  Inflation tends to strike retirees harder than preretirees.  The biggest reason:  Health care costs are rising faster than the inflation rate!  But, adding to the mix is the concern about withdrawal rates and their relationship to inflation.

Jim Otar, a Thornhill, Ontario-based financial analyst and planner, conducted a study of withdrawal rates over 111 years.  The results, cited in this month’s Financial Advisor, shows that the sequence of returns and how much prices move up and down contribute 32% to the total return of a portfolio and inflation can contribute 21%, with asset allocation and management making up 31%.   So, the order of inflation numbers, combined with withdrawal rates, can have a significant impact on how long money lasts!

The insurance industry, of course, has been jumping on this issue for some time offering guaranteed future or ‘longevity’ income annuities to ease investors’ worries.  Indeed, many planners are beginning to include these products in their planning for clients; however, there are some drawbacks everyone should consider, including their high internal costs, surrender charges, and high sales commissions – all paid by the purchaser.  Another concern is the risk that the insurance company could fail!  We’ve seen what’s happened in the credit markets before.  If an insurer fails, the policy holders would be subject to the payout limits and state insurance guaranty associations.

Another consideration:  Immediate annuity income won’t likely keep pace with inflation, even with cost-of-living adjustments.  And, government COLA data doesn’t include food or energy, and I wouldn’t put it past them to factor out health care before long.  The old-fashioned approach of simply diversifying assets among asset classes, using low-cost vehicles, according to age and risk tolerance, and using dividends and capital gains to meet income needs, as well as retirement plan distributions is still, in my opinion, the best way to keep your money for yourself instead of making the product sellers rich.

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Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®Jim Lorenzen is a Certified Financial Planner® and an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® in his 21st year of private practice as Founding Principal of The Independent Financial Group, a fee-only registered investment advisor with clients located in New York, Florida, and California.   IFG provides investment and fiduciary consulting to retirement plan sponsors and selected individual investors. Plan sponsors can sign-up for Retirement Plan Insights here.  IFG does not sell products, earn commissions, or accept any third-party compensation or incentives of any description.  Nothing contained in this material is intended to constitute legal, tax, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment to the individual reader.  The general information provided should not be acted upon without obtaining specific legal, tax, and investment advice from an appropriate licensed professional.  Additional resources:   IFG Investment Blog. Retirement Plan Insights Archive.

Twitter:  @JimLorenzen.

Why Would Anyone Buy A Bond Fund?

IFG BlogThat’s a question a few professionals have asked, including Fidelity’s star former manager, Peter Lynch, in his book One Up On Wall Street.    It’s a valid question, too.  Individual bonds do have some advantages:

  • Individual bonds have a maturity date.  Regardless of market swings and valuation changes, you know what your bonds will be worth on their respective maturity dates.  So, if you’ve ‘laddered’ intermediate bonds, you know each will mature at face value – a strategy that can provide some comfort, since it can alleviate concern over valuation changes prior to maturity. 
  • Gains are realized only when taken, which is true for virtually all individual securities in taxable accounts.  A mutual fund, however, is a ‘pooled money’ vehicle.  When a fund takes a gain on a position, you pay your share of the freight on the fund portfolio’s entire gain for that position, even if you’d been a shareholder for only a day!  The reason:  you didn’t’ own that security; the fund did, and you are a shareholder in the fund, not the position.
  • Direct ownership can lessen the impact of other investor trades.  Think of it this way:  When – I say `when’ because it’s bound to happen at some point – interest rates begin to rise, bond values will begin to decline.  As those values – the fund prices investors see on their statements – begin to fall, you can expect many bond fund investors to begin selling their shares.  When they do, fund managers are forced to sell-off bond positions to raise money in order to meet redemption requests from selling shareholders.   That means they’d be selling when prices are heading lower… the very time they’d likely rather be buying!   When fund managers sell-off with block trades, common sense tells you there has to be a ‘market impact’ cost attached.  Owners of individual bonds aren’t forced to sell due to market swings when their purchases were made with a maturity date in mind because, as we said earlier, those bonds will mature at face on a date certain.

So, if individual bonds seem to offer some distinct advantages, do bond funds ever make sense in a portfolio?  You could probably ask ten different advisors and get ten different answers; so, for what it’s worth, my humble opinion is as follows:

While there is some obvious knowledge, skill, and talent attached to the selection of and management of domestic and foreign bonds, in terms of credit quality, etc., particularly where longer maturities are involved, most serious individual investors aren’t trying to beat the bond markets.  Their larger concerns revolve around either dependable income, risk mitigation, or some combination of the two.  

For the most part, particularly when it comes to what individual investors care about, bonds are what they are.  A Treasury is a Treasury.  For dependable income and risk mitigation, it’s hard to beat owning bonds directly.   But, for most people trying to achieve long-term goals, there is one alternative worth consideration in certain types of accounts.

While you might continue to use individual bonds in taxable accounts for reasons cited above, you may want to consider some sort of low-cost pooled vehicle in your tax-deferred accounts, i.e., 401(k)s, IRAs, etc.   The reason is simple:  It’s hard to rebalance your overall asset allocation with individual bonds.   Who wants to sell-off individual bonds and rebalance into equity or vice-versa?  It’s cumbersome and can be quite costly.  There’s an old saying in the bond market:  Buyers buy the market and sellers pay the freight.  There’s a better way:  Usef low-cost, no-load bond index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to fill-out your bond allocation and provide an easier vehicle for periodic rebalancing.  Costs are low; you’re in a tax-deferred vehicle; and you’re managing more efficiently for risk mitigation.

 

Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®Jim Lorenzen is a Certified Financial Planner® and an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® in his 21st year of private practice as Founding Principal of The Independent Financial Group, a fee-only registered investment advisor with clients located in New York, Florida, and California.   IFG provides investment and fiduciary consulting to retirement plan sponsors and selected individual investors. Plan sponsors can sign-up for Retirement Plan Insights here.  IFG does not sell products, earn commissions, or accept any third-party compensation or incentives of any description.  Nothing contained in this material is intended to constitute legal, tax, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment to the individual reader.  The general information provided should not be acted upon without obtaining specific legal, tax, and investment advice from an appropriate licensed professional.  Additional resources:   IFG Investment Blog. Retirement Plan Insights Archive.

Twitter:  @JimLorenzen.

Written by Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®

May 22, 2012 at 8:00 am

How To Calculate Retirement Needs

Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®

Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®

A Sample Case Study

While there is an abundance of software available to help planners and advisors in projecting financial needs for clients, the fact is few do an adequate job in this area.   It pays to know what’s “under the hood” of your software – or maybe better – to be able to do some meaningful calculations yourself, if only to demonstrate you actually do have a prudent process.  Anyone with a financial calculator (HP12-C or HP10B-II, for example) can perform these calculations.  Remember, however, even with these, there’s still some ambiguity.

 A Simplified Hypothetical Case Study Problem

Carl is 50 years old and has $500,000 in his 401(k).  He wants to retire in 13 years with $50,000 a year, in addition to Social Security, and wants his money to last 30 years (he isn’t worried about leaving money to his children).   He believes inflation over that period will average 3.5%.   He feels a long-term target of 6% is a realistic annual target return.   With that target in mind, is his $500,000 enough or how much more will he have to put away?    Note:  Let’s assume Carl is in the 40% (combined state and federal) marginal tax bracket.

Answer:

There are three steps:

  1. Calculate the first-year need ($50,000) in inflated future dollars to protect purchasing power.
  2. Calculate the present value of the total needed for 30 years in retirement, beginning in the fist year, at the assumed investment rate adjusted for inflation and taxes, if additional is to be saved outside a tax-deferred vehicle.
  3. Calculate the annual amount to be saved by the end of each year and convert to a monthly amount.

Step #1.  The First Year Need.

                  $50,000    = PV

                  3.5%  = I

                  13   =  n

                  (solve) FV=  $78,197 This is the amount needed for the 1st year.

Step #2.  Calculate the Present Value of total need at beginning of retirement for 30-year period with earnings discounted for inflation: 

                  Compute after-tax yield:             6% * (1-.40) =    3.6%

                  Compute PV of total need for retirement discounted with inflation-adjusted returns. 

                  (BEGIN mode)

                  [((1.036/1.035)-1) x 100]    =        0.0966 =  i  (Inflation-adjusted tax-deferred rate would be 2.41%)

                  $78,197     =      PMT

                  30   =    n

                  (solve) PV =  $2,313,376  Present value of required amount at retirement.

Step #3.  Calculate the amount to be saved by the end of each year to reach the goal:

                  (END mode)

                  $2,313,376  =    FV

                  – $500,000  =   PV  (HP12-C and HP10-B-II conventions require (-) sign

                  3.6   =  i  (note:  if post-retirement tax-bracket is different, adjust this figure)

                  13  =   n

                  (solve) PMT =  $93,838  (divide by 12 for monthly amount to be saved)

Can Carl really save over $90,000 a year?  Even if the annual amount inside tax-deferred vehicles dropped the annual requirement to $66,036, it would appear some adjustments might have to be made.  This is when prioritization and goal-based planning can be important.

Looking at Bond Fund Yields?

Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®

Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®

There’s more to look at.

Yield can be a poor evaluator when comparing bond mutual funds, simply because there is no maturity date. 

You see, individual bonds have a maturity date.  Regardless of interim price swings, bonds are designed to mature at face value.  So, if you own a 5-year bond with a face value of $10,000, it will mature at $10,000 regardless of the interim price swings.

Not so with bond funds.  They have no maturity date.  When you own a bond fund, your money is pooled with other investors in an actively traded portfolio.  As a result, bond mutual funds can appear to have nice yields, but can still lose a significant portion of value from even a slight interest rate increase in the bond marketplace.   The reason is simple, when interest rates increase, existing lower rate bonds aren’t as attractive and their prices must be reduced if they are to attractive to potential purchasers.  So, it’s not much comfort to see an extra point in advertised yield only to see a larger percentage loss in principal if interest rates increase. 

When investing, the concept worth remembering – one which many overlook – is ‘total return’.   Total return is a combination of yield (dividends, interest, etc.) plus change in value.

Yield + Change in Value = Total Return

For investors still accumulating assets, portfolio appreciation is achieved primarily through long-term growth, which generally occurs in the equity (stock) portion of the portfolio.  Bonds simply aren’t designed for growth objectives.

Bonds, however, can help achieve other objectives:  Income, portfolio risk management, predictability.

Bond funds can serve as effective tools for portfolio diversification and risk management simply because (1) they represent a different asset class from stocks, and (2) their ease when it comes to portfolio  rebalancing.  Individual bonds aren’t as easy to use when it comes to rebalancing.  There’s an old saying in the bond market:  Buyers buy the market and sellers pay the freight. 

On the other hand, individual bonds may be worthwhile for income or predictability objectives.  Just as many people are used to `laddering’ CDs, the same can be done with bond.  The fact that individual bonds have maturity dates also adds to predictability.

As you are probably aware, interest rates and bond yields are terribly low these days, so many investors have a tendency to `shop’ for the highest yields they can find.   The thing to remember is that all bond managers shop for bonds in the same bond market.  When they increase yield, they’re generally sacrificing portfolio stability.  

There are only two ways to add yield; they are (1) buy lower-quality, or (2) buy longer maturities, both of which add to volatility risk.   I’ll never forget someone fifteen years ago saying to me, “I didn’t know you could lose money in a long-term U.S. Government bond fund.”   I think he lost around 20% of his original investment, but he did save 1% in advisory fees.    He didn’t realize that in order to  add stability, he needed to limit maturities and stress quality – it also helps to have a maturity date as a backstop. 

Fund turnover is important too.  They bring hidden costs, but we’ll talk about that tomorrow.

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Jim Lorenzen is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® and an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® in his 20th year of private practice as Founding Principal of The Independent Financial Group, a fee-only registered investment advisor with clients located in New York, Florida, and California.   IFG provides investment and fiduciary consulting to retirement plan sponsors and selected individual investors. Plan sponsors can sign-up for Retirement Plan Insights here.  IFG does not sell products, earn commissions, or accept any third-party compensation or incentives of any description.  Nothing contained in this material is intended to constitute legal, tax, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment to the individual reader.  The general information provided should not be acted upon without obtaining specific legal, tax, and investment advice from an appropriate licensed professional.

Written by Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®

January 10, 2012 at 8:05 am

How To Hedge Your Portfolio

Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®

Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®

Here’s a short little tip you might find helpful.

The other day I was talking with someone when the conversation finally turned to the familiar, ‘what do I do now’ question.

I told him what he intuitively already knew:  No one can predict the future and no one really knows.  Asset management isn’t about prognostication, contrary to what you see on the business talk shows; it’s about managing risk.  In fact, it’s about managing a list of risks which include market risk, inflation risk, legislative risk (taxes), interest rate risk, currency risk, etc.  It’s quite a list.

So, we don’t manage money, we manage risks – We just do it with money.

Today, we have uncertainty in the stock market – That’s a constant.  Markets have always been uncertain and they always will be.  No sense spending time gnashing our teeth over that one.   There’s also a lot of concern about inflation, interest rates, as well as the price of energy due to mid-east uncertainties that seem to have no end.

Let’s move on to how all that uncertainty can be managed.

One way is hedge your portfolio.   But how do you do it?  It isn’t as difficult as you might think.  Recognize that, in the investment world, there are only two things you can do with money:  You can use it to own or you can use it to loan.   Ownership happens on the equity (stock) side of your portfolio.  When you loan your money out, you’re in bonds.   You can hedge your bond allocation against inflation risk by using Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS).  You can hedge your equity (stock) allocation against a variety of risks by using real estate and commodities, which include food, energy, and hard assets like precious and strategic metals, etc.  All of these hedges can be purchased individually or through a variety of mutual funds, including index funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

How do you do it?

Take a simple hypothetical allocation of 40% stocks and 60% bonds.  If you wanted your portfolio to be 10% hedged, then you would use equity hedges for 4% of your stock allocation and you’d use TIPS for 6% of your bond allocation. 

A 20% hedge would look like this:  The 40% equity allocation would end-up as 8% in equity hedges and 32% stocks.  The 60% bond allocation would end-up as 12% in TIPS and 48% in bonds.

The real question:  What size hedge should you have?  Ah, that depends on your age, income, outlook, goals, risk assessment, etc.  Various hedging ratios will undoubtedly have an impact on portfolio volatility and performance.   In order to know IF you should be in a hedged portfolio – and the degree of hedging that would be prudent, you should meet with your advisor – many like myself often conduct online meetings with clients – review your plan, and have your advisor review your portfolio by conducting a portfolio stress-test and compare it to a hedged portfolio.  At that point you should be able to make a determination.

Jim

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Jim Lorenzen is a Certified Financial Planner® and an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® in his 20th year of private practice as Founding Principal of The Independent Financial Group, a fee-only registered investment advisor with clients located in New York, Florida, and California.   IFG provides investment and fiduciary consulting to retirement plan sponsors and selected individual investors. Plan sponsors can sign-up for Retirement Plan Insights here.  IFG does not sell products, earn commissions, or accept any third-party compensation or incentives of any description.  Nothing contained in this material is intended to constitute legal, tax, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment to the individual reader.  The general information provided should not be acted upon without obtaining specific legal, tax, and investment advice from an appropriate licensed professional.