Should Millennials Be Your Money Models?

Should Millennials Be Your Money Models?

Gen Y is doing some things right when it comes to saving & investing.

Provided by Jose Medina 

Financially, Generation Y is often criticized for being risk averse & unaware. Is this truth, or is it fiction? In some instances, pure fiction. Here are some good financial habits common to millennials – habits their parents and grandparents might do well to emulate.

Millennials are good savers. Last year, Bankrate found that about 60% of American adults younger than 30 were saving 5% or more of their paychecks. Only around half of the adults older than 30 were doing so. This difference is even more interesting when you think about the overhanging college debt faced by many millennials and the comparatively greater incomes of older workers. Twenty-nine percent of millennials were saving 10% of their incomes last year, right in line with the average for other generations (28%).1

Millennials value experiences more than possessions. Data affirms this view – in a Harris Poll of millennials, 78% of those surveyed said that they would rather spend their money on an experience or an event rather than some pricy material item. In contrast, some members of Gen X and the baby boom generation have spent too much money on depreciating consumer goods, with too little to show for it.2

Relatively speaking, Gen Y is less prone to drawing down its retirement funds. In the 2016 Transamerica Retirement Survey, just 22% of Gen Y workplace retirement plan participants said that they had tapped into a plan for a loan or a withdrawal. That compares with 28% of boomers and 30% of those in Generation X.3

Millennials are directing money into equity investments at a relatively early age. As Investors Business Daily reported in May, the median age at which millennials begin investing in these vehicles is 23. For Generation X, it was 26. Younger baby boomers made their first such investments at a median age of 32, and older baby boomers did so at a median age of 35. While roughly one-third of millennials are invested in equities, their comparative head start may help them compensate.4

They also embrace technology in a way that some boomers do not. The Internet is filled with financial information, and millennials may go out and learn on their own about investment types, tax laws, and saving and investing resources rather than waiting for a tax, financial, or human resources professional to explain things to them. While a little knowledge can be dangerous, having some information is better than none.

In short, the members of Generation Y are doing some things that may really pay off for their financial futures. Other generations might want to take notice.

Jose Medina may be reached at 469-777-8082 or info@medinaadvising.com.

http://www.medinaadvising.com

Click Subscribe to receive our newsletter that includes financial tips and tools from top financial gurus. Subscribe.

This material was prepared for J I Medina Investments, and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.  

Citations.

1 – cnbc.com/2016/03/28/are-you-as-good-at-saving-as-millennials.html [3/28/16]

2 – money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2016-10-07/5-finance-lessons-baby-boomers-could-learn-from-millennials [10/7/16]

3 – transamericacenter.org/docs/default-source/retirement-survey-of-workers/tcrs2016_sr_retirement_survey_of_workers_generation.pdf [12/16]

4 – investors.com/etfs-and-funds/mutual-funds/why-many-millennials-retirement-savings-will-be-more-than-twice-baby-boomers/ [5/15/17]

Getting Your Financial Paperwork in Good Order

Getting Your Financial Paperwork in Good Order 

 Help make things easier for your loved ones when you leave this world.  

Provided by Jose Medina

Who wants to leave this world with their financial affairs in good order? We all do, right? None of us wants to leave a collection of financial mysteries for our spouse or our children to solve.

What we want and what we do can differ, however. Many heirs spend days, weeks, or months searching for a decedent’s financial and legal documents. They may even discover a savings bond, a certificate of deposit, or a life insurance policy years after their loved one passes.

Certainly, you want to spare your heirs from this predicament. One helpful step is to create a “final file.” Maybe it is an actual accordion or manila folder; maybe it is a file on a computer desktop; or maybe it is secured within an online vault. The form matters less than the function. The function this file will serve is to provide your heirs with the documentation and direction they need to help them settle your estate.

What should be in your “final file?” Definitely a copy of your will and copies of any trust documents. Place a durable power of attorney and a health care proxy in there too, as this folder’s contents may need to be accessed before you die.

Copies of insurance policies should go into the “final file” – not only your life insurance policy, but home and auto coverage. A list of all the financial accounts in your name should be kept in the file – and, to be complete, why not include sample account statements with account numbers, or, at least, usernames and passwords, so that these accounts can be easily accessed online.

Social Security benefit information should also be compiled. That information will be essential for your spouse (and, perhaps, for a former spouse). If you happen to receive a pension from a former employer, your heirs need to know the particulars about that.

They should also be able to access documentation pertaining to real estate you own. If you have a safe deposit box, at least one of your heirs should know where the key is – otherwise, your heirs will have to pay a locksmith, directly or indirectly, to open it. Along those lines, the combination to a home safe should be disclosed. If you have trust issues with some of your heirs, you can only disclose such information to the trusted ones or to an attorney.

Contact information should be inside the “final file” as well. Your heirs will need to look up the email address or phone number of the financial professionals you have consulted, any attorneys you have turned to for estate planning or business advice, and any insurance professionals with whom you have maintained relationships.

Other documentation to include: credit card information, vehicle titles, and cemetery/burial information. Be sure to include your social media and e-commerce passwords for sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Amazon, and eBay. Some social media sites may require a copy of your death certificate or obituary notice before allowing any other party to access your profile. Furthermore, you may also wish to leave a letter or note instructing your heirs on how the world should be notified of your death.1

Your heirs will want to supplement your “final file” with contributions of their own. Perhaps the most important supplement will be your death certificate. A funeral home may tell your heirs that they will need only a few copies. In reality, they may need several – or more – if your business or financial situation is particularly involved.

A “final file” may save both money & time. If documentation is scant or unavailable, settling an estate can be a prolonged affair. As National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys president Howard Krooks told Reuters, “It could be six months or longer if you don’t have the paperwork in order.” In the worst-case scenario, probate consumes 5% or more of an estate.2

One other important step may save your heirs money & time. If you add the name of an heir to a key bank account, that heir can pay a hospital bill or make a mortgage payment on your behalf without undue delay.2

Be sure to tell your heirs about your “final file.” They need to know that you have created it; they need to know where it is. It will do no good if you are the only one who knows those things when you die.

You can compile your “final file” gradually. The next account statement, income payment, or real estate or insurance newsletter than comes into your inbox or mailbox can be your cue to tackle and scratch off that particular item from the “final file” to-do list. Yes, it takes work to create a “final file” – but you could argue that it is necessary work, and your heirs will thank you for your effort.

Jose Medina may be reached at 469-777-8082 or info@medinaadvising.com.

http://www.medinaadvising.com

Click Subscribe to receive our newsletter that includes financial tips and tools from top financial gurus. Subscribe.

This material was prepared for J I Medina Investments, and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.

1 – marketwatch.com/story/13-steps-to-organizing-your-accounts-and-assets-2016-03-03 [3/3/16]

2 – reuters.com/article/us-retirement-death-folder-idUSKBN0FK1RW20140715 [7/15/14]

 

Volatility Is Not Risk

Volatility Is Not Risk

The two should not be confused.

Provided by Jose Medina 

What is risk? To the conservative investor, risk is a negative. To the opportunistic investor, risk is a factor to tolerate and accept.

Whatever the perception of risk, it should not be confused with volatility. That confusion occurs much too frequently.

Volatility can be considered a measurement of risk, but it is not risk itself. Many investors and academics measure investment risk in terms of beta; that is, in terms of an investment’s ups and downs in relation to a market sector or the entirety of the market.

If you want to measure volatility from a very wide angle, you can examine standard deviation for the S&P 500. The total return of this broad benchmark averaged 10.1% during 1926-2015, and there was a standard deviation of 20.1 from that average total return during those 90 market years.1

What does that mean? It means that if you add or subtract 20.1 from 10.1, you get the range of total return that could be expected from the S&P two-thirds of the time during the period from 1926-2015. That is quite a variance, indicating that investors should be ready for anything when investing in equities. During 1926-2015, there was a 67% chance that the S&P could return anywhere from a 30.2% yearly gain to a 10.1% yearly loss. (Again, this is total return with dividends included.)1

Just recently, there were years in which the S&P’s total return fell outside of that wide range. In 2013, the index’s total return was +32.39%. In 2008, its total return was -37.00%.2

When statisticians measure the volatility of major indices like the S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite, or Dow Jones Industrial Average, they are measuring market risk. Trying to measure investment risk is another matter.

You can argue that investment risk is not measureable. How can investors measure the probability of a loss when they invest? Even after they sell an investment, can they go back and calculate what their risk was at the time they bought it? They only know if they made money or not. Profit or loss says nothing about risk exposure.

Most experienced investors do not fear volatility. Instead, they fear loss. They think of “risk” as their potential for unrecoverable loss.

In reality, most apparent “losses” may be recoverable given enough time. True unrecoverable losses occur in one of two ways. One, an investor sells the investment for less than what he or she paid for it. Two, some kind of irrevocable change happens, either to the investment itself or to the sector to which the investment belongs. For example, a company goes totally out of business and leaves investors with worthless securities. Or, an innovation transforms an industry so profoundly that it renders what was once a leading-edge company an afterthought.

Accepting risk means accepting the possibilities of equity investing. The range of possibilities for investment performance and market performance is vast. History has shown that to be true, history being all we have to look at. It fails to tell us anything about the negative (or positive) disruptions that could come out of nowhere to upend our assumptions. A “black swan” (terrorism, a virus, an environmental crisis, a quick evaporation of investor confidence) is always a possibility. Next year, the performance of this or that sector or the small caps or blue chips could be spectacular. It could also be dismal. It could certainly fall in between those extremes. There is no way to calculate it or estimate it in advance. For the equities investor, the future is always a flashing question mark, regardless of what history tells or pundits predict.

Diversification helps investors cope with volatility & risk. Spreading assets across various investment classes may reduce a portfolio’s concentration in a hot sector, but it also lessens the possibility of a portfolio being overweighted in a cold one.

Volatility is a statistical expression of market risk, constantly measured. Volatility, however, should not be confused with risk itself.

Jose Medina may be reached at 469-777-8082 or info@medinaadvising.com.

http://www.medinaadvising.com  

Click Subscribe to receive our newsletter that includes financial tips and tools from top financial gurus. Subscribe.

This material was prepared for J I Medina Investments, and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.  

Citations.

1 – fc.standardandpoors.com/sites/client/generic/axa/axa4/Article.vm?topic=5991&siteContent=8088 [3/31/16]

2 – ycharts.com/indicators/sandp_500_total_return_annual [3/31/16]

Good Retirement Savings Habits Before Age 40

Good Retirement Savings Habits Before Age 40

 Some early financial behaviors that may promote a comfortable future.   

Provided by Jose Medina 

You know you should start saving for retirement before you turn 40. What can you start doing today to make that effort more productive, to improve your chances of ending up with more retirement money, rather than less?

Structure your budget with the future in mind. Live within your means and assign a portion of what you earn to retirement savings. How much? Well, any percentage is better than nothing – but, ideally, you pour 10% or more of what you earn into your retirement fund. If that seems excessive, consider this: you are at risk of living 25-30% of your lifetime with no paycheck except for Social Security. (That is, assuming Social Security is still around when you retire.)

Saving and investing 10-15% of what you earn for retirement can really make an impact over time. For example, say you set aside $4,000 for retirement in your thirtieth year, in an investment account that earns a consistent (albeit hypothetical) 6% a year. Even if you never made a contribution to that retirement account again, that $4,000 would grow to $30,744 by age 65. If you supplant that initial $4,000 with monthly contributions of $400, that retirement fund mushrooms to $565,631 at 65.1

Avoid cashing out workplace retirement plan accounts. Learn from the terrible retirement saving mistake too many baby boomers and Gen Xers have made. It may be tempting to just take the cash when you leave a job, especially when the account balance is small. Resist the temptation. One recent study (conducted by behavioral finance analytics firm Boston Research Technologies) found that 53% of baby boomers who had drained a workplace retirement plan account regretted their decision. So did 46% of the Gen Xers who had cashed out.2

Instead, arrange a rollover of that money to an IRA, or to your new employer’s retirement plan if that employer allows. That way, the money can stay invested and retain the opportunity for growth. If the money loses that opportunity, you will pay an opportunity cost when it comes to retirement savings. As an example, say you cash out a $5,000 balance in a retirement plan when you are 25. If that $5,000 stays invested and yields 5% interest a year, it becomes $35,200 some 40 years later. So today’s $5,000 retirement account drawdown could amount to robbing yourself of $35,000 (or more) for retirement.3  

Save enough to get a match. Some employers will match your retirement contributions to some degree. You may have to work at least 2-3 years for an employer for this to apply, but the match may be offered to you sooner than that. The match is often 50 cents for every dollar the employee puts into the account, up to 6% of his or her salary. With the exception of an inheritance, an employer match is the closest thing to free money you will ever see as you save for the future. That is why you should strive to save at a level to get it, if at all possible.4

Saving enough to get the match in your workplace retirement plan may make your overall retirement savings effort a bit easier. Say your goal is to save 10% of your income for retirement. If the employer match is 50 cents to the dollar and you direct 6% of your income into that savings plan, your employer contributes the equivalent of 3% of your income. You are almost to that 10% goal right there.4

Think about going Roth. The younger you are, the more attractive Roth retirement accounts (such as Roth IRAs) may look. The downside of a Roth account? Contributions are not tax-deductible. On the other hand, there is plenty of upside. You get tax-deferred growth of the invested assets, you may withdraw account contributions tax-free, and you get to withdraw account earnings tax-free once you are 59½ or older and have owned the account for at least five years. Having a tax-free retirement fund is pretty nice.4

To have a Roth IRA in 2016, your modified adjusted gross income must be less than $132,000 (single taxpayer) or $194,000 (married and filing taxes jointly).4

Set it & forget it. Saving consistently becomes easier when you have an automated direct deposit or salary deferral arrangement set up for you. You can gradually increase the monthly amount that goes into your accounts with time, as you earn more.

Invest for growth. Much wealth has been built through long-term investment in equities. Wall Street has good years and bad years, but the good years have outnumbered the bad. Early investment in equities may assist your retirement savings effort more than any other factor, except time.

Time is of the essence. Start saving and investing for retirement today, and you may find yourself way ahead of your peers financially by the time you reach 40 or 50.

Jose Medina may be reached at 469-777-8082 or info@medinaadvising.com 

www.medinaadvising.com

Click Subscribe to receive our newsletter that includes financial tips and tools from top financial gurus. Subscribe.

This material was prepared for J I Medina Investments and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.

1 – investor.gov/tools/calculators/compound-interest-calculator [7/7/16]

2 – marketwatch.com/story/millennials-can-save-more-for-retirement-by-learning-from-baby-boomers-mistakes-2016-06-30 [6/30/16]

3 – thefiscaltimes.com/2015/11/20/7-Ways-Millennials-Are-Getting-Retirement-Saving-Wrong [11/20/15]

4 – kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T001-C006-S001-retire-rich-saving-for-retirement-in-your-20s-30s.html [2/4/16]