Are You Getting What You Want?

I think we have all been there at one point or another and maybe even now. We wonder why we keep having bad luck or why things happen the way they happen to us. We even compare ourselves to the “luck” that others have and wonder how we can get that “luck”.

I remember I used to wonder those same things and blame it on luck. I had an external locus of control, meaning I blamed my outcomes on external things that were out of my control. I started to understand that I was in control of my own outcomes when I first started college. Something clicked in my head for some reason and I decided to push myself and realized that if I kept doing what I was doing that I would keep getting what I was getting.

I realized that even though I believed that I could control my outcomes, that people would ALWAYS be there to try and knock me down. That’s when I decided to focus on doing what needed to be done in order to get what I wanted to get. It required hard work and a lot of discipline, but I started seeing that you can accomplish anything you put my mind to if you step out of your comfort zone.

I still practice that to this day and challenge people to step out of their comfort zone so that they too can get what they want by changing what they are doing.

Why Your Work Provided Life Insurance May Not Be Enough

Getting things for free is always a good thing for the most part. This includes one of the free benefits that most employers offer, which is life insurance.

The downside is when we go through a client’s financial situation, the question comes up about life insurance. The usual answer is “Yes, I have it with my job,” but they aren’t sure how much or what it covers, so when we review the policy, the coverage is usually one time their annual salary.

The concerning part is that most companies only offer life insurance while employed which means that coverage ends once you depart the company.

Another concerning thing is that a majority of people who sign up for life insurance through their job, never look at it again or add additional coverage.

Why is it concerning? Well think about it this way, let us say you take advantage of the perk and have $50,000 of coverage. You have a family and a mortgage that depend on you and you unexpectedly pass away, leaving your spouse the debt that you have incurred and now they have to find a way to pay the mortgage, funeral expenses, taking care of the kids, and many other things that come into play. Now ask yourself if you think $50,000 will take care of those immediate and future expenses? Absolutely not in most cases!

Now I get it, most people don’t anticipate passing away early or want to pay for something they can’t physically see, but life insurance can actually be very affordable and can be the difference between one unfortunate situation becoming multiple unfortunate situations. So don’t put your family in a situation that you wouldn’t want them in to begin with. Just check rates and be informed.

If you have any questions about the content discussed or any other topic, feel free to reach out.

Check out our website www.medinaadvising.com

Adjusting Your Portfolio as You Age

Adjusting Your Portfolio as You Age

As you approach retirement, it may be time to pay more attention to investment risk.

Provided by Jose Medina 

If you are an experienced investor, you have probably fine-tuned your portfolio through the years in response to market cycles or in pursuit of a better return. As you approach or enter retirement, is another adjustment necessary?

Some investors may think they can approach retirement without looking at their portfolios. Their investment allocations may be little changed from what they were 10 or 15 years ago. Because of that inattention (and this long bull market), their invested assets may be exposed to more risk than they would like. 

Rebalancing your portfolio with your time horizon in mind is only practical. Consider the nature of equity investments: they lose or gain value according to the market climate, which at times may be fear driven. The larger your equities position, the larger your losses could be in a bear market or market disruption. If this kind of calamity happens when you are newly retired or two or three years away from retiring, your portfolio could be hit hard if you are holding too much stock. What if it takes you several years to recoup your losses? Would those losses force you to compromise your retirement dreams?   

As certain asset classes outperform others over time, a portfolio can veer off course. The asset classes achieving the better returns come to represent a greater percentage of the portfolio assets. The intended asset allocations are thrown out of alignment.1

Just how much of your portfolio is held in equities today? Could the amount be 70%, 75%, 80%? It might be, given the way stocks have performed in this decade. As a StreetAuthority comparison notes, a hypothetical portfolio weighted 50/50 in equities and fixed-income investments at the end of February 2009 would have been weighted 74/26 in favor of stocks by the end of February 2018.1

Ideally, you reduce your risk exposure with time. With that objective in mind, you regularly rebalance your portfolio to maintain or revise its allocations. You also may want to apportion your portfolio, so that you have some cash for distributions once you are retired.

Rebalancing could be a good idea for other reasons. Perhaps you want to try and stay away from market sectors that seem overvalued. Or, perhaps you want to find opportunities. Maybe an asset class or sector is doing well and is underrepresented in your investment mix. Alternately, you may want to revise your portfolio in view of income or capital gains taxes.

Rebalancing is not about chasing the return, but reducing volatility. The goal is to manage risk exposure, and with less risk, there may be less potential for a great return. When you reach a certain age, though, “playing defense” with your invested assets becomes a priority.

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 – nasdaq.com/article/how-to-prepare-your-income-portfolio-for-volatility-cm939499 [3/26/18]

Set Goals as You Save & Invest

Set Goals as You Save & Invest

Turn your intent into a commitment. 

Provided by Jose Medina 

Goals give you focus. To find and establish your investing and saving goals, first ask yourself what you want to accomplish. Do you want to build an emergency fund? Build college savings for your child? Have a large retirement fund by age 60? Once you have a defined motivation, a monetary goal can arise.

It can be easier to dedicate yourself to a goal rather than a hope or a wish. That level of dedication is important, as saving and investing usually comes with a degree of personal sacrifice. When you dedicate yourself to a saving/investing goal, some positive financial “side effects” may occur.   

A goal encourages you to save consistently. If you are saving and investing to reach a specific dollar figure, you likely also have a date for reaching it in mind. Pair a date with a saving or investing goal, and you have a time horizon, a self-imposed deadline, and you can start to see how you need to save or invest to try and achieve your goal, and what kind of savings or investments to put to work on your behalf.

You see the goal within a larger financial context. This big-picture perspective may help you from making frivolous purchases you might later regret or taking on a big debt that might impede your progress toward reaching your target.

You see clear steps toward your goal. Saving $1 million over a lifetime might seem daunting to the average person who has never looked at how it might be done incrementally. Once the math is in place, it might not seem so inconceivable. The intimidation of trying to reach that large number gives way to confidence – the feeling that you could realize that objective by contributing a set amount per month over a period of years.

Those discrete steps can make the goal seem less abstract. As you save and invest, you may make good progress toward the goal and attain milestones along the way. These milestones are affirmations, reinforcing that you are on a positive path and that you are paying yourself first.

Additionally, the earlier you define a goal, the more time you have to try and attain it. Time is certainly your friend here. Say you want to invest and build up a retirement fund of $500,000 in 30 years. If you save $500 a month for three decades through a retirement account returning 7% annually, you will have $591,839 when that 30-year period ends. If you give yourself just 20 years to try and save $500,000 with the same time frame and rate of return, you may need to make monthly contributions of about $975. (To be precise, the math says that over two decades, monthly contributions of about $975 will leave you with $501,419.)1

When you save and invest with goals in mind, you make a commitment. From that commitment, a plan or strategy emerges. In contrast, others will save a little here, invest a little there, and hope for the best – but as the saying goes, hope is not a strategy.

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

www.medinaadvising.com

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 – bankrate.com/calculators/savings/compound-savings-calculator-tool.aspx [4/26/18]

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]

 

Money Habits That May Help You Become Wealthier 

Money Habits That May Help You Become Wealthier 

Financially speaking, what do some households do right? 

Provided by Jose Medina 

Why do some households tread water financially while others make progress? Does it come down to habits?

Sometimes the difference starts there. A household that prioritizes paying itself first may end up in much better financial shape in the long run than other households.

Some families see themselves as savers, others as spenders. The spenders may enjoy affluence now, but they also may be setting themselves up for financial struggles down the road. The savers better position themselves for financial emergencies and the creation of wealth.

How does a family build up its savings? Well, money not spent can be money saved. That should be obvious, but some households take a long time to grasp this truth. In the psychology of spenders, money unspent is money unappreciated. Less spending means less fun.

Being a saver does not mean being a miser, however. It simply means dedicating a percentage of household income to future goals and needs rather than current wants.

You could argue that it is harder than ever for households to save consistently today; yet, it happens. As of May, U.S. households were saving 5.3% of their disposal personal income, up from 4.8% a year earlier.1

Budgeting is a great habit. What percentage of U.S. households maintain a budget? Pollsters really ought to ask that question more often. In 2013, Gallup posed that question to Americans and found that the answer was 32%. Only 39% of households earning more than $75,000 a year bothered to budget. (Another interesting factoid from that survey: just 30% of Americans had a long-run financial plan.)2

So often, budgeting begins in response to a financial crisis. Ideally, budgeting is proactive, not reactive. Instead of being about damage control, it can be about monthly progress.

Budgeting also includes planning for major purchases. A household that creates a plan to buy a big-ticket item may approach that purchase with less ambiguity – and less potential for a financial surprise.

Keeping consumer debt low is a good habit. A household that uses credit cards “like cash” may find itself living “on margin” – that is, living on the edge of financial instability. When people habitually use other people’s money to buy things, they run into three problems. One, they start carrying a great deal of revolving consumer debt, which may take years to eliminate. Two, they set themselves up to live paycheck to paycheck. Three, they hurt their potential to build equity. No one chooses to be poor, but living this way is as close to a “choice” as a household can make.

Investing for retirement is a good habit. Speaking of equity, automatically contributing to employer-sponsored retirement accounts, IRAs, and other options that allow you a chance to grow your savings through equity investing are great habits to develop.

Smart households invest with diversification. They recognize that directing most of their invested assets into one or two investment classes heightens their exposure to risk. They invest in such a way that their portfolio includes both conservative and opportunistic investment vehicles.  

Taxes and fees can eat into investment returns over time, so watchful families study what they can do to reduce those negatives and effectively improve portfolio yields.

Long-term planning is a good habit. Many people invest with the goal of making money, but they never define what the money they make will be used to accomplish. Wise households consult with financial professionals to set long-range objectives – they want to accumulate X amount of dollars for retirement, for eldercare, for college educations. The very presence of such long-term goals reinforces their long-term commitment to saving and investing. 

Every household would do well to adopt these money habits. They are vital for families that want more control over their money. When money issues threaten to control a family, a change in financial behavior is due.

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 – ycharts.com/indicators/personal_saving_rate [6/29/16]

2 – gallup.com/poll/162872/one-three-americans-prepare-detailed-household-budget.aspx [6/3/13]