August - Sumner Wealth Management

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- August 2018 -

 
 

Dear Visitor, 

Money Problems Couples Can Avoid

“Stop in the name of love, before you break my heart.” We know The Supremes weren’t alluding to the pitfalls couples face when they grapple over money issues. But our own experience tells us that money plus love can lead into minefields we’d rather avoid.

So, let’s recognized the obvious. Financial matters are an important part of any couple’s relationship. Face them head on.

For some couples, this will be second nature. For others, it’s a challenge.

As a couple, if you take the time to get on the same page, you can solidify your finances and strengthen your relationship. Working toward the same goals is critical...and it’s time well spent.

6 money mistakes you and your spouse can avoid

  1. Set goals. He’s a spender, she’s a saver. Or, he has an always-expanding list of toys he would like to add to his collection, and she spends most of her time thinking about growing the family’s emergency fund and how she can max out their 401(k) contributions. Does that sound familiar?

It’s too late to have “the talk” after you have put a big purchase on your credit card. So, sit down and have a money date. Talk about your goals and write them down. Without goals, you won’t know where you are headed.

Share your feelings and (this is important) actively listen to the other’s viewpoint. Compromise may be needed but agreeing on common goals will allow you to move forward in a unified fashion. When you have completed this task, you’ll feel an enormous sense of satisfaction.

  1. All for one and one for all. Marriage is about unity, but most would agree it’s not the complete absorption of one’s self. Our interests aren’t perfectly aligned. The same can be said about handling our finances.

A joint checking account and joint credit card are perfect for joint expenses, but separate accounts for separate interests are a good idea, too. When you set your goals, establish boundaries regarding spending and saving patterns.

  1. Money secrets are a no-no. It’s fine not to disclose the secret handshake you learned from your college fraternity or sorority. It’s not ok to keep money secrets hidden from your spouse or partner.

Major secrets may be a symptom of bigger problems that can threaten the stability of your relationship. Don’t destroy trust that can take years to rebuild.

  1. Who handles the monthly bills? It’s a good idea to put as much as possible on autopay. It’s not “set and forget” but you don’t want to get caught flat-footed with overdue bills or late charges that may slip through the cracks and ding your credit report.

Therefore, who takes care of the bills? It may make sense for one person to be in charge so there’s no confusion, and regular payments aren’t missed.

But checking in monthly or bi-monthly is a good way to keep both individuals on the same page. Check-ins also allow you to make any adjustments, as a couple, to your goals.

  1. What comes first, the chicken or the egg? It’s the age old but unanswerable question. Should we go in the direction of retirement savings or college savings?

Having children means putting your kids before yourself more times than you’ll ever be able to count. But when it comes to saving for retirement or college for your kids, put yourself at the front of the line.

Pensions are disappearing and Social Security isn’t enough. You must consider your retirement needs first. There are exceptions but do your best to maximize retirement savings. At a minimum, capture the full amount of your company’s match.

Keep this in mind: If you don’t fund your retirement, who will? The burden could fall on your kids.

  1. Stash away cash for an emergency. Did you know that only 39% of Americans have $1,000 to handle an emergency? The rest would have to use a credit card or borrow to cover an unexpected need.

[Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/11/just-39percent-of-americans-could-pay-for-a-1000-emergency-expense.html]

While not signed into law, Congress appears set to pass another stimulus bill that will provide an additional $1,400 to individuals and $2,800 to married couples (subject to income limits). If you have the financial bandwidth, this “gift” is a great way to make a down payment on your rainy day fund.

Money is a difficult topic. Treat each other with respect and actively listen when you set goals. Goals provide you with a roadmap, and they can reinforce the bond you have toward each other.

If you aren’t sure how to get started, please reach out to your financial advisor, who can help get you pointed in the right direction.

There’s one more thing to mention: Procrastination is the enemy. Get started today.

Not your parents’ economic recovery

Technically, the economy is still in a recession. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the arbiter of recessions and economic recoveries, has yet to declare that the recession is over. When it does, it will likely backdate the end of the recession, as it has done in the past.

[Reference: https://www.nber.org/business-cycle-dating-procedure-frequently-asked-questions]

Key economic reports would suggest the low point for the economy occurred in April 2020. These include employment, consumer spending, and manufacturing production (U.S. BLS, U.S. BEA, and the Federal Reserve, respectively). The top of the cycle occurred in February 2021.

Whenever the NBER makes its declaration, this economic recovery has been far from what might be considered a “normal recovery” in historical terms. The COVID-19 pandemic that led to the steepest slide in quarterly GDP on record has also shaped one of the most lopsided recoveries we’ve ever experienced (Source: U.S. BEA, quarterly records began in 1947).

Look no further than service-based industries that require the personal interactions to thrive, which is something we took for granted pre-pandemic.

Social distancing restrictions and fear of contracting the virus have severely impacted airlines, hotels, travel, restaurants, bars, concert venues, and movie theaters. These industries and more have been restricted and therefore have struggled to adapt to the new normalcy.

Did you notice football and other sporting events that were played in nearly empty stadiums? It’s not only wealthy owners that have been hurt – consider all the folks who worked at those events and in venues surrounding them.

Even healthcare has suffered. According to data from the U.S. BEA, spending on healthcare is down 12% versus one year ago (Q4 2020 vs Q4 2019). Healthcare spending accounted for just over 10% of GDP in the final three months of last year.

Other industries have been able to adapt. For example, housing relies heavily on the personal touch. But record low interest rates have spurred strong demand for housing.

Essential retailers, home improvement, auto sales, and grocery stores have experienced robust numbers. Consequently, manufacturers were caught off guard by the resurgence in sales.

A February 22 story in the Wall Street Journal sums it up well: Consumer Demand Snaps Back, Factories Can’t Keep Up. Snarled supply chains, labor shortage thwart full reopening; “Everyone was caught flat-footed.”

Reopening various sectors of the economy has helped, and generous jobless benefits and two rounds of stimulus checks have left many with cash to spend. While the final touches aren’t yet finished on the latest relief package, more cash is likely on the way.

But here lies the problem. Government restrictions prevent most of us from attending sporting events, museums, and the theater. Moreover, many are not fully comfortable traveling on airplanes, spending a night in a hotel, or enjoying a meal at a restaurant.

The extra government support that has helped fuel growth has been funneled into selected industries and into savings, as artificial barriers, which although needed, have severely hampered others.

You might consider your own circumstances. Have you noticed smaller balances on your monthly credit card statements? Have you noticed a different mix in your outlays versus pre-pandemic? Are you streaming more movies rather than going out to dinner or enjoying the theater? Has your choice of recreation been altered?

A new and costlier relief package that’s currently pegged at around $1.9 trillion seems likely to pass soon. Expect the new cash to support the economy and to continue to support various sectors that have benefitted at the expense of other sectors.

What might help the beleaguered industries that have suffered under today’s restrictions? For starters, a successful rollout of the vaccines that greatly reduces the odds one can contract the coronavirus.

While it has been a difficult year and we still face plenty of uncertainty, prospects this year look bright.

One closely followed GDP-tracking model places Q1 2021 growth at 10% [Source: https://www.frbatlanta.org/cqer/research/gdpnow].  A survey of economists by Moody Analytics suggests GDP growth this year could top 6% [Source: https://www.cnbc.com/rapid-update/].

Economic forecasting, which is never easy, is even more difficult in today’s environment. Still, forecasters are sounding an optimistic tone.

Table 1: Key Index Returns*

 

MTD %

YTD%**

Dow Jones Industrial Average

3.2

1.1

NASDAQ Composite

0.9

2.4

S&P 500 Index

2.6

1.5

Russell 2000 Index

6.1

11.5

MSCI World ex-USA***

2.4

1.3

MSCI Emerging Markets***

0.7

3.7

Bloomberg Barclays US

Aggregate Bond TR

-1.4

-2.2

Source: MSCI.com, Morningstar, MarketWatch

MTD: returns: Jan 29, 2021—Feb 26, 2021

YTD returns: Dec 31, 2020—Feb 26, 2021

*It is not possible to directly invest in an index.

**Annualized

***in US dollars

 

About Sumner Wealth Management

Our firm assist individuals, families, and businesses in proactively preparing themselves for a broad range of financial decisions and life events by helping our clients gain income protection, financial stability, with a solid plan.  We are an integrated, Wealth Manager Specialists. 


Mark Sumner
Financial Advisor

 

Sumner Wealth Management, Inc.          
142 South Cardigan Way, ste D                                                                                                                                      
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Mooresville, NC  28117                      
Direct (704) 905 - 3594                                         
www.sumnerwealthmanagement.com                                  


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