Tag Archives: Retirement

3 Things Young Adults can do to Prepare for Their Future

As millions of young adults enter the workforce, finish education, and begin a life of financial responsibility, there are many of us who have a lot of uncertainty for the future.

The following are three key things to anticipate for the future:

An Older, More Diverse Population

Let’s face it, as time progresses there will be more and more old folks in the economy. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing (after all, someday we’ll be those old folks), but this is just one more thing to anticipate in the future.

In addition, there will likely be more ethnical and gender diversity. More and more women will enter the workforce, as the population of African Americans, Hispanics and Asians increases in the U.S..

These are all positive changes. Not only will we be experiencing more diversity of creed, religion, nationality and ethnicity, but we will also be seeing more and more women in the workforce. This is all at a time when we are living longer and longer.

More Technology and Automation

Unless, in the unfortunate event the world enters WWIII, we will likely see continued progression of technology both in terms of software, like AI and automation and in terms of machines and physical advancement.

Key areas to keep and eye on are in the medical field, biotech, vehicle automation and AI. These massive changes will likely lead to an ever-evolving need for labor. Automation will likely destroy certain jobs forever, while technology will create new demand and new industries.

Potentially Higher Taxes

At this moment taxes are historically low. After the tax cut of 2018 there are many economists and financial advisors anticipating higher taxes in the future to cover our increasing deficit. While there is no crystal ball that can see the future, we do know that it’s unlikely for rates to stay this low forever.

That said, it would be prudent to plan for this by utilizing tax-advantaged accounts like Roth IRA’s and Roth 401K’s.

Conclusion:

Preparing for the future doesn’t have to involve knowing all the details. While you don’t have to know everything, you should prepare for what’s likely to happen.

The advice contained in this blog is meant to be taken at the reader’s discernment. Talk to your financial planner to see how the advice may or may not apply to you. Ultimately you are fully responsible for your finances so make sure you have someone who is willing to walk with you on your journey.

Does Active Management Have a Place in the Modern Investment Portfolio?

As index funds have become more and more popular a rising question has been, does active management still make sense for the average investor? Answer is of course not simple enough for a yes or no answer. However there are a few pros and cons we can look at for the two options. First let’s look at the advantages of passive management:

1) Relative autonomy 

Time is often saved from having passive investments. While of course there is initial research that goes into selecting the underlying ETF’s or mutual funds, once set up your strategy you will have relatively low time costs going forward.

2) Lower expenses

With passive management comes low expenses. Over the long term expenses can eat into  a large portion of your returns so paying close attention to this is crucial.

3) Lower taxes

Active management usually means less trading and less trading means both less transaction costs and less capital gains tax. Both of these add up in the long term.

Now that we’ve covered a few of the pros of passive management let’s dive into some of the pros of the alternative…

1) Potential for greater returns

By definition a passive manager can’t meaningfully beat their respective benchmark. However with active management everything changes. There is also ways a chance for outperformance. Of course the flip side of this double-edged sword is that you can underperform, which is often the case.

2) Lower volatility

Depending on the management style you are able to experience lower volatility in your investments from active management.

So which should you choose? After everything is said and done the thing that matters the most is your returns relative to the corresponding benchmark index. For example if you’re comparing a large-cap active fund verses and S&P 500 index fund.

Once you’ve selected your funds for comparison you need to determine if a) your fund has outperformed the benchmark in the past enough to cover expenses and additional active costs and b) will the fund continue to perform this way or better in the future.

If you can answer yes for both of these questions you may have a great candidate for an active portion of your portfolio.

The last option you have available is to execute the active management your self. This is a whole different story that deserves it’s own separate discussion for a different post. For the time being focus on comparing returns both pasts and potential for the future.

Inflation: What it is and How to Use It

Inflation has essentially been around since currency was created. But what is it? The Marriam Webster dictionary defines inflation as:

“a continuing rise in the general price level usually attributed to an increase in the volume of money and credit relative to available goods and services”. That’s nice to know but how does this effect us in our daily lives?

Well the “rise in the general price level” can mean things like groceries, fast-food, restaurants, as well as other things like insurance, utilities and housing (both for buyers and renters).

With this cost increase usually happening year over year, what are some things we can do to minimize this?

Well the first big thing is planning. If you are considering retirement in a decade, realize that the cost to live then will be higher than the cost to live now. Do a rough calculation on the average rate of inflation (roughly 3.5%). Over ten years the cost of everything will most likely rise 41%!

After understanding the impact of inflation and incorporating it into your estimated retirement costs, it’s time to talk about investing. The best types of investments for inflationary periods are stocks and real estate. The reason for this is because stocks’ value (in the long-term)is based on the earnings of the company and earnings generally go up with inflation. So off the bat you have a built in inflation protector.

The second ideal investment, real estate, is a little more complicated to invest in. A common “investment” people choose to make is in their home. While it is certainly the case that homes usually go up in value, the decision isn’t a clearcut one. (Check out my blog on the rent vs buy debate)

Another way to invest in real estate is to buy rentals. This is more hands on and therefore takes more time and energy. If you are comfortable with this then by all means go forth and invest! However a lot of people find the intensive commitment inherent in this type of real estate investing too much to handle.

If this is the case with you you can consider another options, REIT’s. Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REIT’s as they are called, involve the investment of large groups who buy large quantities of real estate. The earnings and appreciation from this real estate is owned through a large quantity of shareholders who buy part of the ownership, like a stock.

While this is certainly an option, I find REIT’s to be remarkably unimpressive long-term compared to stocks or direct real estate investments.

Whichever path you choose to take, be wary of the inflation hurdles and the best ways to overcome them.