3 Things 1-02
Thing One Some Tips For Protecting Your Money This Year In an article titled, “6 Ways To Protect Your Money In 2023”, the Wall Street Journal provided some helpful tips for the upcoming year. Their advice for the first five is summarized below (we’ll address point six in a later issue): Earn more on your savings Key quote: “Some of the lowest rates are at the biggest institutions. Customers of the five largest U.S. banks could have earned $42 billion more on their balances in the third quarter just by moving their cash to higher yielding accounts at other banks, by one estimate. Some online-only accounts, for example, pay rates around 4% and can be linked to an existing account for easy transfers. The payoff involved in moving your cash away from the biggest banks is currently greater than at any point in the last decade…” And for those with less liquidity concerns, consider maximizing I-bond purchases ($10,000 per person per year). Switch your bank accounts Key quote: “It is worth regularly shopping around to make sure you’re still getting the best deal, says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, particularly if you are paying any ATM or monthly maintenance fees. It is now easy to find a bank that offers those services free, he said, and the benefits could outweigh the inconvenience of switching institutions…” Cancel your subscriptions Key quote: “The average American spends more than $200 a month on subscription fees and underestimates the cost by roughly $130, according to a study by C+R Research earlier this year. Roughly three quarters of consumers say it is easy to forget about recurring charges and 42% admitted that they were still paying for a subscription they had forgotten about.” Such being the case, the beginning of the year is a good time to take stock of all your subscriptions and shed the ones you aren’t using…” Renegotiate your bills Key quote (related to things like cable and cell phone bills): “Don’t be afraid to ask the company for your old rate back or to match a competitor’s price, he said. There is often an unadvertised retention discount to keep customers from canceling. You can also request any deals and discounts being offered to new customers, even if you’re a longtime subscriber…If your first attempt to negotiate isn’t successful, call again on a different day as you may have more success with a different customer-service representative, said Bruce McClary, senior vice president at National Foundation for Credit Counseling.” Check your 401(k) Key quote: “The S&P 500 stock index is down 19.3% this year through Friday and U.S. intermediate-term bond funds are down 12.4%; investors should rebalance if their asset allocation has strayed from their long-term targets. Don’t wait until it is too late…You should avoid checking too often, based on what the market did that day, but you need to check in periodically to make sure your choices are still aligned with your long-term retirement goals…” As always, let us know if you’d like help sorting through any or all of this.
Thing Two This May Be “Normal” For A While Here’s an excerpt from an article on Seeking Alpha with a take on what we saw in 2022: “…2022 marked the start of a new investment era with persistent inflation at above-average levels, secular factors keeping said inflation high, and central banks eager to fight inflation without repeating the mistakes of the 1970s and 1980s," BN Capital's Leo Nelissen told Seeking Alpha. "What worked between 2009 and 2021 suddenly didn’t work anymore. Bond yields surged, high-growth tech stocks sold off, and winners were fossil fuel companies among a wide range of value stocks," he added. “…With economic data through 2022 suggesting that the rising interest rates have yet to really cool the economy, worries have risen that the Fed will tighten policy too far which could lead to a recession. Heading into 2023, these concerns are expected to continue to weigh on sentiment. “…While we’re beyond peak inflation, 2023 is set to become another tough year for investors expecting a move back to normal. The Federal Reserve will have to keep fighting inflation, even if it means hiking into economic growth-slowing. This also means that stocks will look a lot less cheap once corporate earnings come down," Nelissen said. "Essentially, we’re looking at a scenario where the Fed will remain aggressive until something breaks. The market knows this, which is why upside potential has become limited,” Elsewhere, the experts are pointing out that, just like it’s been decades since we saw ultra-high interest rates, it may be decades before we see near-zero interest rates again. The take away? It looks like it’s going to be a bumpy ride for a while. That doesn’t necessarily mean go hide under a rock investing-wise, but it also doesn’t mean going all-in at one time is the right course. Slow and steady investing with a long term orientation still seems to make sense.
Thing Three Just A Thought “The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance. The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you, as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose.” ― Arnold Bennett