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How COVID-19 Might Impact Your Retirement Plan

As we all know, the coronavirus pandemic has caused everyone to reevaluate their daily routines. The way of life that we used to know when going to the grocery store, visiting family, and even going on vacation has drastically changed, and so have your finances! When thinking about your financial future, it is always beneficial to be proactive and ahead of the game. With the pandemic still in full swing, it may be difficult to think about the future and your retirement. If you would like to learn how COVID-19 has had an effect on your retirement plans, keep reading!

1. Early Withdrawals

If you have been subject to a financial situation leaving you with no other option than to withdraw early from your retirement plans, you have likely heard about the CARES Act. The CARES Act allows for Americans to withdraw from their retirement savings penalty-free. This is called a coronavirus-related distribution. Prior to the pandemic, there was a 10% penalty if you withdrew before 59 ½. While this is a great option for those that absolutely need to get into their savings, it is always recommended to refrain from withdrawing from your retirement savings early. Exploring your options with a financial advisor prior to withdrawing is your best bet in the long run.

2. Retire Later

With the pandemic, millions of Americans have lost their jobs and businesses. The markets fluctuated heavily over the first few months of the pandemic. This has caused many Americans that were close to retiring to have to put their plans on hold. Millions of Americans have been laid off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning their retirement savings are either being tapped into or put on hold, as not having a job puts a halt on your retirement contributions.

3. Meet with an Advisor

No matter your financial situation, it is always recommended to meet with a financial advisor. The effects of COVID-19 have taken a toll on everyone, especially financially. Plotkin Financial Advisors is happy to help you navigate the rest of your financial journey during these trying  times. There are numerous benefits to meeting with one of our certified financial planners, such as a comprehensive understanding of your needs for your financial future, as well as determine what is needed to enjoy the fruits of your labor the way you want to.

Your retirement plan might not have been a huge aspect of your life prior to COVID-19, however, it is in your best interest to have your finances evaluated and outline your financial future as you continue to approach retirement. Retirement is something everyone wants to enjoy, so why not be proactive? Give us a call today at (301) 907-9790. Let’s plan – together.

 

Sources:

https://www.igrad.com/articles/how-covid-19-may-impact-your-retirement-savings

 

 

What is Investment Risk?

Investment risk is defined as the chance that an outcome or investment’s actual gains will differ from an expected outcome or return. Risk includes the possibility of losing some or all of an original investment.

Why Investment Risk is Important to Understand

An important aspect of investing is understanding the types of investment risk and the potential impact on your portfolio. It is a given that an investor must take risk in order to achieve rates of return above a risk-free rate of return. The risk-return tradeoff is the balance between the desire for the lowest possible risk and the highest possible returns. In general, low levels of risk are associated with low potential returns and high levels of risk are associated with high potential returns. Each investor must decide how much risk they are willing and able to accept for a desired return. This will be based on factors such as age, income, investment goals, liquidity needs, time horizon, and personality.

The Two Main Categories of Investment Risk

Market Risk

Market risk, also known as systematic risk, is risk affiliated with market returns. These can include macroeconomic factors such as interest rates, inflation, recessions, currencies, politics, etc.

In the short-term stock market prices cannot be predicted. But long-term returns can be predicted with some accuracy. In other words, the variation of returns (risk) is less over long periods of time than short periods of time.

Long term market returns are inversely correlated with valuations. This is why investors should use a tactical asset allocation which invests more in assets when they are selling at bargain prices and less aggressively when valuations are high. A long-term investment horizon together with an active asset allocation strategy allows an investor to partially mitigate market risk.

Specific Risk

Specific risk, also known as unsystematic risk, is risk that is not correlated with market returns. It is the risk that is specific to a particular company or industry. An individual investment, such as a company, can have problems that are specific to that asset. Maybe a catastrophe (i.e. BP oil spill), bad management, a large product failure, etc. causes the individual assets price to fall. Diversification can be used to mitigate specific risk by investing in a variety of assets.

Specific Types of Investment Risk

  •  Sociopolitical Risk — This involves risk related to political and social events such as a terrorist attack, war, pandemic or elections that could impact financial markets. Such events, whether actual or anticipated, can affect investor attitudes and outlooks, resulting in system-wide fluctuations in stock prices.
  • Interest Rate Risk –Changes in interest rates directly affect the value of bonds. When interest rates rise the price of bonds decline. Interest rates also affect economic activity and borrowing costs.
  • Credit or Default Risk – Sometimes a borrower is unable to pay back debts or bills.
  • Inflation Risk – Inflation risk is the risk that general increases in the prices of goods and services will reduce the purchasing power of money, and likely negatively impact the value of investments.
  • Economic Risk – Economic recessions and depressions can have profound effects on asset valuations.
  • Liquidity Risk – If you need to sell an investment you may not be able to find a buyer in a timely manner. Most publicly traded equity and bonds are fairly liquid. But many alternative investments such as real estate, artwork, coins, stamps, etc. may experience periods when they are illiquid.
  • Country Risk – The risk that a country will not be able to honor its financial commitments. When a country defaults on its obligations, it can harm the performance of all other financial instruments in that country – as well as other countries it has relations with.
  • Regulatory / Political Risk – Governments have a large effect on social stability and the economic environment for investment.  Look for political stability and business friendly policies.

There are many factors that can affect risk and there are portfolio management strategies to measure and mitigate risk factors. Understanding the types of investment risk allows an investor to manage risk and potentially optimize outcomes. To learn more about how we can help you do this, contact us at 301-907-9790.

 

Sources:

https://www.finra.org/investors/insights/investment-risk

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/risk.asp

Image of Planner with text Estate Strategies The Basics

Estate Strategies: The Basics

Determining how you will create a legacy for your family starts with creating an estate plan. This type of financial plan is key to protecting your assets for the future. Estate plans are not limited to those that are extremely wealthy. In fact, everyone can and should implement an estate strategy into their financial plan in order to figure out who will manage your affairs should you no longer be able to and who will become beneficiaries of your assets when you pass away. If you would like to learn more about the basics of implementing an estate strategy, keep reading!

  1. Determine Your Goals

With an estate strategy, you begin to outline your goals in a manner that will benefit your family later on. Eventually, you will  be leaving your assets behind, so the best thing you can do is have a plan for them. You will want to determine exactly who will be responsible for what, if your beneficiaries have or will have specific needs that you would like to take care of.

  1. Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document that helps you prepare for the future when planning what  to  do with your financial affairs. Should  you become unable to manage your assets, the power of attorney that you elect has the legal right to determine what to do with your finances and make decisions on your behalf. Typically, power of attorneys are family members or even close friends that you grant the power to early on just in case you end up being unable to make conscious decisions. We highly recommend having a power of attorney involved with your estate plan, as it can be essential in the case of an emergency.

  1. Name Beneficiaries

We have mentioned the word “beneficiaries” in this article above, however, it is important to  know exactly what a beneficiary is and how you can name them. Should you have assets that require beneficiaries to be named, it is essential to make sure your assets are in good hands. Beneficiaries are those that inherit assets on your behalf. As you have worked hard for your assets, you want to make sure they end up in good hands, which can be a daunting, yet very personal task that should be taken on early to prevent any delays in planning.

While we know that estate strategies can be quite complex, they are great to have in place. Once your estate strategy is established, you will feel better knowing that should any kind of emergency take place leaving you unable to make decisions regarding your assets by yourself, that your assets and belongings are in the hands of the people you chose and according to the plan you put in place.

If you would like to learn more about estate planning, visit our website here. Should you have any questions  regarding your current estate strategy, we would be happy to help guide you along the way. Give us a  call at (301) 907-9790

Sources:

https://www.finra.org/investors/learn-to-invest/key-investing-concepts/estate-planning-power-attorney