You’ve probably heard the term “voting with your wallet.” We do this by purchasing particular brands, buying certain food, and using our money to support companies whose values align with ours. When it comes to politics, a lot of individuals voted for Donald Trump last November because they were concerned about their personal finances. While many are cheering in a new and glorious economic era now that Trump is president, plenty are concerned about their personal finances because of him. Financial markets like predictability, and if there’s one thing that President Trump is not, it’s predictable.
As the nation watches President Trump role out his new administration, there is one constant: We’ll never know what to expect as long as Trump is leading the charge. How will this uncertainty affect your personal financial plan? What should you be doing in light of our “new normal?”
Keep Your Eyes On The Prize
As a financial advisor, I am always reminding my clients to maintain their long-term focus and ignore the momentary setbacks along the way. Now, with so much volatility and so many unknowns, I find myself doing this more than ever.
Market uncertainty is normal and expected in the average economic cycle. When you throw in unprecedented political events, things get even more exciting. When Trump won the election, markets plummeted 700 points before shooting to record highs within a week. Since then, it seems that every new Dow record coincides with a political event, such as inauguration day or the President’s speech to Congress.
Everything that’s going on should just reinforce the fact that financial planning is for the long-term. Following the news will make your head spin, so it’s best to simply tune it out and trust your strategy. If you can keep your long-term perspective in spite of all the noise, you will continue to steadily build for a successful retirement, no matter what happens.
Follow Proven Principles
There are some economic principles that work no matter who is in charge. They have been proven time and again in all types of circumstances. Here are some tried-and-true investment principles that will carry you through, no matter what our president comes up with next.
Determine Your Risk Tolerance
You need to invest in a way that makes you comfortable, not just the way the latest financial guru says you should. Do you know what level of risk you are comfortable with? An experienced financial advisor can help you determine your risk level and how to apply it to your investments. You need to consider all aspects of your life, such as years from retirement, income, debt, and even personality, when coming up with the level of risk that is right for you. Your personal risk tolerance can make a significant difference in your investment mix, so don’t skip this step.
Speaking of an investment mix, that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be, a mix. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Your portfolio should have global exposure, but shouldn’t be too stock-heavy. In addition, alternative investments, such as real estate, may help you hedge against the next bear market. A trusted financial expert can easily review your portfolio and make recommendations for how you can better diversify.
It’s also important to make sure you are diversified across all of your accounts. While your professionally managed accounts may be diversified, how about your 401(k)? Is it compatible with your risk level or do you need to make some changes? How well are you diversified when all of your accounts are combined?
Once you know your risk level, you can diversify to create a solid portfolio for yourself. But what happens several years later or when the market surges or drops rapidly? Some investments grow like wildfire; others seem to stagnate. Soon, your well-balanced portfolio is off kilter. You need to rebalance.
It is important to review your portfolio annually to make sure all of your assets are allocated appropriately. Some years you may not need to make changes, but without a regular review, you could find that your portfolio doesn’t look anything like it should.
Diversification is not enough to keep your portfolio safe. When you regularly rebalance your portfolio, you ensure that your investments match your risk level and that you haven’t become too reliant on any one asset category.
Don’t Rely Solely On The Government
Right now, Social Security represents about 34% of the income of the elderly (1), but will that be the case when you reach retirement age? In the past, Trump has given his support for the program, but with his promises to abolish Obamacare and cut taxes, the future of Social Security and Medicare is far from certain. Even if Trump doesn’t touch Social Security, it’s already heading toward insolvency, paying out more than it brings in.
Don’t plan on using Social Security as a primary source of income in retirement. You need to take your future into your own hands and maximize your IRA and 401(k) contributions. Build a nest egg that will provide for what you need in retirement. Then, anything you get from a government program will just be icing on the cake.
Don’t Do It Alone
Whether it’s investing or exercising, things are usually better when you’ve got a partner by your side. If you are unsure about where you stand financially or feel less than confident in your retirement strategy, ask for help. An experienced financial advisor can help you evaluate the markets and make decisions based on knowledge and understanding instead of media hype and emotions. It’s always reassuring to have someone who can help you remember to see the forest through the trees.
I Can Help
Unpredictability can be worrisome, but remember that the White House doesn’t control the markets. There are many other variables involved that play a vital role in market success or failure, such as international events, oil prices, and corporate earnings.
I believe that the current presidential administration will not interfere with your ability to have a secure retirement if you take your financial future into your own hands. At Haydel, Biel & Associates, we specialize in helping you achieve financial freedom and retire successfully. We want to understand the why behind your goals and align your finances with your values. Contact me at (626) 529-8347 or email me directly at [email protected]. Together we can develop a portfolio that can withstand whatever President Trump or the markets send our way.
Ricky Biel, CRPC® is a wealth manager with Haydel, Biel & Associates, an independent financial advisory firm serving individuals and families near Pasadena, California. The firm was founded in 2004 by Chris Haydel and Ricky Biel with a desire to provide unbiased, client-centered, community-based financial advice. Together, they have built a practice that has grown into a family of caring, smart professionals committed to blending proven investment methodologies with creative financial technologies that make it easier than ever to accomplish your goals. They strive to keep things simple and fun to give their clients peace of mind and alleviate financial stress. HBA Wealth takes care of their clients’ needs first and foremost and goes the extra mile to make their clients’ finances grow. To meet and see how the HBA Wealth team may be able to help, contact them today at (626) 529-8347 or email Ricky directly at [email protected].