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Darts Pick the Readers’ Top Stocks

Written by Summit Wealth on .

While reading the newspaper recently, I found that for the 48th Sunday Journal Investment Dartboard Contest someone throwing darts at a listing of stocks was able to outperform specific stock picks of Wall Street Journal readers for the six months ended 12/31/12.  The readers’ picks lost about 11% while the stocks chosen by darts thrown at stock pages gained 7.2%.

The results of this contest seem to confirm the Dalbar Study finding that the average investor achieved an annual return of 3.49% for the 20 years ended 12/31/10 while the S&P 500 returned 7.81% per year during the same time frame.  Much of the significant underperformance of investors can be attributed to emotional investing and attempting to time the markets (something no one has been able to perfect, to my knowledge).

We feel it’s all about a low-cost, broadly-diversified, passive investment approach and methodically investing over time.  This is why DFA is such a great fit for our client portfolios.  Reduce your risk and take what the market has to offer (in terms of returns) over time–a winning long-term combination!

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Are you on track for financial independence?

Written by Summit Wealth on .

According to a recent report by the Commerce Department, nearly 67% of Americans between the ages of 45 and 60 say they plan to delay retirement.  This percentage is a steep increase from just two years ago, when the Commerce Department found that 42% of those polled expected to delay retirement. 

Why the large increase?  This rise was driven by financial losses, layoffs and income stagnation sustained during the last few years.  These are issues many of us faced or are still dealing with.

Based on the above statistics, two out of every three of your friends, family members and co-workers (in this age group) need to reassess their financial game plan and make adjustments that can have a positive impact.  This may be easier said than done since we have a tendency to get very comfortable in our spending habits.  However, it certainly doesn’t have to mean working longer as there are trade-offs that one can consider that don’t involve more time at work.

For example, re-examining one’s household budget and discovering some belt-tightening opportunities is an excellent way to trim discretionary spending and increase contributions towards retirement.  Another is to take a “trial run” and begin living as if you were in retirement.  You may be surprised at what you actually need to live on.

If you know people struggling with their financial independence, please send them our way.  We’d be glad to help.

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How are Baby Boomers Reworking Their Retirement (Financial Independence)?

Written by Summit Wealth on .

I just read an article by Mark Miller that seems to confirm some thoughts we’ve been having about how Baby Boomers are rethinking retirement / financial independence.  Here are some of the high points of that article:

They are leaving the U.S.:  21% of boomers polled say they are interested in retiring abroad where they can reduce lifestyle needs and enjoy warmer climates.

They are starting new companies:  21% of new U.S. businesses started in 2011 were launched by entrepreneurs age 55 to 64 (up 14% from 2007).  Entrepreneurs age 45 to 54 accounted for another 28% of the 2011 startups.  Add them together and boomers started almost 50% of all new businesses in 2011.

They are borrowing more:  40% of homeowners over age 65 had mortgage debt in 2010, compared with only 18% in 1992.  One of the reasons is the extremely low interest rates available.  No sense paying down / off a 3% mortgage if you can earn 6% to 9% in a broadly diversified, balanced investment portfolio over time.

They are outliving their expectations:  Life expectancy for men has jumped an average of almost 2 years in each of the last 5 decades to 75.7 years in 2010.  For women, life expectancy has risen by 1.5 years on average to 80.8 years.  For a couple with above- average health, there’s a 60% chance one of them will live to age 90.

They are providing financial support:  58% of boomers are providing financial assistance to aging parents while 93% of those polled say they have given their children financial assistance as well.

They aren’t running to Florida:  Boomers aren’t embracing the Florida / Arizona retirement homes as they once were.  The reason they’re not relocating?  The pull of being near their children & grandchildren.

How are you rethinking your eventual financial independence?  We will have more discussion on this topic in our next blog.

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Why Do I Need Estate Planning?

Written by Summit Wealth on .

For most couples, the federal estate tax is a thing of the past.  The “fiscal cliff” legislation raised the federal estate exemption to $10.5 million per couple and made the exemption portable between spouses.  Given this big win at the federal level, you may be asking if estate planning is still critical for your family.  We say it is for the following reasons:

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Should “retirement” be retired?

Written by Summit Wealth on .

Fact #1:  Our life expectancies are increasing and we’re living longer as a society.

Fact #2:  Fact #1 means we likely need to accumulate more to achieve our goals.

A trend we are seeing among baby boomers (as well as the generation after them) is that they are no longer planning for retirement (in the traditional sense of the word) but more for their transition to the next phase in life.  That new phase may mean a more flexible work schedule, less hours worked and less stress, more enjoyment in the work performed, and more time to do other things like fish, hunt, golf, travel, volunteer, etc.

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Long Lake, MN 55356

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