The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Stimulus Act (CARES Act) has passed congress and has been signed into law by the President. Like all legislation, the devil is in the details. As the provisions of the law go into effect in the next couple of weeks, we will learn more of the details. For now, it is helpful to highlight 6 key benefits so we can make plans accordingly.
The coronavirus is not only a serious health scare, it is also a serious financial crisis. Businesses are being forced to shut down and people are losing their income. The stock markets are reacting negatively as expected. While taking losses in our equity portfolio is never a good thing, it does present an opportunity to reduce taxes this year and into the future.
The coronavirus pandemic has a lot of dark sides. Around the world, people get ill and die, schools close, the healthcare system is overloaded, employees lose their jobs, companies face bankruptcy, stock markets collapse and countries have to spend billions on bailouts and medical aid. And for everyone, whether directly hurt or not, Covid-19 is a huge stressor shaking up our psyche, triggering our fears and uncertainties.
Stocks just had one of their worst months on record with the S&P falling 8.2% on a total return basis.
These are the worst monthly declines on the S&P going back to 1926
You can see plenty of these massive down months have occurred in and around some of the worst market crashes in history — the Great Depression, the 1973-74 bear (we need a name for this one), black Monday in 1987 and the Great Financial Crisis.
Here’s the good news about huge monthly losses from the past...
We are in the midst of scary times. There is a lot of uncertainty about the coronavirus. Our government officials are shutting down schools, churches, restaurants, bars and all other places and events where we tend to gather in groups. In fact, just before I wrote this, President Trump held a news conference advising people to avoid gathering in groups larger than 10. This is good advice that we should heed to protect our health and that of our loved ones.
The Power of Appreciation in Money & Life In the world of personal finance, “appreciation” has two important components: In the quantitative realm, appreciation refers to the increasing value of financial assets. In the qualitative realm, appreciation refers to feelings of gratitude for one’s financial resources and circumstances. Of course, both elements are extremely important, but it is actually the more qualitative “appreciative mindset” that is the best predictor of both increasing wealth and personal well-being in your life. In The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life, Lynne Twist teaches that appreciative thinking is the opposite of scarcity thinking: “When your attention is on what’s lacking and scarce—in your life, in your work, in your family, in your town—then that becomes what […]
Recent Market Volatility After a period of relative calm in the markets, in recent days the increase in volatility in the stock market has resulted in renewed anxiety for many investors. From February 1–5, the US market (as measured by the Russell 3000 Index) fell almost 6%, resulting in many investors wondering what the future holds and if they should make changes to their portfolios.1 While it may be difficult to remain calm during a substantial market decline, it is important to remember that volatility is a normal part of investing. Additionally, for long-term investors, reacting emotionally to volatile markets may be more detrimental to portfolio performance than the drawdown itself. INTRA-YEAR DECLINES Exhibit 1 shows calendar year returns for the US stock market since 1979, […]
How to Make Change Easier Have you ever joined a gym to get in shape and then found you weren’t using it? Have you started a diet to lose weight and found yourself abandoning the effort? If you said “no” to both of these questions, you are among a small minority of people. We have all started down a road of change, sometimes life transforming change, and found ourselves giving up and going back to our old habits. We do this despite our best intentions and most determined resolutions. Let’s face it, change is hard and the bigger the change the harder it is. However, there are ways to make change easier. The key is to use our rational thinking to create small wins for our […]
What are some of the money skills? Perhaps the most important is managing our cash flow. Debt management is a key skill. Other money skills include saving for short-term needs like emergencies and unexpected opportunities. Also saving for mid-term needs like education, entertainment and transportation while saving for the day when we no longer earn an income.