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Month: June 2023

The Ultimate Vacation

Retirement can be the ultimate vacation … IF you plan ahead

As we get further into summer, we’ve had several friends tell us about their vacation plans. Listening to them, it’s clear they’ve put a lot of thought and effort into planning for their trip.

That got us thinking: what if people put as much time into planning their retirement as they do for their vacations?

Unfortunately, this isn’t usually the case. That’s a problem because the average vacation only lasts a few weeks. Retirement, on the other hand, can span decades.

We think one reason for this is because many people don’t know how to start planning for retirement … or they’re a bit intimidated by the thought of it. But planning isn’t what should intimidate anyone. Retiring without a plan is what’s really scary.

We spend a lot of time and effort on our clients’ retirement plans. But it occurred to us that there may be folks out there who can’t say the same thing.

Fortunately, it’s easy to get started—and some aspects of retirement planning are actually fun! When you get right down to it, all you really must do is apply the principles of good vacation planning to your retirement. We’ll give an example. Before writing this, we looked at several different travel websites. Most of them gave tips on how to go on vacation. We were amazed at how similar these tips were to planning for retirement. So, we’ve listed some of them below, along with how to make them suitable for a person’s golden years:

Vacation PlanningRetirement Planning
Tip #1 – Make a list of places you want to visit. Write down the activities you want to do in each location, and what you like about them.Tip #1 – Make a list of goals you want to pursue during retirement. Write down why they’re important to you.
Tip #2 – Rank these places in order of how important each one is to you.Tip #2 – Rank these goals in order of how important each one is to you. Have fun with these first two steps.
Tip #3 – Determine your budget. Factor in travel, hotel, and food costs. Then determine how much it will cost to do the various activities you listed in Tip #1. Don’t forget to include how much you plan to spend on souvenirs and things like that.Tip #3 – Determine your budget. First start with expenses; where do you want to live, and how much will it cost to live there? What are your utilities like? What medical costs do you anticipate having? What debts do you owe? Finally, estimate how much it will cost to pursue the goals you listed in Tip #1. (It’s okay if it’s a rough estimate.)
Tip #4 – After determining what your vacation will cost, calculate your current budget by adding up your income minus expenses. Whatever’s left is what you have, to put towards your retirement on a monthly basis. vacation.Tip #4 – Calculate your current budget by adding up your income minus expenses. Whatever’s left is what you have, to put towards your retirement on a monthly basis.
Tip #5 – Go online, consult with a travel agent, or check out a travel book and try to find ways to bring your costs down. Savvy vacationers can find deals, coupons, and tour companies that really make a trip easier on your wallet.Tip #5 – Get together with me and bring everything you’ve written down so far. We can discuss possible ways to further fund your retirement, whether it’s through investing or something else.
Tip #6 – Book your vacation!Tip #6 – Set your retirement date!

Planning a vacation and planning for retirement aren’t exactly the same, but they’re not too far apart, either. In the end, what’s important is that people devote the same energy to their retirement as they do their summer excursions. For both, the solution is the same: Plan, don’t wing it.

If you or someone you know are “winging” your retirement planning, we’d like to offer our help. If you have doubts or concerns about your retirement, please feel free to give us a call. We’d be happy to help you create a plan that shows not only how to fund your retirement, but enjoy your retirement, too!

Remember: planning a vacation is great for spending a few weeks in the sun. But planning for retirement can lead to a holiday that lasts for years. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

Will the Rally Keep Going?

Markets have been hitting some very positive milestones lately, but it’s not clear that we’re in a bull market yet.1

Is the bear market actually over?

Are the bulls back or are we seeing another “bear market rally” that will eventually lose steam?

Let’s discuss.

When stocks are caught between surges and pullbacks, and we’re not entirely sure what’s going on, it’s useful to go back to the fundamentals.

What bullish factors support the rally?

1. Despite all the worrying, it doesn’t look like a recession is here yet.2

The labor market is still extremely strong and the housing sector is showing signs of optimism again.

More positive signs of a strong economy will support a rally.

2. Inflation seems to be under control and the Fed has (finally) paused interest rate hikes to see how the economy responds.3

Investors are more likely to stay optimistic if the Fed holds to its plan to limit future rate increases.

3. FOMO. Some of the greedy sentiment behind this rally is due to a legitimate fear of missing out on the next bull market. No one wants to be on the sidelines when markets move.

What bearish factors could kill the rally?

1. The current surge has been largely driven by technology stocks and hasn’t broadened across all sectors.4

That means any negative sentiment about these tech high-flyers is likely to have a disproportionate effect on the overall rally.

2. We still can’t be certain that a recession won’t hit this year and the economy is still facing headwinds that are likely to impact corporate earnings.2

3. Growth may be hard to come by for U.S. businesses.5 Since stock prices reflect the value of their underlying companies, earnings misses or negative surprises could tank sentiment.

Bottom line: For the rally to keep going, investors will not only have to stay positive about technology stocks but also gain confidence in the overall state of the economy.

Here’s some good news: Whether or not the bear market is actually, finally over, the overall picture is looking brighter.

We’re watching closely.



Pros and Cons of Working in Retirement

After retirement, many individuals consider going back to work. Whether it’s because they want a little extra income or just need something to keep themselves busy.

There are benefits to working after retirement besides the obvious financial ones. Having a job, even part-time, allows you to slowly ease into retirement. It also helps you feel a sense of fulfillment and purpose. But there can also be some negative aspects to returning to work after retirement.

 Here are a few pros and cons to consider before you commit to starting a post-retirement position:


  • Provides a sense of purpose
  • Extra income
  • Freedom and flexibility of your schedule
  • Social activity and health
  • Better health insurance options


  • Less free time
  • Ageism in the workplace
  • Possible impact on social security benefits
  • Risk of higher taxes
  • Less job security

New bull market? (caveats inside)

A new deal finally put the debt ceiling issue to rest (for now, anyway), and stocks are rallying.

Are we on the brink of a new bull market?

We might be. The S&P 500 has soared in 2023 and is up nearly 20% from its October 2022 low.1

That’s pretty surprising given the concerns about interest rates, recessions, banks, and a war in Europe, so some analysts are wary.

How do we know when we’re in a bull market?

First, let’s acknowledge that the terms “bull” and “bear” are just shorthand for general market trends and don’t necessarily mean anything scientific.

Generally, a 20% decline from a market high defines a bear market.

(You might remember all the headlines from 2022 when the current one started.)

However, bull markets are a little harder to call.

A 20% increase from a bear market low doesn’t necessarily kick off a bull market.2

Since a 20% increase still leaves you shy of your original market high, many analysts don’t consider it a proper bull market yet.

They want to see stocks achieve a new historic high before officially calling an end to the bear market.3

We’re not there yet.

But, it’s probably fair to say that we’re flirting with a bull market.

What’s driving the recent rally?

Here’s where analysts have some concerns.

The recent rally centers around a few big tech stocks and seems to be energized by enthusiasm for artificial intelligence.

That means the rally lacks breadth. Your average S&P 500 company has only seen gains of less than 3% this year.3

The fact that the rally relies on the performance of a few high-flying stocks could spell volatility ahead.

What should I expect in the weeks ahead?

Hard to say. Markets seem to have momentum and we could see the rally continue.

However, recession and interest rate concerns are still bubbling under the surface, so let’s not break out the party favors yet.4

Let’s celebrate just how far we’ve come since the bear market began last year, but stay flexible enough to accept any pullbacks and volatility that might lie ahead.

1 Yahoo Finance. S&P 500 closing price performance between October 12, 2022 and June 5, 2023.