Are you on track to retire comfortably? What are your financial goals? How much income will you need to generate each month when you have retired? What might be some of your longer-term goals outside the financial arena, but goals that would be aided by a larger pool of savings?
Our regular check-ins are designed to measure progress toward your goals, making adjustments as life’s journey unfolds. Saving for retirement is a long game; It’s a marathon. You could compare it to the fable The Tortoise and the Hare. A sprint won’t get you to your destination. Slow and steady progress will.
Unfortunately, according to CNBC, 75% of Americans receive no professional assistance for this long haul. In our view, that’s simply unacceptable. It leaves far too many folks exposed to the many financial pitfalls that are lurking. As Ben Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
Fortunately, you do have professional support in place. Following are seven ideas that we encourage on a regular basis. You have already implemented many of these concepts; others you may want to do more with as we move into fall. And they are all excellent reminders of what keeps you on the path toward financial independence.
Did you know that if you start saving $600 per month at age 30 based on a $50,000 per year salary, you will have $1 million when you turn 65, assuming an average return of 7% per year? (CNBC)
If you start saving at 20, $300 per month will allow you to hit the same goal.
We’re not saying that $1 million is the magic number, but the example highlights that consistency, starting early, and the magic of compounding can help you reap big rewards.
We assist you by advocating a diversified portfolio that generally includes stocks, bonds, fixed income and more. While much work goes into the individually crafted plans we recommend, much of what we counsel is based on the evidence that long-term exposure to stocks has outperformed simple savings accounts.
We help to bridge the divide between the simple savings account and a diversified portfolio.
Why aren’t we saving? According to the survey, 38% of working Americans have too many expenses. For example, on average Americans shell out more than $2,900 a year on restaurants, prepared drinks, and lottery tickets.
We aren’t saying that a spartan existence that eliminates frills, fun, and entertainment is the path to take. Instead, examine your expenditures closely. You might quickly find ways to cutback while still enjoying life’s pleasures. And consider paying yourself first when you receive your check by setting up an automatic payment into savings.
Employee 401(k) contributions for 2021 top out at $19,500, with an additional $6,500 catch-up contribution allowed for those that are 50 years or older. At a minimum, don’t leave any free money with your employer. Be sure to contribute what you need to receive your employer’s full match. (irs.gov)
For 2021, you may contribute up to $6,000 to an IRA or Roth IRA]] ($7,000 if you are 50 or older. (irs.gov) Just be aware that the IRS imposes various limits based on your income. We’d be happy to share additional details, or you may check with your tax advisor.
Plus, don’t forget about your prior 401(k) plan. Roll it into an IRA or into your new 401(k). Unless there is an extraordinary circumstance (and we’re not talking about a new TV or a vacation), don’t fritter away your retirement assets. Withdrawals from these tax-deferred plans will probably be subject to taxes and penalties.
Your student loans helped you pay for your education. Although the situation with student loan debt is fluid, this is debt that’s best paid off. Credit card debt also falls under the unproductive category. Besides, many come with high interest rates.
As with credit cards, student loans, and other unproductive liabilities, we can offer you guidance that helps reduce and eliminate burdensome liabilities.
Our goal is to help you replace a substantial portion of your income when you leave the workforce. How much will depend on your goals and what you may want to do in retirement.
But we firmly believe that these ideas are a great place to start, putting you and keeping you on track for your retirement.
As you will recall from last month’s Eagle’s Eye, we have hired a para planning service in Denver, Colorado to assist us in gathering data which will be used to formulate a comprehensive financial plan for our clients. Over the next several weeks, you will be hearing from us as we introduce you to the newest members of our team at Eagle Capital. We are excited about the addition of a formal planning process and the impact it will have on your financial well-being while helping us improve on our ability to guide you through each phase of your lives with confidence, independence and financial dignity.
A Covid recession and recovery
The economy hit a peak in February 2020 and bottomed out in April of the same year, according the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), which is viewed as the arbiter of recessions and economic recoveries.
In determining the peak and trough of the economy, the NBER considers several indicators of employment and production. “All of those indicators point clearly to April 2020 as the month of the trough,” the NBER said.
While the NBER made its determination last month, it simply confirmed what investors and economists have known for a long time: the two-month recession was the shortest on record.
When lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders eased in May 2020, activity began to rebound, according to U.S. government reports. In some cases, the rebound was sharp.
On a historical note, the third-shortest recession was tied to the Spanish flu in 1918 (seven months), while the 1957 recession, which lasted eight months, came in fourth place and was centered around the Asian flu pandemic.
However, the end of a recession doesn’t mean that the economy has returned to its prior peak. It simply means that the economy stopped contracting in April and activity turned up in May.
While the shortest on record, the Covid recession was also the fastest decline on record, and pandemic-related distortions have yet to abate. They may never completely abate. Some industries have performed incredibly well over the last year, and others continue to struggle.
During the first quarter and second quarter of 2021, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is the broadest measure of goods and services in the economy, expanded at an annual rate of 6.3% and 6.5%, respectively, according to the U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis.
While Q2 missed analyst forecasts of 8.4% (Wall Street Journal), it was enough to push GDP above Q4 2019’s peak.
Notably, spending in Q2 was particularly strong for service-related businesses tied to activities outside the home. However, spending on the broad category of services has yet to regain its former peak.
Stocks reach new heights
Major averages, such as the Dow Jones Industrials, the NASDAQ Composite, and the S&P 500 Index all touched new highs last month, building on impressive gains over the last year.
Table 1: Key Index Returns
Dow Jones Industrial Average
S&P 500 Index
Russell 2000 Index
MSCI World ex-USA*
MSCI Emerging Markets*
Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Total Return
Source: MSCI.com, Bloomberg, MarketWatch
MTD: returns: June 30, 2021— July 30, 2021
YTD returns: Dec 31, 2020—July 30, 2021
*in US dollars
The robust economic recovery, which few analysts had predicted during the lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders last year, has driven corporate profits higher, and in turn, fueled the rally in stocks.
While rising profits have been a big tailwind for stocks, the Federal Reserve has played a role, too, by pushing interest rates to rock bottom levels.
In addition, the Fed continues to buy about $120 billion in Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities each month, which pumps additional cash into the financial system.
As the economy expands and creates new jobs, Fed Chief Jerome Powell suggested last month the Fed is getting closer to announcing a plan to reduce its monthly bond purchases, but he did not provide specifics.
Nevertheless, he continues to insist that it’s too early to start talking about raising interest rates.
Ultimately, the path of the economy and the pace of economic growth, coupled with what happens to inflation, will have the biggest influence on when and how quickly interest rates might rise.
As we head into the fall, we are becoming more defensive in our portfolios in anticipation of a pullback which has historically occurred during this time. You should see some changes in the coming weeks as we make adjustments.
I’m honored and humbled that you have given Eagle Capital the opportunity to serve as your financial advisors. On behalf of the Eagle Capital team, thank you for the loyalty and trust you have placed in us. We will never take that for granted.
William Y. Rice III, CPM® | Eagle Capital Advisors
Founding Partner, Managing Director & CEO, ECA
Wealth Advisor, RJFS
140 E Tyler Street, Suite 240; Longview, TX 75601
T: 903.236.5300 | F: 903.236.5357
Eagle Capital Advisors is not a registered broker/dealer, and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services. Investment advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of the Wall Street Journal. The NASDAQ composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that is generally considered representative of the U.S. stock market. The Russell 2000 Index measures the performance of the 2,000 smallest companies in the Russell 3000 Index, which represent approximately 8% of the total market capitalization of the Russell 3000 Index. The MSCI ACWI ex USA Investable Market Index (IMI) captures large, mid and small cap representation across 22 of 23 Developed Markets (DM) countries (excluding the United States) and 24 Emerging Markets (EM) countries*. With 6,211 constituents, the index covers approximately 99% of the global equity opportunity set outside the US. The MSCI Emerging Markets is designed to measure equity market performance in 25 emerging market indices. The index’s three largest industries are materials, energy, and banks. The Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index is a broad-based flagship benchmark that measures the investment grade, US dollar-denominated, fixed-rate taxable bond market. The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of William Y. Rice III and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee
that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. Keep in mind that individuals cannot invest directly in any index, and index performance does not include transaction costs or other fees, which will affect actual investment performance. Individual investor’s results will vary. Past performance does
not guarantee future results. Future investment performance cannot be guaranteed, investment yields will fluctuate with market conditions. Unless certain criteria are met, Roth IRA owners must be 59½ or older and have held the IRA for five years before tax-free withdrawals are permitted. Additionally, each converted amount may be subject to its own five-year holding period. Converting a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA has tax implications. Investors should consult a tax advisor before deciding to do a conversion. Matching contributions from your employer may be subject to a vesting schedule. Please consult with your financial advisor for more information.
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