Karl Eggerss was interviewed on CBS by Sharon Ko discussing the correct amount of time everyone should be spending on their finances.
Sharon Ko: This morning, consider how much time you spend on your finances. Here’s how much attention you should be giving to manage your money.
How much time does the average person spend on their finances?
Karl Eggerss: Well, according to the fool.com, only about 3% of Americans even spend any time, intentional time, on their finances. But the ones that do spend intentional time on their finances, they spend about an hour a day. And you know, I don’t think there’s people watching that are going, “Wow, I don’t spend that,” or, “I spend two hours a day.” I don’t think there’s a right or wrong. I think the key though is are you passionate about this? Is this something you enjoy doing? Because if you don’t, then maybe you shouldn’t be spending two hours a day or an hour a day on your finances. But I think the key is to automate as much as possible. With technology the way it is today, with apps, with software and websites, we really should automate as much as possible so that we’re not having to spend that much time doing it.
But one other interesting stat is they say that people spend about 100 times as much time binge watching on TV than they do on their personal finances. And I think the key is you have to have some intentionality, right? You have to pay attention to it, otherwise the money’s going to leak out somewhere. And so whether it’s budgeting or assessing your allocation if you have investments, those are things you have to have intentionality. Otherwise, you’re not going to have any type of strategy or any type of plan. And so whether it’s 30 minutes for you or an hour a week, whatever it is, you might want to put that in your schedule so you do have some regularity with that.
Sharon Ko: Are there some areas to focus on, some main areas to focus on when you are spending time on your finances?
Karl Eggerss: I think budgeting is probably the biggest one. You know, what is coming in the door, what’s going out. If you don’t know that and you don’t have a handle on it, then you’re never going to get to where you need to go. I mean, if you really know, “I’ve got X dollars leftover at the end of the week,” every paycheck every month, then you can figure out, “Okay. When that happens, I have to have a plan of where that’s going to go in terms of saving or paying down debt.” If you don’t do that, it’s just going to get spent. There’s a lot of things out there that we can spend our money on, and if we don’t have a plan for where that money is going to go, it will get spent.
On this week’s show, Karl discusses all the positive news that lifted stocks to new highs. But, is it all baked in?
Hey, good morning everybody. Welcome to the podcast. Thanks for joining me. Karl Eggerss here on Creating Richer Lives, the podcast version, and I say that because we have a website called Creating Richer Lives as well, just creatingricherlives.com. Tons of stuff on there. Before you go there, if you just want to bypass all of that and give us a call, you can certainly do that, 210-526-0057, but if you do go to creatingricherlives.com, you’re going to notice a couple of things.
Of course, we put a lot of information regarding your finances, but Creating Richer Lives is also about the lifestyle that you want, the legacy you want to leave, philanthropy, which is what you want to give away to charity, and I have to give a shout out to Covenant mainly because I wasn’t just me. It’s a whole team of people, but Covenant did earn a National Recognition for Leadership in Corporate Philanthropy, so not only do we help clients with philanthropy, we also do it ourselves. That’s really what Covenant was founded on. There was 20 financial advisory firms around the country nationally that were nominated and selected for this 2019 Charitable Champions List, and it’s from an organization called Invest in Others, and really awesome stuff. I mean, you can go on the website.
We have the article on there. There’s a press release regarding it, and so we’re just proud to be a part of that group, and so shout out to all my fellow Covenant teammates. This podcast is brought to you by the aforementioned Covenant Lifestyle. Legacy. Philanthropy., just like we talked about. All right. Again, 210-526-0057.
All right. Let’s jump right in. By the way, not only will you find that article about philanthropy on our website in creatingricherlives.com, but you’re also going to see kind of a fun article that we put up there a few days ago from one of our wealth advisors, Terry Langston, and it’s called Elevating Your Holiday Wine Game. Essentially, it’s a whole tutorial, if you will, on really when you’re hosting a party to not only just have some wines, but make it an event. We kind of go through some cool, little tips on there and it’s a pretty economical way to do it, and really, as all the holiday parties are kicking off here the next several weeks, we thought it’d be helpful to put that up there in front, so go check that out, creatingricherlives.com, Elevating Your Holiday Wine Game.
All right. Well, this was a really busy week in the markets, and some weeks are not. Some weeks are, there’s a lot of movement, but not a lot of reason for it, not a lot of news events. This was a very, heavy news-oriented week. Now, that doesn’t always mean that you do something about it.
We’re clear on this podcast regarding that, but we do try to filter out what’s noise, what’s not, so let’s run through just kind of what did move the markets this week because it was a really, really busy week, and generally a positive tone, risk-on tone to the markets, so this whole week was about not only trade, but a big portion of it was trade. Monday, we come out, and China came out and said, “Yeah, we hope that we can reach a trade agreement as soon as possible.” Reuters said that, and of course, the Dow still finished down about 100 points, and then, of course Tuesday morning, we had, Futures were still down about 100 points, and then a report came out saying, “The U.S. might delay the tariffs.” Here we go again, but kind of piled on that was that we were going to get this United States, Mexico, Canada agreement, was scheduled to be signed. That was kind of another bullish headline coming out, but it was kind of still a mixed day overall.
Then, we heard from the fed this week, and what was interesting was the fed, of course didn’t raise or lower interest rates. They’ve lowered them three times in 2019, but they essentially said, “We’re not going to raise them in 2020 either.” Now, the markets celebrated that, but let’s remember that the fed’s track record here is not that great, right? Take it with a grain of salt, but it was something that certainly got the markets going. Look, remember, I said this last week and I’ll say it again, the shift a year ago, three rate hikes were scheduled in 2019.
Three, and yet, there was three cuts, a huge change of direction for the federal reserve, and you can just point right to why the markets struggled late last year. Not only the tariffs, but the fed tightening and a slowing economy move into 2019, and they start cutting in a slowing economy, and now, it seems like the economy is at least mixed signals, but they’re still on the sidelines and they’ve cut three times, hence, good market gains for this year. Thursday, we had some producer price index came out. A little weaker. Initial jobless claims went up.
That was something we need to watch, and then I’ll get to that in just a minute, but Trump, of course tweeted, “We got a big trade deal coming soon,” and the Dow popped 200 points. Look, at the end of the day, all of the stuff coming out with the tariffs, we got this agreement on Friday, and the market was kind of all over the place. Is it a buy the rumor, sell the news? Here’s what we do know. Housing price is at an all-time high. Stock market’s at an all-time high.
We got this economic expansion the longest in history, we’ve got a pretty good jobs market, and we got the fed that cut rates as I said, and some would argue they’re doing quantitative easing again. Remember, their balance sheet was shrinking. It’s going up again. For those out there that say, “Look, what the fed does matters,” it does, not only with the direction of interest rates, but what they do to inject or pull money out of the system, and they have put money into the system at a pretty big clip, something like $300 billion in the last few months, so all those things are big tailwinds, and then you throw on top of that the China trade deal, whether it’s partial or not, phase one, and the Mexico, Canada and United States agreement, and that’s risk-on. I mean, that is, you really can’t get a better scenario than that.
Now, what we have to watch out for, and we saw a weak retail sales number on Friday, is this a precursor, because remember, we have unemployment … The claims spiked up. Initial jobless claims comes out weekly. It spiked up a little bit, so you put that on the back of weaker retail sales, which is a bouncy number, but you put it on top of that and you say to yourself, “Uh-oh, as the consumer, is this the tipping point where the consumer is going to start struggling?”, which is still 70% of our economy as I remind you, because if that’s the case, do we have to worry about spending going down, at the same time, maybe we start to see some inflation perking up? I mean, there’s a lot of people seeing that. We may start to get that.
Who knows? I mean, the producer price index was weaker. That’s an inflation number. It was weaker, but there are some that are starting to see some little, green shoots of inflation, and if that happens at the same time, the consumer reins in. Not a good combination, but too early to tell.
I mean, again, all those things that I told you about that have happened this week is a recipe for gains, and that’s what we’re seeing. Where we are in terms of what kind of did the best this week, obviously, things that benefited from some of these trade agreements, Mexican stocks, but we even had semiconductors, which have had just a phenomenal year, up over 60% year-to-date for semiconductors, and boy, that’s a hard chart to buy if you’re looking to buy that, but we saw semiconductors up over 4% this week. Gold, miners, silver, all of that was up. High-beta banking stocks were up. A pretty good week overall.
Not a huge week for this, the general stock market, but certainly, some specific areas, especially things like emerging markets, which still bullish on. I’m personally bullish on emerging markets. Up over 3% this week. Not a bad week, and you’re seeing oil and gas stocks do very well also, beaten up considerably in some of those areas. What got hit? Real estate investment trusts were down.
Natural gas stocks just look horrible, I mean in terms of new lows, natural gas prices just plummeting down. Aerospace and defense was weak, and if you owned volatility, I mean the VIX … Remember the VIX last Christmas spiking up? It is now down 50% year-to-date, so a big, big drop if you believed. Listen, you have a lot of people on TV, podcasts, whatever saying, “The VIX is cheap. Buy it, buy it.”
That is a true statement. How much you own, you can get bit. People thought it was cheap a few months ago and it’s continued to get cheaper and cheaper, so the VIX down over 50% year-to-date. Now, you know, last week we talked about kind of some year-end tax strategies and things you can do. Still have time to do those. I would encourage you though, run a mock scenario for next year or this year.
In other words, if you gift next year versus this year, if you make that IRA contribution or you max out your 401(k) or don’t, there are ways to kind of do a proforma, if you will on your own taxes. If your CPA isn’t doing that, give us a call, 210-526-0057. See if that’s something we can help you with, because oftentimes, running those scenarios is really helpful to do in-depth financial planning. Without that, sometimes you’re missing some things. In other words, a lot of people right now are not able to take advantage of deductions when they give to charity.
There are ways to maybe, in different structures, to do a lot of charitable giving upfront and kind of front-end load it, if you will into different entities, and then be able to give to those charities later on. There’s different tactics and ways to do that. Again, I would encourage you, go back and listen to last week’s episode with some practical things you can do, but it’s not too late. We still have a couple of weeks, two, three weeks left in this year, and you need to decide what things you’re going to do now, versus next year. Now, before we wrap up this podcast, I did want to say Time Magazine has their person of the year each year, and regardless of if you think the person on there this year should be on there or not, let me just say that my persons of the year are first responders, teachers, anyone in the military, really any medical professional.
Those are people that to me that are underappreciated, and in various ways get attacked, are leaving the professions that they’re in sometimes, and I just want to say kudos to them, and really, they’re my persons of the year every year, so just want to give a shout out to them. Have a wonderful weekend, everybody. Take care. We’ll see you next week here on Creating Richer Lives.
Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product, including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Covenant Multifamily Offices, LLC, Covenant, or any non-investment related content will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance levels be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for personalized investment advice from Covenant. To the extent that a listener has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with a professional advisor of his/her choosing. Covenant is neither a law firm, nor a certified public accounting firm, and no portion of the newsletter content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of our current written disclosure brochure, discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request or at creatingricherlives.com.
Covenant has been announced as one of twenty financial advisory firms selected for the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation’s 2019 Charitable Champions List.
The Charitable Champions List recognizes advisory firms for their exemplary efforts to give back to their communities by promoting a culture of philanthropy amongst employees and financial advisors. Invest in Others received dozens of applications, which were evaluated blindly by a judging panel made up of financial advisors. Applications were evaluated on criteria including employee benefits, company contributions, and philanthropic events and programs offered by the firms.
Covenant’s philanthropy programs include Social Venture Partners San Antonio (SVPSA), the CFA Institute Research Challenge, and events such as the Covenant Annual Cookie Party, Pooch Parade, and Soap for Hope, hosted in conjunction with Haven for Hope. Covenant and its employees prioritize philanthropy, as the brand Lifestyle. Legacy. Philanthropy.® depicts. The company supports this with an impressive volunteer time off policy. It does not limit the number of hours an employee can use to volunteer during the workday. Nearly 100% of its employees took advantage of this unlimited VTO; several utilized it to serve on Boards of local nonprofits. Covenant also donated over $95,000 to charities in its Texas community last fiscal year.
“The Covenant team is very excited to be selected for this honor,” said John Eadie, Founder and Managing Director of Covenant. “It is a wonderful reflection of the work all of our employees do to give back in the communities where we reside.”
Since 2010, Covenant has partnered with the local nonprofit Haven for Hope, a homeless shelter in San Antonio that houses an average of 200 children per day. Covenant’s goal is to make the holiday season feel more special for families living in the shelter. All employees and their families get together to host the annual Covenant Cookie Party, and they recently organized the Haven for Hope Kids Choir. They aim to create opportunities for underprivileged families to make positive memories during the Christmas season.
by: Terry Langston, Wealth Advisor
Hosting family & friends for the holidays usually means a trip to the wine aisle. This year, rather than simply offering a red, a white, & possibly a rosé, why not consider turning your wine offering into a mini tasting? Wine tastings with themes are not only entertaining, but they help elevate your guests’ knowledge of wine, creating a richer experience. Here are some tips to create a fantastic and festive wine tasting for your holiday party.
- Choose a tasting theme that is both fun and apropos to your guest list.
- Unless you and your guests spend your days comparing cellar inventories, set a reasonable price level. Remember that higher priced wines do not guarantee a great tasting.
- Get your wine purveyor involved & look for wines with a fun background or story. A tasting allows you to really take some chances, so be adventurous and include unusual varietals from different countries.
- Ask your purveyor for a wine technical sheet for each label. This is usually a single page produced by or on behalf of the winemaker that gives details & provenance for each wine. Take the key details from these tech sheets and do a little online research to create fun & educational tasting notes to include beside each bottle.
Wondering how much to purchase? The thrill for most guests is to be offered a “taste” (1 oz or less) of several different wines in order to discover something new about their own tastes and maybe just find a new favorite. After a tasting of each of the selections, your guests will then be able to enjoy a glass or two of their favorites (5.5 oz). The tasting math per guest: 7 x 1oz (tastes) + 2 x 5.5oz (glasses). My rule of thumb is to purchase 1 bottle (25.4 oz) of each of the 7 labels for every 12 guests I’ve invited. This provides one extra bottle per 12 guests (just to be on the safe side).
At a recent Covenant event, I hosted a tasting and rather than offering one red, white, & rosé, I turned the red selection into a mini tasting (all bottles were under $20).
-Marchesi Futurosa Rose Italy/Provence – Rose’ – Guest Favorite
-Annabella Chardonnay Napa – White
Red Tasting – Theme “Diverse Global Reds under $20”:
-The Game Reserve Shiraz South Africa
-Bending Branch Comfort Texas Red NV – Guest Favorite
-Chasing Lions Cabernet Sauvignon Napa – Guest Favorite
-Haute de Lagarde Bordeaux AOC
-Oblivion Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles – Guest Favorite
-Painted Wolf Pinotage Western Cape SAfrica
-CataRegia Gran Reserva Catalonia Spain – Guest Favorite
Prior to your guest’s arrival, open the first bottle of each label and enjoy your own tasting. Pick your own favorites because “what was your favorite wine” will be a party icebreaker. If you will not be pouring the tasting yourself (i.e. larger parties), it’s advisable to have someone designated to pour & guide guests through the tasting experience.
Cheers & Happy Holidays.
On the Trey Ware Show, Karl Eggerss discussed how the halt in interest rate hikes by the Fed and the massive reversal which led to 3 interest rate cuts in 2019 has really been the fuel behind the rally. A good economy hasn’t hurt either.
Trey Ware: The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs added in October, September’s jobs report up. And in November, 266,000 jobs created in November. That shocked the people who are following this in The Economist. We thought it was going to be … They thought it was going to be right around 120, 150 something like that. It came out to be 266,000.. But here’s where it gets even better. Unemployment, the lowest in 50 years. Black unemployment, the lowest ever. Female unemployment, the lowest ever. Asian unemployment, the lowest ever. Hispanic unemployment, the lowest ever. But here’s where it gets even better. Oh yeah. Can you stand more good news? Wages up higher. 3.1% year-to-year on wage growth. That’s part of controlling the border. When you have fewer people competing for the same jobs. And for the sixth month in a row, record number of Americans counted as employed. 158, 593,000 Americans working in November, the 24th record of Trump’s presidency.
The unemployment rate dropping to the lowest that we’ve had in 50 years. I’m 56. This is the best economy in my lifetime. Now, a study come out from Fidelity Investments saying that people are now saving more than they ever have. Nearly 80% of respondents say that they’re going to be better off next year, that they’re very confident about that. The top reason Americans feeling optimistic is because of the job situation in our country right now, which is driving consumer spending. We could not be in a better position going into the holiday shopping year for consumer spending than we are right now with all these great economic numbers that are out. With his thoughts about it, creatingricherlives.com man, Karl Eggerss is joining me now on the Stevens Roofing Newsmaker hotline. So all that info right there, Karl, what are your thoughts about all that?
Karl Eggerss: Well, I’ll give you one more if you think this is good news, which is over the weekend, China came out with their export numbers, meaning how much stuff do they send out of their country. And it was much lower than expected, which means the tariffs are hurting them. And so again, they need this deal, this trade deal with the US more than the US does, which is why you see Trump occasionally say, “Maybe we’ll wait. Maybe we’ll wait until after the election and see how it goes.” And then what happens? A couple of days later, there’s some talking underneath the surface and then lo and behold, we get more positive trade news. So, our economy is doing very well and China’s is still sputtering. And having said all of that, that’s why I think a trade deal will happen, at least in the next few months.
And again, we’ve got this timing issue, right? We’ve got about a year, a little less than a year before the election. I don’t think Trump wanted to do that deal too quickly. And he would prefer that the Fed continue to lower interest rates at the same time. And really Trey, that’s what’s going on here is that you mentioned all these good things about the economy. Don’t forget the biggest thing is at the same time a year ago, the Fed was raising interest rates and said, “We are going to raise interest rates three more times in 2019.” They didn’t do that. They lowered interest rates three times in 2019. That’s been the biggest difference between last year’s sell off in December and this year’s rally to new highs, has been this change in direction by the Federal Reserve.
We’re talking a difference of six interest rate moves. That’s the equivalent of somebody coming down shooting a three pointer, running down the court, missing it, coming down the court, and the other team shoots a three pointer, makes it, and they say, “That was a six point turnaround.” This was a six interest rate move turnaround. It went from hiking three times to cutting three times.
Trey Ware: Well, and as you look at this right here, part of the reason they were doing that is they were concerned about inflation, but the inflationary numbers are at about 1.3%, so they’re still extremely low right now. As long as they stay out of that beautiful number of 2%, then there’s no reason for them to raise interest rates. So we really are getting more people back into the economy and back into the workforce. We’ve got more money circulating in the economy and the workforce. We have a lot of really, really positive things that are going on. And I think Bartiromo was right on Friday when she said the Democrats are taking a wrecking ball to our economy. Bottom line is we’ve finally got somebody in office who is putting our interests ahead of China’s interests, ahead of the UK’s interests or the European Union’s interests, ahead of France’s interests.
We finally have somebody in office who is pushing a policy forward that’s best for the United States, and that’s the real difference maker there. We can talk individual programs and policies as far as tax cuts are concerned and things like that and all that’s been good, but the bottom line is he has an interest in seeing America succeed, and he’s putting policies in place that will help America succeed. And the Democrats are trying to remove him from office and remove him … They’re making up stuff trying to take him out of the picture, which would set us right back into where we were. Thanks, Karl. Appreciate it. Karl Eggerss, creatingricherlives.com.
Karl Eggerss was on CBS discussing ways to teach kids about money and the proper way to think about allowances.
Sharon Ko: All right, parents. What lessons can you teach your kids today to get them money smart? This morning, quick tips to get allowance started and how to encourage that entrepreneurial mindset.
Karl Eggerss: I think you need to think about that term, allowance. I mean, are parents required to give their kids money on a regular basis? A lot of people say, “It’s not an allowance, I’m paying you for chores. I’m already teaching you about how it’s going to work in the real world where you’re doing a task and you’re getting compensated for it.” So, I would develop a list of things to do around the house and then the child can be compensated for those. That’s a good way to do it. Some people do allowances and just give their kids money. I personally don’t do that. I make them earn it because that’s how the real world’s going to work. That can really start at any age. And you can even come up with a formula. It could be a dollar per month, per year. If they’re five years old, they’re going to get $5 a month to do these tasks. If they’re 12 years old, they’re going to get $12 a month. Some formula that works for your family and that way the kids all know there is some seniority. The older kids are probably getting harder tasks to do around the house, but they’re also getting compensated more. I think that’s a good way to start the process of, “I work for something and I get paid for that.”
Sharon Ko: What if the child is interested in maybe earning their money outside of chores? In your experience, what has worked for you with your kids?
Karl Eggerss: Yeah, so I found two things that each of my kids were passionate about, one thing apiece and we turned them into income production. My son’s a music fanatic. He’s going to be an audio engineering major in college. So, for him, we invested in DJ equipment and that’s what he does to earn income, through primarily word of mouth, a little bit of advertising. That is his job. My daughter loves to bake. So, same thing. She is selling cakes online, mostly to friends and family. It doesn’t have to be a full-blown business, but we’re teaching her about the costs of how much it costs to do that, and the profits and all of that. Even if they’re putting a dollar in their savings and they’re spending a dollar and they’re giving a dollar away, they’re doing things that they’re going to do as an adult with bigger dollars. It’s teaching them those habits. That’s where talking about debt comes into play. There’s a lot of little lessons in there when they’re going through some of that, that you can teach them, and say, “Nothing changes as you get older. It’s just more expenses and probably more income as well. If you learn to do those things now, it’ll help you a lot in the future.”
By Justin Pawl, CFA, CAIA
In this week’s edition:
- Last Week Today. News impacting financial markets and the economy.
- Heads and Tails. Timing the market is a fool’s errand.
Last Week Today. U.S. economic data releases were weak, with one big exception. The November Non-Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index and Manufacturing (PMI) report, in particular, were both softer than expected. Nonetheless, the October jobs report was a humdinger, showing 266,000 new jobs added (vs. 180,000 consensus estimate), and the prior two months were revised higher by 44,000 jobs. It was a strong report, but the “internals” were less impressive as the manufacturing sector added few jobs outside of the returning GM strikers (consistent with the weak Manufacturing PMI report), and many of the other positions were added in education, healthcare, and leisure sectors. The good news is that the labor market is healthy overall, which should support the all-mighty U.S. consumer. | President Trump announced he is reinstating 25% tariffs on Brazil and Argentina steel and aluminum. | Aramco (the world’s largest oil company) held the biggest initial public offering (IPO) in history. Though the IPO’s capital raise of $25.6 billion fell short of Saudi officials’ original hopes of raising $100 billion, the $1.7 trillion valuation makes it the world’s most valuable publicly-traded company (ahead of Apple’s $1.15 trillion). | OPEC agreed to cut oil production by another 500,000 barrels a day, bringing OPEC-related production cuts to 1.7 million since October 2018.
Global equity markets began the week on shaky ground when another round of He Said-Xi Said put the trade deal on shaky ground. By Wednesday, however, the trade mood had brightened and, bolstered by the strong jobs report, the MSCI All Country World Index rallied to close the week up +0.3%. Emerging market equities were the clear winner for the week, rising 0.9% aided by a 1.3% rally in Chinese equities. Gains in developed market stocks were less robust, but beneath the surface, Value stocks gained +0.5%, while Growth stocks declined by -0.2%. Commodities, outside of precious metals, rallied on hopes of a trade deal and oil (+7.3% to $59.20 per barrel) received an extra boost from OPEC’s agreement to reduce production. For more detail on weekly, MTD, and YTD financial market performance, click on the table below.
Heads and Tails. Most investors dream of finding an investment strategy that avoids the worst days in the market and captures the returns from the best days. This Aladdin’s Lamp of a strategy would, by definition, require an investor have specific knowledge to move deftly in and out of the market with precision, putting capital at risk only when the risk of losing money was low if not zero. This approach to investing is called “market timing,” and it has a long history of unfulfilled promises. Sure, there have been cases where a portfolio manager can time the market for a short period, but the number of successful market timers over a long horizon can likely be counted on one hand. The challenge for market-timers is two-fold: you must correctly predict when to divest AND when to invest. Each of these decisions is difficult enough on its own, but when a successful trade requires being correct twice in a row, the odds are cut in half. Over a long time horizon, the probability of success becomes infinitesimal.
To illustrate this point, consider flipping a coin and correctly choosing whether it will land as a head or a tail. On your first flip, you have a 50% chance of being correct – not great odds, but better than Vegas. On the second flip, you have a 25% of making two good choices in a row – uh oh, this is getting harder. By the time you get to 10 flips, you only have a 0.10% chance of making ten correct choices in a row. You can see the problem, especially when you consider your retirement savings could be on the line.
On that note, Fidelity compiled data on market timing that shows the portfolio impact of missing the best days in the market. Remember, to successfully time markets, you must not only correctly choose when to sell, but also when to buy. According to Fidelity’s data, if you had invested $10,000 in the S&P 500 in 1980 and held your investments through good times and bad, your investment would have grown to just over $700,000. However, if you had missed the best 5 days of market performance, you would have missed out on 35% of the gains. Missing the top 10 days, and your portfolio value would be cut by more than 50%.
Source: Fidelity Investments
This is not to suggest that the best investment approach is to buy and hold stocks. There are, of course, a myriad of other considerations when it comes to putting hard-earned money at risk in the market. For example, Fidelity’s study does not consider the different investment horizons to which each investor is subject. Consider individuals who retired in late 2000 or late 2007 and needed to withdraw capital from their portfolio to pay for living expenses. Their net worth would be dramatically lower than what is illustrated above simply because the withdrawn money would not be available to appreciate in the market recoveries following the devastating losses of the Dot.com-bust and the Financial Crisis. Moreover, the data above does not consider individual risk tolerances, that may cause individuals to sell during the exact wrong times when markets were down, but about to move higher.
The point here is that trying to time the market is a fool’s errand. Concentrating your portfolio in stocks is not a realistic solution either – even university endowments that have a theoretically infinite time horizon populate their portfolios with multiple asset classes. The middle ground is building a diversified portfolio of investment assets (stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, alternative investment strategies, etc.) with unique return drivers that complement one another.
A diversified portfolio is a good starting point. From there, diligently researching the global economy and financial markets can help identify outright dislocations and pockets of opportunity, where it makes sense to overweight a portion of one’s portfolio. Keep in mind that certain assets will perform well in some environments, while others will lag or even lose money. Said differently, by definition, a diversified portfolio will never perform as well as its best performing allocation, but it will also never perform as badly as its worst-performing allocation.
In a properly diversified portfolio, there is always a holding or two that will frustrate you because it (or they) are not performing as well as the other positions. That’s OK because you don’t want all the assets moving in the same direction with the same level of performance simultaneously. Indeed, that type of pattern would be a good indication that you are not diversified at all. Instead, combining a diversified portfolio with disciplined rebalancing (buying assets that haven’t performed well, while selling assets that have appreciated) keeps the portfolio “fresh” and can help compound growth at a pace consistent with your risk tolerance and investment horizon.
On this episode, Karl Eggerss discusses the persistency of the stock market plus it’s that time of year to do these 3 things to help minimize taxes.
Hey, everybody. Welcome to Creating Richer Lives, the podcast. Thanks for joining me. Appreciate it. As always, just a reminder, the podcast is brought to you by Covenant, lifestyle, legacy, philanthropy. And if you need any information on the services Covenant provides, (210) 526-0057. And the website is creatingricherlives.com, a lot of information on there, especially if you’re new and you’re trying to learn some things, but also just keeping up with what’s going on, whether it’s tax changes. We talk about things that could impact you, things that are in Congress that could impact you from a tax standpoint. Whether it’s social security or Medicare, I try to have different people on the podcast to give you that information when it’s coming out.
So all of that’s on creatingricherlives.com. And it’s, again, a culmination of not only podcasts, but TV interviews, radio interviews, blogs, different articles we put out. We put a bunch of stuff on there, and it covers a lot of different areas. And again, the whole goal is to help you create a richer life. That’s the goal. That’s why we call the podcast what we do. And that’s why we call the website what we do. Well, again, (210) 526-0057.
Another somewhat interesting week in the market. I wouldn’t say it was the most exciting week, but it was interesting to watch a market that has been, I would say, overbought, which is a technical term. But overbought the last probably two, three weeks, has stayed there, and really has not changed in terms of that condition. And yet the market refuses to go down. And it had a chance earlier this week, and it just didn’t do it.
Now before we get into that, I’m going to spend some time in just a little bit talking about some things that you should be considering or doing at the end of the year here because we are about three weeks away from the calendar flipping. And there’s some things you should be doing or at least reviewing right now before the end of the year. And so we’ll talk about a few of those things.
But as we enter the end of the year, interesting to see and compare where we were in 2018, December of 2018, to where we are now. We had a 20% drop in late, late in the year, which really ended around Christmas Eve, very different than where we are today. So I’m going to touch on that in just a minute and why I think the market does look so different a year later.
Really, this week was all about the China trade deal because came in on Monday, the Dow was down 260 points. We had some weak economic data. We had ISM Manufacturing was weaker. Gold did well. Emerging markets did well. Bond should have rallied that day. Interesting to watch because interest rates should have gone down based on weak U.S. economic data, but they didn’t. Actually went up. And of course, it was Cyber Monday. The whole brick and mortar declining while internet takes over, that continues at a pretty rapid pace. So more and more people continuing to shop, but they’re just doing it in a different way than they’ve done it in years past.
Tuesday, very interesting because Trump came out and said, “Look, we might be better off to wait on a trade deal until after the 2020 election.” Boy, it’s not what Wall Street wanted to hear. The Dow Jones was down about 450 points at one point, actually rallied throughout the day, and finished down about 250 which of course is about 1% now. Not as much as it used to be. And Wednesday, market bounced back a little bit. Thursday, Market was kind of flat. But Friday, we got this big jobs report yesterday, right? We got 266,000 jobs created in the month of November compared to what was supposed to be 180,000.
Now, as I’ve told you in the past, when the numbers are bad, the numbers are good, take it with a grain of salt because they’re always revised. We need to see trends, and that’s still the case. Interesting though that last month’s was revised up by 28,000 as well. So not only did it beat by 80, 90,000, it also was revised up. And the unemployment rate fell to about three and half percent. So that was the good news. That’s what got the market jumping up about 330 points on Friday and really salvaging the week.
But there is some economic news coming out that’s still not great, and so we still have a mixed bag here in terms of the U.S. And while there may be some green shoots overseas in various areas, still some weak data over there as well. But is it collapsing? No. And investors on Wall Street know the jobs report, it’s a heavyweight. It’s one of the most important economic releases we have because that’s the consumer, right? And people working, they’re going to spend money. They’re 70% of the economy. Enough said. So it gets a heavy weight but still a mixed bag.
But here’s the deal. This is something that is in stark contrast to where we were in December of 2018 versus where we are in December, 2019. Remember in 2018, the Fed had hiked and said they were going to raise interest rates three more times in 2019. What have they done? They have lowered interest rates three times. For you sports fans, you ever see when… And I’m a Spurs fan. So let’s say the Spurs come down. They miss a three pointer. And let’s say the dreaded Houston Rockets, I know we have a lot of Houston fans out there, let’s say the Rockets come down. Which by the way, we won, right? Spurs won earlier in the week even though there was a controversial call where Harden dunked it and the ball came back out of the net.
Anyways, so let’s say that the Spurs shot a three. They missed it, come down. Harden shoots a three and makes it. You’ll oftentimes hear the announcer say, “Boy, that was a six point turnaround.” What they mean is, should’ve been three points for the Spurs. Instead, it wasn’t. So they missed out on three points, and the other team came down and scored three. So it’s really a six point swing. That’s exactly what the Federal Reserve did. From December of 2018, the Fed was going to hike, raise interest rates three times, 0.75%, quarter point each time probably. And instead, they lowered them 0.75 three times. That is a one and a half percent swing. It’s a big deal.
Has it impacted the economy? There’s a big delay in this, right, when they do this and what’s the effect. But the perception and the change of direction and the speed at which they did it was historic, “We’re raising interest rates three times next year. Oh, no. We’re not. Not only are we not doing that, we’re going to start cutting rates.” Big change in direction, and the markets have loved it ever since. Hence, we have a stronger market this year.
So we got a very sharp sell-off because the economy was slowing last Christmas, and the Fed didn’t see it. And they were actually hiking interest rates. That combination, if you go back and listen to the podcast literally two, three years ago, I was mentioning that if the Fed ever started to raise rates at the same time that the economy started to slip, that’s the bad combination. And that’s really what we saw. The Fed finally woke up, saw that the economy was slowing, and they did something about it and started cutting rates.
Fast forward to now, market’s still celebrating because they’re still… They may not lower anymore, but they saw the error of their ways. They cut. And the economy is hanging in there. And as we’ve been saying, maybe close but no cigars in terms of recession, but we’d still have some mixed signals there. But the Fed’s saying, “We’re ready to cut if we need to, but we may not right now.” But that’s been good enough for the market to say, “Get the feds out of the way.” And you know the old mantra, don’t fight the fed. It’s exactly what that means. And it was classic this particular time.
So who knows about the trade deal, but these headlines this week about trade deal, yeah, we can wait until after the 2020 election. Apparently last week over the weekend, China may have changed their mind on something. It caused Trump to come out and say, “Fine, we’ll wait on a trade deal.” Markets didn’t like that. It’s negotiating 101 again. And then something was leaked from the Chinese that they’re working towards a trade deal. And so again, markets bounce back. You can’t trade that. It’s virtually impossible. You don’t know what’s going to happen with that.
But the bottom line is the Fed’s loose, economy’s okay, good jobs number, market’s been up. And as we enter the end of the year, and I’ll talk about this in a minute what you should be doing, but remember we have people with built-in unrealized capital gains, right? Bought something earlier, maybe last Christmas, and it’s up. And they may want to take profits and start to build some cash because they’re starting to worry about the market.
But they’re not going to do it now when they could sell it January 2nd. Market’s closed January 1st. Let’s say it opens January 2nd, and they sell it then. They have the capital gains on the books for 2020, not 2019. So that could be why we’re seeing this market that’s been very, very resilient continuing to push up. But we did see… I told you about bonds earlier and how they really should have rallied earlier in the week and they didn’t. And then here, they are selling off again on better economic news, at least with the jobs report.
All right, let’s switch gears for just a minute, and as promised, let’s talk a little bit about a year end technique called tax loss harvesting. What does that mean? It’s not running out to the vegetable garden or harvesting anything else. It’s harvesting losses, and the goal is to offset your capital gains. Now, some of you may have heard of this. Some of you may have done it. Just wanted to talk through what it is and the effective way to do it.
So inevitably in some years, especially like 2019 when the stock market has appreciated and you may have taken some gains throughout the year, you’re going to be sitting there looking at your realized gains or losses. And you should at this point, or your advisor should, and we do this customarily across the board for our taxable accounts. Remember, this does not concern your IRAs, your Roth accounts, your SEP accounts, your 401(k)s. This is simply your taxable accounts. Could be trust, could be joint accounts primarily, could be an individual account with just your name on it, a transfer on death account.
So you look at your account. You look at what has been sold throughout the year. And for grins, let’s say you’re sitting there with $10,000 of realized capital gains on the books. And if you do nothing else, you will pay taxes on that in April. You sold some things. The gains on that were $10,000. You can sit there and do nothing and pay the taxes, and maybe that’s the right thing to do given some circumstances for various reasons. But you probably have something in your portfolio that did not go up this year and is down. If you have a diversified portfolio, that could be the case. If it’s really diversified, that’s usually the case or something in there that is down.
So what you have to do is obviously you could sell that position. And let’s say that position had a $5,000 loss. You sell that position sitting in the money market, and now your $10,000 realized gain now became a $5,000 realized gain because you just took $5,000 in losses. You have to sell it. You can’t just be sitting on it. You have to physically sell it. Where some people get it wrong is they may do that, and they don’t put it into something similar.
So for example, things that are down may be the very things that are going to rally, especially come the new year. So let’s just take energy for example. It’s a great example of things that haven’t done very well in 2019 whether it’s a particular positions, could be an ETF, could be a mutual fund. So you’re sitting there with energy stocks or an ETF that is down on the year. But you think it’s going to go back up. And I would agree with you, but that’s a side note. But let’s say you think it’s going to go back up. You don’t want to lose the rubber band effect of that going back up, right?
So what you want to do is you want to sell that position and go identify something that you think is going to move similarly going forward. That could mean that you are selling two or three individual energy stocks, and then you go and buy an energy ETF. Now, there’s lots of different energy TFs. There’s lots of different energy stocks. It’s not going to move exactly, but the goal that you’re trying to do is not lose your positioning necessarily, but you’re just trying to recognize the loss.
Now, you can move on to something else if you truly felt that energy wasn’t going to bounce back, but inevitably, what we see people doing is if they do this tax loss harvesting, they sell their energy. And then they may go buy something that’s already appreciated in 2019. You may be correct in that assumption, but that’s not the goal here. The goal is not to necessarily give up on the position. The goal is just to recognize the loss to offset your gains.
Interesting because if you hold that for 30 days, you can go right back and buy that same position again. Now, if you don’t hold it for 30 days or you sell it and buy that same position back within 30 days, it’s a wash sale. That means you can’t recognize it for tax purposes as a loss immediately. So be careful when you do that. Maybe give yourself even more time than the 30 days, 33 days, 34 days. But that’s the general idea of doing this.
It doesn’t really work the other way where you have losses and you say, “I need to sell some stuff to use those losses up.” It doesn’t have any material effect if you have losses on the books for the year and you’re looking at the end of the year saying, “I would like to sell a stock, but I have to pay capital gains.” Well, that’s an opportune time to lock in some capital gains because you wanted to exit that position. You wanted to reduce your exposure to that ETF, that stock, whatever it might be. And you don’t have to pay taxes on it because you already have some losses built up from maybe earlier in the year. Remember, all this stuff flows together. Losses offset the gains. They net them out at the end of the year.
So this is the time to do that. And this is exactly why the stock market is being pretty resilient right now is because in a year like this, where you have some things that have done pretty poorly but the majority of things have done really well, many folks don’t want to sell those positions now when they could sell them in a month from now and be in a new tax year. So they’re deferring selling, so they don’t have to pay capital gains come April. So that’s why you see positions continue to run up stocks continue to run up.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ledger, you see stocks that have underperformed continue to underperform. So sometimes, you see this interesting dynamic in January where the winners from the previous year become the losers because now people are selling. Now, they’re locking in their gains in a new tax year, and then the losers that they really wanted to buy that were being used for tax loss harvesting, they’re getting more and more pressure put on them as more and more people continue to sell those, right?
Think about it. Energy down this year, that’s going to be the thing that most people use for tax loss harvesting or energy stocks. So they’re going to continue to maybe stay down at these levels. Then come January, they go on a huge run. And we’ve seen that before, and it doesn’t necessarily last. But you see some positioning as individuals are changing their allocations simply because of tax purposes.
Now again, this doesn’t apply to IRAs, but in taxable accounts, this is something you should always do. And that doesn’t mean you’re always going to get your capital gains down to zero. You may want to reduce your positioning throughout the year and lower your exposure, and so you’re recognizing some capital gains. You can certainly do that, and you may have capital gains taxes. That’s just normal. But look for those opportunities, especially doing a tax swap where you can sell something, not really change your positioning, just you’re in a new security. But if that security runs, you still have some exposure in that area.
The other thing you can do obviously with pent-up capital gains that are unrealized, things you haven’t sold, is use them for charitable purposes. You’re going to give $10,000 check to the church. Instead, take an appreciated stock, mutual fund, give that and the value of that of $10,000 to the church. They will sell it with no capital gains. Of course, you will never pay capital gains, and you kept the cash in your pocket. And you can go use that to invest in something else, a different mutual fund, a different stock, whatever it might be. So that’s another really good technique to do at the end of the year. So those are just a couple of housekeeping ideas.
One other thing I forgot to mention was qualified charitable distributions. We may or may not have talked about it in the past, but basically using your required minimum distribution that you have to take out when you’re over 70 and a half, using that distribution, sending it straight to charity. And you get the full deduction. You don’t have to pay taxes on it in other words. And you can, again, use your cashflow. Instead of giving it to the charitable organization, you can keep it for yourself. And you have given away your distribution to them. Effectively, your net worth’s not changing, but you’re not paying taxes on that distribution you normally would have. Because think about it, some people aren’t able to write off their charitable donation due to various circumstances, tax brackets, all those different reasons. And so this enables you to take that distribution out and give it away without any taxes to you.
So those are a few little tips, tax swaps, donating your appreciated securities, and doing qualified charitable distribution. This is the time of year to be doing that. We still have obviously time. We have three weeks or so till the end of the year, so you still have time to do all these things. So make sure, of course, if you need help with any of that, we can look at your portfolio and advise you on those types of things. (210) 526-0057 or you can always reach out to us on creatingricherlives.com, and we’ll be glad to help you.
Hey, have a wonderful weekend, everybody. Thanks for joining us. And don’t forget if you’re not signed up for Covenant U, please do so. Go to creatingricherlives.com. We send it out every Monday afternoon. Thanks a lot. See you next weekend.
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On the Trey Ware Show, Karl Eggerss gave listeners a warning about shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Trey Ware: Well, speaking of the shop economy and holiday shopping records and things like that, let’s go to the Stevens Roofing Newsmaker Hotline. Karl Eggerss is joining me, creatingricherlives.com and let’s talk about how the shopping weekend has gone. And today is Cyber Monday. So what do you think Karl? How are things going?
Karl Eggerss: Cyber Monday doesn’t have the same ring to it as it used to because it used to be back in the late 90’s, early 2000’s you would go to work. That was the whole point. You’d go to work because they had the high speed internet and you didn’t have it at home. You had the cord plugged in the wall. And now we have high speed internet everywhere. And so Cyber Monday’s lost a little effect but we did see the brick and mortar stores continue to suffer. The sales were down 6.2% this year compared to last year. But overall sales have been great. We’re just seeing the shift continue from brick and mortar to online. And that’s going to continue. And this is an important season because obviously everybody looks at the economy and the consumers we’ve talked about is a huge part of our economy. So how are they doing in terms of shopping this holiday season? So far it looks pretty good. It’s just not physically in the stores.
Trey Ware: Some of the numbers I saw from the weekend, particularly on Black Friday and what have you, looked really great with the exception of all the fighting and stuff though, some of the animals were getting involved in.
Karl Eggerss: Yeah.
Trey Ware: Some of the beasts were getting involved in over the weekend. But other than that, the sales numbers, I haven’t seen final sales numbers, but the stuff that I saw over the weekend look really good, looked sharp.
Karl Eggerss: They have, and I would caution everybody listening that be careful on Cyber Monday, on Black Friday, there are special models of electronics that are made, specific model numbers only to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and they’re cheaper parts and they’re meant to drive the price down. And so sometimes when you go shop, you’ll go try to compare it and that model doesn’t exist outside of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and there’s been some pretty bad quality stuff made. So be careful what you’re buying.
Trey Ware: Okay. So the stock market, what do you think for a year-end wrap up here? What things are you looking at?
Karl Eggerss: One thing that’s interesting Trey, is that as we are in December now, the stock market’s had such a good year that if you’re sitting on gains, and you’re wanting to take some profits, and sit on some cash, and maybe see how next year plays out, you’re probably going to wait until January because of the fact that you have taxes to pay. Nobody wants to pay those capital gains taxes. So they might defer those sales until January. Conversely, for these stocks that have been beaten up all 2019 they probably won’t get any love until 2020 because we might see a rotation at that point. So as we’re so late into the year, it would surprise me if we had anything that would repeat last year we had some real sharp selloff because it’s just too many taxes to pay. So probably everybody’s going to sit tight until we get into the new year.
Trey Ware: Yeah. As you well know when it comes to the taxes, pay me now or pay me later. Right? So you sell on January, you’re going to pay it in next year. So might as well pay me now or pay me later. But you know, Jerome Powell last week was, or the week before, was talking about the economy and his projection for the economy and other economists have spoken out as well. They’re very bullish and very optimistic about 2020. It looks like anyway.
Karl Eggerss: Yeah. I’ve been saying on here for months that I didn’t think we were going to go into a recession and now you’re starting to hear people say, maybe we did avoid one. That doesn’t mean we won’t ever have one. But in the short term we probably aren’t going to have one. So you have Jay Powell saying, “Look, the economy is doing pretty well. We may not need to lower interest rates anymore.” And then you see President Trump who tweeted again this morning attacking the Fed saying, “You need to lower interest rates and loosen monetary policy.”
Trey Ware: Yeah.
Karl Eggerss: So you have this, you still have this battle going on and that’s … I wouldn’t look too much into that. Every president wants-
Trey Ware: Sure.
Karl Eggerss: Lower interest rates coming into an election especially. And Jay Powell is looking at the numbers and obviously trying to do the best they can to say, “You know what? We have it at a proper level.” And so that’s going to continue the next several months. But you’re not going to see him get fired. You’re not going to see any of that, but you’re probably going to continue to see president Trump pound the table. And look, what has the Fed done? They’ve cut interest rates multiple times after he’s been hammering them.
Trey Ware: Maybe they ought to do it again. You never know.
Karl Eggerss: They may do it again. That’s right.
Trey Ware: All right, Karl Eggerss. Thank you Karl, from creatingricherlives.com. Check him out.
Majority of Americans are struggling financially and half live paycheck to paycheck. Here’s a guide to break free of that struggle. Karl Eggerss was interviewed on CBS.
Sharon Ko: Majority of Americans are struggling big time financially. In fact, roughly half are living paycheck to paycheck. Here’s a guide to break free of that struggle. What’s the first thing someone can do to get out of the pit of living paycheck to paycheck?
Karl Eggerss: I would say, literally look how many hours are you working a week, and is there any margin in there to do something extra for some extra income? With Uber, Lyft, is that something you could do on the weekends? Is there anything else you could do, or are you good with your hands and can be doing some type of hobby that you’ve turned into some type of income in addition to your normal job? So if you’re working 40 hours, could you work an extra 10 hours a week doing something else and then taking that extra money and putting it towards savings, not towards your daily living expenses?
And start with the discipline, because the discipline of doing that as you get raises, take those, that extra amount of money, and save more. That’s where most people get it wrong, is that what they do is, as they start to get raises in life, they increase their living standards. And we all want higher living standards, but at some point, you have to take that extra amount and put it away in savings and let it grow, and don’t touch it. That’s the other part about it.
Sharon Ko: What if you have a lot of debt?.
Karl Eggerss: That’s probably more important to pay that down than to invest, and so you do have to forgive the investing for right now, and the saving. The emergency fund, though, is probably even more important than the debt. So when you look at priority, you have to have a rainy day fund for, you’re going to need new tires, air conditioner around the house goes out, something like that pops up, could be a medical emergency. That’s why you have to build that emergency fund up, but the debt’s a quick second, I mean, you have to get rid of that debt. Otherwise, it snowballs, and it’s going to start eating you alive because of the interest, and then you fall further and further behind. But I would not invest, as opposed to paying off the debt. You have to pay off the debt or get it down to a reasonable level first.
Sharon Ko: Something that’s really worked well for me has been the automatic bill pay for my student loans.
Karl Eggerss: Absolutely. That’s a good point, is nowadays, you can automate a lot of things. Automate your savings, automate your bill pay, because it really does make budgeting a lot easier. You know what’s coming out, you know what’s coming in, and when there’s some left over, that’s when you have to start figuring out, “What am I going to do?” And otherwise, it’s probably going to go to a new iPhone that you may not have needed and you could have, you had an older iPhone.
Sharon Ko: Okay, and what if you have kids? Because that is a huge expense, as we know.
Karl Eggerss: Don’t have any more. No, I’m just kidding. It is a very big expense. We’ve talked about that in prior interviews, how expensive kids are. I would say, you hear about people giving their kids allowances, and you have to put that on the back burner and actually help them contribute to the household. You know, if you look back in 100 years ago, people had seven, 10 kids, and they all helped around the house a lot. And so, we have to do that. We have to get our kids to help us do those things, because it is saving you money. And it could be, somebody that has somebody help them clean their house, have the kids do that, and don’t pay somebody to do that.
Sharon Ko: Thank you, Karl Eggerss.