So what is Dogecoin?

So what is Dogecoin?

In a week packed with important economic announcements, a late rally left major indices mixed. The S&P 500 and Dow Industrials scored new all-time highs, while the Nasdaq dipped. The famous question from the SNL skit, “so what is Dogecoin” is gaining plenty of attention, but remains unanswered? The Dow up 2.72%, S&P up 1.26%, and Nasdaq down 1.48% for the week.

Last Week

In a week packed with important economic announcements, a late rally left major indices mixed. The non-farm payrolls disappointed, with only 266,000 jobs created in April versus expectations of nearly 1 million. Increased government unemployment benefits continue. This contrasted with Wednesday’s ADP report which showed private sector payrolls advancing by 742,000 in April. The unemployment rate in April ticked up to 6.1%. In general, the labor market continues to improve, with last week’s new claims falling to a pandemic-era low of 498,000.

ISM Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing Indexes, which are based on industry survey data, both came in lighter than expected for April. However, both indexes still signaled economic expansion. With economic activity picking up, but the jobs number sending mixed signals to the market,
policymakers are reluctant to change their conservative views of the recovery. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the jobs report “underscores the long-haul climb back to recovery.” She retains her expectation of full employment returning in 2022.

Crypto currency dogecoin fell 25% intra-day Sunday following the Musk hosted SNL. But what is it? According to CNBC, in 2013, software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer launched the satirical cryptocurrency as a way to make fun of bitcoin and the many other cryptocurrencies boasting grand plans to take over the world.  “The joke is on Wall Street this time,” said Mati Greenspan, portfolio manager and founder of Quantum Economics. “What you have is a situation where teens on TikTok are outperforming even the smartest suits by thousands of percentage points.” Dogecoin hit an all-time high Friday afternoon. Dogecoin now has a market capitalization of about $92 billion following a six-month climb of more than 26,000 percent. Not much of a joke at the moment.

Week Ahead

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s hawkish rate hike commentary briefly sent worry through risk markets before she walked them back. Fed members continued to deflect inflation concerns. There are several FOMC member speeches today and tomorrow. So we will see if they maintain a united front. U.S. retail sales are expected to come in strong again. This continues the strong results from last month, a nearly 10% jump. Crypto currency dogecoin has rebounded 5% intra-day on Monday.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 13.62%, S&P up 12.68%, and Nasdaq up 6.70% through the close on Friday.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

Erie CO Financial Advisor with a focus on investments, wealth management, and retirement planning in Boulder, Louisville, Niwot, Lafayette, Windsor, Berthoud, CO

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Financial Review – Why now is still a good time

Financial Review – Why now is still a good time

Isn’t it funny how quickly we adapt? Who would have thought that video conferencing would have become such an important part of life. And in fact a lifeline for many? It’s helped friends and families to keep in touch and enabled businesses to keep running during tough times. It’s certainly provided me with a helpful way of staying connected and providing financial review to clients.

Now, at the click of a button, I can invite you to a meeting from your home. I can make it interactive by sharing our screens to show you documents and charts. Of course, these meetings also save time because we’re not having to travel to see each other. Not to mention servicing clients in different states.

But the ‘Zoom revolution’ has also brought with it a new phenomenon. The phrase ‘Zoom fatigue’ describes the feeling of drain after too many virtual meetings. Psychologists explain that the added pressure of being seen on screen is what adds to this feeling of exhaustion. The strain of having to actively show through a small screen that we’re interested and alert can be tiring.

It’s certainly true that face-to-face meetings are much more relaxed. It’s an altogether more natural experience. There’s an emotional connection that happens without thinking about it. It’s easier to sense when someone needs to pause and reflect, and there are more comfortable silences. There’s also less chance of us talking over one another.

That’s why I’ll always advocate face-to-face interaction – and why I’m looking forward to seeing you again one day soon hopefully! But in the meantime, I want you to feel confident that your review meetings and catch ups – whether on the phone or via video – will still be just as effective as in person.

I understand what an uncertain and worrying time it will be for many and that now more than ever you’ll want to talk to someone in a relaxed a way as possible.

As part of your financial review, I’ll listen to your concerns and provide you with feedback and solutions based on your individual needs and priorities. I’ll also make every effort to make things clear and simple.

Last week wrapped up Financial Literacy Month. I hope you were able to learn a few new things and apply them to your strategy. One of my goals in sharing information is to engage you with useful content so you are in the best position to grow your wealth – and maybe even have a little fun. Ask yourself these three questions to reveal how financially literate you are:

  1. Are you in control of your spending? Examining your money habits and creating a budget puts you in the driver’s seat toward smart money management.
  2. Are you saving for your future? Do you live within your means and are you investing in yourself first and foremost? If you need more info about how to best do this, ask me.
  3. Are you confident in reaching your current financial goals? Listen to your gut, and act accordingly.

If you answered yes to all three of these questions, you’re in good shape. But if you said no, don’t worry. Many people have had to reevaluate their priorities over the past year. I can help get you on the right track. I’ll also invite you to participate comfortably in the conversation and ask me any number of questions – I really mean it when I say there’s no such thing as a silly question!

I hope this provides reassurance that now is still a good time for a financial review. By re-setting your financial strategy at this point, I can put recent market performance and your longer-term financial goals into context. It will also give you the chance to pause, reflect and resettle your mind.

I look forward to speaking to you.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Proposed Capital Gains Tax Rate Increase and Your Money

Proposed Capital Gains Tax Rate Increase and Your Money

Stocks ended mostly flat on the week, with an abrupt tremor on Thursday after President Biden proposed a sharp increase in the capital gains tax rate. Housing market and job reports remain strong. The Nasdaq-100 sits just below all-time highs. Indexes for the week; the Dow down 0.42%, S&P down 0.11%, and Nasdaq down 0.25%.

Last Week

Government stimulus, monetary policy, and vaccinations have led indexes to reach near all time highs. President Biden’s proposal to increase capital gains tax rates to 39.6%, led to a severe drop on Thursday afternoon. The markets quickly recovered on Friday. Housing data continued to grab headlines, with the median selling price for existing U.S. homes up 17.2% year-over-year to $329,100 in March. Existing home sales actually dropped 3.7% last month due to supply being so limited, while new home sales in March increased 20.7% month-over-month and 66.8% year-over-year. The average sales price of new homes also increased 6% from the prior year. Jobless claims fell to a pandemic era low of 547,000. This is the lowest weekly level since March 2020.

Week Ahead

The Federal Reserve likely will not be changing monetary policy at Wednesday’s meeting. However, with economic data improving and inflation perhaps moving towards 4%, investors will be listening closely for clues about a shift in strategy. On Thursday, we will get our first look at Q1 GDP, with strong growth of 6.6% expected. The other main event this week is a slew of earnings reports. This includes a third of S&P500 companies and many of the important names in the Nasdaq, such as Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google.

The week will close out with U.S. pending home sales and several GDP reports from Europe and Canada. Before getting up in arms regarding the increased capital gains tax, consider this news was a reaction to the proposal. Also, this proposal only impacts individuals earning more than $1m. Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 11.23%, S&P up 11.29%, and Nasdaq up 8.76% through the close on Friday.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

Erie, CO financial advisor with a focus on investments, wealth management, and retirement planning in Boulder, Louisville, Niwot, Lafayette, Windsor, Berthoud, CO.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Earnings Boom or Bust – Market Brief April 19, 2021

Earnings Boom or Bust – Market Brief April 19, 2021

A mix of good economic news and concerns about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine hit the market last week. The major indices finished with modest gains around +1% for the week. Fed chair Powell remarked last week that most officials do not see interest rates rising until 2024.

Last Week

Economic data was strong. Retails sales advanced 9.8% in March, fueled by stimulus checks, the best results since May 2020. Jobless claims fell to 576,000, well below estimates of 710,000. The Philadelphia Fed factory index jumped to 50.2 from 44.5. The highest reading in 50 years. Housing starts reached a 15 year high despite soaring lumber prices. Overseas, China’s Q1 GDP came in at +18.3% versus estimates of +19%, and trade data slightly missed lofty expectations but continued to show impressive growth. Tensions between the U.S. and China are beginning again, so we’ll see if that starts to grab more headlines in the months ahead.

Week Ahead

Fed chair Powell remarked last week that most officials do not see interest rates rising until 2024. The U.S. NFIB Small Business Optimism report showed that small businesses are struggling to find qualified workers. This may put upward pressure on wages and spark more inflation (and higher interest rate) concerns. Fed officials continue to push expectations of inflationary pressures being temporary. However, with commodity prices rising, and squeezes on the supply chain and labor markets due to the accelerating vaccination pace, how long will it be until the market forces the Fed’s hand?

Meanwhile, earnings season continues this week. Expect to hear comments about higher costs and customer demand in conference calls this week. Because the U.S. economy is emerging from the Covid-19 crisis, most analysts thought first-quarter numbers would be good. So far, they have been much better than good: By the end of Friday, S&P 500 companies that had already reported had beaten profit expectations by a combined 30%, according to FactSet, compared with a five-year average of 7%. Optimism is reinforced by the latest economic data. In the U.S., retail sales for March were the strongest in 10 months. Even in Europe, where there has been less fiscal support for the economy, figures are coming in strong.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 11.75%, S&P up 11.44%, and Nasdaq up 9.03% through the close on Friday.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

Financial Advisor in Erie, CO with a focus on investments, wealth management, and retirement planning in Boulder, Louisville, Niwot, Lafayette, Windsor, Berthoud, CO

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Impact of Upcoming Earnings and Economic Data

Impact of Upcoming Earnings and Economic Data

Last week, investors’ expanding risk propelled U.S. equity indices 1-3% higher, driven by large-cap technology bursting out of consolidations. The Nasdaq paced the advance, while the S&P 500 scored its 22nd record high of the year. The S&P 500 roared past the 4000 level returning over 2.75%. The index is on its longest weekly winning streak since October of last year.

The VIX, a measure of volatility, slid below 17 to its lowest level since before the pandemic. U.S. Treasury yields were flat as investors weighed better than expected producer inflation versus dovish commentary from Fed. Economic data impressed once again. Producer prices increased well ahead of expectations in March, rising 1% over the prior month. Year over year, producer prices increased 4.2%, which was the largest yearly increase since 2011.

Continued claims, or the number of people receiving unemployment benefits, continued to slowly improve, falling to a one-year low of 3.73 million in the week ending on March 27. That represents a significant improvement from the high of over 23 million reached in May 2020. Another sign housing is affected by the rise in yields, mortgage applications fell 20%.

Earnings and Economic Data Ahead

Earnings season has arrived, and so has critical economic data. The largest financial institutions like J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America will report later in the week. Also this week, investors will weigh the latest consumer inflation data on Tuesday and retail sales on Thursday. Fed chair Powell has repeatedly stated the FOMC believes rising price pressures will only be transitory and the labor market still has significant slack. Thereby they are nowhere close to removing support or changing their dovish stance. Thursday offers plenty of market-moving potential with U.S. retail sales. Retail sales are expected to rebound sharply, as well as weekly unemployment claims. Lastly, Friday’s building permits and housing data will be closely watched. The key is whether the recent weakness tied to rising yields continues to filter through the sector.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 10.9%, S&P up 9.9%, and Nasdaq up 7.8% through the close on Friday.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

Financial Adviser in Erie, CO with a focus on investments, wealth management, and retirement planning in Boulder, Louisville, Niwot, Lafayette, Windsor, Berthoud, CO

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Good Debt Versus Bad Debt

Good Debt Versus Bad Debt

Debt is due for a rebrand, because there is such thing as good debt. So often when we hear about debt in the news, it’s within the context of “bad debt.” Households in over their heads with credit card bills and interest payments. Students working three jobs to chip away at college loans. House-poor millennials saddled with mortgage payments. All because they tried to get in on the market before it moved even further from reach.

But not all debt is bad. There are ways to leverage it in order to open up economic opportunities that will advance your financial plan. The key is to learn how to talk about it and cut through the noise.

While mortgages, student loans and investing in your business are often classified as good. Cars, credit cards, and vacations are commonly seen as bad, it’s a bit more complicated than that. For instance, what if that car helps grow your business opportunities or what if you’re living beyond your means with the mortgage?

It’s time to re-calibrate the way we look at debt and see how it can be used to your advantage.

Understanding the gray area

I often look at the dividing line between the two as if it increases your net worth or has future value, it’s good debt. And if it drains your wealth and decreases your value, it’s bad debt. But this also negates the point that all debt comes at a cost and that cost of borrowing needs to be considered. Further to that, the cost of your debt should be considered in your financial plan.

Ask yourself: Are you borrowing money at the best possible rate and are you prepared if interest rates rise in the future? How will leveraging this debt improve your finances in the future? And what’s your response if things go awry?

Part of keeping debt from turning into bad debt is stress-testing the different scenarios, knowing your comfort level, and developing a plan.

Using good debt to your advantage

My role as your financial advisor is to set you up for the future. Part of that is managing both the good and bad. Together we can identify strategies that help you to your advantage. From mapping out your cash flow and identify the problem areas to prioritizing expensive delinquent accounts over lower interest and less pertinent debts. Debt can be restructured into more beneficial vessels that allow you to draw equity or consolidate the amounts you owe.

So don’t let debt’s bad rep get in the way of a good strategy. Talk to me about how it can fit into your plan.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

Financial Advisor Erie CO focus on investments, wealth management, retirement in Boulder, Louisville, Niwot, Lafayette, Windsor, Berthoud, CO

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Ripple Effect of the Blocked Suez Canal

Ripple Effect of the Blocked Suez Canal

Despite the Suez Canal blockage, disrupting global trade, U.S. equity indices fluctuated between gains and losses throughout a volatile week. Month- and quarter-end flows hang over the market, but J.P. Morgan’s head quant expects flows to be net positive for equities, opposite of consensus. Also, the monthly jobs report is Friday.

Last Week

U.S. equity indices fluctuated between gains and losses throughout a volatile week but surged in the final hour of Friday’s trade. The Treasury yield rally consolidated amid technical headwinds and dovish Fed comments. The re-opening trade took a deep breath but is still +35% since the November 9 Pfizer vaccine announcement. The Nasdaq Composite failed to finish higher, but it did close notably off the lows. Energy dropped precipitously early on but sharply retraced losses after a cargo ship completely blocked passage in the Suez Canal.

Fed Chair Powell’s testimony reiterated the FOMC’s belief that inflationary pressures would only be temporary. Treasury yields began the week dropping significantly on Monday and Tuesday, as Fed Chairman Powell confirmed the Fed’s commitment to loose monetary policy. He insisted that the he does not believe a surge in inflation this year will be persistent or large. Powell believes that the Federal Reserve has the tools necessary to deal with higher inflation.

Existing home sales fell 6% in February, and new home sales dropped 18% Month-over-Month. However, new home sales are up +8.2% Year-over-Year. Durable goods orders fell for the first time in 10 months. Services activity came in at an 80-month high, supported by the steepest increase in new business in 3 years. Backlogs increased though, while prices surged on unprecedented supply chain disruptions. European PMIs came in much better than expected as well, returning to manufacturing growth for the first time in 6-months. The services sector remains in contraction, hampered by the COVID-19 related lockdowns.

Week Ahead

Month- and quarter-end flows hang over the market this week. The shortened holiday week features a docket full of Tier 1 economic data. Revisiting Friday’s bewildering market movement is critical. Shares of some media and technology companies were cut down significantly. Weekend reports tie this to an over-levered fund’s liquidation. The technology-heavy Nasdaq’s ability to rally sharply in the face of higher yields seems notable too. As the calendar turns, April offers investors a potential seasonal tailwind. Historically, it’s been the strongest month for the S&P500, higher 74% of the time since 1964 by an average +1.7%. Rebalancing could create a few speedbumps though.

Over the last 3 months, 10-year yields have risen 74 basis points, while the major U.S. equity indices have climbed modestly. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are +5.82% and +1.92% respectively, but equal weight S&P500 is +11.52% as the median stock has performed better than the market-cap behemoths. The monthly jobs report is on Friday, but markets will be closed in observance of Good Friday. Next Sunday’s futures opening could be chaotic as global investors react to our labor market situation, but they also may place more weight on the ADP report mid-week. Both are expected to show solid job creation, but the Fed remains focused on the slack in the labor sector, which is illustrated through the underemployment rate. Tuesday’s consumer confidence is poised to jump sharply given the stimulus deployment and vaccine progress.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 8.06%, S&P up 5.82%, and Nasdaq up 1.94% through the close on Friday.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Which way will the Fed move rates and when?

Which way will the Fed move rates and when?

Risk returned for investors, pushing U.S. equity indices 2-4% higher last week. The Fed meeting this week is priority for rate concerns. U.S. Treasury yields continued their rally on the heels of positive economic developments. President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package and announced an expedited vaccination schedule, stating all adults would be eligible to receive one by May 1. The Nasdaq rebounded from a 3-week slide, advancing 3.09% last week. The S&P finished 2.64% higher on the week, and sitting at an all-time high. And the Dow Jones index finished up 4.17% on the week.

Last Week

Positive consumer inflation data slowed the speed of the rising yields, with headline CPI coming in at +1.7% YoY. The yield curve steepened to a 5.5 year high. The Treasury sell-off continued last week as President Biden signed the latest coronavirus relief bill into law. This raised the yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury to the highest levels since before the pandemic.

At $1.9 trillion, this is the largest of the coronavirus stimulus bills. President Biden’s urging of states to make the vaccine available to all adults by May 1 has further boosted economic growth prospects. High growth and inflation have contributed to the increase in long-term yields. Initial jobless claims were better than expected. This was the lowest level of initial claims this year, 712,000. More states have eased covid restrictions. And the Johnson & Johnson single shot vaccine increases the shot distribution to the masses. A clearer path to full recovery is well within sight.

The Week Ahead and the Fed

The Fed meets today and tomorrow. Will Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and the FOMC flap their dovish wings, or will hawkish commentary fly over financial markets? It is widely expected that the Fed will leave rates unchanged. Short-term rate markets are pricing the first rate hike in late 2022 and markedly higher rates in 2023. While the Fed has pledged to keep rates at or near zero until at least the end of 2023.

After the European Central Bank pledged to ramp up its bond purchases last week, it seems likely that Powell could forcibly push back on rate investors’ hawkish expectations. Undoubtedly, Fed officials’ latest economic projections may show stronger growth estimates, but labor market figures could temper optimism. Many believe the rally in long-term government bond yields is most concerning to Fed officials, but they have said the rise in yields is likely transitory and tied to expectations of rapid growth in coming quarters.

The Fed Impact of Rates

The Fed’s well-anchored expectations allow for such temporary shocks. After all, the Fed isn’t a day-trader. In reality, the short-end of the curve remains notably disconnected from Fed guidance, which may likely merit a response from them this week. The rout in technology stocks has resulted in a positioning washout. So a dovish Fed response could ignite a push higher where the Nasdaq leads the pack. A hawkish tilt could spark volatility, sending equities lower and yields higher.

Markets hate uncertainty, but consensus is quickly growing for higher yields. Markets’ numbness to yields rising may only grow as the narrative changes. This is often how markets process new information. Initially, higher yields were viewed as detrimental to high valuation growth stocks, but now investors are seemingly viewing them as a signal the economy’s health is improving rapidly.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 7.10%, S&P up 5.99%, and Nasdaq up 3.35% through the close on Friday.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Despite Rising Yields, the Economy is Marching Forward

Despite Rising Yields, the Economy is Marching Forward

Let’s do a reality check. With tax season in full swing, markets doing their day-to-day dance and winter weather still causing havoc, it’s sometimes hard to know what’s going to happen next. In light of the events of 2020, some may be carrying added anxiety into this time of year. Spring and brighter days are on the way as the nation continues marching forward.

Because anxiety can lead to irrational money decisions, the best way to fight it is to take a deep breath, focus on your goals and then take the next step forward — no matter how small. Before long, you’ll find yourself “marching” forward with momentum and greater confidence. 

Last week

Fed officials failed to settle concerns over rising yields. Major equity indices rallied sharply into the weekend after the positive February non-farm payrolls report. The Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine approval propelled the early week rally. The rally fell as Fed chair Powell reiterated the FOMC’s view that rising price pressures are likely transitory. The rates market viewed this “do nothing” attitude as a reason to dump bonds. The tech-heavy Nasdaq losses captivated investors’ attention. This mark the third consecutive weekly decline. The growth index markedly underperformed value as that reopening rotation continued.

Week Ahead

The U.S. Senate passed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package, so the bill now will go to the House. That said, Friday’s plunge and reversal has elicited calls of surrender, but most technical metrics failed to reach such levels. The indices’ quick rebound should be a warning to the bears, but neither party seems to have the upper hand when looking at the technical charts. This fight is likely to continue, leading to elevated volatility levels. The darling high-growth names have not recovered anywhere near the extent that big tech companies have. And the easing of yields is likely needed to boost them. The weak Treasury auction two weeks ago sent yields sharply higher, so this week’s demand for government paper will be closely watched. The Federal Open Market Committee’s next policy meeting is on March 17 and will provide updated economic projections.

Despite what happens to the economy, you have the right to be confident — you have crafted a plan and I’m here for you each step of the way. As Warren Buffett famously said, “I don’t try and guess interest rates, I just buy businesses I like.” Maybe your next step is to set up some time to talk about your options for marching forward? I’d welcome that! Year-to-date the S&P 500 is up 2.29%, Dow Jones Index is up 2.91%, and the Nasdaq up 0.25%.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

Financial Advisor Erie CO focus on investments, wealth management, retirement in Boulder, Louisville, Niwot, Lafayette, Windsor, Berthoud, CO

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Rising Yields and Impact for your Money

Rising Yields and Impact for your Money

Treasury yields rose significantly over the course of last week. The rising rates spooked equity investors, reaching the highest levels since February 2020. And the highest one month gain since November 2016. Yields ended the week down from the high on Covid-19 vaccine optimism, a recovering U.S. economy, and massive stimulus deal near completion. For the week, major indexes finished down; Dow down 1.9%, S&P down 2.41%, and Nasdaq down 4.9%.

Rising Yields

The high yields lead to concern for inflation. With inflation, comes demand for higher yields. Higher yields are passed down to corporations by way of borrowing. If companies have debt or increase their debt, than in return, they will pay higher interest payments. Higher interest payments cut into their profits, therefore, companies report lower earnings and their overall valuation declines. Rising rates are not all doom and gloom. Fed Chairman Powell made this statement regarding higher yields last week, “statement of confidence on the part of the markets that we will have a robust and ultimate complete recovery.” Regardless, interest rates remain the focus of market stress going forward.

Week Ahead

Last week, U.S. jobless claims of 730K were lower than expected, and lower than the previous week. The Johnson & Johnson vaccination news helped travel stocks jump. The J&J vaccine approval increases the push to vaccinate 100m people in the U.S. by the end of June. Further supporting the recovery and investor perception of a likely economic boom. Housing report data was strong. The House passed President Biden’s $1.9T relief package over the weekend. Despite the rising rates, this is all positive news to support the market. For the year, Dow is up 1.06%, S&P up 1.47%, and Nasdaq up 2.36%.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

Financial Advisor Erie CO focus on investments, wealth management, retirement planning in Boulder, Louisville, Niwot, Lafayette, Windsor, Berthoud, CO

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Transfer Your Values Alongside Your Wealth

Transfer Your Values Alongside Your Wealth

There’s this lingering myth of “old money families” where wealth is easily passed from generation to generation. But studies have shown wealth attrition to be more common, as bad investment decisions, mismanagement and dilution of assets between heirs eats into the family fortune.

Overcoming the challenges that plague wealth stewardship comes down to two core elements – strong communication with your next generation and putting a proper wealth transfer plan in place. We’re here to guide you.

The Family Roundtable

One of the most common barriers in wealth transfer is a lack of transparency between generations. In higher net worth families, often the older generations will shield the scope of wealth from other generations to prevent them from abusing their inheritance. But early communication with your adult children about family wealth is key.

Having us as an independent voice to shepherd the conversation can help you and your heirs talk about transfer of wealth on equal footing. It gives you a chance to discuss your financial strategies, your plan for specific family assets including the family business, and any philanthropic goals or values you would like the next generation to steward.

It also provides a forum for the next generation to discuss their own aspirations, to share any fears, and, most importantly, to feel like they play a role not just as an inheritor of the family wealth but also as an active player in the preservation of that wealth.

We can act as an independent voice for the family roundtable, someone who can guide the conversation and ensure all questions are asked and answered. We can also pinpoint challenges and help both you and your heirs come up with strategies to navigate those challenges.

Formalizing the plan

In addition to guiding the conversation, we can also play a critical role in structuring your wealth transfer plan.

We can walk you through the different vessels for protecting wealth in the transfer, advise you on the different structures for trusts, identify assets to include in your will, outline the pros and cons of transferring wealth during your lifetime versus after death, and help you balance personal preferences with tax efficient strategies.

Estate plans are far from static; the wealth transfer process is an evolving discussion, one that we can help you navigate as life events like marriages and remarriages, births of children and grandchildren, significant health issues and death, change your family and your needs.

Amidst the change, it’s good to have a constant – who better to play that role than your financial advisor?

Contact me to learn more about transferring wealth.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

How Quickly Will the Economy Recover

How Quickly Will the Economy Recover

Now that the great short-squeeze has lost most of it’s air, it’s back to business as usual. The indexes shook off the weak job numbers and are looking ahead to the economy recovering and growing. Last week all indexes finished up.

Last Week

January jobs created less than 50,000 new jobs. On the positive side, unemployment fell from 6.7% to 6.3%. The number of Americans filing for unemployment also declined for the 3rd straight week. Most of the Nasdaq’s gains were attributed to good earnings reports, surpassing estimates. And the volatility index dropped back into the 20’s, calming the fears of an immediate 2021 correction. Readings from the ISM report were above 50, signaling expansion. This is good news when trying to grasp how quickly the economy will recover.

The Week Ahead

The economy is continuing to recover, both at home and abroad, as vaccination efforts spread. When a stumble comes, fiscal and monetary policy will undoubtedly offer an arm to stabilize or stand up. That remains supportive to equities, government bond yields, and credit markets. Roughly 59% of the S&P500 has reported earnings, and 81% have beaten EPS estimates. Per FactSet, the blended EPS growth rate is +1.7% y/y versus December 31’s estimate of -9.3%. For now, investors will continue economic implications of the race between widespread vaccination and virus mutation, the resumption of consumption, and the likelihood of higher prices or inflation across the economy.

Total after tax income was up 7.2% in 2020, the most in any year since 2000. Right now, there is plenty of demand for goods. Incomes and savings are up year-over-year. While production is not. It is supply that is hurting. The perfect recipe for inflation. A very real threat to the long-term health of the US economy. This we will keep an eye on. Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 1.77%, S&P up 3.48%, and Nasdaq up 7.51% through the close on Friday.

Have a safe week!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Saving For Your Child’s Education

Saving For Your Child’s Education

How and when should I start planning for my child’s education? It’s easy to shut out the noise about rising tuition costs when your kids are in grade school. But ignoring the conversation altogether does a disservice to you further down the road.

In the US, the average tuition cost at state colleges is $9,970 for state residents, and $25,620 for everyone else. Private non-profit colleges carry a heftier tab at $34,740, according to student support organization College Board.

But the price tag comes with a benefit. Research from National Bureau of Economic Research, shows that people with a post-secondary education often out-earn. Others outperform peers without some form of post-secondary education.

For many parents the question is not if you should save for your child’s education but how?

The 529 Savings Plan

529 Savings Plan are a vital tool for many parents looking to save for their child’s education. Introduced in 1996, 529 plans are state savings programs that are not taxed federally when used for “qualified education expenses”. This includes computers and, as of 2017, up to $10,000 towards K-12 tuition.

Contribution for 529 plans vary from state to state but can run as high as $380,000. However, I always try to remind clients that each individual in the US can give away up to $15,000 annually. And $30,000 for married couples, all without facing a gift tax. 529 plans also have a special rule allowing you to contribute up to five years’ worth of gifts at once.

What state can I invest in?

Given that each 529 plan is tied to a state, it can be confusing deciding which one to invest in. It’s worth pointing out that you can invest in any state 529 plan, your child doesn’t need to go to school in that state and it doesn’t have to be your own state. However, the majority of states offer a state income tax deduction or credit for residents who contribute to their own state’s plans. With that being said, different state 529 plans perform differently, which is why we work together to set up a plan that meets your educational saving strategy.

Other things to think about

Most 529 plans offer several investment options. You’re often allowed to change your investment twice per calendar year and rollover your funds to another 529 plan once per 12-month period. In addition to a general college savings plan, there’s also a prepaid option where you can purchase credits or units at certain colleges or universities at discounted prices. Fees and expenses associated with the different 529 plans are certainly something you should consider as well.

The good news is, you don’t have to navigate the world of 529 plans on your own. Let’s discuss your child’s education savings options and how to achieve the goals that will help support your child’s future.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Impeachment, Inauguration, and a Whole Lot More

Impeachment, Inauguration, and a Whole Lot More

Last Week

Investors’ appetite for risk-on positions took a breather after disappointing December retail sales. Also, President elect Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus plan fell short of expectations. Biden’s plan includes $1,400 stimulus checks to individuals, as well as, aid for state and local government. While President Trump’s impeachment in the House had little market impact. Friday’s January options expiration did exacerbate volatility ahead of the holiday weekend. Earnings season kicked off with better than expected results from financial giants J.P. Morgan, Citi, and Wells Fargo as they released loan loss reserves. The banks still warned of the economic recovery’s fragility.

On the data front, the notable miss was December retail sales falling 0.7% versus flat expectations. This registered the third consecutive monthly decline. Driven by the latest round of stimulus checks not delivered until the end of the month. Small business optimism cooled in December. As did consumer sentiment, dented by political uncertainty and feet shuffling on the fiscal stimulus front.

This Week

U.S. financial markets closed on Monday in observation of Dr. Martin Luther King Day. The 59th Presidential Inauguration on Wednesday will dominate news headlines, as President Elect Biden is sworn into office. His aim is for 100 million Americans to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in his first 100 days. Much of investors’ developing economic outlook hinges on his success.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits anticipates recovery after last week’s bad figure. But still will remain uncomfortably elevated. Housing data is anticipates to come in mixed, but the sector remains strong. Friday is global PMI day, and nearly every region is anticipates a slide. Most significantly in the UK given the recently discovered mutated virus strain.

Year-to-date, the S&P 500 is up 0.32%, the Dow up 0.68% and Nasdaq up 0.86%.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Can a robot really help you financially?

Can a robot really help you financially?

We’re hearing a lot about robo advisors these days. Are they right for you?

The financial services industry is no stranger to developing new products and innovations. Years ago, it was different types of stocks and bonds, then mutual funds were launched. More recently, exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) that mimic indexes were launched. These days, robo advice is a hot topic. While having features that are certainly attractive to some investors, robo advisors aren’t right for everyone.

But first, the “what?”

What are robo advisors?

The term “robo advisor” is actually a bit misleading. Advisors generally guide their clients through the financial planning process to help these individuals achieve their life goals.

Robo advisors are automated portfolio managers. They take a limited amount of information about a client and create a portfolio of holdings. These holdings usually include a basket of ETFs. Robo advisors require little human involvement once their algorithm has been set.


robo advisor

Pros and cons

Robo advisors are programmed to automatically buy and sell holdings based on a desired risk-return profile. As there is little human involvement or management, they tend to be cheaper to invest in than actively managed portfolios. They also tend to be “set-it-and-forget-it” solutions that require very little effort by individual investors.

These portfolios rise and fall according to market and macroeconomic conditions, they typically don’t make adjustments to reflect the market. Conversely, as your advisor I’ve gained a deeper understanding of your financial picture, including your long-term needs and goals. Our work together means that your portfolio is suited specifically to you. Not just to a lot of people who may simply be your age and have a similar amount of savings.

Example of robots investing versus humans investing

During periods of rising markets, robo advisors will tend to perform quite nicely. As they reflect the performance of the wider markets in which they invest.

That said, markets don’t always go up. When markets are falling, portfolios run by robo advisors will tend to drop to the same degree as their corresponding markets. Meanwhile, active portfolio managers tend to rebalance or otherwise adjust their funds to reduce the downside impact of this market weakness. Possibly even taking advantage of it. By doing so, these portfolio managers are able to negate the losses that could result from market weakness. Which is something robo advisors can’t do.

Robo advisors are also not equipped to provide all of the other services that an advisor can provide. Including access to tax and estate planning, lawyers, accountants and other professionals who can help me ensure you have a complete financial plan that truly reflects your short- and long-term needs.

Please feel free to reach out to me to learn more about the benefits of a human vs. robo advisor.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

What does the market outlook look like in 2021

What does the market outlook look like in 2021

We thought there was no environment that could be worse than 2008-9. 2020 made the Great Financial Crisis look like an appetizer, so the market outlook is positive from here. And yet the market did so well. So where do we go from here? What are the market strategist predicting will have in store for 2021?

Market Outlook

The stock market seems to be in good shape. Stocks follow profits, and if profits are going higher, stocks eventually will. Earnings are recovering nicely, which tells us that fiscal and monetary stimulus is doing its job. Next year we could see earnings growth of 30%- plus. Goldman Sachs has predicted the S&P 500 reaching 4050 by the end of 2021. That is a 7.8% increase from today’s year-end close.

Some market strategists see the S&P 500 index rising further in 2021, propelled by a stronger economy, robust profit growth, and still-massive stimulus from governments and central banks, which paved the way for this year’s advance by keeping interest rates near zero. Even better, the market’s leadership could broaden well beyond big tech stocks to encompass financials, industrials, and other economically sensitive shares left behind by 2020’s rally. Much like the real estate market, the low interest rate environment is good news for stocks. The Federal Reserve’s actions to push down interest rates and bond yields encouraged those savings into risky assets to find a return.

The market likes a Biden win with a split Congress because it’s gridlock — you don’t get many surprises. Research from Capital Group shows that over the past eight decades, in 18 of 19 presidential elections, no matter which party won, a hypothetical $10,000 investment made at the beginning of each election year would have gained in value over the next 10 years, and in 15 of those 10-year periods, it would have more than doubled.

Barron’s interviewed 10 market strategists and chief investment officers on the outlook for 2021, below is the consensus: 

4,040 = The group’s average 2021 S&P 500 price target (today’s close is 3,726.86)

5% = Expected U.S. GDP growth in 2021 

$168 = Wall Street’s consensus earnings estimate for the S&P 500 in 2021. Compared with 2019 earnings of $161, and 2020’s forecast of $138

Caution Ahead

The outlook is not all roses… Areas of caution do linger, notably, huge hangover of debt, deep uncertainty about how consumer and office-worker behavior might have changed, inflation, and many small businesses clinging on by their fingernails. Inflation can be cause speed bumps. Resurgent inflation and an eventual rise in rates, which could put a lid on the market’s ebullience in 2022. “If inflation makes a significant and sustained comeback, the Fed is going to have to let interest rates go up. The impact on stock valuations, on compounding debt, on these zombie companies that have been able to stay in business only because of record-low interest rates—they’re toast,” Ed Yardeni of Yardeni Research.

There could again be a disconnect in how the markets and the economy do in 2021. The economy sees an aggressive recovery and that corporate earnings see an aggressive recovery. But the market returns are less robust, given that a lot of gains from next year have been pulled into this year. Much success will also depend on a smooth rollout of vaccines to protect against Covid-19. Any mutations in the virus that could extend the pandemic would cause Wall Street to rethink its bullish stance. Stay tuned…

Let me know if you would like to talk more about investment management and retirement planning options. Happy New Year to you and you family!

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

How high will the Santa Claus Rally Go

How high will the Santa Claus Rally Go

Is a Santa Claus Rally going to drive the market? Major indices logged modest gains for the week after the Federal Reserve signaled loose monetary policy was likely to stay until at least 2023. Digesting the developments over the latest coronavirus relief package will drive price action early in the shortened week. Markets are closed on Friday in observation for Christmas, and Thursday’s session will be abbreviated.

Past Week

Option trading volatility produced mild selling pressure into the weekend. However, major indices and government bond yields still logged modest gains for the week. Gains stem from the Federal Reserve signaling loose monetary policy was likely to stay until at least 2023. Ten of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished higher, paced by technology, consumer discretionary, and materials. Energy was the lone sector in the red despite crude oil prices rising sharply. Whether it be the rising COVID-19 case count or profit-taking, the rotation from growth to value took a breather as the former outpaced the latter by around 4%.

On the economic data front, investors were disappointed by November U.S. retail sales falling 1.1%. To put things into perspective, Retail Sales are up 4.1% on a year-over-year basis. This illustrates the impressive strength of the U.S. consumer, especially during a pandemic. The latest domestic PMIs eased from multi-month highs but remained firmly in expansionary territory. New orders continued to rise, but inflationary tones are palpable as significant supply chain disruptions led to an unprecedented rise in prices. Output expectations reached a 32-month high, largely driven by vaccine optimism.

New relief is close. Indications are for a $900 Billion dollar package. Last Thursday’s unemployment claims increase to 885,000, higher than anticipated. Markets seemed to be anticipating that Congress would pass aid as more Americans are requesting unemployment benefits. Weekly initial unemployment claims peaked this March at nearly 7 million. While they steadily fell into the summer there has been a recent uptick in claims as 2020 draws to a close. The Fed left rates unchanged last week. The Fed purchasing bonds will stay the same.

This Week

Digesting the agreement reached over the latest $900 billion coronavirus relief package will drive price action in the shortened week. The contentious dispute over the Fed’s lending abilities is likely to make bipartisan efforts more difficult if the economic situation materially deteriorates at some point in the year ahead. Still, investors should be aware of a potentially friendly bout of seasonality. That aside, investors will dissect a few tier 1 economic reports amid expectations for lower levels of liquidity given the holiday. Reports on consumer confidence tomorrow are expected to improve. The durable goods report offers insight into firms’ demand for longer lasting goods.

According to the recent Bank of America survey, fund managers are looking for companies to expand their capex purchases in 2021. Unemployment claims are expected to remain flat. Economists expect personal spending to retreat slightly. Reports are circulating that a new strain of coronavirus is spreading across Europe, especially in the UK, prompting air travel restrictions from the country. Given the frothy sentiment across financial markets, this development warrants investors’ attention in case the situation deteriorates further.

Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 5.7%, S&P up 14.8%, and Nasdaq up 42.2% through the close on Friday.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday season!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

How to Tame Market Volatility through Diversification

How to Tame Market Volatility through Diversification

It’s that time of the year again. Whether it’s in person or virtually, the holidays are an opportunity for more conversations with loved ones. This year, let’s strive to put some positivity into our conversations. There is a lot to gripe about, but there’s more to look forward to.  And the more we talk, the better we plan, prepare, and progress. Discussing your financial strategies with loved ones can help reinforce them or pivot according to new circumstances. And I’m ready to hear you! Knowing what may have changed this year will help us become more successful in pursuing your financial goals.

One topic that is front of mind is how to diversify your portfolio. One way to help investors reach long-term financial goals is through an investment technique known as diversification. Diversification basically means spreading out your invested money across different investments types, industries, countries, etc. Diversification can smooth out volatility of your portfolio and potentially lead to stronger returns over the long term. Helping you take advantage of the benefits of diversification is a central part of my job as your advisor.

One guiding factor behind diversification is that not all investment categories perform well at the same time. As some are increasing in value, others may be decreasing. Market volatility is the movement of investment categories going up and down.

Maintaining a well-balanced portfolio

As your advisor, I help maximize returns and reduce the risks associated with market volatility. Essentially, your portfolio represents a collection of different investments that work in harmony to help you reach your goals. One way you can achieve portfolio diversification is to divide your investments among the major asset classes. Such classes include equities, fixed income and cash.

Asset classes – A range of risks and rewards

Each asset class comes with varying degrees of risk and return characteristics. Typically, each class performs differently in certain market environments. Here’s a quick summary of each.

  • Equities (e.g., stocks)
    Equities refer to buying stocks or shares of a business, making you a part owner. This means the investor is subject to stock appreciation when the company outperforms. But also subject to the risks of declining stock value if companies underperform.
  • Fixed income (e.g., bonds, Treasury bills)
    Fixed income investors lend capital in exchange for interest. Considered as creditors, bondholders often have a priority claim in case of company bankruptcy. This makes the investments less risky. Fixed income typically provides income at regular intervals.
  • Cash (e.g., money market funds, bank accounts)
    Cash investments provide low returns versus other asset classes, in the form of interest payments. These investments typically come with very low levels of risk.

Investment funds – One-stop diversification

I can also help achieve diversification through the use of investment funds; namely, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These investment vehicles represent convenient and affordable ways to access a wide range of investments.

  • Mutual funds – These are made up of a pool of assets from many investors. Mutual funds are managed by a portfolio manager. The portfolio manager actively seeks to produce greater returns than a specific market benchmark, such as the S&P 500 Index. With the large scale of a mutual fund, you benefit from professional management and can get strong diversification by gaining access to investments that would normally be inaccessible or too expensive for most individuals.
  • ETFs – These are funds that track and seek to replicate the performance of select market indexes. ETFs represent a basket of securities based on the underlying index. This allows investors to gain broad diversification across entire markets, industries, regions or asset classes. ETFs are known to incur fewer administrative costs, therefore charging lower fees to investors.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions on the terms discussed in this article, or on how your investment portfolio is diversified.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Can Retail Shopping and Vaccines Save 2020?

Can Retail Shopping and Vaccines Save 2020?

U.S. equity indices enjoyed broad based gains amid the shortened trading week. Vaccine optimism increased and political uncertainty declined. Despite mostly weaker economic data, the Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly eclipsed 30,000 for the first time. According to the WSJ, the Nasdaq Composite scored its 45th record high close in 2020. All indexes finished higher on the week; Dow up 2.25%, S&P 500 up 2.3%, and Nasdaq up 2.97%.

Last Week

U.S. equity indices enjoyed broad based gains amid the shortened trading week. Vaccine optimism increased and political uncertainty dissipated. Despite mostly weaker economic data, the Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly eclipsed 30,000 for the first time. and according to the WSJ, the Nasdaq Composite scored its 45th record high close in 2020. Ten of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished higher. Real estate was the lone loser, falling less than 1%, despite positive housing news.

Last Monday, AstraZeneca Inc. released their COVID vaccine phase 3 trial data that showed a 70% efficacy. This is the third such vaccine announcement in as many weeks joining Pfizer and Monderna. The odds of shortening this COVID pandemic continues to grow with three extensive studies diversifying any potential vaccine data setbacks in the future. Economic data was generally disappointing and pointed to a slowing recovery. Dented by recent restrictions due to rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Consumer confidence missed expectations, falling flat in October. The number of Americans filing for unemployment rose to 778k from 748k last week. Durable goods orders expanded quicker than expected, rising 1.3%. October new home sales beat expectations. The VIX briefly dipped below 20 on Friday before closing the week above the key level.

Week Ahead

December is here and extreme greed is driving the market. At least according to the Fear & Greed Index which closed at 92 on Friday. Just a month ago, it was in fear territory at 35. The consensus seems to be for an end of year market melt-up, but first, we must get through Friday’s November jobs report. 

The current environment elicits déjà vu feelings of late 2017, early 2018 as risks cleared, equities levitated, and crypto surged. Consumption drives the economy, so investors will scrutinize Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales for insight into what the holiday spending season may look like. The National Retail Federation estimates that it will be 3.6-5.2% higher than 2019 levels. Given the pandemic, it’s looking like it will be a far more digital spending season than normal. The November jobs report will be the week’s key risk event on Friday. Today’s ISM manufacturing PMI and Thursday’s ISM services PMI will be closely watched for insight into recent economic activity. Both are expected to decline.

Looking ahead as the year winds down, 2020 has been a year marked by a global pandemic and the steepest economic contraction since the Great Recession. Yet equity markets have proved resilient. Since 1950 there have been only five -30% drawdowns in the S&P 500 in a calendar year. If the gains in 2020 hold, it would mark the first time there was a full retracement of the drawdown in the same calendar year. Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 4.81%, S&P up 12.62%, and Nasdaq up 40.37% through the close on Friday.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

How to Start Investing

How to Start Investing

So, you’ve landed your first “real” job! Now’s the perfect time to create your first investment plan and start investing.

First, let me congratulate you on getting through school and starting your first “real” job. You’ve worked hard to get here, and I’m sure there are many things you’ll want to spend your new paycheck on. An apartment of your own, some decent takeout (not from a student cafeteria), maybe a little traveling.

You should do those things, as long as they fit into your budget. You’ve earned a little breathing room. But now that you have some stability, you should also thinking about how to start investing for your future. Here are three ways to get the ball rolling.

1. Pay down debt

As a student, you may have accumulated a mix of debt, from student loans to credit cards. Create a debt-repayment plan that focuses on paying off your high-interest debt, like credit cards, first.

Student loans often carry lower interest rates, so these loans might not be your top priority. At the same time, many student loans require you to make a minimum monthly payment shortly after you graduate, and you only have so much time to repay the entire loan. You still need a loan-repayment plan to make sure you don’t default on these loans.

2. Build your emergency fund

Post-graduate life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes your air conditioner breaks down in the middle of a heat wave or your car dies on the way to a meeting. I suggest putting 10% of your paycheck into an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses. The goal is to eventually have enough money in your emergency fund to cover three to six months’ worth of expenses, but it can take a while to get there.

Your emergency fund should be low risk and easy to access, like a regular savings account.

3. Think about retirement

This is the best time to take advantage of the power of compounding. If you start putting just $200 a month into a retirement savings account at age 25, and let it grow over the next 40 years at a 4% rate of return, you’ll have about $237,000 in that account when you turn 65.

Wait another 10 years to start investing the same amount at the same rate of return, and you’ll reach age 65 with about $140,000. That’s a big difference.

If your employer offers a 401(k), use it. With this tax-advantaged retirement account, you contribute pre-tax dollars directly from your paycheck. You employer will also match your contributions up to a certain percentage of your salary.

If you don’t have a 401(k), look into a traditional IRA (individual retirement account) or Roth IRA. With a traditional IRA, you’ll get a tax break on your contributions, while with a Roth IRA, you won’t pay federal taxes when you withdraw money in retirement. With both types of IRAs, you won’t pay taxes on any investment income you earn within the plan until you start making withdrawals.

Ready to start investing? Contact me today and we’ll work on creating your first investment plan.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.