Top 3 Mistakes Millionaire Investors Make

Earlier this year DeVere Group conducted an interesting survey of 752 investors who have over $1 million in investable assets. Investable assets, such as stocks and bonds, are those which can be converted to cash relatively easily and they exclude physical assets like real estate. The survey asked these affluent investors what their biggest investing mistakes were before they started working with a financial professional. Here is what they found: Top 3 Results:  Leaning too heavily on historic investment returns (38%)  Not seeking professional financial advice (35%)  Failure to adequately diversify investment portfolio (21%) We have seen these same mistakes negatively impact many investors who are trying to reach their financial goals. It would not be difficult to argue that almost all investors have battled with one or more of these mistakes at some point in their lives. Let’s take a quick dive into each of the three results mentioned above to...

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IRS Change Will Decrease RMDs Beginning in 2022

It might feel like whenever the IRS makes a change, your taxes seemingly always increase. A recent change, however, will lower the minimum amount the IRS requires you to withdraw from your retirement accounts. In other words, the IRS lowered Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). An RMD is the amount the U.S. government requires an individual to withdraw from their traditional IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans upon reaching age 72 (it used to be 70 ½ prior to 2020). RMDs are calculated using the account balance at year end and the account holder’s age, which corresponds with an official “distribution period” that the IRS sets based on average life expectancy. Over time, medical and technological advancements have increased the average life expectancy of an adult. In order to account for increased life expectancy, the IRS has adjusted RMDs so that it will take longer to draw down retirement accounts. What does this mean?...

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“Nobody Knows Nothing”

A few years ago Ally Bank ran a commercial with the noble prize winning economist Thomas Sargent. In the commercial he is on a regally-decorated stage being interviewed. The interviewer asks him whether he knows what interest rates will be in two years. His response is a simple, unemotional “no.” At which point a woman enters the stage and says “if he can’t no one can.” [embed]https://youtu.be/Khn1ZqysON0[/embed] This commercial is making the point that when it comes to predicting financial markets “nobody knows nothing.”  If any year proves this, it is 2020. Who would have thought that COVID-19 would have shut down the economy, resulting in a 30% decline in the US stock market? Who could have predicted its subsequent rebound to new highs a few months later? Then there was the fear of the election and its effect on the markets, still, things moved in a positive direction. The election reminded me...

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Updated Covid-19 Protocols – NYS Orange Zone

On Wednesday, November 18, Governor Cuomo announced that parts of Western New York will move to an ORANGE zone due to rising coronavirus cases in the region. Although we will continue to offer in-person meetings, we are anticipating that the region will move to RED in the coming days or weeks. If the region moves to RED, we will no longer offer in-person meetings in our Amherst or Hamburg offices. In anticipation of this change, we highly recommend you schedule Zoom or phone meetings with your advisor, instead of traditional office visits. Clients can use the same tools they have used during the pandemic to schedule these meetings (client portal, calendar links from advisors, calling our office to schedule). To protect the health and safety of all visitors to our offices, we continue to follow our Covid-19 protocols for in-person meetings. All visitors and employees are required to wear a...

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The retirement transition analogy: Getting the plane ready to land.

At the risk of oversimplifying, and with apologies to flight professionals everywhere, a normal airline flight makes for a pretty good retirement analogy.  From observation, it seems to me that takeoff and landing are pretty busy events while the majority of the flight seems rather simple (hence the term- auto pilot). In particular, the last 15 minutes of the flight contains a flurry of actions and reminders; all directed to getting the plane and its passengers and crew on the ground and to their destination safely and securely. So the analogy is pretty obvious. Getting up and off the ground and moving toward a retirement destination involves some effort.  Establishing a tax efficient savings and investment pattern that leads to our retirement destination requires thoughtfulness and discipline. But once started, there aren’t a lot of moving parts; it’s good to go on auto pilot and let the time-value of money take...

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Retirement Planning is Psycho- Logical

The theme of Rory Sutherland’s wonderful book "Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life" is that the logical answer is not always the best answer.  This certainly holds true in the field of financial planning. We live in a world that has created an idea that science and logic will lead to optimal outcomes. Sutherland disagrees: "If we allow the world to be run by logical people, we will only discover logical things. But in real life, most things aren’t logical –they are psycho-logical. There are often two reasons behind people’s behavior: the ostensibly logical reason, and the real reason." We have been conditioned to believe that so much in life can be efficiently managed by applying the correct algorithm – including managing a retirement plan. This is the marketing strategy of many Wall Street firms. It cannot be further from the truth. Logic does...

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Are Investments Really Your Biggest Risk in Retirement?

If you were to ask yourself what you think the greatest risk in retirement was, what would you say? One of the first subjects that might come to mind would be the risk of your retirement investments losing value.  You aren’t alone! According to a recent study done by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College1, the greatest fear that most pre-retirees collectively have is market risk. Why? Because the market can be turbulent at times and that can spark fear -- fear that seems to be more important than anything else. The same study found that most pre-retirees ranked their retirement fears from greatest to least as indicated below: Market risk (investment loss) Longevity risk (outliving your nest egg) Health risk (unplanned health costs) Family risk (unplanned costs in relation to health of family members) Policy risk (Social security benefit cut) Clearly, all of these risks are valid, but...

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