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Enjoying the Simple Things of Summer
Summer is in full swing and those hot humid days are upon us. Gardens are really starting to produce quite a bounty and summer fruits are abundant. Take an opportunity to enjoy some fresh corn on the cob, cucumbers, sweet watermelon, peaches or berries. If you’re feeling foggy, maybe some homemade jam or cobbler could be on the menu. These small things can provide a sense of comfort in these interesting and difficult times.

• HAPPENING AT AFP •

  • We are back in the office during normal business hours, but continue to social distance from each other within our individual offices. Should a change to working conditions be necessary, we will let you know.

  • We will continue to host Virtual Meetings using Zoom for your safety. Due to the size of our office conference room, proper social distancing is a challenge. We hope to return to face to face meetings soon and this may be decided based upon the number of individuals participating in a meeting.

  • For those that must visit our office, please check in with us prior to visiting. Once you are in the parking lot, please give us call so we know you are here. There may be periodic road closures due to construction projects currently underway in the immediate vicinity of the office.

  • Tracey is on her extended vacation to the western states and national parks. So, Teri and Bob are holding down the fort. So far so good!!
FYI

  • If you are a Cash Flow Driven Wealth Management client, there will be a small update on July 28th to the Wealth Management Navigator Portal. This is to streamline the navigation to Orion, our money management program. This update will move the access icons from the top of the page into the Menu, preventing overlap with the website logo, task, and alert icons on the page. If you have any questions about this update or anything else please let me know.

  • AFP offers new service for Goal Driven Wealth Management - We are unveiling a new service for younger people and it is called Goal Driven Wealth Management. Our existing Cash Flow Driven Wealth Management Service is for pre-retirees and retirees needing to manage and preserve their wealth. The Goal Driven service model is geared toward those in the wealth building phase. We are pleased to offer this service to adult children of existing clients at a discounted rate.

  • The “No Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) for 2020” section of the CARES Act has been expanded to allow those who have already taken their 2020 RMD the option to return the funds to the account by the end of August. Teri and Bob will be making calls to clients who have already taken their 2020 RMD and if it makes sense to act on this change.
• ON A PERSONAL NOTE •
+ Teri's World
Is there such a thing as Ground Hog’s Day in July? I am not sure where the month has gone as nothing much has changed since June! I have spent a bit more time reading since it has been so hot outside and I am looking forward to taking Tucker, my dog, on some longer walks. I took him to the vet for his annual check-up and he has gained 9 pounds since December! So I guess the pandemic is not just impacting people in this way. We did our annual black raspberry picking earlier in July and made an abundance of jam. My vegetable garden has started producing lots of cucumbers, peas, beans and squash. I am planning on taking some of the fruit of my labor to a local foodbank in the next week. So if you know of a specific one, let me know! 

+ What about Bob
We have had a good July!! Our Grandniece is now living with us. So, we have gone from empty nesters to having a 10 year old!! It has been a wonderful transition and she is a joy to have with us! We are in the process of registering her for school and getting her into some summer camps.

We have a long weekend with our daughters in a cabin on Seneca Lake planned for the last weekend in July. Looking forward to spending time with them and doing some kayaking and other fun activities.

+ Tracey's Time
Somewhere in the mountains out West.
• POINTS OF REFERENCE •
Current Economic and Investment Information
TOUGH CROWD – Just 121 of the stocks in the S&P 500 were up YTD through 6/30/20.   153 stocks were down at least 25% YTD as of 6/30/20, including 33 stocks down at least 50% YTD (source: BTN Research).


WHERE DID THEY GO? - The number of publicly listed companies, i.e., companies traded on an exchange, has dropped from a peak of 8,090 in 1996 to just 4,397 today (source: theglobaleconomy.com).

YOUR HOME - 62% of first alien home mortgages are federally backed, i.e., the loans are guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration or the Veterans Benefits Administration. The government announced on 6/17/20 that the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions on federally backed, single-family mortgages has been extended to 8/31/20. Borrowers who experience “financial hardship” due to the pandemic may extend the moratorium for an additional 6 months to 2/28/21 (source: Federal Housing Finance Agency).

TAKE IT AND SPEND IT - The CARES Act authorized non- taxable distributions of $1,200 per individual and $500 per child (under the age of 17). 159 million electronic payments and checks totaling $267 billion were paid to income-eligible Americans (source: CARES Act).

JUST IN CASE - 45% of Americans surveyed in May 2020 have living wills in place. Living wills document an individual’s “end of life” medical care wishes in case he/she loses the ability to communicate (source: Gallup).

SPENDING DECLINES AS WE AGE - The average retired couple spends 23% less money in their 6th year of retirement compared to what they spent in their 1st year of retirement (source: Health and Retirement Survey).

BLAME IT ON COVID-19 - Crude oil production in the United States has fallen from 13.1 million barrels a day as of Friday 3/13/20 (the day President Trump declared a pandemic-driven national emergency) to 11.0 million barrels a day as of Friday 7/10/20 (source: Department of Energy).

THIS FALL - 57% of colleges anticipate they will offer “in- person” class instruction for the upcoming 2020-21 school year, just 9% will offer only online class instruction, while 29% of schools w ill provide a combination of “in-person” and online class instruction. The remaining 5% of schools have yet to decide as of Friday 7/10/20 (source: Chronicle of Higher Education).

ROTTEN THINGS HAPPEN - 46% of 1,500 US   adults interviewed online during the first week of July 2020 are “very worried” or “somewhat worried” about losing their job (source: Economist/YouGov Poll).

IT CAN WAIT – An estimated 40% of American adults at least age 18 have delayed getting medical care over the previous month as of 7/15/20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. American adults make up 249 million of our 330 million population (source: Census Bureau).

CAN’T TOUCH ME - As of 7/09/20,   an estimated 25% of the 5.4 million renters in New York City have not made a monthly rental payment since March 2020. A 3/27/20 federal moratorium prevents NYC landlords from evicting delinquent tenants or charging them late fees (source: Community Housing Improvement Program).

WE NEED JUST ONE - There are 197 vaccines for the COVID-19 pandemic currently in the development stage, none of which has yet to receive FDA approval (source: Milken Institute).
• TIMELY TOPICS •
When the Index is Not the Market
One of the most perplexing aspects of our investment world is how the market summaries you generally see in the newspapers and websites can greatly mislead us about the health of the stock market. Today is an extreme case in point. Chances are, you’ve seen headlines telling us that the Nasdaq Composite index is up about 17% for the year, testing new highs every other day or so. The S&P 500 index is down just about 1% so far this year, but is not far from its late February high. The markets are moving ahead smoothly or even robustly, right?

As it turns out, most of the gains are concentrated in a very narrow band of companies in the tech sector, particularly the larger tech companies like Amazon (up 63% so far this year), Apple (up 32% this year), Facebook (+17%), Netflix (+60%) and Alphabet (formerly Google; +13%). Those companies are so large that an index like Nasdaq or the S&P 500 is highly influenced by their performance. These five stocks alone now make up about 15% of the market capitalization of the S&P 500 index. If you just look at the performance of the index, you might not realize how much of an impact mass unemployment and historic economic slowdown is having everywhere else in our pandemic-infested economy.

Other sectors of the marketplace, which are typically not reported in the press, paint a more realistic picture of what’s actually going on in our corporate landscape. Consider small cap stocks, as measured by the Wilshire U.S. Small Cap Index. These stocks typically outperform large caps over time, but they’ve lost roughly 14.5% of their value so far this year. Real estate, as measured by the Wilshire U.S. REIT Index, has lost 18.61% of its value year to date. Look abroad, and the EAFE index of large cap companies based outside the U.S. have lost just over 10% of their value so far this year. Clearly, our markets are not quite as healthy as the most popular indices would have you believe.

The point here is not to focus your attention on gloom and doom, but to suggest that what you hear about as “the market” may not be giving you the whole picture. Rarely have we seen such a disparity between the performance of the popular indices and the thousands of stocks that fly under the radar. We see the robust health of a few companies reflected in the most widely-reported numbers, but that doesn’t mean our economy, at the moment, is robustly healthy overall.

Sources:
https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/27/investing/faang-stocks-market-amazon-tech/index.html
https://www.wilshire.com/indexcalculator/index.html
• QUOTE •

"The mighty oak was once a little nut
that stood its ground. "

- Unknown
Alexander Financial Planning
1621 W. First Avenue
Grandview Heights, OH 43212
614-538-1600

Registered Investment Advisor
This material is distributed by Alexander Financial Planning, Inc., (AFPI) and is for information purposes only. Although information has been obtained from sources to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy. It is provided with the understanding that no fiduciary relationship exists because of this report. Opinions expressed in this report are not necessarily the opinions of AFPI and are subject to change without notice. AFPI assumes no liability for the interpretation or use of this report. Financial planning, investment conclusions and strategies suggested in this report may not be suitable for all investors and consultation with a qualified advisor is recommended prior to executing any investment strategy. All rights reserved.