What a whirlwind this year has been. All the upheaval has left me speechless – which is yet another event people will find shocking!

So what is happening at Life Planning Partners?

  • Because of the increasing COVID numbers, we continue to work remotely. However, we now have two of us in the office at the same time – mainly because we were getting lonely. We maintain physical distance and all of us are being careful in public to reduce our risks. Hopefully you feel our service hasn’t missed a beat – but please let us know if there is anything we can do to improve.

  • We continue to have remote client meetings and are happy to meet in person with everyone wearing masks.
  • We have a new website! It was an overdue “refresher” – let us know what you think.

  • We are still not taking new clients and do not plan to reopen for at least another year. Thank you for trying to send people our way, and for now, we connect those people with other good advisors in the area.

Upcoming items to note:

  • I’ve started tax planning early this year to stay ahead of the game. If you haven’t gotten your tax return to us yet, I would love to see it.

  • If you are doing IRA distributions to charity, it would be great if you could do them earlier in the year to avoid the end of year crunch. Not only do we have to do the paperwork, we have to make certain that the charity has cashed the check before yearend to minimize errors in your tax reporting forms. We would love if you get them to us by November.

  • We’ve been in business for 16 years now! This also means that our client’s children are getting older and needing help to get on the right financial foot. We do this as a service for our clients and unless the needs are high, it doesn’t affect their fee. Now that some of those children are getting married and having babies, the needs have escalated. We will be sending you a letter shortly to outline what we will do for your children at no additional cost to you and what will trigger us charging for those services. Be on the lookout for that.

As always, let us know your thoughts, questions, and how we are doing. And hang in there…

Warm regards,
Market Update

For those suffering from quarantine boredom, financial markets proved to be anything but dull so far in 2020.

The longest bull market in U.S. history (11+ years) ended in the first quarter, with the market recording the fastest 30% plunge on record. In April the S&P 500 posted the largest monthly gain in more than four decades, and June closed with the biggest quarterly gain since 1998 (+20%). Combining two wild quarters leaves the U.S. stock market down a mere 3% year-to-date.
At the same time, we have to recognize that big quarterly moves are not all that unusual for stocks, as seen in the following chart:
When it comes to participating in the market, turbulence is commonplace. There is a strong emotional factor that impacts markets in the short-term, and stocks are prone to some very uncomfortable gyrations. It’s an important consideration when an investment policy is put into place – finding an investment mix that balances the need for growth while moderating some of the “craziness.”

One additional lesson we can take away from 2020: history doesn’t always make a great guide for the future. Because something rarely (or never) happened in the past is not a guarantee that it can’t happen. Bear market declines typically occur over a number of months, not a few weeks. But every bear market has a different catalyst, and a global pandemic is thankfully not a common occurrence. Yet, it provides one more example of how a diversified portfolio (including a chunk of boring old bonds) can help us ride out the unforeseen (and sometimes unprecedented) shocks that inevitably pop up from time to time.

So how do you deal with the unknowns? We know we sound like a song that is being played over and over, but it is a good song that consistently fits the “mood” – we create an investment policy that takes into account your ability to take risk financially and psychologically, and stick with it no matter what the market delivers. It works! And thank you for sticking with us.
Life Planning Partners, Inc.