A quarter of the year is marked off the calendar! Time is flying so fast.

What is happening at Life Planning Partners? The crew is doing well and staying safe. We continue to have one of us in the office each day until we are all fully vaccinated – and we are halfway there! After we are all vaccinated, we plan to go to two of us in the office each day.

The current CDC guidelines state it is okay for small groups of fully vaccinated people to meet without the need to wear masks. We are very excited about that and will be happy to have in-person client meetings after the entire crew receives their vaccine! If you are vaccinated, we won’t wear masks. If not, we are happy to wear a mask during your visit.

As a reminder, every couple of years we revisit how your Life Planning Partners’ fees are paid each quarter. Our goal is to keep you as tax efficient as possible (which saves you money!) and make sure we don’t run afoul of IRS rules. You’ll see the change for the next two years starting this quarter.

We continue to plug along with the ongoing planning. Tax season for 2020 is almost wrapped up, so we’ll start tax planning for 2021 shortly. Our new hire, Camrie Wagner, graduates from Kansas State in May and will be joining us in mid-June. We will continue to be closed to new clients until we get her integrated. We look forward to you meeting her!

As we do every year, we are offering you an updated copy of our Form ADV disclosure brochure. This is the standard document required to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and it contains information about our firm. You can find a copy in your vault and you can also find it HERE.
As always let us know anything on your mind and how we can help you.
The LPP Team
Carolyn is Hosting a Virtual Book Club

Paying attention to politics is part of being a financial advisor. Carolyn’s involvement in health policy has led to her engagement with politicians on both sides of the aisle through the years. The experience has been frustrating to say the least. Incessant fund-raising by candidates and PACs, nasty campaign strategies, and continuous broken promises are getting old. From a financial planning perspective, the large swings in political power can wreak havoc on our planning.

Lo and behold, she discovered a great book, “The Politics Industry” by Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter. The authors explain the inner working of our political system and how it has been manipulated by both major parties through the years. It is infuriating. Thankfully, the second half of the book shares solutions we should all consider. This book is truly non-partisan and will give you some food for thought.

Carolyn hosted a virtual book club last year on economics for financial planners and a few other interested people and it was well received. She is ready to do it again. We will provide any clients a copy of the book, so let us know if you want to participate.

How does a virtual book club work?

  • There will be four sessions: April 26th, May 10th, May 24th, and June 7th at 7 p.m. ET. Each session will be recorded, so if you cannot make a session, you will have access to the recording.
  • We will cover one to two chapters each session. About 10 days before the session, Carolyn will send you a Zoom invite with the reading assignment and a link to Slido.
  • After you read the assignment, you can post your questions that you want answered about the section on Slido and vote on the ranking of the questions.
  • In the session, Carolyn will give a five-minute overview of the reading assignment. We will have an invited expert who will then begin answering the submitted questions. There will be an open chat throughout. Any time left at the end of a session will be open for questions.

Katherine Gehl has agreed to be the speaker for one of the sessions – she is very excited and her team has put together a wonderful list of experts. This will be a fun learning experience. 
The Health Insurance Provisions of the American Rescue Plan

The American Rescue Plan provided beneficial relief on the health insurance front for those required to purchase their own health insurance. Carolyn will reach out to those people who may be helped by the changes. If you have any friends or family who need to buy their own coverage, make sure to let them know.

What is the big change? The most important note for our clients is removal of the income cliff for qualifying for health insurance subsidies. These subsidies stopped once income is higher than 400% poverty level, which is $51,520 for an individual and $106,000 for a family of four. Now, health insurance premiums are capped at 8.5% of income. Premium subsidies can easily be thousands of dollars, especially for older enrollees.

There are other important changes, such as COBRA premium subsidies and special insurance benefits for anyone who has claimed unemployment. Carolyn wrote an article for Advisor’s Perspective if you want to read more details.
The Market Update by Tim

Stocks across the globe continued to move higher in the first quarter, with the S&P 500 gaining more than 6% for the period. It’s remarkable to think that U.S. stocks have now rebounded more than 70% from the lows of last year.

The economy is healing and seems poised to take off. A recent jobs report far exceeded expectations and unemployment continues to fall. March data showed the strongest manufacturing growth in over 37 years. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is forecasting global growth of 5.5% this year compared with a 3.5% drop last year, while some economists see 7% growth possible for the U.S. in 2021.

It would seem to be a perfect scenario for owning stocks, and that certainly could be the case. However, it’s good to remember there are plenty of risks that remain (and of course, that market risk never actually does go away).

What could possibly go wrong? Rising bond yields have some concerned, as higher yields make stocks less attractive. A modest uptick in prices has brought inflation back into view, as we know that a little inflation is good but too much is really bad. And though it may seem counterintuitive, a recovery that happens too rapidly could also be a problem for stocks, causing the Federal Reserve to change the game plan and begin tightening early to cool things down. Those are just a few known risks. The scarier risks are those we can’t anticipate.

None of this is to say that stocks can’t or won’t do well going forward. The upshot is we simply don’t know how the economic recovery will play out. Sometimes things look very rosy and don’t quite live up to expectations, while other times positive surprises are the big story. That’s just the nature of investing. We should simply appreciate the nice gains that stocks have provided in recent months, while maintaining a diversified portfolio in preparation for the inevitable rough patch that lies somewhere down the road.
Life Planning Partners, Inc.