Monthly Newsletter
April 2020
At ML&R Wealth Management , we want to ensure our clients are In The Know.

In this month's newsletter we are sharing a video on the two best questions to ask before hiring an advisor, smart financial planning tips during COVID-19, helpful resources from our parent company, Maxwell, Locke & Ritter and relevant investment articles from Dimensional.

We are a firm that understands that managing your assets is about more than money. It is about empowering your future. At ML&R Wealth Management, we focus on you.
Carli Smith , CFP® , Wealth Management Advisor

The first part of 2020 has proven to be a challenging time for everyone and one that might possibly go down in history as the year when time stood still. Our busy lives have come to a screeching halt, many businesses have struggled to remain afloat, and our investment portfolios have suffered considerably as we all anxiously wait for some reprieve from the wrath of COVID-19. The silver lining of it all is that we are facing a unique opportunity to be able to reflect on how we have invested our precious time and our money over the last several years. Has every choice been worth it, and have we been doing it wrong all along because we are caught up in the busyness of life? Most importantly, have we been setting ourselves up for long term happiness and success? As it relates to your financial goals and investments, if you are finding that this has been a particularly difficult time to stay disciplined, are unsure of what else you could be doing during a market downturn in order to remain on course for long term success, or even unsatisfied with how your current Financial Advisor has handled this situation, ML&R Wealth Management can help. In a prior article Five Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor Before You Hire Them, we talked about the most important questions to ask a Financial Advisor if you decide to seek out professional advice. In the short video, we highlight the top two.
Vanessa McElwrath , CFP® , Wealth Management Partner

Sometimes the best thing to do in the midst of high market volatility is nothing at all. As tempting as it may be, we should avoid changing investment plans simply because stocks are down sharply. It’s nearly impossible to correctly time buying and selling stock and countless studies show that those who try it often end up making far less in the long run. However, that doesn’t mean there are no positive actions you can take to shore up your finances. Now is a great time to kick off your financial contingency plans. Here’s what you need to know and what you need to do now.

Build up your emergency fund
It’s times like these that highlight the importance of why everyone should have an emergency fund. An emergency fund is a stash of money set aside to help you weather the storm due to unforeseen circumstances- whether it’s an unexpected car repair, an unexpected job loss, or a global health pandemic. As a rule of thumb, it’s ideal to maintain an amount equal to 3-6 months’ worth of your living expenses.

Financial Wellness Q&A
In this section we will address common personal finance questions. Email  if you have a question you would like answered.

Question:  Will I have to apply to receive a stimulus check payment?

Answer:   No. If the Internal Revenue Service already has your bank account information from your 2019 or 2018 return, it will transfer the money to you via direct deposit based on the recent income-tax figures it already has.

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread in the U.S. and across the world, our priority at Maxwell Locke & Ritter is the safety and well-being of our people, clients, families, and community. We are monitoring daily updates and recommendations from the CDC. Additionally, we are minimizing the impact that COVID-19 could have on our services and are staying abreast of all filing deadline adjustments. We understand that in this time of uncertainty you may have growing concerns for the financial health of yourselves and your businesses, employees and families. We have curated some helpful resources for you and will continue to update this page as new information and updates occur.

In the past century, there have been 15 recessions in the US. In 11 of them, stock returns were positive two years after the recession began.

With activity in many industries sharply curtailed in an effort to reduce the chances of spreading the coronavirus, some economists say a recession is inevitable, if one hasn’t already begun. 1  From a markets perspective, we have already experienced a drop in stocks, as prices have likely incorporated the growing chance of recession. Investors may be tempted to abandon equities and go to cash because of perceptions of recessions and their impact. But across the two years that follow a recession’s onset, equities have a history of positive performance.

Financial downturns are unpleasant for just about everyone. For investors, sticking to core principles can help.

A famous American football coach once said, “You don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training.” The implication is that, in times of great stress, the most reliable recipe for success is sticking to a set of fundamental principles.

From February 20 to March 20, the S&P 500 Index returned –37.4%, with daily returns ranging from –12.0% to +9.4%. A drop of nearly 40% in the stock market combined with a spike in volatility can make many investors reconsider their investment approach. Some might suddenly find stock-picking approaches more alluring. After all, who has not heard the claim that a volatile market is precisely the environment in which many traditional active managers thrive? But is there any truth to this claim?

Crisis brings out the best — and worst — in people. Some dishonest people have already turned the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to their advantage by preying on unsuspecting victims and exploiting their fears.
“History has shown that criminals take every opportunity to perpetrate a fraud on unsuspecting victims, especially when a group of people is vulnerable or in a state of need,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Don Fort.
Here’s an overview of six COVID-19-related scams and practical advice on how to avoid them.

1. Fake Charities
When a catastrophe like COVID-19 strikes, philanthropists flock to donate cash and other assets to help relieve the suffering. But, before making a donation, be aware that opportunistic scammers may set up fake charities to benefit from your generosity.

Fake charities often use names that are similar to legitimate charitable organizations. So, be sure to do your homework before making a contribution. Donors aren’t the only victims to these scams — those in need also lose out.

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What's Happening in Austin This Month

While we know there are no in-person events for the next month, we wanted to share virtual events and activities.
Our Advisors:
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About ML&R Wealth Management:
At ML&R Wealth Management, we take investing personally. Your ML&R Wealth Management advisor will work to develop a lasting relationship with you, keeping in touch to understand your changing goals and to provide an asset management strategy to help achieve them. Whenever you need sound financial advice, you have a direct line to a trusted advisor.

For over 20 years, we have served individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofits with wealth management services, custom retirement and 401(k) plans, and portfolio management.

We believe in accountability and transparency and operate as a fee-only advisor with fees calculated solely on assets under management.
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