MONTH-2-MONTH is intended to provide you with updates on AFP and timely financial planning and investment information on a variety of topics. 

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Stay Connected Despite Social Distancing
Coronavirus news is in overdrive. While we need to stay informed, the amount of information being broadcast on a daily basis can be overwhelming. Please heed the warnings and self isolate so that our medical system can keep pace. If isolation is getting the better of you, take a walk outdoors and get some fresh air and sunshine as the weather permits. You may be surprised how much this can help.

Think of your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. While we are to stay a safe distance from others for this temporary time frame, this does not mean we cannot feel close. Write a letter, an email, or make a phone call to check on others. A brief chat can have a positive impact. Don't put it off any longer. What else do you really have to do that is more important?
It doesn’t matter if you’re Irish or not when it comes to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Teri and Tracey are both Dublin girls and Bob has a bit o' Irish in him as well. So, this holiday holds a special place in our hearts. We hope you had the chance to celebrate in your own special way with a traditional meal, green beer, or simply wearing something green. If we had the choice between Luck and Karma, we’d take Luck every time. AFP wishes you the Luck of the Irish!

  • For your safety, we are currently not scheduling in office meetings. We can host Virtual Meetings using Zoom. For our Wealth Management clients, the Wealth Management Navigator also offers a virtual meeting solution.

  • As a reminder for those that may need to visit our office. Construction on a multi-use building is beginning catty-corner to our office. Additionally, the school construction across the street has also commenced. There may be road closures periodically.

  • We've launched Share File to replace the upload capabilities of the Morningstar Portal. It is an online portal which provides access to a client folder. It can be used for transferring documents between AFP and yourself. Both parties will have the ability to download and upload documents. We will be initiating this on an as needed basis.

  • Share File includes an easy to use email encryption feature. We now have the capability of sending sensitive information via encrypted email, when necessary.

  • Our Spring Program scheduled for mid-May is cancelled. Nothing is more important than the well being of our clients so we are calling this early. We will let you know when we plan to host a program. Fingers crossed for the fall.
Scam Alert

  • In addition to the tax and phone scams mentioned here last month, opportunists are creating new scams centered around Coronavirus. Some claim to be able to provide tests and vaccines for home use. This is clearly false. If you hear or see something that seems to good to be true, it probably is. The scammers are willing to exploit any opportunity. Refer to a reputable news source for information. Consider reporting to your state attorney general.

Tax Filing Deadline Extended & Qualification of Stimulus Payments

  • The tax filing deadline for 2019 tax returns has been extended to July 15. This also included any estimated payments for the 1st quarter of 2020. However, the 2 quarter payment is still due by June 15th 2020. As of this writing, Ohio has a bill pending that mirrors the changes in the Federal tax filing changes.
  • Payout of the individual stimulus relief plan is based on either your 2018 tax return or if you have already filed your 2019 tax return (whichever is most current). However, if you have not filed yet, you need to pay attention to any significant differences between these two years and if one year may qualify you to receive (based on income) and another year does not. If you have not filed your 2019 return yet, review what is being passed into law today to determine what may make sense for your situation. Read the article "What You Need to Know About Payments" below.

For clients impacted by the change in our Money Management Program

  • The Orion Portal launch is mostly completed. There are a limited number of client accounts still impacted from the switch to Orion. If you've not received a link to access the portal, please watch your email for details and a link to access the portal website. The link is good for only 24 hours so if you are outside of this window, please request a password reset. Thank you for your continued patience. If you receive an email outlining the portal details, but don't receive the link email, please check your spam/junk email folder.

  • Quarterly reports are complete with the exception of clients who own held away accounts. Held Away accounts require more intensive reconciliation procedures and review. These will be available soon and we are reviewing these accounts individually.
+ Teri's World
This month has been about reflecting on life, long hours in work, and grasping a new reality. As a given, March is always one of the busiest months of the year at AFP. Adding in the health pandemic, navigating the financial impact, and Maria’s decision to leave her employment with AFP this month has added additional issues to address. The benefit of age is the ability to reflect on all these things going on and know we will get through this, albeit wiser on the other side. One often draws on past experiences, how they have handled these in the past to create the roadmap for the crisis we find ourselves in today. I was to attend the Financial Transitionist Institute’s mid-year conference last week and it was revamped to a virtual conference Friday thru Sunday for 3 hours each day. As a practicing member of this sub-set of CFPs, the timing could not have been better. After all, this group was created to help our clients deal with life changes and the impact of this change on their financial lives. It was time well spent and I will be working to bring these skills, training and tools to future client meetings. For now, it’s all about practicing what we are asked to do. I am reaching out to those around me to provide what I can and keeping you all in my thoughts. 
+ What about Bob
March has turned out to be an interesting month to say the least!!! Bob & Christine had one last get together with friends on March 14 t , when they went to Buckeye Winery to see Sticks & Stones play. Since all church activities are canceled, they are using the free time to get some regular exercise and caught up on projects around the house. Bob had a wonderful time changing the wheel-bearing hub in his Explorer. A 2-hour project turned into a whole Saturday and part of Sunday! Next on the list are several large dead trees that need to come down.

Bob & Christine have been using a few different versions of group video chats to keep in touch with their daughters and friends. There is a “Happy Hour” group video chat being planned for the near future.

Bob & Christine hope you all stay safe and healthy!
+ Tracey's Time
The home renovation moves forward slowly. Andy has been working diligently to meet the completion date of May 1st as best he can under the current circumstances. The drywall work is completed and painting started. Tracey helps as best she can but mostly prepares meals and cleans the tools. Some aspects of the project will have to wait due to the Stay at Home Order. Eventually it will get done. The distraction provided by the "project" is a good thing!

Everything from the remainder of the school year to summer vacation hangs in the balance. They are hopeful for the future and thankful to have their health and each other to lean on. They wish you all the same.
+ Maria's Moments
Maria has started two new classes online, including her MBA Capstone and an Econometric Modeling course. Even with the on-going pandemic, she has been busy with her classes and trying to remain healthy in order to provide assistance with her grandmother. Maria’s nephew, Augie, will be turning 10 months at the end of this month and he is beginning to crawl around the house.

This is Maria’s last month at Alexander Financial Planning, Inc. She has accepted a new position at another organization in Dublin. Maria has loved her time here and will be sad to leave Teri, Bob and Tracey, but is excited to continue to advance her career. She is thankful for everyone she has met through AFP and will never forget the imprint they made on her life.  
Current Economic and Investment Information
U.S. STOCK MARKET –Since 1950, the average bull market (64 months) has lasted more than 4 times as long as the average bear market (15 months). Since 1950, the average bull market has generated a gain of +172%. The average bear market has incurred a loss of 34%. The S&P 500 consists of stocks chosen for market size, liquidity and industry group representation. It is a market value weighted index with each stock's weight in the index proportionate to its market value (source: BTN Research).  

THE YEAR AFTER -The S&P 500 has achieved an average annual total return of +14.8% in the calendar year after the 16 down years that have taken place in the stock market over the last 75 calendar years (1945-2019). That result is +3.5 percentage points greater than the entire 75-year average annual return of +11.3% for the index (source: BTN Research). 
 “TIME IN” vs. “TIMING” - The split between “up” and “down” time periods for the S&P 500 from 1950 to the end of 2019, i.e., the last 70 years, as measured by: Days: 54% “up” and 46% “down”; Months: 60% up, 40% down; Quarters: 66% up, 34% down; Years: 73% up, 27% down; 5-Year Rolling Time Periods:79% up, 21% down; and finally 10-Year Rolling Time Periods: 89% up, 11% down (source: BTN Research). 
BIG GAIN, BIG LOSS - The US stock market has lost $12.1 trillion of value during the 2020 bear market, i.e., from the close of trading on 2/19/20 to the close of trading on Friday 3/20/20. The US stock market peaked at $36.1 trillion, having gained $28.5 trillion during the 2009-20 bull market through 2/19/20 (source: Wilshire). 

MULTIPLIER –Senate Republicans announced on 3/19/20 a stimulus plan that includes $1,200 cash payments to taxpayers. If each taxpayer that received $1,200 had a “marginal propensity to consume” of 60%, the initial taxpayer would save $480 and spend $720, and then in turn the party that received the $720 would save $288 and spend $432, and the next party would save $173 and spend $259, and so on. Ultimately the original $1,200 cash payment would result in $1,800 of economic activity, i.e., $720 + $432 + $259 + . . . (source: BTN Research).  

ALMOST INTEREST-FREE CASH - The Federal Reserve implemented its 2nd emergency rate cut this month last Sunday 3/15/20, effectively pushing short-term interest rates to zero. At the latest emergency meeting, the Fed also cut the reserve requirement for thousands of US depository institutions to zero effective Thursday 3/26/20, i.e., permitting easier lending by banks (source: Federal Reserve). 

SEVEN MONTHS - The worldwide flu outbreak that occurred in the fall of 1918 killed 50 million people globally, including 675,000 Americans. The health crisis was a primary cause of a 7-month recession in the USA that lasted from August 1918 through March 1919 (source: National Bureau of Economic Research).

HIGHER PRICE NEEDED - Saudi Arabia needs to sell oil at $78 a barrel to balance its sovereign budget, while Russia requires a price of $45 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the benchmark for the oil industry outside of the United States, closed last Friday 3/20/20 at $26.98 a barrel(source: International Monetary Fund). 

AT THE PUMP - The national average price of gasoline has decreased for 23 consecutive days between Wednesday 2/26/20 and Friday 3/20/20, falling 30 cents a gallon to $2.17 a gallon (source: AAA). 

BACKING MORTGAGES - Government agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac serve as the financial backstop for $5 trillion of the $10.6 trillion of outstanding mortgage loans nationwide (source: Federal Reserve).  
The 7 Best COVID-19 Resources
We've Discovered So Far

By Jeff Desjardins
Visual Capitalist

With all eyes on the COVID-19 pandemic and how its impact will be felt over the coming weeks and months, people are being bombarded with all kinds of noise and speculation.

Between a deadly virus, looming economic effects, and numerous government shutdowns, it’s clear that a fertile breeding ground has been created for misinformation, rumors, conspiracy theories, hot takes, and other potentially misleading content.

Since we know you are running out of things to read, we thought we would add a little more for you to take in. This just came out and complements the information above.

The Panic of 2020? Oh, I Made a Ton of Money -
and So Did You
Hindsight bias suggests that one day you'll look back on all of this and... lie

By Jason Zweig
The Wall Street Journal

It’s springtime in the year 2030. You’re looking back at the crash of 2020, the devastation it dealt your portfolio and how you behaved as an investor.

What will you say?

If human nature is any guide—and, let’s face it, it is—your accounts of what happened will begin with such words and phrases as “Clearly…” or “It was obvious to me that…” or “Everybody knew that…”

In the future, your memory of the crash of 2020 won’t be a recollection. It will be a reconstruction, built partly from what is happening now and largely from what you learn later about what hasn’t happened yet.

I’m describing hindsight bias—the belief, after something happens, that we foresaw that it would occur.

That intuition keeps you from learning from mistakes, leads you to pay too much attention to unreliable forecasts and makes you mismeasure your tolerance for risk.

Fortunately, you can work around it.

Some commentators have argued that the coronavirus panic is nothing like the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 because, unlike today, policy makers knew exactly what they were doing back then. That’s nonsense. Monetary and political leaders navigated that time not with foresight but with a jerry-rigged blend of bluffing, analysis, tinkering, bickering, guesswork and luck.

Don’t let yourself be fooled into believing it’s unusual that nobody knows what’s going on right now. The past makes sense only in retrospect, after our minds burnish it to our liking. The present almost always defies our efforts to make sense of it.

In a classic experiment in 1972, researchers asked people to estimate the likelihood that various positive and negative outcomes might result from President Richard Nixon’s upcoming trips to China and Russia that year. We now call those visits “historic” because they thawed decades of hostility between the U.S. and the communist powers. In advance, no one knew whether the trips would accomplish anything.

About two weeks after Nixon’s visits, 71% of people recalled putting higher odds on his success than they had at the time. Four months on, 81% remembered being more sure Nixon would succeed than they had said beforehand.
In short, learning what did happen impedes you from retrieving what you thought would happen.

Children as young as the age of three, asked what’s in a candy box, will say “candy.” Show them it contains pencils instead, then ask what they had thought would be inside—they will say “pencils.”

One week after the verdict in the 1995 murder trial of O.J. Simpson, 58% of people in a study recalled predicting he would be found not guilty; a year afterward, 68% remembered saying he would be acquitted. In fact, only 48% of them had said so before the verdict. Likewise, people distorted the odds they’d placed in advance that President Bill Clinton would be convicted in his 1999 impeachment trial.

In 2002, psychologists asked nearly 1,000 Americans to recall how likely they had expected terrorism-related incidents—and other risky events—to be in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001. After a year in which fears had mostly subsided, they remembered being much less pessimistic than they had been at the time.

So that pundit predicting doom on financial television right now will get to say “I told you so” if the economy collapses. But if things improve, he—and his audience—will end up remembering his forecast as sunnier than it was.

“We’re biased to see ourselves in a positive light,” says Deborah Small, a psychologist at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. “We want to believe that we’re rational and smart. We’ll recall our past actions as more sensible than they were. We also give ourselves too much credit and don’t remember our mistakes as well as we do our successes.”

Sure enough, investors looking back on their own decisions often recall more gains and fewer losses than they racked up in reality.

To combat hindsight bias, tune out economic and financial forecasters who don’t share complete track records of their predictions. (If that leaves you with no one to listen to, well, them’s the breaks.)

Next, track your own forecasts. If, as I have often urged, you kept an investment diary during the financial crisis, go back and read it. How accurately did you predict how far stocks would drop and how long they would take to recover? If you were wrong about the past, how likely are you to be right about the present and the future?

Finally, take what psychologist Daniel Kahneman calls “the outside view.” Rather than try to figure out exactly how bad this crisis will be, look at the broader set of historical precedents.

Since 1929, the S&P 500 has suffered 14 bear markets, defined by S&P Dow Jones Indices as losses of at least 20%. The shortest and shallowest was the 20% drop that lasted less than three months in late 1990. The deepest was the 86.2% collapse from September 1929 to June 1932; the longest, the 60% plunge from March 1937 to April 1942. On average, bear markets lasted 19 months and dealt a 39% loss.

Staring the past honestly in the face, rather than letting your memory play tricks on you, is the best way to form realistic expectations of the future.
What You Need to Know About Payments

By Richard Rubin
The Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—In response to the economic fallout of  the coronavirus pandemic , Congress is poised to approve  an economic relief plan  that includes  one-time direct payments  to most households. Here are the key details:

How much money is it?

The plan provides $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child under 17. A married couple with two children would get $3,400. Most people will receive the money in a payment from the Internal Revenue Service soon.

Who qualifies for the stimulus payments?

The payments go to almost any adult with a Social Security number, as long as they aren’t dependents of someone else. Those adults get the payments for the children in their household.

Payments start phasing out for those with income above $75,000 in adjusted gross income for individuals, $112,500 for heads of household (often single parents) and $150,000 for married couples. The payments start shrinking above those levels.

For those with no children, the benefit disappears at $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for married couples.
When will the money arrive?

The IRS could start issuing payments  within three weeks , said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The agency hasn’t announced a schedule. It will be able to move fastest for people who have filed 2019 tax returns with direct-deposit information and significantly slower for those who will need paper checks.

The IRS will provide updated information   on its website   about the process but is urging people not to call yet.

How does the IRS determine whether you are getting a payment and how much you get?

The government will use 2019 tax returns to set the payment amounts and 2018 tax returns if 2019 isn’t available.

People who haven’t filed tax returns can still file for 2019 to make sure the government has their updated income and bank-account information, as well as 2019 information about recent births, deaths, marriages, divorces and moves. Such changes that happened after 2019 won’t be reflected in the payments, however. Those with low incomes or no income can file tax returns for free using  the IRS’s Free File program .

The IRS also will have the ability to get information from the Social Security Administration about people who get benefits but don’t typically file tax returns. So these people might not need to file tax returns to claim this payment; the IRS will provide more details about the mechanics.

What if I lose a substantial amount of income this year as opposed to 2019?

The advance payments will be determined based on 2019 income—or 2018 income if that is all that is available to IRS—and the final amount of the benefits will be determined based on 2020 income and settled on the 2020 tax return. So people who ultimately qualify for more money than they receive this year—a person whose income drops from $100,000 to $70,000, for example—would get the rest through a larger tax refund or smaller tax payment in early 2021.

But people who ultimately qualify for less money than they got this year—a person whose income rises from $70,000 to $100,000—wouldn’t have to pay it back.

Besides those who make above the income threshold for the payments, is there anyone who doesn’t get a payment?

You must have a Social Security number to get a payment. Also, if you are a dependent on someone else’s tax return and you aren’t a child, you don’t get a payment. That will preclude payments for some elderly adults as well as students over age 16.

Are the payments taxable income?

No. They won’t be considered as income.

What about people who owe money to the IRS for prior years?

Other IRS liabilities won’t come out of the payments and even people who owe back taxes should get the full amount they qualify for.

What about child support?

The normal IRS rules for child support and tax refunds will apply, which means that refunds for people who are behind on those payments may be smaller.

Do children born in 2020 get the payment?

Parents of children born in 2020 won’t get a payment for that child now.

However, assuming they qualify based on their 2020 income, they will get $500 added to their tax refund or subtracted from their income-tax bill when they file their 2020 tax returns in early 2021.
"May you only grow old in the face.
Be treasured and cared for with grace. "

- Irish Blessing

Alexander Financial Planning
1621 W. First Avenue
Grandview Heights, OH 43212

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.