MAY 2020 NEWS
"Sometimes when Fortune scowls most spitefully she is preparing her most dazzling gifts.” Winston Churchill
In This Issue
  • Letter from Bryan: Pundits vs Reality
  • Our Communications
  • A Summary of Relief Provisions
  • Social Security and COVID-19: Should Your Strategy Change?
  • Medicare and COVID-19
  • Watch Out for Coronavirus Scams
  • Harford Community College Courses
  • TKG Working From Home
Letter from Bryan
Pundits vs Reality
"Control the controllable": That is generally a solid piece of advice whenever we are faced with a challenge that results from elements outside of our control. During this particular crisis we are facing, one thing we can control is the amount of attention we pay to the pundits—that is, our news media and opinion makers. My suggestion: Glean the essential information you need from the news, then turn it off and spend more time with your family.

The pundits aren’t exactly covering themselves in glory these days. People who have seen their entire way of life temporarily uprooted deserve better. I've noticed three traits in our media and opinion makers that are more likely to exacerbate, rather than lighten, the emotional burden so many people are bearing these days.

One such trait is the tendency to sensationalize negative economic statistics. More often than not, these numbers are cited in such a hyperbolic manner that it feels like the purpose is not so much to inform as to rub salt in our emotional wounds.

A second disturbing trait among the punditry is to assume a degree of certainty that is simply not justified. Even our most brilliant and experienced doctors and scientists are still learning more about COVID-19 every day. Yet, as Charlie Munger Warren Buffett’s right hand man observes, although there is so much uncertainty, “Everybody talks as if they know what’s going to happen.” Armed with this unwarranted sense of superior knowledge, the pundits choose partisan sides and eagerly pounce on anyone who dares to explore differing viewpoints in our battle against the virus. We need to encourage more, not less, open and reasonable discussion.

But perhaps the most disturbing trait of all is the refusal to provide historical perspective and context. Faced with uncertainty about the present, at least we have history to fall back on. Fortunately, there are those who do eloquently provide us with much needed historical context. Consider the words of Jim Fullerton, former Chairman of Capital Group, the parent company of American Funds: “Courage! We have been here before.” Fullerton used those stirring words not recently in the face of the coronavirus, but in a now legendary speech back in November 1974.

This was in the midst of another economic crisis which had caused the Dow to fall more than 40% from its high. Different crisis, same pattern. As Fullerton said in that same speech:

“Each economic, market and financial crisis is different from previous ones. But in their very difference, there is commonality. Namely, each crisis is characterized by its own new set of nonrecurring factors, its own set of apparently insoluble problems and its own set of apparently logical reasons for well-founded pessimism about the future.”

Further supporting this theme, Fullerton in his 1974 speech looked back to yet another even more serious crisis, World War II. He referred to April 1942, when all was gloom and doom, which was reflected in the stock market. Yet, as Fullerton said:

“[O]n April 28, 1942, in that gloomy environment, in the midst of a war we were losing, faced with excess profits taxes and wage and price controls, shortages of gasoline and rubber and other crucial materials, and with the virtual certainty in the minds of everyone that once the war was over we’d face a post-war depression in that environment, the market turned around.”

Why did it turn around?

“Simply a return to reality. Simply a slow but growing recognition that despite all the bad news, despite all the gloomy outlook, the United States was going to survive, that strongly financed, well-managed U.S. corporations were going to survive also. The reality was that those companies were far more valuable than the prices of their stocks indicated. So, on Wednesday, April 29, 1942, for no apparent visible reason, investors again began to recognize reality.”

This reality of our unconquerable resiliency that we have demonstrated in crises even worse than what we are facing today is a reality insufficiently addressed by our pundits. But that's okay. We can fend for ourselves by turning off the news and devoting our attention to what we can control by helping ourselves, our family, and our community come out of this situation better, stronger, and healthier. The Kelly Group continues to be here to help you in this endeavor. Stay safe and well!
Best Regards,
Bryan E. Kelly, CFP®
Our Communications
At The Kelly Group, we believe in constant interactive communication with our clients and our community. One method of communication we use is our quarterly newsletter. Also, whenever warranted, we issue brochures, announcements, alerts, invitations, and updates. On the other hand, we have made every effort not to flood your mailbox or email inbox; we know what it's like to get inundated with correspondence. That is why up until now we have limited our newsletter to a quarterly frequency. But with all that’s going on, we have decided—at least temporarily—to produce a monthly newsletter, beginning this month. As always, we are interested in your opinion about our communications. Let us know what you think, and what topics you would like us to discuss.
A Summary of Relief Provisions
Congress, the White House, and the IRS have been busy providing relief to those affected by COVID-19. The sources of this relief include the CARES Act, executive orders, and IRS rulings. In addition, Congress late last year passed the SECURE Act which, while not related to the virus, did include retirement plan provisions that are particularly helpful in these troublesome times. For a summary of some of the more significant provisions included in the various executive and legislative actions Read More.
Social Security and COVID-19: Should Your Benefit Strategy Change?
If you are at least age 62, you are eligible to start receiving Social Security benefits. But for many people, it is often a wise strategy to defer those benefits until at least Full Retirement Age (“FRA”) if not beyond to increase the amount of monthly benefits. This is particularly so if you are still working and may not need the additional income. Also, if you claim benefits prior to FRA, $1 in benefits are withheld for every $2 earned over the annual threshold (currently, $18,240).

But what if you have recently been laid off due to COVID-19 and your household income has come to a screeching halt? If you are in that situation, you may want to consider claiming your Social Security benefits early to provide much needed cash flow. While claiming an early age benefit is not optimal, it is an immediate source of income that may truly be needed. And if you are not currently working, the annual earnings cap will not apply, and your benefits will not be withheld.

So, what’s the downside? Good question! Read More.
Medicare and COVID-19
If you are at least age 65, you are covered by the Medicare rules. You are also at a higher risk than younger people of suffering from serious effects of COVID-19. The combination of these two issues raises several questions. First, how comprehensive is Medicare’s coverage of COVID-19-related costs? Second, if you have been able to defer Medicare because you (or your spouse) were covered by an employer plan, but you have now been temporarily laid off, what do you do? And what happens with your health insurance if you go back to work after the crisis has receded? Read More.
Watch Out for Coronavirus Scams
Fraudsters and scam artists are always looking for new ways to prey on consumers. Now they are using the same tactics to take advantage of consumers' heightened financial and health concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. Federal, state, and local law enforcement have begun issuing warnings on the surge of coronavirus scams and how consumers can protect themselves. Here are some of the more prevalent coronavirus scams that consumers need to watch out for. Read More.
Harford Community College Courses
Like other schools, Harford Community College is continuing to assess the situation in deciding when to reopen its campus. At The Kelly Group, we have decided to postpone any HCC classes we offer until autumn.

Assuming the fall semester proceeds as we all hope it will, we have scheduled five classes: three perennials and two brand new courses.

Our new courses:
  • "SECURE Act, CARES Act, COVID-19 and Retirement Planning: What Changed?" (September 30); and
  • "Retirement Strategies for Federal Employees" (October 28).

Our perennials:
  • "Medicare Planning for Baby Boomers" (October 7),
  • "Family Love Letter for Baby Boomers" (October 14), and
  • "Social Security Strategies for Baby Boomers" (October 21).

All five classes are scheduled for Wednesday at 6:30-8:30pm. As circumstances change, we will provide updates in our communications and on our website.

For more details about the fall courses and registration, Read More or go to our website at www.kellygrouponline.com. You can also contact Charlie Wolpoff at 410-893-0560, or cwolpoff@kellygrouponline.com, or to register online go to www.harford.edu/register.
TKG Working from Home
We may not all be together in our building, but we are practicing social distancing and are still HERE for our clients, our friends and our community!

As a reminder, we are meeting with clients by telephone and screen share. Most of our team members are working from home with very limited in office staff. But we continue to be reachable by our office phone number 410-893-0560 and our usual email addresses. We can process most paperwork electronically. If you do need to drop off documents including checks to our office, please mail them. As you know, this is a fluid situation. We will continue to communicate with you about any new developments. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, or just want to talk, we are here for you and will continue to be here for you.

Be Healthy and Safe. And continue to remember, together we will get to the other side of this!
Check Out Our Facebook Page!
The Kelly Group Facebook page is a great way to keep up with our many Kelly Group Happenings as well as events and causes we support and promote. You can see our page by following the link below, or simply type "The Kelly Group" into the Facebook search bar and look for our leaf logo.
We Want to Hear From You
Let us know what topics you would like us to discuss in our newsletter. Send your suggestions to cwolpoff@kellygrouponline.com.  

Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. a Broker/Dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services through Cambridge Investment Research Advisor, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. The Kelly Group and Cambridge are not affiliated. Diversification and asset allocation strategies do not assure profit or protect against loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investing involves risk. Depending on the types of investments, there may be varying degrees of risk. Investors should be prepared to bear loss, including total loss of principal. "Medicare Premiums" article, used with permission, was prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2019.
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