• Nate Baim, MBA, CFP®

What to Consider When Investing in the Market


Enjoy this week's edition of the Planner's Beta


Beta (n) - climber's jargon that designates information about a climb This digest's purpose is to share observations, ideas, and treasures found this week which you may also find insightful. Sharing does not mean it's an endorsement. I am endorsing the pursuit of knowledge and exploration.





What to Consider in Today's Markets


Are we in a bubble? This is a question I hear more and more often. I've been helping folks through this past year's crash and dramatic swing back to new record highs. I hear more and more concerns from folks asking what they should do next with their investments. I wanted to share my high-level thoughts on what investors should consider during times of uncertainty.

  1. Define your investing goals and objectives. Knowing your purpose for investing helps you determine how you should be investing. If you save for a long-term goal (such as retirement), chasing meme-stocks for quick returns is likely not prudent to reach this objective.

  2. Don't allow recency bias to dictate your next move. Just because you may have benefited from a high-flying stock or crypto-asset last year doesn't mean you will be able to repeat the same success this year. And just because markets have been rewarding investors with historic returns the past year doesn't mean it will continue. Carefully reflect and visualize the actions you may take if there is a sudden reversal in these recent trends. Will those behaviors during a bear market be helpful or harmful to your goals and objectives? It's always easy to say to yourself, "I will be rational and level-headed during a downturn," but doing so is much more challenging.

  3. Take risks you can only afford to take, and maintain a margin for error. Having concentrated investments in your portfolio can be hazardous. Betting 20%+ of your net worth on one position is likely not prudent and can set you back if the trade goes sideways. Reflect on the costs of getting such an investment wrong, and ask yourself if a disastrous outcome will come at the expense of essential items.

  4. Play your game, not the game of other social media talking heads who got lucky. Social media influencer's goals and objectives are likes and views, not growing and deploying strategies to maximize your financial wealth or happiness.

  5. Be sure to separate financial entertainment from financial education. I'll admit, I will kill time watching "business news" channels. But, most of the stuff spewed on those channels is for pulling on your emotions and getting you to watch ads, not to help you learn, develop, and make informed decisions. Be aware of your feelings when watching these channels. These emotions may result in costly behaviors.



What Student Loan Borrowers Need to Begin Thinking About Now


There were high hopes among individual legislators that student loan borrowers would receive $50k of student loan debt forgiveness. However, in a town hall televised last week, President Biden stated he would not support a $50k debt holiday. He has voiced support for $10k of forgiveness. This means that no matter the amount of student loan debt you owe, it's ok to remain hopeful for some relief, but you should be building a plan for the event forgiveness doesn't come (or the amount of forgiveness is less than what you owe). As we say in the planning industry, hope for the best, plan for the worst.


Additionally, the end of student loan administrative forbearance is coming. Since March of last year, borrowers of federal student loans received relief in the form of no required payments and no interest accrual. The rollouts of vaccines are accelerating, infections are decreasing, and the economy is appearing to heal. Because it seems the economy is strengthening, student loan administrative forbearance will likely end sometime this year. The government will be less willing to continue this program because of a more robust economy. September 30, 2021, is the current expected expiration date of this program. The looming end of student loan assistance from the federal government should provide borrowers an incentive to begin evaluating their options.


For those who are taking advantage of administrative forbearance, now is the time to begin planning. There are many options available for those tackling debt. Strategies may range from seeking loan forgiveness to an accelerated repayment strategy. Each of the alternatives has costs and benefits and requires careful planning.


Over the coming weeks, I plan to release snippets of a student loan webinar I am developing to help people understand student debt basics. I hope these resources will prove helpful for anyone with debt. These snippets aim to illustrate:

  • The difference between private and federal loans

  • The basics of the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program

  • Payment plans including level, graduated, and income-driven repayment plans

  • The types of income-driven payment plans and how they work

  • How public service loan forgiveness and taxable loan forgiveness works

  • How to evaluate payment options and determine a loan strategy that may work for you



This is Key to Growing Your Wealth

This Month's Financial Planning Item - Reviewing Job Satisfaction and Income

What is wealth? I would argue wealth is more than just dollars in a bank account. Wealth is when you are spending your time with the people you love and living a healthy lifestyle in the community you enjoy. And let's face the music, financial wealth is one element of achieving wealth.


Because income plays such an integral part in growing wealth, I encourage you to review your career. These are the steps to take when evaluating your income:

  • Assess Career Fit and Revisit Your Why

  • Review Current Pay

  • Evaluate Other Career Opportunities

  • Begin Developing an Action Plan if Needed

Assess Your Career Fit and Revisit Your Why

Loving your career is an essential tool for generating wealth. Each year, you should review your values and goals and ask yourself, "Is my current job helping me living my best life? Is it time for a career change? Is my financial situation ready for a new career path?" You may also take this 1-minute assessment to learn about your career fit and how your finances might impact your ability to make a move.


Review Your Current Pay

You may find you are in the correct place after assessing your career and goals, but you may still feel under-compensated for your time and talents. Fortunately, there are many resources out there to determine if your pay is competitive. The first site I encourage people to review is the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. From there, you can search your occupation and find compensation statistics for your job and location. BLS's database is a great starting point. I also encourage folks to review salary information at careeronestop.org. And finally, Glassdoor contains salary details for particular jobs. Glassdoor is excellent to see what employers pay their employees, providing you more detailed information than the government sites. From this information, you may determine if it is appropriate to ask for a raise or look for other opportunities.


Evaluate Other Career Opportunities

It is essential to keep an updated resume on hand at all times. Now is an excellent time to review and update the resume. Here is a downloadable resume template I designed for you to help format a clean and professional-looking resume.


It is always good to shop around on popular job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed. Review available openings. If you find an exciting opportunity searching the job boards but aren't confident, remember it never hurts to apply. An application is not a commitment. If you do get an interview, remember it is a two-way street; you should be evaluating them just as much as they are evaluating you. Suppose you are fortunate to have a conversation with another employer but feel the old job is still a better gig. In that case, you can always decline a new job if provided. Or, if you are still on the fence, and after careful consideration, you may use the offer as a salary negotiation point with your existing employer. Either way, having an interview every once and a while is a good thing. Interviewing is a learned skill that can atrophy with years of no use.


Begin Developing an Action Plan

You may find yourself thinking about changing jobs. Or you may be facing a new promotion. Either way, when faced with such opportunities, you should always give time to consider how best to grow your wealth and develop an action plan. In addition to taking the steps above, if you find yourself trying to answer the technical questions with a career change, be sure to review the linked checklists below.


The checklists linked below focus on reviewing the potential financial impacts of a promotion and a new job. Each list includes topics related to:

  • Cash Flow and Income

  • Employee Benefits

  • Retirement Plans and Deferred Compensation

  • Tax and Insurance Planning

With each item listed, I encourage you to consider the what-ifs of a career change (whether it be a promotion or new job) and its potential impact on your life and financial plan.


If you need independent advice on managing income, strategically planning for a career change, or determining how best to move through a job transition to align with your overall aspirations, please review the services I offer and place an introductory appointment on my calendar.


If you are a current Pursuit Planning and Investments client, securely upload any documents needing review to PreciseFP. I am happy to help proofread any resumes, conduct mock interviews, or support you with any career decisions you face. We can discuss this in our next scheduled check-in meeting, or feel free to place an appointment on my calendar.

Checklist: What Issues to Consider if Your Get a Promotion or Raise



Checklist: What Issues to Consider When Starting a New Job



Quote of the Week

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress." - Fredrick Douglass

 

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Investing involves risk. Past results do not guarantee future returns. This content should not be used as a primary basis for investment decisions and is not intended to serve as impartial investment or fiduciary advice. The performance of an index is not representative of any particular investment, as you cannot invest directly in an index.