Squirrel!

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 By Jeff Jones, MS
Financial Planner 

I’m guilty. I start my day off with a mental, and sometimes a written, list of things I need or want to accomplish. Some days, I get sidetracked by checking my email, a phone call, a hallway conversation. I stop to answer a text about today’s soccer game. I pick up a periodical to read an article that caught my attention.  On and on and on…The next thing I know, it’s the lunch hour and my list hasn’t been touched.

Good intentions. Bad implementation.

And so it goes with our financial life. We mean to complete our wills, update our insurance, rollover that 401(k), and on and on and on. We convince ourselves that we’ll get it done…eventually, but here we are and our list is still sitting there waiting for action.

Author Seth Godin says it like this:

The next thing you do today will be the most important thing on your agenda, because, after all, you’re doing it next.

Well, perhaps it will be the most urgent thing. Or the easiest.

In fact, the most important thing probably isn’t even on your agenda.

What is so important that you can’t afford to put it off one more day? Sure, it might be something financially-related such as updating your will. [You do have a basic will in place, don’t you?!] Or maybe it’s playing kitchen with your daughter, calling your mother, preparing for an upcoming presentation.

On a side note, the title references Dug the talking dog from Disney Pixar’s Up. Here’s a clip for reference. Cracks me up every time.

Jeff Jones is a part of the planning team at Longview Financial Advisors in Huntsville, Alabama.  He is a graduate from the University of Alabama with a Masters in Financial Planning as well as a candidate for CFP Board certification.   Visit “Our Team” to learn more about him and other team members at Longview. Jeff can be reached via e-mail at jjones@longviewfa.com


Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Longview Financial Advisors, Inc.), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this newsletter or post will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter or post serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Longview Financial Advisors, Inc.. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Longview Financial Advisors, Inc. is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the newsletter or post content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the Longview Financial Advisors, Inc.’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.

 

 

Back to the Planning!

AG

By Andrew Gipner, MS, CFP®
NAPFA Registered Financial Advisor 

Happy New Year!

So with it being 2015, I had some major goals this year. Not to brag too much but based on the conversations I’ve had with the infamous Dr. Emmett Brown and his partner in crime, Marty McFly, I have successfully saved for a goal to not only have a hover conversion to my car, but also purchase an auto-adjusting/auto-drying jacket. Marty also mentioned something about the Cubs winning the World Series this year – I’ll believe that when I see it.

Wait, hold on there! Are you telling me that something has changed in the space-time continuum? Makes sense. While the Cubs are in the conversation to be a great team in 2015, I would say they are at least a couple years away from being in the World Series.

Great Scott! What about my goals?!?

As you can see with my fictional conundrum here, not only am I taking the movie Back to the Future Part II a little too serious but also something has changed with my plan. I’m here to say that’s just fine. Things that we can and cannot control sometimes re-route the roadmap that is our financial plan. Essentially, that’s the purpose of an ongoing financial plan – whether it’s a desire to travel more after completing a preliminary plan, or even a disruption in the space-time continuum.

Last year at Longview, we changed something about the way we think in terms of ongoing financial planning. We moved from a financial planning software that is cash- flow based to one that is goals-based.  Jargon aside, the final results of our new and updated plans will be focused more on the likelihood you are able to achieve those goals you set out for as opposed to how much in assets you have remaining at the end of your life. This by no means takes away the importance of cash-flow; it’s still the backbone of any good financial plan.  

“But Andrew, I don’t really know what my goals are right now!”

I have heard that from a few clients, and that’s OK, too. Again, this is where the ongoing financial planning thrives and is an ideal opportunity to explore the possibilities through various scenarios. While the plan still begins by having a firm understanding of the nuances of your situation (e.g. – How much are you spending? How much are you saving? Is your insurance coverage sufficient?), the plan can then move toward a number of “what if” questions that leads us right to the solution. That solution in itself can be the goals you determine after seeing the updated plan.

So is this a paradigm shift in terms of planning? Sure, maybe a little. But even if you don’t know all of your goals today, we know that there is a plan in place that allows us to include a few of those “trips to Europe” or “gifting to my favorite charity” and seeing what’s possible.  

And as always, we will continue to review the plan at least once a year and complete updates to the plan periodically.

OK, all done. Cue the Huey Lewis song with lyrics narrating this blog post.

Have a great 2015! 

Andrew Gipner is a part of the planning team at Longview Financial Advisors in Huntsville, Alabama.  He is a graduate from the University of Alabama with a Masters in Financial Planning. Andrew is a  CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER(TM) Professional as well as  the Membership Director of NAPFA Genesis,  a sub-group of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), dedicated to the professional growth and development of financial planners age 33 and younger. Visit “Our Team” to learn more about him and other team members at Longview. Andrew can be reached via e-mail at andrew@longviewfa.com.

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Longview Financial Advisors, Inc.), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this newsletter or post will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter or post serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Longview Financial Advisors, Inc.. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Longview Financial Advisors, Inc. is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the newsletter or post content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the Longview Financial Advisors, Inc.’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.

Happy Holidays from Longview!

From our families to yours, we at Longview want to wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

The Longview offices will be closed on the following days as we allow time off for our team members to spend time with their families:

  • Wednesday, December 24th
  • Thursday, December 25th
  • Monday, January 1st

Wishing you a prosperous and happy New Year in 2015!

Sincerely,

Your Longview Team

It’s Time to Retire “Retirement”

jeff_jones

 By Jeff Jones, MS
Financial Planner 

“Old.”

That was the number one answer to a recent online survey conducted by Financial Engines when they asked individuals this question: 

How do you feel when you hear the word retirement?

Out of 1,134 respondents at the time of this writing, the #1 answer was “old!” While this answer certainly comes from an unscientific poll, as pointed out by the Wall Street Journal, it speaks to a greater issue. Just look at the rest of the top ten words and phrases associated with “retirement”:

  1. Old
  2. Excited
  3. Happy
  4. Long time away
  5. Scared
  6. Nervous
  7. Anxious
  8. Worried
  9. Good
  10. Sad

It’s clear the definition of the word “retirement” is changing. The feelings associated with it are taking on a negative connotation for many individuals. I, along with many of my financial planner counterparts, frequently use the phrase “retirement planning” as part of the comprehensive financial planning process. The last thing I want is to have old, scared, nervous, anxious, worried, and sad be a part of what I do.

It’s time to retire “retirement” from our planning vocabulary. I propose “inspirement” as a replacement.

I rolled the idea of my newly-coined term out to a few people. Even when I say it with such emphasis and with hands thrown up in wonder, it was met with the rolling of eyes and a smile. I may have to go back to the drawing board, but I’m sticking with it for now.

I want the “Planning Formerly Known as Retirement” to mean something more than simply the end of our working life, more than “old” or “scared”. I want it to mean the beginning of something, the beginning of the rest of our life. Yes, that sounds cliché-ish but that doesn’t make it any less true. Rather than retiring from something, we need to plan on retiring to something.

But we can’t wait until the last hour to talk about what that something is going to be. The conversation has to start now, regardless of age. We must begin to identify goals that extend beyond the next automobile purchase, beyond planning for children’s education, beyond next year’s vacation. We have to plan for goals for beyond “retirement”, and that means more than simply planning to maintain our standard of living. I want it to mean living the life that you’ve only imagined.

So, what do you plan to do during your “inspirement?”

Jeff Jones is a part of the planning team at Longview Financial Advisors in Huntsville, Alabama.  He is a graduate from the University of Alabama with a Masters in Financial Planning as well as a candidate for CFP Board certification.   Visit “Our Team” to learn more about him and other team members at Longview. Jeff can be reached via e-mail at jjones@longviewfa.com 

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Longview Financial Advisors, Inc.), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this newsletter or post will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter or post serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Longview Financial Advisors, Inc.. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Longview Financial Advisors, Inc. is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the newsletter or post content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the Longview Financial Advisors, Inc.’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.

Crude Oil Meets Bond, James Bond.

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By Jeffrey Cedarholm, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®

Chief Investment Officer

Rule No. 1: Most things will prove to be cyclical.

Rule No 2: Some of the greatest opportunities for gain and loss come when other people forget Rule No. 1. 

-Howard Marks

 

Sounds like a Bond movie to me, cloak and dagger and much intrigue.  Over the last year, the ministers of OPEC have had closed door meetings to discuss America’s upsurge in oil production.  In its December 13 edition, The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. oil output has grown from 4.8 million barrels a day in 2008 to 8.9 million as recently as this past summer.  The Saudis in particular were worried that in a slowly rising demand environment, the U.S. wildcatters drilling in the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale deposits, would produce a global glut of supply.  They were right; not only is production up and all reservoirs filled, but in late summer, global demand from emerging market economies began to fall sharply.

When commodity supply/demand ratios become unbalanced, even by a small amount, immediate price adjustments follow. When circumstances lead to these ratios becoming widely unbalanced – such as now with too much supply and little demand – the price adjustments are precipitous. You are seeing this play out at your local pump!

Now I have had more than a few clients ask what could possibly be wrong when gas prices are almost half of what they were six months ago. For those economies that are not petroleum producers, and are also  predominately consumer driven, this is a fantastic economic boost, like a giant wind at our backs. Airline and trucking companies have seen an immediate boost to their bottom lines and their stock values. And who could possibly argue with having a few more dollars in your pocket during the holidays? Eventually, the price of oil will rise and stabilize somewhere between $50 and $100. It’s impossible to know the eventual price, but a range of between $60 and $80 per barrel might be a safe guess.

But what seems to be a tailwind to us as petroleum consumers is a headwind to the oil industry and those countries who are commodity exporters. There is a dark cloud on the horizon, always an evil villain in a Bond film. The villain here is a “lack of demand” in many parts of the world. And not just lack of demand for oil and other commodities, but the lack of demand that leads to slow growth, no growth, or negative growth that leads to deflation and eventual recession. The U.S. has been a global business bright spot, but we are not self-contained. We need strong demand from abroad for our exports and without it; our strong level of growth (relatively speaking) may quickly wither.

OPEC is playing a dangerous game of chicken with American producers by not agreeing to cut their own oil production.  They probably have the financial resources (and in the case of the Saudis, according to The Economist, a much lower cost of production) to outlast us and retain their global market share.  There will be much economic pain and suffering in the global energy sector!

Many smaller companies will go out of business, while others will be absorbed into larger, stronger companies. But as oil production begins to fall, that magic supply/demand ratio begins to come back into balance, stabilizing and then slowly increasing oil prices. 

Normality will eventually return to both the commodity and currency markets. Because oil is valued in U.S. dollars, large foreign oil exporters have taken a double financial hit and the recent currency crisis in Russia is a good example. Such a large global dislocation as the drop in the price of oil may create abnormally high market volatility before it eventually evens out. But here’s hoping for smooth sailing through the Holidays. 

Enjoy your eggnog! Shaken, not stirred.

Jeffrey Cedarholm is the Chief Investment Officer at Longview Financial Advisors, Inc.  He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner with a passion for investment and wealth management. Jeff can be reached via e-mail at jeff@longviewfa.com.

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Longview Financial Advisors, Inc.), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this newsletter or post will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter or post serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Longview Financial Advisors, Inc.. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Longview Financial Advisors, Inc. is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the newsletter or post content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the Longview Financial Advisors, Inc.’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.