It’s hard to believe, but it’s March already and spring will be here in a few short weeks. Spring is a season of hopeful new beginnings, and after a hard winter we’re certainly ready for green grass, blooming flowers and a little optimism. While the Covid-19 pandemic death toll reached just over 500,000 lives in late February, the number of new cases has dropped considerably in recent weeks. A new vaccine from Johnson & Johnson was just approved by the FDA. This vaccine requires only one shot and should give the national vaccine program a boost. Some small steps toward normalcy are returning, and there’s hope that by summer life will look at least a little bit more like it used to. The stock market is still on an upward trajectory, and while the GameStop fiasco at the end of January pushed equities down briefly, at the time of writing the S&P 500 is up 2.1% through the end of February.* All in all, things could be worse, as indeed they have been. We may not be quite out of the woods yet, but we’re on the right path.
Our first article this month raises the important issue of the cost of healthcare in retirement, offering important food for thought as you save for retirement. The next piece was also chosen with retirement in mind and offers a number of wise moves to take in the decade before you sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labors. This is followed by an article that supports our philosophy of investing for the long term, with a study pointing to the futility of attempting to time the market. As April 15th approaches, it’s wise to get a handle on taxable income and we feature an article that discusses how stimulus payments figure into the tax picture. Finally, in honor of the coming spring, our last piece offers helpful tips on getting your garden ready.
As always, we’ll do our best to offer the best-in-class solutions, insights and expertise to help you achieve your financial objectives. We’re privileged to be your trusted partner and we’ll continue to do our very best to serve you.
Articles of Interest
According to a recent study, the average 65-year-old couple will need $295,000 in today’s dollars to cover health care expenses. About half of U.S. adults over 50 don’t know how they’ll be able to afford health insurance in retirement. A person turning 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing long-term-care services down the road. With the cost for a room and a health aide exceeding $10,000 monthly, one important way prepare for future long-term care needs today by contributing to a Health Savings Account (HSA).
It’s one thing to believe you’ll have a secure retirement and another to make sure it actually happens. These 11 smart money moves to be made the decade before you retire can put you on the right path so that your faraway dream becomes a not-too-distant reality.
Buy low, sell high, right? As the GameStop frenzy has shown, knowing when to sell can be a challenge, especially if you are trying to time the market. Almost a century of data from the NYSE, AMEX and Nasdaq, spanning 1925-2018, unsurprisingly found that, over 20- and 30-year periods, active investors experienced 50% and 71% higher volatility, respectively, than more passive, buy-and-hold investors. Overall, the performance gap between buy-and-hold investors and frequent traders can be best summed up as: bad timing. The solution? Trade as little as possible.
No federal income tax is due on the stimulus checks, but they could indirectly affect what you pay in state income taxes in those states where federal tax is deductible against state taxable income. Unlike stimulus payments, jobless benefits are taxed by the federal government as ordinary income, although you won’t owe Medicare or Social Security taxes on jobless benefits as one would with paycheck income. Unless you live in one of the nine states that don’t have a state income tax or a few others that exempt jobless benefits (including California, Montana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia) you’ll likely owe state income taxes on the unemployment benefits.
The best thing to do is to start planning for the warm season early. Treat winter damage in the landscape, assessing it for leaf scorch and winter burn, discoloration of new growth, bent or broken branches, branch dieback, salt buildup and dehydrated roots. Then, rejuvenate the lawn by removing debris, raking it thoroughly, aerating, overseeding, watering, fertilizing and mowing. Follow up by starting seeds indoors with sterile potting mix and prepare garden beds for planting. Then, apply spring fertilizer. Some perennials will require a single application in early spring. Annuals in flower beds and vegetable gardens may require a few rounds.
Symmetry does not provide tax or legal advice and nothing either stated or implied here should be inferred as providing such advice. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.
Symmetry Partners, LLC is not affiliated with any firm mentioned in this material.