Planning for What’s to Come / Megan Williams

03/24/2020

In just a couple of months since the first reported case of COVID-19 in the U.S. life has changed dramatically for most of us. No one planned or prepared for a pandemic—and it’s almost impossible to predict what the long-term implications will be. We don’t know how long we will be told to self-isolate, how long businesses will be closed, or what else may be asked of us to help stop the spread of this strain of coronavirus.

So many questions and no answers. It can be overwhelming. But life goes on, and you still have control over most of yours. You still can—and should—plan for what’s to come. Even in this at least temporary “new normal,” planning is a necessity.

Consider the following:

Retirement.
If you are nearing retirement, a volatile market is unsettling. Your advisor can help you answer some of the following questions:

  • Should I push back my retirement date?
  • Should I make adjustments in my portfolio? Typically, you will hear that we shouldn’t sell at the low, but if you’re willing to shift to a more aggressive portfolio and possibly extend your time to retirement you could benefit from a market upswing. We know the market will eventually recover, if we can’t predict when.
  • Should I do a Roth conversion? If you convert your IRA when your account values are depressed, you will pay taxes on the amount converted, then realize the gains tax-free when the market rebounds. Converting could also be a savvy estate-planning move if you plan to leave your IRA assets to your heirs.

Income.
You might be concerned about whether your portfolio will produce the income you require, or that other income sources could be at risk. Or perhaps you’re worried about a family member whose income has dried up because they are unable for one reason or another to work curing this crisis. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I eligible for unemployment? If so, how and when do I apply?
  • Can I afford to support a loved one who needs my help? What implications might that have for gifting or estate planning down the road?
  • Should I reduce the amount of income I take from my portfolio? Because there are fewer ways to spend money, you might not need as much income now as before.
  • Should I take Social Security earlier than I’d planned? Turning on Social Security or other income sources such as annuities earlier than expected might help you avoid withdrawing from your portfolio of undervalued equities.
  • If I need cash in a pinch during this volatility, what assets should I sell? There is a great deal of strategy involved with this decision and the impacts can be permanent and long lasting.

Estate planning.
Just as your financial advisors are still working for you, so are attorneys. Now is not the time to postpone critical estate planning. If this virus teaches us anything, it is to be prepared for the unexpected.

Taxes.
The IRS has extended the federal filing deadline to July 15, and many states are following suit. This is great news for anyone who owes, but if you are expecting a refund you may still want to file early. If the amount you may owe is significant this could a good time to consider how best to fund that payment, or to capitalize on other tax-savvy moves, like a Roth IRA conversion.

Protecting your family and assets.
Home, auto, disability, long term care, and life insurance are still necessities. If you’ve started the process of protecting what’s most important to you, don’t place it on hold now. And if you haven’t started, now could be the opportune time to take stock of what protection you have and where you may be lacking.

Interest rates.
Rates are lower than we’ve seen in some time. This may be a good time to refinance student loans or a mortgage.

Excess cash.
Perhaps you’ve set some cash aside. If you have more than you need for an emergency fund, now could be the time to get more of your money working for you. Depressed markets—that is, buying at a discount—have historically proven great times to invest

This is hardly an exhaustive list of considerations. We at HBKS are here for you and your families. We have the knowledge and expertise to help you work through your concerns and identify realistic solutions—and opportunities—to help you achieve your goals. For more information or to schedule a phone meeting, you can reach out to your advisor, call us at 866-536-5776; or email us at info@hbkswealth.com.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES
The information included in this document is for general, informational purposes only. It does not contain any investment advice and does not address any individual facts and circumstances. As such, it cannot be relied on as providing any investment advice. If you would like investment advice regarding your specific facts and circumstances, please contact a qualified financial advisor.

Any investment involves some degree of risk, and different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, including loss of principal. It should not be assumed that future performance of any specific investment, strategy or allocation (including those recommended by HBKS® Wealth Advisors) will be profitable or equal the corresponding indicated or intended results or performance level(s). Past performance of any security, indices, strategy or allocation may not be indicative of future results.

The historical and current information as to rules, laws, guidelines or benefits contained in this document is a summary of information obtained from or prepared by other sources. It has not been independently verified, but was obtained from sources believed to be reliable. HBKS® Wealth Advisors does not guarantee the accuracy of this information and does not assume liability for any errors in information obtained from or prepared by these other sources.

HBKS® Wealth Advisors is not a legal or accounting firm, and does not render legal, accounting or tax advice. You should contact an attorney or CPA if you wish to receive legal, accounting or tax advice.


people eating outside cafe