November 6, 2023 Weekly Update

We do love it when someone refers a family member or friend to us.  Sometimes the question is, “How can we introduce them to you?”   Well, there are multiple ways but a very easy way is to simply forward them a link to this webpage.

Here are this week’s items:

Portfolio Update:  Murs and I have recorded our portfolio update for November 6, 2023

The Art of a Risk-Adjusted Portfolio in Retirement

In this Episode of the Secure Your Retirement Podcast, Radon and Murs discuss the art of building a risk-adjusted portfolio. When building a risk-adjusted portfolio, it’s important to identify your personal risk preference and choose the best model to structure your investment portfolio. Listen in to learn the key differences between passive and active investment styles and the benefits of each in helping you reach your goals.

 

The Art of a Risk-Adjusted Portfolio

We’re excited to talk to you about a conversation that we have with every client surrounding risk. Clients who are further away from retirement often don’t mind taking on more risk with retirement planning. However, when you inch closer to retirement age, you want to do everything you can to secure your retirement, and maybe want to take on less risk.

The Art of a Risk-Adjusted Portfolio

We’re excited to talk to you about a conversation that we have with every client surrounding risk. Clients who are further away from retirement often don’t mind taking on more risk with retirement planning.

However, when you inch closer to retirement age, you want to do everything you can to secure your retirement, and maybe want to take on less risk.

A risk-adjusted portfolio is how we perform a balancing act between risk and growth to help you achieve peace of mind in retirement. This is our philosophy, but this doesn’t mean that it’s the right choice for everyone.

How We Determine Risk Tolerance

Imagine this scenario. The stock market goes up and you’re happy with the gains. However, economic issues cause the market or bonds to swing in the other direction and now you’re down 10, 15, or 20 percent.

At which level do you start to lose sleep at night?

Imagine that you have $1 million to invest and want to go with a moderate portfolio. Most clients believe that they would prefer this option. However, are you comfortable with:

  • 20% – 25% losses?
  • How about $200,000 – $250,000 losses?

Often, a percentage doesn’t sound that bad until you see the actual dollar amount. Losing $100,000 or 10% of loss is concerning. You may see these figures and be okay with this level of loss, but most of our clients do not have this much of a risk threshold before they begin to lose sleep.

If you’re uncomfortable with losing money at this level, we’ll recommend a risk-adjusted portfolio.

The Two Styles of Investing

Investing can come in two main styles with a bunch of deviations along the way.

Passive Management

Your passive management, such as a 401(k), is common for a lot of people just starting to think about their retirement. You funnel some money into the account, allot 50% to large caps, 25% to medium caps and 25% to small-cap stocks.

In terms of management, you may make a small adjustment quarterly or annually, but you don’t do much more management than that.

You contribute to the account and bet that, in the long run, the market will prevail. For all intents and purposes, this is a passive management strategy. 

Younger investors may be fine with passive investing because, in 30 years, they may not be retired. When you’re 55 or older, you don’t have the luxury of 30 years for market corrections.

Active Management

An active management strategy is more hands-on and may include active money managers and financial advisors.

Hedge funds may work to actively manage your account to outperform the stock market to the best of their ability. You may also have active management on the side of protecting against significant market drawdowns.

The active manager will make changes to the portfolio to move your money around and reduce your risk of losses.

During the pandemic, we actively managed our clients’ accounts and moved a lot of money to cash while the market suffered losses. Our clients ended up far better thanks to this approach when compared to the significant losses in the stock market.

Every strategy has years where it outcompetes the others and years when it underperforms the other.

We like to have a portfolio that has multiple parts:

  • Tactical, which is risk on and risk off, depending on what’s happening in the market.
  • Core, which is always invested, but what is invested can be rotated throughout the year. Rotations often occur quarterly.

You can cut your risk considerably by having a tactical and core approach. Risk-adjusted portfolios include multiple layers of investment that will help you reach your retirement goals. Our most common portfolio option is moderate growth.

What a Moderate Growth Portfolio Looks Like

Our moderate growth portfolio has many elements, including:

  • Equity element. In the equity element, there are strategic, core and tactical investments. If we go into a period of high volatility, the core will remain invested because things are okay over time. The tactical area will begin to adjust to hedge risk by reducing equity exposure and moving toward fixed asset exposure.
  • Structured notes. If you’re still not comfortable with the risks, we will move into structured notes. These notes are available to our clients due to our buying power. We negotiate with the banks, structure a note, and have a rate of return. Right now, the annualized return for these notes is 7% – 11%, so they’re much better than a CD or money rate. Structured notes have inherent risks, but they’re lower than most other options.

A breakdown of our moderate growth portfolio right now is:

  • 38% in the core sleeve, always investing and rotating based on the equity market
  • 38% in the tactical sleeve, which we can turn risk on and off as necessary
  • 24% (max) in structured notes

Structured notes help smooth out a portfolio, especially when you have ups and downs like we’re seeing in 2023. These notes often include a coupon, which offers interest on the account every month.

If a scenario occurs where we need lower equity exposure, we may move into a moderately conservative portfolio that adds bonds or ETFs as a way to lower exposure. We would likely put 30% core, 30% tactical, 24% structured notes and 16% in fixed income.

Our most conservative portfolio will include:

Clients who don’t want much risk in their portfolio benefit most from this type of portfolio. Many people don’t want 100% risk of the S&P 500, which, over the last 30 years, is a 58% drawdown.

You would lose $580,000 of your $1 million portfolio in the scenario above.

Risk will fluctuate throughout your retirement funding, but when you reach closer to the time when you can finally retire, it often makes sense to mitigate risk as much as possible. You have a dream retirement in mind, and we want to help you reach it.

It takes 15 – 20 minutes for us to have a risk tolerance assessment with you to help you understand what your personal risk preference is because it will let you have the most peace of mind.

Click here to schedule a call with us today to have us run a risk assessment for you.

July 31, 2023 Weekly Update

We do love it when someone refers a family member or friend to us.  Sometimes the question is, “How can we introduce them to you?”   Well, there are multiple ways but a very easy way is to simply forward them a link to this webpage.

Here are this week’s items:

Portfolio Update:  Murs and I have recorded our portfolio update for July 31, 2023

This Week’s Podcast – Andrew Opdyke – 2023 Mid-Year Economic Update for Retirement

In this Episode of the Secure Your Retirement Podcast, Radon and Murs speak with Andrew Opdyke about a 2023 mid-year economic update and the future. Andrew is a Certified Financial Advisor and Economist at First Trust Advisor.

Listen in to learn the expected and unexpected turn of events in the economy today and why inflation might not allow for rate cuts this year.

 

This Week’s Blog – Andrew Opdyke – 2023 Mid-Year Economic Update for Retirement

Andrew Opdyke, an economist for First Trust, was back on our most recent podcast. For those who don’t know, Andrew comes on our show about once a quarter to update us and our community on recent economic events.

This time, he provides us with a great mid-year economic update that will help you when retirement planning.

Andrew Opdyke – 2023 Mid-Year Economic Update

Andrew Opdyke, an economist for First Trust, was back on our most recent podcast. For those who don’t know, Andrew comes on our show about once a quarter to update us and our community on recent economic events.

This time, he provides us with a great mid-year economic update that will help you when retirement planning.

We’re going to:

  1. Summarize the first two quarters of the year
  2. Summarize what Andrew expects over the final two quarters of the year

If you want to listen to the podcast, you can find it right on our site here. Otherwise, we’ll cover the most important parts for you below.

What Happened in the Last Quarter and What are Andrew’s Thoughts?

We’re a little more than halfway through the year, and the first half of the year was more comfortable than the last quarter of 2022. Even the markets have been far less volatile, which is a good thing for investors. 

At the end of the first quarter of the year, we saw the Silicon Valley Bank collapse and a few domino pieces fell along the way.

Today, the Fed agrees that they have more work to do. We’re at the halfway mark of the year, and we’re seeing:

  • Inflation trend lower at 3% year-over-year, although Andrew believes this to be a little misleading
  • Energy prices are slowing down a bit
  • Taking out food and energy, we’re seeing inflation fall from 5.9% to 5%, which is hitting consumers quite a bit

Inflation has remained stubbornly sticky, and the Fed is expected to raise rates at the end of July and maybe another before the end of 2023. The question remains:

  • Will we see a recession?
  • Will employers begin laying people off?

We’re seeing manufacturing come down a bit, but construction activity is at record-high levels. Employment, at the time of this article, is still progressing and remains strong. Consumers are still spending.

Has everything transpired as expected?

For the most part, the economy is doing well and even the markets are stabilizing. There was sort of a concentrated performance in the tech industry at the beginning of the year.

Andrew believes that the market may get a little bumpier going into the end of the year.

Rates Hikes or Cuts: What Will We See?

Rate hikes and cuts are always top news stories and something we hear a lot about from our clients. Andrew believes that at the end of July, the Fed is likely to raise rates again. He expects an additional rate hike before the end of the year.

At the mid-point of August, he expects that the CPI will dictate the future choices from the Fed.

CPI was from activity almost a year ago. We’ll see some bumps in the newest CPI due to the Ukraine/Russian war.

The Fed has changed pace often this year because the ability to guide and navigate this ever-changing environment is evolving. What the Fed doesn’t want to do is repeat the mistakes made in the 70s and stop inflationary measures too fast.

Andrew anticipates the rates will have one or two hikes before the end of 2023 and sometime in 2024, rate hikes may follow. As inflation begins to trickle in the right direction, the Fed will begin to lower rates.

Most countries are seeing similar trends as the United States, but we are seeing:

  • Germany has rising inflation
  • United Kingdom’s inflation remains flat

Energy price rises in the US can put some pressure on the UK economy. At this time, we’re not seeing a Central Bank that we can say, “Hey, they’re doing everything right.” Every Central Bank is working through these ups and downs.

Recession Risk at the Mid-point of 2023

Recession is something we’ve been talking about for a while now, and with everyone spending like normal, it’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy at this point. Andrew estimates that there is an 80% chance that we’ll see a recession.

When will this recession happen?

No one knows. We may see a recession in 2023 or 2024. We’re seeing facilities being built today without orders in the pipeline in the coming year. What does this mean? Businesses are sort of holding back a recession, but something needs to happen before orders run out for the momentum to remain.

Reading through banking reports, it looks like consumer savings may fall back to pre-COVID levels by the end of 2023. Less money in the bank may lead to consumers spending less, which also raises the risk of a recession.

If we hit a point where consumer spending falls and rates are high, it will likely push us into a recession.

Can we avoid a recession? Possibly. However, it’s a very delicate time. We’re even seeing the markets perform very well this year.

2023 Mid-year Economic Update: Stock Markets

No one would have guessed that going into 2023, the market would be where it is today. Technology and AI helped lift the market at the start of the year, but Andrew is seeing the market broaden a bit.

We’re seeing 3% – 4% of market growth happening from outside of the tech sector.

Most people started the year with expectations that the market would go down, but it hasn’t really happened. Instead, we’re seeing people paying not based on earnings but higher multiples from these companies. We’re seeing the top 10 tech companies trading at 30 times their earnings. The top 11 – 50 companies are trading at 16 – 18 times their earnings.

A sustainable bull market will require some of these non-tech companies to have strong earnings and returns.

Based on GDP and employee output, we’re not seeing the rise in productivity that tech companies expected with AI. Many of these technologies take time to evolve and be adopted by users, which could cause some of these tech stocks to come back down.

Foreign Economies

China reports not seeing the bounce back that they expected of 5% growth, which is low for the country. Apple and Tesla moving to India is changing the economic landscape. With the country likely to have the world’s largest population soon, it’s very likely that India will begin to grow rapidly.

Top-down leadership works well in short bursts, but communist countries have been, traditionally, difficult to maintain long-term.

For example, the tech sector has been the backbone of the US for the past 20 years, but China has had a lot of difficulties in this arena. China is known to replicate ideas and innovations, which means they continued to fall behind on tech that others had already released.

Finally, when companies in China started to innovate, the communist government started to put the clamps on them because it didn’t look good for the government when these companies were acting independently.

We saw this with tech investments and Alibaba. Investors have been scared away from China due to this clamping down.

We’re also unsure of where China’s economy stands because the country has been known to provide inaccurate information. Andrew expects that over the next 10 – 30 years, China will struggle to grow.

Geopolitically, the world may look very different in the next 5 – 10 years.

Forward-looking Questions: Concerns for the Second Half of 2023

As we move into the end of the year, there are some major concerns, especially with a lot of the big company’s price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios. If confidence wanes, we can see some pullback while P/E goes back to normal levels.

Commercial and office real estate loans are coming up.

We are seeing a lot of foreclosure talks that can hit local and regional banks. Large banks are less susceptible to these potential risks of foreclosure.

Russia and Ukraine will remain a major question mark. China’s threat to Taiwan will remain critical to the market, especially if things intensify, such as an increase in training in the area.

Andrew believes the biggest headwinds are:

  • P/E for many companies is too high
  • Money is coming out of the system

In 2020/2021, we saw the government inject a lot of money into the system. PPP loans, COVID checks, treasuries trying to hold money – all of this can have an impact on the economy and cause growth to slow heading into December.

Forward-looking Questions: Positives for the Second Half of 2023

Manufacturing investment will help the country, especially bringing back semiconductor manufacturing. Investments like this will roll out for years to come and will boost the economy.

We’re seeing a lot of things today that can help us see a boom in the future. 

Andrew is optimistic that we’re a lot closer today to a recovery than just a few months ago. It’s very unlikely that we’ll need massive rate hikes of 500 – 550 basis points again. We just need to get over the last hurdle, and then we can see growth.

Improvements in education, clean water, manufacturing and so on will drive us forward 18 months from now.

Once we get through the tough stuff, we’ll have a very bright future.

S&P 500 Forecast

Andrew thinks that we’re likely to see a pullback in the market because the markets got ahead of themselves. Evaluations and P/E are too high, but this can change with some major unforeseen growth factors, such as AI reaching its expected potential much faster than expected.

People will need to reevaluate to see if they’re overpaying for something that is underperforming with the tech stocks that are trading well after what they should be, in many cases.

Do you want to talk to us about any of these key points in the mid-year economic update?

Schedule a 15-minute consultation with us today.