Wow, What a Golfer! – In 1994, at age 52 and the first time he ever played golf, the late North Korean President Kim Jong-il shot a course record of 34 on the 7,700 yard Pyongyang Golf Course. The 38 under par round consisted of five holes-in-one and no worse than a birdie on every other hole. The round was witnessed by his 17 bodyguards. According to the club’s head pro at the time, Park Young-man, “He is an excellent golfer.”
“Go Ahead, Get Started”– When Lloyd Black joined his local gym a year ago, a 10-minute walk on the treadmill would tire him out. That was nothing to be ashamed of: Black was 90 years old and an exercise novice. But determined to improve his health, Black diligently showed up at Anytime Fitness in Semmes, Ala., three times a week. He can now speed through a half-hour of power walking and lift weights. Black works out in dungarees—“I can’t keep my pants up!” he says—and happily teaches other seniors how to use the exercise machines. Recently named gym member of the month, Black has some simple advice for anyone who wants to get fit: “Go ahead—get started.”
Twiggy the Water-skiing Squirrel- A water-skiing squirrel has become the focus of a legal battle in Vancouver, B.C. Twiggy is delighting fans by performing at the Vancouver International Boat Show on tiny water skis, wearing a hand-sewn life preserver, but city officials have told the show it is violating an obscure law that prohibits the use of rodents “in competitions, exhibitions, performances, or events.” Twiggy, however, continues to perform in violation of the city order. In defending his use, a spokeswoman for the boat show said that Twiggy’s act is “educational” and helps kids learn about “life jacket safety.”
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“Friendship…is born at the moment when one [person] says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…”
–C.S. Lewis, writer and theologian
Risk on or risk off?
The coronavirus appears to have inspired two distinct schools of thought among investors. Some investors currently favor opportunities that are considered lower risk, like Treasury bonds and gold, because they’re concerned about the potential impact of the coronavirus on the global economy. Others are piling into higher risk assets, like stocks, that could benefit if central banks (like the United States Federal Reserve) take steps to stimulate economic growth, reported Randall Forsyth of Barron’s.
Currently, the Federal Reserve (Fed) is holding interest rates steady. The minutes of the January Federal Open Market Committee meeting indicated the Fed, “…generally saw the distribution of risks to the outlook for economic activity as somewhat more favorable than at the previous meeting,” reported Lindsay Dunsmuir of Reuters.
Last week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said it was too soon to know whether the economic effects of the coronavirus on the U.S. economy would warrant a change in monetary policy.
During periods of uncertainty, like this one, the benefits of holding well-allocated, well-diversified portfolios become clear:
• By holding asset classes (e.g., stocks, bonds, and other asset types) that respond differently to the same market conditions, investors protect themselves from the poor performance of a single type of asset.
• By diversifying holdings within asset classes (e.g., investing in different parts of the world, investing in different industries), investors protect themselves against the poor performance of a single investment.
Choosing a well-allocated and diversified portfolio that aligns with your goals, objectives, and risk tolerance can provide peace-of-mind when markets are volatile.
Last week, major U.S. stock indices moved lower. Al Root of Barron’s reported, “The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.4 percent this past week, snapping two weeks of solid gains…The S&P 500 index dropped 1.2 percent for the week…The Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.6 percent on the week…”
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, moved higher.
SOME PEOPLE MUST STILL TAKE REQUIRED MINIMUM DISTRIBUTIONS AT 70½. The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act was signed into law late in 2019. One of its provisions changed the rules for required minimum distributions (RMDs).
RMDs are the amounts owners of IRAs, 401(k)s, and other tax-advantaged retirement plan accounts must withdraw from those accounts every year to avoid tax penalties. In some cases, retirees take more than the required minimum amount, especially when they are using the funds for income.
Prior to passage of the SECURE Act, Americans were required to take RMDs in the year they reached age 70½. This rule continues to apply to anyone who reached age 70½ prior to 2020. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines age 70½ this way: The date that is six calendar months after your 70th birthday.
Beginning in 2020, owners of tax-advantaged retirement accounts do not have to begin taking RMDs until the year in which they reach age 72.
While the SECURE Act changed the age for RMDs, Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) from IRAs were not affected by the new law. QCDs still can begin at age 70½.
RMDs can be complex, especially for households that have several IRA and retirement plan accounts. It’s a good idea to consult with a financial or tax professional before making any RMD decision. If you would like to discuss the finer points of RMDs, or receive some assistance calculating RMDs, get in touch. We’re happy to help.
John Klevens, CFP®
P.S. Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this email with their email address and we will ask for their permission to be added.
This material is intended to provide general financial education and is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied upon for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. Individuals involved in the estate planning process should work with an estate planning team, including their own personal legal or tax counsel. This material is for informational purposes only and is not an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any securities.
Securities and Advisory Services offered by John Klevens through KMS Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC and an SEC Registered Investment Adviser. Klevens Capital Management and KMS are separate and unaffiliated.
Portions of this newsletter have been prepared by Peak Advisor
* These views are those of Carson Coaching, and not the presenting Representative, the Representative’s Broker/Dealer, or Registered Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice.
* This newsletter was prepared by Carson Coaching. Carson Coaching is not affiliated with the named firm.
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
* Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* All indexes referenced are unmanaged. The volatility of indexes could be materially different from that of a client’s portfolio. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. You cannot invest directly in an index.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow,” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of The Wall Street Journal.
* The NASDAQ Composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system.
* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
* There is no guarantee a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
* Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* This is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.
The Week Magazine
https://www.barrons.com/articles/the-bull-market-in-both-risky-and-safe-assets-51582333794?mod=hp_DAY_3 (or go to https://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/02-24-20_Barrons-The_Two-Day_Stock_Selloff_Hurts-Footnote_1.pdf)
https://www.barrons.com/articles/stocks-drop-on-the-week-but-still-look-bubbly-prepare-for-a-correction-51582334151?mod=hp_DAY_2 (or go to https://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/02-24-20_Barrons-Stocks_Drop_on_the_Week_but_Still_Look_Bubbly-Footnote_4.pdf)
http://www.cboe.com/vix (or go to https://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/02-24-20_CBOE_Volatility_Index_Charts_and_Data-Footnote_5.pdf)
https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1865/text#toc-HA6E69DEA642642799C7E8CF1D7E50D72 (or go to https://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/02-24-20_Congress.gov-House_Bill_1865-Footnote_6.pdf)
https://www.barrons.com/articles/answers-to-your-questions-on-the-secure-acts-impact-on-iras-rmds-and-qcds-51578502801 (or go to https://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/02-24-20_Barrons-The_SECURE_Acts_New_Rules_are_Causing_A_Lot_of_Confusion-Footnote_9.pdf)