The COVID-19 pandemic has created financial stresses for millions of Americans. In April 2020, a Harris Poll survey on behalf of Nationwide asked more than 2,000 adults in the U.S. about their COVID-related concerns. Overall, respondents’ top worries were being unable to pay their bills (45%), losing their life savings (33%), and losing employment (30%). Even those who enjoy more financial security are facing uncertainty. Among respondents with investable assets of more than $100,000, the top concerns were losing their life savings (41%) and inability to pay the bills (34%), afford healthcare (28%), or retire as planned (28%).
Given the volatile state of the economy, it’s important to make sure your financial plan remains aligned with your current financial picture and future goals. Your trusted financial advisor can help you determine what adjustments to your strategy or investments can best secure your future. Getting impartial, expert advice can help keep you from making irrational decisions in panic and make you aware of opportunities you may otherwise miss.
When is the best time to meet with your advisor?
The survey mentioned above found that 31% of all respondents and more than half of investors already had a financial advisor, and they’re relying on them now more than ever. Nearly a fifth of respondents, however, stated that they don’t trust anyone for financial advice during the pandemic. If you don’t have an advisor, it may be good time to look for a fit. A good experienced advisor can help you through tough times like these and give you confidence that you’re on the right track.
Should I adjust my investment strategy?
The financial markets can become a frightening place when the value of your investments begins to tumble. In some situations, fear gives us the jolt we need to get ourselves out of danger, but it can also undermine our ability to make rational choices. Selling your investments in panic as prices fall cements your losses at that moment in time, preventing you from benefitting from any eventual market rebound.
On the other hand, it is wise at this time to take a hard look at your investment strategy and consider whether it’s appropriate for your goals and risk appetite. Make sure your portfolio includes an appropriate balance of stocks and safer investments like bonds and cash. If your investment strategy was sound to begin with, then it should not need to be changed; however, market volatility may have caused your portfolio to become unbalanced. If this is the case, your advisor can help you determine the best time to rebalance your investments.
Should I transfer my assets?
If estate planning is one of your concerns, then a market decline can be a great time to gift property that has decreased in value. Gifting property while its value is down lets you transfer more of it out of your taxable estate while avoiding the gift tax. For 2020, the gift tax exemption is $15,000 per recipient. If you have assets that have recently suffered a significant decline in value, this can be a great opportunity to pass them on to others. Assuming they regain value after the current crisis is over, making these gifts now rather than later could result in substantial gift or estate tax savings.
Boelman Shaw Tax and Financial Planning is here to help our clients navigate these uncertain times with sound, practical advice. Subscribe to our blog to receive updates about our latest financial and tax planning articles.
Material discussed herewith is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only, please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.