The stock market has been booming but not everybody's in the market, and most people worry about whether they're saving enough for retirement. Many people close to retirement are stressed.
We talked with Robert Haworth, Senior Vice President and Senior Investment Strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, who busted some myths about our current economic climate and shared tips to help increase wealth at any level.
"The most important thing when it comes to investing is time rather than timing. So starting now is more important than trying to wait and get it right because you could miss out on years."
MYTH: This economic recovery is too old, it’s too late to get in, we are due for a recession.
"We don’t think so, this is the currently the 3rd longest economic recovery since WWII but it’s the shallowest, so we’re not getting as much lift as we normally would out of this economic recovery, so we think we’ve got more time," says Haworth. Especially if we see some fiscal stimulus, like an infrastructure plan or tax cuts from the government.
- Typically recessions occur because the economy has too much of something, too much inventory, high price increases or too many Federal Reserve interest rate increases.
- We are not there just yet, the Fed has just started raising rates, inflation measures remain low and we have plenty raw materials (oil) and not enough finished goods (housing).
MYTH: Housing prices are too hot, we are due for another financial crisis.
"You almost never get another bubble the same way you had the last time, but we think that housing prices are really a signal that we don’t have enough."
- Housing prices are a signal that we have too little housing.
- Homebuilder confidence is high and housing starts are rising.
MYTH: Bonds pay too little and stocks are too expensive to start investing now
"Bonds are cheap, they are at the lowest rates we’ve seen in a very long time, and stocks are expensive, but given where we are in the cycle, we as investors all need bonds to protect us if we get another recession."
- Yes, bond yields or the income per dollar invested, are still historically low. But this reflects the still low levels of economic growth and inflation. We believe the likely increase in interest rates is low, and bonds remain a key building block of a diversified portfolio.
- And stocks have been rising for some time. Traditional measures of values, such as the price of stocks relative to their earnings are at rich levels relative to history. We are in the midst of an earnings growth recovery which should carry stock prices well into 2018. Tax cuts, if they are passed, could also provide a lift to the economy and corporate earnings.
Financial planning and investing strategies for 2018
For Everyone: "We think this is a pro-growth environment we’re seeing economic growth improve around the world so we think that means it’s ok to own a few more stocks right now than bonds."
For Beginners: Haworth says that making a plan is the most important thing, "The plan is the most important thing, as it will set you on the right path, and it will keep you on a path of investing so you become not just a beginning investor, but an experienced and a seasoned investor over time. "
- Decide how much you can save – and invest it regularly
- What is my goal – retirement? Focus on finding a portfolio that matches your risk tolerance and your goal and add to it regularly – no matter the market environment
For Experienced Investors: Manage your risk exposure
- First, temper the “reach for income” investments like high yield bonds, preferred stocks and emerging market debt. They are likely to perform poorly in a stock market decline. Plus these assets are priced at very high levels.
- Second, check out your stock diversification. Do you have enough foreign exposure, and make sure you are not concentrated in one sector of the economy.
If you are a person who is close to retirement and you're unsure if you'll have enough money saved to retire, Haworth recommends scheduling an appointment with one of the experts at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. You may be closer than you think, or adjustments could be made in your retirement plan or savings to help get you to your goal.