One of the questions I’m frequently asked is, when will the economy and stock market improve. Recent reports show our country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at a measly 0.5 percent in the first quarter of the year and isn’t expected to grow at much more than 2.0 percent for the remainder of the year. Exports have slowed, as both Europe and Asia are struggling financially at the moment. The only bright spot has been the jobs report, which continues to show jobs being added every month and unemployment at low levels. Keep in mind, the reported low unemployment rate can be somewhat deceptive, as many have simply dropped out of the job market altogether.
Slow-growth economic trends have and will continue to affect the stock market growth and will in all probability cause the Federal Reserve to be very cautious in raising interest rates, which will continue to dampen bond returns and interest on savings. If this situation continues for a period of time, both those saving for retirement and those in retirement could be significantly affected, as their savings and investments could earn far less than they were expecting. With some 80 million Baby Boomers coming into retirement, the timing is troubling for many.
Before concluding that there is no hope, let me suggest several things you can do:
Have a plan: Having a plan can make the difference between success and failure.
Diversify your investments: Putting all your eggs in one basket never makes great sense and it is particularly dangerous in tough times.
Minimize downside risk: No one ever likes to lose money but most people accept that investing involves risk. In a low-return environment, however, the time it takes to recover a loss is much longer than in more normal times; that makes a downturn much more damaging to your long-term stability.
Be careful of the set-it-and-forget-it solutions being touted today. Don’t ignore the need to be proactive. Know your options and take charge of your future.
Frederic “Ric” Schilling is a Florida native, born in Jacksonville, Fl. Ric is president of Senior Guardians of America, a local North Florida firm specializing in tax reduction, long term illness planning, asset protection, probate avoidance and life income planning. Ric is a national speaker and advocate on senior issues and has been featured by the Florida Times Union and WJXT, TV-4 in Jacksonville as an authority on estate planning and retirement issues. Senior Guardians has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member in excellent standing with the National Ethics Association. Contact Frederic at (904) 371-3302 or (888) 891-3381 or visit www.seniorguardian.com.
This article is not intended to give tax or legal advice. Securities offered through Center Street Securities, Inc. (CSS), a registered Broker-Dealer and Member of FINRA & SIPC. Senior Guardians is independent of CSS.