Thanksgiving Message

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Thanksgiving Message

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

I suspect Thanksgiving will look different for many of us this year. It’s my favorite holiday of the year. We usually have a packed house and it takes a week to prepare for the entire family to come and gather. On my mom’s side of the family, we’ve reached a point where the oldest living patriarch is the young/old age of 90. We want to play it safe this year and keep the table small.

Yet it’s not all gloom and doom this holiday season. Traditions are good, but I’ve always wanted to volunteer to help others on this day of Thanksgiving. This year, I’ll finally be volunteering somewhere so others can enjoy their holiday in the morning, as I won’t need to prepare our usual feast. I suspect this volunteering will consist of packing or delivering meals. If it’s delivering meals, I’ll also include something extra from our family. I’m not sure if that’ll be a plant from Pine Tree Apple Orchard or something from Knoke’s—just a little something to place a giant smile on someone’s face.

America isn’t the only country that celebrates Thanksgiving. According to History.com, so do Canada, Germany, Liberia, Japan, Norfolk Island (I had to look it up too), Grenada, the Netherlands, and Puerto Rico. We can still pause to celebrate our harvest and give thanks for the year, though for many, it hasn’t been an easy one.

I know I have so much to be thankful for, but even I forget and sometimes need to remind myself. In our fast-paced world, it’s good to pause from time to time.

I recently received an email that said, “We enjoy the many blessings flowing from our seven grandchildren!

Is that what this is all about? Yes! Count your blessings all year, not just one day a year.
Happy Thanksgiving!

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Ask yourself- can my portfolio support my lifestyle in my retirement? 

10 + 3 =

2020 Presidential Election and Your Money

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

2020 Presidential Election and Your Money

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

2020 presidential election
As we all know, our next Presidential Election occurs on November 3, 2020. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for November 4, 2020!
It seems that with the power of the internet, we are all in a cycle of constant news, content, and connectivity. But even in today’s world, it’s still possible to find yourself without cell phone coverage, cable TV, or even the internet. I found myself in a place just like that for five days over the summer, and it was heavenly.

As I write this, we have about 49 days until the next President of the United States is elected. Those of you reading this are Democrat, Republican, Independent, Conservative, Liberal, and my list could go on. Yet one major commonality we all have is our money:

We’re all concerned with things like planning for our retirements, managing our investments and 401k plans, and funding our kids’ college.
We have two choices this next election. How will this outcome impact us, our money, and our investments? As of this writing, here’s what I’ve been able to decipher, along with my overall thoughts for the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. Keep in mind that I have no idea who is going to win (but I sure wish I did—it would make my job a lot easier!).
The markets have demonstrated it can perform well under both Democratic and Republican administrations.

No matter who wins the next Presidential Election, here are some of the common threads I see in the future we face:

  • Telemedicine was already growing and has now hit overdrive due to the coronavirus.
  • We strive for faster internet, and 5G will impact all of us.
  • Green/clean energy (e.g., electric cars) will continue to become more common, right down to autonomous driving.
  • Let’s not forget about the increase in automation.
  • Are you receiving more packages at home than ever these days? I don’t see that   changing.

If Vice President Biden wins, these are some potential market sectors to own:

  • Hydroelectric.
  • Solar and Wind.
  • Infrastructure companies that focus on roads, bridges, and airports (assuming people start flying again).

If President Trump wins, these are some potential market sectors to own:

  • Heavy equipment companies.
  • Heavily sales-driven internet companies.
  • Social media companies (Twitter loves him!).
  • Overall US-based manufacturing companies.

Under Vice President Biden’s tax plan (versus President Trump’s):

  • Capital gains tax would move to 39.6% on the wealthy.
  • Step-up in cost basis would be eliminated.
  • 1031 exchanges would be eliminated.
  • Corporate tax rate would increase to 28% (from 21%).

I’ve seen slightly different figures, but the Federal Reserve has printed over $3,500,000,000,000 in a matter of months. I don’t know what comes after a trillion—do you? I haven’t talked to anyone who hasn’t asked how this is going to get paid back.
Today, over 1,000 people a day are moving to Florida from the Northeast alone. I suspect income tax-free states will continue to see an increase in their populations thanks to newcomers from high-tax states.


This year, we’ve seen big stock market swings, though lately that’s settled down. You may be concerned about this presidential election. If you become worried about your investments or the markets or just need a sounding board, give me a shout.
Finally, here’s a reminder you’ve heard me stress: having some amount of cash on hand continues to be a solid strategy.

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Ask yourself- can my portfolio support my lifestyle in my retirement? 

11 + 4 =

Staying the Course and Handling Change

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Staying the course…change is just part of it.

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Change is inevitable, but this year was different. 2020 was off to such a great start! Wrapping up the holiday season with friends and family, winter vacation travel in full force, snowbirds enjoying life outside of this cold tundra, the economy roaring—how could it get any better? As we know now, everything went south fast (and not in a good way). 

We’ve seen winners and losers during this coronavirus, although I’m not sure that’s the right terminology; maybe it’s slightly inconvenienced vs. dramatically impacted. If you had told me on January 1, 2020, that by August 1, 2020, face masks would be common, international air travel would have come to a halt (and I read last week that it is not expected to return for another three years), RV dealers would hit record sales (up 90%), and businesses would no longer want cash as payment for goods and services, I would have bet my net worth that you were wrong. You could have cleaned me out!

These changes haven’t been easy for any of us.

(OK, maybe the introverts have been enjoying this “social distancing,” but for the extraverts among us, I suspect this hasn’t been easy.) Technology companies have become clear winners, as their services play an even greater role in our ability to see our grandkids, work, and even socialize with friends and family. How many of you are tired of Zoom meetings by now?

I’ve been in business for nineteen years, and I can tell you that owning your own business isn’t as glamorous as you might think. You are the first to turn the light on in the morning and the last to get paid. So many businesses and employees have been impacted in this new reality of decreased sales, revenue, and customers. Businesses can’t survive long without revenue or customers, and workers have been laid off; I suspect we haven’t yet seen how many small businesses will end up closing their doors. It’s not an easy time or journey. Fourth quarter 2020 will be very telling as far as where our economy is heading.

It’s enough to make you pause and reflect on where you’ve been and where you want to go.

Use them if you got them… Each December, I purchase gift cards to our favorite restaurants because of the Christmas specials they offer. I usually buy enough so we can live off them throughout the year. I like saving money when I can, but this one might backfire on me. Early on, we decided to continue to support our favorite restaurants but hold off on using our gift cards until this July: businesses needed revenue, and using our gift cards right away truly wouldn’t have helped them. But today, so many places have experienced financial hardship, and I’ve talked to so many individuals who haven’t been in a restaurant since March and don’t expect to return any time soon. You may want to use up your gift cards ASAP.

The stock market has experienced record highs and lows and huge daily swings.

Yet to even my surprise, the markets have come close to recovering more rapidly than I would have expected. Throughout this year, I’ve been traveling by air, car, and boat. Hotels are sold out wherever I’ve stayed, restaurants are full (due to fewer tables), and air travel has been almost enjoyable, as airports have been ghost towns and flights have been less than half full. I suspect air travel has changed for years to come, and higher prices will be the new norm. I’m OK paying a little more not to be packed in like sardines on my next flight.

I never thought we’d see interest rates so low in our lifetimes again, but here we are. If your interest rate is over 3%, now’s the time to do something about it. For those who enjoy the open road, I suspect in two years, you’ll be able to pick up an RV at a great price. Amazon now has RV parks where employees can live for free in their own rigs! I’m a big fan of credit card reward points (I pay them off each month), and cash is no longer the preferred payment method. It’s time to get the rewards you deserve (if you can keep that balance down!).

Delivery will continue to play a major role in our lives.

From groceries to dog food, your UPS delivery professional is really getting to know you and your purchasing habits, along with Amazon and Google. I still enjoy walking down the aisles at my local Costco in search of pricing ending in .97 to find the best deals. Though I must confess, I’m on a first-name basis with the UPS guy now.

All day long, I observe what’s happening around me and how the coming changes could impact my clients, friends, and family.

Working our life plan isn’t always easy. As I close this letter out while finishing breakfast at the local diner, I thought you’d enjoy this observation of someone working their plan: I’m watching this guy finish breakfast, and as he’s leaving the restaurant—at 9 a.m.—he’s carrying a dish of ice cream and a spoon out with him (and no, it wasn’t me)! Being that it’s 85 degrees outside already, he’s going to have to eat it fast. He’s working his plan: breakfast followed by desert. That’s staying the course!

Also, sign up for our eNewsletter blog that includes timely financial matters, news, and planning strategies that you can implement today.

Ask yourself- can my portfolio support my lifestyle in my retirement? 

3 + 9 =

Independence Day: July 4, 1776, through July 4, 2020

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Independence Day: July 4, 1776, through July 4, 2020
BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  ~ The preamble to the Declaration of Independence

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—isn’t that what we all seek? These three common goals unite all of us as Americans. It doesn’t matter your background, education, or occupation; we all strive for this. Aren’t those three items at the core of financial freedom? So, let’s talk Independence Day.

Life: creating the life/lifestyle we desire.
Liberty: living in a free society.
Pursuit of Happiness: finding meaning and purpose.

Financial freedom doesn’t come without hard work, sacrifice, and the faith that we can actually achieve it.

Some of you may have achieved financial freedom; others may still be working on building their financial wealth to achieve that level of independence. Whenever I encounter someone who has achieved financial freedom, they give me hope for others I advise on how they can also achieve it.

For me, financial freedom means that I can choose between needing to work and deciding to work. That’s a level of financial security that people generally experience later in life, after years of hard work and careful money management.

328,000,000 people live in this great country.

We are a nation of people with three common goals—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—but we all have different thoughts and perspectives on what those three core goals mean for our own lives and how we can achieve them. That’s just one reason why America is so special.

We will all be celebrating July 4, 2020 (Independence Day), with fewer fireworks, picnics, ball games, parades, BBQs, concerts, and big family reunions that normally bring us together on this special day. But one thing hasn’t changed: this is a time for each of us to pause and remember what’s truly important for our lives and our country.

Happy Fourth of July! Here’s to many more Independence Days ahead.  

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Ask yourself- can my portfolio support my lifestyle in my retirement? 

5 + 3 =

Broke Millionaires—It Happens

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Broke Millionaires—It Happens

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

I suspect you think I’ve gone off the rails this time. “Broke millionaires, really?” How can someone who makes a million dollars a year be broke? Maybe you’re thinking, “If I had a million dollars, I’d never be broke.” Well, I’m here to tell you this is a more common theme than you might think.

In my professional experience, it’s not the mortgage payments that cause the financial leakage in our checkbooks.

It’s the day-to-day spending. It’s the $10, $25, or $100 here and there throughout the month that causes the problem. This type of financial leakage seems so small and innocent, no big deal . . . yet this compounding leakage adds up to real money (and broke millionaires).

Many people believe that if they just made $5,000, $10,000, or $100,000 more a year, all would be well with their finances. The truth is, no matter what they make, most individuals live life right up to their full income if not beyond by using credit. And credit is so darn easy to obtain. Today, I’m even seeing zero percent auto loans for 80 months. That’s a long time to keep making payments (and no car company is offering a zero percent interest-free loan, by the way).

But—and this is a key life lesson—debt limits our future lifestyle.

We live in a society that says if you buy this, you’ll be happy. If you buy this, it will impress others. Money is not always mathematical; it’s emotional, and that complicates things for some of us.

I have two kids, one who will end up with more money than his parents and one whose paychecks are inevitably spent two weeks prior to payday. (Till this day, I have no idea how the heck I raised two kids with such opposite spending habits!) Talk about broke millionaires.

It’s not about what you make; it’s about what you keep. If you are ready to keep more, you’ll like our down-to-earth strategies to control your money. Let’s schedule a time to discuss how we help our clients reach their financial goals.

Also, sign up for our eNewsletter blog that includes timely financial matters, news, and planning strategies that you can implement today.

Ask yourself- can my portfolio support my lifestyle in my retirement? 

2 + 15 =