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Market Update: It’s quite clear the Russian invasion of Ukraine will have rippling effects on the global economy, perhaps surpassing the pandemic in global supply chain issues. We already see the impact on gas prices, reaching over $4/gallon. While it’s certainly too soon to say how the war and heavy sanctions imposed by the West against Moscow will influence the economy long-term, it’s clear that we are in uncertain times. Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said he would propose a quarter-percentage point rate increase at the upcoming central bank’s meeting. He also laid the groundwork for the possibility of half-point increases this summer, pushing back on the assumptions that a quarter-percentage point rate increase represents a speed limit for the Fed. And, of course, most tragic in all of this are the innocent lives being lost or families being separated amidst the war. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those in Ukraine.

Minimalist or Maximalist? With the daffodils starting to poke through the ground, the promise of Spring is not far off. For many, Spring also brings the feeling of “spring cleaning” or anything that helps the house feel lighter, cleaner, less cluttered, and, well … springy. The New Yorker recently published an article titled, “A Guide to Getting Rid of Almost Everything.” The article provides some practical tips: Let go of supposed antiques, if you’re selling items—add a good story, etc. The bottom line is that a new wave of minimalists has emerged with the pandemic forcing people home, sitting amidst their stuff. And it’s not just a race to get rid of stuff, but only bringing things in when there’s a place for them to live. Where do you fall on the spectrum?

Speaking of Stuff: If you’re among those contemplating whether now is the time to purchase a new or used car, note the statistics. Last month, 82% of those purchasing a new car paid more than the sticker price. Car companies don’t want dealers charging above sticker price, but dealerships are independent businesses that control the final transaction. Our recommendation: don’t buy a new/used car in this environment unless your circumstances require it.

IRA Beneficiaries: Make sure you have primary & contingent beneficiaries listed on all retirement accounts- 401k, 403b, 457, SEP, IRA, Roth. Naming your estate can negatively impact your heirs’ tax efficiency, control, and flexibility. Talk to your advisor and estate planning attorney with any specific questions.

Bucket List: Most of us have bucket list items—whether we call them that or not. Riding 3,800 miles across America on a tandem bike crossed off a bucket list item for one couple. The WSJ reported on it here. Perhaps the most interesting part of the article is the lessons they learned along the way. Sometimes reaching outside our comfort zones is how to learn the best lessons. How about you? What is one of your bucket list items? We’ll be sharing some of ours over the next few months.