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Handling Your Biggest Risks First

From Advisor Luke Porter

One of our favorite authors, Morgan Housel, has a potent quote on risk: “We are very good at predicting the future, except for the surprises–which tend to be all that matter.”

From markets to elections to life events, it’s healthy to acknowledge much of life is well beyond our control. It’s why a key part of financial planning is making decisions you can control to prepare you (and your family) for the things you can’t control.

In this week’s reflection, advisor Luke Porter highlights the value of addressing your biggest risks first in your financial plan.

A few questions we encourage you to revisit in your financial plan, especially if you’ve not done so before:

Life + Disability Insurance

If either of these events happened, would:

  • We have enough to sustain our financial plan? (ex. college, housing, retirement)
  • Your spouse need to work to make ends meet?
  • Our financial lifestyle substantially changes? (ex. childcare, sports, travel, private school)

Also, do we only have employer-sponsored policies in place? Do we need additional coverage?

Will and Estates

When was the last time you updated your estate planning? Three helpful questions to revisit:

  • Does your estate plan reflect your current assets and liabilities?
  • Does it reflect your current relationships?
  • If you manage the finances, does your spouse know who to turn to if you’re no longer here?

Spending Regret: We’ve all been there—thinking we have to have something only to find out that it doesn’t provide the satisfaction we hoped for. Maybe the issue isn’t the amount we spend on something but the value we assign to it. When it doesn’t deliver, we find ourselves disappointed. Do you ever have purchase regret?

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article sharing spending regrets covering a variety of purchases—it’s fascinating. The hard work of aligning your values and finances will help protect you from these mistakes. What area do you want to align your purchases with your values better? We’d love to chat with you!

Online Shopping and Working from Home: They go hand in hand. Researchers say working from home, and those seemingly endless Zoom meetings drive online sales. It’s the work-from-home equivalent of hanging around the “water cooler”—a way to distract us from the larger tasks needing our attention. A brain break. Yet the dopamine hit of another purchase is costing us a collective $375 billion, according to a new study from Stanford University, Northwestern University, and the Mastercard Economics Institute. The study revealed that county-level data shows that online shopping is up in areas where work-from-home jobs are prevalent while back to pre-pandemic levels in places where more folks work in person.

Business Briefing

  • Luxury Fruit:  After a decade and a half of growing and experimentation, Del Monte may have achieved the ultimate in “luxury fruit.” They recently introduced the $400 Rubyglow red pineapple to the market. Fruit growers have been trying to increase prices since the introduction of the Honeycrisp apple three decades ago, proving there was a market for premium fruit. Oishii introduced specialty strawberries “grown indoors in a climate-controlled vertical farm” in 2018. Priced at $50 for just eight, the berries gained cult status and the waitlist grew into the thousands. (Reuters)
  • Nvidia Climbs: Nvidia is close to overtaking Apple as Wall Street’s second-most valuable company. Shares of the chipmaker “have more than doubled so far this year after more than tripling last year,” bringing the company’s market cap to $2.8 trillion, just shy of Apple’s $2.9 trillion and not far from Microsoft’s $3.2 trillion. (Reuters)
  • Real Estate: The Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 440,000 full-time real estate agents and brokers in 2023, about 72,000 less than the year before. As of mid-April, the National Association of Realtors registered about 1.5 million agents. That’s down more than 100,000 from 2022. (The Washington Post)

Giving on Graduation: Rob Hale, a billionaire philanthropist, was invited to speak at the commencement for the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. At the conclusion, he gave each of the 1,200 graduates a gift with a twist. He gave each graduate two envelopes. One contained $500 for their personal use, and another with the same amount to donate to a worthy cause. It’s a graduation gift system he’s used before at three other colleges. Though he doesn’t have assurances that the students will fulfill his giving request, Hale hopes to inspire the new generation. “These are times of turmoil, and the more we help each other, the better off we’ll be,” Hale said.