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Volatility Remains a Reality: 2020 took investors for a wild ride. It is helpful to remember the reality of volatility and what it can look like even in a good year. Consider the below chart, which presents basic data of the S&P500 since 2008. There was only one year (2017) wherein the S&P did not have a down month. Yet there were only two years that clocked negative total returns. The challenge of managing risk for returns remains ever present. This chart is a helpful reminder of that reality in numbers. Many will not need help remembering the reality in emotion after the past year.

Steep Rise for Assisted Living Facility Costs: We’re aware of the significance assisted living facilities held during the pandemic. Though a less-known fact that ensued from the past year is that all long-term care costs rose sharply, for assisted living facilities especially, where rates grew 6.15 percent for a median cost of $51,600/year ($4,300/month). Some of this is attributed to the rising costs of things like home health aides, private nursing homes, or semi-private rooms.

Go Where You Love. Buy What You Love: Strikingly, we encountered two separate articles recently advocating the financial sensibility of pursuing what you love. The first comes from The Atlantic, introducing us to the notion of topophilia, meaning love of a place. As many moved to complete remote working scenarios, they have also found the freedom to choose with more precision where they would like to live, rather than where they would need to live. In the second article from Behavior Gap, the financial benefits of buying what you love are explored. The short version: Consider that if you love something and you’ll use it, you’ll save not only money but retain the cognitive and emotional energy you would have used to replace the thing once a year. Buy what you love. If you don’t, you’ll end up hating, and replacing, until you do.