COVID Updates from IFPC

July 1. 2020

Hello Friends!

It has been an interesting and eventful few months even if we aren't going too many places! We had a great turn-out for the annual Shred-Fest this month, with some of you showing up just to say hello and have an excuse to leave the house!

We are hopeful about the long-term future but acknowledge that the short term is still very uncertain with regard to both the market and health concerns. Hopefully, you've been getting the weekly updates that include timely information and commentary from other experts. We hope the information we are sending can reduce the noise down into digestible facts that are easier to consume (can you tell its almost lunchtime?).

We had planned to begin face-to-face meetings again this month, but given the current spike in cases in the state and locally, we have decided to follow expert recommendations and wait until August (and still on a wait-and-see basis). I know this may be frustrating for some of you that prefer a meeting at the office and feel that you are not at risk for this disease. Please understand that many of our clients are within the most vulnerable demographics for Covid-19, including seniors, and those with other health concerns/conditions. As I have been saying for a few months now - "I will not be the one who kills Betty White!"  

Our team is working in alternating shifts (at the office and via telecommute) to protect themselves, their families, as well as each other - and most importantly, to protect you! If we need to see you at the office, we will wear a mask and sanitize our spaces regularly after each meeting or interaction. To help protect other clients, we ask that you also wear a mask...and if you don't have one when you arrive - we will give you one!

Ladies, we will be hosting another WTFinance online meeting next Wednesday, July 8th, and have some fun ways to win some cool prizes during the session. Let us know if you haven't received the invite from us through Punchbowl. You are welcome to invite your gal-pal so feel free to share, but we do need an RSVP confirmation to get you the supplies for the games. So, get your preferred beverage and snacks ready and find a comfy seat - and let’s figure out WTF is going on!

We will also be hosting an additional "WTF for All" meeting the following week with similar topics, discussions, and prizes! So be sure to stay tuned for that.

Lastly, Felicia wants to remind everyone (including me - insert eye-roll) that the new deadline for filing your 2019 taxes is fast approaching on July 15th. If you've not done your return yet and just don't have the energy to deal with it among so many other things - let us take the burden off your shoulders and get it done for you! Her email is felicia@ifp-center.com. Shoot her an email, and she will get you started!

We hope you're finding peace while staying home, and we look forward to "seeing" you again soon. Thank you for your continued support and loyalty now, and always. We will get through this together, and please let us know if you need us for anything in the meantime, we might even have some spare TP ��

-Amanda and the whole team at IFPC
Don, Perreda, Jen, Sean, Kelly, Jessica and Felicia

 

 

April 15. 2020

Dear Clients and Friends,

 

We are another week into the quarantine lifestyle and another week through this volatile market.  We have seen some positive news on both the medical and the economic side of things but we still have a way to go in both, to get to a place where Americans feel safe health-wise and investment-wise.  We are hopeful we have seen the bottom of the market but beware we may see things slip back down.

 

We are also very encouraged by the calls and requests we are getting from all of you wanting to buy into what you see as a major sale on the stock market.  We love your enthusiasm and your true embrace of the "buy low, sell high" strategy.  Given the recent activity of the market we want you to think about two ways you might invest in the market...lump sum vs. dollar-cost averaging (DCA).

 

In lump-sum investing you pick the investments and invest a lump sum amount for the long term.  This is a pretty straight forward but you risk miss-timing the market and seeing losses if the market turns again.  As long as you can stomach the possible "missed opportunities" in the short term and focus on the long term - this is a fine option.  

 

If, however, you are worried about constantly watching and having buyer’s remorse in the event of a downturn just a couple weeks later - you should consider a Dollar Cost Averaging option.  This is already done in your 401(k) or other monthly investments.  Since we anticipate the continued volatility over the next 3-18 months, a regular buying schedule like every 2 weeks or months may offer you the ability to buy lower over the next several months.  You would also have your remaining assets available in cash in the meantime.  For those of you wanting to tip-toe into the water, this may be a great option for you as well.

 

We are attaching an educational piece about DCA strategies. Let us know if you are interested in making any investments on either of these approaches.  

 

Again, we hope you and your families are safe and healthy and are using this time to learn, reflect, and take stock in what is important.  Remember, it takes 6 weeks to build a habit...if you ever wanted to start a new habit or kick an old one, now is a great time. We appreciate your continued loyalty and trust during all times, but especially now.... please reach out if you need anything.

 

 

-Amanda, Don and the whole IFPC team

 

PS - Don't forget to share the TP!

 

April 6. 2020

Dear Clients,

 

It’s been another rocky week as our world continues to fight the COVID-19 virus and the mayhem it has created.  We hope you and your family and friends are all healthy and hanging in there.  You should be receiving all of the updates both on the overall market and economy as well as the news related to the stimulus package.  If not, be sure to contact us or review our web page or Facebook page for links to these important updates.  We do want to make you aware of some specific points with regard to these subjects:

 

  1. The requirement to withdrawal your RMD for 2020 has been suspended if you have not already taken your RMD.  If you have already taken it out, there is nothing to do.  For those of you who have not taken your RMD for 2020 and would rather leave it in your account (and void the tax) please contact either Perreda (perreda@ifp-center.com) or Sean (sean@ifp-center.com) to have your account reviewed to see if this option is right for you.  If you are receiving an automatic RMD we may not be able to stop it before May 1.

 

  1. The 10% penalty has been waived for early access to IRA accounts (before age 59.5) for most situations.

 

  1. If you have some capital gains to offset with losses or have been waiting for a lower tax liability time to move or convert assets, this is a great time.  If we have talked to you in the last 1-2 years about changing strategies to gradually spread your taxable gains out, please contact us directly to review your situation in light of current market values.

 

  1. If we have discussed the ideas of doing ROTH conversions previously or made plans to by year-end, please contact us about whether now is a good time with market values being lower.

 

  1. If you own a small business or collect income via 1099 you likely qualify for additional government stimulus besides the individual $1200 payment.  Please feel free to contact us for a referral to Live Oak Bank who can help you apply for the Payroll Protection Loan program.  You can also apply through local banks and other lenders.

CARES Act

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP) INFORMATION SHEET: BORROWERS

Paycheck Protection Program Borrower Application Form

 

  1. Be aware of fraud and scams surrounding the individual stimulus and other COVID-19 related scams.  If you receive something and are unsure if it is legitimately related to your investments, forward us the info and we will give you our feedback.

Texas State Securities Board.COVID-19 Alerts

 

  1. We continue to work from home as ordered by local authorities but still maintain our standard work practices and schedules.  Please don't hesitate to contact us for any reason or just a pep talk.  Attached is the link to our Team Member Directory.

 

 

Stay tuned for invites to online webinars, conference calls, and educational material as we navigate this new and quickly changing world, we find ourselves in.  I know its stressful and scary to watch things move and change so quickly, this is certainly new territory for us all.  Our local and national and world leaders are debating many options for how to move forward with this disease and its disruption to our lives globally.  While I do not envy them, I do ask myself what I can do to ensure the best outcome for myself, my family and my clients.  For myself, I am trying to stay active while I work from home while also attempting to create schedules that make it easier to delineate between work hours and not-work hours.  

 

For my family, I am keeping us home and out of public and doing our part to prevent spread. For the first time in several weeks, we visited my parents from their driveway (thanks for the TP Mom!). I've got the kids taking the dogs for a walk daily and doing some outside chores to break up the day and make sure they get outside.  We go on a few family walks during the week and wave to the neighbors sitting in their garages or on the porch.  It’s amazing how much friendlier people are lately - I guess knowing you won’t be coming any closer means they can wave without the worry of a long conversation being attached.

 

For my clients, I am keeping my (physical) distance and doing my best to provide you with quick responses and a positive message that we will get through this.  Humans are full of ingenuity and this will not be something that beats us.  Even if we need to stay home for a little while to make sure the spread slows to a pace that our medical community can handle - we will find a way to connect and to find joy.  Our economy will overcome this, the markets will eventually stabilize and we will be here to make sure you are able to still meet your goals.  

 

We thank you for your continued support and trust during this and all times.  Our firm would not be where it is today without you, our client family, and your loyalty.  We are here if you need us...

 

-Amanda and the whole team at IFPC

 

 

March 24.2020

Dear Client Family,

I know you are getting a lot of similar communication but we want to inform you of the measures we are taking to protect clients and team member's health and overall well being since most of our team members have families with children or elderly people in the home. We've also considered that many of our clients are in the highest risk demographics for the COVID 19 Virus.  

In an effort to reduce the exposure possibilities and to keep to the mayor's and governor's requests to limit movement to essential needs, we are activating our contingency plan to work from home for the next few weeks. For those of you with upcoming appointments, we have already contacted you to get your preference for a phone or web meeting or a reschedule if you'd prefer. 

We are able to meet your needs from home due to our technology efficiency and security.  Our phone system will have an auto attendant with info regarding reaching each member of our team. If you want to schedule an appointment, please leave a message or send an email to Jessica. Please know that we are trying to triage any and all calls in the most efficient way possible so please be patient and leave as much detail with our team as possible so we can easily address your concerns.  

Hopefully, you are using Equipt or Emoney with us to pass documents electronically and securely. If you are not signed up and would like to be, please send us an email request and we will send you an invite to start using either platform. We still have access to our local office and plan to check in regularly for mail and to check our locked dropbox which is just inside the building next to our suite door. 

Stay tuned for more info and additional opportunities to hear from us and other experts about how you can stay confident during this very unnerving time....stay safe and positive!

If you missed the conference call last week, you may listen to it by visiting this link.

 

Don't forget to follow us on Facebook where we will duplicate these updates as well as fun posts to earn some relief during these trying times. 

-Amanda

March 17.2020

Dear Friends,
 
The last several weeks have been a wild ride for the markets and our own health and fears.  As we have discussed with many of you, the market does not like uncertainty. The concern over the COVID-19/Corona Virus has had a major effect on the markets and will have a continued effect on our national and world economies in the coming months. We have been receiving calls, texts, and emails from many of you looking for additional guidance during this time of concern so I want to address a few key points and questions we are getting to try and respond to as many of you at once as possible:
 
1) Should we be changing our approach or investments at this time?  
This really depends on your personal goals and needs.  For most of our clients and portfolios, diversification is keeping you from feeling the true market results leaving many investments with fewer losses than the S&P and the Dow.  Changing our approach and selling now would only lock in those lower values - remember you haven't lost anything until you actually sell and pull the trigger.  If your goals are long term, then we will likely not make any recommendations to sell your investments during this volatility.  If you have a specific concern or situations we need to plan for/around - please reach out to us directly.
 
2) What if we need more cash flow during this time due to not being able to work?
Some of you work in industries or businesses that are closing during this time to help reduce the spread of the virus.  Many employers are trying to maintain payrolls in the meantime.  We do believe that some government assistance or relief is coming and hopefully your employers will pass that down to keep your cash flow intact.  This brings us back to our primary recommendations for all clients to have 3 months of living expenses in cash or equivalents in your local/accessible bank.  The situation we find ourselves in now is a prime example of why we make that recommendation.  When you have cash on hand, you can make smarter moves with your investments without the pressure of selling in a down market.  However, we know that things happen, and you may not feel comfortable with only 3 months in cash.  In fact, the 3 months is to give us time to make better decisions, so if you know you will need cash in the next 3 months to 1 year and we have not already planned for that - please reach out to us directly.
 
3) When will this end and how long will the recovery take?
This one is still unknown.  As new information becomes available and our government can assess the true risks and results of behavior change and other spread-control measures, we will begin to have some clarity.  Remember, uncertainty is having the biggest effect on the market right now.  Many people have mixed feelings about the government's approach to this, so far.  Some of you have expressed concern that not enough is being done to protect people while others feel that the inevitable is coming so why stop the world to try and slow it down. Obviously, we can only deal with what we know and what history has taught us about market swings and corrections.  We have been and will continue to forward you important information and supporting data to give you a picture of how these types of market panics have rebounded historically.  
 
4) Is now the time to buy and what should I be buying??
I am so happy at how many times this question has come up lately.  This shows us that we taught you well.  The "oldest trick" in the investment book is "buy low, sell high" and many of you want to capitalize on that for the long term.  Is now the time?  Will it go down more?  The market will likely continue this volatility for the next several months or even until the year-end.  Any buys right now are certainly at a discount from the all-time highs we saw just 4 weeks ago, and yes, it could go lower - but trying to time the bottom is not a good strategy.  Instead, consider waiting a while until more certainty is priced into the market.  What should you buy?  The same investments we continue to own for diversification and long-term growth are going to continue to be our recommendations.  Remember, we are not short-term traders and don't usually make a recommendation for purchasing individual stocks. However, if you are interested in buying a certain stock that you feel is a great buy right now - please reach out to us directly and we can talk about your options.
 
5) What, if anything, should we do in our 401(k)s or other retirement plans?
This is another question that depends on your situation.  The basic reply is – do nothing and keep investing through your payroll deduction plans. Remember, in 2008 those that continued investing in their 401(k) through the drop recovered much faster than those that stopped and even more so than those that sold and sat on the sidelines. If you had a retirement plan of 2019 -2021 hopefully we have already made some proactive plans in your allocation to shelter you from some of the volatility.  If you think you need specific advice on your retirement plans – please reach out to us directly so we can address your situation specifically.
 
Our world is trying to prove it can overcome a pandemic and risking the short term business productivity and earnings to ensure a safer long-term environment for the world population.  The market is reflecting that fear and uncertainty and panic selling is adding to the losses. Know that we are here, riding the ride with you.  More importantly, we want you to be taking care of yourself and your loved ones.  To provide safety for both you and our team we are moving all appointments to phone or web-chat meetings for the next month (possibly longer) or allowing you to reschedule for later in the year when we have a better perspective. 
 
We will also be providing you with an invitation for a group-wide conference call that will address many of these global concerns and provide you with some additional expert feedback. Look for that invitation from us today.
 
In the meantime, please be safe and try not to focus too much on the short term with regard to your investments. Instead, focus on your health and spending time with family and maybe getting some of those much-needed household projects done!  At this time we are still planning on having our Shred-Fest in June so maybe go through the attic and garage “filing” and make your piles for shredding and scanning.
 


Stay safe out there, and for goodness sake, share the toilet paper!
Amanda

 

March 12.2020 

We want to let you know that we are closely following the financial markets across the globe and the continued volatility that is impacting investor confidence. Global markets have been bracing for uncertainty as the spread of COVID-19 leads to reduced economic activity.

In addition, an oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia has exacerbated concerns of a global recession, prompting large selloffs across riskier asset classes. At this moment, it's impossible to forecast whether a recession will occur as a result of COVID19 and oil oversupply concerns, and their impact on the global economy.

Outbreaks are eventually contained, and recessions are part of market cycles. The most important thing to keep in mind is not to overreact to the headline news which can often create unnecessary panic. Markets have proven resilient over time and it's important to maintain discipline and focus on your long-term goals. We are here to support you and navigate these times of uncertainty together.

Knowledge is power, and we're committed to equipping you with the tools and information you need to weather this storm. We are continuing to watch market developments and are here to assist you with evaluating and understanding these economic changes. As always, if you have any questions do not hesitate to call. We are here for you if you need a pep talk or to discuss strategies.

 

Best Regards,

Amanda Dunlap