Letter to Our Clients - October/November 2004
To My Friends and Clients:
Linda Heintz has joined us as a part-time member of our team. She will be working four days a week during the mid-part of the day. Her children are now through the Beaverton school system and enrolled in universities. We are pleased she could join us, and she has said that she is looking forward to getting to know all of you.
Recently I studied for and passed the examination to be Certified in Long-Term Care. This has given me a new set of letters to attach to my name, the CLTC designation. I am not totally comfortable with stringing more letters behind my name. Still, I think it important for you and others to know that I have invested the time and energy to understand the seriousness of the financial consequences of extended lifetimes.
The financial planning process has always included saving and investing for things such as children’s education, weddings, buying businesses or investment properties, and planning for retirement. I believe it is also important to plan for the costs of receiving custodial care (this is different from medical care) in the very last years of our lives. Long-term care insurance is an option for some, but the issue of financially surviving an extended illness involves more than just insurance. It includes a number of legal matters to discuss with your attorney, life choices to decide with your loved ones, and a plan for how to pay for expenses which are not certain but which are likely to affect many families.
If we have not discussed this, or if we have not dealt with it to your satisfaction, please contact me so we can schedule a time to work through this process.
Imagine three possible scenarios:
- It is late November. Party X’s candidate for president has won, but Party Y refuses to accept the result and appeals to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court rules in favor of Party Y but Party X refuses to accept the result because they say it was a partisan decision and not based on law. Neither party concedes – both parties declare themselves the winner. Congress is evenly divided. No one knows how to solve this problem. The stock and bond markets collapse, worse than from 2000 to 2002. How should we invest now to maintain financial stability and stay on track to meet our goals?
- It is early November. Party Z’s candidate is declared the winner, and all other candidates concede and promise to unify behind the new president for the good of the country. (Remember, all of these scenarios are only hypothetical – a little fantasy never hurt!) The stock and bond markets soar. How should we invest now to take advantage of this?
- It is mid-November. The election has been decided but one-half the nation is unhappy. The bond and stock markets are uncertain, there is still the threat of terror throughout the world, and the economy appears to be continuing on its present course. The stock and bond markets show “normal” fluctuation and experts are divided about what to do. Some think the markets will collapse, others think we are on track for unprecedented prosperity. How should we invest now to cope with this kind of situation?
Since none of us knows what the future will bring, we need to be invested now in a manner that allows us to survive scenario #1, benefit from scenario #2, and feel comfortable that we are doing the right thing in scenario #3.
If you do not feel that your financial or investment plans are structured for all 3 of these scenarios, please call me immediately. I will not be able to give you any insight as to what will happen. What I can do is help you understand your options, educate you to the risks and benefits of different strategies, and give you the information which will put you in a position to make informed decisions.
The present always feels so much more uncertain than the past. However, when we were living it (the past), it was not at all certain at the time. We forget that, because hindsight gives us guidance as to what the answers turned out to be. We did not have that luxury then, and we do not have it now. We can only make the decisions that seem most prudent today, given the information we have and the way we feel about things. And then we must live with the results.
I hope this finds you and your loved ones well. The holiday season is upon us (Dorothy insists that Halloween is a holiday), and all of us wish you great health and happiness. Please contact us whenever we can be of assistance.
Robert K. Haley, JD, CFP®, CLTC