Discounts for Essential Workers During COVID-19

Essential workers are busy keeping our country safe and running during this global pandemic. Many businesses are looking to do their part in supporting our people on the front lines. Here is a list of some deals and discounts we found for essential workers. If you are a business offering help to essential workers or have any other promos you’re aware of, please reach out! 

While some businesses like this one are equipped to tweak their day-to-day process and provide front-line workers with the masks and PPE that they really need, other businesses are offering promotions, deals, and discounts for essential workers where they can. The following are just a handful of many helping during the pandemic by staying at home and sending support from afar. 

Each business may be defining their deal and support slightly differently, but we thought we’d give a quick definition of what’s been identified as an essential worker. Essential workers include professions such as healthcare workers, scientists, security personnel, food and agriculture workers, energy and utilities, certain manufacturers, bank employees, news media, building cleaners and janitors, trash collectors, food bank workers, and shipping services.

 

Allbirds 

Free and Discounted Shoes
Healthcare workers can email together@allbirds.com to receive a free pair of the company’s best-selling Wool Runners. (While supplies last.) Or buy shoes at a donation discounted price. 


Blooom 

3 Months Free Service. (NOT LIVE)
This pandemic has caused plenty of market turmoil, but retirement savings should be the last thing our helpers on the front line are worried about. Blooom is offering it’s retirement account management services for free during this tough time to all essential workers. Blooom supports 401a and 403bs (as well as other retirement account types) for nonprofits and government employees. Evaluate your investment needs by taking our quick quiz & use code HERO3 for 3 free months of blooom managed service.


BP Gas & Amoco

50 Cent Discount on Fuel
BP is offering fuel at a 50 cent per gallon discount on your next fuel purchase at BP and Amoco for first responders, doctors, nurses or hospital workers. 

 

Crocs 

Free Pair of Shoes
The shoe company is donating a FREE pair of its iconic shoes to frontline health workers, in a show of support for their heroic efforts in these challenging times. A limited number of shoes is given away each day — but that number is 10,000 pairs a day.

 

Dollar General 

10% Discount on Qualifying Purchases
All medical personnel, first responders, and activated National Guardsmen will be given a 10% discount on qualifying purchases. Customers can present their employment badge or ID at more than 16,300 stores to receive the discount.

 

Hallmark

Free Cards to Share
Hallmark has already given away 2 million cards to help spread kindness during these tough times. They are offering free cards for you to send to those who need the encouragement. While supplies last.

 

Headspace

Free Headspace Plus Subscriptions
To help people deal with unprecedented levels of stress, Headspace is offering free Headspace Plus subscriptions to healthcare professionals working in public health settings in the US through 2020. They are also unlocking curated collections of mindfulness content for the public. 

 

Krispy Kreme

Free Dozen Doughnuts on Mondays
Every Monday through National Nurses Week (May 11th), Krispy Kreme will provide all healthcare workers free dozens of our iconic Original Glazed® Doughnuts. Just go to a Krispy Kreme drive-thru, tell us what you need and show us your employer badge. Up to 5 free dozen doughnuts per worker, as supplies last. 


Starbucks

Free Coffee
Police officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, hospital staff and researchers can get a free tall brewed beverage or iced coffee at Starbucks in stores until May 3.


Under Armour

40% off for Military and First Responders
Under Armour is offering discount for all purchases for Active Duty Service Members, Retirees, Veterans, Military Spouses, Military Family Members, as well as 40%* off for First Responders & Healthcare Workers and active Police, Fire, Nurses, Doctors, medical staff, and EMT customers. As well as teachers and educators. 

 

Other resources:
Perks and Freebies for COVID-19 Healthcare Workers 
Companies Offer Deals, Discounts and Freebies Amid Coronavirus Pandemic


Check Your Portfolio With Blooom

There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now due to Covid-19. One thing you should be sure of is the health of your portfolio. Our complimentary analysis takes the guess-work out of investing during a down market. Blooom can help you build and stick to an investment strategy that helps position yourself for a better financial future. Check your risk for free. Or if you are in the essential workforce, please take advantage of our discount for essential workers. Do you have more questions regarding Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and your investments? Check out the following resources from our Blog or Contact us today:

 

Information from third parties is believed to be reliable; however, we cannot ensure the accuracy or completeness of the third party information and it is subject to change without prior notice.

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What the Stimulus Package Means for You

What does this stimulus package mean? 

Congress has passed a $2 trillion economic stimulus package aimed at helping people financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. If you have an adjusted gross income of less than a certain amount you could qualify for a check. Additionally, the package includes temporary penalty-free 401k withdrawals. 

We’ve outlined more of the details of the pandemic stimulus package below. But before we get into them…here’s a little context.

 

The world has changed…

It’s crazy to think that just over a month ago, the US economy was near record low unemployment and the stock market was at all-time highs. To say the world has changed quite a bit in the last month would be a drastic understatement. 

Since reaching new all-time highs in February, US stocks completely erased more than three years worth of gains in what felt like the blink of an eye. While stocks appear to have already recovered some of those losses, this week’s new unemployment claims spiked to levels that appear more like a typo than reality. In fact, this week’s jobless numbers more than quadrupled the previous record, coming in at 3.28 million new claims – more than 10 times the previous week! So why is this happening?

To state the obvious, asking hundreds of millions of people to stay home from work. While undeniably necessary to slow the spread of the virus at this point, it’s bound to have some pretty devastating effects on the economy. 

As an attempt to mitigate the financial impact of this economic shutdown on individuals, families, and businesses, Congress has passed a massive $2 Trillion economic “stimulus” package that includes direct payments to individuals and families most likely to be negatively affected financially from this difficult period. While the bill itself is reportedly more than 800 pages long, and includes billions in bailouts to large corporations and essential support to small businesses, we’re here to get you the info and advice that is most likely to impact YOU and your personal and/or family finances.

 

Who does this stimulus package help?

If you have a Social Security number and have adjusted gross income of less than $75k (individuals) or $150k (married couples), and no one else can claim you as a dependent, you could receive $1,200, or $2,400 respectively. In addition, families with children under the age of 16 will receive $500 per child. So a typical family of four would stand to receive a one-time payment of $3,400, as an example. There are phaseouts for individuals making between $75k – $99k and also for married couples with no children, making more than $198k. Head of household filers can expect the full amount if they earned less than $112,500. 

Check out our 2020 stimulus check calculator to get a better idea of what YOU may expect.

 

What is the intention of the stimulus?

Stimulus packages are nothing new. The government has stepped in to provide an economic boost to individuals and businesses several times in the past. But this time, rather than attempting to encourage people to get out and spend this money on couches and new TVs, this is more like a rescue than a stimulus. We’re being asked, for the benefit of public health, to stay inside and avoid many of the activities that keep the economy chugging along in normal times. With millions of people suddenly losing their jobs, being asked to not work, and still needing to pay their bills, sending people money and expanding unemployment benefits significantly are quick ways to help lessen the ripple effects of this Pandemic on the economy, until we are able to defeat it, which we will!

 

When can I expect my money? 

If you’ve provided your bank information to the IRS for tax purposes, like payments or refund direct deposits, you should receive your payment fairly quickly and seamlessly, without needing to do much of anything. The IRS will use the most recent tax information they have for you, likely either your 2018 or 2019 adjusted gross income (if you’ve already filed for 2019). Specific timelines have not yet been released and may depend on your bank. If your bank information is not on file with the IRS already, there may be additional steps required and the process is expected to take no more than 3 weeks.

 

Where should I put this money when I receive it?

This is a highly personal decision and one that obviously depends on your own unique financial situation and any immediate or anticipated effects of this crisis on you and/or your family. Keep in mind that if you have not lost income and are able to continue paying your bills on time, it may be a good idea to just park the money in a savings account to give your emergency savings a boost until it may eventually be needed. 

Many individuals that find themselves in a very fortunate situation and do not anticipate many, if any, financial disruptions from all this, could also consider donating a portion of their money to local charities or supporting local retail stores and restaurants that will surely struggle in the coming months.

 

Emergency provisions for 401k withdrawals

Along with direct payments, the bill also includes some temporary provisions that allow for penalty-free early withdrawals from retirement plans and some added flexibility when it comes to 401k loans. Individuals will be allowed to withdraw up to $100k from qualified retirement accounts for coronavirus related purposes without the typical 10% penalty prior to age 59½.

It’s important to understand that this money will still be taxable, but the new provisions allow the taxation to be spread over three years. That said, it still could be a significant tax hit to you. Money withdrawn will also be allowed to be recontributed to the plan within three years, regardless of annual 401k contribution limits. 

Please understand that these provisions, while well-intended and worth looking into for some individuals, should not be used unless it is your last resort, in our opinion. The truth of the matter is that this Pandemic is certain to cause financial hardship for millions of people and some will absolutely need to resort to dipping into their nest egg just to get by. These provisions allow for this without additional hardship caused by the usual 10% penalty. But just because there is no penalty, does not mean there isn’t still a long-term cost to doing so

It’s important to remind everyone that dipping into your retirement account(s) early locks in losses that have likely resulted from this downturn in the stock market, without giving your account a chance to recover with the overall market. You also lose the power of compounding on that money from staying invested over time. These provisions may absolutely be necessary right now and can benefit many that truly need the relief, but make sure you have exhausted all other sources of savings before considering early withdrawals from your retirement account(s).

 

Watch out for stimulus package scams!

Newly introduced government programs and initiatives are a scammer’s best friend. Please beware of calls, emails, and even snail mail, from unknown places, or even places that appear to identify as the IRS or any government agency. No legitimate source should ever contact you requesting for you to say or enter your social security number, credit card, or bank account numbers over the phone or via email. These times of crisis can often bring out the best in most of us, but they can also present unique opportunities for scammers to prey on the most vulnerable and desperate among us. Be vigilant.

 

Blooom is here to help clear up any confusion

We all have so much on our minds right now and the last thing we need is more confusion. Please reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns during this difficult time. It’s what we’re here for!

 

 

 

The information is provided for discussion purposes only and should not be considered as advice for your investments. While the data from third parties is believed to be reliable, we cannot ensure the accuracy or completeness of the data provided. Blooom does not provide tax advice. Consult a tax expert for tax-specific questions.

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Pandemic: 3 Things you should be doing with your 401k right now

For many of you reading this, you might be experiencing your first significant (and scary) drop in the value of your retirement savings. Even for others, a bit longer in the tooth, this recent stock market free-fall due to the pandemic is enough to rattle even the most experienced of investors, myself included. In times like this, after watching a sizable piece of your portfolio temporarily melt away, it is perfectly normal to want to question everything. Moreover, many people might be feeling a strong desire to change something…anything, if it will help their critical retirement savings. In the next few minutes, I will set forth a very simple 3-step plan that you can take action on right now!

 

The right balance for YOU is the key

One of the most important decisions you can make as an investor, from both a Risk and Return perspective, was/is your decision to invest in an appropriate balance between stocks and bonds inside of your retirement account. Striking the right balance of stocks and bonds is critical because this sets the stage for the vast majority of the return (growth) you should expect over time, but also the amount of volatility (ups and downs) you will experience with your account, specifically during times like this. Historically, stocks have provided much higher returns than bonds have, but bonds have demonstrated much more price stability than stocks. In other words, over time stocks have made investors much wealthier, but along with that wealth generating potential, have come many many sleepless nights!

 

So, in order to determine the right balance of stocks vs bonds in your account, you really need to assess the following two inputs.

Time horizon

How old are you and when are you planning to retire? Knowing this will set the stage for how long you have to invest your retirement account. This is important to know because your ideal stock to bond mix will differ quite a bit for someone that is 35 vs 55 years old. Generally speaking, the younger you are, the higher allocation to stocks you should have. Why? Because you need the growth in your account over time (which stocks have historically provided) in order to amass enough of a nest egg to one day be able to live off these savings in retirement. Conversely, as you near retirement and get closer to needing to live off your retirement savings, it makes sense to have some of your account in bonds and even cash, which don’t fluctuate in value like stocks do.

Risk tolerance

What is your tolerance for risk when it comes to your retirement savings? This one is a bit tricky. You see, your risk tolerance is something that really shouldn’t change on a day to day basis. Your risk tolerance is really part of who you are as a person. It is part of your unique personality. Assessing someone’s risk preference (tolerance for risk) should ideally be done in calm waters and not in the heat of battle. I have found that if you ask most people questions about risk with regard to their investments when the stock market is chugging along, making newer and newer highs – most people will salute the flag of stocks and tell you that “yeah sure, I can handle all the ups and downs the stock market may throw at me – bring it on!” But then, that exact same person – asked those exact same questions in the midst of a 4-alarm fire in the stock market like we are experiencing right now, will answer 180 degrees differently. “This is my retirement savings, I cannot handle this kind of drop!” And therein lies the problem. Your preference for risk (or volatility) in your retirement account should not fluctuate like the market itself. In other words – you can’t have your cake and eat it too! You can’t be aggressive when the stock market is good and flip flop to conservative when the market drops. 

 

Ok, so all this is fine and dandy but what should you do RIGHT NOW? We can’t change the fact that the market is now down by roughly 30% from its month-ago highs and we have no clue what the next few months will look like. So the question remains – what can you do right now, specifically with your retirement account? 

 

STEP 1:

Acknowledge the fact that you are concerned, maybe even scared, and possibly even panicked. If I can play Psychologist for a moment – let me just say that those emotions you are experiencing are perfectly normal. It is OK to feel that way and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you.

 

STEP 2:

Try your darndest to NOT make knee-jerk, in-the-moment emotional decisions with something designed for the very long term – like your retirement savings. 

 

STEP 3:

Take back some small modicum of control in an out of control environment. Reach out to your financial advisor and ask them if your retirement account is still appropriately invested (from a risk standpoint) after all this recent carnage in the markets. Or, if you have been going it all alone with your retirement savings, I strongly encourage you to take 5 minutes and use blooom’s free tool for a check-up on the health of your account today. At no cost, this will very clearly and easily tell you if you have the appropriate balance of stocks vs bonds in your account. From there, you will be able to determine if any action is needed. Then, and only then, will you be able to put emotions to the side and have a clear, un-obstructed view of where things stand today. 

 

THIS is our why

We started blooom 7 years ago with the sole purpose of bringing badly needed financial advice and management to the massive number of American retirement savers that have been left behind by Wall Street and largely forced to going it alone when it comes to their retirement savings. Now, more than ever before, I am so proud of what blooom is doing for clients in this time of crisis. THIS is why we exist. 

 

Chris Costello is the co-founder and Chief Investment Officer at blooom, a digital investment advisor for retirement accounts. Chris is a Certified Financial Planner and has been managing retirement accounts and working with clients for almost 25 years.

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The Pandemic and your Retirement Savings – A Blooom Webinar

We’re all in this together

Let me begin by saying – we are in this with all of you.  Although each and every one of us has our own unique situation and challenges we are, no doubt, all bonded by a shared desire to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities from the spread of this virus. Additionally, It goes without saying that all of us at blooom share in the fears and frustrations with the steep declines we are all seeing in our retirement accounts.  I don’t care who you are – seeing your nest egg decline in value is never easy to tolerate.  

That being said, my hope is that the communications that blooom has put out and will continue to put out will at least help to soften some of your concerns.  At the end of the day, none of us know the extent of the market decline or when we will turn the corner on the fight against this virus. BUT… we feel supremely confident that we will get through this and the values in our accounts will eventually begin to recover.

 

Some perspective

I have had the privilege of advising clients and managing retirement accounts for almost 25 years.  I still have scar tissue from the stock market crash that followed the dot.com bubble that burst in the early 2000s, and even more so as a result of the financial crisis of 2008-09.  During both of those times – well before blooom was even a glint in my co-founders eyes – I can remember vividly having face to face conversations with clients – often looking into the whites of their eyes, seeing and hearing about how worried they were about those declines.  The stock market decline that followed 9/11 and the stock market decline during the financial crisis – although a totally different set of reasons than the virus today – it was, in many ways, just as scary as it feels today. Having made it through those past market shocks – I sincerely hope I can share some of this experience with all of you so that you have a fighting chance of enduring this significant market decline and maybe – help you become a smarter, more informed investor with knowledge and perspective that will continue to serve you well for the rest of your investing lifetime.

 

Ok, so let’s begin…

To start off, I think it must be acknowledged what has taken place in the stock market PRIOR to this very recent and rapid decline.  To do this, let me walk you back to March 6, 2009. As we now know, that day turned out to be the absolute lowest point that the stock market dropped to during the Financial Crisis.  On that day the Dow Jones Average briefly fell below 6,500. Since that point, and all the way up until literally just last month, the stock market has been on an absolute terror, and I mean that in the good sense.  We joke that you have had to try really hard to miss out on all these gains in the stock market during this period. In fact, my guess is that a very large portion of investors in this country have been so spoiled with good returns this past decade that until very recently, you were likely lulled into a false sense of security.  Some of you may have even started to believe that investing was easy. Some of you, I dare say, may have even started to believe that investing was a sure thing. I think it is also worth pointing out that for those of you listening to this that were born after 1986 you have likely never been a stock market investor in a true bear market.  Granted, we had a near 20% drop in late 2018 due to trade concerns but that was over before most people even knew about it. All you had to do these past 10 years was stay invested. period.

I mention this because it is important to acknowledge the fact that if you are still in your 20s or 30s, you are likely experiencing something as an investor that you have never ever had to deal with.  Those of us in our 40s, 50s and older have seen significant shocks to the market before. And although the reason for the decline in the market today is totally unique, the drop itself has played out countless times over the history of the stock market.  

No pain, no gain

In fact, as we can see on this chart, since the 1930s we have had 8 different time periods where the stock market dropped by at least 20%.  I also show this chart to illustrate just how powerful the growth has been for the vast majority of history. You can ignore the numbers on this chart and just take in the massive difference between the green and red sections.

So if the good times in the stock market have so clearly out-weighed the brief, temporary downturns in the market – why do so many investors left to their own devices fail so miserably with their investments?  I encourage you to stay tuned for that answer.

So not only are big drops in the stock market normal….I want to also make the point that they are NECESSARY.  Yes, let me repeat that….significant and scary drops in the stock market are indeed NECESSARY. I say this because one of the great reasons why the stock market has been such a wonderful tool to build wealth over long periods of time (as we saw in the previous chart) is precisely because of the risk that being an investor comes with.  Surely everyone has heard the old saying “there is no such thing as a free lunch” well this certainly applies to life as a long term investor in the stock market.  You see, if there were never any rough times, if there were no gut wrenching, shockingly steep drops in the market, then there wouldn’t be much risk.  And without that risk, the returns would be a fraction of what they historically have been. Think of it this way. You may know some of your friends who have no appetite for risk and have historically kept much if not all of their savings in things that come with guarantees.  Those would be things like Bank CDs, savings accounts, money markets or government bonds. It is true that they have no risk of loss and yes it is true that they are feeling very good about themselves in times like we are in right now. BUT, while the rest of us have been making big returns over the past 10 years and over the past 70 years by investing in the stock market, they have historically earned a tiny fraction in their risk free investments.  You see – if you don’t take any risk you shouldnt be expected to make much return. So I say again – there is no such thing as a free lunch.  

 

Blooom’s approach

Often, in times like this many investors feel compelled to question everything when it comes to their important retirement savings.  Given that, let me remind you what blooom has and IS doing for your accounts.

  1. Appropriate mix of stocks vs bonds given your age, time horizon to retirement and risk tolerance
  2. Proper diversification – as the old saying goes: making sure you don’t have too many eggs in any one basket
  3. Lowest fee funds available within your 401k or IRA.

Now don’t get me wrong – these 3 things are extremely important.  And for many people, before they signed up for blooom – their retirement accounts had none of the above key factors.  BUT BY FAR, THE MOST IMPORTANT FEATURE of your blooom subscription …you have access to a human advisor at blooom. Wealthy clients have had advisors for decades.  Most average Americans on the other hand, have been forced to go it all alone. This go-it-alone strategy might have worked well in the decade leading up to this Virus when the perception of investing was “easy” but now, more than ever – having a trusted advisor to lean on with questions and concerns is priceless in my opinion.  As the co-founder of this company and someone who has spent their entire adult life advising clients – I don’t feel that I am over-stating just how important having an advisor really is.  

 

The average investor

Earlier I told you I would explain why so many investors on their own so miserably under-perform the long term returns in the market and often the long term returns of wealthy clients.  But before we get to the answer….let’s have a look at how bad the problem really is….

So I posit…why does the average HUMAN investor so miserably UNDER-perform the stock market and most variations of it?

 

If you have the right strategy, doing nothing can mean everything

For more perspective on this, let’s have a look at the complete picture.  This is a graph of the Dow Jones Average all the way back to 1950. When you put the stock market into this kind of context it should further boggle the mind as to how many people haven’t been able to grow more wealth in something that looks like this. 

The absolute wealth destroying actions that have plagued investors for decades have not been the declines in the stock markets themselves but rather how investors in those declines have behaved.  You see, each time there were dips in the market there were investors bailing out. And often times when the market had recovered and things looked great again, those same investors would buy back in at higher levels.  Wash, rinse, repeat a few times of buying high and selling low…well, you catch my drift.  

So here is the secret…In order to reap the wonderful rewards of being a long term stock investor, all you had to do was sit still.  In other words you had to do nothing during the temporary declines to make sure you were around to benefit from what has been the permanent uptrend. That is it folks.  And here we are again today. Another steep decline in the long and storied history of the stock market. I ask you to think about how you will behave during yet another temporary decline like we are having today.  

The bottom line

Finally, Please listen carefully.  At the end of the day – this is YOUR money.  Our job at blooom is to give you our best advice at all times.  But, you may ultimately not always agree with us and that is OK.  If you look to us for advice you will always get the advice we think is best for you and tell you what we think you should do.  BUT… You will always get the last word. PERIOD. If at any point you feel strongly that you must do something that goes against what we are recommending – that is absolutely your prerogative.  If you decide to take actions different than what blooom recommends You will be able to maintain your blooom membership but we will turn off our permission to actively make changes in your account for you.  I repeat…If you decide to make changes in your account that we feel goes against our advice – those changes would need to be made by you.  

Regardless, please always remember we are just a click away if you want to chat or have concerns about your account.  Just log into your blooom account and initiate a conversation. We look forward to helping you navigate these exceptionally difficult waters.

Thank you for taking the time to listen and I hope you know that we started this company to serve people just like you.  So I have just one request….right now, at this very moment, you have friends, family members and co-workers who are all alone when it comes to their retirement savings.  Unless they are also a blooom client or they have a big net worth and have their own advisor – they are trying to navigate these rough waters themselves. Very wealthy clients have had access to advisors over the course of history – especially in times of great panic in the markets.  Now, companies like blooom have made it our mission to reach a new audience of under-served investors. In times like this – having an advisor to lean on can make such a huge difference in your future financial security. So please, if you have found this helpful and enlightening, I encourage you to take a minute and pass on the link to this webinar to them, I am sure the people you care about will appreciate this as well. 

 

Thank you and stay safe. 

 

The information is provided for discussion purposes only and should not be considered as advice for your investments. Please consult an investment advisor before you invest.

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Coronavirus and your investments: Is your retirement savings properly invested?

A note from Chris Costello the co-founder of blooom, a digital advisor for your retirement savings: 

A bit of perspective.

With the recent news of the coronavirus and its effects on the market, people may be wondering, “Are my investments properly invested?” To answer that question, we first must recognize that these past 11 years (post financial crisis of 2008-2009) have been unusually stable. But not just stable, down-right easy money in terms of the stock market investments within your retirement account. For reference, the Dow Jones average was near 6,500 in March 2009 and even after the sharp recent stock market sell-off it is around 25,000 these days. That is almost a 400% increase in just 11 short years. I say again, that is anything but typical! It is precisely this extended Bull Market that we have enjoyed that makes this recent stock market drop so darn painful. We just aren’t used to it!

With the exception of a very short lived “blip” in the market in late 2018, so short lived in fact that if you took a long nap you might have missed it, investors have not seen a Bear Market in 11+ years. By definition, a Bear Market is defined by a drop in the market of at least 20% and although late 2018 came close, it didn’t quite drop by 20% and it was over before most people knew it. This extended period without a true Bear Market is incredibly unusual given that, on average, we see a 20%+ drop about once every 6 years. 

 

Investing has been “easy” recently… too easy. 

My point is that it has been so dang easy to make money in your retirement accounts these past 11 years. In fact, you had to really “mess things up” (trying to time the market or have been investing way too conservatively) if your retirement account isn’t up substantially this past decade. This protracted Bull Market has led many investors to feel overly confident about their abilities to manage their own accounts and merely set it and forget it. And therein lies the problem. I am super worried that the majority of investors have been “lulled to sleep” with how incredibly easy it has been to make money in your investments this past decade. I am worried that a growing majority has lost perspective on historical market declines and become too complacent.

My concern is exacerbated for investors age 33 and younger. For this demographic – this past week might be the first time (as an adult investor) that you have logged into your retirement account and seen it noticeably lower than the last time you peaked at it. 

 

Market declines are a part of life.

It also needs mentioning that not only are declines of AT LEAST 20% a normal, recurring part of life as a stock market investor – in a very real sense – they are necessary! If you have ever heard the phrase “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” that is very much applicable here. The entire reason that investors are compensated over long periods (decades) with superior returns from their stock market investments is because they have to “pay the price” of periodic, temporary kicks in the pants like we are experiencing today. If the market never dropped precipitously like this, the risk would be minimal and, in turn, so would the returns. For a certain segment of the population that simply cannot tolerate the short term temporary drops in the market, they are generally left to invest in very secure, safe but VERY low returning investment like Government Treasury Bonds and CDs. The price these folks pay over time is substantial when it comes to wealth accumulation. It is true, they feel very good once every few years when the market declines, but the other 80+% of the time, I am guessing they have a tremendous nagging sense of being left out.

At blooom, we now manage over $4 billion for our clients all across this country. From age 22 to age 70, each and every one of them concerned that their critical retirement savings is working just as hard as they are working to fund those accounts. 

 

Find a smart strategy and stick with it.

Given the recent (justified) concerns with the Coronavirus, I can’t stress enough the importance of taking a moment to make sure your account is invested appropriately given your individual situation. In times of great market anxiety like this, it can often lead to a “lack of control” feeling. Here is one big, important step you can take to grab back some control over your retirement savings when the market tanks

 

Ways to identify your long-term investment strategy.

If you’re finding yourself nervous this week, specifically regarding your long-term investments (like your retirement accounts), now may be a good time to evaluate the level of risk you’re taking and whether or not what your doing both aligns with your goals and your sanity. If you’re not sure where to begin, it’s important to find someone that truly has your best interests in mind. In the world of advising, we would call this a fiduciary.

Blooom can help.

In under 5 minutes, by going to blooom.com, you can get a totally free assessment of your retirement accounts. This assessment will perform a check on these 3 key things:

 

  1. Blooom will make sure you have an appropriate mix of stocks and bonds in your account that makes sense for your specific age, time horizon to retirement and risk tolerance? 
  2. Blooom will make sure you have enough diversification in your account? (Not too many eggs in any one basket)
  3. Blooom will analyze if you are currently paying unnecessarily high hidden fund fees within your account?

 

IF, after this complementary analysis – you decide to sign up for blooom you will also have the ability to chat with a financial advisor at blooom (yes, a real human). So before you go do anything rash, like panicking out of your investments – please, please take advantage of this incredible service. Our Advisors and Client Service folks are truly exceptional people with YOUR best interests at heart. Wealthy folks across this country have access to qualified financial professionals at this very moment, helping them navigating these scary waters. Blooom was built specifically with the desire to bring this kind of badly needed help and counsel to all the folks out there that have been trying to handle their retirement savings all alone.

 

Final word…It is entirely OK and normal to feel scared during market declines like these. But, I do not think it is OK to make financial decisions in moments of fear.

 

 

 

The information is provided for discussion purposes only and should not be considered as advice for your investments. Your investments will go up and down in value based on what happens in the markets. 

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