Do You Ever Take the Time to Curl up With a Good Book?
We’re all so busy these days. And information is coming at us at warp speed. There’s a lot of drinking from a fire hose. It’s exhausting!
With everything going on in the world, and all the various opinions out there – right or wrong – wouldn’t you like to get away from it all – at least for a few hours?
You probably would. But do you ever take the time to curl up with a good book and enjoy the simple pleasure of reading a page turner? Some people do. Many don’t.
As I look out my window and see the snow coming down, I can’t help but think of simple pleasures like hunkering down with something that will be good for the soul. I don’t drink coffee or hot chocolate. Instead, I get a high from running or by reading a well written book.
You must have one on your shelf. If not, they are abundantly available at your local library. You could even order one from Amazon and have it delivered to your door in the next 24 hours. So even if you are snowed in – you have no excuse.
Here are a few books on many peoples’ radar which are either new or seeing a resurgence:
A Dog’s Purpose (published by Tom Doherty Associates), by W. Bruce Cameron, is written by the same author that wrote 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter and How to Remodel a Man. The general consensus on Goodreads is that it is a feel good book worth the read.
If you are a non-fiction reader, Hillbilly Elegy (published by Harper) by JD Vance, is the New York Times #1 Hardcover Non-Fiction book. Vance, a Yale Law School grad, looks at the struggles of Americans white working class thru his own childhood in the Rust Belt. Part memoir, part historical and social analysis, it is a “fascinating consideration of class, culture and the American dream.”
Depending on which side of the political spectrum you are on – or whether you watch Fox News or not – there are 1984 by George Orwell (published by Penguin) and Killing the Rising Sun by Bill O’Reilly (published in 2016 by Henry Holt & Company). O’Reilly’s book was written by Martin Dugard. The Fox News commentator promotes it on his platform.
In addition to 1984, which was published in 1949, also being recycled from a bygone era are It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis (published by Doubleday) and Fahrenheit 451 (published in 1953 by Simon & Schuster), written by Ray Bradbury.
On a personal note, I once (circa 1989) attended a Philadelphia 76ers basketball game where Monica Seles, the former professional tennis player, was in attendance. As she, signing autographs, came up the aisle I was sitting near with my attorney friend, Paul, he fished for something in his attaché case for her to sign. He pulled out a copy of Bradbury’s classic and she signed it.
I recently read that Seles has been engaged to Tom Golisano, the owner of Paychex, since June 2014.
According to Wikipedia, “In February 2011, Golisano became the spokesman for National Popular Vote Inc., a non-profit organization seeking to implement a popular vote system for presidential elections by harnessing the electoral college.
I guess in some ways we can’t get away from it all. But we can try.
An Advisor's Guide to Helping Women Become Savvy Investors
Today, more women than ever are involved in managing their personal and household finances. In a recent study, nearly half of the women surveyed (44%) stated that they are solely responsible for their household financial decisions, compared to 35% of men1. But the study wasn’t all good news. While women may be taking the lead when it comes to their finances, they also reported that they are not confident in doing so. In fact, in every financial category included in the survey, men reported much greater confidence than women. Where was the biggest gap? You guessed it: investing.
For advisors, this presents a challenge and an opportunity. There is a 90% likelihood that a woman will be financially self-reliant at some point in her life due to divorce, becoming a widow, or choosing to marry later in life or not at all2. By taking steps to help your female clients become confident, savvy investors, you’ll not only be more effective at serving in the best interests of these women and their families, but you’ll also be able to build much stronger, more trusted relationships to help ensure each family’s assets remain in your care for decades to come.
Follow these five steps to help your female clients invest with greater confidence:
1. Urge every woman to put her financial needs first.
Women do have a weakness when it comes to planning for the future, but it has nothing to do with a lack of knowledge, skill, or smarts. Their primary weakness is a willingness to put others’ needs first. This is a huge mistake when it comes to planning for the future. Investing for retirement simply can’t wait until the kids are grown or aging parents no longer need care. In fact, based on average life expectancies, women should plan to accumulate enough funds to last at least 20 years after retirement. The following chart illustrates the power of compounding based on an 8% rate of return to help bring that point home:
This hypothetical example assumes an annual 8% rate of return and does not take into account income taxes or investment fees and expenses. This example is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent the performance of any specific investment. An investor’s actual return is not likely to be consistent from year to year, and there is no guarantee that a specific rate of return will be achieved.
2. Educate women about the power of investing.
Security about any topic is rooted in confidence and knowledge. Educating your female clients about investment basics can help drive more confident decisions and more positive long-term outcomes. From the basics of compounding to the nuts and bolts of researching options and understanding the pros and cons of different asset classes, make it your job to help every client understand what she is buying—and why.
3. Dive into the details of asset allocation.
Asset allocation is by far the largest determinant of a portfolio’s success—even more important than the individual securities selected and timing of an investment. This is critical information for your client to understand as she pursues her financial goals.
4. Discuss how her investment strategy needs to evolve over time.
Part of every client’s financial education should be to understand how financial needs and goals change with each stage of life stage. Because a shorter investment time horizon creates greater vulnerability to market volatility, she needs to understand the impact of shifting a portion of her investment portfolio to more income-oriented investments as she moves closer to retirement. This Life Stages Guide can help you paint a clear picture of how allocation strategies need to evolve to fit her changing needs.
5. Be sure she’s covering all the financial bases.
Smart investing is vital, but missteps in other areas of financial planning can thwart even the best investment plan. Offer every client a basic planning checklist that includes these three important steps:
- Focus on the big picture. Organize your important financial papers and schedule an annual review of your investment strategy with your advisor. Regularly monitor your net worth—including your assets (all investments and savings) and liabilities (mortgage, credit cards, and other debts) to be sure you’re always moving toward your end goal of a secure retirement.
- Pay down any outstanding debt. Debt reduces your net worth, threatens your financial security today, and reduces your ability to invest for the future. Do whatever you can to minimize debt, and build an emergency fund to help pay for any unexpected expenses.
- Make estate planning a priority. Once a year, review your will and your beneficiary designations for every account to be sure they continue to reflect your wishes. If you have children under 18, work with your advisor or estate planner to establish a trust and select a trustee to ensure your assets are managed for the benefit of your children.
As a trusted advisor, make it your mission to provide your female clients with the education and guidance they need to become savvy investors and make the smart, educated financial decisions. By doing so, you can help every woman you work with not only enhance her financial security, but also gain the confidence to take greater control of every aspect of her financial life.
Click here to learn more about IndexIQ.
 Survey conducted by Regions Financial Corp. in partnership with Vanderbilt University, 2015.
 The Simple Dollar, “Guide to Financial Independence for Women,” 2014.
Disclosure: The information and opinions herein are for general information use only. The opinions reflect those of the writers but not necessarily those of New York Life Investment Management LLC (NYLIM). NYLIM does not guarantee their accuracy or completeness, nor does New York Life Investment Management LLC assume any liability for any loss that may result from the reliance by any person upon any such information or opinions. Such information and opinions are subject to change without notice and are not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security or as personalized investment advice.
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