What should investors focus on in 2015? “Begin Again” Investment Strategies.

As 2014 is wrapping up we can take a sigh of relief that we did not experience financial disaster within our economy. Rather things are looking quite positive. We have been in a mindset of fear since the market crashed back in ’08. My prediction for 2015 is that we will be making more confident financial decisions and continue this growth in the market.

My predictions for 2015:

1. Next 12 to 24 months are still going to be positive for the market. Higher interest rates expected. Still a lot of fear, doom and gloom in the media. “Market climbs the wall of worry”.

2. Market is still in a positive trend. Earning yield on S&P 500 about 5%; dividend yield about 1.8%; 10 year Treasuries @ 2.21%. Stocks are better value than bonds on a relative basis.

3. Oil and Oil service still in an overall downtrend, but will consolidate from the big selloff.

4. Bonds may be the next “shoe that drops”.

“Begin Again” tips for 2015?

Get a Financial GPS. Find a “fee only” Certified Financial Planner with the CFP® designation, to help draft a retirement plan. It’s like having a GPS system for your retirement . Retirement begins today. The GPS system in your car basically asks 3 questions.
1. Destination or where do you want to go? = How much do you need @ retirement

2. Current location= How much do you have, and if the answer is zero, that’s okay.

3. What is the best way to arrive at your destination?

Consolidate your scattered retirement accounts to one location. Don’t let money sit in cash for another 15 years at your old employer.

Check the maturity date of your Target dated or Lifestyle Retirement funds. If you are about to retire, most of the funds have been allocated to bonds, which may be on the verge of declining because interest rates are expected to increase. In my opinion, the more stock / equity funds you own the better at this point in time. ( 30 year interest rates currently at 2.77%)

If you have to choose between bond funds, or stock funds, choose stock funds because bonds pay a fixed income, while stocks have historically an “ever increasing” dividend yield.

Begin Again may feel like broken record, but don’t be discouraged!

A tip for our widows and our elderly Veterans. The Veterans Administration has a benefit for veterans or for the widows of veterans. It’s called “Aid and Attendance”. Depending on your income and other criteria, a veteran or their widow, can receive a supplemental payment of around $1,700 per month, to offset the cost of day-to-day living for assisted living facilities.

Contact your local VA office. You have to ask for the benefit.