“March is one of the particularly dangerous months to speculate in stocks. The others are July, January, September, April, November, October, June, August, December and February.” –Mark Twain
All investments carry some type of risk. Today, I am going to focus on risk as it is measured by standard deviation (SD)*. Go on, keep reading. I hope I can make this an understandable concept!
Let’s use the example of choosing to invest between Product A and Product B. Product A has an expected rate of return* of 4% with an SD of 2%. This means that about 2/3* of the time, this investment is expected to return between 2% and 6% (plus or minus 2%).
Product B has an expected return of 10%, but the expected SD is 20%. This means about 2/3 of the time Product B should return -10% to +30%.
In dollars, a $10,000 investment in Product A would be expected to grow in the range of $10,200 to $10,600 (again 2/3 of the time) over a one year time period. Product B’s return would result in a range from $9,000 (a $1000 loss) to $13,000. Product B has a greater reward potential but also greater loss potential than Product A. It is clear that Product B is “riskier.” Note: 1/3 of the time the gains and losses are even greater.
Another consideration to think about: if you had to liquidate your funds to raise money, you may have to sell your investment for less than your original investment. Understanding this concept is very useful in helping you determine what an appropriate investment would be. The moral of this blog is to make sure you fully understand the risk you are taking before you make an investment. If you have the time and the temperament to take on risk, that is okay. The objective is to have all the facts in order to make the most informed decision. Check out our website www.fishandassciates.com and check on the box, What is your risk score?
In my next blog we will discuss the meaning of volatility.
*Standard deviation is a measure of the dispersion of a set of data from its mean. The more spread apart the data, the higher the deviation. Standard deviation is calculated as the square root of variance. *A rate of return is the gain or loss on an investment over a specified period, expressed as a percentage increase over the initial investment cost. Gains on investments are considered to be any income received from the security plus realized capital gains. *In statistics, the 68-95-99.7 rule — or three-sigma rule, or empirical rule — states that for a normal distribution, nearly all values lie within 3 standard deviations of the mean. About 68.27% (2/3) of the values lie within 1 standard deviation of the mean. Similarly, about 95.45% of the values lie within 2 standard deviations of the mean. Nearly all (99.73%) of the values lie within 3 standard deviations of the mean.
By mid-February of this year, our firm lost four beloved clients to “premature death.” Not one of these clients lived to what we consider “normal” life expectancy, which is 83 to 85 years old, depending on who is providing the numbers. Statistics also show on average, that women outlive men, but that was not the case for us, as 3 of the 4 clients who died were women.
Since we are a financial planning firm, the majority of our clients have an estate plan in place, with wills trusts, healthcare directives, etc, and we stay on the procrastinators to get it done.
I’m addressing this blog to those of you under 40 who think, “I’m young and healthy, or “I don’t have a lot of assets” or “I only have debt” or– I’ll deal with this later.” Here’s something to think about – tragedies happen all of the time, at any age and all ages. Part of growing up and living life on your own terms is to take some important steps today to appropriately deal with your finances. Here is a short list:
1. Create a health care directive. This clearly states your wishes if you were to become comatose. I highly recommend using the five wishes, which describes your wishes for life support as well as who you want to make these decisions, in narrative form. It is free and is legally recognized in 48 states. Call our office at 901-767-0668 and we will send you the form. www.thefiveswishes.com 2. Create a list of all your social media and bank/credit card logins and give it to someone you trust should something happen. 3. Make sure you have beneficiaries on IRA’s and 401Ks. It is free to add a payable on death (POD) or Transfer on Death (TOD) to bank accounts and non-retirement accounts. 4. Consider a small life insurance policy to pay for funeral expenses. 5. If you have specific items to give, assign the items in writing to the person you want to have them. This may seem morbid, but it is not, it is the responsible thing to do. We are all going to die – that is a fact.
I hope this inspires you to go home and have a discussion with your room mate, partner, spouse or parents, or any significant person in your life.
I see people who are unhappy, even miserable because they spend most of their time comparing themselves to others.It may be jealousy because their friend has a bigger house, makes more money, goes on better vacations, the list is endless.Instead of being jealous, take a closer look at what is positive in your life.Do you love your job and look forward to going in every day? If the answer is no, only you can make a change to turn that around.Your husband or partner won’t, your kids can’t, your parents can’t.Only you can.When you find meaningful work, you tend to pay less attention to how much money other people have.Remember wealth is not just about money. It is about good health, happiness, and a meaningful purpose in life.
Note: Due to industry regulations on communication, we are unable to allow for public comments on this blog. Please feel free to email me your questions and/or comments to email@example.com. Thank you. Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. NFP Securities, Inc. is not affiliated with Fish & Associates.