We are getting close to the end of one of the worst election run-ups in living memory. Fortunately, I try not listen to or watch much of the vitriol that is splashed on TV, online or the papers, but it is tough to avoid. What is the result of this election going to do to our portfolios? The short answer is that I don’t know, nor does anyone else, but here are some pretty reliable indicators of what will probably happen:
- The stock market is usually forward looking, and because the market has not reacted very much either way, it is probably indicating that not much will happen around election time either.
- That does not mean there will not be a short-term over reaction on the negative side when polls or results come out. Losing supporters of either candidate are going to make predictions of the coming of the end of the world.
- There has been gridlock in Washington for over a decade, so whichever nominee wins will probably not change much for the market or the country for that matter.
- My advice is to turn off the TV and stay the course by sticking with your long-term investment strategy and do nothing in anticipation of the election.
40 Year Birthday of the Index Mutual Fund
On August 31, 1976 the first index mutual fund was launched. This index fund, started by John Bogle, consisted of most of the 500 stocks making up the S&P 500 index. This was the predecessor of the current Vanguard 500 Index fund.
Wells Fargo Opening Millions of Unauthorized Accounts
Wells Fargo has been fined $185 million for opening unauthorized accounts in client’s names to reach sales goals. If you bank with Wells Fargo, what do you do?
- Check your account history and fees with Wells over the last 5 years by checking statements or going into a branch. Ask for a refund of unauthorized fees.
- Pull a free copy of your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. Check for any unauthorized accounts or credit cards.
- Consider finding a more personable local credit union at which to do your banking. The big banks have been the center of scandal after scandal and the age of personal banking with them is gone. They charge high fees and pay next-to-nothing on your savings. No one can make a decision in a local branch, deferring to faceless bureaucrats in New York, Charlotte or San Francisco.
Tax Fraud Scam
The latest is a fake email sent with a fictitious CP2000 form which is a notice of underpayment of taxes. Ignore this email as the IRS does not send out emails assessing tax. Any correspondence you receive from the IRS will be via the mail.
Which Assets Pass by Intestate Succession
If you die without a will, you pass away “intestate”. Here is a list of assets that do NOT pass through your will when you die:
- Funds in an IRA, 401K, 403b or other retirement account
- Life insurance proceeds
- Investments held in a transfer-on-death (ToD) account
- Payable-on-death (PoD) bank accounts
- Real estate held by transfer-on-death deed
- Property you own with someone else in joint tenancy
- Property held in a living trust
Beneficiaries named for these above-mentioned accounts overrule what is stated in your will. Remember to remove your ex-spouse as a beneficiary on accounts. Your current spouse or partner will not be happy if your large 401k passes to the ex when you pass away. This happens more often than you would imagine!
In August I was fortunate enough to play in another tennis sectionals tournament – this time in Albuquerque for the +18’s team. After a rocky start we ended up one set short of qualifying for Nationals – oh well, it was fun nonetheless. Also in August Roberta went to Alaska with a friend to visit with family, while I minded the “store”. Last month we visited Hungary, where my mother was born. A beautiful country with loads of history, delicious food, wine and beer, gracious people and very inexpensive. Stopped over in London on the way back and had an enjoyable dinner with my nephew.
Contact me for a review meeting if needed. Please plan early for setting up an appointment. Feel free to pass this newsletter on to whoever may be interested. They can also sign up directly, on the website.