Improving Investor Behavior: Where are all the Good Investments?

single tree

Note

This article originally appeared in the Denver Post, June 20th, 2021.

Read any financial website, and you’ll find a common thread among the headlines: the market is overvalued. By several historical measures, the stock market appears to be ahead of itself. Valuations are high, and value-focused investors like Berkshire Hathaway Co-Chairman Charlie Munger are calling for a “lost decade,” one in which gains are non-existent while the underlying companies catch up to their lofty prices.

Ask anyone purchasing lumber these days, and they will tell you that buying something at an all-time high doesn’t feel “great.” It leaves investors wondering if any good investments are left to make, especially if that investor favors value. Let’s clarify some definitions: Price is what you pay or sell something, while value is what you believe it is worth. An overpriced investment is when the price is ahead or above its value. Similarly, an underpriced investment is when the price is below what you believe its value is.

That’s why we like to look at it as a market of stocks and not a stock market. Allow me to explain.

Read more

Five Moves To Get Your Kids On The Right Foot Financially

kids running

As parents, there’s so much we want our kids to learn: right from wrong, how to be confident, how to serve others—and how to be wise with their money. Regardless of our kids’ eventual career path, we hope they can attain financial security and have the confidence to make informed decisions with their money.

We can help them get on the right financial foot by making a few smart moves early.

Read more

How To Manage Your Finances Coming Out Of A Recession

Downward arrow

Recessions have a way of making us second-guess all of our financial decisions. The uncertainty of future employment or the loss of savings in a financial downturn may cause some to doubt the validity of the basics of sound financial management.

However, it is just as critical to stay grounded when coming out of a recession as it is when you are in the midst of one. Letting fear drive your financial decisions is the worst thing you can do.

Let’s talk about some of the good foundational money habits to employ now that your finances are returning to a place of stability.

Read more

Improving Investor Behavior: Sometimes Nothing is the Hardest Thing to Do

Contractors install siding

Note

This article originally appeared in the Denver Post, May 16th, 2021.

The United States has embarked on a historic economic experiment. Initially, $1.9 trillion was borrowed by our government to fund the American Rescue Plan (ARP). So far, the government has committed more than $5 trillion to support our nation during the COVID-19 pandemic. To put this into perspective, that amount is roughly 25% of the entire pre-pandemic U.S. economy. Even before the ARP, Americans held some $2 trillion in excess savings, which essentially is untapped consumer buying power. That is a level of cash not seen since WWII.

Read more

5 Important Actions To Take During Financial Literacy Month

piggy bank

Happy Financial Literacy Month! Financial literacy is the ability to understand your comprehensive financial situation and make effective, optimal decisions using all the financial resources you have available. Financial literacy is a lifelong learning process. It is not something you can learn from a single book or course, and even professionals who have degrees in finance continually improve their financial literacy.

Therefore, Financial Literacy Month is an annual opportunity to reflect on your personal finances, celebrate the financial milestones you’ve achieved, and challenge yourself to commit to ongoing education about personal finance. With that in mind, here are 5 actions you can take to celebrate Financial Literacy Month and improve your knowledge of your personal finances starting now.

Read more

Improving Investor Behavior: This Spring, Grow Your Garden and Your Finances

Spring Flowers

Note

This article originally appeared in the Denver Post, April 18, 2021.

Spring puts me in a mood to organize the yard. It’s nature’s way of encouraging people to clean out the clutter and ready the garden for new growth. This approach is a good way to view your finances as well. Take a step back and look at your financial plan like you look at your garden. Is it overgrown with weeds? Does it need a little pruning? What are you hoping to plant, and where? Will it grow well alongside the others you have planted? Each of these questions serves as easy metaphors for retirement planning.

Read more

I Didn’t Claim Unemployment Insurance….Why Did I Receive This Card?

A notice from the Department of Labor arrived last week saying that I had filed for unemployment, which is weird, because I had not fired myself! After making sure I was, in fact, still part of my team, I discovered what was going on.  There has been a rash of fraudulent unemployment insurance claims around the country and it seems I am now entangled in them.

It happened to me as an employer and as employee, it happened to my teammates as employees, it happened to my colleague’s mother and to my wife, it happened to my clients: it’s happening everywhere. Not only are the consequences bothersome to correct, but we’re the lucky ones.  This is just a hassle for us, but it’s real life for millions of Americans who count on the insurance. The criminals perpetrating these acts are causing further pain for those who need it at the worst time possible.

Unemployment Insurance Is Not A New Program, Why Has It Become The Biggest Fraud Target?

cares act funds flow chart

Source: Howmuch.net

Unemployment Insurance, and Unemployment Insurance Fraud, are not a new phenomenon. But the CARES Act in 2020 was designed to help as many people as fast as possible during one of the worst global pandemics of all time.  Unemployment Insurance got a “boost” from the CARES Act in the form of “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” or PUA.  This not only increased the amount of relief for unemployment claimants, but also broadened the definition of who could claim unemployment.  Previously self-employed individuals, gig workers, freelancers, part-time employees, and contractors did not qualify for unemployment, but the PUA opened up the program to these groups as well.  Despite the good intent, criminals quickly used this newfound loophole to concoct schemes and steal more money.  Of the $560B in relief allocated to individuals, $260B was intended for extra unemployment benefits. Combined with an overstrained government office just trying to keep up, this proved to be a target-rich environment for criminals.

How Many People Have Been Affected?  How Much of the $260B Has Landed In The Wrong Hands?

The Department of Labor believes $36B dollars have been lost to fraudulent unemployment claims in the last year as of January 5th according to CNBC. As the CARES Act and others were updated during the national fight against COVID, the budget for additional unemployment insurance ballooned another $100B, to $360B in total, and the confirmed fraud loss now equals 10% of all payments.  The count is not over yet either.  With 8 million recipients on file as of December 2020 it will take years to figure out how much aid fell into the wrong hands.  State agencies still believe that 35%-40% of all new applications are fraudulent.  But the good news is that this type of fraud is going to get tougher with new measures instituted with the most recent relief package. Now applicants must provide confirmation of their identity and job status in order to qualify.  That may result in a delay of benefits, but the new measures should help to close the flood gates and prevent our tax dollars from landing in the wrong hands.

How Do I Know If It Has Happened To Me?  What Do I Do If It Has?

You are your own best defense when it comes to protecting your identity, credit, and status.  We monitor our life insurance, our property insurance, and our health insurance, but we are slow to invest in insuring our identities.  We must face the fact that no matter how well we think we have kept our private information out of the hands of the public, it exists in websites and databases outside of our control.  The major data breaches of the past decade have potentially touched most consumers. That is our new normal.

I would encourage you to sign up for a credit monitoring service or at the very least, get your free credit report and monitor your activity yourself.  If you don’t intend to apply for new credit in the near future, consider “freezing” your credit by contacting each of the three reporting agencies. This may help secure your credit, but it may not help with unemployment fraud.

If you learn that someone is trying to claim a benefit with your identity, alert the Colorado Department of Labor immediately.  Don’t be surprised if you don’t hear anything back from them quickly as, they are dealing with thousands of claims every week.  If you get the VISA debit card loaded with your benefit payment, don’t use it! Instead, go to the card website and cancel it. Also be sure to monitor your bank accounts and mail for additional discrepancies.

We have put together a helpful Identity Theft response document with websites, phone numbers and a checklist of what to do should you be affected. Please have a look and contact me if you have questions.

It is an unfortunate reality.  Our country, and the world, have been upended in so many ways this past year. Substantial legislation designed to help many has unfortunately been targeted by those looking to make a quick buck. Unemployment Insurance is a helpful tool in keeping our communities and economy healthy, but we need to play a part in making sure that we protect ourselves and our tax dollars from being misused.

,

Press Release: Steve Booren Recognized by Barron’s as a 2021 Top Financial Advisor

Steve Booren named a Barron's Top Advisor

DENVER, Colo.— March 25, 2021 – Steve Booren, an independent LPL Financial advisor in Greenwood Village, has been recognized as one of the 2021 Top 1,200 Financial Advisors in America, as ranked by Barron’s. Booren, Founder of Prosperion Financial Advisors was recognized as the 15 advisor in Colorado. Read more

, ,

Improving Investor Behavior – Progress and Perspective

Open Sign

Note

This article originally appeared in the Denver Post, March 21, 2021.

Headlines would have you believe COVID has left Americans in financial tatters, but when looking at the broad data, I can’t make the same conclusion.  

Make no mistake, COVID and the resulting restrictions have left a great many people struggling with their finances. Until we are back to “business as usual,” the situation for those folks is unlikely to get substantively better. But the narrative that COVID has upended our financial system is an easy one in which to get wrapped up and even easier on which to extrapolate. Remember, perspective is everything.  

Looking at our progress is a great reminder of how far we’ve come.   Read more

,

How Women Business Owners Can Save For Retirement And Reduce Taxes

Woman doing taxes

Women are expected to live another 21 years after retiring at age 65––three years longer than their male counterparts. Despite this fact, women are shockingly ill-prepared for retirement, having fewer investments and less money saved on average than men. Additionally, since women live longer, they are more at risk to experience greater inflation or market instability, making their retirement investments particularly vulnerable. In general, familial caregiving responsibilities, such as for an elderly parent or a newborn, also often fall primarily on the women’s shoulders, giving many women less time in the workforce and ultimately less money to save for retirement.[1]

Read more