Throughout March and April we have been asked to stay at home. With the amount of time you are now spending at home, your to-do list may be growing. This is a good thing because lists help us focus on other things when we are feeling anxious or stuck. The volatility in the recent financial markets may have led to that same feeling of uneasiness for many of you. I have put together a list that might provide a way for us to take advantage of these markets.
- Evaluate your risk tolerance. Now would be a good time to talk with your advisor about how you are feeling. When we get through this (and we will get through this), these conversations will give us an indication of how you handle risk and if any changes should be
- Reduce distributions. Use this as a chance to reassess your current budget and income needs. The less you withdraw in down markets, the better you will be in the long run.
- Review Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). As part of the CARES Act, RMDs are not required for 2020. You can keep your money invested, plus Uncle Sam won’t have to take his cut. If you do need the income, there might be other sources to consider.
- Roth conversions. You may want to consider moving assets from a Traditional IRA into a Roth IRA while asset prices are discounted. You will have to pay the taxes next April, but the account will become tax-free. This strategy may also be an estate planning tool based on changes from the SECURE Act.
- Invest more. I’ve heard Larry say, “When you get to the point where you want to throw a brick through our window, make sure you include a check with it.” We think there has rarely been a better time to invest.
- Tax loss harvesting and rebalancing. These are a couple of the many things we do behind the scenes to provide long-term value. Down markets give us a chance to exchange Fund 1 for Fund 2 and offset against future taxable Rebalancing your portfolio is a simple and effective way to “buy low and sell high.”
- 529 plan withdrawals. Many colleges and universities that had to send students home due to coronavirus are refunding room and board for a portion of spring semester. While you might be eligible for a refund, there are potential tax ramifications to consider.
I encourage you to talk with your advisor about these ideas. He or she might be at home, but I assure you they are readily available and eager to talk with you. As always, we are here to help you.