Inside the Economy: An Improving Economy amongst COVID-19

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This week on “Inside the Economy”, we explore the improving job market and current debt trends during the coronavirus pandemic. Unemployment rates continue to improve as people get back to work and stop collecting unemployment benefits. A combination of spending less and uncertainty surrounding the future has Americans paying down debt. Where are debt delinquencies increasing and where are they decreasing? Many U.S. citizens are sitting on additional cash, but how much cash is currently sitting in the U.S. banking system? Corporations continue to issue new bonds as money remains “cheap” due to low interest rates. Tune in to hear about all of this and more!

Key Takeaways:

  • Unemployment rates and outstanding benefit claims continue to decrease
  • Unemployment benefits made-up over 30% of U.S. personal income, but has declined
  • Outstanding consumer debt has reduced as Americans pay off loans
  • There is currently over $12 trillion in cash sitting in American’s savings accounts
  • Gross corporate bond issuance in 2020 has exceeded years past

3 Steps to Set Your Heirs up for Financial Success

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People work so hard to build their wealth to support their family and lifestyle. The next step, which can be an important one, is leaving a legacy. How do you want the fruits of your labor to be passed from generation to generation? In this article we provide helpful steps to safeguard your legacy and to set your heirs up for success.

1. Define your Estate Plan

First things first, make sure your assets are accounted for and will be left the way you want them to be. Consider a few of the following questions. 

  • Is your will updated? 
  • Do you need a trust? 
  • Do you have a financial power of attorney?
  • Do you have medical directives? 
  • Are your assets titled properly? 

If you do not have these questions answered, contact Sharkey, Howes & Javer to help you get started. 

2. Start the Conversation

Finances can be a private and difficult conversation to have. It is not easy talking with loved ones and preparing for someone’s death. However, it is important to discuss your plan and reasoning with your beneficiaries. Choose an appropriate time and place to discuss your plan with your heirs. Many times, children or beneficiaries are at different stages in life. You may have a successor who is more financially independent than the other. Do you want to make it equitable or split your wealth evenly? Do your inheritors need guidance with handling money? Talking about your estate plan can help get your children started with investing or growing in their financial journey. Read our tips to help guide the conversation when talking to your children.

3. Introduce your Financial Advisor

Bring your children or heirs to your next meeting with your financial advisor. It is important your beneficiaries are financially mature if they are to inherit your legacy. Having them involved in the conversations with your advisor can help them be more engaged in their own finances and help you with, potentially, a tough conversation.  

At Sharkey, Howes & Javer we would love to meet your family and help create a vision for your legacy. Talk to your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER before your next meeting to involve your beneficiaries.

Inside the Economy: Unemployment, Foreclosures and COVID 19

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This week on “Inside the Economy”, we focus on the employment trends. Unemployment remains high, however new jobs are being created in specific sectors. On a positive note, retail spending at non store retailers have increased year over year. Will this trend continue? The extra $600 per month of Federal unemployment has stopped and to no surprise, mortgage delinquencies are on the rise. We also look at remittances to Mexico, the dollar and gold prices. Tune in to find out more!

Key Takeaways:

  • Unemployment remains high overall, but in pockets of the job market hiring is robust
  • Retail spending continues to trend upwards
  • Foreclosures and evictions are starting to increase
  • Workers in the US are sending more money back to Mexico to support families
  • Less oil transactions and international tourism are a few factors contributing to a weaker dollar and higher gold prices

Is Downsizing Dead?

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The practice of moving to a smaller property during life’s transitions has been around for decades. Many folks look to move to a smaller home once they become empty-nesters or as they phase into retirement. The combination of the pandemic and current real estate market may challenge what we currently know about downsizing and change what retirement living looks like in the future. 

The Evolution of Downsizing

Traditionally as homeowners age, they look to move to a smaller space to cut spending, lower maintenance responsibility, and rid of unused space. Baby boomers are now staying in their larger homes longer than past generations and many people are waiting until it’s too late to leave the home. 67% of people who relocate from age 53 to 92 do so in response to a household member’s health, rather than on their own volition

A big reason as to why this generation is more reluctant to downsize is due to the current real estate market. First-time home buyers are looking for small, centrally located homes to begin building equity. The high demand for smaller homes between new homebuyers and retirees has pushed home prices higher. For example, the average price in Denver now exceeds $500,000, making finding a smaller home that is less expensive more difficult.

Current Trends:

“Right-sizing” or “Smart-sizing”

These terms have become more common in the last year as buying a smaller home or less expensive home isn’t always the answer. Homeowners are now looking for right-sized homes where they can grow long-term roots. This may mean similar square footage, but in a single-level home without stairs or a condo closer to family and friends. This transition of focus to functionality and location from minimizing square feet could prevent a forced move due to health concerns in the future. 

Increase in Suburban Sprawl 

Because first-time home buyers often focus on small homes closer to the city center, finding a smaller space on the outskirts of town may help avoid a bidding war. The Coronavirus has pushed the workforce remote and emphasized the importance of space over proximity to work. The pandemic could have long-term influence on retirees choosing an age-in-place home in the suburbs over crowded retirement communities and increase future value of homes with more privacy. 

Four Tips for Downsizing: 

  1. Start Today – Don’t wait to begin downsizing.
  2. Plan for Forever – Decide what type of home you are looking for and what features will keep you in the home long-term.
  3. Find an Agent – Partner with a real estate agent who understands your needs or specializes in downsizing or retirement living.
  4. Talk Money – Discuss with your financial advisor what you can afford and strategies to finance your new home. 

Downsizing is Still Alive

Downsizing is not dead but current real estate trends may change what retirement living looks like in the future. COVID-19 has changed our day-to-day lives, and although moving during a pandemic may not be ideal, it may be a great time to start planning for the next phase of life. For more information on the Denver real estate market, click here to read our recent Q&A with Denver real estate agent, Jacci Geiger with Kentwood Cherry Creek.

Looking to Downsize?

Whether you’re planning for retirement or just trying to maintain balance between your financial future and living situation, the advisors at Sharkey, Howes & Javer can help guide you. Contact us for a free consultation today!