As we got to print, 2019 is rapidly approaching and 2018 is coming to a close. It was an eventful year with daily headlines that seemed to grip the financial world – and therefore your portfolio. Here are five of the top money stories of 2018:
- The Bull Market raged on before entering correction territory over the last months of the year.
- US unemployment hit a 49-year low … and has remained there.
- Goodbye NAFTA, hello USMCA – the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
- The economy saw the strongest GDP growth since 2014, and the strongest 8 quarters of growth in over a decade.
- The Fed raises rates four times. After a November pause, the benchmark Fed funds rate reached 2.25% in December. Many attribute market volatility and declines to these interest rate hikes.
Plus, implementation of the tax cut bill, the housing boom may be slowing … there are other big stories from 2018, which is what made it such an eventful year in finance.
The year 2019 promises to be just as eventful – Democrats in Congress will attempt to defeat Trump’s policies … the stock market gave back most of its gains and remains a volatile question mark in the New Year … a trade war may break out between the US and China. That may benefit the US over the long term but will have unknown consequences for the near term … 2019 has the look of a very wild ride in money and finance, so buckle up for the ride!
What can you do to prepare yourself for the unknown that awaits in 2019? We suggest the following because safety and security utilize the same consistent methods and planning every year:
- “Increase your 401K contributions”: At a minimum, increase your contribution to the rate of inflation.
- “Make a budget, keep a budget”: Most of us can create a budget, but few seem to stick to it. If you are in the back half of your work years, it is critical to not miss on savings and retirement contributions. Live within your means.
- “Create an emergency fund”: It is best to have 3 months wages saved in a separate emergency fund. But at a minimum, you should have or create an emergency fund now and add what you can to whatever is there.
- “Save where you can!”: Search for cheaper prescriptions – there are online tools that can help. Refinance your home if you can get a lower interest rate. Consolidate debt … reduce debt. Pay off high interest rate credit card and cut them up. Take one item a month that you can remove or reduce from your monthly expenses – tackle it, and pay it off.
- “Have your money protected in the first place”: If you haven’t already, you should have your money in principal protection products, only going up with the market, and not down due to market fluctuations. Keep your investments safe, simple, and with a reasonable rate of return. Then, market volatility has no impact on that part of your portfolio.
Principal protection has been our specialty for years. Start 2019 with a call to your Ty J. Young advisor … don’t wait to get your money protected! (877) 912-1919