The Equity (Stock) market by most gauges is now down well over 20% and has entered a bear market. We understand that times like this can be difficult as an investor, and we are here to help you make wise financial and investment decisions. Because we care about you and your financial plan, we want to provide you with some overall thoughts and perspectives on market volatility.
What is the cause of this bear market?
Inflation has surged, the federal reserve is raising interest rates (and reversing what is called QE or Quantitative Easing) and these actions are increasing the odds of a recession. Oil prices are at record highs (we all see this at the gas pump daily), and food prices are skyrocketing – not to mention the war in Ukraine. All these headlines and events may lead you to believe that “this time is different.”
Therein lies perhaps the most dangerous phrase of becoming a long-term successful investor. “This time is different.” If we believe this, then the next thought is, “I must pull my money out of the markets, or at least start preserving cash and stop investing my monthly amount into something that loses money each month.”
This time is NOT different. Recessions occur once every five years on average. While inflation is a problem right now, there have been times where it was much higher. Also, although the federal reserve is raising interest rates, they are still relatively low. Oil supply is still limited due to pandemic shutdowns (and other factors for another time) and demand has surged due to a full reopening of the economy. All of this will work its way out. In our opinion, more oil supply will come, demand will soften, inflation will cool, and the market will realize that the world is not ending. In time, this bear market will end.
This time is not different, if just FEELS different. It always does. In 2008 when banks were failing, housing was busting, and the market dropped over 50% (remember how that felt? I do!) – it certainly felt very different. However, those who stayed the course, added to their portfolios, and had faith in the future prevailed, and this time should be no different. During uncertain times it is good to reflect on time tested principles:
- Give more money away this year to a cause you care about (giving is a step of faith in a God who provides)
- Do not make financial decisions out of fear or worry.
- Think long term – we make better decisions when we think long term
- Add to your investment portfolio, assuming you have a few years until you need the money a drop in the market may be a good opportunity to invest with a long-term perspective.
- As we have talked about in the past, make decisions based on your holistic financial plan that is based on your goals, values, and timeframes – we are here to help review any of these details with you if that would be helpful.
Thank you for your continued partnership, and I wish to close with words from Paul in Philippians 4:6-7; “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the Peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and minds in Christ Jesus.”
by Jim Wahlberg
As we focus on our “Year of Intentionality” one of the most important areas where we can be intentional is with our family. Unfortunately, this can also be the area that is easiest to neglect. When I think of being intentional or deliberate with family, my mind immediately goes to my childhood and the example that was modeled to me. I think it is safe to say that each one of us was shaped by what we experienced in our childhood. When I think back on my upbringing, I’m thankful that I can reminisce on mostly fond memories and experiences.
A few things that my family did intentionally were:
- Eating dinner together as a family each night. I remember playing with friends in the evenings and being told I needed to be home by 5:00. Many times, I argued that it wasn’t fair that I had to be home while my other friends were still playing. My parents put a value on making sure we had a time each night that we were all together and we could talk about our day.
- Family vacations. These are one of my most cherished memories. My parents grew up in Minnesota and most of my extended family were still in that area, which meant we had to be intentional to see our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Most summers, we would pile in the station wagon for a road trip to see family. I’d sit in the back with my two sisters and proceed to drive everyone crazy while I’d see how close I could get to the imaginary line dividing our seats without crossing it. When my dad’s “claw” would reach around the seat and latch onto my knee, I knew I’d crossed the line! The 20 or so hours each way that we’d spend in the car were all worth it when we had time away from our normal distractions at home and got to make incredible memories on those annual vacations.
Now that I have the responsibility as a parent of three young kids, I am tasked with being intentional with both my wife and our kids. James 4:14 says, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” As summer is about to begin, I’d encourage each of you to take a moment to identify what you are doing intentionally with your family, whether with a spouse, children, grandchildren, or maybe even friends whom you see as family. Eat ice cream, day trip to the beach, jump in the pool! Understand that our time on earth is a mist that will soon vanish…take time today to make an intentional moment!
by Ron Bare
With recent market volatility we know concerns can sometimes arise. We hope this video blog by Ron helps to alleviate any of your concerns and offers you peace of mind. As always, we are here should you like to speak directly with us. Please feel free to reach out to your advisor with any additional questions.
by Adam Black
When you hear the term “financial plan”, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe it’s planning for retirement, finding a way to get your kids through college, or buying your first home. Personally, the first thing that I think of is “process”. When I think of the goals I have in my life, I know that most of them will not be accomplished overnight. To determine the best path forward, I had to sit down to evaluate what I have, what I’ve done so far, but most importantly, where my heart is. Taking the time to do that was an awesome process of self-discovery – but that was just the beginning.
Once I knew what I wanted to accomplish, I had to take action-steps to get there. The most important financial aspect of my plan was to live within my means. Without this discipline, most (if not all) plans would fail. I had to discern where money was flowing – how much I was spending money on takeout, how much I was giving, how much I was spending on gas, and so on. This process wasn’t fun, but from it I was able to figure out how I could achieve my goals and set guardrails on my financial journey.
No matter what stage of life you’re in, it’s important to intentionally take the time to go through this process. As you dream of your future, think about how it is impacted by your finances and consider the steps you need to take to make that dream happen.
You may not have the know-how on earning the most money in your investment account, how to save for your goals while being tax-efficient, or how to effectively give your money generously to make your financial plan flourish, but that’s okay. We would love to help you discern what those goals are and help you get there, all while building a deep relationship of trust and intentionality. For those we already serve – we love serving you! For those who we do not have the honor to work with yet, understand it’s a process, but a fulfilling one when done with intentionality and purpose.
I’ll leave you with my favorite catchphrase that I believe summarizes a key point to an intentionally built financial plan: “Trust the Process”.
by Ron Bare
Like you, all of us at Bare Wealth Advisors are concerned about the recent world events, most significantly the Russian invasion into Ukraine. In the days ahead, please contact your team here at Bare Wealth Advisors if you have specific questions on how this affects your personal financial plan. In the meantime, I feel compelled to share some overall thoughts and words of encouragement.
- There will be plenty of blame to go around for this event in the days and months ahead – for now, I suggest praying for peace and protection for the nation of Ukraine.
- We are seeing extreme price movement in food and energy, which is likely to continue. Keep in mind, the US was energy independent within the last couple years. I believe our country has the capability to produce the energy we will need in the long-term. Since Ukraine is a large producer of wheat, we will continue to see increases in our food costs until this uncertainty is behind us.
- In my opinion, Russia desires control and money from both energy and agriculture (mostly energy) and that is what this war is about. In my opinion, Putin does not want to start World War 3.
- Financial Steps to take:
- Live within your means – spend less than you earn
- Give generously to those in need – here is a link to 20 organizations that are helping people in Ukraine: https://www.ncfgiving.com/stories/help-for-ukraine-10-charities-on-the-frontlines/
- Minimize debt
- Think long term – this too will pass. Continue to “work” the financial plan we have put in place. If you are adding to investment accounts, please continue to invest and possibly increase the amount of money you are investing. You are investing into some great companies that over the long term may reward you with good profits. If you have excess cash (margin) in your financial plan this may be a great time to consider buying some of these companies shares.
- Do not fear: Read Matthew 6: 19-34 (read verses 25-27 below)
- V25: That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food or drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t your life more than food, and your body more than clothing? V26: Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? V27: Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”
Thank you for trusting in our team. We are here to serve you and we would be happy to help bring clarity to any questions you have concerning your personal financial plan.
Ron Bare and the entire Bare Wealth Team
by Curtis Burkholder
As a young boy growing up on a dairy farm, I remember my mom talking about adding money to her Christmas Club. At the time, I didn’t understand what this meant. What I understand now is that she was intentionally setting money aside each month so that when Christmas came around my parents would have money saved to be able to buy gifts. Instead of just buying gifts out of their monthly income they had a lump sum saved to buy gifts. My parents valued generosity at Christmas time and knew that it wouldn’t happen naturally. They intentionally planned to save monthly so they could be generous at Christmas time. They had a vision of being able to enjoy giving as well as experience the joy of my sisters and I opening our gifts. This was one of the earliest examples of intentional generosity that I remember.
For many of us, giving and generosity does not occur naturally but requires intentional thought and planning. 2022 at Bare Wealth Advisors is the “Year of Intentionality.” In addition, one of our core values is generosity. Today, we’ll consider how intentionality and generosity are related. Generosity is a way that we can inspire others, a way to enrich our relationships, and allows us to expand the influence of what we manage. This kind of generosity requires intentional thought and planning.
Generosity inspires others by making an impact upon their current situation. It may be a gift that is made right when funds are needed to pay a bill or to meet the current need of a charity. Generosity can also provide funds for an organization to venture into new areas of opportunity. Then, as we share stories of generosity, others are inspired to give as well. This can cause a community to gain momentum around generosity.
Giving generously enriches relationships as it communicates, “I value who you are and know what is important to you.” Generosity requires intentional thought and planning to find a gift that reflects who the person is as well as their interests. With an organization, giving can also enrich the relationship between the giver and the organization as it allows gratitude to flow back and forth between the giver and the recipient.
Generosity expands the influence of what we manage by sharing what we have with others. Instead of keeping money, time, or talent to ourselves, as we share our resources it allows us to influence others in ways we would not have been able to do otherwise. We can encourage, train, and teach others as we share what we have.
The apostle Paul in a letter to the church at Corinth encouraged them to excel in the “grace of giving.” To excel in something requires hard work and effort. It does not occur naturally but requires sacrifice and discipline. To intentionally live a generous lifestyle requires us to say “No” to some things and make sacrifices so we can say “Yes” to others and be generous. This requires us to have a vision for our giving and to intentionally plan. Just like my parents saw on Christmas morning when they watched the joy on our faces, the energy that it takes to intentionally be generous is well worth the effort.
As you think about your personal life and giving strategy, take time to consider one area or cause that you feel inspired to be more generous in. Consider the potential impact of an increase in your generosity and develop a plan that will help you accomplish that goal. (We would love to help you create this plan!) As you develop a plan, make sacrifices, and take steps towards greater giving, you will be living in intentional generosity and experience the truth, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.”
By Ryan Kurtz
It is January 26th, 2022, as I sit down to write my thoughts on the current state of the stock market. After 3 great years in the market (measured by the S&P 500 Index) in which a $100,000 investment would have grown to almost $180,000, the market is down 8.5% since January 1st. Does that mean the stock market is no longer a good place to invest? Let’s take a deeper look.
What creates volatility in the stock market?
The “market” is just an auction that happens every business day in which investors (owners) in companies buy and sell their ownership shares. If there are more buyers bidding, then there are sellers selling of a company, the shares go up in price. If there are more sellers than buyers, the share price goes down. There are many things that would make people want to buy or sell – a CEO retiring, a new product that investors think is a good idea, profits in a quarter are better than expected, and on and on.
Are we going to see a decline or drop in the market? The answer is yes. When, and how much, I have no idea (and no one else does either, it is just speculation.) Just because the market drops does not mean it is a bad place to invest. It is the nature of this type of investment that is priced by a daily auction. No one knows the future and even when very intelligent people predict what “may” happen to the market, they are often wrong.
Is the stock market still a good place to invest? The answer is – it depends. It depends on what you plan to use the money you invest into the market for. It is typically a good place to invest for someone that has a long-term plan to own the investment. If you need the money you’re investing in 1 – 3 years, it may not be a good place to invest. For investors that have been able to hold investments in the stock market for 10 years or more they would have had an investment that would have provided a good average annual return during most decades. If you only would be able to hold the investment for a year or two, you would have had a 25% – 30% chance of losing money*.
So, what are our current thoughts on the Market?
- The market is a good place to invest for a long-term investor
- The market could be too much risk to take if you are a short-term investor
- Based on our experience and working with many families; the stock market is one of the 3 best investments one should own to create wealth. The other two are real estate and private business.
In closing, our encouragement to our clients is to keep a long-term focus regarding your investment portfolio and understand how these investments fit into your overall financial plan. If you have a good understanding of the investments purpose, timeframe, and needs for you and your family you are much more likely to be a successful long-term investor!
*American Funds, The ICA Guide 2021 edition: Class A shares; MFS Investment Management, Principles of Long Term Investing Resilience
by Ron Bare
Happy New Year! As I reflect on each relationship we have with our clients, friends, and colleagues I have a sense of honor and humility to be invited to the table as an advisor. Coming out of our Year of Impact at Bare Wealth Advisors, I think about the stories of impact we are beginning to hear – whether at home within families, local communities, or impact all over the world – Bare Wealth Advisor clients are helping to make an impact for the better and you are part of that! Generosity has increased, communication within families has improved, businesses have grown, and contentment levels are increasing – all of these are essential for the kind of impact we are called to make. So, as I begin, let me first say thank you for allowing us to be part of your journey.
We have communicated over the past few years how fortunate we have been to be able to grow and serve more families, and we remain committed to growing and serving families who align with our mission and desire a long-term relationship with a trusted advisor. Through serving additional families we have been able to fulfill our mission statement – “to intentionally manage wealth in a way that aligns with your God given purpose, for maximum impact” – more than I ever thought possible! Heading into 2022, what stands out to me more than ever in our mission statement is the word intentionally. I have now served for more than 25 years in the role of a financial advisor, and I have seen firsthand how important it is to be intentional if you wish to make an impact.
We all know that to have a good marriage we need to be intentional, to parent children to become productive, faithful adults takes intentionality, to build friendships, stay physically healthy, to meet and achieve personal growth or to be successful in our jobs/businesses – all takes being VERY intentional! Why would we think it is any different in our financial lives? To make an impact and be wise stewards we need to be intentional.
With this in mind, we feel strongly that our “year of” theme for 2022 should be: The Year of Intentionality. To continue to advance our mission and help our clients make an impact we know that being intentional is more important than ever. As a culture, there is more competition for our time, money, emotions, and energy than ever before. Bare Wealth Advisors is committed to standing with our clients and team members to intentionally advance those things that matters most. Here are some areas we hope to be intentional in 2022:
- Creating a welcoming and caring place for all who enter our door.
- Investing into each team member at Bare to further grow and develop their incredible talent.
- Building stronger relationships with each family unit we are blessed to work with.
- Continue conversations exploring new ways of being intentional in your financial plan.
- Listening for new and improved ways to add value to the advice and services we provide.
As we pursue these initiatives of intentionality in 2022 our desire is to strengthen our relationship with you and your family. We want you to be confident and have clarity on where you stand financially. But, most importantly, we want to ensure that you have an intentional strategy for greater impact in your family and the charitable causes you feel drawn to!
We look forward to connecting with you soon in 2022 to continue the journey towards intentional stewardship!
by Ron Bare
I remember as a child waking up on Christmas morning full of excitement and anticipation for what the morning would bring – a special breakfast, stockings, and…presents!
However, growing up on a dairy farm meant it was also a morning of waiting. The cows still had to be milked on Christmas morning just like every other day, and that meant that I had to wait until all the morning work was done, showers for my parents who were doing the work, and breakfast to feed those who already put in half day’s work until I could get to those presents! Ugh! Time seemed to move so slowly!
Then, the moment finally came -the Bible was opened, and the Christmas story read. And we could begin opening presents! Whatever the gifts were, they were usually worth the wait! However, by the next year I somehow would forget the gifts from the prior year and be looking ahead to what the next Christmas would bring.
Christmas Day more than 2000 years ago the world was also in waiting. Waiting on a promised Savior who had been foretold hundreds of years prior. But finally the wait was over. Jesus Christ was born! Unexpectedly, he came as a baby…. grew into a man…and died on a cross for the sins of the world. This was and is great news! He lived a perfect life, performed many miracles, and taught and modeled for us all how to live a life of impact. A life that is willing to serve, put others first, and ultimately die for others who are underserving of such sacrifice. Jesus was and is THE gift of Christmas.
“For God so loved the world that HE gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16. This gift lasts throughout eternity and is not like earthly gifts that rust and rot away or are quickly forgotten. He is the gift that forever changed the world and was worth the wait. He is the gift we should all reflect on every day, but especially during the season of Christmas, not to be lost in the hustle and preparations of the upcoming day.
Throughout 2021 at Bare Wealth Advisors, we have carried the theme “Year of Impact” both internally and with our valued clients. As we come to the end of another year and bring the “Year of Impact” to a close, I am drawn to the impact the life Jesus had on all of humanity. 2021 years after his birth we are still celebrating this life on the most widely known holiday celebrated each year. The life of Jesus Christ is the most impactful life of anyone who has ever lived and one we should look to model. He did it not with much wealth (actually very little), but rather with a life that served, loved, and ultimately was laid down for others – you and me. So, as we celebrate another Christmas season let us remember that the wait is over! The best gift ever has been given to all! And we are free to live a life like Jesus, a life of impact.
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
by Lamar King
As we approach Thanksgiving in our “Year of Impact,” it’s hard to think of
any greater impact than a life lived in gratitude. Sounds trite, but when you stop and really think about it – it’s so true. In high school when the Lord captured my heart, a friend shared 3 powerful verses with me that we also recently memorized as a team at Bare Wealth. “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I find that being joyful and giving thanks is fairly easy when things are going well. I also find I pray more when things aren’t going well. But the power of Christ shines most and carries the most impact when we do these things both when life is going well AND when life stinks. This is not fake happiness or empty one-liners, but a dependency on and a deep-rooted belief in WHO is with us, WHO is the righteous judge, WHO wins in the end, and WHO loves our loved ones better than we can.
An excellent example of living this way was the apostle Paul. While in prison he wrote to the church in Philippi and said, “At the moment I have all I need – and more!” (4:18) Can you actually imagine saying that?! Throughout this entire book he reminds the Philippians of what is most important, where their focus should be and to “shine like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” (2:15) Rejoicing and gratitude are a recurring theme throughout Philippians – what an impact that must have made on the readers! (and should on us today!)
The picture at the top of this post was hanging on the dining room wall of a hotel we stayed at in Salina, KS this summer and I had to take a picture of it. As I researched the author, I found she is someone with a deep history of pain and addiction yet out of that darkness learned the power of gratitude. Though it does not take long to find great quotes about gratitude online, a life lived in gratitude is a rare jewel.
As we approach Thanksgiving, may the season be a catalyst for us all to change our thoughts about things both in and out of our control and may we grow more and more in gratitude for ALL circumstances. God does not call us to something that is impossible – as we pray continually, He will renew our minds so that our life of gratitude will produce joy in us and impact in those we interact with.