Summer of '16

Since there's so much dastardly A-hole crap going on right now, I thought I'd post my summer newsletter for my clients. To me a ray of sunshine.

Hello, all: 

Hope you’re having a grand Summer of ‘16. Sick of politics? Well, relax. So am I and I won’t be mentioning anything that rhymes with ‘rump.’ We had 30+ people up at the lake for the 4th and, of course, in keeping with tradition we’ll have pic’s of the 12th annual “Fear Factor.” This year we adults were exempted, and Sammy (18) and Mae (15) Munkeby and Haddy (15) Falkman were the production team…so no tears (for the first time). Apparently we adults are much meaner. If you’ve been around for 12 years, you may recall, we lined the proud tots up, after the first “Fear Factor,” for a group photo, praising them for being such brave contestants. Some still glaring at us for ‘factors’ like having to crawl through a water-filled canoe containing (harmless) crayfish. Or having to chew an anchovy- filled pile of chocolate billed as poop. (It really was delicious: they’d take a tentative bite not believing we’d really make them eat poop, smile and squeal, “Oh, it’s just chocolate”…and then the anchovy would kick in.)

Anyway, just as we got them to line up and smile bravely, we nailed them with water balloons. Seemingly a little cruel, maybe, but hilarious to see the wide-open, unbelieving eyes, in shock, on the faces of these previously pampered tots. Toughened ‘em up a bit we rationalized. Of course, like my wife, Mary, these kids have memories like elephants. So, last year they wanted revenge and created an adult Fear Factor where they may have been trying to kill us…at least maim. I suppose we deserved it. But, as I said we turned the production this year over to the ‘young adults’ who were much more compassionate. We adults bowed out to the safe haven of spectator. (How about: a mixed metaphor…but intentional, you’ll see.)

The Cracked Ball

I am still doing some lecturing at colleges and universities. When I begin, I now tell them the presentation will, hopefully, help them attain probably the only thing in life everybody wants. Eventually, sometimes with a little prompting, they come up with ‘happiness.’ I don’t believe it’s a red herring. It has been shown that people with good financial habits are healthier, live longer, stay married generally and thus, are happier. Money problems are still considered a prime cause of divorce. Crazy.

What I tell them is essential, I believe, for any age: there are two aspects to financial well-being. One is ‘behavioral.’ Simply, if you don’t save…pay yourself…but spend, you won’t have any money. You might have a lot of crap, but likely less of a shot at happiness…especially if you’re in debt. An article in “Atlantic Monthly” said that 40% of all adults don’t have $400 saved in reserve for emergencies. This included the author who has a six-figure income! Blows my mind. Means there’s a lot of stressed-out people wandering around. Hard to be happy when you’re stressed.

The other aspect is ‘intellectual.’ Even if they have the correct behavior i.e., habits, if they don’t understand investing they’re going backward. Usually, all I have to ask is what they’re earning in their checking or savings account and what inflation is. Some don’t know or consider inflation until I explain and many don’t know what interest they’re earning…which is understandable since it’s close to zero. Eventually they get it. If happiness is having the time to do what THEY want to do verses what somebody tells them to do, they’re going to be working all their lives and have a tough time finding independence if somebody doesn’t motivate them to learn what investing is all about.

Many people panic when they hear about especially adverse global events…the most recent being ‘Brexit’…and move to or keep their money in cash or in the bank thinking it’s a ‘safe haven.’ (When is it ever good to ‘panic’? People don’t make good decisions when they panic.) To prove my point, there is currently $12 billion [*JPMorgan, 3rd Q report, 2016.] sitting on the ‘sidelines,’ rather than in the game. These people either don’t understand investing or don’t have access – like you do – to proper advice. Thanks to advances in medicine and healthier lifestyles, people who are 65 today have a good chance of reaching 80 or 90. [*Ibid.] As a matter of fact, a 65 year old couple may be surprised to find that one of them has a 47% chance of living another 25 years, needing investments to last until the age of 90. [*Ibid.] There aren’t too many of us that will make it that long without running out of money earning less than inflation. Negative compounding is scary: taking the same or even more due to inflation from a decreasing source. The source (money) disappears FAST!

My crystal ball may be cracked, but if someone doesn’t have some investments aimed down the long rode to sunset time, you may be in big trouble before your sun sets…and not happy about it.

Note: My book, “If I had a Million Dollars” is sold out and I’m not planning a reprint, but I’ve saved some in the office. If there’s somebody you know, young or old, that needs an understandable lesson on investing and financial literacy, come in and pick up one.

Everyone needs to be comfortable with their investments for peace of mind. If you need a refresher on your allocation or are concerned about how much you need so as not to run out of money, be sure you get in the office to talk to Eric, Ken, or Alex. Now.

On the Personal Side

Besides speaking engagements and enjoying the great north woods, I am still writing fiction. “Will” will be out this fall. It’s a much different novel than “Back to the Island,” which was edgy and the ending controversial. Mary is good, but wants to be closer to her older siblings, children and grandchildren, so, we may be making our primary home the cities.

The Eric and Lisa Munkeby clan are all good: Joe and Mae sophomores at Benilde St. Margarets, Sammy at UMD, Jack in Iowa. Emily and Erik Falkman family all good: Audrey, Will, and Haddy all exceptional soccer players. Erin and Todd Miron’s all good: Luke in Spanish emersion; Ben starting Kindergarten. Alex still holding down the fort.

The BIG news is Adriann and Andy Kamm are expecting their second. Sylvie (1 1/2) is adorable, as you’ll see. They have moved back to the cities and purchased a home in Mtka; Ade back at 3M.

That’s all folks. Hope all is happy with you and yours.

If you want to see some pic's of the "Fear Factor," hit "like" and I'll send them next blog.