The ESG Update, Vol. 7
The best days to book a hotel room, signs of dementia, board room shake ups, and more! Keep reading for insights and info to get Q4 off to a solid start! – Julie Skye, Principal, Skye Advisors
Wonder why you got your last Quarterly Report via mail?
As I’m been meeting with clients, I’ve found that while paper can be a bit of a bother, it was helping clients become more comfortable with our reporting software. I’ll work with you to determine what your delivery preferences are going forward. Also, look to spend more time with Right Capital...our on-line financial planning and management software.
‘Right Capital’ Financial Planning.
While working on your portfolios, we’re also inputting your information into my choice for financial planning: Right Capital. This is good news if you loved using the cloud to share information with me or use to keep your financial records secure for when you are not at your desk.
Miss your Vault and love having your important documents at your fingertips, even when you are traveling?
Over the next quarter look your email-invite to log onto Right Capital. As I continue to build out your “tech stack” – a fancy term for making life easier – I couldn’t be happier with the solutions I’m finding.
Keep These Support Phone Numbers Handy
Schwab Website Problems and Password Reset: Schwab Alliance Team (800) 515-2157
Julie Skye’s Backup Contact:
Diane Conrad at the First Affirmative Home Office
(719) 636-1045 ext. 0
NYC Comptroller Engages Companies in Board Diversity Campaign.
June 2018 • MEAGHAN KILROY
Change what you do and you will get a new result! New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, the fiduciary for the five public pension funds within the $194 billion New York City Retirement Systems, wrote to 151 corporations in their plans requesting they disclose the race, gender, and skills of their directors, and provide information about their policies for insuring board diversity and independence. The result has been that more than 85 companies have “adopted improved processes and increased transparency regarding board quality, diversity and refreshment.”
More than 35 companies are now disclosing not only the qualifications of their board members, but also details on boardroom gender and racial/ethnic diversity — information which up-to-now was rarely made public. Stringer added that his office “will continue to demand these changes, because they create sustainable long-term value for our pension funds and for all investors.”
The comptroller’s boardroom diversity and inclusion campaign is an expansion of his boardroom accountability project, which was launched in 2014 and designed to improve proxy access by allowing large, long-term investors to nominate candidates for company board positions.
Harnessing Economic Power to Create a Socially Just and Environmentally Sustainable Society.
Wonder which food labels can you trust or which credit cards support local communities? Green America is an absolutely terrific resource and you’ll find other trustworthy information on Climate, Food, Finance, Labor, Social, Justice and Green Living. Visit their site often!
In addition to the Green America credit card, there are many more to choose from. The cards listed here are issued by community development banks and credit unions — financial institutions that have a mission to lift up local communities, support local and green business, provide fair housing loans, and more.
Transparency Matters: Pulling Back the Curtain
Ten Signs Your Client Has Dementia.
JULY 2018 • LETHA SGRITTA MCDOWELL
Don’t-worry-be-happy now takes on a more meaning. A recent study has found that anxiety during middle age may be linked to higher rates of dementia late in life. The study followed almost 30,000 participants for more than a decade, and there was a clear link between anxiety mid-life and dementia later in life.
When experiencing anxiety or stress, the body produces the hormone cortisol and prolonged heightened cortisol levels have been linked to weight gain, lower immune function, lower bone density, higher rates of mental illness and depression, higher rates of heart disease, and more.
Dementia may be another possible side effect of prolonged increased cortisol levels. On the other hand, anxiety is often a symptom of dementia, making the corollary between the two difficult to connect.
What to do? Reduce the anxiety and cortisol levels and reduce the chances of developing dementia later in life! The Alzheimer’s Association also recommends education and regularly getting the right amount of sleep.
So, how do you recognize dementia? We all become more forgetful as we get older...who hasn’t wondered if they should worry about the normal signs of aging. The Alzheimer’s Association has provided 10 signs of dementia which, if you notice any one of them in yourself or a loved one, warrants a visit to your physician for further testing. Use this list to open this difficult conversation:
Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
Challenges in planning or problem solving.
Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home or work.
Confusion with time or place.
Trouble understanding visual images or spatial relationships.
New problems with words in speaking or writing.
Decreased or poor judgment.
Withdrawal from social activities.
Changes in mood or personality.
While the strength and nature of the link between anxiety and developing dementia remains unknown, reducing stress and anxiety now will not only help your future be healthier, but your todays will thank you.
Financial Moguls and Markets
Real Rates Matter More Than Inversion.
SEPTEMBER 2018 • ASHWIN ALANKAR, PH.D. AND MYRON SCHOLES, PH.D.
Inverted Thinking – Otherwise known as “Why I have so much in cash.”
Short-term money market yields that are higher than bonds that mature in 10-15 years is “a powerful signal of recessions,” New York Fed President John Williams said earlier this year.
Worse yet, inversion has preceded every recession for the past 60 years – the spread between two- and 10-year Treasury yields is now around 20 basis points, the tightest since 2007, right before the worst correction in 80 years.
Below is a chart showing how rising interest rates run up...slow the economy and lead to recession. Also, note how rarely have we gone this long without a recession cooling off an overheated market.
The key to how long this market can continue to climb is how many increases the Fed can make before high rates stifle growth and stall the stock market. So, my bottom line: if we do see 3 or 4 more increases in the Fed Fund rate we will see a 4%-6% sell-off in bonds.
Look for me to add to bonds over the next quarter and to buy bonds at lower prices...locking in higher yields. That is worth the wait!
Avoiding a Medicare Hit.
SEPTEMBER 2018 • ED SLOTT
If you thought you were going to retire and finally get a break in your health insurance premiums and are a “High Income Retiree” (modified adjusted gross income over $85,000 for singles or $170,000 for joint), think again. You will also pay more for Medicare coverage – what is know as an Income-related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). If your income exceeds $160,000 (single) or $320,000 (joint), the Medicare Part B surcharge is $3,535.20 a year! For Part D, the surcharge can be $897.60 a year. The income levels from two years ago are used to figure the current year’s premiums.
My job? To use Right Capital to see if your future retirement distributions will put you into a threshold amount for higher taxes. If we have time on our side lets model Roth IRA conversions now and over the next few years to keep you below these thresholds. It often works best for partial conversions at least two years before you start receiving Medicare benefits, since the income from the conversion will be included in Part B and D calculations. Older clients can consider qualified charitable distributions—RMDs sent directly to a charity, which means that amount never hits your tax return.
Kayak Reveals the Best Day and Time to Book a Hotel.
JULY 2018 • MIKE TIMMERMANN
The report also said that booking a hotel room over the weekend is a money-saving strategy because fewer people are searching. Another thing to consider? Your hotel check-in and check-out days. Kayak found that checking in on a Friday or Saturday and checking out on Sunday is the most expensive option overall. According to the web site's data, a Sunday check-in is the cheapest, followed by Monday and Tuesday.
Cheapest day to book a hotel - Friday/Saturday
Most expensive day to book a hotel - Tuesday
Cheapest hotel check-in day - Sunday
Most expensive hotel check-in day - Friday
Cheapest hotel check-out day - Friday
Most expensive hotel check-out day - Sunday
Clark Howard’s hotel booking strategy: With hotel prices changing so frequently, how do you make sure you’re always getting the best deal? Money expert Clark Howard has a three-step strategy that works for him:
Book a refundable hotel the day that you book your flight.
Cancel the refundable hotel if you find a better deal.
Clark says it’s important to keep in mind that many hotels are now requiring that you cancel refundable hotel reservations up to 72 hours before your check-in, so you need to read the fine print before you book one.
In addition, mystery hotel deals — Hotwire Hot Rates and Priceline Express Deals — are NOT refundable. The next time you go to reserve a hotel room through Hotwire, Priceline or any other hotel booking website, there’s a sneaky fee that’s often excluded from the advertised room rate.