FEATURED POST

Nick L.

Mapping Out Your Future with a Financial Plan
Just like a map or a GPS is needed for someone driving a car on a long trip, a financial plan is useful for anyone wondering about their financial future.  A financial plan lets us know if we are heading in the right direction, for example north instead of south.  Much like a long journey, life will have many twists, turns and a few unexpected bumps in the road.  However, with a well-planned route, we can have a clear idea of whether we are heading in the direction of our destination. What is a Financial Plan? A financial plan is a document that evaluates cash flow, assets, goals, and brings the information together in a document that predicts how much money and income you will have in the future. This document will be used to determine if your current strategy will accomplish your goals, or if you need a different one. Who can benefit from a financial plan? Financial plans are useful for people of all ages. A financial plan looks at money that is coming in (wages for most people), assets that you have saved so far, and what you are currently saving. This along with other factors helps to plan a path for your financial future.  This could be saving for a large purchase, paying off debt, or saving for the future (children’s education or retirement).  Financial plans are also helpful for people already in retirement as they can be used to help identify a strategy for creating retirement income, spending down assets, or planning to leave them to heirs. To prepare a financial plan your financial planner will need to gather some information from you. You will likely need to bring the following: Recent paystubs Last year’s tax return Statements for any retirement or investment accounts that you have Information on any pensions that you may have Social Security Statements (get yours at ssa.gov/myaccount ) More complex plans may require information about insurance and/or legal work Your planner will ask some questions to get to know you and find out what is important to you. A good planner will be interested in not just how much money you have, but also in what you would like to accomplish with your money. This conversation along with the data you bring to your appointment will help your planner to craft a financial plan that is specific to your goals. Your planning process will likely consist of several meetings. Costs are generally dependent on the complexity of your plan, and it is even possible that your advisor will provide some basic planning at no cost. Life will continue to change over time, for this reason it is important to revisit your financial plan with your advisor every so often to account for any detours or bumps along the road of life.  Financial plans are working documents that need to be adjusted as circumstances change. You should expect to update your financial plan several times during your working years. Generally, this will be every few years or when a major life change occurs. If you would like to find out more about having your personal financial plan prepared, contact us to set up your no obligation consultation today. Kate Pederson Investment Advisor Representative & Tax Preparer  Kate joined Advisors Management Group in December 2017. Prior to joining the firm, she worked in manufacturing and healthcare during her career as a financial analyst. Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.
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Category: Tips

14 May 2024

Nick L.

4 Ways to Embrace Simple Living

From the pandemic era to hyperinflation, the last few years have created a trend of people looking for ways to get back to the lifestyle of yesteryear.  While many of us love the idea of getting back to our roots, it may not be practical, with today’s busy lifestyle. You don’t have to be raising backyard chickens or nurturing a sourdough bread starter to do things to save money and live a simpler life. By being intentional and by making a few tweaks to your current lifestyle, you can save a few bucks and even reap some health benefits. Here are a few tips for living a simpler life. Get Some Fresh Air Power down your devices and get outside. We all need a break from non-stop technology. As spring and summer months are approaching, it’s a great time to pause your streaming plans and other memberships and focus on doing things that don’t cost anything. Take a walk, go for a bike ride, or play yard games with the kids. Have a backyard camp out or plan a beachside picnic. Explore your local parks and nature preserves instead of opting for entertainment like going to movies or other venues that charge admission. If you do choose some sort of entertainment that costs money, seek out low-cost opportunities and try to get the best bang for the buck. Consider a yearly state park sticker or family season pass to your local public pool. Fresh air and exercise are great for the body and the wallet. Cook Outdoors Is your Friday night usually a dinner out night? How about rethinking dinner at a restaurant and moving the party outside. Think beyond just grilling out. Use a backyard fire pit to make campfire creations such as pie iron pizza or foil packet dinners. Let kids assemble their own walking tacos with corn chips or tortilla chips. Use an outdoor griddle to whip up a hibachi style stir fry. Whether it is at a campsite or your own backyard, get your family involved with preparing food in the great outdoors. Food cooked at home is a cost-effective alternative to dining out and it can be healthier too. Bringing food outside just adds to the experience and helps you create fun memories with friends and family. Ditch Excess Packaging and Unnecessary Plastic Do you find yourself buying single serve items for lunches and snacks? Any consumable item that is packaged for convenience typically will cost more than it would if you were to portion the food yourself. Additionally, single use packaging creates more environmental waste. Consider using reusable containers to portion out your food and snacks. Avoid single use plastic bags when possible. Consider repurposing glass or plastic containers from products that you buy. Fill a water bottle or make to-go coffee at home instead of buying a beverage while running errands. If you are already in the habit of taking your cup with you on the go, resist the urge to buy the latest cup or water bottle that is trending on social media. You likely have plenty of options at home already. Instead consider using an old mason jar and a reusable straw for a little shabby chic appeal. You will be surprised at the financial and environmental impacts of being mindful about the containers you use for drinks and snacks. Get Your Green Thumb Growing You don’t need to have acres of land to grow your own food. In fact, you can grow delicious food at home without a lot of space or elaborate equipment. If you love the idea of having raised garden beds, but don’t want to spend the time or money, think smaller. Many items that you have lying around the house can be converted to a patio garden. Consider plants that grow well together. Create a salsa garden with tomatoes, jalapenos and cilantro in an old plastic tote. How about using kitchen herbs in flower planters? If you have a little more space, think outside the box. If you have a fence, hang a shoe organizer on it and plant strawberries in the pockets. Or perhaps grow potatoes in a laundry basket lined with an old burlap sack. Make sure that plants have proper drainage, water and adequate sunshine when growing your garden. Now is the perfect time for planting this summer’s healthy harvest. By reusing things you have, you can save money and scratch your itch to get your hands in the soil. Today’s fast paced, highly stressed lifestyle really can leave people looking for opportunities to get back to basics. There are many physical and financial benefits to taking a step back and enjoying the simpler things in life. Avoiding waste and stepping back from the hustle and bustle just makes “cents” and can help you to have a little bit more cashflow to your financial goals. We encourage you to consider what you can do to spend less but create a life with simplicity and significance.   Rebecca Agamaite Investment Advisor Representative  Rebecca joined the firm in 2011 as an Investment Advisor Representative. In this role, she works with clients to manage their investment assets and help them obtain their financial objectives. Rebecca brings a great deal of experience to the team having worked for several years at Marshall & IIsley Bank and MetLife. She earned a Masters of Business Administration degree (with an emphasis on finance) from Concordia University. Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.

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19 Apr 2024

Nick L.

Affordable Adventures: Vacationing on a Budget

Many American families dream of that once in a lifetime vacation or enjoy an annual trip. What most people don’t realize is that these types of trips can really set you back. According to USA today, Airfare prices on domestic flights average $367.79 per person. Popular locations at peak season times can cost far more. According to GoGo Charters, the average family of four can plan on spending a whopping $7,936. For some families, this is simply more than what they can afford. With the cost of family vacations escalating, many are finding the vacation of their dreams out of reach. Rest assured, you can still create meaningful memories and spend quality time with your family without breaking the bank. Maximize Your Budget Determine what you can afford. Avoid spending money you don’t have. The only thing worse than seeing your vacation end, is finding a big credit card bill in your mailbox when you get home. When you have determined what you can afford, do some research to find out how to maximize your dollars. Price out different lodging options at different times. Warm weather destinations are much more affordable in mid-October than they are in mid-March. Consider working with a travel agent who may have access to lower pricing or may know the tricks of the trade to make your money go farther. Don’t assume using a travel agent adds cost. It may be just the opposite. Consider all your options for transportation. While it may sound better to jet set off to your destination, if it is possible, driving can trim thousands of dollars off the cost of your trip. Take into consideration the time, number of people traveling and the distance. Will you need to budget for meals or a roadside hotel along the way? Can you trim off these costs by driving longer hours and taking a cooler along? What is the expected cost of fuel? These details all factor into your overall cost. It may be cheaper for a couple to fly, but a family of 4 may save a lot of money by driving. Slay the Staycation If you are looking for a smaller budget option, consider what sort of things your family would love to do on vacation. How many people have talked about booking a fancy vacation for their kids and the kids only wanted to swim in the hotel pool? If this is your family, your kids may have been excited to just stay in a hotel close to home and swim in the pool. Also be sure to check out rental properties that can be the main event of your vacation through Airbnb and Vrbo. Cottages and Cabins could be available only a short drive away from where you live. Perhaps there is a destination that is closer to home that you have never been to. Consider attractions that are within a few hours’ radius. By looking at your own town or state, you may just find a gem that you have overlooked. Natural wonders, museums, baseball stadiums and theme parks in your area can make a great place to visit with your family. Turn “we should do that sometime” into “we can’t wait to do that again”. Go Where the Wild Things Are Vacations focused on nature are a great way to get back to simpler times and can be very affordable options for families. Consider national and state parks as a fantastic opportunity to see this beautiful country we live in. Whether you drive far or stay closer to home, a 1-year car pass for national or state parks generally costs less than $100 and gets your whole family in for the whole year. For those interested in national parks, if you are permanently disabled, or an active or retired armed forces member, you can qualify for a free National Park Lifetime membership. Discounted memberships are available for those over 62 or for families with 4th grade children. National Park memberships grant access for not only national parks, but also national monuments and federal fee recreation areas. While lodging in national park areas can be pricy, it can swing significantly and be more affordable in shoulder seasons. If you are of the adventurous variety, you may want to even consider options for camping. State and Federal camping sites can be very low cost. They do fill up early, however sometimes last-minute cancellations will create booking opportunities. If you are set on camping, you can book up to 12 months in advance. No RSVP, no problem. Most National forests allow for free camping in undeveloped areas. Be sure to check out rules about dispersed camping areas at www.fs.usda.gov. If you have an RV or camper, be sure to check out the rules for boondocking (disbursed camping for RV units). There is really a vacation option for every family on every budget. By getting creative and focusing on what matters, you can create a memorable family vacation. While you won’t remember how much or how little you spent, you will remember the memories you created with those you love.   Rebecca Agamaite Investment Advisor Representative  Rebecca joined the firm in 2011 as an Investment Advisor Representative. In this role, she works with clients to manage their investment assets and help them obtain their financial objectives. Rebecca brings a great deal of experience to the team having worked for several years at Marshall & IIsley Bank and MetLife. She earned a Masters of Business Administration degree (with an emphasis on finance) from Concordia University. Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.

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19 Mar 2024

Nick L.

Building Wealth at Every Age: Strategies for Cash Flow and Savings

How to save more money…What does this mean to you? Does it mean that you actively are looking to increase your savings? Does it make you think of starting a 401k, saving an emergency fund or tucking money away for a major purchase? Or does it mean saving money on groceries, making your paycheck go farther or not feeling stuck in the rut of trying make ends meet. While this same question can have two different meanings, the root of the question comes down to cash flow management. If you are getting established, you might feel like you are trying to make it from paycheck to paycheck. If you are in the middle, you may be looking for ways to increase your savings. If you are in the thick of retirement planning, you may find yourself focused on which expenses you bring into retirement and how to turn your nest egg into a cash flow to cover your monthly expenses. No matter your stage in the game, cash flow is part of equation. Cash flow management is the backbone of all financial planning strategies. Unfortunately, many people overlook the importance of evaluating where your money is going. It can be assumed that if you aren’t having issues managing your money, you don’t need to evaluate your spending. Evaluating cash flow can help you determine retirement spending needs, help you determine what expenses you will carry into retirement, and plan for inflation. Let’s break down some tips for maximizing ways to save more money. Foundational Years If you are just getting yourself established, pay yourself first, then set your lifestyle budget around what is left over. Setting up savings strategies like 401ks, Health Savings and emergency fund as soon as possible will help save more over the course of your working years and can get you on the road to wealth building sooner. It is harder to start these strategies later especially as responsibility grows. Avoid the urge to keep up with Joneses. Social media and other influences have painted an image that you need the latest and greatest of everything. Instead choose to live within your means, keep debt in check, keep emergency funds available and plan for major purchases. Don’t overextend yourself on housing or vehicle payments. Only make major purchases that you can comfortably afford and leave yourself some wiggle room so that you are able to handle unexpected emergencies. While the grass may look greener on the other side of the fence, the grass is truly greenest where you water it. If you are coming late to the game paying yourself first, start small and work your way up. It’s easier to save $1000 to your emergency fund than it is to save 6-12 months of income. If you feel you can’t save for retirement, start small and work your way up. Try to contribute enough to get any match your employer offers. If that seems like too big of a commitment, start by saving a percent or two and then increase every year. If you get a pay increase, increase savings again. By taking small steps towards your goals, you are creating good habits and moving in a positive direction. Wealth Building Phase Focus on increasing savings. The 50/30/20 rule is a very effective strategy to balance your short-term spending needs with your long-term savings goals. 50% of your income can go towards your necessities, 30% of your income can go to discretionary spending and 20% allocated to saving. The 20% that you save should be broken down between long-term goals and short-term goals. For example, if your employer matches up to 6% of your income, you may put 6% into your 401k, but then may fund a Roth IRA up to the maximum, while also putting money into a Health Savings Account and/or taxable brokerage account. The mix of savings can be customized to meet your goals and create tax efficiency. It’s a good rule of thumb that of the portion designated for saving, at least 10-15% will be allocated to retirement. Retirement savings should be left untouched to maximize growth and avoid unnecessary tax and penalty. Retirement Years While some people still save for their goals in retirement, most people’s focus is more on being mindful of how they spend their money. Projecting cash flow and expenses before you retire will help you to determine if your nest-egg will provide the income you will need to cover your expenses. For some people, annual spending needs will decrease because you can eliminate the portion you allocate to retirement income. Additionally, many people will have eliminated debt prior to retirement, which can lower retirement income need. As a rule of thumb, you should be drawing 4% or less of your retirement savings to avoid spending through it prematurely. This is just a general rule, you should consult with your investment advisor representative for what is right for your situation. Investments that generate income such as interest and dividends can be important to help replace the money you spend. If saving money in retirement means spending less, retirees can find lots of great discounts allowing them to spend less in retirement. Retirees can take advantage of discounts on retail purchases, travel, memberships, and pharmacies. Some retirees may even seek out places to reside with favorable tax situations to help them save money in retirement. Final Thoughts Regardless of where in the financial planning process you are, cash flow is an important aspect of evaluating your situation and planning for your future. Thinking beyond budgeting; your cash flow is the most important tool for building long term wealth. If you are not sure where to start, meeting with a trusted financial advisor is a great first step. Our team of fiduciary advisors can help you to determine where you are now and how to accomplish your goals. Rebecca Agamaite Investment Advisor Representative  Rebecca joined the firm in 2011 as an Investment Advisor Representative. In this role, she works with clients to manage their investment assets and help them obtain their financial objectives. Rebecca brings a great deal of experience to the team having worked for several years at Marshall & IIsley Bank and MetLife. She earned a Masters of Business Administration degree (with an emphasis on finance) from Concordia University. Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.

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19 Jan 2024

Nick L.

Navigating the Financial Maze: The Importance of a Financial Advisor

Where do you go when you need help making important financial decisions? Do you find yourself researching financial topics on popular outlets like Reddit, YouTube and TikTok? There is a plethora of information on the internet, but should you trust the information you are getting from social media and other online outlets?  Do you feel like the idea of working with a financial advisor is old-fashioned or for people your parents’ age? With so many online resources available is there value in hiring someone to help? Pitfalls of DIY Planning One of the most concerning parts of using social media to research your financial planning needs is the amount of inaccurate information floating around. It can be very difficult to determine what is right and what is not.  Even some of the more notable financial gurus are often unlicensed and provide information for entertainment only. In addition, this general advice may not be what’s best for your specific needs. Online calculators are a popular way to project how much money you will need in retirement or other basic planning concepts. While these are helpful, they are basic and don’t allow for much customization. They also depend on accurate and appropriate information to be typed in. If you miscalculate, it may provide an output that isn’t accurate or realistic. Am I ready to see a Financial Advisor? Perhaps you think you need a lot of money to start working with a financial advisor. While some advisors only work with people who have a lot of money, others are happy to help people build their wealth. You don’t need to feel like you don’t have enough money. Choosing to work with a professional earlier in your life can help you to achieve your goals sooner and can help you navigate situations that will arise during your saving years. How to choose a Financial Advisor Choosing a financial advisor is a big decision.  In doing so you are giving someone access to a very sensitive part of your life.  Remember you are hiring an expert to work with you.  Your advisor should provide value to you and your financial decisions.  Here are some things to consider when hiring a financial advisor. Communication It is important to find an advisor who communicates clearly and timely.  It is important that you understand and are comfortable with what is going on with your money. Find a fiduciary  A fiduciary is required to work in your best interest.  Today many financial professionals work for firms registered as fiduciaries, however it is possible for an advisor to be dually registered, meaning they are registered as a fiduciary and as a broker dealer.  Broker dealers are held to a suitability standard, meaning that they can recommend investments they reasonably believe are appropriate for the situation, but not necessarily the best.  By choosing an advisor who only works under a fiduciary standard, they are held to stricter rules and are required to act only in the best interest of the investor. Compensation Understand how the advisor gets paid.  Brokers can receive commissions on the investment products they sell.  A conflict of interest can arise when one investment product pays a commission, and another product does not.  Fiduciaries are paid by a fee billed to a client not through commission from a product sale.  This reduces conflicts of interest in investment recommendations. Planning Style Find someone who will take a holistic view of your finances.  Creating a portfolio is an important piece of your financial strategy, however this is only one part of your personal finances.  Find an advisor who can add value to you in other ways.  They should have a knowledge of tax laws as costly mistakes have been made by being unaware of these consequences.  Do you have enough in your emergency fund? Do you need to pay down debt or save for a large purchase such as a house?  Are you on track for retirement?  What will happen to your assets when you pass away?  This broad view will help to make sure all the pieces are working together to help you achieve your financial goals. Get a Referral Speak with family and friends.  See who they recommend and why. Knowing that someone you trust is working with and presumably is happy with the service the advisor provides can help make you more comfortable in moving forward. Not all financial advisors are the same.  It is important to find someone who communicates well with you and will work with you on achieving your goals.  Taking the time to find the right advisor can yield big benefits as you build a relationship that can last for decades. Rebecca Agamaite Investment Advisor Representative  Rebecca joined the firm in 2011 as an Investment Advisor Representative. In this role, she works with clients to manage their investment assets and help them obtain their financial objectives. Rebecca brings a great deal of experience to the team having worked for several years at Marshall & IIsley Bank and MetLife. She earned a Masters of Business Administration degree (with an emphasis on finance) from Concordia University. Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.

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16 Nov 2023

Nick L.

Navigating Healthcare Costs with HSA and FSA Accounts

While health insurance can limit the amount of money you will need to pay when you seek medical treatment, you may find yourself covering a portion out of pocket. According to Statista, in the US, the average annual health cost per person is $1,233 or $4,932 for a family of 4.  Dealing with a big stack of medical bills is enough to make even the strongest stomach feel queasy. The good news is that if you plan properly, you can take charge of how you manage out of pocket medical expenses. Having a bit tucked away to cover medical expenses is one of the best ways to take the stress out of being sick. Health Savings Accounts and Flex Spending Accounts offer convenient ways to spend pre-tax money on things that are not covered by your health plan. There are some differences between the two types of plans, so it is important to know which is appropriate and available to you.   Flex Spending Accounts (FSA) Flex Spending can be designated for two common uses, dependent care and medical related costs. For this blog we will focus on FSAs for medical and dental expenses. Both employers and employees can contribute. Employers maintain the ownership of the account and they can be restrictive. Contribution limits are generally quite low, you can only make changes annually and amounts saved can be forfeited if you leave your job or do not spend what you have saved by the end of year. You do not need to use a high deductible health insurance plan to benefit from an FSA. They do offer you the ability to pay for medical, vision and dental costs with pre-tax money. Since contribution limits change annually, and each employer's plan is different, be sure to get the specifics on your company’s options. FSA accounts have been available to employees since the 1970’s and continue to be available as a way to help employees prepare for expenses for out-of-pocket medical expenses as well as other qualified expenses.   Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) For those who have a high deductible HSA eligible health insurance plan, funding an HSA can be a great option. Unlike an FSA, HSA is owned by you and is far more flexible. You may open the HSA at the financial institution of your choosing and unused money can accumulate. Contribution limits are much higher and those age 55 and over can make catch-up contributions. Contribution limits change annually and are different for single and joint tax filers.  Be sure to consult your trusted advisor to help you determine eligibility and your tax benefits. HSAs were introduced in 2003 but have continued to gain popularity. According to the National Institute of Health, currently 1 in 6 insured adults uses an HSA to pay for health-related expenses.   Making High Deductible Insurance Work for You While having a high deductible health plan can sound expensive, premiums often are lower than PPO health plans. You can use some of the savings in premiums to fund an HSA account. For those who spend a lot of money out of pocket, spending pre-tax can be a better option than using money you had to pay tax on. Getting in the habit of funding an HSA as a young person has big payoffs. Younger people typically spend less on medical care than families and older people. For those who don’t have a lot of medical costs, money can continue to accumulate for future use. Some HSA vendors have options to invest, helping the money grow faster. It’s a good idea to wait to invest until you have saved enough to cover the maximum out of pocket before beginning to invest. You may want to avoid investing money that you may need to access within the year. Using HSA eligible health insurance can put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to managing your out-of-pocket medical expenses.   Planning for Costs in Retirement While you may not have considered HSAs as a part of your retirement planning, funding an HSA in your working years can help you prepare for retirement. These funds can continue to pay for out-of-pocket medical costs, Medicare premiums, COBRA insurance premiums or long-term care expenses. People who have reached age 65 and enrolled in Medicare can no longer contribute, but they can use money that was already saved. Those age 65 or older can use HSA for expenses for non-medical expenses as well. You will however need to pay tax on any money taken from an HSA for non-medical expenses. While no one loves spending money on medical expenses, knowing where you are getting the money from makes it less stressful. By creating a regular savings plan to pay for out-of-pocket medical you can focus on feeling better when you need to seek medical care.   Rebecca Agamaite Investment Advisor Representative  Rebecca joined the firm in 2011 as an Investment Advisor Representative. In this role, she works with clients to manage their investment assets and help them obtain their financial objectives. Rebecca brings a great deal of experience to the team having worked for several years at Marshall & IIsley Bank and MetLife. She earned a Masters of Business Administration degree (with an emphasis on finance) from Concordia University. Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.

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21 Sep 2023

Nick L.

Common Types of Scams and How to Avoid Them

While we often think that it is only seniors that are targeted by scammers and fraudsters, it is important to be aware that anyone can become a target and incur financial loss. In fact, according to the Federal Trade Commission, the largest demographic of victims of cybercrime were aged 30-39, followed by victims aged 40-49. By keeping informed and up to date, you can protect yourself from becoming one of the nearly 2.4 million people who are scammed annually. Romance Scams As more and more people are looking for love online, romance scams have become more prevalent. Norton estimates that in 2023, there are approximately 57 million people using dating apps. Regardless of the type of romance scam, most scams consist of a cybercriminal creating a fake profile using a photo of an attractive individual. They seek out someone to target and begin a fast-paced relationship. Once the victim is emotionally invested, the cybercriminal will ask for money. Often there is a story about an emergency or tragedy that compels the victim to send money, gift cards or cryptocurrency. Once payment is received, the fraudster disappears and moves on to the next victim. People who are recently widowed, divorced or otherwise lonely may be ripe for the picking when it comes to these types of scams. Be aware of red flags including someone who is interested in a long-distance relationship, someone who has a reason they cannot meet you in person, or someone who quickly professes love without meeting you. Don’t share anything too personal, including compromising photos that might haunt you later. Never buy plane tickets, gift cards, or send money to a person you have never met in person. When in doubt, ask someone you trust for a second opinion about the situation. Grandparent Scams If you are like most grandparents, you would do just about anything to help your grandchildren, especially if you feel they are in trouble or danger. In a grandparent scam, fraudsters use social media to gather information about your family. The cybercriminal then places a phone call or email impersonating a family member stating they are injured or arrested and need money immediately. They often insist that they don’t want you to call their parents. They may pass the phone to a “hospital employee” or “attorney” who can take your payment over the phone. Grandparent scams are not new, however advancements in technology can make these more sophisticated and believable and have widened the target market beyond seniors. Artificial intelligence technology allows for scammers to even replicate a voice. Phishing Attacks Phishing is when scammers create emails or text messages to trick you into providing your personal information including passwords, account numbers and Social Security numbers. It is common that these emails and text messages are compelling and may even use the logos of real companies that you are doing legitimate business with. They may request that you click on a link to go to their website which may install invasive software called malware onto your computer. With these scams, the devil is really in the detail. If you look closely at these, you may notice inconsistencies that will alert you that it is a scam. Be on the lookout for emails from companies you don’t do business with, emails with generic greetings, questionable email addresses, a link to update your payment information, or anything else that looks suspicious. Don’t call the number on the email to verify the request. Instead, compare it to your statement or do a reverse lookup on the number to see if it comes up as a spam number. Cryptocurrency Scams With the rise in interest in cryptocurrencies, many people are asking how they begin to use and invest in crypto. Because there is so much confusion about what it is and how to use it, cryptocurrency scams are on the rise. If you are going to use cryptocurrency, it is important to know about what scams are gaining popularity and how to avoid them. Some good rules to follow are to never do business with someone demanding payment in crypto. No legitimate business will only offer this method of payment. If someone wants you to invest in crypto, be on alert. Scammers often guarantee big profits and fast profits. If someone is making a promise that seems too good to be true, it is. Be aware that cryptocurrency scams are commonly found on dating websites. Protect Yourself Most scammers will cast a wide net of potential victims hoping for a small number of people to fall for it. The more informed you are, the less likely you are to fall victim. Keep updated on the latest scams by subscribing to Consumer Alerts at consumer.ftc.gov. Remember, to guard your identity. Never give credit card information, or provide personal information such as address, social security number or date of birth to someone calling you. Never allow someone claiming to be tech support to establish a remote connection to your computer. Don’t click on pop up messages while online and keep your security software up to date on devices. Understand that places like the IRS and Social Security Administration will not attempt to call you asking for personal information. If you come across a scam, report it. File a report with local law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission. If you are questioning if something is a scam, it probably is. In this case, the best scenario is to shut down the situation immediately, then report it. Although it can be scary, in most cases, if you haven’t given up any information, a fraud situation is likely avoided.   Rebecca Agamaite Investment Advisor Representative  Rebecca joined the firm in 2011 as an Investment Advisor Representative. In this role, she works with clients to manage their investment assets and help them obtain their financial objectives. Rebecca brings a great deal of experience to the team having worked for several years at Marshall & IIsley Bank and MetLife. She earned a Masters of Business Administration degree (with an emphasis on finance) from Concordia University. Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.

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18 Aug 2023

Nick L.

Shop Smart: Tips for Saving Money at the Grocery Store

If this blog feels a tad familiar, it is, but stick with us. Since the cost of groceries has continued to increase, we wanted to continue the dialog again to help you with the cost of feeding your family. Although inflation is beginning to stabilize, food costs are still on the rise. According to data supplied by the US Department of Agriculture, in 2020 a family of four which included two adults and two small children, who were moderate spenders, spent about $934.90 per month. In 2023 this same family is spending about $1173.50 per month. This is a notable rise; however, it is only a hypothetical scenario. In all actuality, if we evaluate your family from 2020, your kids have grown and might be eating more or perhaps your family has expanded. Growing families have been hit particularly hard by the increase in food costs. While prices have gone up, some of the products you frequently buy may also be getting smaller. “Shrinkflation” is not just an urban legend. You may have noticed that the pack of cookies that you have always bought looks just a bit different. The cookies are smaller or there are fewer in the row. Or perhaps you noticed the bottle of dish soap looks just a little less full than the last time you bought it. Snack chips are notoriously known for this phenomenon. When consumers take note, they release a new larger size at a much higher price. “Shrinkflation” only adds to the stress of increasing food costs. With so much stacked against you, how do you keep it in check at the checkout? Here are some tips to help you. Eat Food In Season And Buy Food Grown Locally Those who live in the northern regions of the country know just how expensive things like fresh berries can be in the cold months. Fortunately, costs drop significantly as the growing season expands across the country. Local food travels fewer miles which results in less transportation costs and a fresher product. Check out local farmer’s markets and garden stands, or purchase Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) produce or meat boxes from local farms or co-ops. Another way to lower your food budget is to plant a garden, not only can this help lower the cost to feed your family, but it is also a great outdoor activity for everyone including children. Finally, learning to preserve larger quantities of food in season by freezing and canning for use over the winter can allow you to enjoy your favorite foods throughout the entire year and can help cut down on food waste. Plan Your Meals And Shop With A List We all know it is a bad idea to shop on an empty stomach, but shopping without a plan can also put all sorts of extras in your cart. Before you head out to shop, make a list of each week’s meals and see what items are already on hand. While you are taking inventory of your pantry, make a list of the things you are running low on. Keeping staple items on hand can help you avoid unnecessary extra trips. Shopping every other week can also save you time and money. Once you arrive at the store, shopping from a list will help you to avoid impulse purchases or just walking down the isles putting unnecessary items in your cart. Track And Compare Prices On Items You Buy Regularly If you track the prices on items you buy frequently, you will be able to evaluate if something is a deal or not. Most stores rotate their sales and soon the patterns of pricing will be easy to anticipate. Shop items featured in the weekly flyer and use store loyalty programs and coupons. Check out the clearance area and fresh items reduced for quick sale. Only buy reduced items you can use right away or freeze. Don’t be afraid to switch up where you shop or buy store-brands instead of name-brand items. If you are willing to think outside the box, you may find great deals at dollar stores, scratch and dent liquidators, Amish bulk stores, and discount grocery stores. Buy in larger quantities and portion out While a 5.3 oz cup of Greek yogurt costs $1.49 or $0.28 per oz, the same yogurt in a 32 oz container costs $5.79 or $0.18 per oz. Convenience can add considerable cost to items. Instead consider just scooping out the yogurt in a bowl or a single serve food storage container. The same thing applies to everything from snacks to meat. If a bulk pack is too much to use, you can always break down the large packages into smaller portions that will fit your needs. Use food storage containers, storage bags, and freezer paper to store these small portions. Over time these savings can really start to add up. Avoid Waste If your crisper drawer is where green things go to die, you are also wasting the green in your wallet. If your plans change often or find yourself not eating your produce fast enough, consider frozen or canned produce instead. It typically costs less and has a longer shelf life. Also don’t make too much when preparing meals especially if you or your family doesn’t like leftovers. Cook just enough to satisfy your family’s hunger. If you do cook extra, reimagine your leftovers into another meal. Extra rice can easily be made into fried rice, left over steak can become steak and eggs, pasta can be added to soups and salads. Baked chicken can become chicken salad. If you still find yourself with leftovers, place them in the freezer to use them later when you need a quick meal. While rising food prices can cause a lot of stress to your budget, putting some strategy into your spending can not only save you money, but it can also save time and reduce food waste as well. Knowing what you have on hand, what you need and what you are spending will put you in the driver’s seat despite high food costs.   Rebecca Agamaite Investment Advisor Representative  Rebecca joined the firm in 2011 as an Investment Advisor Representative. In this role, she works with clients to manage their investment assets and help them obtain their financial objectives. Rebecca brings a great deal of experience to the team having worked for several years at Marshall & IIsley Bank and MetLife. She earned a Masters of Business Administration degree (with an emphasis on finance) from Concordia University. Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.

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19 May 2023

Nick L.

Making Credit Cards Work for You

Credit cards can be an important part of managing your financial situation when used correctly, but what do you need to know about being smart when it comes to credit cards? Making credit cards work for you can be confusing, but here are some tips to help you get started. Choose 0% According to Lendingtree, the average credit card interest rate in the US is 23.84%. Remember that this is an average. If you have great credit, you probably have a better rate and if your credit is poor, it can be nearly 30% interest. If you are like most people, this may come as a surprise to you, but credit card rates have steadily increased over the past decade. The good news is you can avoid interest if you do not carry a balance on your credit cards. By paying off your charges monthly, you will not pay any interest regardless of the rate of your card. Paying your bill on time you will also show good credit habits and avoid late fees and penalty interest rates. If you are making a purchase of a big-ticket item, such as furniture or appliances, go ahead and use a payment plan that will allow you to make payments over a set amount of months interest free, but do pay it off before the end of the promotional period. These types of cards will often give you a set amount of time interest free, however will charge interest back to the date of purchase if you fail to pay it off within that time. Use it as a tool Using a credit card can streamline how you spend money day to day, but it must be used responsibly. Some people choose to pay for most expenses on their credit card and pay only one bill at the end of the month to maximize credit card perks such as cash back or travel benefits. Credit cards are one of the safest ways to conduct business such as online purchases and often have tools to protect you from fraudulent activities. When using a credit card, you protect money that you have in your bank account should someone take your card number while you are making a purchase. Compared to the process of reporting fraud on your bank account, reporting credit card fraud is fast and hassle free. They will typically reverse the transaction and shut down the card quickly. You will have a new number and new card within days. Credit cards can also help you track your spending, plan your budget, and monitor credit. Many credit card websites offer you the ability to track your spending and break it down by type. This can help you to diagnose your spending habits and determine how to be smarter with your money. Live credit monitoring and score modeling is often found on credit card websites. For younger consumers or those trying to restore their credit, this can be a powerful way to move you forward financially. Avoid Pitfalls Credit Cards can offer a lot of great perks ranging from cash back to points that you can redeem for travel. It’s important to read the fine print on these types of cards to determine if you can make the benefits work for you. For example, airline cards are notorious for offering free baggage, companion flights or statement credits. This can be very attractive especially if you are looking to save money on your next vacation. Most of the major airlines offer similar cards, although they are advertised as “no annual fee”. If you read the fine print, you will see that they carry significant fees after the introductory period. So, you may get some perks, but if you keep the card past the first year, you may find a hefty annual fee after that. The better the perks, generally the higher the costs associated with the card. Now, if you fly more than a few times per year on the same airline, the $100 annual fee may be less than paying all the baggage fees. Department store cards often offer coupons and discounts to card holders. These are generally designed to keep you shopping on a regular basis. If you get free shipping and a 10% discount on your order you will come back for more. If they sweeten the deal by giving you a coupon for your next order and give you a range of dates to use it by, you may find yourself shopping again in a week or so. Before you know it, you may find yourself shopping way more than what you would have if you were not constantly being enticed to shop. If you must spend money to save, you may not actually be saving. If you shop too much, you may end up with a balance that you didn’t intend to have. Credit card companies would not offer enticing benefits if the deck wasn’t stacked in their favor. It really is about assessing the benefits and costs and determining if there really is a savings, or if it is just another way to win your business or cost you money. While some consumers have mastered the art of using credit cards, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports that Americans owed $986 billion dollars in credit card debt at the close of 2022. Remember, interest paid on unpaid balances will very quickly outweigh any perk a card has to offer. If you find yourself tending to accumulate debt while using cards, it may be better to just stay out of the game. Rebecca Agamaite Investment Advisor Representative  Rebecca joined the firm in 2011 as an Investment Advisor Representative. In this role, she works with clients to manage their investment assets and help them obtain their financial objectives. Rebecca brings a great deal of experience to the team having worked for several years at Marshall & IIsley Bank and MetLife. She earned a Masters of Business Administration degree (with an emphasis on finance) from Concordia University. Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.

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16 Dec 2022

Nick L.

Understanding Market Indexes

Whether it’s on your phone, on the nightly news or scrolling on the bottom banner of your web browser, you probably have seen the performance of the market indexes such as the Dow Jones Industrial or the S&P 500. We see the familiar red and green arrows as we go about our days without giving it much thought. Some people bring the indexes up in casual conversation, but few people take the time to really understand what they are or how they apply to them. Let’s break down some basics about indexes, how they work, and what they mean to you. What are indexes? Indexes are hypothetical portfolios representing different parts of the financial market. The ones investors are most familiar with are the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite. There are plenty of other indexes that might be less familiar to you. To state this in simple terms, indexes are groups of company stocks. Depending on how well the companies are doing, their stock prices will move up or down. If times are good and companies are profitable, the indexes will move up. During hard times, the stock prices will decrease, and the indexes will move down. What makes up the indexes? S&P 500 -Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is a grouping of 500 of the leading publicly traded companies. Companies with more shares outstanding and higher capital make up the largest percentage. Currently Apple holds the largest percentage of the 500, DaVita Inc, is the smallest of the 500. Dow Jones Industrial Average, or simply the Dow- The Dow is the oldest and perhaps the most familiar index. It includes companies that are found globally. It includes 30 companies who are ranked by their price. UnitedHeath Group, Inc is the top company with a price over $500 per share, Intel is the lowest ranking with a current price under $30 per share. Nasdaq- The Nasdaq is one of the largest US indexes. It includes nearly every company that trades on the Nasdaq stock exchange. It is the most misunderstood index because it has some unique characteristics. Some people call it the tech index, although it is not exclusive to any industry. To be included, a company must trade exclusively on Nasdaq stock exchange unless it was there prior to that rule being made in 2004. This means that unless grandfathered in, none of the companies in Nasdaq appear on the NYSE, Philadelphia Stock Exchange, American or another exchange unless they have been there for a very long time. Some of its largest holdings, Apple, Microsoft, Meta, Alphabet, Tesla and others also appear as some of the top positions in the S&P 500. How does this apply to me? Aside from giving you something to talk about other than the weather, you may find that it’s helpful to know the current state of the market. It is kind of like looking at a thermometer for your investments. Having an idea of what is going on in the market can prepare you for what is going on in your own retirement accounts and investments. If you are seeing a lot of red days, it probably means that you can expect to see some losses in your account. Keep in mind, it’s just an idea of how things are going in the financial markets. Just because the S&P 500 or Dow Jones is down 10% year to date doesn't mean your portfolio is down 10%. You have your own group of investments in your personal portfolio and your portfolio has its own return based upon what you are holding and how much risk you are taking in your portfolio. Your advisor may discuss the market index’s performance and compare it to your performance. This is called using an index as a benchmark. This same strategy also applies for risk. You can determine if your portfolio has more risk, less risk, or similar risk. An aggressive investor may have a portfolio with nearly as much risk as the S&P 500 whereas a conservative investor may not be comfortable with that much risk. Most people misunderstand how to use an index as a benchmark. Often, we see people judging the success of their portfolio by how it compares to an index. Instead, you should judge your portfolio based on your long-term goals and how well your portfolio is set up to achieve your goals. Can I invest in an index? While you cannot invest in the actual index, there are mutual funds and ETF’s that mirror the index. These buy the exact same stocks that are in the indexes and their return can be similar. While this could be appealing, there can be downsides to this type of strategy. Index funds are not actively managed and can potentially carry more risk than an actively managed strategy. Finding a knowledgeable advisor can help you to decide what is right for your portfolio and how it relates to the broad markets   Rebecca Agamaite Investment Advisor Representative  Rebecca joined the firm in 2011 as an Investment Advisor Representative. In this role, she works with clients to manage their investment assets and help them obtain their financial objectives. Rebecca brings a great deal of experience to the team having worked for several years at Marshall & IIsley Bank and MetLife. She earned a Masters of Business Administration degree (with an emphasis on finance) from Concordia University. Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.

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14 Nov 2022

Nick L.

Investing During Market Volatility

The year 2008 proved emotionally exhausting for investors. Volatility rocked the markets causing the S&P to hit lows more than -17% by mid-July. Late summer brought a slight recovery and quieter conditions only to have the market plummet in October resulting in a new bottom of over -42%. Although these types of market conditions don't happen regularly, they can really cause emotional turmoil for investors when they come to pass. Here’s what you need to know about riding out the storm and keeping your cool while investing during market volatility. Don't assume Your portfolio is not “the market”. If you see that the S&P or the Dow Jones are down 2% in a day, it does not mean that you lost the same amount. Indexes can give you an idea of what is going on, but they are highly dependent on a few companies. For example, Apple currently makes up a whopping 6.59% of the S&P 500. If Apple moves significantly, the index is sure to be affected. Your portfolio, on the other hand, may not have any Apple in it. You also may have investments that are not in the S&P 500 at all. Your portfolio could include a mix of stocks, bonds, cash and even commodities such as precious metals. It’s best not to make any assumptions about what your portfolio is doing based upon what the indexes are doing. Instead, discuss your allocation and risk level with a trusted investment advisor regularly to determine what you should expect if markets move significantly. Don’t make emotional decisions We've all heard that you should buy low and sell high but making emotional decisions can cause investors to do just the opposite. Investors who panicked and sold out in October of 2008 most likely missed at least part of the recovery that followed in 2009 and 2010. Some investors who tried to jump back in at some point during the recovery re-entered the market at higher prices than they sold out at. Panicked investors aren't the only investors to be affected by emotional investment mistakes. Bullish investors sometimes are quick to call the bottom of a market and may find that FOMO (fear of missing out) causes them to overpay or take unnecessary losses. It’s generally best to avoid jumping in and out and trying to time the market, when investing during market volatility. Don’t overdo it on the withdrawals If you are a retiree depending on your account for income, don't panic. Your portfolio is likely designed to provide income from dividends and interest in addition to giving you the potential for modest growth. If you stick to your planned distribution, your portfolio should be able to weather the market volatility and still provide what you need. On the other hand, you may want to wait to take distributions for large purchases that require your securities to be sold at a loss in order raise enough cash to fund the purchase. Do stay calm If you feel emotional about money, it’s ok and it’s normal. We work hard for what we have saved, and it can make you very upset when you see losses during times of market volatility. You may feel better to know that the money it’s not been taken out of the account. In fact, when your investments go up, no one made a deposit. Investment gains and losses represent a change in the value of the shares you own. You do not own your balance. You own the shares in your portfolio. Sometimes your shares will be worth more than you paid, and sometimes, the value will be less than you paid. If you've been investing for a while, you probably have more money than what you’ve deposited from your own money. Investments never move upward in a straight line. They will move in both directions with a trend of moving upward over time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Do keep focused on the long term If you are a saver, these are great opportunities for adding to your long-term wealth. Now is not the time to stop saving. We want to buy low and market dips can offer us the opportunity to get the biggest bang for the investing buck. Our systematic savings buys more shares. If you are retired and are taking money out instead of saving, you still need to be focused on the long term. A person who retires in their 60’s will weather three or four bear markets and many corrections during retirement. Just because you are retired does not mean that you have a short investment horizon. Someone retiring in their 60’s very well can have a 20–30-year investment horizon based upon life span. Do seek advice on withdrawals, taxes, and security sales Planning how you take money out of your portfolio is always important, but it’s especially important to be smart during down years. A trusted advisor can help set up your portfolio with cash and income like dividends and interest so you are not selling securities at a loss. There may also be certain securities that are up in value when the broad markets are down, which could be sold, if needed, to provide cash for a withdrawal. Your advisor can also give you a heads up about what to expect at tax time because sometimes investors are caught off guard by taxable events that happen even though portfolio values may be negative. Do review your portfolio You may be afraid to look when you are losing. By meeting with your advisor, you can get reassurance and insight about what is going on in the world and how it is affecting your nest egg. You may even find out that it’s not as bad as you thought. A good advisor will want to let you know what is happening and explain how your portfolio has responded to the market conditions. If you haven't heard from your advisor, it may be time to consider finding another one. Negative markets and statements with negative returns are scary. You may be feeling like you need to quick do something to stop the bleed, or you may feel emotionally defeated, but know that the market is bound to go up and down. Stay focused on your goals and rely on your trusted advisor to guide you toward your goals, especially when investing during times of market volatility.   Rebecca Agamaite Investment Advisor Representative  Rebecca joined the firm in 2011 as an Investment Advisor Representative. In this role, she works with clients to manage their investment assets and help them obtain their financial objectives. Rebecca brings a great deal of experience to the team having worked for several years at Marshall & IIsley Bank and MetLife. She earned a Masters of Business Administration degree (with an emphasis on finance) from Concordia University. Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.

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