Timing the market

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Like so many sectors, the year 2020’s stock market performance will go down as one of the most volatile in recent memory. We reached new highs early in the year only to have a free fall through March and April. Then a rebound began and at this point, we are trading near or over the highs reached earlier in the year. 

Obviously, the Coronavirus affected the entire world and impacted global markets in a way not seen in a very long time – if ever. Investors naturally panicked during the uncertain times so the markets reached a low in March. This seemed different than other singular events in history that had provided large, immediate and sharp impacts on the markets, but over time worked themselves out. This virus has affected the entire planet and has the potential for impacting the world for long time to come pending outcomes with vaccines and treatments. 

Many investors stayed the course and most learned about their own personal levels of risk associated with the stock market. As it turns out (as of this writing), staying the course of your plan this year would have been the right decision. We even endured the election process, which concerned many. Four years ago, similar projections did not pan out either. This history illustrates my point — trying to time the market for when it will move up or come down is futile. We simply don’t know when it will move nor can we project how much it will move. So, the next best thing we can do is to create a diversified portfolio with proper allocations (assuming your risk tolerance and objectives) and rebalance it at least once-a-year. 

If you invest in a 401(k), you take advantage of dollar-cost averaging by investing the same amount every month and buying the funds/stocks at different levels – more shares when the price goes down and fewer shares when the price goes up. You can also do this with IRA and 529 plans, but having it come out of your paycheck automatically is the best way to ensure it actually happens. 

Diversification, allocation, rebalancing and dollar-cost averaging are the four key pillars of long-term investing. Try not to chase the market or time the market by moving in and out at random times nor let your emotions influence you, as difficult as that can be at times. It is always best to keep emotion out of long-term investing. 

Let’s hope 2021 will be a much better year as we recover in the economy and make some headway on the virus.

SOURCEAero Crew News, January 2021
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Glenn Nevola
Current airline captain and also financial advisor specializing in providing financial assistance to fellow airline pilots in their pre and post retirement planning. Glenn Nevola has been an airline pilot since 1986 where his career started with People Express Airlines, which merged with Continental Airlines in 1987 and was then merged with United Airlines in 2010. He is currently based in Newark as a 737 captain. In addition to being a pilot, he operated the financial arm of a real estate firm that purchased, renovated, rented, marketed, bundled and sold to investors over a 12-year span. He was personally responsible for over 300 closing during that timeframe. More recently he was a former financial advisor with Morgan Stanley in NYC where he acquired his Series 7 and Series 66 licenses. He brought over to the firm a concept and business model that would assist retiring airline pilots with post - retirement wealth management. This was, in part, augmented by the fact the mandatory retirement age was recently changed from age 60 to age 65 for commercial airline pilots. When Morgan Stanley hired him, the oldest of these pilots were then approximately 63 years of age. His unique position of living in both worlds – flying and finance - provided him the ability to market to his niche in direct target marketing from one of their own. He also has skin in the game, as he is a pilot, who participates in the retirement plans on which he advises and as such is in similar models as many of his clients. As time went on at Morgan Stanley a decision was made, based on many factors such as compliance restrictions, inability to market and assist younger pilots with their desire for 401(k) management and general restrictions on building out the business model, to split off and create his own financial services firm, Flight Line Financial, LLC (FLF) – a registered investment advisor based in NJ. FLF is also licensed in NJ for insurance enabling the firm to provide annuity counseling. This created a win - win scenario for further growth by allowing FLF to focus on 2 distinct groups of pilots – younger pilots, less than age 59 ½ and older pilots over age 59 ½. For the younger group, FLF provides asset allocation strategies incorporating diversification, dollar cost averaging and rebalancing options to pilots for a flat annual fee. Also discussed with this group includes topics such as Roth vs. non-Roth, 529’s, max contribution limits, 415 (c) limits, spousal accounts and other general financial topics. For the older pilot group, FLF has affiliated with a leading wall street firm for post-retirement financial planning. Wealth management services provided include many aspects such as creation of post retirement financial distribution plan, trust and estate planning, diversification, allocation, hedged equities, bond structuring, long term care, etc. The firm FLF is affiliated with has been in the wealth management business since the 1970’s and manages over $2 billion in assets from individual investors. Glenn has the unique position of living in both worlds – flying and finance. He interacts with his target market every time he is at the airport or on a trip. In numerous businesses, owners pay substantially for leads in their specific target market, such as mailing lists, calling lists, email lists, etc. Additionally, servicing the younger pilots creates pipelines for future rollovers. Currently FLF manages approximately $250 million in assets across approximately 200 clients.

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