On Getting Older: Job Fulfillment

 Job Fulfillment

Is this ever a relatively new concept. 

I remember in my MBA program, completed in 1984, in the human resources classes, the new way of getting employees to work hard for you was this:  give them work they enjoy doing and actually have aptitude for and see a purpose in doing, as well as decent money incentive.  Give them a buy-in to a purpose larger than themselves.  After all, if they’re unhappy, they won’t work hard. 

I remember thinking at the time what a luxurious set up that would be – and how foreign to my own expectations.  Having an employer that saw me as a person rather than a unit of production?  Not bloody likely.  And unit of production is the bottom line for all employers – that’s ultimately what employees are, but now the bosses have figured out that it is in their best interests, for many reasons, to keep employees happy. 

More than just a unit of production

How things...

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On Getting Older: Introduction

Introduction

I recently attended my Connecticut high school’s 50th reunion.  I’ve got to say, it has given me pause.  Was the class of ’72 really 50 years ago?  Couldn’t be – but it is.  I had a great time, and even my wife commented on what a group of really nice people were there – pretty much what I remembered, too. Some quick math:  that makes me 68, having been born in 1954. 

I remember reading Gail Sheey’s books Passages and Pathfinders as a younger man, and I enjoyed the overall perspective they gave for that generation.  I’ve asked around, and as yet haven’t been able to find anything similar for my generation at this stage of life – arguably the late summer if not early winter of our lives.  If anyone knows of a good title, please leave it in the comments. 

So I’ve actually been thinking about a blog to share my musings for a while now.  Not just pieces about...

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The Bull Case for the Stock Market

Have we reached a stock market bottom yet? 

"Are you kidding me? After the big price drops we've seen the last few days?"

We get it. Pessimism is popular right now. But here we give you an optimist’s case for the market:

Look at the three major stock market benchmarks – the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the NASDAQ. They all have one thing in common. Each index hit its low for the year on June 16th, 2022. In other words, the worst day this year for markets (and perhaps for your investment portfolio) was a couple months ago as of this writing. The prevailing investor wisdom right now is this – the market’s direction could go either way. Which certainly isn’t helpful, is it?  What we’re experiencing today is a time of great uncertainty. This is the drum we’ve pounded for a long time – if there is one thing the markets hate more than bad news it is uncertainty. Rather than focus on what we don’t know,...

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Bitcoin Part II - Inflation Hedge

By Glenn J. Downing, MBA, CFP®

I began Part I - New Asset Class with this statistic:  one in five people in the US have invested in or used cryptocurrency.  As Bitcoin becomes more widely accepted – indeed, Fidelity is offering it in 401K accounts – it is high time for me to write about it. 

And there’s a lot to write.  I’m going to break this up into two blogposts:  Part I covers the foundation of bitcoin and how it works, and here in Part II I answer the question, Why crypto currency?    

Fundamentally Bitcoin is one of many cryptocurrencies.  It is an asset.  It is bought and sold through various exchanges called wallets.  It can be used to pay for goods and services.  These transactions happen on the blockchain. 

The Gold Standard

In 1981 the US came off the gold standard, meaning your currency is backed by nothing beyond the ascription of value of millions of people.  Currencies...

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Bitcoin Part I - New Asset Class

By Glenn J. Downing, MBA, CFP®

I was astonished to hear this statistic:  one in five people in the US have invested in or used cryptocurrency.  That means that Bitcoin is indeed a thing, and it is time for me to write about it. 

And there’s a lot to write.  I’m going to break this up into two blogposts:  here in Part I I’ll cover the foundation of bitcoin and how it works, and in Part II - Inflation Hedge I’ll answer the question, Why Bitcoin?    

Fundamentally Bitcoin is one of many cryptocurrencies.  It is an asset.  It is bought and sold through various exchanges.  You hold Bitcoin in accounts called wallets.  It can be used to pay for goods and services.  These transactions happen on the blockchain. 

Cryptocurrency

Lots to break down here.  First, the concept of a cryptocurrency.  This is a currency backed only by the value that people ascribe to it.  Right away I can...

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Necessary vs. Discretionary

by Glenn J. Downing, MBA, CFP®

The foundation for any sort of financial planning begins with cash flow management.  Income -expenses = dollars available to be invested toward future goals.  We’ve worked with people from all walks of life who have cash flow issues, including those with very high incomes.   It all comes down to the same thing:  you have two choices.  Increase income or cut expenses to make savings happen.

 To frame the thinking here, I challenge clients to separate out necessary spending from discretionary spending.  Necessary spending is just that:  what must I spend to house myself, feed myself, clothe and groom myself, and get back and forth from work.  Bare bones, in other words. 

 The exercise I bring to my readers then is this:  Let’s look at every expenditure you’ve made in the last several months.  Now sort them:  necessary or discretionary.  Here’s a...

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When Oh When Can I Retire?

By Glenn J. Downing, MBA, CFP®

You want to retire in a few years, right? And you know you haven't saved enough.  But there are bills to pay, and at the end of the month there’s nothing left.  In fact, there’s often a shortfall.  What can you do?

 Short answer:  a lot.  If this is your situation, you’ve let your money be your master rather than your servant.  To turn it around so that your money accomplishes what YOU want it to is going to require a change of thinking and some effort on your part.   

Necessary vs. Discretionary Spending

Here’s the change in thinking:  In your mind separate out spending that is necessary from spending that is discretionary.  In other words, what do you need to spend for food, clothing, and other necessities – car payment, various insurances, etc. 

And then think about what is discretionary.  What do you spend by choice and not out of necessity? ...

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IRA Rollovers: In Your Best Interest?

By Glenn J. Downing, MBA, CFP®

Increasing Regulatory Scrutiny

An area of increasing regulatory scrutiny is retirement plan rollovers to IRAs. This is a common transaction, and done every day, but it just might not be in your best interests.  Why?  Several factors:

Reasons Why NOT to do a rollover IRA

  • If your plan at work is covered by ERISA legislation (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) – typically a profit sharing or 401K – it has complete creditor protection, no matter the balance. An IRA will have limited creditor protection, typically up to the amount needed to maintain your lifestyle. 
  • Loans are permitted from employer plans. No loans ever from IRAs.
  • Early withdrawal penalties of 10% apply to retirement plans before age 55. It is age 59 ½ for IRAs.  So if you are age 55, separated from service, and rolled your retirement funds into an IRA, you’ve just given yourself 4 ½ years of 10% withdrawal penalties.
  • If you are...
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Stock Options and Restricted Stock Units (RSUs)

By Glenn J. Downing, MBA, CFP®

What might an employer do to incentivize the workforce?  Make his employees owners.  Gives them an entirely new perspective on the job.  What employee-owned businesses do you know?  Does Southwest Airlines come to mind?  The flight attendant pouring your coffee may very well be a millionaire in SW stock if employed there long enough.  A little closer to home, how about Publix, where shopping is a pleasure?  Publix is a privately-owned company, but with a strong employee-ownership policy – and it shows.  People who work in Publix are actually helpful, and actually greet shoppers!

Employee-Owners

In our practice the main two ways we see employers accomplishing the goal of employee ownership is through  stock options and restricted stock units (RSUs).  The first involves the employee making a purchase of employer stock; the second is a direct stock grant to the employee.

In the stock option, the...

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Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

 By Glenn J. Downing, MBA, CFP®

You may have noticed in all CameronDowning email signatures this text:

                                      Where 5% of all revenue is donated

                                        To homeless assistance in Miami.

What’s behind this?  I thought my readers might find the story interesting.

Shortly after Jonathan Cameron and I founded CameronDowning in 2014, I read a piece in the Wall St. Journal about companies that fulfilled their ethical obligations to the community by giving money to charitable endeavors off the top, rather than as planned gifts.  This really caught my attention.  Lots to consider here. 

An obligation?  As a business do we have an ethical obligation to the community at large?  After all, one...

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