I purposely shy away from commentary on politics and politically charged issues, but watching a live feed from Dallas last night unwittingly showing at least two officers down from gun violence is simply enough. I have not seen commentary yet on the motivation for the attack, but it certainly begs the question ‘can we not do more to ensure the mental stability of gun buyers?’ I cannot conceive of someone, whatever side of the various issues in play here, who can endorse this action. The notion that Congress is beholden to the NRA, preventing truly common sense measures is untenable. We should challenge this false narrative. If nothing else, elect legislators not compromised on this issue. Presumably, we all feel sorrow and compassion for the families of the fallen. Let us leverage this horrific incident to get some movement on the underlying issue, gun violence.
I parse this gun violence issue, which includes other mass shootings, from the very valid driver of the peaceful protests across the country last night and the recent police involved shootings because the corrective action is different. I, too, am shocked by the rapid succession of police shootings, but presume that to be a training and selection issue.
The backdrop for this mayhem is the strangest Presidential election of my memory. Surely, there will be plenty of campaign trail bluster about this, and mayhem seems the best descriptor for this mess. I say you should largely focus on what you can control, your retirement. Perhaps we start with ‘are you controlling your retirement?’ Regardless of your answer, here are some ideas that can help.
Improving your retirement, first focus on fees.
I think the first priority, always, for your retirement investing is to control the fees. It has been demonstrated that the smallest improvement in these small, often hidden costs, makes a material difference in outcome. Focus on the fees you pay on all your retirement assets first and foremost.
We hit on this last week and will remind you now, Fidelity is going straight at Vanguard (ironically enough at the vanguard of low fee investing). Fidelity takes on Vanguard by cutting prices on index funds, ETFs
You may be getting some help from the Department of Labor’s new fiduciary rule, too … but you should not rely on this yet. DOL fiduciary rule will nudge 401(k) advisors to zero-revenue-share fund lineups
Improving your retirement, next focus on saving more.
I will leave this one with this one, simple Warren Buffett quote: “Don’t save what is left after spending; spend what is left after saving.”
Improving your retirement, lastly focus on building an income stream.
The closer you get to retirement, the more you need to think about converting a balance (the total of your retirement savings) into an income stream. One great way to anchor this is with investments that generate income. Find great dividend stocks, for example: High Dividend Stock Yields 15%, Has Top Shelf Customer, Insiders Keep Buying
Tread carefully in this space, though, and lean on professionals when you can. Dividend focused ETFs or funds may be your safest route. A Warning for Dividend Growth Investors