What's new at GFP
Debbie is having fun with the 15-minute “Jump Start” calls, kicking off 2019 on the right financial foot for our current clients. This turned out to be a popular event and our clients are keeping Debbie busy, sometimes with up to 5 calls a day! We are enjoying hearing your updates and will make sure to repeat this initiative around tax season, and again in the fall to help clients gear up for the year’s end.
If you haven’t scheduled your 2019 Jump Start call, be sure to use our online scheduling tool right here on our website to get that on the calendar and begin the new year on the right track.
This is officially the longest shutdown in U.S. history and we know that we have several clients who are government employees. Please call us if you are affected.
Maryland is home to many government employees, and the state is offering unemployment insurance assistance to those affected by the shutdown.
From the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Registration:
“If you are a federal employee in Maryland and have been furloughed as a result of the government shutdown, you may file your claim online using the Federal Civilian Employee Application for Benefits or you may file a claim by calling 410-853-1700 or contact an unemployment insurance claim center.”
We want to make sure our clients are setting themselves up for a prosperous retirement and meeting their financial goals. One of the ways to do this is to maximize your Social Security benefits. While we can run an analysis on the best claiming strategy for your particular situation, there are steps you can be taking before, during, and after retirement in order to give yourself a bigger benefit.
One of the simplest things you can do is correct any errors on your earnings statement. The Social Security Administration bases your benefits on your prior earnings. SSA provides a statement compiling your annual earnings on which your benefit is based, which individuals over age 60 will automatically begin receiving in the mail. Those under age 60 can create an account on ssa.gov and retrieve their own earnings statements. It’s not unheard of that there may be a year or two on an earnings statement where there is a 0 value where an individual should have had earnings, or a lower value than what you actually earned. This could potentially decrease your future Social Security benefit. Check out your own earnings history statement to make sure you get the benefits you deserve.
Read more on what you can be doing to maximize your Social Security benefits here.
Dimensional Fund Advisors Spotlight:
Beginning next month and continuing throughout 2019, we will take a section of our newsletter to spotlight a specific fund we use in our model portfolios in order to tell you more about our investment choices. In addition to our favorite Vanguard funds, we offer a group of funds not available to individual investors through Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA). DFA funds are based on academic research by French and Fama, who received Nobel Prizes for their work in investing principles.
Dimensional Fund Advisors offers investment funds that are structured to provide broad diversification across their target markets (for example, U.S. stocks, or emerging market non-US stocks), while focusing on the dimensions of higher expected returns and using cost effective and efficient methods. The dimensions of higher expected returns that they have identified through their extensive research include smaller companies, “value” stocks rather than growth companies, and profitable companies. By spreading investments across the entire market, their portfolios emphasize stocks with higher expected returns while reducing transaction costs and taxes. This broad diversification has also been shown to reduce stock market risk.
Here is DFA founder David Booth on economic forecasting and DFA’s approach to the market: https://us.dimensional.com/perspectives/david-booth-on-forecasting
Check back in here next month for a spotlight on one of their many funds and how we incorporate it into our portfolios.