Tell your friends about Ponderings!

Ponderings For the Week of May 20 to 26, 2019


Stocks Heading for a May Drubbing

Stocks ended last week with broad losses, yet again caused by the trade “squabble” between the world’s two biggest economies. This overshadowed positive developments in conflicts between the U.S. and other trading partners, including Canada, Mexico, Japan, and the European Union.

For the week, large company U.S. stocks declined about ½% with overseas shares sinking a bit more. Back home, small and mid-cap issue took it on the chin with average losses north of 2%. The week was punctuated with losses on Monday and Friday and gains the other three days. But Wall Street can’t seem to turn the ship around to the positive. Still, some trade agreement is likely given the economic risks to both countries and the political risks for Trump’s reelection. But without a positive move this week, May will be punishing.  


Rundown of Essential Estate Planning Documents.

When it comes to preparing estate planning documents, it’s always better late than too late, which could prove devastating for family members. The cornerstones of an estate plan include:

  • A will. This legal document tells who will manage your estate, who will get your assets, and who will become guardian of your minor children when you die. Die without a will and the state makes these decisions – often at an added cost to those you love most. According to Kenneth Feinberg, the overseer of the September 11 Victims Compensation Fund, half of those who died did not have wills.
  • Durable power of attorney for finances, which delegates the power to legally handle your financial affairs should you become disabled or incapacitated. Without this, no one may be able to access your bank account, securities or any other property in your name without lengthy legal proceedings.
  • Advance directive is a catch all term that refers to health care directives, living wills, health care (medical) powers of attorney, and other personalized directives, all of which let you legally express your preference for continued health care should you later become terminally ill. A health care power of attorney (also called a designation of health care surrogate), names a spouse, child, or other trusted relative or friend to make health care decisions for you in case you are physically or mentally incapable of doing so on your own.
  • Letter of instruction. A letter of instruction is an informal document that gives your survivors information concerning important financial and personal matters that must be attended to after your demise. You don’t need an attorney to prepare it. Although it doesn’t carry the legal weight of a will and is in no way a substitute for a will, a letter of instruction clarifies any special requests to be carried out upon death. It also provides essential financial information, thus relieving the family of needless worry and speculation. Just as with other estate planning documents, be sure your loved ones know where your letter of instruction is located. We recently made available a comprehensive letter of instruction to help individuals and families organize their records in one place. Check it out at:


           You’ll like it, more so since it’s free.


Smart Money Tips


  • Avoid the rearview mirror when managing your money. Too many people are basing their investment decisions upon what has recently happened in the stock market. By staring in the rearview mirror you’re expecting whatever has happened in the immediate past to continue in the future. But the recent past is a very unreliable indicator of the future. At some point, the near future won’t be a reflection of the past. Those who rely too heavily on the rearview mirror will be disappointed. Consider the road ahead for signs that may help you identify investment opportunities or pitfalls. You won’t be disappointed.
  • Get rich slowly. Getting rich quickly is a one-in-a-million long shot. Judging from the plethora of seminars and infomercials that promise quick riches, a lot of people prefer immediate results which, we all know, are rarely achieved. On the other hand, if you work hard, do what's needed to advance in your career, save regularly, invest those savings wisely, and periodically address other important personal financial matters, getting rich slowly is a sure bet. If you can be happy with what you’ve got now, you’ll enjoy more abundance later in life.




Ponderings Archive

April 29 - May 5

May 6 - 12

May 13 - 19



Subscriptions to Ponderings

Do you have family members, friends, or colleagues who could benefit from receiving Ponderings each week? Subscribing is simple, free, and no strings are attached. Simply click on:  www.ponderings.info and enter the recipient’s email address.