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Wes Moss: The happy retiree’s resolution for 2020

Wes Moss is the host of the radio show “Money Matters,” which airs from 9-11 a.m. Sundays on News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB. CONTRIBUTED BY NICK BURCHELL
Wes Moss is the host of the radio show “Money Matters,” which airs from 9-11 a.m. Sundays on News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB. CONTRIBUTED BY NICK BURCHELL

With the brand-new horizon of 2020, no doubt you’ve thought of goals, resolutions and intentions for the year. It’s a tradition, after all, to make a list of the things we want to accomplish over the new year. This year in the Moss house, we sat down at our kitchen table and talked about what we wanted to do this year as a family. Even little kids can get excited talking about goals when they’re about fun things they want to do this year. Think summer camp ideas, spring sports, and where we might want to go as a family for vacation — Michigan or Montana? It’s truly a fun exercise when everyone chimes in.

As you make your yearly list, which will hopefully contain some fun items like vacations, maybe a family reunion, graduations, weddings, etc., you should also consider making goals that help you work toward creating long-term financial security. What are you doing to set yourself up to be a happy retiree? Consider a new mortgage paydown strategy, adding an additional income stream, or perhaps mastering a new core pursuit. For many of us, just like we’re always trying to lose 5 pounds, we’re also always thinking about ways to save more. But keep in mind that growing your nest egg is a multiyear (multidecade, even) endeavor and not just a goal for 2020.

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When setting goals that span decades, it’s important to remember to put the day-to-day fluctuations and headlines of the markets, the economy and politics into context. While it’s good to be informed of the events of the day, they don’t define your goals or your plan. When you think about your goals, know that they go beyond a market tumble, an economic downturn, or even the most recent political skirmish.

While attention-grabbing, the news of the day is just that: news for that day. It’s not permanent. Instead, it’s often a blip on the radar when it comes to your life goals. Rarely do the day’s biggest headlines have anything to do with the next 10, 20, 30 or 40 years for you and your investments.

I'm in no way implying that it's terrible to dissect market headlines or to listen to the media outlets that cover them. In fact, that's what my WSB Radio show, "Money Matters," does every Sunday. However, I believe we should strive to keep this information in context while we remain focused on the broad horizon that is our financial future.

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Our long-term financial goals are ever evolving. We may want to buy a house, we may have children, our children may go off to college, we want to take vacations along the way and, one day, we will probably want to retire. There’s no doubt that we’ll want to retire happily.

Creating a robust financial framework to leave full-time work is a significant factor in our happiness. It takes planning, goal setting, and it takes a sense of optimism to make our way through all these big-money decisions and trust in the process. Fortunately, I think it’s easy to be optimistic — after all, we’re lucky enough to live in America.

The guiding mission for both my radio show and the work my colleagues and I do at Capital Investment Advisors is to help families find happiness in retirement. A big part of how we get there is by using an investment philosophy called "income investing." Our goal is to use income investing to help families generate "paychecks" from their investment and retirement savings. I've written about the income investing process extensively in my book, "You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think," which is now in its seventh year. In the book, I also dive deep to educate readers on what factors make for a truly happy retirement.

Even armed with optimism and an understanding of income investing and what makes for happiness in retirement, nobody said the process is easy. Being an investor is hard work — it takes dedication, prudence and emotional steadiness in periods of upset.

>> RELATED | Wes Moss: A half-century of pain and progress for investors

Since WWII, there have been 15 bear markets (corrective periods of 20% or higher) that have reared their ugly heads. Some were a flash in the pan, while others stuck around and tested the mettle of even the most grizzled investment pro.

I think what throws so many people off course for wealth creation is the sheer terror of declines like these. There are entire books, classes and studies on the impact of loss and the human instinct to run from fear. Science says the pain of financial loss is three to four times as powerful as the pleasure of gain. No wonder investing can be so difficult.

But these bear markets are the price we pay to enjoy the 6%, 8% or even 12% annual rates of return (when you include dividends) that have come with being invested throughout market history.

So, here we are now. Markets have very much recovered from the carnage of the last bear market. For those who stayed invested throughout this entire market cycle, you have been rewarded. Looking beyond negative headlines, hiccups and even disasters was a necessary piece of the equation. And understanding the immutable force of U.S. capitalism and prosperity helped, too.

What’s on the horizon for the next handful of decades? No one can say with certainty how the market will fare. But as long as we believe in American ingenuity, entrepreneurship, innovation and drive, I believe that we’ll continue to experience growth. If this economic freight train we’re on continues, so will the ability for companies to make money and increase earnings. These two factors are what we need to see for the market to march higher over time.

I invite you to share in a fundamental belief: that it is essential for you, as an investor, to believe in the progress of business in America and around the world. No matter the headlines. No matter the tumbles. No matter the news from Washington, D.C. Happy New Year, Atlanta.

Wes Moss has been the host of “Money Matters” on News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB in Atlanta for more than seven years now, and he does a live show from 9-11 a.m. Sundays. He is the chief investment strategist for Atlanta-based Capital Investment Advisors. For more information, go to wesmoss.com.

DISCLOSURE

This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as investment advice or recommendations. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. There is no guarantee offered that investment return, yield, or performance will be achieved. There will be periods of performance fluctuations, including periods of negative returns. Past performance is not indicative of future results when considering any investment vehicle. This information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax, or investment adviser before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.