Q2 2020 Market Commentary
Stocks rebounded from a dismal March by posting their best monthly returns since 1987, as investors were encouraged by the expectation of additional government stimulus programs and hope that the economy would be reopening soon. The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act provided funding for additional small business loans, and offered financial support to hospitals, while increasing the availability of more virus testing. The Federal Reserve added trillions of dollars in funds to its lending programs. A few states began easing lockdown restrictions and reopening a range of businesses. While there were plenty of ups and downs in the market during the month, April closed with each of the benchmark indexes listed here climbing notably higher. The Nasdaq gained 15.45%, followed by the Russell 2000, the S&P 500, and the Dow.
There are many great quotes out there that are relevant right now, but it’s a lyric from Bob Dylan’s song, Brownsville Girl (a B-side track from the 80’s) that is in my mind: “Strange how people who suffer together have stronger connections than people who are most content.”
Yes, the times they are a-changin’ in many different ways, and it is easy to feel alone or isolated as we all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. But remember . . . our families, businesses, communities, states, and countries are all in this together. We have all been forced to look at things from a different angle. Ultimately, it is making us stronger and pushing us forward so that we can be more resilient in the future.
CARES Act Recap
Adapted from Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. This $2 trillion emergency relief package represents a bipartisan effort to assist both individuals and businesses in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and accompanying economic crisis. The CARES Act provisions for retirement plan relief for individuals under federal tax law are discussed here.
For those seeking access to their retirement funds, these include special provisions for coronavirus-related distributions and loans. For those seeking to preserve their retirement funds, certain required minimum distributions from retirement funds have been suspended.
A 10% penalty tax generally applies to distributions from an employer retirement plan or individual retirement account (IRA) before age 59½ unless an exception applies. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the penalty tax will not apply to up to $100,000 of coronavirus-related distributions to an individual during 2020. Additionally, income resulting from a coronavirus-related distribution is spread over a three-year period for tax purposes unless an individual elects otherwise. Coronavirus-related distributions can also be paid back to an eligible retirement plan within three years of the day after the distribution was received.
A Retirement Income Roadmap for Women
While everybody needs to plan for retirement, women often face special challenges when planning for this time of life.
For one, their careers are more likely to be interrupted to care for children or elderly parents. Even if women stay in the workforce fulltime, they tend to earn less than men, on average. As a result, their retirement plan balances are often lower.
In addition to earning less, women generally live longer than men. This means having to stretch potentially limited retirement savings and benefits over many years.
Don’t dismay. Here are a few tips to help yourself or the women in your life manage these challenging financial realities.
Participate In Retirement Planning.
You may be balancing so many responsibilities that you haven’t given retirement planning much thought. Or maybe you’d rather let your spouse take on these duties. That’s understandable, but it’s critical for women to take an active role in planning for retirement. Married or not, make sure you are well-informed and are able to make financial decisions that benefit you.
How Often Should I Review Retirement
Adapted from Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions
It’s generally a good idea to review your employer-sponsored retirement savings plan at least once each year and when major life changes occur. If you haven’t given your plan a thorough review within the last 12 months, now may be a good time to do so.
Have you experienced any life changes?
Since your last retirement plan review, have you experienced any major life changes?
For example, did you get married or divorced, buy or sell a house, have a baby, or send a child to college? Perhaps you or your spouse changed jobs, received a promotion, or left the workforce entirely. Has someone in your family experienced a change in health? Or maybe you inherited a sum of money that has had a material impact on your net worth. Any of these situations can affect both your current and future financial situation and should be considered as you review your retirement savings needs.
In addition, your annual review is a good time to examine the beneficiary designations on your plan account to make sure they reflect your current wishes. This is particularly true if your marital situation has changed. With most employer-sponsored plans, your spouse is automatically your plan beneficiary unless he or she waives that right in writing.
Say, for example, you remarried and you would like your children to remain as primary beneficiaries on your retirement plan. In that case, your spouse would need to waive his or her right to the assets in writing.
Meet Gary Hanson
Meet Gary Hanson
Gary Hanson is the senior vice president and a director at Heartland Trust Company. He has been an integral part of the growth and success of Heartland Trust over the years. While now enjoying a certain amount of “flex-time,” he continues to be in the office almost every day.
What do you do at Heartland Trust?
Along with ongoing business development responsibilities, I managed the Retirement Services Division at Heartland until 2014. My current responsibilities at HTC include account administration, client relationships, leading the corporate finance team, and serving on the executive committee.
Tell us about yourself.
I am originally from Crookston, Minnesota, and, except for a two-year break, I have been in the Fargo area since graduating from Moorhead State University in 1972 with an accounting degree. My wife, Ruth, and I live in West Fargo, and our daughter, Rachel Clarke, and family live in north Fargo, while our son, Ben, and family live in south Fargo.
Celebrating 30 Years: Part 2
Heartland Trust Company turns 30 this year, and we’ve accumulated a bit of history as we enter our fourth decade. Each quarterly newsletter this year will have a feature on one of our old locations.
Shortly after Heartland Trust opened its doors for business at the same location as Busy Bubbles Car Wash & Laundromat, it was clear the growing company needed more office space.
Is Being Vulnerable a Weakness
By Brian Halverson, President
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a hot topic in today’s business world, and rightfully so. It is your ability to express and control your own emotions and also your ability to understand and interpret other people’s emotions. Why is this so important, you may ask? Just watch an episode of The Bachelor or Bachelorette. Many of our own problems we bring onto ourselves.
As humans, it is impossible to get every decision just right or have the proper reaction to everything. It’s hard work balancing a sick kid, getting everyone out the door in the morning and on time, dealing with a flat tire, meeting deadlines, dealing with health issues, etc. This is where having the ability to be vulnerable is so important. If you are aware you made a poor decision or said something out of line in a meeting, recognize that and have the courage to admit it. It’s far better for your team at work or your family if you address it, put it behind you, and move on. If you don’t, it will linger on and not only affect your performance but those around you.
At the end of the day, we all want to be happy and that starts with ourselves. In my mind, being vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about showing strong character.
The Importance of Annual 401(k) Census Information
Businesses that sponsor 401(k) plans are required to run annual compliance tests to ensure that their plan meets the regulatory requirements to maintain their qualified status. In order to run these tests, your Third Party Administrator (TPA) will request certain information from you such as a complete census file. This file includes important information on each employee who received a paycheck from you during the year, regardless of whether or not they are eligible to participate in the plan. Your census information should be compiled and forwarded to your TPA within a month following your plan year-end to ensure that the proper tests are run and any necessary corrections to testing failures are completed timely.