Greetings and welcome to the new year! For the record, I cannot stand wintry weather nor it getting dark around 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. Thank goodness for Orange Theory, as I’ve become somewhat of an addict; their workouts 3 to 4 days per week have been a Godsend. It’s always fun when they have benchmark events either on the rower or treadmill, as I always win in my age bracket because I’m the only one that old! Spring can’t get here soon enough and I miss my weekend golf games with my friends.
I’m getting out more and seeing friends, clients, and referral partners and it’s been so refreshing to be around people again. The last two years in my home office have been challenging; I’m sure you’re feeling the same. It’s always interesting when I start to see a lot of the same concerns and hear the same questions from you. It tells me I need to write a blog, so here it is!
First and foremost, I hope you remember that not only do I manage my home/auto/business insurance practice with Elite Insurance Solutions, but I’m also securities licensed with Madison Ave Securities, and carry Series 7 and 65 licenses, and because of those licenses, have full fiduciary responsibilities for my clients. I do a lot, which has created occasional confusion and somewhat of an “identity crisis.”
With that thought in mind, I’m very proud to announce that I have a book coming out. It hits bookshelves, Amazon.com, and barnesandnoble.com on March 8 and if you go to www.castlesandmoatsbook.com you can get more information and pre-order it if you’re so inclined.
“If you’re going to build a castle of financial wealth, you need a large moat of insurance protection around it.”
So much for the “shameless self-promotion.” Let’s talk about what you can expect with regards to your insurance and investment planning for 2022. We are experiencing the highest inflation rates in almost 40 years. Yes, we feel it at the gas pumps, the grocery store, and in our heating and electric bills. Don’t expect any changes for a while. Time to relook at your 2022 monthly budgets and adjust accordingly.
- Availability of consumer products has been affected, and so have we. Two weeks ago, Kroger was out of potatoes, and Costco out of chicken. Frustrating! I’m going to avoid any political thought as I possibly can as it only creates a higher personal demand for bourbon of which I have plenty for a while!
- I’m seeing this carryover to the insurance world in a variety of ways. On home insurance claims, the cost to repair damage from a claim has increased significantly. Also, the scarcity of labor to do the repairs and the building materials needed has challenged the industry so the time to get the repairs done has lengthened. Yes, people are frustrated. This is where my inner psychologist comes out.
- My insurance clients say they are seeing increases in their home policy premiums. Several things at work here. First, it’s not a rate increase per se, but an increase in the Coverage A (dwelling) amount. Insurance companies are required to maintain coverage to 100% full replacement and that’s where the increase is coming from. I’ve seen the cost to rebuild a $500,000 dwelling increase by 10 to 15% this year.
- On auto claims, the “supply chain issues” are affecting the availability of auto parts to repair the vehicles, and the time it takes to complete the repairs. Windshields are in low supply due to the raw material needed to manufacture the glass has been reallocated towards COVID vials. No, I cannot make that up!
- This is my opinion, but the industry has not figured out how to price the cost of repairing or replacing electric or hybrid autos. This includes vehicles with a higher level of technology and safety features. We all know about the “microchip shortage” for that component required to allow a vehicle to work, and again, it’s affecting the auto insurance industry. Annual premiums between my 8 to 12 different companies are all over the place for the same car.
- In addition, lawsuits involving auto accidents are at their all-time high. People are not paying attention to the road like they should. All of that advanced technology is fun to play with, but not while you’re driving. Admit it, you have texted while driving in the last few days! (I probably have too.) The ads are everywhere saying you deserve to be paid, right? Guess where the money comes from? Yeah, insurance companies.
- Regarding our investment and retirement accounts, it’s gotten way too easy to get a double-digit return, hasn’t it? Very smooth seas for the last decade or so. Enter 2022 and the seas are getting choppy. You watch any news channel and they’re spouting facts and figures that you really don’t understand, but they affect you, nonetheless. Your emotions are overriding your logic and getting out of the market becomes a daily thought. (That’s Chapters 24 and 25 in the book, by the way.) Here’s my thought as a financial psychologist. Stay the course. Getting out of the market during volatile times is financial suicide. Take another risk tolerance questionnaire that you can find in your 401(k) portal and see how much risk you are now willing to take and adjust accordingly, or not at all. (Chapter 21)
Word count says it’s time to stop for this blog. I’m here to help, assist, advise, explain in any way possible. If any of these bullet points resonated, let me know. I appreciate the time it took to get to this paragraph. I’m beyond excited to share the book with you and hope to see you at a book signing in the Spring.