Conference Take-Aways from AFS and FPA

This week’s post is late because I attended two conferences as a presenter and for professional development. Below are my take-aways from the Academy of Financial Services (AFS) and the Financial Planning Association (FPA):

  • About 50% of Americans own no stock directly or indirectly through mutual funds, ETFs, or retirement plans.
     
  • The new name for socially responsible investing (SRI) is ESG (environmental, sustainable, governance) investing. Investors choose ESG funds to align with their values, mitigate risk, and impact world problems.
     
  • The highest percentage of charitable giving is to religious organizations followed by “the needy.” Many more people make charitable gifts during their lifetime than at death.
     
  • Money is currently no longer the most frequent source of arguments among couples; political differences are.  Money is now the #2 stressor. When wives earn more than their husbands, conflict about money increases.
     
  • People experiencing financial stress lose 13% of their IQ (mental “bandwith) according to research studies.
     
  • About a third (34%) of elder abuse frauds are committed by family, friends, or neighbors. Warning signs include unusual activity in investment accounts, changes in legal documents, and checks made out to cash.
     
  • Many people cannot afford multiple financial goals. What to do? Increase savings, defer some goals, fund lower level goals (e.g., a less expensive car), and accept a lower likelihood of success for less important goals.
     
  • Fund financial goals concurrently, not sequentially. Otherwise, all of your financial goals will be short-term goals in conservative investments and decades of higher return investment growth will not be realized.
     
  • A speaker showed a picture of a human brain and the letters “ABL,” which stand for “always be learning.”