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You may need to work longer, ramp up investment risk to afford retirement, BlackRock CEO Fink says – CNBC



The chairman and CEO of the world’s largest asset manager told CNBC on Wednesday that he worries about a “silent crisis of retirement,” citing global monetary policies that create disincentives for savers.

“Unquestionably, as central banks keep rates low, or negative in Europe, the savers are getting slammed,” BlackRock co-founder Larry Fink said on “Squawk Box.”

“Asset owners are the biggest beneficiaries of monetary policy, and this is why I think a year ago, two years ago, I talked about we needed more fiscal stimulus and maybe less monetary stimulus,” he added.

Fink said he believes people are increasingly beginning to put money to work in the stock market instead of keeping it in lower-risk investments or savings accounts.

While the Federal Reserve’s interest policy directly relates to short-term borrowing among banks, it still impacts savings and borrowing rates for everyday Americans. Currently, the federal funds rate is anchored near zero as the central bank tries to support an economic recovery from the Covid pandemic.

The effective federal funds rate has been below 2% for much of the post-2008 financial crisis period, with the exception of between October 2018 and September 2019, according to historical data compiled by the St. Louis Federal Reserve.

“Many of the savers are now more confused, and I think some of them are now, finally, entering into equities and other asset categories as a part of it,” said Fink, who noted he’s long advocated for 100% exposure in stocks, not that he “predicted where monetary policy would be.”

The traditional allocation for investors’ portfolios has been 60% in stocks and 40% in bonds, often tweaked depending on how close investors are to retirement.

In 2018, Fink told CNBC most people saving for retirement should have the bulk of their portfolios in stocks rather than bonds, even those as old as 50.

BlackRock benefits from people putting money into all manner of investment vehicles, including stocks and bonds. Fink’s company in the second quarter saw a 30% year-over-year increase in assets under management to nearly $9.5 trillion.

“We are going to have to address what I would call the silent crisis of retirement,” Fink said. “People are going to have to, unfortunately, whether they like it or not, they may have to work longer because they’re not earning the same returns on their savings.”

The typical retirement age in the U.S. is thought to be moving higher, as Fink suggested.

Additionally, the Social Security Administration says the full retirement age — when someone can receive their entire benefit amount — is 67 for people who are born in 1960 and later.

According to the Fed’s 2020 Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households, about 75% of non-retired U.S. adults had some money saved for retirement. About 25% “did not have any,” according to the report. That’s about the same percentage breakdown found in the 2019 report.

“While most non-retired adults had some type of retirement savings, only 36 percent of non-retirees thought their retirement saving was on track,” the Fed wrote in its 2020 report.

The stock market, after a major plunge in February and March of last year, has ripped off a major rally, thanks in part to support from the Fed. The central bank slashed interest rates to near zero and began asset purchases of at least $120 million a month. Fink’s BlackRock was hired by the Fed to help execute the bond buying program.

Congress also authorized trillions of dollars in fiscal stimulus to aid the beleaguered economy and the millions of Americans who lost their jobs.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 hit yet another record high on an intraday basis. The broad-equity index is up around 100% since its pandemic-era low on March 23, 2020.

“If you had a balanced portfolio, over the last year you’ve done quite well,” Fink acknowledged Wednesday morning, before the market opened. “You may be being hurt on your bond or cash allocation, but on your equity allocation you’ve done quite well, and for those who own homes, obviously they’ve been a big beneficiary of rising asset prices.”

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Outdoor Ballet Experience Receives Government Investment – 91.9 The Bend



The provincial and federal governments are investing over $362,000 in the Atlantic Ballet Atlantique Canada’s, Ballet by the Ocean experience.

Created in an effort to combat the restrictions caused by the pandemic, Ballet by the Ocean is an outdoor spectacle located on the Northumberland Strait.

“All of us at Atlantic Ballet Atlantique Canada are incredibly grateful for this significant contribution to our company and our newest experience. Ballet By The Ocean,” said Susan Chalmers-Gauvin, Co-Founder and CEO, Atlantic Ballet Atlantique Canada.

The funds committed by the Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency will support marketing, promotion, and brand development.

Investments contributed by New Brunswick’s Regional Development Corporation and the Department of Canadian Heritage will focus on upgrades for the experience.

“That allows us to purchase a new stage, a sprung dance floor which is specialized for professional ballet and a rubberized dance floor that can withstand the outdoors and also the venue seating,” said Chalmers-Gauvin.

Ballet by the Ocean prioritizes a focus on local, with meals prepared by Chef Emmanuel Charretier and wine from a local winery.

Guests are provided with the exact location of the performance just two days before the event occurs. Upon arrival, guests witness the breathtaking backdrop that makes the experience unparalleled.

“The birds are flying overhead there might be a hare, there might be an eagle, so you’re witnessing the water, the wetlands and nature while you’re watching a beautiful ballet performance,” She said

She adds that their location required help from the Department of Environment to maintain the wetlands.

Tickets for the Ballet by the Ocean 2021 season were in high demand, with all 11 shows selling out. However, with New Brunswick set to remove all pandemic restrictions, there may be a seat for you after all.

“Now that we’re going to green, I’m thrilled to announce that performances on July 31st, September 4th,11th and 18th have reopened because we can have more capacity,” said Chalmers-Gauvin.

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Investment in rural broadband internet helps rural life – Toronto Star



The Alberta government announced a $150 million investment to expand and improve broadband internet services for Albertans living in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities throughout the province.

Premier Jason Kenney, along with Minister of Service Alberta Nate Glubish, Associate Minister of Rural Economic Development and Drumheller-Stettler MLA Nate Horner, Chief Billy Morin of the Enoch Cree Nation, and Wetaskiwin-Camrose MLA Jackie Lovely made the announcement on Thursday, July 22.

“In a lot of our small towns we’ve seen houses fly off the shelves, some of the lowest householdings in some of our little towns are right now post pandemic, and no one is asking any questions but ‘How is the internet,’” Associate Minister Horner tells the Mail.

He says this is something not isolated to his Drumheller-Stettler riding, and adds the investment will have the “potential to change things in a big way” across the province.

The need for better rural broadband connectivity has been an ongoing topic of discussion at both the provincial and federal levels of government, and Horner says the COVID-19 pandemic really “shone a light” on several of the concerns rural residents face when trying to connect online.

“We had kids going to at-home, online learning, and the calls I took from school divisions and families who didn’t have reliable enough (internet), or fast enough, to come close to what the schools were asking of them,” Horner said.

Horner notes the investment will help rural life in a number of ways, including in the agriculture industry where many farmers use wireless internet connections from everything to operating machinery to controlling moisture levels in grain bins.

Although the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has set targets for internet speeds across the country–at 50 megabits per second for downloads, and 10 megabits per second for upload speeds–Horner says this is simply not the case in many rural areas.

He says he is “fortunate” to be so close to an internet tower, but even in his close proximity–of about a mile–he says his internet is “just good enough” to allow him to connect virtually over Zoom meetings and his internet speeds are much lower than the CRTC targets.

Currently no announcement has been made as to which projects will receive part of the $150 million funding. Horner says there are some 800 projects before the Universal Broadband Fund in the province and the provincial government will need to “dig through those closely.” Each project will need to maximize private investment, reach as many households and small businesses as possible, and come under some form of regional fairness or equality, though Horner notes the first two points may at times contradict the third.

Horner also notes no federal deal has been finalized at this time, but it has been in conversation for “quite some time,” and is confident of federal participation.

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Segregated funds: an often-overlooked option for estate planning – Investment Executive



Segregated funds may be a lesser-known option for estate planning, but they’re versatile instruments for clients with specific concerns, says John Yanchus, a tax and estate planning consultant with Canada Life.

A segregated fund is an insurance contract issued by a life insurance company. Seg funds have two parts: a pooled investment component (similar to a mutual fund), plus an insurance policy that protects against the loss of the invested capital when a contract matures. By law, a seg fund must guarantee a return of at least 75% of the original capital, and many provide guarantees for 100%. Seg funds are defined as life insurance policies under the Income Tax Act.

Yanchus said segregated funds have numerous advantages over other investments in an estate-planning context — particularly when it comes to avoiding probate and protecting privacy.

“They can provide the ability to determine how your beneficiary gets paid,” he said. “You can bypass the estate, and bypass probate. You can take advantages of liquidity and timing of the payment, protect those funds from creditors, and also accomplish your philanthropy goals, all in one action.”

When it comes to privacy, clients may not realize that wills are considered public documents, and anybody can obtain a copy for a small fee. Segregated funds, on the other hand, generally do not become public documents.

“Your affairs will remain private,” he said, but noted that in Saskatchewan, the provincial government must be made aware of life insurance policies and segregated funds that are handled by an estate executor.

Charitable donations can also be easily accommodated and dispersed through seg funds by naming a charity as the beneficiary of the policy.

Yanchus, who called seg funds one of estate planning’s best kept secrets, added that seg funds can allow the owner to name up to 20 beneficiaries.

He also explained that a seg fund can be structured as an annuity, allowing a beneficiary to receive scheduled payments instead of a lump sum after the insured dies.

Yanchus said estate planning can be a complicated process, and without a clear plan for avoiding pitfalls, clients usually end up creating more headaches than they solve.

“I think of probate planning as one of those areas where clients willfully engage in self-destructive hell,” he said. “Many, many people love the idea of avoiding probate. The problem is they lack the knowledge on which avenue to use.”

Yanchus said that using seg funds’ beneficiary designations can be quite powerful.

“You have the ability to name the estate, if that’s where you want the funds to flow for liquidity purposes. Or you have the ability to pass these assets outside of the estate, thereby avoiding probate, avoiding contestation, and avoiding other potential creditors of the estate,” he said.

“It’s almost a way to control from the grave.”


This article is part of the Soundbites program, sponsored by Canada Life. The article was written without sponsor input.

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