Wealth Management

Prudential conducted a survey of 198 financial advisors to gain insight on how they are investing and constructing portfolios for retirees. 80% use separate portfolios that are specifically designed for retirees. Additionally, the use of targeted portfolios was higher among advisors who were more knowledgeable about planning for retirement. 

Another takeaway from the survey is that 50% of retirees prefer to live off of income from their portfolios. Thus, advisors need to ensure that their portfolios generate income for clients while balancing other factors like total return and diversification.

In terms of asset classes for retirement portfolios, advisors favored long-term fixed income, US large-cap stocks, and TIPS. Advisors who were more knowledgeable about retirement planning favored long-term bonds and TIPS to a greater degree than less knowledgeable advisors. 

The survey also showed that most advisors are constructing retirement portfolios themselves or with the assistance of third-party recommendations or allocators. Advisors with less knowledge about the subject were more likely to outsource portfolio construction. 

Most advisors are helping clients plan for retirement by optimizing for goals such as flexibility in spending or timeframe. This is in contrast to other approaches, which include using a bucket strategy or segmenting the portfolio into different strategies for different purposes.


Finsum: Prudential conducted a survey of financial advisors. Those with more knowledge about retirement planning favored long-term bonds and tend to use differentiated strategies.

Bonds are generally lagging behind this year, with the Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index down by 3% year-to-date as of April 2022. Municipal bonds are similarly affected, with the ICE AMT-Free US National Municipal Index showing a 1% decline since the year's start. However, pockets of strength exist within the municipal bond space, particularly in high-yield offerings like the VanEck High Yield Muni ETF (HYD), which has seen nearly a 1% increase year-to-date. 

 

Despite the higher risk associated with high-yield bonds, HYD maintains a balanced risk profile, with a significant portion of its portfolio allocated to investment-grade bonds. Offering a 30-day SEC yield of 4.49%, HYD presents an attractive option for investors seeking enhanced yield opportunities, particularly those comfortable with added risk and in higher tax brackets. 

 

Overall, high-yield munis could serve as a credible alternative to junk corporate bonds, especially considering their relative resilience amid rising interest rates and the potential for enhanced returns compared to traditional municipal bond funds.


Finsum: Munis market is capitalizing on the current environment and investors don’t want to miss out. 

Amid ongoing concerns over inflation, the Federal Reserve opted to maintain its key interest rate at its highest level in over a decade, ranging between 5.25% and 5.5%. Despite solid economic expansion and strong job gains, the central bank noted a persistent lack of progress toward its 2% inflation target. Annual inflation rates remained elevated, with the consumer price index registering at 3.5%, driven primarily by surging housing and insurance costs.

 

Although there is optimism about reaching the 2% inflation goal, economists caution that significant progress is still needed. The Fed's strategy of keeping interest rates elevated to curb inflation has yielded mixed results, with inflation rates plateauing between 3% and 4% after initial declines. Complex factors, including rising costs passed on by insurance companies and varying consumer spending behaviors, contribute to the inflationary pressures beyond the Fed's control.

 

While concerns about the labor market and future business conditions persist, analysts believe the likelihood of a recession remains low. Fed Chair Jerome Powell emphasized the ongoing uncertainty, indicating a cautious approach to monetary policy adjustments in the near term.


Finsum: Expect rates to hold steadier than markets might expect with this stubborn of inflation. 

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