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Q1 2021 Plan Performance

By Constantine Mulligan, Director of Investments Partner, Cerity Partners LLC

Vista 401(k) Plan Fund Performance

Overall, the investments in the plan have performed as expected, with the majority of funds ranking in the top half of their respective peer group over the three-, five-, and ten-year periods analyzed. However, in the short-term, more aggressively oriented strategies have been rewarded, and thus some of the plan’s more conservative strategies have lagged their peers. We accept the short-term lag, in favor of the longer-term superior track records, and expect the short-term underperformance to regulate in the coming quarters. Last quarter, we referenced the performance disparity between value and growth investing. We explained that some of the funds in the plan have value tilts and have underperformed their more growth-oriented peers. This performance disparity has begun to dissipate, and the aforementioned funds (specifically the T. Rowe Price Small Cap Stock and the American Funds 2010 Target Date Retirement Fund) have made up some of the lost ground. We assess that value and growth performance will continue to converge in the long term. Finally, all index-based, passively managed funds in the plan have continued to execute well on their index-replication strategies and have done so at a very low cost to the plan’s participants.

At this time, we recommend no changes to the investment menu.

For our clients who wish to take a deeper dive, we have provided the following economic and market commentary. This will provide an explanation of the overall macro and micro economic factors influencing the markets and, in turn, your Vista 401(k) account. If you have any questions or wish to discuss these matters in greater detail, please contact us at 866-325-1278 or e-mail us at 401k@vista401k.com.

On the Rise – Stocks, Bond Yields and Inflation Concerns

It appears fiscal policy and broad vaccine distribution has hastened and strengthened the reopening of the US economy. First-quarter GDP should be strong despite February’s weakness caused by inclement weather across the country. Within the equity markets, cyclical sectors continued their end-of-year momentum, notably outperforming the more stable growth sectors. Excitement around impending economic reopening is driving earnings-growth expectations and pricing for the more economically sensitive areas of the market. In addition to value stocks outpacing growth, small and mid-cap stocks beat the large-cap indices over the past twelve months. Overseas, the European economy contracted once again as rising infection rates led to renewed lockdowns. Despite the weaker economy, European equity markets performed well, with investors looking beyond these near-term issues to a broader reopening over the summer.

During the quarter, some large hedge funds’ high-profile struggles garnered much attention. Melvin Capital was caught in a classic short squeeze. It appears predominantly retail investors using social media bid up prices of companies with relatively weak business fundamentals, which caused steep losses in the hedge fund. Another incident occurred at the end of the quarter when Archegos Capital was forced to unwind highly levered positions, creating significant losses for some of its lending banks. Investors are currently viewing these as isolated incidents, providing no systemic risk to markets and the economy.

A bigger risk to equity markets may be the sharp rise in bond yields and the steepening of the yield curve seen throughout the quarter. The yield on the 10- year Treasury note nearly doubled on heightened fears that strong economic growth would provoke inflation. The Fed viewed this spike as a sign of economic recovery and reiterated it would maintain its current policy until inflation rises more consistently above the 2% target.

Our Perspectives

Equity Markets

  • Earnings growth should overtake valuation multiple expansion as the primary driver of U.S. equity returns. Earnings per share on the S&P 500 index are expected to be around 25%, which should offset any contraction in multiples caused by rising bond yields.
  • Less exposure to health care and technology and a higher weighting in economically sensitive sectors may lead to relative outperformance of European equities compared to U.S. stocks.
  • Japan’s export-dominated equity markets should benefit from the significantly higher growth expected in the U.S. and China, offsetting slower growth in domestic consumption from hesitant consumers.

Bond Markets

  • U.S. bond yields should continue to climb due to strong economic growth and rising inflation expectations. The Fed could step in if yields begin to affect the recovery, although it is not clear what rate level would spur a response.
  • While rising yields equate to higher levels of income for retirees, the rising rate environment of late has had an adverse effect on the prices of bonds, pushing their overall value lower in the short term.

What this Means for Investors

Record fiscal policies combined with the reopening of most service industries may fuel the greatest U.S. economic growth rate in years. While Fed policy should remain steady, the spike in longer-term bond rates could potentially impede equity returns, particularly in the high-multiple growth sectors. Markets will continue to focus on the economic recovery, with cyclical companies primarily experiencing a “V”-rebound in corporate profits. Consumer spending may slow in the near term due to higher oil and gas prices. Even so, higher personal income and savings rates should provide ample fuel for notable consumption over the rest of the year.

March 2021 Fund Performance Chart

Perseverance - Don’t Panic!

By Jim Matheu, Retirement Services Manager

Last year at this time the world felt the initial impact of COVID-19. It stretched on for months and continues to this day. In last year’s first quarter newsletter published April of 2020, I penned an article entitled “Take a Deep Breath and Don’t Panic.” When I wrote that article the stock market was in disarray. As noted below, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and Nasdaq each lost roughly one-third of their value from February 14, 2020 through March 20, 2020.

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average February 14, 2020: 29398
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average March 20, 2020: 19174
  • S&P 500 February 14, 2020: 3380
  • S&P 500 March 20, 2020: 2305
  • Nasdaq February 14, 2020: 9731
  • Nasdaq March 20, 2020: 6880

In that same article I detailed similar market struggles extending from 1962-2018. Refer to that article for timeline of key events.

Despite these struggles, from 1962 to January 2020, the three major indices performed as follows:

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average…7-8%
  • S&P 500………………………...........10-11%
  • Nasdaq (Began in 1971)………....11-12%

Our recovery from the pandemic has riveled or exceeded recoveries from previous events referenced above. As of this writing, the Dow Jones Industrial average is at 33,850, the S&P 500 is at 4,196 and the Nasdaq is at 14,060!

The impact felt by your Vista 401(k) Plan has been even more dramatic. In March of 2020 it fell significantly. As of today, April 29, 2021, it has more than recouped its losses and now stands at an all-time high! In short, the Vista 401(k) plan on the whole has experienced growth in the last year of roughly 50%! That is a remarkable number and serves as a testament to the resiliency of our country, the stock market, and the Vista 401(k) plan!

This last year also served to reinforce a lesson learned following all significant market declines. A lesson that is straightforward but sometimes hard to follow in the face of a plummeting stock market:

“Don’t panic and continue uninterrupted contributions to your retirement plan.”

In depressed markets, you purchase more shares at a lower cost and leave your account well-positioned as the market recovers. If you have done so over the last year, or even if you have not, this would be a good time to reevaluate your risk tolerance. Perhaps you were invested too aggressively and the dip in your portfolio caused unnecessary angst. Maybe you were invested too conservatively and did not benefit from the rebound.

Either way we suggest that you visit the Vista 401(k) website and choose the section entitled “Investment Risk Profile” which can be accessed by clicking here: https://www.vista401k.com/learning-center/401k-tools/investment-risk-profile/

This link will ask questions and from your answers, it will help you determine your risk tolerance. You may then, if you choose, realign your portfolio so that your investments better reflect your risk tolerance. This may bring you peace of mind when the stock market experiences future turbulence.

In addition to using the Risk Assessment tool, you may want to take advantage of one-on-one financial education available to Vista 401(k) participants at no additional cost to you. This service is offered through Cerity Partners, an independent Registered Investment Advisory firm. You may contact Cerity Partners through FBMC’s Retirement Services department by phone at 866-325-1278 or by e-mail at 401k@vista401k.com to set a meeting with a financial coach. This coach will help you understand your Vista 401(k) investment options, answer your questions, and help you make sound decisions about your retirement account.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss your Vista 401(k) account, you may also contact the Retirement Services Department at (866) 325-1278 or e-mail us at 401kvista401k.com.

“Nuts and Bolts”: How to Organize your Finances with Cerity Partners

By Jim Matheu, Retirement Services Manager

Your financial literacy is important as you organize your finances and plan for retirement. That is why we continue to emphasize that one-on-one 401(k)-related financial education is available to Vista 401(k) participants. This service, offered at no additional cost to you, is provided through Cerity Partners, an independent registered investment advisors’ firm.

Set up a meeting with a financial coach at Cerity Partners today to discuss your Vista 401(k) investment options, to answer your questions, and to help you make sound decisions about your retirement account.

Cerity Partners can be reached through FBMC’s Retirement Services department via phone or e-mail as detailed below:

866-325-1278 401k@vista401k.com

If you send an email or need to leave a message, please provide the following information:

  • Your name and the name of your employer
  • Your phone number and the best time to reach you
  • The general nature of your question

For your protection, please do not include any personal financial information. All messages will be returned within 24 business hours.

Open A Vista 401(k) Account Today!

Abra hoy una Cuenta Vista 401(k)!

By Ronald Vargas, Retirement Plan Specialist

As the end of the school year approaches, this time of year can be bittersweet for those of you who are retiring. We wish you the best and hope that you have achieved your professional and 401(k) retirement goals! If you are not retiring anytime soon there is still time to start contributing into your 401(k) account.

A medida que se acerca el final del año escolar, esta época del año puede ser agridulce para aquellos de ustedes que se jubilan. ¡Le deseamos lo mejor y esperamos que haya alcanzado sus metas de jubilación 401(k)! Si no se va a jubilar pronto, todavía hay tiempo para comenzar a contribuir a su 401(k).

EASY TO START

The Vista 401(k) retirement plan is simple to start, convenient to manage, and remains a low-cost alternative that will help you meet your retirement goals. If eligible you can enroll on your first day of employment since there is no waiting period. It is simple to make contributions as they are automatically deducted from your paycheck each pay period. Visit our website at www.vista401k.com to enroll in the Vista 401(k) retirement plan. You may also call the Retirement Services Department at 866-325-1278 or complete the abbreviated application provided at the bottom of our monthly educational emails.

Once you establish an account, you can use the Vista 401(k) website to:

  • Make contribution changes
  • Investment changes
  • Download your statement
  • Designate beneficiaries
  • Request a loan

FÁCIL DE COMENZAR

Este plan de jubilación es fácil de comenzar, conveniente de administrar y es una alternativa de bajo costo para satisfacer sus objetivos de jubilación. Siempre que sea elegible, puede inscribirse en su "primer día" de empleo, ya que no hay un período de "espera". Puede realizar contribuciones fácilmente, ya que se deducen automáticamente de su cheque de pago. Visite nuestro sitio web en www.vista401k.com e inscríbase o complete el formulario de inscripción.

  • Realizar cambios de contribución
  • Cambios de inversión
  • Descargue su estado de cuenta
  • Designar beneficiarios
  • Solicita un préstamo

FEDERAL TAX BENEFIT

Do you know that your 401(k) account is generally referred to as a tax deferred savings plan? That is because you do not pay tax on the contributions made into your 401(k) account during the year. Further, all gains are tax deferred until the money is withdrawn. In 2021, the IRS allows you to contribute $19,500 to your retirement plan. If you are 50 years old or older, the IRS allows you to contribute an additional $6,500, raising your maximum to $26,000 for the year. Put another way, you could reduce your taxable income in 2021 by as much as $19,500 or $26,000 if you are 50 years old or older.

BENEFICIO DEL IMPUESTO FEDERAL

¿Sabía usted que su plan 401(k) se conoce generalmente como un ahorro diferido de impuestos? Eso es porque usted no paga ningún impuesto sobre las aportaciones realizadas en el 401(k) durante el año. Asimismo, la ganancia, los intereses y dividendos también son diferidos por impuestos hasta que se retire el dinero. Dentro de este año, 2021, la cantidad de dinero que el IRS le permite contribuir a su plan 401(k) es de hasta $26,000 para empleados de 50 años o más o $19,500 para empleados menores de 50 años. Dicho de otra manera, podría reducir su ingreso imponible en 2021 por $26,000 o $19,500 dependiendo de su edad.

CERITY PARTNERS

Through the Vista 401(k) Plan, one-on-one financial education is available for all participants through Cerity Partners. Cerity is an independent registered investment advisory firm that can help you understand your Vista 401(k) investment options, answer your questions, and help you to make sound decisions about your retirement account. This added service is available at no additional cost to the participant and will help you properly prepare for retirement.

SOCIOS DE CERITY

A través del Plan Vista 401(k), tenemos una educación financiera personalizada que está disponible para todos los participantes a través de nuestro socio con Cerity quien es una firma de asesoría de inversiones registrada independiente que puede ayudarlo a comprender sus opciones de inversión de Vista 401(k), responder sus preguntas y ayudarlo a tomar decisiones acertadas sobre su cuenta de jubilación. Este servicio adicional está disponible sin costo adicional para el participante y lo ayudará a prepararse adecuadamente para la jubilación.

If you have any questions, please contact the Retirement Services Department via phone, 866-325-1278, or email, 401k@vista401k.com.

Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, por favor contactarnos al Departamento de Servicios y Retirados al numero de telefono (866) 325-1278 o nuestro correo electronico 401k@vista401K.com.

¡Hablo Espanol!

Think Twice Before Taking a 401(k) Loan

By Toni Milton, Sr. Retirement Plan Specialist

Everyone experiences financial challenges during their life. Many have learned that hard lesson this past year. However, during these difficult times we suggest that you do not tap into your retirement nest egg. Your Vista 401(k) account, or any retirement account, should be a last resort. The need to borrow from your retirement savings is a red flag, a warning that you may be living beyond your means. Only after you have exhausted all other potential sources of funding should you turn to these types of accounts. The goal is to contribute to your Vista 401(k) account each pay period, uninterrupted, for your entire career. This will allow you to maximize your savings and spend your retirement years enjoying the fruits of your labor.

Tax Benefits

There are tax benefits to investing in your retirement plan. Your retirement plan contributions are made on a pre-tax basis. This means that you realize a tax break when making contributions to the plan. Additionally, you are not taxed until you take the money out of the plan. Another reason not to touch these funds until retirement is that, when you take a loan from your plan, you may be subjecting yourself to additional taxes. While regular 401(k) contributions are taken out of your paycheck on a pre-tax basis, the loan repayments are not.

Loan Repayment

When you take a loan from your retirement plan, you will have to pay the money back to the account. A repayment plan will be established when the loan is taken, with terms ranging from one to four years. The loan payments will begin at the next available payroll and will be deducted from your paycheck automatically for most of our customers. Something else to consider when borrowing against your 401(k) are the fees. The Vista 401(k) plan charges a one-time loan processing fee of $65.00, and the trust bank charges a distribution fee of $20.00. The plan only allows one loan at a time and there is a 30-day waiting period between loans.

Also, if you fail to repay the loan in full before you leave employment, you will default on the loan. When you default on a 401(k) loan and have not reached the age of 59 1/2, the IRS treats the loan as a distribution, which would be subject to both income tax and an additional 10 percent early withdrawal penalty. This can quickly put a big dent in your retirement savings.

Opportunity Loss of Growth

Loans result in you losing the opportunity to grow your investment. Over time the gains on the money in your account can experience significant accumulation. When you pull money out of your retirement account, you may be missing out on growth opportunities. In addition, while you are slowly repaying the loan with a bit of added interest, this slow repayment plan can impact the rate at which your money grows.

Conclusion

Understandably, life happens, and there are times when you really need some extra money. That is why you should consider an emergency fund. An emergency fund will allow you to navigate difficult times without touching your nest egg. When retirement comes knocking at your door you will be happy you did not take a loan and, instead, allowed your funds to grow and flourish over the years!