ARBOR OUTLOOK: Burpees, income generation and The Byrds

Margaret R. McDowell
Margaret R. McDowell

“To everything … turn, turn, turn … There is a season … turn, turn, turn … And a time to every purpose, under heaven.” — from “Turn! Turn! Turn!” as performed by The Byrds

The first time I heard the term "burpees" I assumed that a drink went down the wrong way for one of my boomer brethren, causing a case of hiccups. But no. Burpees are an exercise that involves dropping to the floor into a squatting position, jumping horizontally into a push-up position, returning to a squatting position, then reaching up with both arms as you return to a standing posture. Trust me, I have no first-hand experience in this process.

I am also informed by my younger and fitter team members here that one should add push-ups and plyometrics (jumping) to maximize the benefits of the routine. When I heard this, I thought, "Oh to be young and strong!" That the exercise should change for different ages, though, actually caused me to think about similarities between various fitness regimens and investing strategies for younger and older clients.

Unfortunately, most financial advice is offered identically, whether you're 30 or 70. But investment strategies and priorities should change with our station in life.

First, young investors can benefit more from a “set it and forget it” investment philosophy. Markets tend to trend upward over long time periods, like a 30- or 40-year working career. Thus, their priority should often be socking money away into investment vehicles and letting compound interest work for them. I often tell young investors that a decade-long downturn would be the best thing that would happen to them because they could enjoy bargain purchases over their saving years.

As an investor reaches middle age and peak earnings, tax planning and deciding which accounts should house certain investment strategies become larger factors in planning. This is also the age at which many investors start packing parachutes in their portfolios; large declines in investment balances mean a lot more as one’s portfolio keeps adding commas and zeros.

As we reach retirement age, creating portfolio income may become a priority, and thus, the type of securities we choose to invest in may change. A 65 year-old retiree may want to own income-producing investments to supplement a pension and Social Security. Growth can still be a goal, but a dependable revenue stream thrown off by one’s investments can make an occasional dip in share price more tolerable.

Very sharp market downturns are most problematic in the first few years of retirement. This is the juncture at which actively paying attention to one’s portfolio is most sensible.

Finally, asset protection, estate planning and wealth transfer often become more prominent during the latter stages of retirement.

That was all inspired by burpees. Next week we’ll consider planks.

Margaret R. McDowell, ChFC, AIF, author of the syndicated economic column "Arbor Outlook," is the founder of Arbor Wealth Management, LLC, (850-608-6121 —, a “fee-only” registered investment advisory firm located near Sandestin.