Using your investment gains to help people in Ukraine

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Using your investment gains to help people in Ukraine

In the days following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many people have tried to guess what this would mean for gas prices or interest rates or your investments.

There is no harm or shame in this, at least not at all. Self-preservation – and its attendant instinct, money conservation – is an understandable impulse. It is reasonable for forecasters to try to settle people and markets down, even though forecasters routinely get it wrong.

But as with any act of military aggression that has the potential to sabotage global finances, an urgent question must be: Who needs help most urgently?

Chances are, it is children who have had to be taken to basements by hospital workers and those who are taking shelter in metro stations or fleeing their homes. Many of those adults didn’t have a 401(k) in the first place. Even those who have the fewest of their neighbors can lose more than they possibly can.

If you’re reading this, you probably aren’t one of them. We are entering the third year of a global pandemic, but you are still alive, even if you have lost people close to you. The job market is strong for people who want to work and feel secure doing so.

If you have a large, broad basket of U.S. stocks, even after the recent correction, they have risen about 40 percent over the past two years. If you own a home, those prices go up by at least 20 percent — for those over $50,000.

Spectacular. Your net worth may well be higher amid all the deaths from the disease, and it could remain that way as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens to wreak havoc on global markets.

This is not a call to celebration, but to briefly wonder if this could be your reality. And it’s true that the ability to dig deep to help others depends on preserving what you have.

My colleague Jeff Sommer noted that the stock markets made large gains in the wake of the Pearl Harbor bombing and the US invasion of Iraq in the mid-term. Investors did well during the Cold War years, even as millions suffered.

For most people, it would not be a good idea to try to profit directly from these types of events, but mere patience is not a moral failure.

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On Thursday, as the stock markets fell sharply and then recovered, Michael Zavadievsky, a Ukrainian-American financial planner, said he spoke to some clients on the idea that they should consider investing in various investments to protect themselves from potential losses. Must sell. About half of her customers share her roots.

But he didn’t get as many calls as you would have expected. Shared heritage aside, he and his clients subscribe to universal principles of sound financial planning. They have their money in investment buckets, some now and some to use later. They are prudent about risk and diversification. They do not deviate from the plan unless radical changes in their own lives demand it.

And he knows his history. “I don’t think war slows the economy in the long run,” Mr Zavadiwski said.

That didn’t stop him from staring in disbelief at pictures of tanks rolling through Ukraine and wondering what would happen to its citizens. He believes that most of them have not yet packed their bags, especially in the western part of the country, where their family has its roots.

“Where are they going?” Mr Zavadievsky said, a first-generation American who is part of a tight community of Ukrainian Americans in northern New Jersey. “I don’t even want to imagine what he’s going to look like. I think he’s still intent on fighting for what he has.”

If he and his clients are, for now, more concerned about people than their investment prospects, you should consider a similar stance. After all, there is one thing we can predict with reasonable certainty in the short term: people will need help.

If you’ve lost very little — and certainly if you’ve gained a lot — your family history has helped. Even though your ancestors were never officially refugees, they may have faced hardship if they moved from one country to another.

It’s an old story, with a new hero every year. For decades, Refugee International has focused on public policy and other initiatives that can ease their conflict. HIAS is another giant in the field that is sending it money right to protection, its Ukrainian partner. Other established nonprofits are likely to mobilize if the situation worsens.

Some omnibus, support method websites are already doing the rounds, such as suggestion on social media. If recent history is any guide, there will be tools and platforms you can use to get money directly, electronically, to individuals in need. Most of these efforts will work and are worth it. Inevitably, scams will pop up too, so be careful and ask questions.

And if it helps, don’t forget that there can often be a direct correlation between your own profit and your goodwill.

You can donate valuable stock to a number of charities and avoid paying capital gains taxes on those winnings. You can move a variety of securities into a donor-aided fund and spend it over time, while capturing any charitable tax deductions you may be eligible for. And if your investments suffer losses, subtract them if you can and imagine any tax savings in the form of subsidies for generous donations.

Maybe the invasion will affect your retirement or the cost of filling up your SUV, and it probably won’t. But right now other people are having a lot of trouble. Investing in them is one of the best ways to answer the question of what you can do about Ukraine in the near future.

#investment #gains #people #Ukraine

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