What is the value that people receive when they work with an objective, client-focused financial planner?
Owners of all-purpose motor vehicles often appreciate their cars most when they leave smooth city freeways for rough gravel country roads. In investment, highly diversified portfolios can provide similar reassurance.
In blue skies and open highways, flimsy city sedans might cruise along just as well as sturdier sports utility vehicles. But the real test occurs when the road and weather conditions deteriorate.
That’s why people who travel through different terrains often invest in a SUV that can accommodate a range of environments, but without sacrificing too much in fuel economy, efficiency, and performance.
In the popular TV program MasterChef, contestants face a series of cooking challenges. From low quality ingredients to inadequate preparation and poor implementation, so many things can, and do, go wrong. It’s a bit like investing.
In the world of investment, there customarily are two broad approaches. The first is a traditionally active one: Managers attempt to find mispriced securities or seek to time their entry and exit points from various parts of the market.
This first approach is akin to the MasterChef challenge, which requires inventing a new and distinctive dish within a set time frame. The apparent advantage for the chef is flexibility of concept.
In 1945, the U.S. made up more than half of the world’s total gross domestic product (GDP), which basically means that half the world’s economy took place inside U.S. borders. Today that figure is just under 22%.
Does that mean America is in decline?
There seems to be a bull market in doomsayers these past few years, as we’re all reading arguments that the U.S. is slowly losing its grip on global preeminence. The rhetoric today sounds a lot like the hand-wringing back in the 1980s when Japan was allegedly taking over the global economy, and before that, when the Soviet Union had more missiles and a Sputnik circling over our heads.
Some people rush to do their taxes as soon as they receive their last tax form, but is this the best action to take? If a person owns mutual funds in a taxable brokerage account, they may want to consider waiting until the end of March or even close to April 15th to file. It is not uncommon for brokerage firms to send out revised/amended/corrected 1099s after the original form was sent.
Social Security’s future solvency has become one of the most commonly-discussed issues in retirement planning—and for good reason. Gallup polls show that an estimated 57% of retirees rely on Social Security as a major source of retirement income—a number that has held steady since the early 2000s.
Volatility is back. Just as many people were starting to think markets only ever move in one direction, the pendulum has swung the other way. Anxiety is a completely natural response to these events. Acting on those emotions, though, can end up doing us more harm than good.
Chances are, you’re celebrating today’s lower gas prices. AAA reports that the national average price of gas is $2.60, the lowest since December 2009. The result: an estimated $70 billion in direct savings for U.S. consumers over the next 12 months. At previous prices, the average American was spending about $2,600 a year on gasoline, so the 20% price decline would result in $520 more to save or spend.
It gets better. Even though gas prices (and, therefore, the cost of driving) have plummeted, the Internal Revenue Service is raising the standard mileage rates that people can deduct on their tax return for business travel, from 56 cents in 2014 to 57.5 cents per business mile driven next year.
Now that the midterm elections are safely behind us, a lot of people are wondering how politics will impact their investment returns. The conventional wisdom is that divided government--where one party holds the White House while the other controls the House, the Senate or both--is good for the markets. But is that true?
rofessional investors know something that most people find impossible to believe: that the threat of scary ups and downs in the markets is by far the best friend of the long-term and diversified investor. Why? Because over the long term, stocks have provided returns far higher than bonds or cash.