Stock prices in markets around the world fluctuated dramatically for the week ended August 27. On Monday, August 24, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1,089 points—a larger loss than the “Flash Crash” in May 2010—before rallying to close down 588. Prices fell further on Tuesday before recovering sharply on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Although the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.9% and 1.1%, respectively, for the week, many investors found the dramatic day-to-day fluctuations unsettling.
Global markets are providing investors a rough ride at the moment, as the focus turns to China’s economic outlook. But while falling markets can be worrisome, maintaining a longer term perspective makes the volatility easier to handle.
A typical response to unsettling markets is an emotional one. We quit risky assets when prices are down and wait for more “certainty.”
What is a financial advisor for? One view is that advisors have unique insights into market direction that give their clients an advantage. But of the many roles a professional advisor should play, soothsayer is not one of them.
The truth is that no one knows what will happen next in investment markets. And if anyone really did have a working crystal ball, it is unlikely they would be plying their trade as an advisor, broker, analyst, or financial journalist.
Grunden Financial Advisory, Inc. congratulates the University of North Texas’ financial planning program for winning a $50,000 grant from TD Ameritrade! Our very own Dave Ragan drafted UNT’s winning grant submission and will now implement portions of the grant’s proposals over the next two years. In addition to Dave’s attentive service to Grunden clients, he is also professor of the capstone financial planning course at UNT.
Any way you look at it, the standoff between the nation of Greece and the leaders of the European Union is a mess. But it may not be quite the problem that the press is making it out to be.
In case you haven’t been following the story, the gist of it is that the Greek government, over a period of years that included the time it hosted the Summer Olympics, issued more bonds than, in retrospect, it could possibly pay back. The total debt outstanding peaked at somewhere around $340 billion, which is actually more than the $242 billion in goods and services that the entire Greek economy produces in a year. You’ve no doubt heard about a series of bailouts organized by the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and other groups which have collectively extended loans and extensions amounting to $217 billion to date. As you can see from Figure 2, on the right-hand side, roughly $4 billion in payments are due in July and more than $3 billion in August, after which time the payment schedule becomes somewhat more forgiving through 2022.
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.
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.