Insights & Observations Blog

Insights & Observations

Context and perspective to improve behavioral  finance patterns and  make smarter financial decisions. A focus above the fray, on what matters most for effective financial outcomes and goal achievement.

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    Q219 Quarterly Context Video

    Where are we in the business cycle? The stock market continues upward, but the bond market shows nervousness. Are stocks fairly valued or leaning over-valued? What positive returns are required when different levels of negative returns occur? Is that a quilt or the shapes of the stock market by size and number? 401k plan design […]

    ★ Featured blog post

    What it means to be a fiduciary advisor

    You may have read about the controversy over the fiduciary standard in the investment advisory industry. The SEC recently passed legislation that brought this charged issue back into the spotlight.  We want to share a short overview of what has transpired to help make sense of what you see in the media. As a Registered […]

    ★ Featured blog post

    Q119 Quarterly Context Video

    What stage is the US and other countries in the business cycle? Very different results for managed portfolios vs. do-it-yourself investors. The happiness equation is helpful: Happiness ≥ Perception – Expectations. An “inverted” yield curve often precedes a recession… how about this time? 10-year birthday of the post-Global Financial Crisis “bull” stock market. Hot Q1 […]

    ★ Featured blog post

    The happiness equation

    It is sometimes said that “money can’t buy happiness.” While this is true in a literal sense, and there is some debate about the subject in a figurative sense, one thing we know with certainty is that there is a link between emotions and money.  Emotions can have a significant impact on investment success, and […]

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    The 3 critical agreements business owners need to protect their personal finances

    When you own a business, you appreciate just how much your personal financial life is tied to your business.  What you may not realize is how much your personal financial wellbeing is intertwined with your partners or other owners in your business.  If you own a mature, successful business, and you’re seriously looking at your […]

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    When boring is good

    When the stock markets have long periods of positive returns, as they have had for most of the past decade, it can be easy to forget how a bear market feels to an investor.  The last quarter of 2018 provided a vivid reminder. Large market swings and precipitous drops can unnerve even the most experienced […]

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    Q418 Quarterly Context Video

    What’s driving stock market weakness? How the average investor does the wrong thing at the wrong time. Consumer confidence still high but waning. Who is borrowing more and who less? How many market corrections have there been in the last 10 years? How often do -5%, -10%, -15% and -20% market drops occur? Market recoveries […]

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    Q4-2018 Market Review

    Investors’ appetite for risk, while elevated for much of 2018, evaporated as the year drew to a close and wiped out positive returns for the year across broad asset classes (T-bills being a notable exception). Concerns over tighter monetary policy and the global withdrawal of stimulus measures, unresolved trade disputes, falling oil prices, slower global […]

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    This quarter marks ten years since the start of the global financial crisis

    While the consequences of that extreme period of financial turmoil are still being felt, the market recovery in the past decade provides a profound illustration of the value of staying the course through enormously difficult times. The ability to remain invested in your long-term strategy was severely tested a decade ago. For those who withstood […]

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    Q318 Quarterly Context Video

    Lessons learned from the Global Financial Crisis… a 10-year anniversary view. The economic expansion continues, but with concerns. Are there patterns between the current market and the dot-com bubble? It can be comforting to see the average return and length of up markets vs. down markets. What is “consumption smoothing” and how it helps retirement […]

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