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.

  • Buyer re-beware – proposed “fiduciary rule” to protect investor has big gaps

    In a perfect world, all consumers of financial guidance and products would receive non-conflicted advice, because biased “advice” causes serious economic damage. A White House Council of Economic Advisers analysis estimates that conflicts of interest shrinks affected investor accounts by about 1% per year, totaling about $17 billion annually. Cumulatively, a 1% haircut hurts many… [Read More]

    Doctrine of the Mean

    Another year behind us and ahead of us. As 2014 started, many expected that inflation and interest rates would rise back towards more normal levels. Instead, rates stayed low, helping extended the US stock market rally. International stock markets have been slower to find their footing after the global financial crisis and are now adopting… [Read More]

    Will a stock market correction derail your goal?

    With markets hovering around all-time highs in recent months and the global financial crisis still a lingering memory, it is understandable that the recent increase in volatility might test the average investor’s nerves.

    2014 Q3 Quarterly Context Webinar

    View our quarterly video on markets, the economy and investor behavior patterns… Information without information overload, as context for making better long-term investment decisions, and becoming an increasingly sophisticated investor. 2014-Q3 Quarterly Context Webinar

    Reality of red numbers

    What’s your guess as to how many months the stock market declines or rises each year?  And in bad vs. good markets?  Our yearly update of “The Reality of Red Numbers” shows you, and illustrates that market volatility is often a reasonable price to pay as part of a diversified portfolio, to help capture long-term positive… [Read More]

    2014 Q2 Quarterly Context Webinar

    View our quarterly video on markets, the economy and investor behavior patterns… Information without information overload, as context for making better long-term investment decisions, and becoming an increasingly sophisticated investor. 2014-Q2 Quarterly Context Webinar

    “Let it Roll”

    “Goin’ up, goin’ down, goin’ up-down-down-up… any way you want, let it roll” (blues lyrics). Volatility has been low in the past few years.  As measured by the VIX volatility index, market fluctuations are at the lowest level since before the global financial crisis.  That doesn’t mean high volatility is immediately around the corner, but… [Read More]

    A Case for Diversification Amid Uncertainty

    Are there clear patterns of investment market returns over time?  How does a “balanced” portfolio compare to individual asset classes over time?  Our chart entitled “The Periodic Table of Investment Returns – A Case for Diversification Amid Uncertainty” is a colorful illustration that addresses these questions. Click here to view 2013 AGSF Periodic Table . The… [Read More]

    Disciplined Investing

    Will a disciplined investment process improve your health?  We often talk about the Five Requirements for Financial Success – Resources, Knowledge, Time, Desire and Discipline.  Recent research implies that disciplined investing can go beyond your finances… it can also be good for your health.

    Focus

    For those seeking a user manual for life (and financial decisions), this Venn diagram about where to focus sums it up elegantly. The simplicity of this diagram is profound.  The world around us is complex and full of “noise,” both statistical and theatrical (e.g. TV news, etc.).  The senses are bombarded with eye and ear-catching… [Read More]

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