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.

  • Uncertainty is Unavoidable

    “The only certainty is that nothing is certain” ~ Pliny the Elder, First century Roman. Despite major unrest in parts of Northern Africa and the Middle East, a massive earthquake, the subsequent tsunami and partial nuclear meltdown in Japan, renewed sovereign debt concerns in Europe, and continuing inflationary pressures in certain emerging market countries, the… [Read More]

    2010 Recap

    To start the new year, let’s take a look back at 2010 from an investment perspective.  For the second year in a row, stock markets rose more than the historical averages.  Bonds were also positive for the year.  Discipline was again important – 8 months into the year the S&P 500 Index was down 5.8%,… [Read More]

    Fiduciary Pioneers

    In the last few years, the second worst economic environment in history made markets difficult more often than not.  As a result, our quarterly letters focused primarily on maintaining perspective and avoiding the pitfalls of emotional investing, which are relevant to both individuals and fiduciaries.  Given that the third quarter of 2010 produced strong results,… [Read More]

    Maintaining Reasonable Expectations

    After feeling some recovery related relief after the market bottom in March, 2009, the bumpy last few months are making some investors nervous.  Such recovery related dips, however, are not inconsistent with previous strong markets.  There have been 11 bull markets since 1945, and during those markets there was a correction of 10% on average,… [Read More]

    The Highest Standard

    Out of the ashes rises the Phoenix – almost.  The “ashes” of the financial crisis we have experienced could have given rise to a new “financial Phoenix”: a total standard of fiduciary care and responsibility by the financial industry.  It almost happened when legislation was proposed which would have created such a standard.  But in… [Read More]

    Quarterly Thoughts – Q4 2009

    “The years teach much which the days never know” – Ralph Waldo Emerson. What the days never know is the patience and discipline that are required to chart a consistent, long-term course.  The alternative, to follow the call of market sentiment that shifts like the wind, is no process at all and, more often than… [Read More]

    2009 Recap

    Think about the last 10 years: Y2K without systems collapses; the end of one of the greatest bull markets, two of the four worst markets in history; terrorist attacks on our soil; war in Iraq and Afghanistan; oil prices going through the roof; the acceleration of global warming; the most volatile stock market ever recorded;… [Read More]

    Quarterly Thoughts – Q3 2009

    The foundations of Wall Street and the global financial system were shaken by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the vanishing of Merrill Lynch as an independent entity, and the take-over of AIG by the government, amongst other events.  Roughly six months ago, on March 9th when the Dow Jones Industrial closed at 6,547, the press… [Read More]

    Are we out of the woods yet?

    In recent quarters, at the height of investor concern about global economic and market malaise, we reminded you that the market often rebounds significantly after dramatic declines, and that market recoveries usually begin before economies heal.  The results of the Second Quarter of 2009 bear this out, as part of what we believe is the… [Read More]

    That’s one mean reversion!

    If historical 10-year average cycles are any predictor, now is not the time to abandon long-term strategies (see chart).  The response to excess in the form of the dot-com-bomb and the credit-crunch-chaos caused the last 10 years to be one of the worst in U.S. history.  However, notice that weak 10-year periods always overshoot the… [Read More]

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