This year’s economics Nobel Prize has gone to Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström, for their work on the theory of contracts. It’s about incentives, and imperfect information, and long-term relationships. But it’s related to lots of real-world economic issues — performance pay, mergers and acquisitions, and bank lending.
(Note: based on client survey feedback, we are pleased to fulfill your request of providing more economic commentary by adding this new quarterly column.)
The most prevalent question we are hearing is whether or not we are at “the top” of the stock market.
Just as I predicted in late 2007 (ten years ago!) we currently may be experiencing the top of the market, or we could soon face an “epic” downturn.
I had no intentions of predicting the future in 2007, but looking back, it turns out the latter was closer to the truth and we faced an epic downturn.
Although I don’t see any reason to believe we are facing a similar market crisis, events have a way of changing the mood of investors quickly.
The most important thing you should be aware of are the philosophical drivers that are true, regardless of short term market conditions.
These are statements that will be true at market high points and market low points:
- There are variables we control, and others we do not. We can control the level of exposure we take to stocks, bonds, and other investment categories, as well as the level of discipline we employ as we go through market cycles. We cannot reliably predict the movement of stock prices over any given month, year, or any other time period.
- Over history, stock prices have always gone from all-time highs to new all-time highs. Downturns have always been temporary, regardless of the circumstances that surround the downturn. The length of expansions and recessions varies; however, historically one cycle has always followed the other.
- Our level of exposure to stocks is directly related to the time frame we have for needing those investment dollars. For those investors that are relying on their savings for income, there will be areas of diversification within the plan that are designed to experience far less fluctuation than others.
- The longer we hold an investment portfolio, we believe the more likely we are to see the intended results.
- Comparing the total market value of an investment plan from one month to another is not necessarily the best way to determine its results. Evaluating an investment portfolio over full market cycles is far more realistic.
- There is no assurance that there will be a gain in value in any given month, or any given year. Negative individual months or years are not necessarily a reason to change our investment approach.
We have certainly enjoyed an extended period of low volatility and strong market gains over the last twelve months, but be aware: eventually there will be a downturn!
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you when it’s coming, or how long it will last, but I stand by each of the six statements above, and will continue to do so when the downturn arrives.
Clients and friends,
As of June 9, 2017, IRA accounts will be subject to a new ruling, known as the “Fiduciary Rule,” which is being implemented under the direction of the United States Department of Labor.
Many of you have probably seen articles about this and aren’t sure what it means or how it affects you. The reality is that almost anyone with a Traditional or Roth IRA account is likely affected in some way.
The regulation’s objective is to increase the transparency of IRA expenses and how advisors are compensated. Additionally, the goal is to minimize the conflicts of interest that many advisors have, in which they are compensated more to offer one product than another.
These are all changes that I support. I primarily work on an advisory fee basis, and will continue to do so under this regulation. This means Integrity Wealth receives a fee based on the value of your plan, regardless of what we are buying or selling and no matter the frequency. There is no internal compensation that the investor doesn’t see.
You will likely see a number of disclosures and mailings from Raymond James over the next year as this regulation is implemented.
If you have paperwork that needs to be updated on any of your investment accounts, I will guide you through the process to make it as easy as possible. This change is actually presenting some opportunities for cost savings, which we will surely pass along wherever we can! It is important that we review what choices you may have, and together we’ll decide which of them may be in your best interest.
As always, it is a privilege to work with you to manage your financial planning needs, and I appreciate the ongoing trust you continue to show me and the staff at Integrity Wealth.
Clients and friends,
Jeff Coplan recently wrote an article about estate planning that was published in Retirement Weekly. We are sharing it with you today. The article provides a detailed strategy for leaving money to heirs and charities. If you haven’t thought past leaving a “money pot,” you’ll want to read this article.
During the past two years, we have seen signs that wage pressure is building as the economic recovery grinds on. Enough evidence has now accumulated to suggest that it is already happening.
Since the Great Recession, macroeconomic discussion has been dominated by discussions of aggregate demand, and how to create more of it through monetary and fiscal policies. That has led to a strange state of affairs where those topics still dominate the debate, even though they’ve done the job economics expects of them.
Traders and investors trying to parse the statements coming from the world’s most important central bank are at a loss: Will an interest-rate increase come in September? And will there be one, two or no hikes this year?
For a few decades, economists used to imagine how the world works, write down a theory describing their idea, and call it a day. If some statisticians came along and found some support for the theory, well, great! But usually they didn’t, and that was fine too. As one old joke put it, if an idea worked in practice, economists would ask whether it worked in theory.
One of the less heralded truths of economics is that growth miracles, while they make for good press, are overrated. It’s an insight that could help us better understand the outlook for developing countries such as China.
How many times have you heard someone say that the Federal Reserve’s asset-purchase program known as quantitative easing was ineffective? At least, that’s what I keep hearing from the usual pundits arguing their case.