March has turned in another month of stubborn market defiance as the investment world is waiting for a correction yet it never seems to come or fully develop! It’s without question that many of the warning signs continue to lurk below the surface but the S&P 500 has still managed to tack on about another +1%. Year to date we’re just about 1% of where we started 2014 but it sure feels uncomfortable for many.
If this is your first time reading about our MPG Core Tactical Portfolio please refer back to our first post. (click here) In short you will see what adjustments we make throughout the year on a $1 million dollar portfolio and how that performs relative to a portfolio that is rebalanced once per month with an allocation of 60% Stocks and 40% Bonds. Continue reading →
The 2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament certainly had an eventful weekend! 52 games have been played across the country with 5 of them going into overtime. The $1 Billion that Warren Buffet offered to anyone that had a perfect bracket is now a distant memory. Every year there are plenty of surprises and this year has been no different:
3 of the 4 teams that were seeded as #12 in their brackets posted wins over teams seeded #5! The one team that lost was beaten by only 3 points in overtime!
#1 seed and ‘media darling’ Wichita State lost to #8 Kentucky in the 2nd round.
The 2 longest winning streaks in the country have both come to an abrupt end – Wichita State with 35 and S.F. Austin with 29.
Here are some other mind boggling numbers to take into consideration with the NCAA Tournament:
The odds of winning Buffet’s $1 Billion prize was 1 in 4,294,967,296!
It is estimated that Vegas takes in over $100 Million from bets on the NCAA Tournament – experts think this represents only 4% of all the money wagered on games!
The NCAA tournament costs businesses $1.7 Billion in lost productivity during the month of March.
What do you care about hoops? The stock market is stressful enough so why add the drama of collegiate basketball games coming down to the wire?
This is the fourth year publishing our March Madness Investing Bracket and we begin this years edition by wondering why is it one of the most popular investing articles on the internet? Every year this article gains in popularity and one of the best forms of a compliment is imitation. It’s actually quite flattering that others are now creating similar “investing brackets”! Is it that America is captivated by a single collegiate basketball tournament or is it that people want to know what the next hot stock is?
We believe the answer lies in the fact that people love excitement and surprises. It’s also human nature to root for the underdog and many times times those two themes can certainly play out on the basketball court as well as on the stock market floor. Much like two college basketball teams that never play each other our imaginations are swept up in wondering who will “win” between a relatively unknown penny stock or a popular stock that has the media in a frenzy.
You may be asking what does a basketball tournament have to do with managing your portfolio or the investment world in general? At first glance it may not, but we thought we would have a little fun and couple it with some asset allocation parallels. After all, there are many folks who have simply thrown their hands in the air at one time or simply succumb to the notion that investing is like educated gambling. There could be some truth to that depending on your approach… Continue reading →
On occasion you must certainly get writer’s cramp with all of your musings about the stock market. Allow us to not only give you a break this week but to also open your eyes to something outside of investments. All the attention you give your portfolio may be hampered if you neglect a few other issues. We’ve asked a guest and expert in estate planning to contribute some important information that you should be aware of:
Your living trust might be out-of-date.
Good financial planning isn’t just about stocks, bonds and other investments, it also involves looking at a client’s entire situation, encompassing family goals, tax planning and estate planning. When My Portfolio Guide, LLC invited me to contribute an article, I jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with them because of their commitment to understanding all aspects of their clients’ lives when implementing strategies and solutions.
For those of you who have prepared a living trust, it is important to have your estate plan reviewed from time to time as things change. As you are probably aware, new Federal and State laws are constantly being implemented, not to mention any changes that may be occurring in your personal life. Because of the constant evolution of your personal situation and the legal landscape in general, I encourage my clients to occasionally review their living trusts and associated documents to make sure that everything is still going according to plan.
In particular, there has been one major change which I want to make you aware of. Many people have created AB Trusts over the past two decades. AB Trusts are designed to protect more of a married couple’s assets from being taxed by the government upon their passing. However, one drawback of an AB Trust is that it is relatively expensive to implement after one spouse passes away. The AB Trust requires that the trust be divided or “split” into two separate trusts after the first spouse passes away. This split requires the help of an attorney or a CPA to divide and administer the trust and can also give legal rights to children or other beneficiaries over a portion of the trust during the lifetime of the surviving spouse, increasing the potential for conflict. Furthermore, the split requires the filing of additional tax returns after the passing of the first spouse. The costs associated with an AB split are often several thousands of dollars.
Let’s begin by letting you know that the MPG Core Tactical portfolio has taken the lead over the passively managed indexed approach of the 60/40 Benchmark portfolio!
We fully realize that with investing you can “live and die by the sword” and banging your chest about performance can eventually lead to this deadly truth…or death. That being said, we are actually doing such to prove a point. As early in the year as it is, we have one stock that is a huge “stinker” in the portfolio and a couple that are knocking the cover off the ball. Many advisors drool at the opportunity to show you their homeruns but quickly skip over their strikeouts. Spring is in the air and so are some baseball euphemisms but let’s get into what is working for our portfolios and what is not:
First and foremost you should take a look at our overall portfolio mix which we have updated as of this writing on March 3,2014.