If you’re smart…does it imply that you’re always right? In many instances that may often be the case, but when it comes to investing, some of the most brilliant people on the planet are reduced to buffoons by irrational and unpredictable markets. When you add in a 24/7 media cycle and the fact that human beings are emotionally driven creatures…your IQ (or stubbornness) can actually work against you.
As huge fans of behavioral finance we also want to once again remind you that your own brain (whether it be “smart” or pedestrian) is wired to connect certain dots even if the conclusion is wrong or completely random. One famous adage will serve as the theme for this entire article:
“Even a broken clock is right twice a day.”
Take a brief moment to read the following article that surfaced last week:Continue reading →
The markets continue to take investors on a bumpy ride with dramatic swings to the positive and negative. Volatility has been here for the last several weeks and it is beginning to have an effect on investors and the decisions they make in regards to their portfolios. Investors are notorious for putting their portfolio on cruise control when the markets are doing well and then becoming hyper-sensitive when negative returns start appearing on their monthly statements. With the first true market correction (-10% or more) in nearly four years, investors are considering a variety of options with their portfolios, many of them misleading and possibly disastrous. As fear and uncertainty build emotions begin to take control. There are many products and options that prey on investors in these environments…don’t allow yourself to fall for any of the five most common ones we discuss below…
Going to Cash – This is the classic move by investors when they simply can’t take it anymore; throwing their hands up in the air and admitting defeat by selling everything and going to cash. They justify it in their mind, feeling good about it; after all, jumping out and preserving what was left of their portfolio seems like the prudent thing to do. If this is you or you are considering this ‘strategy’ don’t start patting yourself on the back just yet! This could possibly be the worst move an investor could make unless they want to push back their retirement or drastically alter their financial goals. Consider this, every year for the last 35 years the markets have posted negative returns at some point during the year and 87% of the time the markets finished the year positive. Selling everything in your portfolio would be comparable to buying a new car and selling it as soon as you drive it off the lot because you realized that it went down 20% in value! Would you ever do that? We doubt it so don’t do this with your investments! Continue reading →
First and foremost, what is the proverbial “wall of worry”? If bad news is bad…why is it that good news (or even mildly good news) … is also perceived as being ‘bad’?
Granted, this is not always the case but it certainly is now. What is the “wall of worry”?
DEFINITION of ‘Wall Of Worry’
“The financial markets’ periodic tendency to surmount a host of negative factors and keep ascending. Wall of worry is generally used in connection with the stock markets, referring to their resilience when running into a temporary stumbling block, rather than a permanent impediment to a market advance.”
Two weeks ago we were in Chicago for discussions with analysts, economists, and elite portfolio managers. What’s interesting is that the majority of the investing public is living in fear and at their utmost pessimistic levels of recent history, yet the underlying economics and pure fundamentals of the stock market actually counter such negative and extreme doom & gloom sentiment.
If you’ve never experienced a stock market correction until now (technically defined as -10% or more), you have either never invested or have only been investing since 2012. For the vast majority of others, you should know that markets “correct” on average at least once every 12-18 months. One reason why this feels worse than other corrections is because we just went 47 months without a correction of -10% or more! (third longest streak on record)
For a refresher, stock market corrections are short and sharp declines of -10% to -20%. They’re typically accompanied by sensationalized stories such as the European sovereign debt crisis, Greece’s exit from the Euro, or the “fiscal cliff”. For all those investors that ducked for cover and went to cash during the last correction you saw the Dow Jones move up over 6,000 points. Were you able to correctly “time” your reentry into the market? No…and you’re not alone. No matter what you read or hear there is not a single person or professional advisor that owns a crystal ball and can consistently time the market.
If you’re new to this monthly series…remember what we’re doing. This exercise, as we like to call it, is not an attempt to pick the best stock or “time the market”. We leave that futile task to those who own time machines and accurate crystal balls. For a refresher, see our first article on the MPG Core Tactical 60/40 Portfolio.
Here’s the current summary of the MPG Core Tactical 60/40 portfolio mix, which is updated as of this writing (September 1, 2015).
Click here to compare our portfolio against the benchmark.
From the last week in July to this writing the MPG Core Tactical 60/40 portfolio went down -4.49%. How did the rest of the markets do? Continue reading →
Wall Street is notorious for putting analysts (or any individual) on a pedestal when they make a prediction that happens to be correct. As quickly as their ‘celebrity status’ is awarded it is often just as quickly taken away! The recent downfall of Meredith Whitney offers a lesson that everyone can learn from.
Whitney was awarded her ‘star status’ the fall of 2007 when she made a bearish prediction on Citigroup (C) as an analyst at Oppenheimer. Shortly after she made her call the stock tumbled and the CEO, Charles Swift, resigned. She was credited with predicting the financial crisis that followed in 2008 and became a regular with the business media. With her ‘celebrity status’ she resigned from Oppenheimer in 2009 to form her own firm focused on research and hedge fund management.
It did not take long for her shining star to become tarnished as she missed on several predictions that Wall Street followed her on. She called for municipal bonds around the country to default in 2010 and then in 2013 for the central U.S. to flourish economically while both coasts would struggle. Neither came anywhere close to becoming a reality and Whitney found herself struggling to regain the notoriety that she once enjoyed. Most recently she launched a hedge fund in 2013 that she shut down just last month. Continue reading →
How time flies! Our first letter to you was on March 20, 2013. This marks our 100th article. Over the last two years we have covered a variety of topics and events that our clients and readers have been confronted with. Over 15,000 individuals have visited the website and our top rated articles have been viewed over 12,500 times!
As we look through the library of topics we have assembled, there are several articles that stand out for various reasons. It’s challenging to pick favorites so we’ve decided to share the most popular “letters” we’ve written: Click here to read more…
It is human nature to want to fit in or be part of the crowd. We all like to feel that we belong to a group and are not isolated. Take a moment and go back to your youth…everyone can remember a situation when someone asked us if we did something, “just because everyone else was doing it?” Another favorite that is asked of children and teens is, “would you jump off a cliff if everyone else was doing it?” Investors don’t often ask themselves these questions but as the markets have now crossed into negative territory and volatility is present they certainly should be before rushing into any decisions.
Behavioral Finance is a fascinating field and the better you understand it the better off you are as an investor. A central theme in behavioral finance is the “herd mentality”. Investopedia.com defines Herd Mentality as: “A mentality characterized by a lack of individual decision-making or thoughtfulness, causing people to think and act in the same way as the majority of those around them. In finance, a herd instinct would relate to instances in which individuals gravitate to the same or similar investments, based almost solely on the fact that many others are investing in those same stocks. The fear of regret of missing out on a good investment is often a driving force behind herd instinct.” Every individual has made a decision to fit in or be part of a group but should that include financial and investment decisions? We would answer that question with an absolute NO!Continue reading →