How dare we put you on the spot like this?!? What an awful question! How will you (the stock market) react if Trump wins or if Hillary wins? By the way…as an aside….a great client of ours recently asked why everyone refers to Trump by his last name and Hillary by her first name. Why is that?
Depending on which side you’re on, this question may initially seem like simple semantics but it’s not. Are you “presidential” if you roll with a campaign based on your first name? Do you “feel the Bern” or did you “Trust in Ted”? Whether you’re a proponent of Hillary for President or Hillary for prison…it’s still Hillary. Where are we at America?
At My Portfolio Guide, the one thing we typically don’t shy away from is having a clear opinion. There are some great firms out there that simply can’t give you one! You’ll hear what you want to hear. They fear losing your “vote” or ruffling feathers. Yes…we understand that balance too, but as much as our job is about deciphering news versus noise…it does become important to take a stance. Continue reading →
How ‘fit’ is your financial team? Putting together a financial team to help you meet your financial goals is like building a winning sports team. Each member of your financial team needs to know what their responsibility is and what they are contributing to your financial success. With tax-season behind us and the equity and fixed income markets experiencing volatility, now is a great time to assess your team and see if it is truly making the grade!
There is no single approach to building your team or a guide on how to assemble one. The key is the team needs to work for you, they need to give you a sense of comfort and they need to work together. Whether you work with individuals or utilize software solutions it is important that an assessment takes place so that you don’t suddenly find yourself in a hole that you need to dig out of.
In this article we will discuss how to build your “Team of Trust”. We will look at three key areas that every investor should consider: Estate Planning, Tax Planning and Financial Advice. We will discuss some key elements with each member of the team: Why? Who? What? How Much? Continue reading →
With the holiday season now in the rear view mirror U.S. consumers are being reminded of the world we live in. In the middle of the holiday shopping season Target made an announcement that had an impact on millions of individuals. On December 19th Target announced that 40 million credit and debit cards had been jeopardized by a cyber attack. Since then the number of cards has grown to 70 million, it has been reported that the number could grow to as many as 110 million! Just last week Neiman Marcus released news that it is dealing with a similar situation and other retailers are likely to be in the same boat in the coming weeks.
On Friday (January 10th) Target announced that the security issue had a negative impact on their holiday shopping results. Stores saw sales decline up to 5% (depending on location) when compared to the previous years results. When 4th quarter earnings are announced on February 26, 2014, the additional expenses the company has incurred due to the hacking incident will certainly have an impact. CEO Greg Steinhafel announced that 4th quarter EPS (earnings per share) were lowered to $1.20 – $1.30 from the previous guidance of $1.50 – $1.60. Continue reading →
Congratulations Mr. Market…you’ve delivered a tremendous year of returns to equity investors! With the broad equity markets delivering returns over 25% (S&P =29%, DJIA = 25% and the NASDAQ = 37% as of 12/27/2013) investors are now faced with the question of what to do now? For those investors that were invested in stocks, especially domestic stocks, year-end statements are going to look very impressive but remember that is only on paper. As we step into 2014 what should investors do with their portfolios?
Often investors choose to go with an adage commonly heard in casinos – “Let it ride!” Although the market defied odds and dodged several ominous obstacles, there is no guarantee that it will continue to do so going forward. Sitting back and doing nothing could very well allow those returns to dwindle away and become nothing but a memory. It wasn’t that long ago that ‘The Tech Bubble’ hit investors with a strong left uppercut that they never saw coming. Mr. Market delivered three years of impressive returns (1997 = 33%, 1998 = 28% & 1999 = 21%) only to see it disappear with three consecutive years of negative returns (2000 = -9%, 2001 = -11%, 2002 = -22%) and let’s not forget 2008 (-37%). How can investors avoid repeating history while also managing the risk and unrealized gains in their portfolio? Continue reading →
“Who and what is the Fed”? “What do they do” and “How do I understand what they are really saying and how it will impact me!?” These are questions that we often hear from investors. The Federal Reserve frequently dominates economic headlines and although its actions impact us all, very few of us truly understand what “the Fed” is or what it does.
We all hear terms like: “Don’t bet against the Fed”, “Dovish or hawkish sentiment” “Quantitative Easing” and “When will the Fed begin to taper”? These are just the tip of the iceberg as the press and media attempt to interpret anything and everything released by members of the Fed. Let’s take a moment and look at the basics of what the Fed is.
The Federal Reserve System (the “Fed”) is essentially the central banking system of the United States. Through the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 it was created in response to financial uncertainties in the early 1900’s. Over the last century the responsibilities and roles of the Federal Reserve System have evolved to address the changes in our economy. Continue reading →
You certainly have a unique sense of humor! Your unpredictable personality often leaves investors scratching their heads as they attempt to figure out your next move and how they should be positioned. You’ve reintroduced us to market volatility the last few weeks and left investors scrambling. During the first quarter of this year, investors moved billions of dollars into the equity markets as they began to gain a sense of comfort based on recent performance. As investors muddle through the overwhelming amount of investment options available to them, more and more continue to look for the ‘quick fix’ or the ‘one stop shop’ and invest in Target Date Funds. By simply picking the fund that has a date corresponding to a time frame they have in mind for their investment goals, they can put their portfolio on cruise control and focus on more important things. Simple, right?
If only it were truly that easy…“If it seems to good to be true, it probably is”
Investors need to take a step back and not allow ‘Mr. Market’ to play with their hard earned dollars and take a look if these funds are in fact too good to be true. While the underlying premise of the fund appears sound, investors definitely need to kick the tires on these funds before buying them. The typical Target Fund intends to be much more aggressive in the early years and as the years pass and the ‘target date’ approaches, they will become more conservative. They do this through the asset allocation within the fund. Simply put, in the earlier years the portfolio has a higher percentage in stocks which then get trimmed with a reallocation and more exposure to fixed income or bonds.
How is it that through both bull and bear markets you are constantly able to create new products and services that entice investors to take on risk beyond what they need in their investment portfolios? Time after time we’ve seen investors rush to get involved in the next great investment opportunity. Just looking at the last few years alone we’ve seen the Facebook IPO, Leveraged ETF’s, Day Trading, Managed Futures… and the list goes on and on. Most recently we’ve seen a new “currency” hit the headlines and attract investors … Bitcoins.
This new digital currency has caught plenty of media attention with the price hitting extreme highs and lows. Just in the last two weeks Bitcoins were worth as much as $260 a piece and then within days they dropped down to $100 a piece. This decentralized digital currency allows for exchange without any regulations or protection. It is based on an online programming code written by a group or an individual that operate under the name “Satoshi Nakamoto”. If that doesn’t make individuals feel secure then knowing that they can never hold these ‘coins’ in their hands but instead can hold them in their online digital wallet definitely should! Continue reading →