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.

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    Q418 Quarterly Context video

    What’s driving stock market weakness? How the average investor does the wrong thing at the wrong time. Consumer confidence still high but waning. Who is borrowing more and who less? How many market corrections have there been in the last 10 years? How often do -5%, -10%, -15% and -20% market drops occur? Market recoveries […]

    ★ Featured blog post

    Q4-2018 Market Review

    Investors’ appetite for risk, while elevated for much of 2018, evaporated as the year drew to a close and wiped out positive returns for the year across broad asset classes (T-bills being a notable exception). Concerns over tighter monetary policy and the global withdrawal of stimulus measures, unresolved trade disputes, falling oil prices, slower global […]

    ★ Featured blog post

    Lessons from a flat tire – gaining perspective on market volatility

    Is recent market volatility making you anxious? Gaining some perspective could help relieve that anxiety and ensure that you remain on track to reach your financial goals. Your financial journey is a lot like a long road trip. On your route from point A to point B, even while driving wisely, it is normal to […]

    ★ Featured blog post

    Updated annual savings limits for 2019

    The IRS recently released the indexed dollar limits for qualified retirement plans for 2019. The amounts remain largely unchanged, due to low inflation rates, but personal investors and retirement plan fiduciaries should review the update for smart saving opportunities. 401(k), 403(b), 457 Plan deferral Limit: 2018: $18,500, 2019: $19,000 “Catch-up” Contribution >age 50: 2018: $6,000, […]

    ★ Featured blog post

    Six Things You Can Still Do for Your Year-end Financial Planning

    There are still a few weeks to go before we step into 2019 and that means you still have opportunities to make sure you’ve done what you can to take advantage of some financial benefits. While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) made prepaying taxes less attractive due to low deduction limits […]

    ★ Featured blog post

    This quarter marks ten years since the start of the Global Financial Crisis

    While the consequences of that extreme period of financial turmoil are still being felt, the market recovery in the past decade provides a profound illustration of the value of staying the course through enormously difficult times. The ability to remain invested in your long-term strategy was severely tested a decade ago. For those who withstood […]

    ★ Featured blog post

    Q318 Quarterly Context video

    Lessons learned from the Global Financial Crisis… a 10-year anniversary view. The economic expansion continues, but with concerns. Are there patterns between the current market and the dot-com bubble? It can be comforting to see the average return and length of up markets vs. down markets. What is “consumption smoothing” and how it helps retirement […]

    ★ Featured blog post

    Q3-2018 Market Review

    Oh, What a Difference a Decade Makes Happy 10-year anniversary to the Global Financial Crisis! Just a decade ago, some of the world’s largest and most revered financial institutions, along with the modern financial system itself, were left staring into the abyss. Several events, beginning with the fire sale of Bear Stearns and failure of […]

    ★ Featured blog post

    Few economic indicators affect daily lives and markets as directly as interest rates

    The Federal Open Market Committee lowers the target rate when economic stimulus is needed, and raises it to limit inflation and avoid overheating as the economy expands.  In the decade after the Great Recession, rate concerns faded. The Fed’s target rate hit 0% in late 2008 and was 0% for 7 years.  Low rates became the […]

    ★ Featured blog post

    Q218 Quarterly Context video

    Parallels in financial behavior to new research (e.g. poor soccer goalie decisions, premature sports coach firings, the “IKEA effect”), how misperceptions about aging causes saving and spending pitfalls (and what 401k fiduciaries can do about it), wages are increasing but not much vs. inflation, interest rates are rising and implying shifting risks, foundation/endowment spending statistics […]

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