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.

  • ★ Featured blog post

    Q4-2017/Year End Market Review

    Another record low in volatility, more record highs in global stock markets, mixed records in global temperatures, a record number of natural disasters in the U.S., and many records associated with President Trump. Volatility (VIX Index) fell more than 20% in 2017, reaching an all-time low in November. Stock markets hit a number of record highs, adding trillions of dollars to global market capitalization. U.S. consumer confidence remained near a 17-year high and unemployment at a 17-year low. At the same time, geopolitical concerns, domestic political drama and other noteworthy news items littered the headlines but had little effect on investors’ complacency.

    ★ Featured blog post

    Article library & special past blogposts

    News articles to help you and others make better financial decisions. Topics include investor behavior, smart financial choices, investor pitfalls to avoid, inter-generational wealth issues, fiduciary process, and other topics.

    ★ Featured blog post

    Action steps to reduce the risk of identify theft

    The Equifax data breach increases the risk of identity theft for 145 million Americans. Consider and take these action steps to help protect yourself.

    ★ Featured blog post

    Q3-2017 Quarterly Context Webinar

    Are market cycles getting longer? Do markets normally cool after similar stock price levels? How bad can bonds get? See this Quarterly Context video for more.

    ★ Featured blog post

    Live long and prosper

    You may be able to spend more in the early years of retirement than you thought. Retirement spending strategies have always been an important part of smart planning; incorporating new research about longevity and spending patterns of retirees leads to even wiser decisions.

    ★ Featured blog post

    Q3-2017 Market Review

    Last quarter, we wrote about the Goldilocks environment (“Not too hot, not too cold, but just right”) and investor complacency keeping volatility at multi-decade lows and propelling stock markets to new highs. The third quarter followed suit in spite of escalating tensions with North Korea, several severe natural disasters and uncertainty around the prospects for tax reform and other domestic agenda items.

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    Q2-2017 Quarterly Context Webinar

    Should investors react to strong markets? What does rising credit debt imply? Do advisors add value? See Quarterly Context webinar for more.

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    Reality of Red Numbers – updated

    What’s your guess as to how many months the stock market declines or rises each year? And in bad vs. good markets?

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    But why a Bun?

    Years ago, a fast food chain ran a catchy ad campaign featuring a focus group of meat and cheese lovers.  In the commercial, the presenter describes the companies new burger, and one of the test subjects responds “I like the meat and cheese part, but why a bun?” As investors, if we consider domestic stocks to be […]

    ★ Featured blog post

    Q2-2017 Quarterly Letter

    Macroeconomic Environment What will thwart the “Goldilocks” environment? “Not too hot, not too cold, but just right.” This Goldilocks sentiment, fueled by years of central bank accommodation and tepid economic growth has kept volatility at multi-decade lows, interest rates range-bound, and propelled domestic stock markets to new highs. Even persistent political drama and geopolitical headwinds […]

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