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

    Q417 Quarterly Context video

    What happened before markets started cooling in February? The bitcoin bubble… looks just like other bubbles. A new periodic table of returns design. Projected 10-year returns and risk. A visual of 229 years of returns, in return buckets. 401k fiduciary survey summary. That and more in the Q417 Quarterly Context video.

    ★ 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

    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

    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.

    ★ Featured blog post

    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.

    ★ Featured blog post

    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 […]

    ★ Featured blog post

    Q1-2017 Quarterly Context Webinar

    What led to the positive returns in Q1? Should you expect an increase in market volatility? How much value does regular rebalancing add? View the Q1 Quarterly Context webinar recording for more insight.

    ★ Featured blog post

    Are you on the right financial path?

    After an 8-year bull market and new political uncertainty, should you be more concerned about volatility risk?

    ★ Featured blog post

    Q1-2017 Quarterly Letter

    The “risk-on” theme persisted through the first quarter as improving economic data trumped elevated geopolitical uncertainty, both in the U.S. and abroad. Economies in the U.S. and Europe continued to gain traction and the U.S. entered its 93rd month of expansion. At the same time, important and potentially divisive elections in Europe, an impeachment in South Korea, heightened tensions with North Korea, innuendo around Russia, civil war in Syria, the Brexit trigger, and an unconventional and inexperienced administration in the U.S. did not rile investors.

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