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

    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 […]

    ★ Featured blog post

    Q2-2018 Market Review

    Summer months are typically a quiet time for the markets. Recent events, however, may disrupt this tradition. Threats of escalating trade wars have cast a pall over equities, and numerous geopolitical uncertainties continue to push investors toward a more cautious stance. A desynchronization in global growth as well as a divergence in central banks’ monetary policies […]

    ★ Featured blog post

    Q118 Quarterly Context video

    Market volatility is back, markets have extended rises and “flat” periods, a new periodic table of returns using sectors, discipline matters: missing the best 30 market days in the last 50 years resulted in a 40% lower return, research shows a big gap between what people think they need to save and how much they […]

    ★ Featured blog post

    Q1-2018 Market Review

    One month into the new year, it seemed as though markets were lining up for another torrid quarter of stock market performance; 2018 saw the biggest January gain since 1997. Market participants continued to digest another dose of impressive quarterly earnings, the profit-enhancing impact of the Tax and Jobs Act, and a host of other […]

    ★ 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.

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