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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    2012 Market Recap

    It is the perennial hope of many to start a new year by celebrating the joys and accomplishments of the past year, and to leave behind the less pleasant memories, as we move forward towards an even better tomorrow.  The start of 2013 fits that bill in many ways, but begins with both breaking and […]

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    Making Positive Changes

    The Sandy Hook tragedy makes our hearts ache.  But, our hearts will not break, having seen the overwhelming response to the victims’ families and the possibility of the positive changes which may result from the experience.  The Advisory Group’s mission is to make positive changes in our clients’ lives and in society.  We list our […]

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    Safety

    What does “safe” mean?  When driving car or playing baseball, the answer is generally clear.  When investing, the answer is less obvious.  To get where you want to go financially, it is critical to properly frame the problem, by asking the right questions: safe “from what?” and “when?”  Inflation risk? Interest rate risk?  Goal risk?

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    Staying the Course

    Often times, the discomfort of sea or motion sickness can be avoided or reduced by keeping one’s eyes on the horizon.  Similarly, keeping a long-term focus can reduce “emotion sickness” of the investor kind. Anticipating and managing such discomfort is paramount, because an investor’s ability to focus on the goal rather than on short-term disturbances […]

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    Trade-offs

    Inflation is one of the various risks investors must consider, and is currently lower than historical averages due, in part, to the slow economic recovery.  However, the prices of goods and services tend, eventually, to rise after a period of eased or stimulative government “monetary policy,” such as we have seen in recent years.   Inflation […]

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    Instincts and Investing

    Instincts are sometimes critical for survival.  If you experience fear of physical danger, your instinct may be what saves your life or the life of others.  Before you’ve had time to think, fear triggers an automatic response that may cause you to run, duck, jump or fight. Unfortunately, an increasing number of behavioral finance studies […]

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    Greek Financial Crisis

    By the first half of 2011, after a post-crash jump in investment prices, many disciplined investors felt a material level of financial and emotional recovery from the 2007-2009 credit crisis market.  The third quarter of 2011, however, was a reminder that the bumpy road to full recovery is not yet over, as the world slipped […]

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    Now vs. Later

    As advocates and advisors to our clients regarding the long-term goals of the assets for which they are fiduciaries, it often feels internally inconsistent when our quarterly letter or meetings sometimes focus on short-term market results.  The constant tension for us and for clients is evaluating the importance and relevance of “now” vs. “later.”  This […]

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    Uncertainty is Unavoidable

    “The only certainty is that nothing is certain” ~ Pliny the Elder, First century Roman. Despite major unrest in parts of Northern Africa and the Middle East, a massive earthquake, the subsequent tsunami and partial nuclear meltdown in Japan, renewed sovereign debt concerns in Europe, and continuing inflationary pressures in certain emerging market countries, the […]

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    2010 Recap

    To start the new year, let’s take a look back at 2010 from an investment perspective.  For the second year in a row, stock markets rose more than the historical averages.  Bonds were also positive for the year.  Discipline was again important – 8 months into the year the S&P 500 Index was down 5.8%, […]

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