By now, most investors know that in late February of this year through mid-March the stock markets kind of crashed. It was a matter of 31 days from February 20th to March 23rd….not that I had to look that up or anything.
It was swift and ugly. And then, the stock markets both suddenly and slowly recovered, hitting it big in April and then gradually reaching new all-time records by September. Hmmmm… how does that work? Is it “free markets”? More buyers than sellers? Individuals throwing money at stocks?
Gold is a fascinating asset and concept. From Egyptian Pharaohs to Sir Isaac Newton to the “Nixon Shock” in the 1970’s, gold has been part of the story. Oh, and by the way, its price has risen over 35% so far in 2020.
Over the years there have been reasons (and not) for an investor to buy gold. One of the “catches” is that gold can be an extremely volatile asset, depending on the global economic cycle, level of interest rates and expectations for inflation. Another catch is that there are multiple ways for an investor to buy gold. Among these ways is to purchase gold in its physical form and insure and store it (expensive) or to purchase gold jewelry or gold wristwatches (also expensive but much simpler). OR, gold can be purchased in a non-physical form through gold futures contracts or via an exchange traded fund, or ETF, like the super-widely held SPDR Gold Trust whose trade symbol is GLD. The GLD trades like a stock and may be the closest way to own gold without having actual possession of the gold bars or coins.
After talking with a number of clients and friends in the past couple of weeks it became apparent that a breakdown of YTD stock market performance would be informative. There are major pronounced differences currently in the various stock categories. An explanation of these differences could illuminate why certain portfolios have gone up (or down) more than others.
Please note that this discussion is not meant to minimize the importance of performance. Performance is critical; however, the time frame of performance evaluation and the concept of progress toward achieving goals are even more critical to successful investing.
Married, Single, Divorced or Widowed – women tend to live longer than men. There are also new statistics of how mentally sharp and physically fit women stay longer into life. Why is this important? If you guessed that these facts mean that women need to save and invest more then you guessed right. Men AND women, please keep reading!
How many times in the past going on 10 weeks has someone said to you, “Hang in there”? How many times have YOU perhaps said to someone you care about, “Hang in there”?
Hanging in there is often all we can do – and a brave thing to do at that. When it comes to tough markets like the ones we are currently experiencing, “hanging in there” translates to discipline in the midst of bravery. Discipline and bravery are two of the ultimate challenges in life.
Originally titled, “Gut Check in Rocky Markets” but with a new twist the following excerpted edition from the archives of TGIF 2 Minutes is timely on (Not So) Fat Tuesday. Please keep in mind three new factors:
The political divide currently in the US is adding to market tensions and even politicizing the Coronavirus,
Primary Elections and Debates and the policy issues being brought forth are next-to-center stage in the media,
A still very recent UP 29% equity market in 2019,
and there exist the makings of a potential market correction. A market correction is defined as a decline of 10% from a recent high; the US equity markets are down over 6% in two days and are nearing an official “market correction” in 2020.
It is still early in the year – there is still plenty of time to evaluate how to start or tweak a savings and investing plan. In fact, it is ALWAYS a good time (January, February, March, July, October, December…) to evaluate savings and investing. But after the amazing past year and decade in US and global stock and bond markets, it may cross your mind to say,
“Should I wait to invest?”
“How can markets keep going up, up, up?”
“I need to jump on the bandwagon here!”
“Growth stocks are the way to go! I have stock ideas!”
My Father loved municipal bonds. The coupons were high (certainly higher than the average coupon rates of today) and supply was ample. And he loved the story behind the bond.
As a quick primer, “muni bonds,” otherwise known as municipal bonds, are debt obligations issued to fund capital expenditures by municipalities, states, counties and other government and public service-related entities like hospitals and schools. The tax treatment of the interest paid is typically Federally tax-free to the investor and often state tax free in the state where the bond was issued. Investors who buy the bonds are promised to receive tax free interest periodically and then repayment of principal upon maturity. Continue reading “Not Your Father’s Muni Bonds”
Remember the original, first run of the movie, Rocky? Even if you were not around (or born) in 1976 to see the movie in person, you probably know the theme song and the story by heart. The film is timeless.
Investing advice can be timeless as well. Here are several pieces of professional advice and perspective that I have come to firmly believe in my over 30 years in financial services and would like to pass on to you: Continue reading “Timeless Investing Advice”