income, interest rates, retirement, risk management

Being Too Fearful Can Hurt Financial Security

I have spoken to many people in the past year who are fearful in the current market environment… High market valuation, trade war fears, warnings from pundits, Fed policy moves, volatility… Because of fear, many people have decided to sit in cash or even liquidate their retirement savings.

In a recent study the World Economic Forum examined the savings shortfall around the world… the situation where due to increasing longevity people are expected to outlive their savings. One of the key findings was the demonstration that Japanese savers are extremely conservative in their investing style, avoiding equities and only using cash and bond equivalents for saving. The result is Japanese women face a savings shortfall of 20 years compared to American women who have a savings shortfall of 10.9 years. A lack of growth in assets hurts financial security. (1)

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economy, income, interest rates, retirement, risk management

Negative Yielding Bonds and Risk

Bonds are traditionally used within investment portfolios to reduce equity risk and generate income through the yields they carry. For example, a 10 year bond with a face value of $10,000 with a 5% yield generates $500 in income. Most recently the US 10 year yield was 2%.

However, over the past few years central banks in Europe and Japan have experimented with Quantitative Easing and driven rates below zero%. In late June 2019, the amount of negative yielding bonds reached over $12 trillion. Yields in Europe continue to fall as the ECB in June indicated its plans to lower the discount rate further in upcoming meetings. A slow-down in the European economy and low inflation has left businesses and economists frustrated. (1)

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Climate change, economy, environment, interest rates, retirement, risk management

Rising global temperatures will hurt global GDP

A study released by the science journal Nature makes the connection between the rise of global temperatures and the negative impact this has on GDP around the world. In the study, titled “Global non-linear effect of temperature on economic production”, researchers found that “fundamental productive elements of modern economies, such as workers and crops, exhibit highly non-linear responses to local temperature even in wealthy countries.” Meaning as temperatures rise, the effect is much greater and accelerates in ways that are potentially disastrous. (1)

One of the lead authors, Marshall Burke of Stanford’s Department of Earth System Science, calls their study “the first evidence that economic activity in all regions is coupled to the global climate.”

The study continues, “If future adaptation mimics past adaptation, unmitigated warming is expected to reshape the global economy by reducing average global incomes roughly 23% by 2100 and widening global income inequality.”

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economy, income, interest rates, retirement, risk management

Market Risks and the Wall of Worry

 

“Current Bull Market Continues To Climb A ‘Wall of Worry’” (1)

 

The “wall of worry” is one of the phrases frequently used to illustrate the resistance or fear of investors to invest in a stock market that had earlier gone down.  Since the Great Recession of 2008 and the financial crisis many investors have worried about the possibility of another financial crisis.

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economy, income, interest rates, retirement

Fed raises rates, and questions, around the economy

On June 13th, 2018 the federal reserve raised interest rates 25 basis points and altered their expectation to raise rates a total of 4 times this year, compared to earlier expectation of 3 raises.

 

In his meeting with reporters to discuss fed policy, fed chair Powell stated, “Households are in good shape, and that is so important, that’s where we got into trouble before, and its often around property and housing that you see real problems emerge but we don’t see that now, and we take some solace from that.”

 

However, he also said, “Economic strength hasn’t reached everyone.”

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economy, income, interest rates, retirement

What are the risks as bond yields move higher?

Since December of 2017 bond yields for US Treasuries have moved up substantially. The increase in bond yields is having an impact on the US stock market, as well as markets around the world.

 

What is driving bond yields higher?

 

One significant driver is the Tax Cuts passed in December of 2017. The tax cuts are leading to an increase in the budget deficit and the need for additional bond issuance. More bond supply can lead to lower bond valuations and higher bond yields.

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economy, interest rates, retirement

Psychology and the Market

On Thursday February 8th 2018 the Dow dropped over 1000 points in a single day.

 

Human behavior is driven two forces, fight or flight. When facing a dramatic event we as individuals are forced to REACT to what happens. 

When looking at the market, if a person is underinvested and it goes up day after day making new highs, that person may experience FOMO… fear of missing out. They might make the decision to invest based on emotion instead of fundamentals.
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economy, income, interest rates, retirement

What do rising rates mean for investors?

In early February 2018 equity markets started to sell off. Volatility increased. On February 8th, 2018 the DJIA dropped over 1000 points.

 

Question: Why?

Answer: The repricing of risk.

 

In 2013 the economy was recovering from the Great Recession of 2008/2009 and was still fragile. A lot of economic data points showed contradictory trends. Believing the economy had sufficiently strengthened, the Federal Reserve announced it’s intention to start reducing its policy of Quantitative Easing which was put into place after the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession. Quantitative Easing was the government policy to buy US treasury bonds in order to keep interest rates low and support the economy.

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economy, retirement

Trick or Treat? The Potential Downside of Tax Reform for Investors

 

There is an old story that goes “beware what you wish for…” Things don’t always turn out as expected.

 

Along those lines I watched a fascinating interview of Tom Lee, head of research at Fundstrat, on Bloomberg this morning.

 

His feeling is that a Tax cut, as it is currently being discussed, could be negative for investors. “There’s two reasons; First, when cutting tax rate you raise the after tax cost of debt. Leverage becomes a problem for a lot of businesses. Second, because you are cutting tax rates you are effectively giving cash to all businesses, even businesses where you want to reduce allocation.“

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disability, life insurance, protection, retirement

Can Your Financial Plan Last to Age 149?

A recent article out of South Africa cites Betje de Vroome as the oldest living human being. She was born Sept. 24th, 1866… The world has literally changed before her very eyes. *

 

Think about how family members are now living longer. While people used to live into their 70’s, people regularly live now into their 90’s. At the church I attend we have a woman who turned 100 over the summer. With medical advancements more and more people are expected to live to 150 years of age.

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