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The main purpose of this blog is to help demystify and expand upon financial concepts that may be confusing for some people. There is such a variety of potential topics, so please feel free to e-mail us with your financial concerns!

 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

While trade issues have received the bulk of the headlines this year, the upcoming midterm elections present another source of uncertainty for the financial markets. Historically, this has actually turned out well for investors. The...

 

Monday, July 23, 2018

The ‘yield curve’ – the difference between the yield on the 10 year Treasury Note and the yield on the 2 year T-Note – has recently flattened to its lowest level in over a decade. This raises concerns since, as...

 

Friday, June 22, 2018

In my February blog, I outlined a few explanations for the market correction that began earlier that month. At this point, we can continue that discussion by focusing on the two justifications for the market’s action that relate...

 

Friday, May 25, 2018

The number of workers that have access to defined benefit pension plans has fallen drastically over the years. However, we continue to come across a substantial number of pre-retirees that will be receiving these pensions. When we do,...

 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

With so much concern about inflation and Fed rate hikes, bond investors should be paying close attention to the sensitivity of their portfolios to a change in interest rates. An important measure of this risk is called...

 

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Last August, I wrote about a few financial strategies that posed risks to the financial system. Among them was the ‘short volatility trade’. I concluded that: “In the event of a more prolonged and pronounced down move...

 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

In the companion piece to this post, I mentioned the different narratives that explained the current market correction. While investors will (and should) seek to understand the underlying causes of market movements, it is important to...

 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Last Thursday, the stock market officially entered ‘correction’ territory. Technically speaking, a correction occurs when the market falls by 10% from its previous peak. While corrections are not particularly enjoyable for...

 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Following the financial crisis, the U.S. economy has experienced a long recovery with a noticeable absence of price inflation. Last year, the unemployment rate in the U.S. continued to fall, from 4.8% in January to 4.1% currently. Yet...

 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Recently, Federal Reserve policymakers surprised no one when they raised the Fed funds rate to a range between 1.25% and 1.50%. The prospect of rising rates understandably makes investors less enthusiastic about allocating capital to...

 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The stock market has recently made new highs, and investors have to wonder – given the prolonged and consistent rally – if now is the right time to reduce exposure. As always, it makes sense to take a step back and consider...

 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

It is common wisdom that domestic stock and bond markets are (depending on your view) either fully-valued or overvalued. While I have occasionally written blog posts aimed at debunking the ‘argument du jour’ for why these...

 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Most investors understand the benefits of having of a diversified portfolio. Even before the advantages of diversification were formally codified and quantified through the development of Modern Portfolio Theory in the 1950’s,...

 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Recently, several well-known market prognosticators have called for stock market investors to start heading for the exit as we enter a seasonally weak period for the market. While it’s true that September is historically the...

 

Monday, July 17, 2017

As the U.S. stock market reaches new highs, it is common for people to ask if the market has become overvalued. Based upon many absolute valuation metrics this appears to be the case, but looking at relative valuation tells a different...

 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Around two months ago, I wrote a blog post titled "The Case for International Equities". Since then, investing in foreign markets has become something of a consensus view. The investment flows demonstrate this fairly clearly as there...

 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Recently, the CBOE Volatility Index, commonly referred to as the VIX, dropped below 10%. This occurrence caused a few headlines because the other name for the VIX is “the fear index”, so a drop below 10 – which...

 

Monday, April 17, 2017

With the U.S. stock market at relatively high levels, now may be a good time to look abroad for equity exposure. There are a few factors that make foreign markets attractive at this time. The U.S. market has vastly outperformed other...

 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Over the last few years, financial services providers have been falling over themselves to develop and bring to market new 'smart-beta' products. The value proposition for these investment vehicles is pretty straightforward: by...

 

Friday, February 10, 2017

You may have heard reports in the news recently that our newly elected President has signed an executive order pertaining to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Fiduciary Duty Rule or “Conflict of Interest” Rule. The...

 

Monday, January 23, 2017

I am pleased to announce that I have been awarded the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) designation from the Center for Fiduciary Studies™, the standards-setting body for fi360. The AIF® designation signifies...

 

Friday, January 13, 2017

For an investor, setting an appropriate portfolio risk target is a key concept. In some self-directed accounts, 529’s, and 401K’s, investors are asked to self-assess their financial circumstances and select a risk target...

 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Oftentimes, when seeking equity exposure with lower risk, investors come across alternative equity investments. These are liquid alternative funds that are often classified as 'market neutral', 'long/short', or 'hedged equity'....

 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Over the last few years, many financial services companies have been issuing new investment vehicles meant to take advantage of equity ‘factors’ (sources of incremental return above and beyond the general equity market)....