Ten Years, Tremendous Gains A look at where stocks were in 2009 and how they have performed since. Provided by: Nate Lewis Where were you on March 9, 2009? Do you remember the headwinds hitting Wall Street then? When the closing bell rang at the New York Stock Exchange that Monday afternoon, it marked the end of another down day for equities. Just hours earlier, the Wall Street Journal had asked: “How Low Can Stocks Go?”1 The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index answered that question by sinking to 676.53, even with mergers and acquisitions making headlines. The index was

Why DIY Investment Management Is Such a Risk Paying attention to the wrong things becomes all too easy. Provided By: Nate Lewis If you ever have the inkling to manage your investments on your own, that inkling is worth reconsidering. Do-it-yourself investment management is generally a bad idea for the retail investor for myriad reasons. Getting caught up in the moment. When you are watching your investments day to day, you can lose a sense of historical perspective. This may be especially true in longstanding bull markets, in which investors are sometimes lulled into assuming that the big indices will

Mutual Funds vs. ETFs Similarities and differences. Provided by: Nate Lewis The growth of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) has been explosive. In 1998, there were only 29; at the end of 2018, there were over 1,900 investing in a wide range of stocks, bonds, and other securities and instruments.1 At first glance, ETFs have a lot in common with mutual funds. Both offer shares in a pool of investments designed to pursue a specific investment goal. And both manage costs and may offer some degree of diversification, depending on their investment objective. Diversification is an approach to help manage investment risk.

Investing in Agreement with Your Beliefs The case for aligning your portfolio with your outlook & worldview. Provided By: Nate Lewis Do your investment choices reflect your outlook? Are they in agreement with your values? These questions may seem rather deep when it comes to deciding what to buy or sell, but some great investors have built fortunes by investing according to the ethical, moral, and spiritual tenets that guide their lives.        Sir John Templeton stands out as an example. Born and raised in a small Tennessee town, he became one of the world’s richest men and most respected

Six Most Overlooked Tax Deductions Six overlooked tax deductions to help you manage your tax bill. Provided by: Nate Lewis Who among us wants to pay the Internal Revenue Service more taxes than we have to? While few may raise their hands to voluntarily pay more taxes, Americans regularly overpay because they fail to take tax deductions for which they are eligible. Are you one of them? Let’s take a quick look at the six most overlooked opportunities to manage your tax bill. Reinvested Dividends. When your mutual fund pays you a dividend or capital gains distribution, that income is

Long-Term Investing Truths Key lessons for retirement savers. Provided by: Nate Lewis You learn lessons as you invest in pursuit of long-run goals. Some of these lessons are conveyed and reinforced when you begin saving for retirement, and others, you glean along the way.     First and foremost, you learn to shut out much of the “noise.” News outlets take the temperature of global markets five days a week (and on the weekends), and economic indicators change weekly or monthly. The longer you invest, the more you learn that breaking news can create market volatility. While the day trader sells

Weekly Economic Update 3/25/2019 In this week’s recap: the “yield curve” inverts for the first time this decade, the Federal Reserve adjusts its stance on interest rates, and the price of oil climbs. Provided by: Paul Lewis, CFP®,CWS® THE WEEK ON WALL STREET Friday, the yield of the 3-month Treasury bill exceeded the yield of the 10-year Treasury note for the first time in 12 years. For some analysts, this “inverted yield curve” may imply a short-term lessening of confidence. (Treasury yields move inversely to Treasury prices.)1 As a result, the S&P 500 ended the week 0.94% lower. The Nasdaq

The Investment Risk You May Not Know About What can you do to allay this risk? Provided by: Nate Lewis Knowledgeable investors are aware that investing in the capital markets presents any number of risks – interest-rate risk, company risk, and market risk. Risk is an inseparable companion to the potential for long-term growth. Some of the investment risks we face can be mitigated through diversification.1 As an investor, you face another, less-known risk for which the market does not compensate you, nor can it be easily reduced through diversification. Yet, it may be the biggest challenge to the sustainability

Weekly Economic Update 3/11/2019 A disappointing jobs report and a downgrade of the 2019 growth forecast for Europe give Wall Street pause. Provided by: Paul Lewis, CFP®,CWS® THE WEEK ON WALL STREET As in February, investors spent most of the first full trading week of March hoping for new details in U.S.-China trade negotiations. While they waited, stock benchmarks drifted downward. From Monday’s open to Friday’s close, the S&P 500 lost 2.55%, while the Dow Industrials took a 2.66% fall, and the Nasdaq Composite weakened 3.12%. The MSCI EAFE index tracking developed markets outside the U.S. and Canada fell 1.09%.1,2,3,4

Could Assumptions Harm Your Retirement Strategy? Three common misconceptions to think about. Provided by: Nate Lewis 1 – Assuming retirement will last 10-15 years. When Social Security was created in the 1930s, the average American could anticipate living to age 58 as a man or 62 as a woman. By 2017, life expectancy for the average American had increased to 78.6. That said, this average may bely the fact that many retirees could live well into their nineties or beyond.1,2 Assuming you will only need 10- or 15-years’ worth of retirement money could be a big mistake. 2 – Assuming

Have You Budgeted for Retirement? Creating a strategy for success. Provided by: Nate Lewis Run the numbers. There is a rule of thumb for retirees suggesting that retirement income has a target of 70-80% of the household’s end salary, though this can certainly vary. So, years before leaving work, sit down (perhaps with the financial professional you know and trust) and take a look at your household’s monthly expenses.1 The closer your household gets to retirement, the more exact you will want to be about your income needs. You first want to look for changing expenses: housing costs that might

Midlife Money Errors If you are between 40 & 60, beware of these financial blunders & assumptions. Provided by: Nate Lewis Mistakes happen, even for people who have some life experience under their belt. That said, your retirement strategy is one area of life where you want to avoid having some fundamental misconceptions. These errors and suppositions are worth examining, as you do not want to succumb to them. See if you notice any of these behaviors or assumptions creeping into your financial life.    Do you think you need to invest with more risk? If you are behind on

To Catch a Thief Having your identity stolen may be costly. Provided by: Nate Lewis Many Americans have taken steps in recent years to protect their personal information, but savvy cybercrooks have overcome some of those defenses. A 2018 Javelin Research report found identity theft hit an all-time high in 2017, affecting an estimated 16.7 million consumers. For the first time, Social Security numbers were compromised more frequently than credit card numbers.1 If you have not taken measures to protect yourself, it may be a good idea to consider your options. Individuals can take four basic steps to help protect

Your Financial Strategy Like a chess grandmaster, it’s worth thinking a few moves ahead. Provided by: Nate Lewis Thinking about retirement might seem unpleasant. As you budget your monthly bills, you might feel as if you simply don’t have enough to handle both your day-to-day affairs and still save for the future. It’s certainly true that it’s a challenge. That said, with some careful thought and a little imagination, you can probably think of ways to make what once felt impossible, more possible. The strategic approach is known to grandmasters, generals, and sports coaches the world over. Simply put, it’s

Weekly Economic Update 3/4/2019 Stocks end the week little changed after investors interpret commentary from Jerome Powell and hear that higher taxes on Chinese imports are indefinitely postponed. Provided by: Paul Lewis, CFP®,CWS® THE WEEK ON WALL STREET Stocks lost a little ground as February gave way to March. While domestic and overseas political developments made headlines, the market stayed relatively calm: from Monday’s open through Friday’s close, the S&P 500 ceded but 0.17%, finishing the week at 2,803.69.1 The Dow declined 0.65% in five trading sessions to 26,026.32, while the Nasdaq finished the week 0.06% higher at 7,595.35. The

Value vs. Growth Investing There are those who favor value and those who favor growth. Provided by: Nate Lewis You might be initially confused by these terms or even suspect they aren’t that different in terms of what each model offers you as an investor, but they are very distinct approaches, and it’s good to understand these two schools of thought as you invest. This understanding could help you make important investment decisions, both now and in the future.1 At first glance, some of the advantages to each approach may not be immediately obvious, depending on what sort of market

Weekly Economic Update 2/18/2019 In this week’s recap: solid gains for U.S. equities, a second shutdown avoided, and interesting developments regarding inflation and retail sales Provided by: Paul Lewis, CFP®,CWS® THE WEEK ON WALL STREET Stocks ended a good week on a high note, as hints of progress in U.S.-China trade talks encouraged investors. When the closing bell rang Friday, the S&P 500 settled at 2,775.60, after rising 2.50% in five days. The Dow Industrials gained 3.09% to close Friday at 25,883.25. The Nasdaq Composite improved 2.39% to 7,472.41.1,2 SHUTDOWN AVERTED Wall Street breathed a sigh of relief late last

Social Security by the Numbers Facts about the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program. Provided By: Paul Lewis, CFP®,CWS® Social Security has been a pillar of retirement life for several decades, but how much do you really know about it? Here are some facts that might surprise you: The Social Security trust fund exceeds the gross domestic product of every major economy in the world, except the nine largest: China, the European Union, the United States, India, Japan, Germany, Russia, Indonesia, and Brazil.1 For 61% of retirees, Social Security is a major source of income.1 Benefits are subject

Bad Money Habits to Break Behaviors worth changing. Provided By: Nate Lewis Do bad money habits constrain your financial progress? Many people fall into the same financial behavior patterns, year after year. If you sometimes succumb to these financial tendencies, now is as good a time as any to alter your behavior. #1: Lending money to family & friends. You may know someone who has lent a few thousand to a sister or brother, a few hundred to an old buddy, and so on. Generosity is a virtue, but personal loans can easily transform into personal financial losses for the

Is America Prepared to Retire? A look at some ways to get ready. Provided By: Nate Lewis Are Americans saving enough? Only 19% of U.S. adults describe themselves as “very confident” when asked about their savings. Worry spots include retiring without enough money saved (16%) and anxiety about having a “rainy day” emergency fund (14%). These findings come from the 2018 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. (The survey collected data from 2,017 U.S. adults.)1 Only 41% of us keep a regular budget. If you are one of those roughly two-out-of-five Americans, you’re on