January 31, 3 Reasons to Have an Advisor at Every Stage of Life
Financial Advisors are often thought of as something that people need in their thirties, well into their career, or already financially stable. This leads folks just starting out in their twenties tending to kick the can down the curb for when they've got things "figured out" and many families trying to play catch up because of lost time. Even worse, many older generations are left attempting to navigate retirement and latter year expenses without an experienced financial guide. From newly settled in a job to getting settled into your family to looking forward into the future, advisors can be a huge help at any phase. Here are the top three reasons to have an advisor at whatever stage of life you are in:
1. Financial goals can be vague. As you embark onto your financial journey by settling into a career, financial goals can seem hazy without a plan. A financial advisor can help you create quantified goals and a time frame in which to accomplish your goals. Whether you're hoping to visit every country in the Western Hemisphere or seeking to preserve wealth for future generations, it's important to have a plan that's created alongside someone who has been diligently trained at helping people accomplish their financial goals.
2. It is never too early, or too late to plan for your children. Planning for your children's future is important when they are 2 or 22. Without a financial advisor, those important planning steps can fall to the wayside. You never want to leave your family vulnerable, and preparing for your future also includes preparing for your children's future if your time is short. Whether it's planning an educational savings plan so your child can be the first in your family to attend college, or preparing your life insurance to provide for your family in your absence, a good financial advisor can help map out a plan.
3. Confidence is invaluable. If investment accounts and insurance seem like foreign languages, it is vital to bring a professional financial advisor into your planning to help. No one has the market cornered on good ideas and no one should feel like they need to go it alone. A good financial advisor is well versed in savings strategies that help you mitigate risks and increase the likelihood that you'll be able to do what you want. Your plan should be customized to fit your time in life, your unique goals, and your unique family and financial situation. No one is the same, so no one deserves the same plan.
Whether your are just starting out on your own or are just a few years away from retirement, it is never too early or too late to contact a financial advisor to help you frame your financial future. In your younger years an advisor can help you craft a clearer picture of what steps you need to take to help make your dreams a reality, from repaying debt to hitting savings goals. In your middle years an advisor can help you check important life boxes, like helping your kids out with educational expenses or investing in your retirement. Finally, in the latter stages of life, advisors can help you mitigate risks to help you can continue living the life you've dreamed and remain active in working towards accomplishing new goals.
We'd be honored to help.
All investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or a loss. There is no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful.
October 3, Two Things You Should Teach Your Grandkids About Money
We all know the importance of teaching our kids about money, but when it comes to grandkids, it can be tough to know the proper role without barging in on their parents. Being able to impart wisdom without the amount of time or control that parents typically have can be tough. However, we believe that grandparents can play a key role in helping set their grandkids up for success that will do them much more good than an inheritance. Here's a few quick beginner ways that you can help build them up with a strong financial background from an early age.
1) How to Save for a Goal
Grandkids have to learn that money isn't just for spending immediately. In a culture that sells immediacy to kids, it's crucial to teach them the importance of saving for big things that they want, need, and for emergencies. Young children (10 and under) can choose a goal item and learn simple savings through setting aside coins or bills in a small jar with a picture of the thing they are saving for on it, to remind them of their goal (Kiplinger). As kids head into middle school, you can then teach them about using bank accounts to help foster their savings for a bigger goal item, such as a new soccer ball or dance shoes. In high school, grandparents can teach kids the importance of saving for college by helping them save a portion of their part-time or summer job to offset smaller costs like books or spending money. All these ideas enable kids at any age to save for a goal.
2) How to be Generous
Grandparents have been on earth a lot longer than most folks, so they are aware of the value of a dollar and the impact it can have on those less fortunate than us. It is important to foster this idea in kids through showing them what it means to be generous with our time and money. It is invaluable to show children that baking cookies for a new neighbor or using their own money to contribute to a cause that they care about like a nonprofit or your local church is a big part of their development. Whether it is having them set aside a set portion of their allowance, monetary gifts, or their earnings from their job, or even helping them to donate toys or games they no longer use, no kid is too old or too young to learn that they can positively impact those around them with their generosity. Make sure that they're able to see you being generous in your life as well!
Opinions expressed are the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.
September 2, How to Turn Your Retirement Dreams Into Reality
Don't tell anyone else at the office, but I daydream pretty often. Sometimes I daydream about playing 18 holes at Augusta National with Phil Mickelson and Jack Nicklaus. Sometimes I daydream about what I would say for my acceptance speech at the Oscars. Sometimes I even daydream about the United States Men's soccer team winning the World Cup. Hey, they're daydreams not reality!
A lot of times though, I daydream about what I'll do when I hang up my work boots and enter into a new phase of my life- retirement. Now I'm lucky- I love what I do and I'm not itching to stop at all. But I know that if I daydream about retirement, chances are a lot of you do too.
Sometimes when we think about this day, we start thinking of the big number it'll take to accomplish it and get so intimidated that it's easy to put our dreams in the back of our minds out of fear. I'm convinced that fear of "the big number" stops so many retirement dreams and lasting legacies before they even have a chance to materialize.
Here are 3 ways to make sure your retirement dreams can become a reality
- Spend time visualizing them and write them down. Isn't it funny how we can set meetings on our calendar but they only tend to happen when we write them down? It's the same way with retirement. Dr. Joe Kable, a neuro-economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania recently studied the root causes of success in saving money. His study found that participants who spent additional time sincerely visualizing what would be the outcome of their savings goals, whether it was the new car smell on the Porsche or the salty air in the new beach house, had a much easier time saving money than any other group. (Source: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100780840)
Spend the time to envision what you truly want and write it down. Then it's time to put a plan in place with your guide to make it happen!
- Ensure your investments only go forward. If you're like us, you've had to entertain incredible stories from time to time from a friend who made a killer stock pick that produced an amazing return. It's tempting to want to chase big returns like that, but often investors put themselves at an inordinate amount of risk to try and accomplish these goals. That's not always wise. If you have a big downturn, it can take years of larger returns to make up for the loss. That doesn't mean you sit on the sidelines in cash, but it does mean that your strategy should mitigate risk whenever possible.
- Quit Procrastinating! One of my favorite quotes is from business sage Dale Carnegie. He said, "Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, don't sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy! The worst thing you can do for your retirement dreams is to ignore it and hope for something out of the ordinary to happen later. The power of compounding interest means that time is on your side for investors who are wise enough to begin as soon as possible. The only time that's better to start than tomorrow is today!
Bill Winchester, CRPC®
Managing Partner, Lawson Winchester Wealth Management
Branch Manager, Raymond James Financial Services
The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Bill Winchester and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. Every investor's situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon before making any investment. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website's users and/or members.
August 17, Seasonality in the Stock Market
One of the more interesting studies when analyzing market behavior is the study of seasonality and of price patterns that tend to repeat. While price itself is always the most important indicator, knowing the probability for markets, sectors and stocks for any given year, month or day can be beneficial in making investment decisions. Some of these become market clichés such as Sell in May and go away, the Santa Claus Rally, and the like. Some of these are based in historical fact but often are misunderstood.
One of my favorite seasonality pattern s to study has always been the Presidential Election Cycle. Election years such as 2016 are typically up years In the U.S. stock markets. Historically they are the second best performing of the four years. The year prior to election years is the best performing in the cycle and the two years following the election historically are not as strong. Election years also have a high probability of being up during the last 7 months of election years. Since 1952 there have only been 2 election years of the 16 that were negative during this period (2000 and 2008). Also, since 1896 there have only been five (out of 30) election years that registered declines over 5%. Election years typically have good odds of closing higher. (Source: Stock Trader's Almanac 2016 Edition)
So far during 2016 the stock markets have recovered from a very weak first 6 weeks and have rallied steadily into the summer actually making new all-time highs. Overall August and September are two of the weakest months historically but August actually tends to have positive returns during election years. September is particularly weak during the last few trading days. Despite the seasonal tendency for strength during the last 7 months of an election year, there often is weakness in the September and October time frame. It would make perfect sense for the market to consolidate its recent gains and even pullback some into October before possibly climbing higher into year end.
There are many other patterns and seasonal tendencies, some public and some proprietary, that offer an opportunity to improve the probability of a winning investment. We run statistical analysis on multiple time frames for various markets, sectors and individual stocks. This often can help frame in a market and indicate what the highest probability outcome will be. We are not huge fans of predictions as the market conditions change quickly and ultimately supply and demand dictate the price movement. While we do incorporate seasonality into our outlook we always maintain a strict sell discipline in all investments. The major stock market indexes are in uptrends and despite the many market pundits calling for declines and crashes we believe the highest probability approach is stay with the uptrend while maintaining our sell discipline.
Darrell L. Jones, CFA
Senior Portfolio Manager, Lawson Winchester
The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. There is no assurance any of the trends mentioned will continue or forecasts will occur. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Darrell Jones and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.
July 27, Earnings Season in Full Swing
Earnings for companies are typically considered a key driver of stock price performance. The second quarter 2016 earnings season is underway as 25% of the Standard & Poor's 500 index (SPX) have reported quarterly results so far. Of those reporting, 68% have reported above the mean estimate and 57% have reported sales above the mean estimate. However, the blended earnings decline is 3.7%. Should the SPX report an overall decline in earnings, it will mark the fifth consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines. This would be the first 5 quarter streak of declines since 3rd quarter of 2008 through 3rd quarter of 2009. (Source: Fact set Earnings Insight)
It is important to note that while the direction, trend and strength in earnings do impact stock price performance, the stock market is a leading indicator and is not coincident with current earnings. Notably during the last 5 quarter earnings decline cycle while the negative earnings quarter began during the 3rd quarter of 2008 the actual top in the SPX was in October of 2007. Also, while the earnings declines continued through the 3rd quarter of 2009, the bottom in the SPX was in March 2009 thus anticipating the return to positive earnings by 2 quarters.
The pattern has been similar during the current cycle as the index topped out in May 2015 as earnings began declining during the 2nd quarter 2015. While they appear likely to decline again during the current quarter the SPX has recently broken out to new all-time highs for the first time since May 2015. The new highs recorded has helped build the bullish case moving into the second half of 2016 even as valuations stretch higher. The Price to Earnings (P/E) ratio have moved up to over 19 versus a long term average of 17 as both earnings have declined in 2016 and prices have increased. While P/E ratios being higher than normal is a reason to have more caution we do not view them as a timing tool. Rather, they are better used as a measure of risk. Specifically, we do not view higher valuations as a reason to sell stocks but rather they indicate there is more risk to prices should there be an event that causes stock prices to decline as there is more room to fall to normalized valuation levels.
One potential factor contributing to the higher P/E multiple is the lowest interest rates on record. The case can be made that valuations should be higher when the cost of capital is so low and yields on bonds are at extreme low levels. In terms of sector performance the leading sectors year to date remain utilities and energy. The utilities sector within the SPX is up 21.9% in 2016 not including dividends while the energy portion of the SPX has gained 13.3%. Materials and Real Estate have also gained 10% or more this year while Industrials and Consumer Staples are close to double digit percentage returns. The only negative sector is the Financials as the low for longer thesis has continued to put pressure on bank stock prices.
Sector performance for last week showed negative returns for Staples, Energy, Industrials and Materials while out of the positive sectors Technology led the way with a 1.8% return. The major indexes - Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and the S&P 500 (SPX) made new highs during the week following the breakout the prior week. The NASDAQ 100 (NDX) and the Russell 2000 still have not made new highs during this recent increase in prices. Most of our primary market indicators have flashed buy signals recently including a very rare combination of a primary breadth indicator and a buying volume indicator as both flashed buy signals in the same week in early July. These two signals have only both triggered in the same week twice in the past 50 years. Both times (1982 and 2009) were at the beginning of solid up moves in the equity markets. Also, our long term market model which was in defensive mode throughout early 2016 triggered a buy signal in mid-June. All of these factors lead us to remain bullish on the prospects for higher stock prices for the rest of 2016. However, we do expect there to be much "noise" and volatility as the market continues to deal with high levels of international social unrest, terrorists acts, the uncertainty of an election year. Despite all these things occurring post Brexit, the market has ignored them and prices have steadily marched higher. This is what happens in Bull markets and this is why we stay focused on following price and volume and high probability investments.
Darrell L. Jones, CFA
Senior Portfolio Manager, Lawson Winchester
The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that is generally considered representative of the U.S. stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as "The Dow" is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of the Wall Street Journal. The NASDAQ composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system. The Russell 2000 Index measures the performance of the 2,000 smallest companies in the Russell 3000 Index, which represent approximately 8% of the total market capitalization of the Russell 3000 Index. Keep in mind that individuals cannot invest directly in any index, and index performance does not include transaction costs or other fees, which will affect actual investment performance. Individual investor's results will vary. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., its affiliates, officers, directors or branch offices may in the normal course of business have a position in any securities mentioned in this report. The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete, it is not a statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision, and it does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Darrell Jones and not necessarily those of Raymond James.