More Money Is Lost Waiting For Corrections Than in Them

We have data for 91 calendar years (or 1,092 months) of U.S. investment returns over the period 1927 through 2016. The average monthly return to the S&P 500 has been 0.95%, and the average quarterly return was 3.0%. With that background, here’s a short, four-question quiz: If we remove the returns from the best 91 months (an average of just one month a year and 8.5% of the entire period), what is the average return of the remaining 1,001 months? What is the average return of those best-performing 91 months? If we remove the returns of the best-performing 91 quarters…

Changing Jobs? Know Your 401(k) Options

If you’ve lost your job, or are changing jobs, you may be wondering what to do with your 401(k) plan account. It’s important to understand your options. What will I be entitled to? If you leave your job (voluntarily or involuntarily), you’ll be entitled to a distribution of your vested balance. Your vested balance always includes your own contributions (pretax, after-tax, and Roth) and typically any investment earnings on those amounts. It also includes employer contributions (and earnings) that have satisfied your plan’s vesting schedule. In general, you must be 100% vested in your employer’s contributions after 3 years of…

Building an Evidence-Based Investment Plan

“Control what you can control.” —David Butler, co-CEO, Dimensional Fund Advisors By following the above five words from Butler, investors can help simplify their complex financial lives. Out of thousands of pages of scientific research, a cornerstone of evidence-based investing emerges: Control what you can control. Control the fees you pay and your trading costs. Control your tax efficiency and your asset allocation. Control how closely your emotions are tied to an up-and-down market. Bigger picture, you can take better control of your entire financial experience. This article looks at foundational tenets of evidence-based investing to give you confidence when you think…

Fiduciary Now, Fiduciary Always

WE ARE ALWAYS COMMITTED TO DOING WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU You may have noticed the word fiduciary bouncing around the news lately. The Department of Labor announced last April that financial advisors who provide retirement investment advice would be held to a new fiduciary rule — that is, they would be required to put investors’ interests ahead of their own. What followed was applause in some corners, angst in others, and spirited dialogue and debate all around the room. Now, the fiduciary rule hangs in midair as the new administration has asked the DOL to review the wide-ranging implications if…

2016 Market Review

In 2016, the US market reached new highs and stocks in a majority of developed and emerging market countries delivered positive returns. The year began with anxiety over China’s stock market and economy, falling oil prices, a potential US recession, and negative interest rates in Japan. US equity markets were in steep decline and had the worst start of any year on record. The markets began improving in mid-February through midyear. Investors also faced uncertainty from the Brexit vote in June and the US election in November. Many investors may not have expected global stocks and bonds to deliver positive…

Prediction Season

In the coming weeks, investors are likely to be bombarded with predictions about what the future, and specifically the next year, may hold for their portfolios. These outlooks are typically accompanied by recommended investment strategies and actions that are aimed at trying to avoid the next crisis or missing out on the next “great” opportunity. When faced with recommendations of this sort, it would be wise to remember that investors are better served by sticking with a long-term plan rather than changing course in reaction to predictions and short-term calls. PREDICTIONS AND PORTFOLIOS One doesn’t typically see a forecast that…

IRA and Retirement Plan Limits for 2017

IRA contribution limits The maximum amount you can contribute to a traditional IRA or Roth IRA in 2017 is $5,500 (or 100% of your earned income, if less), unchanged from 2016. The maximum catch-up contribution for those age 50 or older remains at $1,000. (You can contribute to both a traditional and Roth IRA in 2017, but your total contributions can’t exceed these annual limits.) Traditional IRA deduction limits for 2017 The income limits for determining the deductibility of traditional IRA contributions in 2017 have increased. If your filing status is single or head of household, you can fully deduct…

Presidential Elections and the Stock Market

Next month, Americans will head to the polls to elect the next president of the United States. While the outcome is unknown, one thing is for certain: There will be a steady stream of opinions from pundits and prognosticators about how the election will impact the stock market. As we explain below, investors would be well‑served to avoid the temptation to make significant changes to a long‑term investment plan based upon these sorts of predictions. SHORT-TERM TRADING AND PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION RESULTS Trying to outguess the market is often a losing game. Current market prices offer an up-to-the-minute snapshot of the…

Retirement is Scary; Plan it Out

Retirement creates many challenges. Unfortunately, while about 10,000 Americans retire daily, the sad truth is that most people seem to spend less time planning for retirement than they do for a vacation. Anxiety regarding our futures is a common ailment, especially among the millions of Americans rapidly approaching the end of their working years. And there are good reasons for that anxiety. Retiring can be as stressful as getting married, losing your job or having a close family member become ill. The highest suicide rate in the United States for any segment of the population is men over 70. That’s…