Newsletters

MARKET-VIEW 2ND QUARTER 2014

Portfolio Recap The 2nd quarter was marked by very low equity market volatility and steady, positive performance across all major indices.  Our diversified approach to managing investments continued to focus on limiting downside equity risk through a bias for value-oriented, high quality, dividend paying domestic and international equities.  In the short term, volatility and potential for loss has been further mitigated by allocating fewer investment dollars to US Small Cap stocks.   They have experienced significant gains over the past several years and in our opinion, have been richly valued for quite some time.  This is why we reduced our positions in the latter half of 2013, well in advance of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s remark about the category valuations being stretched. Hybrid investments, led by preferred stock, global bonds and energy infrastructure, had a strong quarter validating our belief the asset class can perform well during strong equity markets.  Our consumer-focused emerging market investments slightly under-performed during the quarter but exceeded our expectation on a risk-adjusted basis.  Despite headwinds created by the Federal Reserve’s plan to stop tapering and end Read on! →

Sending your child to college this fall? Read this first.

May 2014 Newsletter If you can identify with a May 1st deadline, you are likely dealing with a rising college student.  For those who are not aware, May 1st is the date by which decisions must be made to accept the “college of their choice.”  As we approach Memorial Day weekend, most families are deep in the throes of final exams, final concerts, graduations and the associated parties to celebrate the accomplishments of their graduates.  This is indeed a time for celebration. However, if you look a bit deeper, it is also likely a time of angst as parents worry they haven’t accomplished everything necessary before their child leaves for college.  There are the obvious things, like packing and paying the tuition when it comes due.  There are also some essentials you may not have thought about, which need to be discussed before your child leaves the nest.  Not only will it help make your life easier in the long-term, but it can go a long way toward clearly setting expectations and laying a good foundation for your young adult’s Read on! →

Market-View 1st Quarter 2014

Portfolio Recap As the 1st quarter of 2014 came to a close and the 2nd quarter began, the US stock market remained near record highs.  Talk by the Federal Reserve of ending (tapering) their quantitative easing program sooner, questions around whether corporate earnings can support valuations and recent geopolitical events in the Ukraine, all contributed to increased volatility and concerns over how much longer the current 6 year bull market will continue.  Through all of this, your portfolios showed resiliency and experienced steady, positive performance. Our diversified approach to managing investments continued to focus on limiting downside equity risk through a bias for value-oriented, dividend paying domestic and international equities.  In the short term, volatility and potential for loss has been further mitigated by allocating fewer investment dollars to small cap and emerging international, both of which carry more risk than other areas in the equity markets.  Small cap has also experienced significant gains over the past several years further motivating a reduction because we believe the prospect for significant future appreciation has diminished.  Hybrid investments, led by preferred stock, Read on! →

How well do you know your financial adviser?

Assuming you wouldn’t hand over your house key to a stranger on the street, why turn over critical financial decisions to someone you don’t know very well?  If you decide to hire a financial adviser based solely on “feel,” rather than their experience, expertise, and disciplinary background, you might as well have handed over the key to the next passerby. While personality, style and overall “fit” should play a role in choosing a financial adviser, make sure and do your research using a few key documents to fully understand the adviser’s business practices and avoid the regret that comes with making the wrong decision. Every year at this time, advisers across the country are reviewing and revising their Firm Brochure Part 2A Form ADV, Firm Brochure Supplement Part 2B Form ADV, Privacy, Confidentiality and Proxy Voting Disclosures.  These documents describe the firm’s business practices, its key employees and their credentials.  They also serve as annual updates to the various regulatory agencies that oversee the financial services industry. For individuals seeking an adviser or considering a change to a current relationship, Read on! →

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) – February 2014 Newsletter

Enrollment period for 2014 has come and gone. If you are like many workers in the U.S. you probably noticed changes in your health care benefit offerings. For the first time in a long time, many workers are weighing their options for health care coverage as high deductible health plans with health savings accounts are becoming more the “norm” for health care benefits. As health care continues to evolve and take shape, employers and employees are adapting to keep pace. In an effort to reduce costs in response to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and increase employees’ engagement in their own health care decision making, employers across the country are beginning to shift their focus from the traditional health care plans (HMO/PPO) to high deductible health plans (HDHP) coupled with health savings accounts (HSA). According to a 2013 survey[1] on the ACA’s impact on employer sponsored health care, one in four organizations (24.5%) is increasing their emphasis on an HDHP with an HSA, while an additional 14.3% are assessing the feasibility of adding one. If you have not yet been Read on! →