Set Your Goals

When a new client comes to our office for the first time, we typically start by asking “How can we help?” Starting a relationship with a financial planner is almost always precipitated by something happening in the client’s life—they want to retire soon, they just received an inheritance, they just learned they are seriously ill, they are dealing with the complexities of life with kids, parents, a house, jobs.

We work with people of all ages and in all stages of life. Most of the time there are multiple goals and part of our job is to help clients prioritize how they want to tackle them. Let’s take a moment to look at some typical goals by age to get you thinking about your own situation.

Planning in your 20s

Getting off to a good start in life is essential. Developing good money habits can create a lifetime of financial joy. Do you see anything in this list > SEE MORE

Are TIPS Cheap?

I’ve been getting lots of questions about whether Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS) are a good investment, with the yield at just 0.32% on the five-year. To answer the question of whether TIPS are cheap or expensive relative to Treasuries, I’ll discuss how to make the determination of whether to purchase TIPS or nominal fixed-income securities. To begin, we need to recognize there are two ways one can hold TIPS and nominal bonds: purchase the bonds individually or invest in mutual funds/exchange traded funds (ETFs). When investing through taxable accounts and IRAs, one can do either. However, in corporate > SEE MORE

RIP Book Value?

If you’re familiar with factor investing, you’re likely aware that value investing, particularly in the U.S. market, has had a challenging stretch over the last 10 years. If you dig deeper into the darker recesses of factor investing nerdery, you’ll also find that the validity of book value — one of the traditional measures of quantitative value — as a measure of a company’s intrinsic value is under assault. The basic claim is that intangible assets (research and development expenses, brand name, intellectual capital, etc.) have become such a large fraction of intrinsic value for many companies that book value, which doesn’t generally account for intangible > SEE MORE

Emerging Markets Need Time

The April 26, 2019 column by John Rekenthaler, vice president of research at Morningstar, called the experiment of investing in emerging markets a failure. He drew this conclusion after presenting the following evidence.

He began by showing the correlation between the Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index (VEIEX) and the S&P 500 Index over the last 25 years was a fairly low 0.25, demonstrating that, “On paper, emerging-markets stock funds did do some zigging while U.S. equities zagged.”

However, he then noted that it was “useless diversification. The only two times during the GREAT BULL MARKET (the results warrant the capitalization) in which U.S. equity investors needed protection was the New Era technology-stock meltdown and, of course, 2008. Emerging-markets stocks dropped 25% during the first instance—better than the S&P > SEE MORE