Successful investing is often determined by one’s ability to stay the course. Since 2009, investors have had every excuse to bail out of stocks, but the market has continued to climb a wall of worry, becoming one of the longest bull markets in history. In fact, since March of ’09, the S&P 500 is up 290%. By historic measures, this market has lasted 108 months vs 54 months for the average bull market. The question becomes: Where are we now? In our humble opinion, we are probably pretty deep into the 4th quarter and might go into overtime.
Noah and I flew down to Orlando last week for the annual TD Ameritrade Institutional Conference. In addition to industry professionals and experts, there was quite a lineup of speakers and entertainment, including Mitt Romney, Sugar Ray Leonard and Huey Lewis & the News. Our key takeaways follow:
Over the past week, I have had several clients mention the recent PBS Frontline special, “The Retirement Gamble” (Retirement Gamble). I have also read several negative comments from my industry regarding the piece. After finally finding the time to watch it this morning, I believe it was honest and well done. It is refreshing to see PBS do a piece that includes two of the three messages we try to relay to investors every day.
- A Fiduciary places investors interest before their own
- Fees steal returns and are one of the most important determinants in investment outcomes
The general idea about inflation we are taught is that the greater the supply of money, the less a single dollar is worth, and the prices for the goods we buy should rise. This simple model usually holds true, yet policies by the Federal Reserve over the past five years have substantially increased the supply of money but have failed to stimulate above average inflation. Inflation lowers everyone’s purchasing power and erodes the real return on investments, so keeping an eye on when inflation might rise is important.
One of the things we harp on at our firm is abiding by a fiduciary standard. This standard compels us to always act in the best interest of our clients. In our business, that means recommending investments that we believe will best achieve a client’s goals regardless of how transacting in those investments effects our bottom line. As professional purveyors of advice we believe it would be disingenuous, if not downright wrong, to provide anything but objective guidance. We also believe it sets us apart from large wire house brokers and advisors who are not held to that same standard. (more…)