Time Horizon

I’m a big believer that knowing your time horizon for investments is very important. Unfortunately, many investors, and definitely the media, live in the short term when in fact your needs are middle to long term.

outlook-06-580x443 I read this interesting blog (link below) that really sums things up. The only important thing is the probability of reaching your goals over the time frame specific to you.

A time frame super long (over 100 years) like some stock market charts is really irrelevant, as is a super short time frame, except to the degree it forces us off our personalized investment plan.

Anyway, interested article about time lengths and investing.

Get out of Here with your 100 Year Stock Charts


2014 Review – 2015 Preview

2014 is now over, and a new year is in front of us.

In my video (click on the image below), I briefly do a recap on 2014, and then lay out my arguments for a long term approach, diversification, and reasons why I think being fully invested is wise, particularly as I continue to be optimistic  for the foreseeable future.

Click on the video below for 10 minutes of my thoughts.


Hi there! Mike Brady with Generosity Wealth Management: a comprehensive, full-service, wealth management firm headquartered right here in Boulder, Colorado.

Today want to talk about the 2014 review and the 2015 preview- spending most of the time, I think, on the preview.

2014 was a year that was not super high or super low- it was kind of right there in between. The large company unmanaged stock market indexes were in the low double digits-positive for this year. If there was a smaller company investment it was, in general, the single digits- on the low side- kind of low single digits.

Bonds, which I believe are essential for most portfolios-in 2014 they had the low to mid single digits. I’m going to use my hands here: I think a good portfolio of stocks and bonds kind of mesh together with some cash reserves- sort of those core holdings. One thing the bonds did this year [2014] they helped to reduce some of the volatility. If you are 100% stock market index, you’re really kind of all over the place. And in 2014 there was a 7% decline in the in the S&P throughout the year. It did, in the fourth-quarter, recover from that which is wonderful- so it is positive for the year.

I’m going to put a chart up on the screen of the S&P 500 going back to 1997. What you’re going to see is there is some huge advances; some declines; advances; declines, etc. I’m going to just put a circle where we are right now. You can see here, and I put a tiny little arrow next to it, where we have that 7% decline in 2014.

I’m going to put another chart up on the screen. Now you’re going to see what it looks like going all the way back hundred and fourteen years- back in 1900. You’re going to see there are some times of great advance- and it can happen over decades. There are times of consolidation over decades as well. You’re going to see over on the right side where we are now. So the question of ask yourself are we at a consolidated period? Are we at a time of great advance? Of course there could be a decline as well over many times. So this is the environment that we have to make this decision in.

It is normal for there to be dips throughout the year. As a matter-of-fact, going back to 1900, it’s normal for there to be about three dips of at least 5%- historically, that’s what happened. It’s normal for there to be a decline of at least 10% throughout the year when we look at the numbers going all the way back for a hundred and fourteen years. OK?

Time is one of our best advantages. My advice that I give to someone who needs money in a year or two is completely different than the advice that I give when we’re planning out five years, ten years, twenty or thirty. If you’re in your 60s or 70s, hopefully you’re going to live a long life. You still have a long time horizon, hopefully, of ten or twenty years. So the more that we can keep our eyes on what the goal is; Today is point A. Point B is in the future, to keep track of what our goals are in the future the happier we will probably be.

I’m going to put a chart up on the screen. It shows, in numbers, what I just talked about. This is sixty-three years. All the way back to the 1950 of one hundred percent stocks; one hundred percent bonds, and kind of a mishmash of the two. In each one of those groupings that goes from- on the left hand side- one year and on the right-hand side- 20 year rolling time period. You’re going to see that in each one of those groupings, there are three bars and the far right hand bar is a mash of stocks and bonds. The longer out we go, the longer our time horizon has been, the range of returns- the highs have gotten lower and the lows have gotten higher. So that there is a more comfortable range I would say. Kind of gets rid of the outliers of the top outliers on the bottom. And so time is, without question, a great advantage that we have going forward. And so I constantly remind clients of- “where are we going to?” and “What’s our goal?”, “What’s our endgame?” And so, how does one quarter, one year, really fit into the bigger picture of a decade, two decades etc.?

Before we start talking about the preview, let me just tell you that I am optimistic going forward. I do believe that we’re in the beginning of one of those nice big upward swings- that could be multiple years, multiple decades. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be perfect and it doesn’t mean it will be an absolute straight line but I am optimistic about that.

I wanted to read something that Warren Buffett said (one of the best investors in history) and I really have a lot of respect for him. It is this quote right here that he said in the fall of 2008. Just to refresh your memory, the fall of 2008 was horrible! And it continued into January and February of 2009. It was hard to find people who were optimistic at that point in time. What he said is this, “Let me be clear on one point: I can’t predict the short-term movements of the stock market. I haven’t the faintest idea as to whether stocks will be higher or lower a month- or year- from now. What is likely, however, is that the market will move higher, perhaps substantially so, well before sentiment or the economy turns up. So, if you wait for the robins, spring will be over.”

What’s really interesting is after he said that the market continued to go down another 20 or 30%. And he continued to make investments all the way down. And one of the best investments that he made was actually five months after the market completely bottomed out in March of 2009. But he was committed to his conviction that long-term investments in a portfolio, and he has a well balanced portfolio, was in his best interest and when I meeting with clients we talk about how that might be in their best interests as well.

I think that there are lagging and leading indicators. “Lagging” means that the end result. So let’s say that you think the markets go up. Well, we’re not going to know whether or not that’s true or not so we looked at historically. So that’s an indicator, whether it was up or down, after the fact and then it’s too late. I like to focus on some of the leading indicators. And two weeks ago I did a video which I highly recommend that you look at. It came out around December 19, 2014. So go to my webpage look at that blog or look at the archived news newsletters. (www.generositywealth.com) But at that time I talked about some of the leading indicators about why I optimistic as things go forward in adjusting my conversation with clients accordingly.

One of them is the S&P 500 P/E ratio. Right now it’s around 16%. As it creeps up towards 20 that’s going to be a major leading indicator for me as my optimism might go towards more pessimism. I’m also going to look at earnings per share- whether or not that’s going to drop. The 10 year yield on the treasury right now it’s at 2.18 as it gets closer to 3.5, 4.0 or 5.0, I think that is going to be something that will start to give us leading indications of some problems in the future.

Declining investments percentage as a percentage of the GDP and finally, China. You’ll notice that I talk about China primarily as it relates to their economy and the impact on the world. But if you’re looking there’s always a number of reasons not to invest, not to be optimistic. You can always find every year, and 2015 is going to be no different, a reason say, “well it’s different this time!” Well, what about North Korea? What about the Middle East? What about this, what about that? There’s always, and I can sit here and point to some event, that drive the market for a relatively short time. But long-term, the fundamentals of the market win out. And in my opinion the fundamentals are positive at this point. And I’m a believer, like Warren Buffett, that the market, in general, will be higher in the future than it is today. And so we have to create a portfolio that’s individualized for us, to make sure that our behavior allows us to stay invested in that.

Just a couple of other things before I say goodbye here today: I do believe that consumer spending growth will be good going forward- particularly with lower oil prices. I think that is going to be a very positive thing. And is core inflation going to be affected this next year or two? The 2% target from the Fed, I don’t think we’re going to get close to that. So I think that interest rates are going to continue to stay low through 2015 or maybe even in 2016. And this is ultimately, I think, a good thing for us. So these are some of my argument about why am optimistic. But, in general, I’m a very optimistic person about the long-term for this and I think that it’s my client’s best interest as well. But please, don’t make any decisions without your talking to your adviser, without talking with me. It’s real important to keep the long-term vision and in your mind. But you also have to define what those goals are. You’ve got to find something that allows you, from a behavior point of view, to stay true to what your core is. That’s my preview and my discussion today!

Always I love to hear from you!

Mike Brady, Generosity Wealth Management, 303-747-6455.

And you have a wonderful day! Give me a call at anytime.


7 Simple Things Most Investors Don’t Do



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I’m entering my 24th year working with clients.

I did financial plans for people decades ago, and usually, those that did reach their goals did so not because they bought mutual fund A instead of mutual fund B, or this investment over another, it  had to do with having the right behavior and keeping the big questions in mind.

Ben Carlson wrote an absolutely wonderful blog that I’ve linked to below.  He says very succinctly what I say all the time, and truly believe.

Here’s his list of 7 Simple Things Most Investors Don’t Do

  1. Look at everything from an overall portfolio perspective
  2. Understand the importance of asset allocation
  3. Calculate investment performance
  4. Save more every year
  5. Focus only on what you control
  6. Delay gratification

These are absolutely right on, and reflect my thinking.


7 Simple Things Most Investors Don’t Do – Full Article

Squandering the Family Fortune

2014 07 25 old city

60% of the time a family’s money is exhausted by the children of the person who created the wealth, and in 90% of the cases it’s gone by the time the grandchildren die.

The biggest reason they’re squandered is because the people who bilt the wealth do not pass along clear instructions on how to handle the money after they’re gone.  Preserving a fortune requires communication and collaboration that’s hard to achieve.

Have you thought about how you’ll maintain your hard earned money in the family after your passing?

Squandering the Family Fortune – FULL ARTICLE

Life Expectancy and Costs

Do you know your life expectancy?  What does life expectancy really mean, and why should we care?

 These are the questions I answer in my video this newsletter.

Therefore, you should watch my video.

Hi there, Mike Brady with Generosity Wealth Management, a comprehensive, full service, wealth management firm headquartered here in Boulder, Colorado. Today I want to talk about life expectancy and withdrawals and Medicare and Social Security, etc. To be honest with you I only have three or four minutes so I’m only going to give you a little teaser and then I’m going to follow up in the next video.

The first one is life expectancy. If you are 65; I’m going to put up on the chart there, on the video, a chart. What you’ll see if you are 65 years old and you are a woman you have an 85% probability of living up to age 75. That’s a high probability of course. If a couple that are 65 years old the probability of one of you living past 75 is almost assured at 97%. We go out to 80, 85, 90. Let’s just look at 90 years old; if you’re 60 years old, from 75, 85, that’s 25 years to age 90. If you are a woman you have a 1 in 3 chance of living to 90. Periodically I’ll meet with someone who will say; well you know my mother and father they died in their early 80s and there’s no way I’m going to live to 90. Well, you know what, there’s a 1 in 3 chance that you will. Do you want to be that one and spend all your money in the next 25 years? Probably not; plus, many times our parents, that’s just kind of the way it worked. That generation they were smoking and drinking and all kinds of stuff and now we’re always eating kale and gluten free stuff so chances are we’re probably going to live a little bit longer. That’s what statistics have shown us.

One of the values that a financial advisor brings and I always bring to the relationship with clients is life expectancy, that’s usually; if my life expectancy is 85 or so I’ve got to make sure that I plan for much longer than that because that’s using the average. I think that chart there starts to show it. The reason why I bring that up is in retirement; I’m now going to throw one more chart up there for today and what you’re going to see is extending my age and category. From left to right it adds up to about 100%, some rounding and stuff like that, but the gray is the 10 years leading up to retirement at age 65. Then you hit 65 and then above. What you’re going to see is some housing and other increases as a percentage. Transportation goes down. Medical care of course goes up, etc. What we’re going to see on the bottom there is the average inflation from 1982 to 2013 of those particular categories. You’re going to see the medical care which is a higher percentage has a tendency to increase. You know this; you’ve been paying attention the last five years and I’m stating the obvious. Other things; housing is still almost 3%. The percentage of; the items that seem to go up as a percentage of your income also has some high inflation to it as well. That’s something that we have to keep in consideration. We live longer than what we think we’re going to do and many times things are more expensive than what we think as well.

Gosh, do I have time for one more really cool thing here? Here is the variation in healthcare cost. See that little graph there, the little United States there? What you’re going to see is the annual Medicare cost and in Colorado we’re right in the middle. We’re not on the cheap side like many of the world in blue, we’re between $3750 and $4500 and then $4500 after that entry has to do with those with traditional Medicare and comprehensive Medicare depending on where you live in retirement. We’re going to talk a little bit more at another video of some long-term planning, withdrawal strategies. One of the things that a financial advisor brings to the relationship are all the strategies about the de-accumulation of the portfolio; you’ve got the accumulation stage where you’re trying to save money and 401(k) all this type of stuff and then you hit a point and then it’s the de-accumulation. What’s your strategy? What’s your mix? How can you set things up to limit, to make the probability that you’ll outlive your money as low as possible because that’s of course a bad thing. These are some of the things I’m going to talk about in upcoming videos. Nice to talk to you today, sorry it’s so short but I did want to be short and pippy.

Mike Brady, 303-747-6455.

You have a great day.


Investing in Previous Year Winners

One thing to watch out for is assuming the future will reflect the past. As a matter of fact, that whole “past performance is no guarantee of future result” is actually true.

So, looking at history over the past 14 to 15 years, what would happen with your returns and volatility if you had invested for the year based on the best asset class for the prior year?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Therefore, you should watch my video.

Hi there, Mike Brady with Generosity Wealth Management, a comprehensive full service wealth management firm headquartered right here in Boulder, Colorado. Today I want to talk about volatility, I want to talk about diversification and picking an asset class based on the prior year’s returns.

I was at a conference maybe two weeks ago, three weeks ago, something like that and this presenter had these charts, which I’m going to share with you today, that I thought were so fascinating. A lot of it has to do with setting yourself up for success. You’ve heard this if you’re watching my videos, as I certainly hope that you are, about setting yourself up for success because I’ve heard I just want the highest return, volatility doesn’t matter.

Well, my experience has been that volatility only matters when you’re right in the middle of it and it’s happening to you. Therefore, let’s set ourselves up for that success. I’m going to throw up here on the chart an example of all kinds of asset classes that you could have been in. You go back all those years and all the different colors and each one of them are stocks and bonds and international and commodities and all different types of asset classes. Now, let’s pretend like we’ve invested, so the highest one for each one of those years keeps changing because you can see that top row there the color keeps changing. If we took the previous year’s highest, the one who won for that year, and you invest in it the next year, what do you think would happen with your returns?

Well, this chart that I just threw up on the video will show you that the blue line there and this is a little bit cherry picking because this goes back to the beginning of 2000 and if you remember at that time it was right after the internet craze and I remember, I mean I’ve been doing this for 23 years, and the confidence level of all these people were oh my God, you’ve got to get into internet and you’ve got to do this, look at how great it did in ’97, ’98, ’99, I mean you’re a fool if you don’t do this. If you had done that, look at that blue line, the blue line is for the last 13 years if you had picked and invested your money into the previous year’s best asset class that’s what happens, okay. The red is if you invest in the worst asset class for the previous year, but if you invest in a diversified global diversified, meaning global stocks and bonds and some cash, then you’ve got that green one right in the middle. It’s not as good as going right into the worst. It’s definitely better than going into the best, but it also is a slightly smoother ride, which is absolutely essential.

This next graph I think is really interesting in that the red is the 100% stock market index. What would happen if you got only 50% of the decline so if it went down 50, you went down 25, and you only got 50% of the up so that it went twice as much up as you did, you would have that green versus the red, so the red is what you would have if it was $1000 or a million, it doesn’t really matter, but you would have a much higher rate of return with a lot less volatility just by having half of the down and half of the up because if you recall losing 50% means you have to have a 100% return just to break even. If you have $100 and you lose 50, that’s $50. You have to make 50 on 50 just to break even. If you lose 20% you have to make 25 just to get back, lose 33 you’ve got to make 50, that’s just the way math works.

There was one other chart that I really wanted to share with you. This chart right up there, this is my last one for the day, which is on the right-hand side there, the question is the cycle of emotion. You go through some caution, some confidence, enthusiasm and greed, and then you go to indifference, denial, etc., all the way down there, so our emotions. I’m a behavioral finance guy who’s interested in that, that some of the nontechnical aspects that we bring to investing are as important, if not more important than some of the technical aspects. I just acknowledge that and so I’m always wanting to set ourselves up for success. These are the types of things that I talk with clients about all the time and if you are not one of my clients I’d love to talk with you about it.

Mike Brady, Generosity Wealth Management, 303-747-6455. Have a great week. We’ll talk to you later. Bye-bye.