Risk – Eliminate or Minimize

“The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety.” — Goethe

Life is full of risks. Every time we get in the car, there is that slim possibility that something could happen. Same when we fly, though the odds are smaller, there is always a chance that tragedy could strike. So, do we just stay home? Well, aside from our current unique stay-at-home orders, most of us would say there are actions we can take to minimize the travel risks, thus the overall risk is low, so let’s get to where we want to go.

Then how do we take these particular lessons into our investing? I found that people don’t talk about risk very much unless there’s lots of volatility on the downside. Nobody ever minds making money quickly. It’s only losing money quickly that people seem to have a problem with, which is natural. The question is “do you not invest because you’re worried about the downside?” I would say no, you don’t. You do everything you can to try to reduce the probability of that happening and prepare yourself for it.


Hi there.  Mike Brady with Generosity Wealth Management, a comprehensive, full service financial services firm headquartered right here in Boulder, Colorado.

Today I want to talk about risk – mitigation, elimination, what risk do we want to take on, et cetera.  Let me start off by saying that life is full of risks.  When I leave the house and I get into my car I assume the risk that I could be involved in a car accident and the absolute worst could happen which is I die.  Now, that probability is very small and I go through a very fruitful life taking that risk on.  I do everything I can to minimize that risk, but that’s a risk that’s greater than zero.  It’s the same thing with getting into a plane.  I have a very good life.  I go and visit family.  I go and travel the world, but I take the risk that the plane could have a problem and crash in a spectacular fashion.  I’ve decided that I’ll take that risk because it’s a very small probability.

Well, how do we take these particular lessons into our investing?  I found that people don’t talk about risk very much unless there’s lots of volatility on the downside.  Nobody ever minds making money quickly.  It’s only losing money quickly that people seem to have a problem with which is true.  I mean me too.  I’m no different.

The question is “do you not invest because you’re worried about the downside?”  I would say no, you don’t.  You do everything you can to try to reduce the probability of that happening or prepare yourself for it’s a part of it but yet is the probability much greater that the desired outcome that I want will be there for me. In my example of the car of course you put your seatbelt on and you have the airbags.  You drive at a reasonable speed.  These dramatically reduce the probability of that really horrible outcome.

I’m going to put a chart up on the screen, kind of a graph up on the screen and what you’re going to see is what we call a probability bell curve.  You can see that it looks like a bell and the vast majority of the events happen right there in the middle.  I’m going to put a red line in the middle and that is the breakeven.  Half are to the right and half are to the left.  Way out on the far right and far left are what we call tail events.  That means that not very many instances happen there on the right and the left.  When you’re listening to the news or reading the news and they talk about tail events that means that they’re very infrequent but perhaps very big events that happen.

Distribution Curve Bell Curve

I’m going to put another graph or chart up on the screen and this is going all the way back to 1926 through 2017.  What you’re going to see is on the right hand side are the number of positive years.  On the left hand side are the negative years for the unmanaged stock market index.  You’re going to see that unlike the first graph I showed where it was very evenly distributed of 50 percent to the right and 50 percent to the left, it’s actually 75 percent, about three out of four on the right which is positive.  Only one out of four is on the left.  You’ll see that the far left there’s only been a couple of years of more than 50 percent or greater which is just absolutely horrible.  The real tail event.  We didn’t even reach this particular year although it was very quick, a very bad month, a very bad quarter in the stock markets and all the investments, but it’s very infrequent that it happens.

Morningstar Direct

The question is how much energy do we put and how much money do we put towards avoiding something that is very infrequent which I’m going to put another chart up on the screen.  You’ve seen this before because I use it all the time which depending on whether or not you have stocks or bonds or equities your breakeven at least from the last big tail event was a breakeven of two to five years.

Diversification and the average investor

How much effort and energy do you put toward something that is from a long term point of view relatively short and very infrequent?  I would argue that you shouldn’t spend too much time.  There’s some people who say yes, you should.  You should always do what you can.  When I go out in my car I should go out in a tank because that is the way that I can really make sure that nothing bad happens to me and that I’m able to walk away from it.  Well, there’s some disadvantage to that of course.  Only an unreasonable person thinks that there are no disadvantages to it.  It’ll be slow, it’ll be heavy, it’ll be costly.  Lots of things, but you’re almost guaranteed that you’ll be able to walk away from it.

In this particular case we’ve had a very bad incident happen in the markets in the last month or two, and I’m going to talk about the economy in just a second.  Very infrequent, very painful, but in my opinion very recoverable.  The question is when will it be recoverable and that will be still to see.  In the last 40-50 years we’ve had four events like this so about one every ten years give or take something like this happens.  If you have a diversified portfolio it has recovered within five years.

What are the things we could do?  What’s our seatbelt?  One of them is to not invest in individual stocks.  They sometimes go down and never recover.  That absolutely happens.  So being diversified is very, very important.  Having the right time horizon is very, very important.  Even if you’re 60, 70, almost 80 hopefully your time horizon is long.  Because going from Point A to Point B, Point B is not retirement.  Point B is not outliving your money.  It just happens if you retire in between there happens to be another point in there.  That’s an event along the line from Point A to Point B.  It’s important for us to know what are the risks that we’re willing to take and what can we do to mitigate those particular risks.

I’m very concerned about the economy.  You’ve heard me and I highly recommend you look at the last two, three, four videos.  I’ve done nine I the last eight to nine weeks because it’s so very important to communicate with you.  I’m concerned with the long lasting impact to our national and our global economy and we don’t really know the impact of that even as we’re here in the first week of April.  All of the unemployment, all of the small businesses.  This is going to be impactful for a very long time.  However, as I’ve made the argument in my videos the investments and the economy are not necessarily the same.  The question is how much have we already priced in forward looking into the economy.  That’s a big question that I still think is out there.  I think we have some volatile times ahead of us, but I also think that at least from the stock market point of view, from the unmanaged indexes and things of that nature I think that we’re going to particularly over the next year or two get out of the big shock to the system that nobody really saw even two, three months ago.

My name is Mike Brady, Generosity Wealth Management, 303-747-6455.  Give me a call at any time.  I’m here at my home office as you can see.  I’m staying at home like everybody else but I’m always working.  You have a great week, a great weekend.  I’m doing this on Sunday so I’m not sure when I’m going to  get it out but nonetheless have a great day.  Bye bye.

March 22 Market Update

“There are decades where nothing happens; 
and there are weeks when decades happen.” 
– Vladimir Lenin


It’s been another tumultuous week with what looked like a healthcare crisis, rapidly bleeding into what could be a serious financial crisis. From our last video not even 7 days ago, things within our economy have come to a screeching halt and rebounding from this could present another challenge in itself. This is what you’ll see me discuss in the latest video in this growing saga:




Hi there.  Mike Brady with Generosity Wealth Management, a comprehensive, full service financial services firm headquartered right here in Boulder, Colorado.

It’s been another tumultuous week.  Remember how two or three weeks ago I said that we’d been lulled over the last three to four years with low volatility. We became accustomed to that thinking that was the normal.  Frankly, I would love some of those days. Every day is an adventure and a bad adventure at that.  I also said in my last video that this is a healthcare crisis and not a financial crisis and I’m here to say that it’s definitely looking more like the healthcare crisis over time could turn into that financial crisis. That’s absolutely disturbing to me just the way that we have stopped.  Even from my last video not seven days ago our economy is screeching to a halt.  And so to just restart something like that at all levels is going to be very difficult so I want to talk about that here today.

I want to put up on the screen a chart.  This is the Dow Jones Industrial Average which is an unmanaged stock market index. You’re going to see that it’s about 30 percent down. I’m going to put another chart up on the screen and this right here is multiple years, multiple decades of the S&P 500.  What you’re going to see is we’ve given up a couple of years’ worth of gain that we’ve worked very hard for, very frustratingly, very hard for had been given up in a relatively short amount of time.  One thing that you’ll see in that particular chart there are times where it appears like it’s going to continue going up forever or going down forever and neither of them are the truth.  It is not a linear equation. Things that go up don’t go up forever.  Things that go down don’t go down forever either.  That’s why I stress continually the multiple year.

Dow Jones Industrial Average Chart

S&P 500 at Inflection Points

I’m going to put up on the screen a chart that you’ve seen from me before. What you’re going to see on the first three bars there are one year since 1950.  That’s 70 years’ worth of an unmanaged stock market index, an unmanaged bond index and then a combination of the two.  The first year you can see huge ups and huge downs as we go out 5 years, 10, years, 20 years the lows get closer to the breakeven point.  The highs come down as well.  Those are rolling like a rolling five year, like the very best and the very worst five years and that range in between.

Time, diversification, and the volatility of returns

What you’re gong to see is a diversified portfolio has actually never lost money although it could in the future.  That’s one of the reasons why we have a diversified portfolio that although it does not guarantee against market declines I believe that a diversified portfolio makes sense because it might increase our probability of what you’re seeing right there which is what has happened over the last 70 years.

Five, 10, 20, if you were in your 60s or 70s I’m hoping that you’re going to live, statistically speaking you’re going to live more than five years, hopefully even more than ten years and even into the 15 and the 20.  It’s not just you but it’s also your significant other, your spouse or whoever that significant other might be.  We think that we might have a short time horizon and yes, as we get older our life expectancy naturally through the natural process of aging and mortality does get shorter, but it is still not like hey, my timeframe is next year.  If that’s the case you should never have any money in the markets and you’ve heard that from me time and time again and every time you ever talked on the phone about additional money.

I’m going to put another chart up on the screen.  What you’re going to see is 2008.  You’re going to see there was a 50 percent decline give or take a few percent back in 2008.  So we are not at that.  Also, after that decline to all the way back up to breakeven was about five years for the S&P 500.  It was about two or three years if you had a diversified portfolio.  Of course you didn’t go down like the 50 percent either.  So it was a lower down and a quicker back up.  That’s one of the reasons why you have a diversified portfolio.

Diversification and the average investor

You’ve heard me talk for many years about the completely logical and rational response to 2008 that are big companies.  And when I say big companies, big public companies.  They kept lots of cash on their books.  They would from some people’s point of view hoard it.  Why don’t they distribute it to us.  As an example when Apple gets over $100 billion or other companies have billions and billions of dollars in cash.  They were fortifying themselves from an absolutely horrible situation so that they did not get into a cash crunch like they did 12 years ago.

A week ago I mentioned at the beginning of this video that it was a financial crisis 12 years ago where the banks were in trouble.  Today they’re coming into to a month ago in good financial situation.  Big companies are still in a good financial situation.  It’s only been a relatively short amount of time.  But that doesn’t mean that it’s going to stay that way.  The people that they sell their goods and services to might be okay for the first week or two.  It’s almost like a vacation. This goes on for a month, two through the rest of the year which there are ranges all over the place about how long this could last.  That’s a problem and it’s a problem long term.  Nobody, me included, knows exactly what the impact of that will be.

What do we do here as investors?  What do we do?  Many of the managers have increased their cash over the number of weeks.  However, I would say almost everybody has been negatively impacted by this and so whether it’s in your personal life, in your financial life, in so many different areas this has not been a good time whatsoever.

One of the things that you’ve heard me say before is it’s easy to be – I use a friendship as a great example.  It’s easy when things are going well and easy to remain friends.  A true friend and you know the depth of their conviction, the depth of their values as a person and their principles is when things are rocky who’s standing right there next to you.

I used an analogy about week and a half ago about an airplane ride.  You’re going from Point A to Point B and you’re inside that plane.  Now, of course, if it was a really short ride you shouldn’t be in the plan to begin with. That’s why you drive the car or you walk or you take a bicycle.  But you’re in a plane and you’re going from Point A to Point B and it’s very rare in today’s world for there to be huge turbulence, not like there was 50 years ago in different types of planes.  Technology allows us to have lower turbulence, but it sometimes happens. You don’t get out of the plane.  You stay in the plane until you land at Point B.  And so the way that we approach our particular financial goals is no different.  We’re going from Point A to Point B.  We have unexpected, unpleasant turbulence that we wish that we did not have. And if we could wish it away we would. But it’s there, nonetheless.  What do we do?  Do we scream?  Do we shout?  No, we sit right there, wait for it to get over so that we can get to our Point B.

Mike Brady, Generosity Wealth Management, 303-747-6455.  I’ll check in with you again later this week or frankly, more often if something big is happening I’m here to communicate with you.  Thank you.  Bye bye.

March 12, 2020 Market Update: Turbulence

“Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still.” 
– Barbara Kingsolver

Turbulence in a plane is normal, and so it is in the markets. This is the biggest turbulence we’ve seen thus far, and in 11 or 12 years. Painful! But that doesn’t mean you change a long-term decision on short-term emotions. In my opinion, the ones fives years from now who are the winners are the ones who are in control today. That was true in the past, and I believe in the future. I’ll continue with videos and newsletters as every day seems to be important. Due to regulatory requirements it takes a while from recording it to out to you, but I’ll do my best! Watch our video to hear more!



Hi clients and friends.  Mike Brady with Generosity Wealth Management; a comprehensive full service financial services firm headquartered in Boulder Colorado.  As you can see from the backdrop I am still at my hotel room leaving in about 45 minutes for the airport.  I spoke at a financial conference actually a couple of days ago and with today’s technology it doesn’t really matter.  I have the office here as if I was right there in my Boulder office with today’s, like I said, technology and Internet and everything else.

So, so much is going on.  Every day is exciting.  I’m assuming that you are paying attention to the news and watching everything and anyone who tells you how it’s going to play out in any aspect of the world at any time, not just today but in any time of the world is just lying and I’m not sure why they think that forecasting the future is helpful or even possible.

Reaching your financial goals and the best way to reach those goals is clearly defining your goals and having a plan for how to get from point A to point B.  I think of it as riding in an airplane, from point A to point B there might be some turbulence, nobody likes it.  The better the airplanes that we get the less turbulent things become, they’re able to buffer them so that you don’t see and feel what’s happening.  But sometimes there is turbulence in the airplane, which is, of course, where I’m going with turbulence in the market.  But in the plane it happens, it’s absolutely horrible but you know that periodically it does happen.  Hopefully it doesn’t preclude you from taking that next plane ride because your life is much richer when you’re able to travel from point A to point B.

The market is no different, investments no different.  Sometimes there’s turbulence.  This happens to be a particularly difficult air pocket.  I cannot believe the oversold indicators that I’m seeing.  It’s quite remarkable.  There are certain times in our lives where we’ll look back on it and say remember that time?  And in most recent it was, of course, 2008.  Another really bad selloff that was very precipitous was when the S&P downgraded the U.S. government in 2011.  Maybe you remember that.  Both of these incidents were recovered.  They were painful both of them.  We might remember them.

If you’ve been watching my videos I’ve been talking about the unnatural nature, the unusual nature of our calmness over the last two/three/four years that we’ve become lulled into expecting that that’s always the way it is there’s no volatility, very little volatility in the markets so I highly recommend you do that.  I did a great one last summer August or September talking about the number of positive plus or minus one percent days in the year was remarkably low but most people perceived it as being particularly high but that actually wasn’t true.  And it’s one of the ways that I would argue news media can really provide a picture that’s not statistically true or maybe completely accurate without emotion.  These things do happen, like that turbulence on the plane the turbulence in the markets do happen, they are absolutely uncomfortable when they happen but that’s why it’s good to take a step back and say okay let’s be calm and remember that this is part of the plan, that I knew it was going to happen and then it did happen.  I mean it’s just completely unpleasant but a part of that journey from point A to point B.

I mentioned something earlier about being oversold, yeah I watch a lot of technical indicators.  At the end of the day my training almost 30 years ago was in technical trading. That’s when you’re doing various charts and things of that nature and the oversold nature of this is mind boggling to me.  I’m very much looking forward to when it would turn around and that can be later today, tomorrow, next month, next year, I don’t know.  But that’s the reason why oversold from my point of view leads to a very good market and that’s why we then have long-term investments along the way so that we can benefit from that when it happens at some point in the future when I don’t know when it is.  I mean that’s why you have to kind of deal with things now and the best thing you can do is have control of your emotions.

Anyway, I’m going to continue to have these videos periodically when I’m back in my office I have a little bit more charts and things of that nature so I might get a little bit more technical for those of you who might want more technical.  Anyway, 303–747–6455.  Mike Brady.  Thanks.  Bye bye.

March 2020 Market Update: Stay Calm

“If you are not willing to own a stock for 10 years, do not even think about owning it for 10 minutes.” – Warren Buffett

Right now, no one knows how the financial markets are going to completely react to the Coronavirus epidemic and with this recent and most particularly painful downswing it is helpful to take a step back and refocus on the long-term. It’s moments like this that remind us why we keep diversified portfolios and that we shouldn’t make short-term decisions based on long-term goals.

Watch our video to hear more!



Mike Brady here.  I am recording this on midday Tuesday, March 10.  I’m going to get this out to you as quickly as I can get it through compliance.  I’m going to continue with regular updates to you because no matter where I am in the world I’m always working and I’m always paying attention to things.  You can tell that I’m in a hotel room right now as I spoke at a conference earlier this morning.

Very spectacular news.  It’s kind of hard to miss it.  It’s sort of like driving to the airport or being on a plane. Accidents happen all the time in a car so that’s a great risk to you, but what really makes the news is the spectacular nature of an airplane crash.  In the last two-and-a-half weeks we’ve had quite the spectacular news – very huge volatility.  In the world that is volatility risk adverse it’s really quite painful.  Those that have a short-term vision or have a long-term plan but then see things through a short-term viewfinder, that’s not very comfortable.  We can’t be that way.

You’ve heard me and I feel like I repeat many of the same messages over and over, but the better way to approach things is to look at things from okay, I’ve just given up and now I’m back to where I might have been ten months ago, eight months ago, a year ago, et cetera.  But my path is for the next 10, 20, 30 years.  My path is for the next five years, et cetera.  That’s why you have diversified portfolios.  Because things do happen in a three steps forward, one step back and sometimes two steps back.  If there is no belief that things will be better in the future then you shouldn’t have investments to begin with.

When the market goes down that is many times for some people a buying opportunity.  What’s interesting is that I’ve been doing this for almost 30 years and I hear so much of the same thing over and over again.  That’s one of the unique situations that I find myself in is that I get to speak with investors and clients and professionals all the time and so I’m always listening to different perspectives.  When the Dow Jones which is an unmanaged stock market index was at 10,000 points I heard that oh, no way will it go up to 12,000.  Or when it was at 18, they’re like well, when it gets to 20 that’s going to be at a top or aren’t you concerned it’s feeling pretty much at a high, it’s pretty obvious.  Or when it was at 21 or 22 or 23 it’s always at a top.  Yes, we went all the way up past 29,000 and now it has had a pretty spectacular in a relatively short amount of time a decline.

That does not mean that we then go the other way and say well, it’s obviously going to go all the way back down.  That’s why we have diversified portfolios.  That’s why we have a long-term vision, a long-term plan, et cetera.  Because on the way up we were always worried about it getting too high.  Then it goes up, it goes down.  Now we think it’s all going to go down and neither of them are true.

About three out of four years are positive.  That means one out of four are negative.  The question you might have is what’s my bias?  Is my bias to be an optimistic person or a negative person?  And optimism, in my opinion, is in your favor.  Why have investments if you don’t believe that it’s going to be higher in the future.  Why have investments if you need the money in the short term.  You shouldn’t have it in the short term.  You should make short-term decisions based on long-term goals and plans and things of that nature.

I was just talking this morning as part of the conference to this man who’s an ultrarunner.  He’s about to do the Leadville 100 which is a 100 mile race.  One of the things that was interesting about our conversation is he was saying hey listen, if I have a bad five miles I don’t give up the race.  I’ve got a 100 mile race that I’ve got to run.  If I’m 40, 50, 60 miles into it, no.  If all of a sudden I start slowing and I walk, I don’t go backwards, I continue plodding along toward my goal.  And I couldn’t help but think wow, that’s a good way to think about it because we are actually in a long marathon, a long ultra-run and not every mile goes the way we would like. Sometimes we stop and we take a little rest.  Sometimes we might walk instead of run, but we always go toward our goal and it’s no different than what is happening right now.

I believe that a lot of what’s happening is computer driven.  I think that once the big boys come back in, those people who are individuals handling billions and trillions of dollars, that’s when we will see the bottom of this particular market.  I don’t know if that’s going to be tomorrow. I  don’t know if that’s going to be next month, next year.  Anyone who will say that they know how the Corona virus fear or concerns, preparedness, virus, et cetera, is going to turn out is lying to you.  Anyone who says that they know how the financial market is going to react and the oil and this and that, all these things are going to play out the variables in the long equation are lying to you as well.  Don’t listen to them.  Don’t listen to the people on the news because most of the people who know something aren’t saying anything and those that are saying something don’t know anything.  That’s just my belief.

Relax.  That’s why we have a long-term strategy for you and these things happen.  They happen periodically.  This happens to be a particularly painful one and particularly spectacular very quick on the down, but these things do happen.  I’m not sure that I would jump out the window yet.

My number is 303-747-6455, Mike Brady.  You have a wonderful day. I will continue to update you as things go through over the days and weeks ahead.  Thank you.  Bye bye.

January 2019: Market Reversal

“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not
replace you as the driver.” -Ayn Rand

From a horrendous 4th quarter in 2018, to a complete 180 in merely the first month of 2019 it’s still important to keep your sights on the big picture.

It’s easy to be optimistic when the market is going up.  It’s harder when the market is going down and all those reporters on TV are giving you all the reasons to be negative.  That’s why we have to look at the underlying valuations, the underlying data, the money flow, the money velocity, the corporate earnings to look at what’s the real truth here.  What’s the true story?

Watch my video and/or read the transcript.  It’s a quick one, under 5 minutes and I continue to illustrate why it’s critical to keep your emotions in check.



Mike Brady with Generosity Wealth Management, a comprehensive, full-service financial services firm headquartered right here in Boulder, Colorado.  Recording this on Wednesday, January 30.  It was right here a month ago that I recorded my year end video and at that time I was talking about what a horrendous December and fourth quarter of 2018 we had.  I talked about how 2017 had very little volatility and was strongly up for the unmanaged stock market indexes.  In contrast it was followed by 2018 which had all kinds of volatility and was negative with, well the fourth quarter in December really going downward very sharply with huge volatility.

Generosity Wealth January 2019 Market Reversal 1 year DJIA

1 Year DJIA

So far in 2019 the month of January has shown another reversal.  What great examples that every year is different.  I’m going to show you a graph that shows the last 12 months and what you’ll see is so far this year we’ve made back much of what we lost in December and the fourth quarter of last year.

Generosity Wealth January 2019 Market Reversal 5 year DJIA

5 Year DJIA

It is important to have a diversified portfolio.  It is important to keep the big picture, the long view in mind.  Here is a five year graph and you can start to see how one year is not the entire picture.  It’s just one piece of the puzzle.  And if you only look at the one piece of the puzzle it doesn’t really make sense. Like a mosaic you have to step back and have some perspective for how the pieces, how the years add up toward reaching your 5, 10, 20 year goals.

If you’re older in life you might say wait a second, I don’t have a long view.  No, even if you’re retired you don’t want to outlive your money.  So whether you’re in the accumulation phase or whether the withdrawal phase of your life with your portfolio having 5, 10 and 20 year points of view is very important.

I believe that there continue to be reasons to be optimistic.  It’s easy to be optimistic when the market is going up.  It’s harder when the market is going down and all those reporters on TV are giving you all the reasons to be negative.  That’s why we have to look at the underlying valuations, the underlying data, the money flow, the money velocity, the corporate earnings to look at what’s the real truth here.  What’s the true story?

Let’s say that I am wrong.  Let’s say that we continue in the unmanaged stock market indexes to have downward and maybe more volatility as well.  That’s the reason why we have diversified portfolios which doesn’t guarantee against losses in declining markets.  That’s why we have though a long term view.

So what I would say is let’s get out of our own way.  Let’s keep our emotions in check.  The mind has a tendency to have a bias toward making patterns where there might not be a bias.  We lay on the grass on a nice summer day, look up at the clouds and we’re finding hey, there’s a dog, there’s a building, there’s this famous person right there in the clouds and we are certain that’s what it looks like when, in fact, our mind is creating patterns where there is no pattern.  Let’s not do the same thing in other areas of our lives including our portfolios and in the markets.

Mike Brady, Generosity Wealth Management, 303-747-6455.  Call me at any time.  I’m here to talk about how this is relevant to what you’re doing in your specific financial goals.  Here at any time.  Thank you. Bye bye.