The first quarter is now behind us, but all the excitement happened in the first week of April!
After reaching new highs, the unmanaged stock market indexes pulled back a little bit, so the question we have to ask ourselves is “what does this mean for the rest of the year?”.
Good question, and one I answer in the below video:
Hi, this is Mike Brady with Generosity Wealth Management, a comprehensive full-service wealth management firm headquartered right here in Boulder, Colorado, and today I want to talk about the first quarter review and the rest of the year preview, but I also want to talk a little bit about time horizons and our perspectives, recency bias, a confirmation buys, those things of things.
The first quarter review is both stocks and bonds, unmanaged stock market and bond indexes were positive for the quarter. Bonds were really bad in 2013 and if you could go back to 2013, you’d have no exposure to them. Well, you were vindicated in the first quarter. They were really what brought up a balanced portfolio for the first quarter of this year. The stock market started off well in January; we only kind of stumbled; dropped around 6% at the S&P. The unmanaged stock market index S&P 500 dropped about 6% through the middle of January to the middle of February and they kind of came back and of the dictating this video, I’m not – let’s see, this is April 8, Tuesday – that we’ve given up some of that gain that we had in the first quarter, so we’re about breakeven for the year in the unmanaged stock market indexes. I think that it’s real important to know what your time horizon is and the reason why I bring that up is if your time horizon is weeks or months or if you need the money for some kind of a purchase in a year or two, these kind of fluctuations could be really kind of scary; however, we’ve got to take a big picture on this and really look at it from the long point of view, because if you’ve ever held up like a piece of paper that had some ink on it really close to your eyes, you can see the actual droplets of the ink. It’s only when you go backwards, kind of some distance from it that you can really see how everything kind of fits together. I’m going to put up on the screen there the S&P 500 for about the last, let’s see, what is that, 14, 15, 16, 17 – 17, 18 years or so, and you can see that it goes up and it goes down, et cetera, and so the question we might have is this big upward swing there. I’ve frankly been hearing from people for two, three, four years about how, oh, we’re at the top again, and then when it hit those new highs a year or two ago, oh my, gosh it can’t go any further.
Well, you know they always joke that economists have predicted 15 of the last three recessions, okay, and so it’s always easy to be negative. It’s a little bit more difficult to be positive. I’m going to put up on the screen there again; this is annual returns in intra-year declines. You can kind of see that far right-hand side there, the year-to-date number and then that red number underneath is that we had a 6% decline throughout the year. That was the maximum decline that we had for all of last year, so it’s actually been relatively low historically from a top to a bottom within a year, so that’s something to keep into consideration.
I am still optimistic for the rest of the year. One thing that we have to watch out for as it relates to data is we have a tendency to extrapolate short-term events and say, wow, that’s what’s going to happen for a long-term and it just doesn’t work that way. Just because things have gone up doesn’t mean they’re going to continue to go up. Just because things have gone down doesn’t mean they’ll continue to go down and so we place more emphasis on recent information than maybe data that is six months, 12 months, or even three years old. When we look up at this one screen that I just threw up there on your video is interest rates and equities. From the left to the right is the yield that you have on your 10-Year Treasury, which as of this chart creation was 2.72; as of today, it’s actually about 2.67. Not important to know that except to the degree that the correlation between a rising, where the yield is going from 2.7 to 3 to 4 that the market is actually continuing to go up, and so they have moved in lock stock in the past.
I’m going to put up another screen there. You’re going to see that circle there. Lots of corporate cash that has continued to be a very strong thing as I see. Quantitative easing has thrown so much money into the system that that is continuing to prime the pump. If you look over on the right hand side, there, that second circle that I just did, cash return to shareholders, lots of profitability and cash being returned. Now, today’s video I’m going to make relatively short, because I’m going to try to do more videos, but make them shorter. I’ve been kind of bad this past two months or so and I just unbelievably busy. Even I want to make this short and pithy.
Diversification, while in a generally trending down market does not guarantee that you won’t lose money; it is a very wise thing to do. On the pie chart on the top left is your stocks, your bonds, your internationals; and then on the right hand side you’re going to see an even more diversified portfolio adding in some real estate investment trusts and other things like that. One of the things that I’ll be doing for the appropriate clients going forward is diversifying out. I do believe in diversification, because if this past quarter is any indication, sometimes it’s the bonds that hold up your portfolio, sometimes it’s the stocks that are the driver behind your portfolio. I think that the standard deviation, the variance, the ups and downs, the volatility is very important, because we want to set ourselves up for success and unfortunately your average investor buys at the top and sells at the bottom and really hurts themselves.
We want to set ourselves up for success by creating a portfolio that hopefully will have reduced volatility so that when the market does go down, which inevitably it does at various points, whether that’s a small decline or a larger decline, whether or not that’s a quick recovery or a longer recovery, we want to be well prepared for it with a time horizon that is long, but also not be the dump money and sell at the bottom. That bar graph at the bottom, where you’re going to see is on the far right-hand corner, the average investor, when we take into consideration inflows and outflows of the stock market, mutual funds, things of that nature, unfortunately does the wrong thing at the wrong time and we simply don’t want to do that. I continue to be optimistic for 2014; I have not changed from that. I encourage you to go back to my January video and I lay out in 17 minutes or so an argument for that – that has not changed. I’m not freaked out. I am completely, if you can see my hand there, I’m completely rock steady, so that’s where I am.
I am going to continue to add a couple of extra asset classes to sell clients, and many of you, I’ll be talking with you about that. Some of the upcoming videos I’m going to do is I’m going to read Michael Lewis’s Flash Boys on the high-frequency trading. Everybody get, but I’m going to dissect that and give my opinion. I also want to really talk about social security; I want to do a whole series frankly on social security and Medicare, retirement and all of those things, because I think that’s very relevant. One of the values that I can add is what’s the right stuff to own, what’s your withdrawal strategy, et cetera, and I just find it all fascinating and I think it would be a great value to you.
If I can help you out in any way, please give me a call. Mike Brady, 303-747-6455. Stay tuned for another newsletter after this one. Have a great week. Bye-bye.