Portfolio Advisors Blog

Our Blog postings occur from time to time when we have an interesting article or opinion to share. We hope that you will find our postings of interest and encourage to forward them on to your family and friends.

Nine Experts, Four Surprises, and One Million Dollar Bet

For many investors, 2017 was a paradox. The harder they tried to enhance their results by basing investment decisions on current events, the more likely they failed to capture the rate of return the capital markets delivered.

Dimensional Fund Advisors Vice President Weston Wellington's article entitled "Nine Experts, Four Surprises, and One Million Dollar Bet," is a great read providing a healthy dose of reality and perspective. Wellington's piece not only tells you where the experts got it wrong, but also addresses "The Million Dollar Bet" made between Warren Buffet, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., and Ted Seideds, a New York hedge fund consultant. If you aren't familiar with this public challenge, made by Buffet, you may want to read this.

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A New Service from Portfolio Advisors - Social Security Planning

By Mike Leffler 

In taking a look at our clientele, and where our new business comes from, we see that we have a natural connection with pre-retirees. Pre-retirees, people who have five years or less until retirement, often have many financial needs. No longer are pensions predominant in which fewer decisions are required of individuals. Now, tax deferred retirement plans such as 401(k)s, 403bs and 457 accounts are the norm.

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2017 Market Review

At the beginning of 2017, a common view among money managers and analysts was that the financial markets would not repeat their strong returns from 2016. Many cited the uncertain global economy, political turmoil in the US, implementation of Brexit, conflicts in the Middle East, North Korea's weapons buildup, and other factors. The global equity markets defied their predictions, with major equity indices in the US, developed ex-US, and emerging markets posting strong returns for the year.

The broad global advance underscores the importance of following an investment approach based on diversification and discipline rather than prediction and timing. Attempting to predict markets requires investors to not only accurately forecast future events, but also predict how markets will react to those events. The 2017 markets were a good reminder that there is little evidence suggesting either of these objectives can be accomplished on a consistent basis.

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To Bit or Not to Bit: What Should Investors Make of Bitcoin Mania?

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are receiving intense media coverage, prompting many investors to wonder whether these new types of electronic money deserve a place in their portfolios.  Please click the link below to learn more about whether an investor should consider investing in Bitcoins.

To-Bit-or-Not-to-Bit_-What-Should-Investors-Make-of-Bitcoin-Mania.pdf

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I Was a Victim of Credit Fraud

By Ken Hatfield

Financial Advisor, Partner

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Lessons for the Next Crisis

It will soon be the 10-year anniversary of when, in early October 2007, the S&P 500 Index hit what was its highest point before losing more than half of its value over the next year and a half during the global financial crisis. What are the lessons for the next crisis? This, another article with the benefit of hindsight, provides a useful perspective for investors. To read the article please click here: Lessons-for-the-Next-Crisis.pdf

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A Look Back at 2016 - Weston Wellington

Weston, many of you may recall, spoke at our Speakers Forum and Reception two years ago and is well known for his compelling talks and prolific writing. In his piece 'A Look Back at 2016", Wellington says, "Every year brings its share of surprises. But how many of us could have imagined that 2016 would see the Chicago Cubs win the World Series, Bob Dylan receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Donald Trump elected president, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average close out the year a whisker away from 20,000?"

This short piece is worth the read. Please click the link below to read the full story.

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How to Respond to a Data Breach

We are often asked by those who may have experienced a personal security breach, or may have been the victim of identity theft, what actions they should take. A good reference piece has been prepared by Charles Schwab, and we felt it useful in answering questions related to the steps to take after having been a victim of such a crime. The piece notes, "Time is of the essence, whether your personal data has been compromised as part of a larger cyberattack, or you are the victim of an individual cybercrime. You'll need to take immediate action to minimize the impacts." The piece provides steps that you should take and how to respond within the first 24-48 hours, as well as valuable suggestions, websites, phone numbers and email addresses to be utilized should you become a victim.

While we at Portfolio Advisors are not experts in this area, some of our staff members have been victims themselves and may be of assistance to you in helping answer questions that you may have.

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A Vote for Small Cap Stocks?

You've heard us say it many times. It's near impossible to accurately predict which asset class or sector is going to outperform or under perform at any point in time. Therefore, we continue to encourage investors to maintain a broadly diversified portfolio to capture returns among the various areas of the market as they occur.

A recent article from Dimensional Fund Advisors helps underscore the unpredictable nature of returns. Using a recent example, the article notes that small cap stocks led large caps through October 31 by a slim .34% margin (as measured by the Russell 1000 Index 5.82% YTD return vs. Russell 2000 Index 6.16% YTD return). The article goes on to point out that in the eight trading days following the US presidential election, the margin for small cap stocks grew by a considerable margin of 8% (as measured by the Russell 1000 Index 9.99% YTD return vs. Russell 2000 Index 18.00% YTD return).

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The Market's Reaction to the Presidential Election

Once again, an important lesson has been reaffirmed.  Those who try to predict short-term market movements do so at their own peril.  The recent presidential election was just one of many such affirmations.  If you were glued to your TV the night of the election, you watched reports of the Dow Futures falling over 800 points, and you probably went to bed thinking that the following day would bring even greater declines.  You would have been wrong.  The market opened having reversed course, and by the end of the day the Dow and the S&P500 were not only positive but closed posting strong gains.    

Since the election, we have seen markets continue to advance and to hit new highs.  Many wonder if the trend will continue.  In the short-run, no one can be certain.  What we do know is that this year markets have confounded nearly everyone.  The year began with the S&P500 falling 9% during the first six weeks of the year, only to rebound and move sharply to the upside.  We then watched a vote in the United Kingdom with an unexpected result.  The reaction to “Brexit” resulted in global market declines the morning after with the S&P 500 suffering a 5.4% decline, its largest single day loss since 2011.  You know the rest of the story.  Within days, the S&P had regained its footing and continued to advance. 

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