“There is no such thing as a bad wreath”. Now when we write that quote, we are talking about a wreath that you have made yourself. And we are also talking about a completely natural wreath. One where the wreath frame is made from vine maple. The adornments are salah, cones, huckleberry, holly, and other items from nature. Then a jute twine that breaks down naturally is used to put it all together. It is even a manly task because you do this with a pair of good gloves and a set of garden clippers. Okay… for those that need more color… we’ll divert from the natural elements and add a bow or trinket. After all your hard work the final product is (im)perfectly delightful! Just like mother nature intended with twigs & greenery splaying here, there, and everywhere; no straight rows or symmetry; nor a perfect circle. The best part is that it was designed just by you. So again, when we say “there is no such thing as a bad wreath”; it rings true because YOU created it the way YOU envisioned it… ‘maybe’ even with a little help from your friends.
It was another enjoyable time at the annual Stump Farm wreath event that was hosted by White Raven Financial. Friends, relatives, and family all gathered to make their own individual wreaths from natural materials (with some embellishments). This year, the several attendees wished for their wreath to shine rather than have their picture taken with the wreath. We wish to thank all those who attended for the wonderful donation of 42 pounds of food that was given to the Arlington Food Bank.
A homemade wreath is a personalized and customized design by the individual who has created it. Diane and Brett are CERTIFIED FINANCAL PLANNERS™ (caps required by the organization) and when they work on a retirement plan or a financial plan, it isn’t a “standard issue” task. We, as individuals, do not spend money in the same manner nor are we all interested in the same type of vacations or prefer the same grocery store. One could almost analogize a financial plan to a wreath – each is set apart by their own individual twists, turns, and idiosyncrasies.
Speaking of twists and turns… sometimes the news feels that way. For the month of November we read a narrative on the recession by Lord Abbett and determined that we agree with the broadcast: That the story has it’s problems. What do we mean? Well the U.S. labor markets remain strong with the lowest unemployment rates seen in decades, the consumer is still spending, and much of the U.S. economic activity remains robust. And we also have the trade rhetoric, which hasn’t changed from the month of October, but does appear to affect the market with each promise or delay of an agreement. As we write our blog, Market Watch reports that the Dow is climbing on renewed optimism. Charles Schwab’s Jeffrey Kleintop noted in a recent market commentary that as we head into 2020, a U.S.-China trade deal may revive growth in manufacturing and corporate earnings.
Rounding up our reading is our commentary on international news: Allianz Global noted in their mid-November Insight that while uncertainty remains on more complicated structural issues, the markets view the current trade negotiations as a step in the right direction that will stimulate business spending and promote global trade. Andrew Pease, Global head of Investment Strategy for Russell Investments Eurozone Outlook, also felt that a U.S.-China trade thaw should be a positive for Europe as it would be one of the main beneficiaries of an agreement. Despite concerns with global growth and rock bottom interest rates – including negative yields in some countries – Europe did not fall into a recession in 2019 and continues to remain buoyed by potential trade pacts.
It appeared that November brought in the tinsel and glitter a month early for the major markets and again found the indices hitting record highs for a second month in a row. The blue-chip barometer (the Dow)* sparkled with colors of green and ended the month with a 3.72% gain. The S&P 500 (SPY)* joined its’ brother with similar shades of green with a 3.40% gain. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* decided on a deeper hue and dazzled to a 4.50% gain. (*After linking, click on Quarterly & Monthly Total Returns, “Monthly” tab.) On Tuesday, November 26th, the Dow Jones Indices released the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller report. The 20-city composite Home Price Index in September reported a 2.1% annual gain; a 0.1% gain from the previous month year-over-year posting. Before seasonal adjustments, month-over-month data had the month of September showing a 0.1% increase over the prior month of August for the 20-city composite index.
Regards and thank you,
The Team at White Raven Financial
*Indexes are unmanaged and do not reflect service fees, commissions, or taxes. You cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Return for the DOW, S&P500 and the NASDAQ is the total return (price only) provided by Morning star Inc. as of 2019November30. Diversification and asset allocation do not assure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment loss.
*The Standard and Poor’s 500 is an unmanaged, capitalization weighted benchmark that tracks broad-based changes in the U.S. stock market. This index of 500 common stocks is comprised of 400 industrial, 20 transportation, 40 utility, and 40 financial companies representing major U.S. industry sectors. The index is calculated on a total return basis with dividends reinvested and is not available for direct investment.
*The Dow Jones Industrial Average covers 30 blue chip U.S. companies selected by the editors of the Wall Street Journal. The Dow represents about 25% of the NYSE market capitalization and less than 2% of NYSE issues.
*The NASDAQ is a market-value weighted index that measures all NASDAQ domestic and foreign common stocks.