One way we keep abreast of what’s happening in the Financial Planning world is by subscribing to industry-specific forums. Something must have been in the air because in early January a number of them linked to Forbes’ annual update of the Ten Best Places to Retire Abroad. Ironically, I recently took a vacation – and didn’t retire! – to Costa Rica, the first country mentioned. While I was there I overheard an interesting conversation between two expats waiting in line in the supermarket. Expat One was telling Expat Two all the places he and his wife had visited and lived. Expat Two calmly nodded his head and affirmed that he had been to some of those places but not all. Then, Expat One asked Expat Two what he would recommend as the best, most wonderful place to live. Expat Two, without any hesitation, answered: “Home.” End of conversation.
There are any number of ideas to be taken away from that conversation. The one we’d like to focus on here is that everyone’s dreams and goals are different. It is our job at White Raven Financial to listen to yours and help you achieve them. While many of our clients have plans to travel and see places not yet seen, we have just as many who feel that home is where they want to be and what they want to explore. We appreciate that and work to make everyone’s goals and dreams the best that they can be. To assist you, our client, what we ask ourselves is “What strategies could we employ? How can we help with your financial future so that you can enjoy what you value most?” Through our ongoing relationship, we aim to succeed at our goal of helping you realize your dreams.
Outside of future dreams and smack down into the real world, the most recent changes in corporate guidance facilitated by the U.S. tax overhaul initially appeared to have boosted the market to new highs. Consensus says we are probably not in a bubble but we can expect a bumpier ride than was surmised by Mohamed El-Erian at the Inside ETFs conference. The chief economic advisor at Allianz also offered various scenarios that could transpire at either a fundamental/valuation level or at a price correction level. We are still not free of uncertainty. Growth-stock volatility is affected by emotion and bias, both on display in the high-growth company universe according to Growth Stocks: Managing Greed and Fear in Lord Abbett’s Equity Perspectives. Take heed: the authors reminded us that superior return potential is accompanied by greater risk.
Looking outward from home into the big, wide world, we see synchronized economic expansion continuing unimpeded according to Franklin Templeton’s recent 2018 Global Investment Outlook. They also predict that the impact of the U.S. Fed policy tightening on emerging markets will vary from country to country. Another view of the future is provided by Kristina Hooper, Chief Global Market Strategist, for Invesco. 10 expectations for 2018 looks at the global markets. Hooper’s first point covers the perceived causes of rising bias for stocks and other risk assets. Upward they may go, but Hooper also predicts more disruption and greater volatility. Across the majority of articles we read looking forward for the year, whether domestic or international, infrastructure was part of the story. We thought: who doesn’t want better roads and a less bumpy ride?
Although the market has changed over the last few days, the end of January saw the major market still holding onto the shades of green they donned the previous month. The following numbers look at January’s new year cheer (not February’s fluctuations). The blue-chip barometer (the DowTR)* added some sparkle with a monthly gain of 5.88%. The S&P 500 (SPYTR)* kept the theme and posted a positive 5.73% for the month. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* added highlights to over-shine it’s brothers a brought in a 7.4% gain. On Tuesday, January 30, 2018, the Dow Jones Indices released the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller report showing that the national core home price index continued to rise for the last 12 months. The 20-city composite November Home Price Index reported a 6.4% year-over-year gain in October. Before seasonal adjustments, month-over-month data the month of November posted a 0.2% gain over the prior month of October 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. Returns for the DOW, S&P500 and the NASDAQ is the total return (price only) provided by Morning star Inc. as of 2018January31. Diversification and asset allocation does not assure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment loss.
Advisory services are offered through White Raven Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor in the state of Washington.