2nd Quarter Market Update
Hopefully this finds you and your loved ones well. The first quarter of the year for us here in Greensboro saw Spring come twice, in February and again this past first week of April. Much like the confused weather patterns, the markets have shown a lack of consistency with the initial “Trump Bump” followed by a “Trump Slump.” We find ourselves in a situation with interest rates on the rise, the markets vacillating between optimism and pessimism depending on the news cycle. While the uncertainty can prompt emotions to overcome, we continue to urge clients to stick with the long-term approach when it comes to their investments.
Looking back on the past quarter, the New Year’s Eve fireworks may have served more as a starting gun for a three-month sprint for the family. I was honored and more nervous than I had ever been to compete in Dancing with The Carolina Stars in support of Operation Smile in February. I successfully made a fool of myself and raised some funds for a great organization. If you are feeling down about yourself and would find a good laugh at my lack of dancing abilities, click here to see the Youtube video of my performance. Gymnastics, music, swimming, class presentations, rinse and repeat. There are times when I try to take a mental snapshot to remembers how cool it is to be raising two fun little girls. Evan continues to play ringmaster like a pro in the three-ring circus that is raising young children. How she manages to still volunteer at the school, run a business of her own teaching music and put so many miles on her car every month that she outdrives most Uber drivers shuttling our children around is baffling to me. Lila has taken off at school and is so interested in math she has started to learn some basics about investing. (No, this is not forced child labor, but really driven by her interest level). She has been into UNC Basketball this year and I almost shed a tear of regret for not letting her stay up and watch them bring home the National Championship this year when she woke the next morning wanting to know results and see highlights. On that subject, Amelia won our family Bracket Challenge, entitling her to another year of free rent. I was so amazed at her strategy I even wrote an article outlining what her win taught me.
On the Business Side:
In the office, we have spent a lot of time focusing on how the pending Fiduciary Rule from the Department of Labor will impact our business and how we assist our clients. More questions than answers are evident at this point and we hope to have a more detailed communication in the coming quarter as to what, if any, changes you should expect. The current plan was to be in place in April of 2017 and is now being batted around and debated in Washington with an official delay until June at this point. In all, we plan on continuing to do what we have been doing in putting our clients’ needs first. There is a lot of information in the media both real and fake right now and if you have any questions in the meantime don’t hesitate to reach out.
Cyber security has been a focus of ours. While our industry is finally making major strides in the technological offerings, we have taken a step back to insure we are doing our best to maintain the highest level of security possible and to be an industry leader. We have spent a lot of resources to protect both our internal servers and systems and upgrading them to the top providers out there. While nothing is fool proof, we take security and your information you entrust to us very seriously. Almost monthly we are receiving emails that are out of the ordinary from clients only to call and realize they have been hacked and scammers are trying to give orders via email to have funds sent. Our policy always requires a verbal confirmation to guard against these scammers and that is why we have not had a problem with it. Cyber security will continue to be a growing issue moving forward and I wanted to let you know some of the things we are doing to protect you.
With a lot of questions in the markets and a lot of changes in the investment industry we anticipate many people looking to find new solutions and homes for their financial needs. If you are in a conversation with someone who is seeking help, don’t hesitate to let us know and we are happy to help them in any way we can.
If you have not already done so, please take the time to review our online access for your accounts. The site is very helpful in gaining a better perspective of your overall financial picture and I am confident you will find it helpful. If you are a client who has not yet used the software or if you are not a client and would like to try it out, email Ashlie at [email protected].
They say that the best things come to those who wait. The bus is scheduled to be completed by April 21st and after a few delays, we are looking forward to it getting on the road helping non- profits. There are a lot of scheduled outings in the coming months and we will be renting it as well. For those of you who used the old bus, you will be very impressed with the upgrades once completed.
Featured Blog Post:
Family is important to me and my clients. I work a lot with families to create a plan for the wealth beyond their years. This featured blog post has some tips on avoiding conflict when dealing with heirs and some points you should consider in planning for your own estate. Please click here for the blog post where I hope you find some helpful hints.
2nd Quarter 2017 Outlook:
The roller coaster is likely to continue as our Nation and the world as a whole adjust to the new administration. As we have entered the 8th anniversary of this long slow bull, the first quarter of 2017 offered a 6.5% return on the S&P 500. This trailed the 9% return in the MSCI index which is an index that tracks Emerging Markets. Overall, we are still focusing on asset allocation and performance for the past quarter for most portfolios is indicative of that as a portfolio of just emerging markets stocks would be an overly risky recommendation for just about every person I work with. Something to be excited about moving forward is the optimism among business owners on page 1 and 2 of the analysis below. Optimism is showing at the highest level in 14 years and that is something to keep an eye on. While we invest in publicly traded companies, small business is very much the lifeblood of the economy and that optimism can result in overall growth in the economy on all levels. Interest rates and geopolitical issues will still be a major focus of the markets moving into the second quarter in my opinion and pose threats to the overall economy.
For further analysis and market information click here.