“Fed Shifts to a Policy That Is Still Stimulative, But a Tiny Bit Less So”

The Top of Matt’s Wish List: The Fed Rate Hike was quickly memorialized in these T-shirts by Quartz.

The Top of Matt’s Wish List: The Fed Rate Hike was quickly memorialized in these T-shirts by Quartz.

The above headline comes from University of Michigan Economist Justin Wolfers. Much news coverage will be dedicated to the Fed’s first rate hike since 2006. However, we should keep three things in mind: Continue reading

Ho Ho Horrible Holiday Investing Myths

(This blog was originally published in 2014.)
Instead of sitting back with a glass of egg nog and overdosing on Rankin/Bass holiday specials, some investors spend year-end trying to decorate their portfolios with dubious investment ideas. Here are three holiday follies that are even nuttier and harder to digest than fruitcake.
Santa Claus Rally
Yes Virginia, there may be a Santa Claus, but don’t count on a Santa Claus Rally — a small upward blip in stock prices that sometimes occurs between Christmas and New Year’s. Explanations for the rally, which was “discovered” in 1972, include bears and other pessimists giving in to the holiday spirit, year-end tax planning, even investors spending Christmas bonuses. Continue reading

Changing up the Holiday Conversation

Blog_Holiday_ConvoWhat are the most important things to talk about at this time of year? I recently sat down with Robert Temmerman, Jr. (or Dad as I call him), a specialist with 30 years of experience in estate planning, to find out what he deems as most important for year-end planning.
What he told me is that this may be the best time to have some important discussions with loved ones. These important — and possibly uncomfortable — conversations are the best gift that you can give to your family (aside from that new iPad they have been wanting). Continue reading

Loring Ward’s Framework for Performance Measurement and Monitoring

The Loring Ward Investment Committee’s performance monitoring process allows the Investment Committee and Advisors to understand the drivers of performance for our model portfolios. To evaluate the risk and return of our model portfolios, Loring Ward employs a four-step process, which is discussed by Michael McMillan, CFA, in his blog “Performance Measurement: The What, Why, and How of the Investment Management Process”:

  1. Benchmark Selection
  2. Excess Return Calculation
  3. Performance Attribution
  4. Risk Analysis1

Continue reading

Fifty Shades of Blue

Though the headline may suggest otherwise, the Loring Ward Marketing Department has not taken a scandalous turn, although we do get very passionate about our brand and the many details of our brand identity. During the recent brand overhaul here at Loring Ward, we took a few hours to explore fifty shades of the color blue in order to find the perfect one.
While the right shade of blue may not seem integral to a brand’s bottom line, we’re here to say that it just might. Consider the colors you see around you every day. How often do you encounter a restaurant with a red logo? What about a yoga studio with a green or purple logo? In most situations, brand colors are selected for a reason. Red is thought to make people hungry.1 Green or purple are considered “peaceful” and “spiritual” colors.2
This leads us to the question, “Why blue?” Continue reading

The Odds Favor the Optimist

This blog is from the December issue of Portfolio Perspectives.
When the stock market gets rocked it’s easy to hit the proverbial panic button and sell. Many investors believe that to avoid large losses they need to sell once the stock market drops more than 5 or 10 percent. Panicking during bouts of volatility is one of the classic investor mistakes.
It would be great to be able to know exactly when the market will go up and down, but the truth is that no one can predict it consistently. Based on history, it may be best to do nothing during down markets. Continue reading