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Timing Isn’t Everything

Over the course of a summer, it’s not unusual for the stock market to be a topic of conversation at barbecues or other social gatherings. A neighbor or relative might ask about which investments are good at the moment. The lure of getting in at the right time or avoiding the next downturn may tempt even disciplined, long-term investors. The reality of successfully timing markets, however, isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. OUTGUESSING THE MARKET IS DIFFICULT Attempting to buy
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The Randomness of Global Equity Returns

Investment opportunities exist all around the globe. Across more than 40 countries, there are over 15,000 publicly traded companies. If you listen to the news, however, some countries may seem like better places to invest than others based on how their economies and stock markets are doing at the time. Fluctuations in performance from year to year only add to the complexity, providing little useful information about future returns. Daunted by the prospects of sorting it out, some investors look
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Can You Win in a Lose-Lose Game: Tariffs and Trade Wars

“We’re On The Brink Of An All-Out Trade War!” “Market Futures Fall As Investors Anticipate New Tariffs!” “What Will Happen If Trade Tensions Escalate!?” Chances are you’ve seen headlines like these over the past few months. The media can’t stop talking about tariffs and trade tensions and how they might harm the U.S. economy. But are tariffs really that bad? Is it true that we’re approaching a full-blown trade war with China? In this piece, we hope to untangle reality from
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Tim Maurer’s Top 10 Personal Finance Books

Tim Maurer was assigned a task: put together a list of his five favorite books from the world of personal finance. He came up with 10. In this video, Maurer, director of advisor development for the BAM ALLIANCE, walks us through his wide-ranging library, which includes books that focus on financial planning, behavioral economics, life planning, and a bonus pair that aren’t necessarily about money but can help change the way you look at money.     The Rent Collector,
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The Uncommon Average

The US stock market has delivered an average annual return of around 10% since 1926. But short-term results may vary, and in any given period stock returns can be positive, negative, or flat. When setting expectations, it’s helpful to see the range of outcomes experienced by investors historically. For example, how often have the stock market’s annual returns actually aligned with its long-term average? Exhibit 1 shows calendar year returns for the S&P 500 Index since 1926. The shaded band
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Investing Is Hard — Get Help from a Trusted Advisor

Some things are just too difficult or stressful to do on your own. Like a dietitian or a personal trainer, a financial advisor can help set up the right plan for you, then monitor and motivate you so you end up with the results you want. There are four key benefits to working with an advisor: Competence: Financial advisors provide the critical actions that help drive successful long-term outcomes, including planning, asset allocation, rebalancing and working with other financial professionals. Coaching: An advisor offers education and
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Procrastination

Procrastination. At some point or another, it plagues us all. We put off folding the laundry, returning that library book, starting to compost, and, of course, myriad tasks related to our financial lives. Whether it’s filing your taxes or upping your IRA contribution, many a financial to-do is put off until tomorrow—and there is often a price to pay for procrastinating. Sure, in some cases it’s because the task is unpleasant, but as it turns out, a more cerebral explanation
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Markets (and some premiums) Bounce Back

What a difference a few months can make! A few months at the end of 2018 turned U.S. stock returns negative and made international stocks to decline further for the year. Now, just a few months after that recent low, stocks in the U.S. and abroad have staged a significant recovery. U.S. stocks (represented by the S&P 500 Index) declined -13.5% in the fourth quarter of 2018. After the first two months in 2019, they were up 11.5%. This pattern
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The Index Bogeyman

Over the last several years, index funds have received increased attention from investors and the financial media. Some have even made claims that the increased usage of index funds may be distorting market prices. For many, this argument hinges on the premise that indexing reduces the efficacy of price discovery. If index funds are becoming increasingly popular and investors are “blindly” buying an index’s underlying holdings, sufficient price discovery may not be happening in the market. But should the rise
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Perspective on Premiums

Investors may be tempted to extrapolate recent returns into the future, which can lead them to abandon their investment philosophy at potentially inopportune times. While negative outcomes are disappointing, investors should view them with the proper perspective and stay the course. When you leave your server a tip, do you round it to a whole-dollar amount and often in multiples of $5? Does a 60th birthday seem more significant than a 59th? If you answer yes to these questions, you’re
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