Fads Come and Go

“There’s one robust new idea in finance that has investment implications maybe every 10 or 15 years, but there’s a marketing idea every week.” – Nobel Prize recipient Eugene Fama

Before adding assets or changing strategies in your portfolio, ask yourself the following three questions.

  1. What is this strategy claiming to provide that is not already in my portfolio?
  2. If it is not in my portfolio, can I reasonably expect that including it or focusing on it will increase expected returns, reduce expected volatility, or help me achieve my investment goal?
  3. Am I comfortable with the range of potential outcomes?

If your answers create any doubts, consider delaying the portfolio changes you had in mind. Remember that sticking to a long-term, disciplined investment approach, based upon research and implementation, may be your best approach to navigating the markets. The performance review of first quarter reminds us of that.

Recessions Are Part of a Normal Economic Cycle

Key Takeaways: Recessions and bear markets are part of a healthy economic and financial market cycle. The best we can do is allocate accordingly. Inverted yield curves occur in most recessions—but they don’t necessarily mean a recession is imminent. Stocks generally decline leading up to a recession but tend to rise as the recession wears … Continued

529 College Savings Plan Rules and Reminders

Key Takeaways: Distributions from a 529 plan are tax-free if they are used for qualified college expenses such as tuition, room and board, books and computers. Distributions from your 529 plan must be made in the same year as your qualified expenses are incurred for your distribution to be considered tax-free. Review your 529 plan … Continued

Just When I Thought Microsoft’s After-Tax 401(K) Benefit Couldn’t Get Any Better

As mentioned in my previous Microsoft articles, “Are you Taking Advantage of this Little Known Microsoft Retirement Plan Benefit?” and “Microsoft’s After-Tax Savings Benefit … Just Got Better”, Microsoft has a great and rarely utilized feature in their 401(k) plans. The benefit allows employees the opportunity to contribute an additional $27,500 (for 2019) of their … Continued

Is Private Banking Right for You and Your Business?

Key Takeaways Large commercial banks bring economies of scale, a commitment to technology, competitive lending rates, and interest-bearing accounts. Commercial banks aren’t always the right option for individuals and businesses with complex financial structures and unique service needs. A private banking relationship at a local or regional bank may help you navigate the complexities of … Continued

Financial Plan = Freedom

In Soundmark Principal Bill Schultheis’ latest column, he reminds readers why it’s imperative to tune out the market noise – especially in our current economic climate. Bill created the tagline “How to Build Wealth, Ignore Wall Street, and Get on with Your Life” with the release of his book, The Coffeehouse Investor. Over 18 years … Continued

What to Do with Your Year-End Bonus

Key Takeaways Whether your bonus is delivered on a consistent schedule or is a pleasant year-end surprise, review your goals carefully before deploying those funds. Additional financial resources can help you accomplish more goals, reach your goals faster, and/or increase your current goals. Disciplined Microsoft employees can utilize a cash flow strategy that maximizes their … Continued

Soundmark Launches New Client Portal

We are proud to announce the launch of our new client portal. Replacing the Vault, the Tamarac client portal provides an enhanced client experience. Some of the new features include: View household accounts and transactions online View and link external accounts including retirement accounts, mortgages, bank accounts, and credit cards Add other assets such as … Continued

Doctors… Please Don’t Make These Mistakes

Do any of these sound familiar? Investing in startups or other long shot endeavors. Not focusing on what you do best. Being inadequately insured.  You are an expert in your field. You went to school for six to ten years longer than most college graduates and it’s paid off. You earn substantially more income than … Continued

Remember the Advantages of Global Diversification

With US stocks outperforming non-US stocks in recent years, some investors have again turned their attention towards the role that global diversification plays in their portfolios. While international and emerging markets stocks have delivered disappointing returns relative to the US over the last few years, it is important to remember that: • Non-US stocks help … Continued