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Archive by category: Quarterly NewsletterReturn
Most investors do not plan to act in a foolish manner. In fact, most probably think they do have a plan when they purchase an investment. In the light of day, when the sun is shining and birds are singing and children laughing, it is fairly easy to feel you can withstand whatever the market can throw at you. But when the weather changes and the pleasant noises stop, things change. When the markets plunge and the news is horrible and the monthly brokerage statements are getting worse and worse, many investors seem to forget whatever plan they may have had.
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Investors are no strangers to cycles. Seasons of the year, business cycles, presidential cycles, tax seasons, holiday shopping, and military engagements are all examples of cyclical types of behavior that are often predictable and definitely influence the markets. What time of the year does the most money flow into retirement plans? What quarter do toy companies earn 70%+ of their profits?
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The Pit and the PendulumJanuary 21, 2015In the above titled short story, an unfortunate prisoner has to endure two different types of torture. Readers who search for symbolism may likely view this tale as a figurative journey into the psychological depths of decision-making during stock market tumult. Unfortunately, after hundreds of seconds of internet research, I was able to confirm that Edgar Allan Poe died young (age 40) and poor. It is therefore questionable whether Poe intended to write an allegory about Wall Street with his macabre tale. But intended or not, the connection is clear.As a quick review, the story is about a prisoner, during the Inquisition, who wakes up bound and laid beneath a large razor sharp pendulum that lowers with each back and forth stroke, assuring death by slicing. He ingeniously rubs food on his binds, which are eaten by rats, thereby freeing him before the pendulum kills him. Unfortunately, trouble continues when the walls of the prison become red hot a...
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Watch What They Do, Not What They SayOctober 08, 2014High school football is in full gear. But for the best players -- those who will be receiving major college scholarships for their prowess on the gridiron, the journey is all but over. For the seniors, it started two or three years ago. During that time, these teenagers have been making grown men (coaches) kowtow – calling, texting, visiting their high schools and homes, and begging these youngsters to visit their universities and hopefully commit to their team. But the coaches are not the only ones. High school recruiting is big business. At least four national online recruiting sites, many connected with university alumni and major television sports outlets, cover these recruits, rating them with numbers and stars to signify their skill level and predicting their college choice. Rabid college football fans hang onto every word from both these adolescent stars and the “analysts” that cover them. Vibrant message boa...
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Old and Fat, Lazy and InfertileJuly 22, 2014No, we’re not talking about your brother-in-law. Rather, it’s a fair description of the underlying trends that are helping to define the future global economy. Let’s take them one at a time: OLD Humans have been adding to their life expectancy for centuries.* The average lifespan for Romans during the Roman Empire was 22 years. In 1900, the world’s average human life expectancy was only 30, and in 1985 it was 62 years. All these figures calculate at birth. If someone lives through their first year, their expectancy increases dramatically. The average life expectancy in the US is currently around 77 years. It is calculated that over a third of children born today in a developed country will live to age 100. Food supply, nutrition, healthcare technologies and increased personal hygiene are deemed to be the major reasons for this. Bottom line -- we are living longer, and this will have major ramifications for families, go...
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To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone BeforeApril 23, 2014You don’t have to be a “Trekkie” to recognize this phrase. It was used in the opening lines of each episode of Star Trek starting in 1966.Space: The final frontierThese are the voyages of the Starship, EnterpriseIts 5 year missionTo explore strange new worldsTo seek out new life and new civilizationsTo boldly go where no man has gone beforeTo a younger generation, William Shatner is likely just as famous for playing a wacky lawyer during weeknight prime time, or hawking cheap flights and hotel rooms for Priceline, as he was for wearing Captain Kirk’s form-fitting sweaters and making the big decisions from the flight deck of the USS Enterprise. But even tweens watching old reruns of the show can become addicted to all the fun stuff that happened to Kirk and his crew while they zipped around the Final Frontier. Boldly going where no man (or alluring alien female, for that matter) has gone before was a big hit,...
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SURVIVORI'm a survivorI'm not gon give upI'm not gon stopI'm gon work harderI'm a survivorI'm gonna make itI will surviveKeep on survivin'Back before Beyoncé used a single name, before she married Jay Z and named her daughter “Blue Ivy”, and before she became a close friend to the Obamas, she was simply a talented teenage singer. Back when her mom made her costumes and her dad was her manager, Beyoncé Knowles and two other girls performed on an album entitled “Survivor”. You probably remember the hit single on that album by the same name. (The song’s beautifully poetic refrain is printed above.) But you probably didn’t know that this 2001 album contained three other #1 hits, earned three Grammy nominations and was certified quadruple platinum. All this took place before she ever became a solo artist. Then she really became famous. She has done a great job of remaining relevant and sober in a remarkably compet...
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The Eggheads Did It AgainOctober 17, 2013Richard Nixon called Adlai Stephenson an “egghead” during the 1952 presidential campaign. It was not meant as a compliment. Intellectuals, college professors and even the broader category of teachers just don’t get much respect in our society. I’m sure you have heard, and maybe even voiced, some disparaging remarks about these really smart people. “They live in their ivory towers, and could never make it in the dog-eat-dog world that the rest of us must survive in.” “They are pretentious, lack common sense, and are out of touch with the real world.” Finally, there is the ever popular witticism: “Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach.”Regardless of your opinion of academics, we here at Dixon Hughes Goodman Wealth Advisors love them. Well, maybe not all of them, but the ones who have found ways to add value to our investment process hold a particularly special place in our hea...
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All That glitters...July 16, 2013Everyone likes gold. It is so pretty and shiny. Rappers, (old) dentists, prospectors, historic James Bond villains, Scrooge McDuck (Huey, Dewey and Louie’s great uncle), King Tut’s mortician and the Rothschild family were/are all gold lovers. There are many more, too numerous to list. But most people don’t know an awful lot about this precious metal. For instance, a large majority of gold on the planet is located near the Earth’s core, having gravitated there during the earth’s formation. All “discovered” gold is the result of meteorites, which carried it and crashed into the Earth’s crust. Really.Gold is a frequent topic in the investment world, too. Just like other assets, its popularity is often inversely related to its potential future value. It is often more desired when it is trading at a high price than when it is priced at lower levels. Less than two years ago, gold hit its all-time high price (in ...
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Rich and Richer, Dumb and DumberApril 16, 2013No, we're not talking about the inequities of our economic class structures, nor the 1994 comedy starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels with bad hair cuts. Rather, the topic is about investors, and how on average, they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot, market cycle after market cycle. In their attempt to ease their fear and embrace their greed, they historically do the wrong thing at the right time, or vise versa.Dalbar, the stock market research company, recently announced their Investor vs. Market research data (Dalbar.com). They found that over the last 20 years, the average return of all stock mutual fund investors was 4.25%, or only about half of the 8.21% annualized return enjoyed by the S&P 500 Index over that same time period. That means for every dollar an average investor invested, it grew to $2.30. Had they just invested in an S&P 500 Index fund and held tight, their $1.00 would have grown to $4.85. That's no...
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