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What Is Your One Word?

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January 10, 2014To plan a journey, first you must know where you are going. Likewise, when planning your financial future, you must know what you want to achieve in your long-term vision. Only then can you chart your path.Unfortunately, financial advisors do not have a crystal ball. Neither do investors. Sure, they may get lucky and predict something from time to time, but it has been proven that this cannot be sustained over the long term. If financial advisors and investors alike do not have a crystal ball, what is the next best thing that they can have to achieve long-term success? Vision – without it people perish. When it comes to vision in investments, we are talking about a philosophy, a strategy, and a way to invest on purpose. This vision is not based on the latest news, the media hype, the next big thing, the expert’s predictions, etc. It is based on the science of investing. It is based on facts. For us at DHGWA, it is a clear investment philosophy based on scientific evid...
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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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December 05, 2013In the old definition of investment advice, a financial advisor would try to forecast investments. In the new definition of investment advice, a financial advisor helps clients capture capital market rates of return by determining a client’s risk tolerance. Based on this information, a financial advisor can help structure the client’s portfolio in a way that effectively achieves the appropriate risk exposures.There are 5 key parts or “fingers” to this process of the new definition of “investment advice” (Source – Dimensional Fund Advisors :DiversificationEducationDisciplineCost EfficientHolistic ApproachThis old adage “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” has been around for many years. Clients should invest across a wide range of asset classes that make the most sense for their individual goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. Never stop learning – education is a requirement. This goes for both advisors and clients. Clients should have a clear understan...
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Fama Awarded Nobel Prize

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November 14, 2013Dear Friends,We are pleased to announce that Eugene F. Fama has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics. Professor Fama's groundbreaking work on asset pricing and markets inspired the founding of Dimensional Fund Advisors and his ongoing contributions have guided the investment approach of DHGWA.The image here will route you to a video of Professor Fama discussing the evolution of finance. Please enjoy.
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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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A Sheep In Wolf's ClothingJanuary 10, 2013The inverse of the above idiom comes from the Bible. "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." In every day usage, this verse has become a warning about bad guys disguising themselves as good, or at least harmless, and tricking an unsuspecting victim.But that's not what we're talking about here. In fact, we are talking about just the opposite. More like a meek and harmless animal dressing like a big, aggressive creature to attempt to get your attention, or in this case, your money. In the investment world, there is a great example of this phenomenon, and it is being perpetrated by some of the biggest, most well known mutual funds in America.Large actively managed mutual funds attempt to portray a potential for beating their passive index/benchmark performance. The only reason an investor would choose an active manager, and pay the much higher expense ratio...
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ObdurateSay what? For those who think we haven’t been erudite or scholarly enough in these quarterly reports, we hope your mind will now be changed. For non-English majors, the word “obdurate” means pig headed, inflexible, rigid, unyielding. Not the stuff that makes for a good marriage. You might be hard pressed to find an instance where being obdurate is good. However, in the investment world, you should really hope that your investment vehicles are all very obdurate. If they don’t have this quality, there is no way to maximize the diversification of asset classes in your portfolio.Most of our clients realize that we use very distinct asset class vehicles to build our portfolios. That is because each vehicle must represent a particular size and style and geographical location within the equity universe. Why? Because during most segments of a market cycle, each asset class performs somewhat differently in terms of risk, re...
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Same Old, Same OldThere always seems to be some type of unpleasant revelation lurking on Wall Street. It hides in the darkness until its discovery causes surprise. The huge trading loss by J.P. Morgan Chase is in that category. It seemed to take everyone, including most JPMC officials, by surprise. The blatant overvaluation of Facebook's IPO was another type of surprise, especially if you were a retail investor who was "lucky" enough to get in on that "deal." But perhaps the most baffling Wall Street discoveries aren't really surprises, because they are based on circumstances that are fully known, and have been for a long time. Yet these unfortunate lessons seem to continuously repeat themselves, year after year, market cycle after market cycle.Already in 2012, three studies point to some basic investor mistakes that we have been discussing with prospective clients since our company was formed. The first has to do with choosing an advisor. In a recent paper ...
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