Weekend Reading

Calling All Hands

It’s not uncommon for me to be asked about what our firm stands for and what differentiates us from other companies.  Most people who ask this question expect an answer related to finance, but that’s only half of the story.  Outperformance, financial security, attention, honesty, transparency, peace of mind… all of these characteristics comprise the fabric of our culture and commitment, but our purpose extends beyond these goals.

Weekend Reading: Gain, Loss & Performance, Episode 2

A few weeks ago, we wrote an article discussing the differences between “Principal Gain & Loss” versus “Tax Gain and Loss.”  This article was inspired by questions we’ve received about why growth in a particular investment held by many of our clients appeared to have achieved better performance than its tax liability was suggesting.  This question inspired us to discuss more broadly several types of performance measures and the differences between them.  This week, we are going to write about two more performance figures, specifically “Time-Weighted Return” (TWR), and “Internal Rate of Return” (IRR). The differences between these two are very important and we use both during every client review. So pay attention, this is good stuff!  

Weekend Reading: Social Security and Medicare Trust Fund Annual Reports

Each year, the Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds release annual reports to Congress that assess the health of these programs.  These reports discuss the current financial condition of the trusts and project a Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the coming year. Each year, with the help of Broadridge (one of seven research providers that we use), we summarize these annual reports.  Below are our summaries of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Fund annual reports for 2018, which were released last month.

Weekend Reading: Student Loan Interest Rate Changes

I want to brief everyone on the new federal student loan interest rates that take effect today, July 1st. The rates for the 2018-2019 school year are surely notable because they are the highest in almost a decade. The rates for some types of federal student loans are more than 70% higher than the rates for the average car loan in the US. This is an unfortunate and persistent problem with the affordability of American education. Regardless, here are the new rates:

Weekend Reading: June Market Risk Update

It’s that time of the month – here is our monthly Market Risk Update, written by our good friend Brad McMillan.

His opinion remains very similar to mine: the economy remains strong, but headwinds are on their way. We bought into the stock market dip of early February for most clients, and the S&P 500 (one of several applicable indexes) has currently recovered about 65% of that correction. We will ride this wave until the market reaches a new high, which we believe will happen prior to year-end, after which we will remain committed to reducing risk in the long term.

With that brief introduction to this weekend’s article, let’s once again look through Brad’s risk-goggles.

Weekend Reading: Gain & Loss

This weekend’s reading may, on the surface, seem boring, but I promise you that it’s really not.  In fact, this reading will probably help everyone, and I really mean everyone, understand how to look at portfolio performance just a little bit better. This will be the first of two weekend readings about performance, so here goes; indulge me while I geek it out!

Weekend Reading: Memorial Day Message & Medicare

In honor of the this weekend, we will make our reading short and sweet. But before we do, a quick message about the Memorial Day holiday.

As we kick off the summer season this weekend with cheer and spirit, let us take a moment on Monday to remember and celebrate the brave soldiers who gave their lives yesterday so we could live our tomorrow.Let us also honor our military service people who have served and continue to serve providing a blanket of freedom under which we are blessed to live.

Weekend Reading: Ford New Technology

Due to several client meetings outside our home office, we are skipping this weekend’s reading. However, we did come across a very interesting technology that Ford Motor has been playing with.  It’s a technology which allows people with visual impairment to experience some of the scenery that passes them by while riding as a passenger.

Weekend Reading: Yield Curve

I’ve been meaning to write an article about what we call “the Yield Curve” because of all the statistics and metrics we at MORWM utilize in our forecasts, this is among those we take most seriously. In the midst of confusion in late 2007, the yield curve was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, and the final concern for which liquidated a meaningful part of our equity portfolio in October and November of 2007.

Weekend Listening: Tariffs & Volatility

For this weekend's reading, we are back on the radio.  This radio spot was actually from last week, but with the Passover and Easter holiday, we didn't have a chance to distribute the link.  In this show I was asked exactly what you would guess - tariffs and market volatility, with a splash of Amazon and Facebook.