Bulls and Bears

July kicked off a new round of quarterly corporate earnings. Strong corporate earnings have been one of the bulls leading players, but this month some defected to the bearish camp with reported numbers below market expectation. Most notable was Apple Computer who disappointed analyst expectations for the first time in over three years. The bulls are leaning on attractive stock valuations, high stock dividend yields relative to bond yields, improving consumer confidence and a majority of companies reporting strong earnings. Do not underestimate these bullish forces.

Stocks were mixed for the month but closed near their highs for the past year. The S&P 500 gained 1.39 percent in July and is up an impressive 11.01 percent this year. International stocks, as measured by the MSCI EAFE Index, kept pace for the month returning 1.13 percent. Year to date, this index is up 4.13 percent. Below is a look at the ride in the S&P 500 over the past twelve months. If you stayed the course, this index returned 9.13 percent.

Bonds continue to rally as the global demand for safe assets has driven interest rates to historic lows. The major move in bond prices occurred over the one-year time period since the U.S. Government debt lost its triple-A rating from Standard and Poor’s. The U.S. aggregate bond market, as measured by Barclays, turned in a stellar month up 1.38 percent and the year to date period is up a solid 7.25 percent. High yield corporate bonds performed even better and long-term U.S. Treasuries were off the charts producing a monthly return of 3.30 percent and a remarkable 30.98 percent over the past twelve months. Lower interest rate mean much higher bond prices and the chart bellows shows the decline in U.S. Treasury 10-year note yields over the past year.

While it can be informative to follow the markets daily, it is imperative to elevate yourself above the daily chatter and remain focused on the bigger picture. The market noise is now delivered instantly on your cell phone, iPad, laptop, and television screen causing the average investor to gradually lose their long-term focus. Maybe it is a sign of the times, but investors are being reduced to short-term traders. A financial plan should be a long-term commitment to reach your financial goals. If properly constructed and patiently executed, it will deliver you to your destination. If you want to play the market for short-term excitement please do so, but only do it with a small portion of your nest egg. The majority of your nest egg needs time and a plan.

Posted on August 1, 2012 Read More

Are You a Procrastinator? Find Out How to Change

So why do we procrastinate? Some experts, like Joseph Ferrari, associate professor of psychology at Chicago’s DePaul University, believe we procrastinate because we were overregulated as children or because we feel anxious about a task. But virtually all authorities on the subject agree that procrastinators are made, not born. Procrastination is a learned behavior that can be changed.

Making a to-do list can be a great first step in managing procrastination. Cross each item off as you complete it.

Knowing what your biggest distractions are can help you avoid them. If you check email every five minutes, try to reduce it to a few times an hour. If you feel compelled to read and reply to every text message you receive, put your phone out of reach.

Look at your work environment. Get rid of clutter, hang or post items that inspire you, and find a spot to keep your to-do list in plain sight. If you find yourself procrastinating regularly, you might want to consider talking to a therapist. Professional advice can help you determine what’s at the root of your procrastination and eliminate it.

Posted on June 1, 2012 Read More

Are You Managing Your Finances Wisely?

If you are curious about how you could invest profitably right now, why not see if I can help you?

Just give my office a call for a no-fuss, professional consultation.

I will not try to push you into making any quick decisions and I will not waste your time.

I will just give you the honest facts about your financial situation.

And maybe I will help you earn a few dollars along the way!

Just give my office a call at 775-674-2222 to arrange an appointment.

Alternatively, stop by at the office.

Posted on May 1, 2012 Read More

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