Not since the precarious days of 2007 has the market gone so long without corrections of 5%, 10%, and 20%. Is the streak about to end? Geopolitical speculation is running rampant (think Middle East, Ukraine, Scotland, etc.) and September-October has a bad reputation. A dozen of the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s 20 biggest one-day drops have occurred from mid-September through October, most recently in 2008. It’s understandable that investors would be worried and nervous.
Despite high valuations and a recent market pullback, our indicators have yet to warn that equities are heading for a gut-wrenching descent. In fact, with the uptrend intact, the anxiety is a positive sign. As the adage goes, equities “climb a wall of worry”. Global breadth remains strong, led by the U.S. among regions and Technology among global sectors. We expect the low interest rate environment to persist, the global economy to keep expanding, and earnings growth to come through, all to the benefit of the global market uptrend.
The chart below shows positive indicators in both the trend in stock prices, “The Tape”, as well as economic indicators, “The Fed”.
Congratulations! You are the proud parent of a bouncing baby boy or girl. Better yet, maybe one is on the way. Suddenly you feel compelled, almost inexplicably to start them a savings plan. You might have even searched the internet for “Educational Savings Accounts” and had this come up. I hate to burst your bubble, but you may be going about this all wrong. You are feeling an overwhelming need to take care of this new being like you have never felt before…..but now may not be the time to invest for your child – it might be the time to invest for yourself.
If you are really interested in making sure that your child is taken care of you really need to step back and look at things. $50/ a month into a college fund won’t provide a stable future for your child. What you need to do is take care of yourself first. This is one of the forks in the road where you need to start looking at retirement planning. Are you saving enough? Are you taking enough risk in your accounts? Are you taking too much risk in your investment accounts?
We recommend that you hire a guide to help you make these decisions. The financial services world is full of people who will prey on this emotion telling you that you must to take action right now. They might sell you an expensive insurance contract, or get you to “invest” in a time share, but you will look back 5 or 10 years from now and see that what would have been the best was to actually evaluate your own system. A qualified CFP® professional can help take an objective look at where you stand financially. They should map out a cash flow model to retirement and help you get your arms around a sound investment strategy. They should review your legal and tax situation to see if they can identify any missteps or opportunities. They can even look at your risk management and review your insurance policies.
When you fast forward 18 years from now, if you have taken care of yourself financially, you will be able to help your kids more than any college fund ever could.