Welcome to 2016! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends, and that 2016 will be a healthy and prosperous year for all!
While 2015 was a time for our wonderful major office face lift and another record-setting year for DeLong & Brower’s financial arm, the same cannot be said for the financial markets. For the year, the Dow was down 2.23%, the S&P 500 was down 0.73%, the MSCI EAFE (international) was down 3.30%, and the woeful MSCI Emerging Market index was down 16.96%. Only bright spots were the NASDAQ Composite up 5.73% and the Barclays US Aggregate Bond up a slight .55%.* In December, the Fed finally began the long awaited raising of interest rates (1/4 point), the first time this has happened since June, 2006! Further small increases are expected in the months ahead-not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion. Based on the market indexes shared earlier, it should not be unexpected that our investment portfolios generated less that desirable returns last year. For 2016, an election year, returns may look a lot like 2015, even though many domestic economic indicators look somewhat favorable. Geopolitical events are a “wild card” that are difficult to account for. However, be assured that your financial services team is doing all we can to deliver sound financial advice suitable for your goals, time frames and risk tolerance.
New for 2016 Now we are pleased to share some very positive news! Prior to beginning the New Year, our team sat down and discussed who we are and what we do, in the simplest terms possible. Sounds easy, but it proved to be a very interesting discussion. Sure, we are financial advisors and we work with our clients to help them achieve their financial goals. Sounds like what every broker and investment professional (wealth manager) would say. But we felt we want to (and do) deliver more than return on investment (ROI); we try to deliver Return on Life. We think our job should be to help get you the best life you can with the money and resources you have. We do this by helping people make wise financial decisions, using the experience of our team of trained specialists and external sources. This year we will be kicking off our “Retire360” program in order to fully implement this initiative.
Retire 360: A Holistic Approach We like to take a “holistic” approach with our clients, focusing not just on investments, but on tax reduction, wise use of insurance, retirement mapping, gifting, and estate planning as well. In addition to our people, we have the systems and technology in place to make this holistic approach a reality, and we are prepared to offer this to all of our clients for no additional cost. That’s how much we believe in the benefits of this approach. We have delivered this to some of you already (most of Joe’s client base), but we want all of our valued clients to understand that it is available to you, too. The benefits of this will include:
- An organized picture of your financial life;
- Objective advice to help you avoid emotionally driven decisions on important money matters;
- Analysis of current and potential life transitions and ways to prepare for them in advance rather than react on the spur of the moment (better to prepare than repair);
- Save you time and money in the long run.
- Increased collaboration among professionals such as tax, insurance, investments, and estate planning.
To proceed, your role is to provide information that allows us to begin the process. If you request it,Darlene will send out our Family Financial Organizer along with a checklist of items needed for the review. If the program sounds beneficial to you, we are prepared to begin the process. However, if you are comfortable with our current relationship and level of service, that is absolutely fine. We value all of our clients and want to deliver the scope of service that you find most valuable.
My opening “prosperous” wish for you has been severely challenged so far in 2016. The S&P 500 had its worst five-day start to a year ever, down 6% largely due to China’s currency adjustment and negative comments by billionaire investor George Soros. The same can be said for drops in the Dow industrials (down 5.2%, its worst start on record) and the NASDAQ Composite (down 6.4%, its worst start since 2000). These market results are in spite of a variety of positive domestic economic indicators. Five days do not a year make. Your DeLong & Brower team is closely monitoring various sources of economic and investment information before determining if any strategic allocation strategies are in order. We will keep you posted.
Jim Hagel, CFP® Joel Johnson, AIF®
The views stated in this letter are not necessarily the opinion of Cetera Financial Specialists LLC and should not be construed directly or indirectly as an offer to buy or sell any securities mentioned herein. Due to volatility within the markets mentioned, opinions are subject to change with notice. Information is based on sources believed to be reliable; however, their accuracy or completeness cannot be guaranteed. Past performance does not guarantee future results
Investors cannot invest directly in indexes. The performance of any index is not indicative of the performance of any investment and does not take into account the effects of inflation and the fees and expenses associated with investing.
Securities offered through Cetera Financial Specialists LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cetera Investment Advisers LLC. Cetera entities are under separate ownership from any other entity.