This week’s focus is on three articles and one investment chart. The chart, from JP Morgan, is one of my personal favorites. In short, it details the “average” annual decline of the S&P 500 – a number that I believe will surprise many.
Following that, we have a quick article that answers the ever-pressing question – Do I Really Need a Financial Planner? This is followed up by an article for the bond investment junkies in a rising interest rate market. The final piece will be a quick hit on Social Security and the important questions you may want to consider.
As always, I am constantly in search of good articles for my re-cap. Feel free to send them over!
The Weekly Chart –
Average Returns and Intra-Year Declines
Since 2009, US markets have been on a seemingly linear and positive climb. However, recent volatility has raised the question of where the markets are headed.
While history tells us that there will be years in which you may lose money in the market (see 2008, 2002, 2001, and 2000 to name just a few), it also shows us that some of those people invested in the market may actually lose money every year. If your year-end statement says that you made money, how could that possibly be?!?!
If we consider intra-year declines (think peak to trough during the year), we can see the average annual intra-year decline was 14.2%. In other words, the historic average is to have a time over the course of each year when you lose 14%.
Even so, this chart details that over the past 35 years, the annual returns for the S&P 500 have been positive for 27 of them.
The lesson…. Markets can and will be volatile. Think long term! Think long term!
The Other Blogger Article
I am asked this question all the time. From prospects and centers of influence to novices and financial experts, this is a constant concern. The fact is, the question of whether to hire a financial planner or not is very personal.
The reasons people choose to hire a financial planner range across the board. Some people simply don’t know how to manage their own investments and develop a financial plan. Others are financial professionals themselves, but realize that the expert eye of a second opinion is worth the cost (there is a reason why professional athletes have coaches!).
Here is another set of reasons from Roger Wohlner, a contributor at TheChicagoFinancialPlanner.com, a financial blog that I thoroughly enjoy reading.
The Junkie Article
As many of you know, current interest rates are low. As they rise, there is concern that bond funds will take a hit as rising interest rates drive down the price of the funds.
One possible solution to this problem is to buy individual bonds and hold them until maturity (as opposed to bond funds).
This article, by Michael Kitces, discusses why a bond fund that rolls its positions, thus maintaining a constant position, might be a better bet for you in the long run.
The Retirement Planning Article
Nothing too revolutionary here that you haven’t heard before, but it is still a good recap of the words, phrases, and opportunities you could consider when deciding whether or not to initiate Social Security. This decision can have a significant impact on the rest of your retirement plan, so you want to be sure to get it right.
A key fact to takeaway: it’s not as easy as collecting simply because you reached 62, 66, or “enter your favorite age here.” There are far more factors to consider if you want to help protect your future.
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S&P 500 Index is an index of 500 of the largest exchange-traded stocks in the US from a broad range of industries whose collective performance mirrors the overall stock market. Investors cannot invest directly in an index.
In general, the bond market is volatile, and fixed income securities carry interest rate risk. (As interest rates rise, bond prices usually fall, and vice versa. This effect is usually more pronounced for longer-term securities). Fixed income securities also carry inflation risk, liquidity risk, call risk and credit and default risks for both issuers and counterparties. Lower-quality fixed income securities involve greater risk of default or price changes due to potential changes in the credit quality of the issuer. Any fixed-income security sold or redeemed prior to maturity may be subject to loss.