Quote of the Week
“When the mind is in a state of uncertainty, the smallest impulse directs it to either side.” – Terence (Publius Terentius Afer)
Last week was a good week for the markets. As most of you know, the markets sold off from the high at the beginning of February by over 10%, which is defined as a “correction.” Last week the S&P 500 was up 4.30%, the Dow was up 4.25%, and the NASDAQ was up 5.31%. Our portfolios year to date are out performing the markets. If you would like the numbers, please give me a call.
Today (Tuesday) is starting somewhat flat. No one knows for sure, but it appears that the drama may be over for a while. The VIX is at 43.51, which is below the 50 mark, which seems to be the level where worry starts to set in. The UPI is still at 18 out of 100. It is interesting that the UPI remained at 18 throughout the “correction” The software seems to know something that the markets did not recognize.
Our allocation for most clients remains the same at 85% equities, 0% bonds, 10% alternatives, and 5% cash. With interest rates rising so far this year our 0% exposure to bonds has been a smart choice. Medium duration bonds are down 4%, and long duration bonds are down 7.7% since December 15th last year. Things can change, but with upward pressure on wages and inflation starting to pick up, it appears that interest rates will also continue up which is negative for bonds.
Sue’s Thoughts – Our Last Act
Recently we have discussed managing finances, key estate documents, and preparing your heirs. Another important topic, one that many of us avoid, deals with our last wishes.
When we die, our family members face some extremely emotional events. Planning a funeral can help a grieving loved one by focusing on the task, but it can also present so many choices that it might become paralyzing. If you have any thoughts concerning your last act, be kind and share your requests before you depart.
Discuss your wishes in person, add a letter to your will, or even speak in generalities whenever the topic presents itself. For example, while on a Sunday drive my in-laws passed by a picturesque cemetery in a small town not far from their home. My father-in-law commented how that area sure would be a nice forever place. When he unexpectedly passed away a few months later, his wife knew where to bury him.
However, they had not discussed particulars of his “good-bye” party, as his great-granddaughter called the funeral. It was too much for mom to handle. My husband ended up planning the funeral, and his sister wrote the obituary. Both turned out quite beautiful, but later we realized there was more we would have liked to share about dad at the funeral or in his obituary. Had we discussed such topics in advance, or if Pop had shared his wishes, we would have been better prepared to do and say things more worthy of such a fascinating person.
A couple of things I learned worth sharing are that obituaries in large cities charge by the word and our first draft was nearly $1000. A condensed version in the printed newspaper paper is fine. Go for the full story located on the funeral home’s website. It is easy to search for, and you can print it out if you would like.
Another lesson is that funerals do not have to be sad or even quiet. I believe they should be a celebration of life. My talented nieces and nephew sang at their grandpa’s funeral while his daughter and her husband played flute and guitar.
My dad passed away too early, and I felt miserable. I thank my lucky stars for the people who bravely recounted funny stories or a happy memory about my dad when they walked through what I thought was the dreaded receiving line at the viewing. They may have whispered the words to me, but I laughed aloud. I was not embarrassed; I felt blessed. I learned more wonderful things about my father that day than I did by just my knowing him as Dad and it made me happy!
So make plans while you are able. There are many options available, and if you choose to, it is possible to plan and pay for everything before you go. If you do not want to do it all, at least give your loved ones the gift of knowing how you want them to celebrate your life.
By the Numbers
THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR – The fiscal year 2019 budget (i.e., the 12 months from 10/01/18 to 9/30/19) released by the White House on Monday 2/12/18 calls for$3.422 trillion of tax revenue and $4.407 trillion of outlays, resulting in a deficit of $984.4 billion. Our country’s actual deficit for the recently completed 2017 fiscal year (i.e., the 12 months ending 9/30/17) was $665.4 billion (source: Office of Management and Budget). Michael A. Higley, BTN 02-20-2018
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These are the opinions of Larry Lof and Stephanie Mayoral and not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Due to our compliance review process, delayed dissemination of this commentary occurs. The S&P 500 is an index of stocks compiled by Standard & Poor’s, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. The index includes a representative sample of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. Indices mentioned are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Technical analysis represents an observation of past performance and trend, and past performance and trend are no guarantee of future performance, price, or trend. The price movements within capital markets cannot be guaranteed and always remain uncertain. The allocation discussed herein is not designed based on the individual needs of any one specific client or investor. In other words, it is not a customized strategy designed on the specific financial circumstances of the client. Please consult an advisor to discuss your individual situation before making any investments decision. Investing in securities involves risk of loss. Further, depending on the different types of investments, there may be varying degrees of risk including loss of original principal.