Are you curious about whom you should call when you have a question, request, or even a comment?
Here is a list of who to call and when:
Jonathan – extension 103
- Financial planning questions
Irina – extension 104
- Requests for money
- Any changes you need made to your name or contact information
- Questions on how to log into your TD Ameritrade or MorningStar portals
In general, please feel free to contact any of the three of us because we can all either help you out or point you in the right direction.
The great kitchen remodel is finally complete. Jonathan and Sara are relishing the expanded work area, functionality, and beauty of the new space. A couple minor bathroom updates and a replaced deck (the support structure was discovered to be rotten during the kitchen remodel) and they should be set for the foreseeable future. Next up is anticipating the Spring blooms and preparing to attend daughter Ingrid’s college graduation in May.
At the beginning of February, Irina traveled to Portland to attend the CFA Society Portland Annual Investment Strategy Dinner, where she enjoyed a riveting presentation by BlackRock’s Chief Fixed Income Strategist on global economic conditions, monetary policy, yield curve shifts and fixed income strategy. The presentation was quite timely considering the uptick in volatility in both bond and stock markets so far this year. In her free time, Irina is enjoying consuming lots of coffee and studying the material for the upcoming CFA exam in June.
Beautiful Deception Pass, WA
Jen and John have spent a lot of time on the road the past few months. During the holidays they joined all of the other crazy holiday travelers on the road so they could visit family down south and up north. In January they escaped on a mini vacation and drove up to Whidbey Island, WA to visit Jen’s younger sister and brother-in-law. They were there just in time for some amazing weather, but their trip home was a different story. To get home, they decided to take an extra day and drive down the coast – it rained, hailed, the wind blew like crazy, and waves from the ocean actually brought driftwood and debris onto the road. Since arriving back home they have taken many day trips to the coast but plan to stay in the general area for the time being.
After a little over two years with Journey Tree, Jason is temporarily leaving the workforce to be a stay at home dad with his lovely daughter, Charlie. We greatly appreciate his excellent work helping clients with their financial planning needs and wish him the best. Thanks, Jason.
The U.S. stock market reached new highs to close out 2017. The S&P 500 stock index was up over 21% last year and already another 6% in January before experiencing some decline in February. Given that the long term average return for the stock market is around 10%, future price appreciation is likely to be much lower. Not to mention that the market has not had a significant drop in almost a year and a half – far from the norm.
As our last commentary detailed, there are numerous indications that stocks are overpriced and vulnerable to substantial losses. The recent acceleration in prices seems increasingly to be the result of speculative fervor (i.e., gambling) rather than a reflection of sound investing principles.
As the accompanying chart demonstrates, corporate earnings are not much changed from 2014.
“Since 2014, the stock market has risen (capital appreciation only) by 35% while reported earnings growth has risen a whopping 2%. A 2% growth in earnings over the last 3 years hardly justifies a 33% premium over earnings.” – Doug Kass
The recent steepness of the market’s climb, on top of already high valuations, is reminiscent of previous investment bubbles. Nearly vertical increases in prices are almost always followed eventually by nearly vertical drops.
Speaking of investment bubbles, Bitcoin, the newly popular cryptocurrency, appears to be the latest example of “irrational exuberance.”
“It’s absolutely critical to distinguish the long-term effects of valuation from the shorter-term effects of speculative pressure. Historically-reliable valuation measures are remarkably useful in projecting long-term and full-cycle outcomes, but the behavior of the market over shorter segments of the market cycle is driven by the psychological inclination of investors toward speculation or risk-aversion.” – John Hussman, Hussman Funds
In other words, markets can become irrational (and very risky) in the short run but are ultimately rational in the long run. We are in one of those irrational periods and we continue to err on the side of caution with your investments.
In celebration of the upcoming holidays, Journey Tree will be closed the following dates:
Friday, December 22nd – Monday, December 25th.
Friday, December 29th – Monday, January 1st.