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The Best of What They Said and I Read week ending 10/22/2017

Short excerpts from articles I found interesting.

I may not agree with the author and the following material is not intended as investment advice.

Barron’s – October 21, 2017 – What’s Really Driving This Stock Market Higher? – by Randall W. Forsyth

  • “The Dow Jones Industrial Average marked the 30th anniversary of its 508-point plunge on Black Monday, Oct. 19, 1987, by closing above the 23,000 mark. For the week, the blue-chip average added 456.91 points, an even 2%, to end at 23,328.63.”
  • “Of course, the doughty Dow didn’t do it alone. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index also ended Friday at a record 2575.21, up 0.86% for the week. Even more impressive is that its winning streak has come with hardly a stumble. Through Thursday, the S&P 500 tied its longest streak without a 3% decline, gaining 22.9% since last Nov. 7, according to the tally tweeted by Charlie Bilello of Pension Partners. That matched the length of the 241-day run from Jan. 26, 1995, to Jan. 9, 1996, which still topped the size of the current skein with a 30.4% advance. But, as the philosopher Yogi Berra would remind us, the current run ain’t over till it’s over.”

The Wall Street Journal – October 20, 2017 – Why Retirees Should at Least Consider a Financial Adviser – by Glenn Ruffenbach

  • “…“My question is about financial advisers. Specifically: Do I need one? I know that such help is important, but paying 1% of my assets annually, which appears to be the going rate, seems steep. My wife and I have adequate retirement savings, our mortgage is paid off, we have virtually no debt, and we are invested almost exclusively in index funds with low fees. Our estate-planning documents are in order, as well. So, what would I gain from working with a financial adviser?
  • “…Most important, a good adviser will keep you from doing something stupid with your money. And most people, even those who have, or think they have, a good handle on their finances, trip up at some point…A good way to gauge your financial smarts: What did you do as markets were crashing in 2008 and 2009? Run for the hills? Sit tight? Tweak your investment strategy? Says William J. Bernstein, a neurologist, investment adviser and author: “You are not as good looking, as charming, or as good a driver as you think you are. The same goes for your investing abilities.”
  • “…Two additional reasons why retirees might benefit from working with an adviser are taxes and spouses. Many retirees have two or more different types of savings or sources of income: taxable accounts, tax-deferred accounts, Roth IRAs, pensions, Social Security, etc. Ensuring that your nest egg lasts as long as you do is the biggest financial challenge most of us face in retirement, and tapping various assets in the most tax-efficient way possible is crucial to that. Here, a good adviser can be invaluable.”
  • “As for spouses, most couples seem to have one person who handles and understands retirement finances. If that person dies suddenly, the surviving spouse could benefit from having an adviser in place…”

The Kiplinger Letter – October 20, 2017

  • “…Look for the Federal Reserve to tap the brakes on planned interest rate hikes.  Here’s why. Costs of health care and college tuition are climbing only slowly:  Up just about 2% for each…their lowest levels of increase in decades. Odds are that they’ll stay on a mild upward pace, given various cost controls being put in place.”
  • “Other deflationary forces are also at work: A glut of new trucks and cars.  And the growth of e-commerce, which keeps retail prices, including for food, in check.  Though wages are rising, the impact won’t be felt until much later next year.  We still think the Fed will raise short-term rates by a quarter-point in Dec.  But expect it to dial back plans for three hikes next year. Barring a big jump in prices, the inflation data probably won’t justify such an aggressive timetable...”

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