Thursday, July 6, 2017

July 2017 Market Update - Valuation?

The S&P 500 returned 0.48% in June and continues to inch higher. At the midpoint of the year the S&P 500 is up roughly 9%. I'm not sure this market has gotten the memo that it's expensive and overdue for a correction. In fact, the market survived a challenging period that started in August of 2015 and ended in March of 2016. This was a period that included a hurricane warning for the market (when the monthly 5-month simple moving average was below the 12-month simple moving average). This US stock market is so hated the bond market has started flattening; shouting, as only the bond market can, that the economy may not be as solid as the US stock market is believing. This "economy slowing interpretation" may prove to be errant analysis or at least early. The bond market flattening may indicate more about inflation cooling and less about an eminent US GDP or S&P 500 earnings decrease. Let's review price, sentiment, and valuation as we enter July.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Vanguard: How America Saves 2017 (based on 2016 DC plan data)

Please read Vanguard's How America Saves 2017: Vanguard 2016 defined contribution plan data published June 1, 2017. Here are a few quotes from the report:

"Defined contribution (DC) retirement plans are the centerpiece of the private-sector retirement system in the United States. More than 94 million Americans are covered by DC plan accounts, with assets now in excess of $7 trillion. Vanguard is among the leaders in the DC marketplace with more than $1 trillion in DC assets under management as of March 31, 2017."

"Participant contributions to equities were unchanged in 2016 at 74%. In 2016, nearly half (49%) of all new contributions to these plans were directed to target-date funds."

Friday, June 2, 2017

June 2017 Market Update - Will Seasonality Tip this Market?

Is this market feeling euphoric yet? The S&P 500 was up 1.16% in May. I'm not feeling a collective sense of euphoria, are you? This makes me inclined to think the top of this cycle may happen in the next few years. This market is certainly more expensive than a few years ago and leaves the market vulnerable to any shocks to the global economy. Let's examine price, sentiment, and valuation as we start the month of June.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Federal Reserve Board's 4th Annual Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking

Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2016, this survey and report were prepared by the Consumer and Community Development Research Section of the Federal Reserve Board’s Division of Consumer and Community Affairs (DCCA).

In order to monitor the economic status of American consumers, the Federal Reserve Board conducted the fourth annual Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking in October 2016. This survey provides insights into the well-being of U.S. households and consumers, and provides important information about how individuals and their families are faring in the economy. Topics examined in the survey include individuals’ overall financial well- being, employment experiences, income and savings behaviors, economic preparedness, access to banking and credit, housing and living arrangement deci- sions, education and human capital, student loans, and retirement planning.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Retirement Data: Fidelity Plan Balances Q1 2017 and Who Contributes to IRAs?

Fidelity has updated their data on balances in retirement accounts. Balances hit another record at the end of the first quarter of 2017. They highlight some interesting data on the overlap of HSA's (Health Savings Accounts) and retirement plan contributions. Please read the press release to learn more about their conclusions from the latest update.

 
 Source: Fidelity Retirement Savings Analysis

In April 2017, Anqi Chen and Alicia H. Munnell at Boston Center for Retirement Research published a report titled: Who Contributes to Individual Retirement Accounts? They conclude:

Examine Your Entire Financial Life

Many investors do well at pieces of their overall financial plan, however the value of a qualified planner is they help individuals evaluate their entire financial life. Here are two resources that may help broaden the scope of what you consider when planning your financial life:

Saturday, May 6, 2017

27th Annual Retirement Confidence Survey - Employee Benefits Research Institute

"The 27th wave of the Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS), the longest-running survey of its kind in the nation, finds that the share of American workers who are very confident in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement remains low, and some workers report that preparing for retirement is emotionally or mentally stressful. However, among retirees, confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement continues to be comparably high." Quoted from brief by Lisa Greenwald, Greenwald & Associates; and Craig Copeland, Ph.D., and Jack VanDerhei, Ph.D., Employee Benefit Research Institute.