ACTIONABLE ADVICE FOR FINANCIAL ADVISORS: Newsletters and Commentaries Focused on Investment Strategy

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Recent Articles

The Final Say on Spending Rules

by Laurence B. Siegel

After decades of focused research, why can't finance experts decide on a safe withdrawal rate for retirement? It is time to refocus this debate by asking a slightly different question: Is there a spending rule that retirees can use over a fixed time horizon? There is and I call it "the only spending rule you will ever need."

The Not-So-Hidden Risks in REITs

by Keith Jurow

With most investors confident that equity REITs are a sure bet to continue their upward momentum, now is an excellent time to carefully examine whether this ebullience is justified. Let's see what the conditions in the real-estate market mean for valuations in several of the largest REITs, as well as two of the ETFs that hold them - IYR and VNQ.

Why 2015 Will Be the Year of the Roth: Meet the “Freight Entrance” Roth 401(k) Conversion

by John H. Robinson

Two new tax rules will affect the treatment of 401(k) monies. Taken individually, the rules were not particularly far-reaching or noteworthy, but together they will reshape the retirement-planning landscape. Roth IRA conversions that previously trickled through the cumbersome "backdoor" will be supplanted by a new wave moving through the "freight entrance."

Two Routes to Compelling Value

by Dan Richards

Low-cost alternatives for financial advice and investing are forcing advisors to articulate why clients should pay a premium to do business with them. This week's article features two different approaches that could help you communicate your value to prospective and existing clients.

How Advisors Can Learn Empathy from Doctors

by Daniel Solin

According to a recent article, the mindset of doctors is changing. Empathy skills are no longer dismissed as a "good bedside manner." Indeed, advisors can improve their own empathetic skills by looking at advances in medical training.

Are You Building a Harley Davidson Practice?

by Teresa Riccobuono

Harley Davidson is the only company I know of whose customers permanently tattoo its name on their body. What is it that makes Harley Davidson customers want to show their support in this way? Bad-boy image, reputation, quality products, exceptional service?

Career Center

by Various

Find career opportunities for firms that seek to add financial advisors and planners to their staff. Read more to find out how to post opportunities at your firm.

Helping Younger Advisors Excel

by Beverly Flaxington

What's the best way to integrate a new, young advisor into our practice? We are too small to have a formal training program and I don't have time to sit with someone and provide step-by-step instruction.

Recent Commentaries

Signs of Life in the Eurozone

by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The latest economic data from the eurozone suggest that recovery may finally be at hand. But a more robust and sustained upturn in job creation and income growth still faces a broad array of daunting challenges.

5 Charts: The Troublesome Trajectory of Student Loans

by Jennifer Thomas of Loomis Sayles

Although many seem focused on the dangers posed by the recent growth of subprime auto loans, we believe a major looming threat to consumers is coming from student loans. The increasing level of student debt on the millennial generation raises concerns about its sustainability and the impact it may have on known consumer behavior patterns.

Common Stocks: A Garden of Wealth Creation

by Tucker J. Slosburg of Smead Capital Management

We think the reason most investors do not gain the benefit of common stock ownership stems from the blight which comes along about once every five years on average in the stock market. We call this blight a bear market and it usually consists of a decline of greater than 20% in price from the prior stock market peak. There have been nine declines of that magnitude since 1950 in the S&P 500 Index. Three of those declines exceeded 40% and two of them were in the last 15 years.

On My Radar: Going Forward with Great Purpose!

by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

The Fed tried to talk down the dollar last Wednesday. Essentially firing a warning shot (downgrading estimates for growth, inflation and short-term interest rates). The ultra-low rates in Germany and Japan vs. the U.S. favor the dollar. Anything that points to the Fed raising rates enhances the attractiveness of U.S. bonds and attracts further capital flows.

Beware Momentum Stocks in Sheep’s Clothing

by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

BlackRock Global Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich discusses the risks in the so-called momentum stocks—as well as some that have been acting that way.

Fit & Focused

by Mark R. Kiesel of PIMCO

Many powerful forces are driving markets and asset prices; chief among them are global monetary policy, technicals and fundamentals. We use rigorous top-down and bottom-up analysis to identify the best sectors and companies around the world. We see opportunities in the U.S. (cyclical consumer and housing sectors), Europe (equities, bank capital securities, high yield bonds and corporate hybrids), China (property, technology and Macau) and Japan (cyclical industries, exporters and financials).

Corporate Bonds Offer Opportunities in the Slowing Economy

by Tracy Chin and Aaditya Thakur of PIMCO

Lack of corporate leveraging and investment among Australian companies may provide a macro headwind to economic growth and, hence, future prospects for equity investors, but from a creditor's perspective, this should keep credit metrics relatively healthy. PIMCO's bottom-up analysis has helped identify several opportunities, even within the resources sector, where strong balance sheets, competitive industry positions and sound management build a compelling case for credit investors despite the challenging period ahead.

Duration: To Hedge or Not to Hedge?

by Jeroen van Bezooijen, Berdibek Ahmedov of PIMCO

Because duration tends to be an important component of the return profile in a bond portfolio, adjusting exposure rather than hedging it away may make sense for many investors. Low duration strategies may provide a level of interest-rate duration that provides a better trade-off between a full market beta (with interest-rate duration) and a fully duration-hedged beta.

Recent dshort Posts

Secular Bull and Bear Markets

Was the March 2009 low the end of a secular bear market and the beginning of a secular bull? At this point, over five-and-a-half years later, the S&P 500 has set an inflation-adjusted record high.

Let's examine the past to broaden our understanding of the range of historical trends in market performance. An obvious feature of this inflation-adjusted series is the pattern of long-term alternations between up-and down-trends.

Moving Averages: Month-End Update

Valid until the market close on April 30, 2015

The S&P 500 closed March with a monthly loss of 1.74%, which follows the biggest monthly gain in 40 months. All three S&P 500 MAs and three of the five Ivy Portfolio ETF MAs are signaling "Invested". In the table below, monthly closes that are within 2% of a signal are highlighted in yellow.

Consumer Confidence Rose in March

The Latest Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index was released this morning based on data collected through March 19. The headline number of 101.3 was a rise from the revised February final reading of 98.8, an upward revision from 96.4. Today's number was above the Investing.com forecast of 96.0.

Moving Averages: Month-End Preview

Here is an advance preview of the monthly moving averages I track after the close of the last business day of the month. At this point, before the open on the last day of the month, three S&P 500 strategies are now signaling "invested" -- unchanged from last month. One of the five of the Ivy Portfolio ETFs, PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking (DBC), is signal "cash" -- unchanged from last month. Note, however, that the 12-month moving average variant also shows VEU as signalling "cash".