The General Advisory Channel

NewsLetter – December 2017

Harold Evensky's most recent Newsletter.

Weekly Unemployment Claims: Down 11K, Beats Forecast

Today's seasonally adjusted 225K new claims, down 11K from last week's 236K, was much better than the forecast of 239K. From the release: "Claims taking procedures continue to be disrupted in the Virgin Islands. Claims taking process in Puerto Rico has still not returned to normal. "

Weighing the Week Ahead: Plenty of Cross-Winds for Santa

The economic calendar is normal, but there are plenty of cross-currents from other major events. Bitcoin futures, the FOMC meeting, more debate on the tax legislation, the Alabama special Senate election, and an avalanche of 2018 forecasts.

Merk 2018 Outlook

With the stock market and Bitcoin reaching all-time highs, what can possibly go wrong? In offering my thoughts on 2018, I see my role in reminding investors to stress test their portfolios. Is your portfolio built of straw, sticks or brick?

Behavioral Finance: Applied Technique, Emotion, and Investor Outcomes

The field of Behavioral Finance took a great leap forward in 2017, as the Nobel prize was awarded to Richard Thaler for his work. Philosophically, we know Behavioral Finance is important, but there is a method for advisors to integrate it into their practice and prove value to their clients.

The Ratio of Part-Time Employed: November 2017

Let's take a close look at Friday's employment report numbers on Full and Part-Time Employment. Buried near the bottom of Table A-9 of the government's Employment Situation Summary are the numbers for Full- and Part-Time Workers, with 35-or-more hours as the arbitrary divide between the two categories. The source is the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) of households. The focus is on total hours worked regardless of whether the hours are from a single or multiple jobs.

Why Target-Date Funds are Out of Date

The following are some commonly asked questions and concerns I’ve heard from advisors about 401Ks, target-date funds and retirement.

US Tax Reform: What Investors Need to Know

On December 2, Senate Republicans managed to obtain enough votes to pass sweeping US tax reform legislation, but with several changes compared with the original House of Representatives' bill. At more than 470 pages, the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" is certainly not a light read. But, it has some important implications for individuals and corporations, for better or worse in some cases.

The Five Ws of Style Factors

Wondering how style factors work and how to use them? The five Ws tell the story of the value, momentum, quality, size and minimum volatility factors.

The Ambiguity of Tax Deferral

When you look at your 401(k) or 403(b) or rollover IRA, do you see a two-sleeve account, where you contributed about 80% and the federal government contributed about 20%? Or do you feel like the account contains only your money, with no help from your Uncle Sam?

Tax Reform and the Possible Impact on Retirement

US tax reform looks to impact many areas of our lives, and one of these could be the way Americans save and invest for retirement. As we wait for Congress to refine and vote on the latest tax proposals, Drew Carrington, head of Institutional Defined Contribution at Franklin Templeton Investments, breaks down how lawmakers might target retirement dollars for tax revenue.

Moving Averages: November Month-End Update

Valid until the market close on December 29, 2017.

The S&P 500 closed November with a monthly gain of 2.81% after a gain of 2.22% in October. All three S&P 500 MAs are signaling "invested" and all five Ivy Portfolio ETFs — Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI), Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (VEU), iShares Barclays 7-10 Year Treasury (IEF), and Vanguard REIT Index ETF (VNQ), and PowerShares DB Commodity Index (DBC) — are signaling "invested".

Neil Hennessy – The Opportunities in Mid-Cap and Japanese Stocks

Neil Hennessy is a portfolio manager and chief investment officer at Hennessy Funds. In this interview, he discusses the compelling opportunities in mid-cap and Japanese stocks, and what RIAs should be doing in advance of the next market correction.

Still Laboring

The trend is global: most countries are experiencing a relative increase in workforce participation among older workers.

Year-End Tax and Financial Planning Ideas

After the 2016 presidential election, we knew that 2017 was going to mean a change in direction for the country. President Trump ran on a platform of tax and healthcare reform, which seemed to signal a new frontier for tax and financial-planning strategies. So a year later, where do we stand?