Should You Hold Off When Markets Reach New Highs?

by Mary Suplee on Oct 19, 2018

I often get questions about whether it’s a good time to invest when the markets are reaching new highs. Look at the illustration of the S&P 500 below  from Dimensional Fund Advisors. On average, when the market closes at a monthly high, it is even higher over 80% of the time in the next one,three,and five years. What is particularly interesting is that the number is almost the same as if the index did not hit a new high.

The Role of Volatility

by Mary Suplee on Oct 12, 2018

This interesting slide that I just received from J.P. Morgan was a good reminder of the role that market volatility plays in achieving long term investment goals. The red dot shows the largest decline in any year and the gray bar where the year ended. The average inter year decline since 1980 was 13.8%. The most amazing one to me is 1987 where it was down 34% and ended up 2% for the year.

Don't Use a Margin Account

by Mary Suplee on Oct 4, 2018

Margin balances, the money that investors borrow to buy securities, had reached $652 billion by the end of August. That's roughly one year after the first time they exceeded $600 billion. Except in very rare circumstances, I can't see any reason for investors to use borrowed money to buy stocks. This not only applies to stocks but to all sorts of financial instruments, particularly variable insurance products and illiquid holdings such as limited partnerships.

Health Care Costs in Retirement

by Mary Suplee on Oct 1, 2018

Health care costs in retirement have so many moving parts it can be difficult to figure out how to get a plan that will provide the coverage you need. The new Vanguard/Mercer healthcare cost model shows that a 65 year old woman has an annual median cost of $5200 per year for healthcare expenses. However, this can vary from $3000-$26,200 per year, depending on a variety of factors.

Protect Yourself from Scams

by Mary Suplee on Apr 26, 2018

The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities recently sent me a publication with information about some of today’s most common scams and tips to protect yourself and your money. There is also information on how to contact government agencies, nonprofit organizations and credit bureaus that can help you protect yourself or help you if you’ve fallen victim to a scam.

The following are some of the more common recent scams to be aware of:

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