Digital Assets and Baby Boomers

How many password-protected accounts do you have?
Whether you keep them locked in the depths of your memory, use a password manager, or have a written record of your passwords (which is certainly not recommended), take a quick count. You are most likely to find you have some or all of these types of accounts:

  • Email accounts
  • Social media accounts
  • Online storage accounts
  • A domain name
  • Online bank accounts
  • Online brokerage accounts
  • A website or blog
  • Online shopping accounts
  • Online bill paying
  • Photo and video sharing accounts
  • Gaming accounts
  • Materials and coding that are copyrighted

These are all digital assets. They are part of your virtual life, as is any digital property you own, such as computers, external drives, storage devices, smart phones, digital cameras, e-readers, and other devices.

Digital assets should be part of your estate plan
Unless you live off the grid, it’s likely your digital life will outlive you and become a part of your legacy. Your digital assets may have significant financial or personal value for your heirs. Consequently, you should give some thought to how these assets should be managed after your death.1

The catch is digital estate planning can be tricky. Many digital accounts and assets cannot be transferred to a new owner because they are not your property. Assets that fall into this category are subject to contracts and licensing agreements established with a service provider.1

For example, if you’ve spent significant sums accumulating a virtual music library, you may not be able to pass it on through a will or another estate planning tool because you do not own the digital music files, according to Nolo.com. This may also be true with other types of accounts.1

“Social network accounts, domain name registrations, email accounts, and most other types of online accounts are ‘yours’ by license only. When you die, the contract is over and the business that administers the account controls what happens to it,” explained Betsy Simmons Hannibal on Nolo.com.1

This doesn’t mean you have no control over what happens to these accounts. Your estate can leave instructions about account management and should provide a complete record for your executor. Jeffrey Salas offered an opinion about best practices on LegalZoom.com. He recommended:2

  1. Checking the account providers’ Terms of Service/Terms of Use. Work with your estate planning attorney and the digital executor you’ve appointed to review requirements for different types of accounts. For example:
  • Leave usernames and passwords for any online financial accounts – banking, utilities, brokerage, mortgage, retirement plan, life insurance, tax preparation, or others – to the executor as they will need this information to pay bills, close accounts, and administer your estate.1
  • Social media companies have diverse policies regarding the management of digital assets upon the death of the user. Some delete or deactivate accounts after being notified of a death. Others put accounts into ‘memorial’ status.1
  • In general, companies will not know about the death until they’re notified. As a result, a digital executor who is armed with passwords may be able to access your account to post final updates, delete items (per estate instructions), or delete/deactivate accounts.1
  • Email accounts, online communities, and blog management may also be guided by provider agreements. However, your executor may be allowed to notify friends or followers of your death and then delete, print, or archive your communications.1
  • Digital photos that are stored online may be passed on through a will or another estate planning tool.1
  • If you have one or more websites, domain names may have value and they may be transferrable.1
  • If you have an online store, you may want to leave instructions about what should happen to the store, the items for sale, and any income or profits that may continue to arrive.

    2. Add language regarding digital assets to your will and/or trust. Currently, there is no uniform federal law to guide the management of digital assets.2 At the start of 2017, Kiplinger reported, “Federal law regulating access to digital property does not yet exist. At this time, 29 states have established legislation or laws to protect digital assets and to provide a deceased person’s family procedures and rights to manage those accounts and assets after death.”Regardless, it can still be a good idea to include language that specifies your wishes for the treatment of each of your digital accounts.2

     

    3. Check the law in your state. Talk with your attorney or advisor about whether any laws your state has that apply to digital assets, and make sure your estate plan is consistent with these laws.2

While estate and inheritance laws are behind the curve when it comes to digital assets, it is important to inventory your digital assets and decide how they should be managed upon your death. If you would like additional information about estate planning, please give us a call.

 

Sources:
1 https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/a-plan-your-digital-legacy.html
2 https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/what-happens-to-your-digital-assets-when-you-die
3 https://www.kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T021-C032-S014-put-digital-assets-in-your-estate-plan.html

The 7 Rules of Investing

From someone who is considered one of the greatest investors of all time

During the past century, many of the world’s leading economists have studied the science – or art – of investing. A large number of investing systems, models, and theories have been created, most of them requiring a PhD to understand. But when it comes to learning how to invest, sometimes it’s best to turn to the people who actually do it for a living.

Case in point, take Peter Lynch.

From 1977 through 1990, Lynch ran one of the most successful mutual funds ever, posting an average annual return of 29%. Over his career, Lynch espoused many investing principles, but there are seven in particular that I think all investors should keep in mind.1 So without further ado, here are:

Peter Lynch’s 7 Rules of Investing
1. KNOW WHAT YOU OWN. Invest in companies, industries, and funds you understand well. What do they do? Who uses their goods or services? Is it a company you would want to do business with yourself?
2. PREDICTION IS FUTILE. No one can predict where the markets will go or what the economy will do, so don’t even try. Instead, focus on what you can control, like the types of companies or funds you invest in, how much you save, etc.
3. BEFORE YOU BUY, BE ABLE TO EXPLAIN. Before investing, can you explain to a family member what you’re buying and why? Can you describe how that company or fund works? If not, take your time and do more research.
4. AVOID LONG SHOTS. Investing isn’t gambling, either. While we have no control over the markets, we do have control over how much risk we take on. Your portfolio isn’t the place for speculation or bets. For that, head to Vegas.
5. BUY GOOD COMPANIES. Invest in companies that have proven management, a strong business model, and that sell things people actually use. Otherwise, you’re investing in companies you guess might prove popular…and that’s just another form of gambling.
6. LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES. Even the greatest investors sometimes get things wrong. When that happens, accept it humbly and try to determine how you can improve.
7. TAKE YOUR TIME. Investing isn’t a race. You have plenty of time to do your research and find outstanding companies to invest in. Follow the tortoise’s example, not the hare’s.

Ultimately, all investing comes with risk, and there is no strategy or rule that guarantees success. But there are solid “rules of thumb” you can follow to make smart, simple investment decisions. And best of all, you don’t need a PhD to understand them!

1 “The Greatest Investors: Peter Lynch” https://www.investopedia.com/university/greatest/peterlynch.asp

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Market Commentary – March 18, 2019

Stock and bond markets rallied.
Last week, major U.S. stock indices finished higher for the 10th time in 12 weeks. Bond markets moved higher, too, with the yield on 10-year Treasuries dropping just below 2.6 percent, reported Randall Forsyth of Barron’s. Yields on 10-year Treasuries haven’t been this low since January 2018.

The simultaneous rallies are curious because improving share prices are often an indication of a strong or strengthening economy. Improving bond prices tend to be a sign of weakening economic growth, reported Michael Santoli of CNBC.

Why are U.S. stock and bond markets telling different stories?
It may have something to do with investor uncertainty. A lot of important issues remain unsettled. The British government appears incapable of resolving Brexit issues, the United States and China have not yet reached a trade agreement, and recent economic reports have caused investors to take a hard look at the U.S. economy.

Barron’s pointed out investors appear to be hedging their bets by favoring in utilities and other stocks that have bond-like characteristics and participate in the stock market’s gains. An investment strategist cited by Barron’s explained:  “The strength in utilities reflects the attitude of investors who ‘don’t really buy the rally’…While they’re skittish, they still want to participate in the stock market rally but opt for its most conservative sector.”

We’ve seen this before with stocks and bonds, according to a financial strategist cited by Patti Domm of CNBC. “It’s a little bit of a funky correlation. We’ve had both things rallying, which is strange. This is what happened in 2017, when all asset classes did well. In 2018, nothing did well…I would suspect it goes away soon.”

Times like these illustrate the importance of having a well-diversified portfolio.

Gen Xers and millennials: what are your priorities? The 2018 Insights on Wealth and Worth survey provided some startling information about the priorities of high net worth (HNW) investors. More than one-half (54 percent) indicated long-term capital appreciation was a higher priority than income generation. The other 46 percent were looking for steady income.

Let’s look at the percentages by age group:

  • Millennials: 56 percent capital appreciation / 44 percent steady income
  • Gen X: 56 percent capital appreciation / 44 percent steady income
  • Baby Boomers: 56 percent capital appreciation / 44 percent steady income
  • Silent Generation: 46 percent capital appreciation / 54 percent steady income

Millennials (ages 21 to 37), Gen Xers (ages 38 to 53), and Baby Boomers (ages 54 to 72) prioritize steady long-term income to the same extent.

Older investors, who are near or are in retirement, tend to emphasize steady long-term income because they need to maintain their standard of living in retirement. However, one of the advantages of youth is these investors have the time and flexibility to take on higher levels of risk and recover from any market downturns. In other words, younger investors prioritize capital appreciation (i.e., growth) while older investors prioritize income.

It’s important for younger investors to consider their life goals and how their finances may support the pursuit of those goals.

Weekly Focus – Think About It
“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”
–John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States

Best regards,
John F. Reutemann, Jr., CLU, CFP®

P.S.  Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this email with their email address and we will ask for their permission to be added.

Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.
Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

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* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.  However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
* Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* All indexes referenced are unmanaged. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow,” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of The Wall Street Journal.
* The NASDAQ Composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system.
* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* You cannot invest directly in an index.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.
* The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
* There is no guarantee a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
* Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

* To unsubscribe from the Weekly Market Commentary please reply to this e-mail with “Unsubscribe” in the subject.

Sources:
https://www.barrons.com/articles/why-investors-are-rushing-into-stocks-that-act-like-bonds-51552700368?mod=hp_DAY_4
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/14/stock-investors-wonder-whether-the-bond-market-knows-something-they-dont.html
https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm
https://www.barrons.com/articles/why-utility-stocks-are-worth-a-second-look-1531344310
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/06/bonds-and-stocks-going-up-together-could-be-signaling-market-at-an-inflection-point.html
https://ustrustaem.fs.ml.com/content/dam/ust/articles/pdf/insights-on-wealth-and-worth-2018/Detailed_Findings.pdf (Pages 3 and 39)
https://www.moneyunder30.com/asset-allocation-for-investors-under-thirty
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/john_f_kennedy_109216?src=t_risks

A Financial Advisor’s Blueprint To Making Solid Financial Decisions

Decide What Is Most Important To You

A common mistake people make is to give up what they want most for what they only want right now. Pick which goals in your life are most important to you, and make achieving those goals your utmost priority. Then…

Always Ask Yourself, “Will This Decision Bring Me Closer To My Goals, Or Take Me Further Away?”

People commonly prioritize the short-term over the long-term. But a great way to determine if the decision is a good one is to ask yourself if you are mortgaging your future to pay for your present.

Don’t Rush. Take Your Time And Study Your Options

Financial Decisions rarely need to be made in a hurry. In fact, fast decisions tend to be poor decisions!  Get all the facts and learn your option, so that your decision is at least an informed one.

That Said, Focus On Making “Good” Decisions Over “Perfect” Decisions.

Volaire once said, “perfect is the enemy of the good.”  When making a financial decision, don'[t stress so much over whether your decision is perfect that you end up paralyzing yourself and missing out on opportunities. A lot of small, good decisions tend to weigh more than one perfect decision.

Ask Questions!

The most important thing you can do to make good financial decisions is to ask questions first. Talk to qualified experts. Chat with people who’ve been in the same situation as you. As the saying goes, “He who asks a question is confused for a minute. He who does not is confused forever.”

We are here to help you design a financial strategy that is molded specifically for you. One that changes as your life changes. Financial investments to help you live worry-free now and in the future.

Market Commentary – March 4, 2019

Is it a soft landing?
Economists use aviation metaphors to describe the results of central banks’ efforts to manage rapidly growing economies. If the Federal Reserve lifts rates enough to prevent the economy from overheating without jolting it into recession, then it has engineered a soft landing, according to Investopedia. (Rate increases that drop a country into recession are hard landings.)

Ben Levisohn of Barron’s thinks recent Fed actions may have produced the second soft landing in the history of the United States:
“…the Federal Reserve might have engineered a soft landing for the U.S. economy…When Chairman Jerome Powell abruptly decided that he would hold off on further rate hikes, the market responded as if a recession was no longer in the offing. And it probably isn’t…There are also signs that the Fed, simply by taking a breather, has eased monetary conditions. The evidence: The yield curve is steepening. The difference between 30-year and two-year Treasury yields – the spread most correlated to money supply – has risen to about 0.6 percentage point, the highest since June…”

Not everyone agrees.  Last week, Economist Robert Shiller told Bloomberg, “The economy has been growing pretty smoothly…There are some signs there might be things amiss. The housing market is soaring and the stock market is high. It’s been a long time that we’ve been in this recovery period and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if there was a recession.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and Nasdaq Composite delivered slight gains last week, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat.

here’s a blast from the past. Depending on your age, the 1980s may be a nostalgic chapter in your life or the wellspring of amusing photos of your Miami-Vice clad, lace-gloved parents. The 80s are known for more than MTV, yuppies, sci-fi movies, and cell phones the size of shoeboxes, though. The decade marked the start of a new era in geopolitics as the Cold War ended and the Berlin Wall was dismantled.

The 1980s also brought a wealth of innovative new products that disrupted markets and changed the way people perform everyday tasks. Entrepreneur Magazine recently identified some of the decade’s notable inventions, including:

  • The First Artificial Human Heart. Dr. Robert Jarvik’s invention was used as a temporary solution for many people who were waiting for a human heart to become available for transplant.
  • Compact Disc (CD) Players. The first compact disc ever pressed was ABBA’s ‘The Visitors’ reported Time Magazine. Not many people listened to CDs early on because of the cost. However, CDs eventually disrupted the market for vinyl records.
  • DNA Fingerprinting. This discovery enabled a person to be identified from just a few hair, skin, or blood cells which revolutionized forensic investigation.
  • Personal Computers and Software. At the start of the decade, technology visionaries Bill Gates and Steve Jobs – still in their twenties – were figuring out how to make computing accessible. Personal computers became more prevalent, along with floppy disks and CD-ROMs.

While the fashions have become obsolete, along with camcorders and CD players, many of the decade’s inventions have proven more durable – and some have completely changed the way people interact with the world.

Which of this decade’s inventions do you think could have a similar impact?

Weekly Focus – Think About It
“Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.”
-Mae Jemison, American engineer, physician, and NASA astronaut

Best regards,
John F. Reutemann, Jr., CLU, CFP®

P.S.  Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this email with their email address and we will ask for their permission to be added.

Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.
Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

Most Popular Financial Stories

Special Message

Look! Have You Noticed? Listen to any politician or any news commentator these days, and they always begin a discussion or answer a question like this: Look, when I served in the Senate …. Look, as I wrote in my last column …. Look, if the Republicans won’t …. Look,...

read more

Special Market Update

Inflation is proving to be far more tenacious than financial markets had hoped.The idea that inflation peaked in March was put to rest last week when the Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed that inflation accelerated in May. Overall, prices were up 8.6...

read more

Special Update

All,You undoubtedly have heard reports that the world’s supply of wheat and corn are in jeopardy due to Ukraine and Russia both missing this season’s planting window for obvious reasons (click the link above to read more details). Did you know that Russia...

read more

Significant Shrinkage

Significant Shrinkage Buffeted by Inflation Is it time to double check your household budget? Chances are the budgeted expenditures of the vast majority of Americans are about to get buffeted. Or so says the Oracle of Omaha. In the latest shareholder...

read more

How to Manage Your Money and Your Risk Exposure

This is an excellent example of one of our more popular client webinars where we detail what is happening in the market, what makes us so successful and different from other advisors, and how it effects our clients' portfolios.

read more

Forgotten 401Ks

ZombiesThey’ll eat you alive!Failure to Rebalance - Zombie Sign #1When was the last time you rebalanced your 401(k) or other retirement account? When you set it up, you took a fairly conservative approach and bought 60% stock mutual funds and 40% bond...

read more

* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.  However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
* Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* All indexes referenced are unmanaged. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow,” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of The Wall Street Journal.
* The NASDAQ Composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system.
* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* You cannot invest directly in an index.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.
* The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
* There is no guarantee a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
* Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* To unsubscribe from the Weekly Market Commentary please reply to this e-mail with “Unsubscribe” in the subject.

Sources:
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/softlanding.asp
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/hardlanding.asp
https://www.barrons.com/articles/the-dow-just-had-its-best-two-months-in-years-and-there-could-be-more-to-come-51551493199?refsec=the-trader
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2019-02-26/yale-s-shiller-says-u-s-due-for-recession-sees-housing-market-slowing-video (Time stamp 0:21 seconds)
https://money.cnn.com/data/markets/sandp/
https://money.cnn.com/data/markets/nasdaq/
https://money.cnn.com/data/markets/dow/
https://www.history.com/topics/1980s/1980s
https://www.retrowaste.com/1980s/
https://www.thoughtco.com/michael-jackson-videos-3245489
https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/294171#2
https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/294171#3
http://time.com/3971914/cd-history-music/
https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/294171#5
https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/294171#6
https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/294171#7
https://www.computerhistory.org/timeline/ (See 1980, 1981, and 1984)
https://interestingengineering.com/25-quotes-from-powerful-women-in-stem-who-will-inspire-you

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