Communications

As part of our commitment to educating our clients and the community, we’ve created this page to collect the information and resources that are most important to you. Please explore and check back often; we update this regularly with research, articles, newsletters, and more, all designed to help you stay informed and knowledgeable about the economic information that matters to you.

July 26, 2017
Mid – Year Investment Update
Posted by Vance Wealth Group

Automation is currently impacting our global economies. In an article published by The Economist, titled “Taking Flight,” the evolution of drone technology is discussed in great detail.  Until recently, the marketplace for drones had been divided into two main spaces, toys and weapons.  The vast majority of worldwide spending on drones (approximately 90%) can be attributed to military uses, however the majority of drones in existence have been created for everyday consumers (2 million units sold in 2016).  Now, a new segment of this industry is rapidly evolving for commercial use cases in sectors such as agriculture, construction, and shipping.  Drones offer tremendous benefits for enhancing corporate productivity, which should trickle down to consumers paying lower prices for goods.  But, the other edge to this sword is the impact that automation can have on employment.  As companies are able to generate greater profits with less demand for human capital, unemployment could begin to rise again.  In fact, many of the jobs lost during the great recession have been replaced with lower paying ones (1).  As automation (including drone technologies) continues to grow, these lower paying jobs could be lost to more efficient, less expensive machines.  The result would be the dwindling of the middle class, and a widening gap between the upper and lower classes.  Understanding the trickledown effect that automation can have on our economy should be an increasingly important aspect of future legislation, as our leaders guide us into a rapidly changing global ecosystem.


Investment Update:

YTD (6/30/2017) 10 Year Avg 15 Year Avg 20 Year Avg
Growth (94/0/6) 10.60% 5.26% 7.04% 6.83%
Balanced (65/30/5) 8.06% 5.02% 7.42% 6.37%
Conservative (30/70) 5.35% 5.22% 7.84% 6.11%
Rate (6/30/2017) Rate (6/1/2007) Rate (6/1/2002) Rate (6/1/1997)
1-Year Treasury* 1.24% 4.96% 2.20% 5.69%
10-Year Treasury* 2.31% 5.10% 4.93% 6.49%

** SEE DISCLOSURES FOR DETAILS ON MODEL CONSTRUCTION AND ILLUSTRATION.

As you can see, in the table above, the first half of 2017 has started off exceptionally well for equities.  A hypothetical growth model has gained 10.60%, with a conservative model gaining just 5.35%.  The major performance enhancers thus far have been international equities, both developed and emerging.  The international space (measured by MSCI ACWI Ex-US) is up 14.45% year to date compared to the US market which is up just 8.93% for the year (measured by Russell 3000).  Investment grade fixed income (measured by the Barclay’s Aggregate) is up just 2.27% for the year, which is the major detractor from performance in conservative portfolios.  If you are a conservative investor, remember the reason you own fixed income, for diversification from equities and to serve as the anchor in your portfolio.  The goal of these portfolios is to avoid the roller coaster of returns that can come from equity investments.  You will note that current 10 year treasury rates are at 2.31%, with 1 year treasuries at 1.24%.  Comparing these rates to the year-to-date returns of the Barclay’s Aggregate (2.27%) fixed income has done fairly well to start the year.

Overall, we are still cautiously optimistic about long term returns in investment portfolios.  Global asset allocation has been a detractor from performance for several years, as the US markets have continued to perform well.  At some point we believe this trend will reverse itself (as it has to start the year) and should become the leader in generating positive returns.  For long term investors, we believe that global diversification will provide better long term returns as markets flow in and out of favor.

If you are interested to learn more about the performance of your specific investment portfolio please reach out to our office to discuss with one of our financial advisors.  We will continue to monitor global trends, like the increasing significance of automation as an economic force, as we aim to help our clients reach their financial goals.  Remember, in the end our job is to help you and your loved ones meet your financial goals.

Appendix/Disclosures:

*Resource: Economic Research Division – Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

The model portfolios presented in the table above are composed in the following way:

Growth (63% Russell 3000; 31% MSCI ACWI-EX US; 6% Gold Bullion)

Balanced (44% Russell 3000; 21% MSCI ACWI-EX US; 5% Gold Bullion; 30% Barclay’s Aggregate)

Conservative (20% Russell 3000; 10% MSCI ACWI-EX US; 50% Barclay’s Aggregate; 20% Barclay’s US Corporate High Yield)

Investment Update Disclosures: This is a hypothetical illustration and is not intended to reflect the actual performance of any particular security. The investment profile is hypothetical, and the asset allocations are presented only as examples and are not intended as investment advice. Please consult your financial advisor if you have any questions about these examples and how they relate to your own financial situation. This hypothetical report is not indicative of any security’s performance and is based on information believe to be reliable. Future performance cannot be guaranteed and investment yields will fluctuate with market conditions. 

Any opinions are those of John Vance and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Investments mentioned may not be suitable for all investors. Inclusion of these indexes is for illustrative purposes only. Keep in mind that individuals cannot invest directly in any index, and index performance does not include transaction costs or other fees, which will affect actual investment performance. Individual investor’s result will vary. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Diversification and asset allocation do not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.

 

April 25, 2017
THE TRUMP ERA – How the new Presidency may impact the American economy, and what that means for you
Posted by Vance Wealth Group

The first three months of the Trump presidency have been politically tumultuous and divisive. Opinions on the work he has done so far, and the work he has planned for the future have been far-reaching, and are being debated everywhere from our newsrooms to our living rooms. It can be challenging sometimes, to cut through the noise and the rhetoric to get some clarity on the issues you are most concerned about.

At Vance Wealth Group, we are staying out of the game of political commentary, but we are committed to studying the markets and attaining a deep understanding of the impact of the governments leader’s decisions will have on the economy. Of course, it’s early. The first 100 days of any presidency are marked with swift change and unexpected turns, and this administration is certainly no exception. However, that doesn’t mean we are completely in the dark. By taking a careful look at what we know so far, there is a lot we can learn about the potential positive, negative, and neutral impacts the Trump presidency may have on the American economy and what that might mean for you.

POSITIVE

Good momentum: As we approach the 10-year anniversary of the Recession of 2008, recovery metrics continue to look modest but consistent. The Trump administration will no doubt benefit from the bump in consumer confidence coming from a real GDP growth of about 2% for 2016, low gas prices, modest wage gains, and strong job growth. Investors are optimistic that a business-friendly Trump administration bodes well for growth overall. For now, the U.S. economy is in the third longest expansion and if no recession occurs before 2020, the U.S. will experience the longest recovery in history.

Changing tax policies: With a Republican President as well as a GOP-controlled House and Senate, movement towards a more conservative tax policy should be relatively easy for the administration. The Trump administration has expressed a desire to lower corporate taxes to 15%, allowing corporations to keep 85% of their profits, a 20% increase from the current rate. Corporate tax cuts could incentivize companies to bring jobs back to the US, and fiscal stimulus will likely accelerate growth…

Earnings growth: That lower effective tax rate should have a positive impact on boosting earnings across several industries. With promises to commit to infrastructure spending, the industrials market is poised to benefit here in particular.

NEGATIVE

Job market stagnation: Early moves made by the Trump administration suggest major changes to both legal and illegal immigration to the US. Fewer illegal immigrants could lead to labor shortages, particularly in the domestic services, construction, and agricultural industries. Reduced legal immigration has even more problematic implications. Retirement of Baby Boomers has been steadily decimating the working-age population in recent years, and will continue to do so throughout the Trump administration. Legal immigration does a great deal to offset this, and sharp limits on it will deepen the problem.

Ballooning national debt: A proposed $54 billion dollar increase in military spending (as well as possible extensive increases in infrastructure spending) certainly will not pay for themselves. Government debt is fast approaching 100% of GDP and with proposed deep tax cuts across the board, it’s hard to see that slowing or reversing under a Trump administration economic policy.

International trade uncertainty: The President has been vocal about his criticisms of existing trade agreements. Should he decide to pull out of NAFTA for instance, which he can do without congressional approval, the destabilizing effects would be far-reaching. Tariff increases, countermeasures against US exports, and disruptions to the supply-chain for US manufacturing needs all stand to be impacted negatively should substantial changes be made to existing agreements.

NEUTRAL, or too soon to tell

Infrastructure spending: We are keeping an eye on potential infrastructure spending and the implications it may hold. While the concept definitely has the potential for expanded US job growth, as of now it is unclear how such an undertaking would be funded. Increases in spending at this level will likely be challenging to get through the House, and without a clear way forward, Trump’s infrastructure plans may prove to merely be a pipe dream.

Central bank policy: The Federal Reserve continues to focus on the job market and inflation. While job growth was strong in 2016, it has been slow overall during the last several years. Officials continue to expect to raise interest rates modestly, but Fed Chair Janet Yellen has been careful not to make any promises, committing instead to observe how the economy evolves throughout the Trump administration, and responding accordingly.

This certainly isn’t the first time the United States has found itself with a controversial figure in its top office. While President Trump made a number of big and potentially far-reaching promises on the campaign trail, the reality of US Government operations tend to be slow moving, and it will undoubtedly take some time to see what all he may actually be able to accomplish. In the end, despite the controversy the administration is currently grappling with, we are betting on America to succeed whether it is because of, or in spite of, who is sitting in the Oval Office.

Disclosures:

– The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a composite of 30 stocks spread among a wide variety of industries, such as financial services, technology, retail, entertainment and consumer goods. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that’s generally considered repre-sentative of the U.S. stock market. The NASDAQ Composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ market. The MSCI EAFE is a free oat-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed markets excluding the United States and Canada.

– The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing ma-terial is accurate or complete. – The Bloomberg Commodity Index is composed of futures contracts on 22 physical commodities (including precious metals, energy and live-stock) traded on US exchanges, with the exception of aluminum, nickel and zinc, which trade on the London Metal Ex-change (LME). Commodi-ties are generally considered speculative because of the significant potential for investment loss. Commodities are volatile investments and should only form a small part of a diversified portfolio. There may be sharp price fluctuations even during periods when prices overall are rising.

– Gold, is subject to special risks, including but not limited to: price may be subject to wide fluctuation; the market is relatively limited; the sources are concentrated in countries that have the potential for instability; and the market is unregulated. – The Barclay’s Capital Aggregate Index measures changes in the fixed-rate debt issues rated investment grade or higher by Moody’s Investors Services, Standard & Poor’s, or Fitches Investor’s Service, in that order. The Barclay’s Capital High Yield US Corp covers the universe of fixed rate, non-investment grade debt which includes corporate and non-corporate sectors. Barclay’s Municipal Bond Index: A rules-based, market-value weighted index that is engineered for the long-term tax-exempt bond market. The four main sectors of the index are: general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, insured bonds (including all insured bonds with a Aaa/AAA range), and prefunded bonds. Remarketed issues, taxable municipal bonds, floating rate bonds, and derivatives are excluded from the benchmark. Barclays Municipal Bond: 10 Year: A component of the Barclays Municipal Bond Index with municipal bonds in the 10 year (8-12) maturity range. Data for the Barclay’s Municipal (10 Year) is released on a monthly basis. This data point is based on its 4/17/17 value.

– Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not con-stitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of John Vance and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Expressions of opinions are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Be sure to consult your advisor prior to making investment decisions. Diversifica-tion and asset allocation does not assure a pro t or protect against a loss. Dividends are not guaranteed and must be authorized by the compa-ny’s board of directors.

– Inclusion of these indexes is for illustrative purposes only. Keep in mind that individuals cannot invest directly in any index, and index perfor-mance does not include transaction costs or other fees, which will affect actual investment performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected.

 

 

 

 

 

October 28, 2016
Aging in the Tech Era – What it means for Your Future
Posted by Vance Wealth Group

It’s no secret that the explosive rise of technology in recent decades has drastically changed the landscape of our everyday world. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that advancing technology has a particularly far-reaching impact on members of the older generations. Today’s seniors are using this world of new possibilities to live longer, more independent and fulfilling lives.

According to their website, the MIT AgeLab “…is a multidisciplinary research program that works with business, government, and NGOs to improve the quality of life of older people and those who care for them.” Developed by Hartford Funds, in partnership with the MIT AgeLab, quality of life measures for seniors can often be broken down into three simple categories, Who will change my lightbulbs? How will I get an ice cream cone? Who will I have lunch with?

Let’s take a closer look at what these questions mean in practice, and how technology is answering them in ways we couldn’t have imagined a few short years ago.

Who will change my lightbulbs?

Easily one of the biggest challenges for aging seniors, their loved ones, and their caregivers is striking the right balance between independence and practicality for their living situation. Ease of accessibility, condition of the home, and proximity to services in case of an emergency are all concerns that could easily push someone out of living independently before they’re ready or willing to do so.

Smartphone applications however, are tipping those scales by adding convenience, services, and peace of mind right at fingertips of users. For instance, health monitoring and reporting applications can track vital health information, send reports to caregivers, and automatically alert emergency services if something seems amiss. Seniors can live-chat online with doctors, renew prescriptions, and set up delivery, all from the comfort of home. Mobile banking, email, and delivery services simplify day-to-day errands, and programs like TaskRabbit help users quickly hire for jobs around the house, allowing them to remain independent, while also adding peace-of-mind to loved ones.

How will I get an ice cream cone?

According to AAA, older Americans who have stopped driving are almost 2x more likely to suffer from depression and nearly 5x as likely to enter a long-term care facility compared to those who remain behind the wheel.

So how can we empower older generations to safely drive as long as they can, and also provide practical alternatives for when they don’t want to or no longer can?

While continued developments in light rail and other public transportation options have our urban centers more accessible than ever, ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft have expanded that ease outward into the suburbs, and for many people can reduce or eliminate the need for a car altogether.

For folks that are still driving, vehicles of today come armed with a number of high-tech safety improvements. Things like blind spot and lane-departure warnings and autonomous breaking can make driving on our busy, crowded roads easier and safer.

Who will I have lunch with?

A vibrant social life and community engagement is essential for anyone’s happiness and fulfillment, and seniors are no exception! The thriving social media scene makes it easy to stay in touch with friends and family both near and far, but this isn’t the only way technology equips the older generation to stay connected.

After the market volatility and changes in the economy we’ve seen over the last decade, Baby Boomers are rapidly rewriting the narrative of the “Golden Years”.

In fact, 65% of Boomers plan to work past age 65

or do not plan to retire at all!

The rise of the gig economy makes it easier for them to work flexibly, remotely, and on the projects they care most about. Additionally, extensive options for continuing education online help seniors continue learning and engaging with like minded individuals all over the world, and far later in life than was previously considered to be the norm.

If you are interested in learning more about the dynamic role technology is playing in the lives of seniors, you’ll find additional information and resources from the MIT AgeLab at our website, as well as our recent presentation on the election and markets.

June 27, 2016
What You Need to Know about the Brexit
Posted by Vance Wealth Group

There is no doubt that if you have been paying attention to the news in the last several weeks, you have been hearing a great deal of discussion about “The Brexit”. Opinions on this historic vote have been swift, diverse, and contentious. Politicians, economists, and public figures throughout Europe and the world have been campaigning doggedly on whether to stay or leave for months, and now that the vote is in, the focus has shifted to try to analyze what this means going forward.

We certainly saw the impact of the Brexit vote reflected in investor uncertainty and market volatility immediately following the decision, and we are concerned with the rhetoric surrounding the situation. While it is to be expected that a story of this nature will dominate the media, it is important to take all the noise, claims, and discussion with a grain of salt. The reality is that no one knows what the long-term impact of the Brexit will be on the global economy and as such, bold predictions and rash decisions should both be approached with caution.

Anytime a major event dominates the news headlines, the Vance Wealth Group team’s approach is to force ourselves to remove emotion from the equation and take a big picture view. What is the long term impact of this event? Does this change the way we view investment management moving forward? When we become hyper-focused on a singular headline, it is easy to overreact to short term news. Any overreaction can lead to poor investment decisions. This is why it is critical for us to consider all new information in its global context to determine if we are dealing with a “crisis du jour,” or a significant market event which requires more thoughtful attention.

We have carefully and thoughtfully designed our clients’ investment strategies in anticipation of uncertainty. In times like these, knowing you have a plan in place allows you to separate emotional reactions from important investment decisions.

We are not going to be over reactionary to the news out of Britain. Instead, we choose the more rational approach, where fear does not guide our decisions and we will look for opportunities in the market to take advantage of irrational reactions to recent headlines. Just remember, this is a reason why we diversify your assets.

 

January 15, 2016
JANUARY DIVORCE DIGEST
Posted by Vance Wealth Group

Considering the possibility of a looming divorce is daunting no matter what the details of the situation are. There are so many variables to assess that even knowing where to begin can start to seem like a near- impossible task. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to begin moving in the right direction. Scheduling a consultation with a professional can be a great way to get some of your biggest questions answered, and begin to understand the trajectory and scope of what’s ahead of you. If possible, confiding in a few trusted friends or family members will help you feel less alone, and bolster your support system for when things may become challenging down the line.

Knowing what initial steps to take when it comes to your finances may be particularly stressful. One spouse may be better informed on the situation than the other. Often times a discrepancy in earnings may leave one spouse feeling like they are at a disadvantage. In reality, the right strategy early on can help un- complicate things and allow you to move forward with confidence. Here are the 6 things I think you can do now, that will help shape the entire process of your divorce going forward.

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September 15, 2015
SEPTEMBER DIVORCE DIGEST
Posted by Vance Wealth Group

It’s easy to understand that financial implications play a huge role in any divorce settlement. Managing assets and debts, figuring out how to support your family, pay for college, and handle your mortgage are issues everyone deals with, but the added complexity of negotiating these into divorce proceedings can quickly feel overwhelming. Will I have enough to get by? Is this fair? What will I be giving up? How will this decision affect me a year down the line? Five years? Twenty years? These fears can make an already tense situation worse, and perhaps even grind the divorce process to a halt.

So how can you get the answers you need to make decisions that you are confident in? Being knowledgeable and well-informed is key, but if you aren’t even sure where to start, planning with trusted experts is crucial. You likely already have a few people on your divorce “team”; an attorney to help you through the complex legal process that comes with a divorce, perhaps a mediator if your relationship with your spouse is largely amicable, as well as your friends and family supporting you along the way. What’s missing here is someone that can guide you through the finances. For many people, a divorce is the single biggest financial transition they will go through in life, and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™) can really be a difference-maker as you navigate through it.

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John Vance, CFP®, CDFA™ is the founder of Vance Wealth Group, Inc. He has extensive experience working with individuals and families, counseling them on their financial concerns and guiding them towards their financial goals. John is a seasoned instructor with a passion and commitment to educating clients, professionals, and members of the community. He has taught courses through Pasadena City College Extension for over 10 years, and is frequently invited to speak at seminars and workshops throughout the greater Los Angeles area. He is available to present at speaking engagements on a number of topics. Also, many presentations are available for CPE credits for licensed California CPAs!Contact our Marketing Director to learn more.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks, CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

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