Author Archives: Kevin Conard

stock market returns election

President Proof Your Portfolio

Well, folks. We’ve nearly made it. The election is roughly 24 hours from being over. And with that will come a new person sitting in the Oval office – oh, and…the end of a bajillion political ads peppering our televisions!

Having advised investors for nearly 20 years, I’ve seen this all before.

With each election cycle, without fail, countless advisors, financial news outlets and of course, your know-it-all (INSERT: relative’s name here) will try to predict how the stock market reacts after the election depending on who wins the presidency.

Thankfully, we here at blooom have the real inside scoop on how to president proof your portfolio. Just follow this one piece of advice: RELAX.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself ‘I just don’t see how that protects my investments.’ So, I will explain a bit further: cooler heads always prevail. It is true that certain stocks may go up or down in value differently depending on which candidate is elected and how their legislative initiatives impact certain markets. However, these swings in value are just simple and normal market corrections (see: 401ks aren’t life or death. BUT they can feel like it. So go with me here for a second).

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Should I flip out market correction

401ks aren’t life or death. BUT they can feel like it. So go with me here for a second…

Imagine…the day has come to an end, you’re exhausted and ready to flop on to the couch for what is left of the evening. You flip on the TV and are instantly bombarded with reporters talking about how the stock market plummeted that day with images of stereotypical floor traders hysterically yelling “sell, sell, SELL out of the market”. Market corrections are happening. Naturally, you frantically grab your computer and log into your 401(k) account to see for yourself and you notice your account balance is down 5% for the day. How are you feeling about that?

Odds are you feel panicked and worried that your retirement is in jeopardy. You aren’t alone in having this feeling. Seeing a big loss on your statements can be nerve-racking. The thing to remember, however, is that a loss on paper is just as arbitrary as thinking you can never drive your car again once your gas tank reaches empty. It’s not the end of the world and if you don’t sell everything in a panic your investments will be back to normal in a matter of time, it just may take some patience.

There are a few important facts about market corrections that you should always keep in mind:

  1. Market corrections are inevitable. No matter how much of a market-timing wizard you believe that you are they can’t be avoided. What goes up must come down, and vice-versa with stock markets.
  2. Since 1928 there have been 26 market corrections, where the market dropped between 10-20%. The average length of each correction is 136 days. While that sounds like a long time it is actually quite brief compared to bull markets where markets grow for 464 days on average with gains of 55.86%. While some market corrections may be far worse than others and may take longer to recover the markets always recover and then some.
  3. Market corrections are beneficial to investors in the long term. If you continue to invest through a market correction you will bring down your average price-per-share getting you a higher number of shares for the same price. (See: What investing and ice cream have in common). This could lead to greater upside potential once markets begin to recover.
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samsung stock galaxy note 7

No, this isn’t another shipment of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones.

It’s really a set of flares being deployed by a C-130. But a great lesson can be found here about Samsung stock and investing in general.

On August 19th (with Samsung stock trading at near an all-time high of $23.55) Samsung launched its Galaxy Note 7 with a great amount of fan-fair. It was bigger than previous versions, it was waterproof, it had an iris scanning camera…oh, the excitement!!!

But it didn’t take long to discover it had another feature – it explodes. Five days later the first Note 7 explosion occurred and with it the stock begins to implode. And as of October 11th, 2016 the stock was trading at $19. That’s a 19.3% loss in value in less than two months. Poof.

Here’s the deal, somewhere in America there was probably a 401k participant that worked at Samsung that decided to “load up” on Samsung stock. And why not? At the time Samsung had one of the greatest competitors to the iPhone, probably had some nice fundamentals and promising future.

This 401k behavior is a nationwide problem. In fact, Proctor & Gamble has 37.7% of its $3.1 Billion Savings Plan allocated to company stock, the $12.9 billion Honeywell International Inc. Savings and Ownership Plan has 29.8% in company stock, the $19 billion Chevron Corp. Employee Savings Investment Plan has and astounding 46.7% in company stock and General Electric Co.’s $27.5 billion GE Retirement Savings Plan contains 35.5% in GE stock. Data for all of these plans are for the year ended Dec. 31, 2014.

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There is no check engine light for your retirement account

When is the last time you opened the hood of your car and looked at your engine?

If you are like me the car would need to be billowing smoke, dead, or squealing like a cat got caught in the fan belt. And I’m being honest, even when I do look, it’s a mysterious and complicated set of cables and parts that I just don’t really understand.

I imagine most other Americans feel the same way. And when it comes to the average individual dealing with their 401k options and making decisions they’re often staring at a set of complicated and mysterious set of choices that are just plain hard to understand.

Unfortunately, 401k investors are perfectly fine making “educated guesses” where to place their hard earned money, but none of us would guess at where the oil goes and then blindly start filling up different parts of the engine.

So why is it that hard working Americans are more likely to get help changing their oil than managing their investments?

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This is your brain. This is your brain on investing.

That, folks, is a human brain and in it resides why most of us struggle with investing. See that red section? That is the amygdala. It works the same for everyone – it is not influenced by a college degree, yoga or IQ. And most importantly, it does not discriminate.

So what does it do? It controls the emotions of freeze, fight or flight. This area of our brain gives us a fantastic biological advantage; it’s kept the human species going and going (e.g., fire hurts, bears will eat you, and steer clear of beehives). You get the point.

However, when it comes to investing…the amygdala is your worst nightmare. Why? Because you can’t just turn it off. The very thing that keeps us alive in the face of danger also triggers when other scary moments arrive at our doorstep. Oh, say…investing…or more so, when investments drop in value.

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