“I could lift you up. I could show you what you wanna see. And take you where you wanna be.” Capital Cities – Safe and Sound
Investors might not be feeling quite as safe sound after the way the stock market started 2014 (down about 5% ytd as I am writing this) as they did back in the good old days of 2013.
As the Denver Broncos learned in the Super Bowl, things don’t always play out according to consensus. The biggest example in the financial markets this year has been the action in the U.S. Treasury market. The iShares 20 year treasury ETF has jumped about 7% since the end of last year, and it seemed that most analysts on the financial news programs were suggesting that investors avoid treasuries due to the Fed taper.
Is it just me or is it that when the talking heads in the financial press are making the most noise about something, it’s time to look at going the other way?
One thing to watch out for in periods of volatility is sales tactics that try to take advantage of fear or uneasiness about the safety of ones investments. (Disclaimer—this is meant to be very general commentary and may not be suitable for everyone’s financial situation.) Most of us believe we are sophisticated enough to avoid outright frauds like the boiler-room hard sell tactics in the movie Wolf of Wall Street, but at times investors are sold complex, hard to understand, illiquid and high fee products in the name of “safety.”
One of the hardest tactics to avoid are sales tactics that prey on an individual’s affiliation with a particular group like a church, country club or even a nationality. Ask yourself why I am I being offered this great “ground floor opportunity,” “low risk/high return complex trading strategy” or micro cap company (“I can show you what you want to see, and take you where you want to be” ) that has somehow figured out how to do something that Google, Amazon or Amgens of the world just can’t quite grasp.
Unfortunately, there is no free lunch and all investments are trade offs between the return you want and the amount of risk you desire or can afford to take. It’s important to understand the risks involved in investments and your individual risk tolerance. Most investors are probably better off sticking to liquid investments in the public markets.
James Mathis, managing partner of Echelon Investment Management, believes in enriching his clients’ lives by identifying, preserving and achieving their goals. Echelon partners with clients through every leg of their race ~ asset management, investment advice and retirement planning. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimers: The ideas presented here are for illustrative purposes only. This does not reflect the performance of any specific investment. It should not be assumed that past performance in any way relates to future results. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be reliable, but this is not a guarantee as to the accuracy and does not purport to be a complete analysis of the security, company or industry involved. An investor should consider, before investing, whether the investor’s or designated beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state’s 529 college savings plan. 529 plans are subject to enrollment, maintenance, administrative and management fees and expenses. Non-qualified withdrawals are subject to federal and state income tax and a 10% penalty. Please consult with your financial advisor and tax advisor to determine the strategy that best suits your individual needs.