Market indexes. You read about them all the time, such as when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (the Dow) topped 20,000 points in early 2017 … and then broke 21,000 just over a month later. In our last piece, we explored what those points actually measure, which isn’t always what you might guess. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the mechanics of indexing, to gain a better understanding of why they do, what they do.
As we covered in our last piece, indexes have their uses. If you’ve got an investment strategy that’s designed to capture that market, you can see how your strategy is doing in comparison … again, roughly. You can also invest in an index fund that tracks an index that tracks that market. This may help explain why everyone seems to be forever watching, analyzing and talking about the most popular indexes and their every move. But you may still have questions about what they are and how they really work.
A Power of Attorney is a legal document by which you give someone else the legal capacity to do things for you, in your name, as if you were doing them yourself. every adult should designate an agent and execute a Power of Attorney. Disease, dementia, stroke or anything else can cause you to become incapacitated and unable to take care of your financial and other matters. Life is never certain but designating an agent is.
Since nearly every media outlet on the planet reported the news, you probably already know that the Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 20,000 for the first time on January 25, 2017. But when a popular index like the Dow is on a tear, up or down, what does it really mean to you and your investments?
By themselves, new all-time highs in equity markets have historically not been useful predictors of future returns. While positive realized returns are never guaranteed, equity investments have positive expected returns regardless of index levels or prior short-term market returns.
In the recent period following the US presidential election, US small company stocks experienced higher returns than US large company stocks. This column looks at these returns relative the historical small cap premium and discusses the importance maintaining constant exposure to the dimensions of higher expected returns.
A sound retirement income plan takes into account several financial risks, including the potential for the retiree to outlive his or her assets, the effects of inflation on future income, rising health care costs, and the uncertain future of the Social Security system. The overall objective of planning should be to create a sustainable stream of income that also has the potential to increase over time.
So much of investing is beyond our control (picking stock prices, timing market movements and so on), it’s nice to know that there are still a number of “power tools” we can employ to potentially enhance your bottom line. Tax-loss harvesting is one such instrument … although the analogy holds true in a couple of other ways: It’s best used skillfully, and only when it is the right tool for the task.
Wall Street’s product pushers have figured out a way to swipe the name from this traditional household workhorse and turn it into a monster money-maker … for themselves, that is. We’re talking about “structured” or “market-linked” CDs. The name may seem familiar, but the rules of engagement are quite a bit different.