Listen Up! Bonds have something important to say

Market Review September 2018

SIGNALS FROM THE BOND MARKET

As summer comes to its eventual end, the parade of strong economic data continues and major domestic
stock indexes are back to, or even above, their all-time highs set back in January. With all the focus on the good news in both stocks and the economy, it is important to remember that the bond market can offer insights as well. There are some who consider the signals from the bond market to be just as important, or even more so, than those from stocks. It behooves us to pay attention as well. This Market Brief interprets the latest signals from the bond market by considering real, or inflation-adjusted, yields and the slope of the yield curve. Let’s listen.

NOMINAL VS. REAL YIELDS

Many a bond buyer has been heard wishing for the “good ol’ days” of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Back then, yields on 10-year U.S. Treasury Notes (US10) ranged mostly between 10-12%, but did get as high as 15%. Yields that high are practically unheard of in today’s domestic markets, even in high yield bonds. However, it has also been said that “it’s not what you make, but what you keep” and for bond investors what you “keep” is your yield, less inflation. The chart on the top of page three (left) shows US10 yields, inflation and a real yield equal to the US10 yield less inflation. During that same period mentioned above, real yields were as low as -4% and as high as 8%. Beginning in the mid 1980s and continuing to the present, real yields have fallen from about 9% to nearly zero today, with periods of negative yields emerging briefly in 2008, 2011, and 2012. Many investors consider the last 40 years of data and broadly infer that real yields on US10s range from 2-4%. Despite that generalization, bonds have more to say.

Why would real bond yields vary so greatly over time? And why would they ever be negative? Economic growth and inflation are the answer. If bond investors are indeed a cautious bunch, they would own fewer bonds when inflation expectations are rising (their selling pushes rates higher) because future coupon payments will be worth less after inflation. Conversely, they would own more when inflation expectations are falling (their buying pushes rates down). Since bond prices and yields adjust at differing speeds compared to growth and inflation expectations, real yields in the lower end, or below the inferred 2-4% range, could indicate bondholders believe growth and/or inflation rates may be low or decline in the future. When yields are at the high end or above this range, bondholders likely believe growth and inflation may remain elevated or accelerate. The message from today’s near-zero real bond yields could be that economic growth and inflation might not have much room to expand further.

Read the full September Market Review.

RCB Bank Trust offers free portfolio reviews at no cost, no obligation. We’d be happy to take a look at your current portfolio and offer a second opinion to ensure you’re getting the most out of your investments.

Connect with an RCB Bank Trust Wealth Advisor in your area.

Investment products are Not insured by the FDIC or any government agency, Not a deposit, Not a bank guarantee, subject to risks and may lose value.
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Sustainable. Responsible. Investing.

Get$Fit: Invest in the future you want.

Hand holds sustainable world
By Grant J. Goering, AIF,® AVP, Portfolio Manager, RCB Bank

 

There is a growing trend in investing — sustainable, responsible and impact investing (SRI)— that blends personal values and principles with investment choices.

Aligning investments with values.

Sustainable investors consciously choose to invest in companies that contribute to advancements in environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) practices, e.g., clean tech, labor and human rights, anti-corruption policies.

Sustainable investing has grown 33 percent in the U.S. since 2014. That equates to $8.72 trillion. SRI now accounts for more than one out of every five dollars under professional management, according to the latest SRI trends report, published by The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment Foundation (US SIF).

Sustainable investing performs in line with traditional investing.

Research also reveals a positive correlation between SRI strategies and corporate financial performance. A 2017 study conducted by Nuveen TIAA Investments found that investing in SRI strategies did not lead to a decrease in performance or an increase in risk.

The MSCI KLD 400 Social Index, one of the first socially responsible investing indexes, has performed right in line with the S&P 500.

In fact, during the February 2018 market downturn, SRI funds actually outperformed the broad market, according to Morningstar investment research company.

Wondering what impact your investments are making?

Ask your financial advisor for a portfolio review to see if your current investments include SRI companies.

Learn more about SRI at ussif.org, or speak with a financial advisor.

We offer free portfolio reviews at no cost, no obligation. We’d be happy to take a look at your current portfolio and offer a second opinion to ensure you’re getting the most out of your investments.

Connect with an RCB Bank Trust Wealth Advisor in your area.

Invest in your values. RCBbank.com/GetFit

Investment products are Not insured by the FDIC or any government agency, Not a deposit, Not a bank guarantee, subject to risks and may lose value.
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Bucket approach to investing

Bucket with money in it

Investing is a tool for building wealth.

Legendary investor Warren Buffett defines investing as “… the process of laying out money now to receive more money in the future.”

The key to successful investing is setting clear-cut goals. Know what you want, the cost to get it and how long you have to save.

We all have different comfort levels when it comes to investing our money. We call this risk tolerance. The concept of risk tolerance refers not only to your level of comfort in taking a risk, but also your financial ability to endure the consequences of loss.

Therefore, when it comes to investing, there is no one- size-fits-all strategy.  When I talk about investing with my clients, I like to use a bucket visualization. Imagine investing as three buckets.

Everyone needs to begin with a foundation – bucket one. This is your readily available cash, including your savings, emergency fund and short-term investments.

Once you have bucket one filled, you are ready to toss money into buckets two and three, your mid-term and long-term goals. The amount you invest in each bucket varies by your time horizon and risk tolerance. Bucket two consists of low-risk investments while bucket three is long-term, higher growth risk investments.

As with any plan, it is important to monitor your portfolio to ensure you stay on track with your goals.

If you plan to work with a financial advisor, make sure they are working for you with your best interest in mind. It’s important that you have an open line of communication with your advisor.

I am here to help answer questions you may have about investing even if you are not an RCB Bank customer. Feel free to call me at 918.342.7100 or email mwood@bankrcb.net.

At RCB Bank Trust, we offer professional recommendations at no cost, no obligation.

We provide a conservative approach to growing and preserving wealth tailored to your individual financial needs. Call one of our wealth advisors today and request your free review.

We offer free portfolio reviews at no cost, no obligation. We’d be happy to take a look at your current portfolio and offer a second opinion to ensure you’re getting the most out of your investments. Connect with a wealth advisor in your area.

The bucket concept was originally created by planning guru Harold Evensky. It is one of many approaches to investing.
Investment products are not a deposit. Not insured by the FDIC or any federal government agency. Not guaranteed by the Bank. Subject to risk and may go down in value.
Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. This information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Investments mentioned may not be suitable for all investors. The material is general in nature. Past performance may not be indicative of future results.
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How to react to stock market swings

From the opinion of a long-term investor

Business men looking at stock

Recent news about dramatic declines in the Dow Jones have been front and center lately.  While the “Dow” is often first quoted on the news, it is not a particularly good representation of the U.S. stock market.  It is just an index of 30 companies. Also, it is price-weighted, which means the companies with the highest stock price carry the most weight. The five companies that currently carry the greatest weight in the Dow are Boeing, Goldman Sachs, 3M, United Health Group, and Home Depot. However, none of these companies crack the top ten when looking at the largest companies in the U.S. by market capitalization.

Alternatively, the S&P 500 is an index of about 500 companies, making it a much broader barometer of the U.S. stock market.  Moreover, it is market-weighted, so the largest companies by market capitalization carry the greatest weight.

Headline vs. Reality

Headline: On February 5, 2018, the Dow experienced the largest point drop in history.

Reality: On February 5, 2018, the S&P 500 declined 4.10 percent, which ranks as only the 39th worst in the last 40 years.

Why has the stock market declined?

Believe it or not, the recent declines were prompted by good news.

January payroll reports show 200,000 workers were added to U.S. payrolls and, more importantly, average hourly wages increased 2.9 percent from January 2017. This was the highest level of year-over-year wage growth since June 2009. In anticipation of a strong jobs report and a pick-up in wage inflation, bond markets drove yields on the benchmark 10-Year U.S. Treasury bond sharply higher from a closing level of 2.63 percent on Thursday, January 25 to an intraday high of 2.88 percent on Monday, February 6. This sudden rise in market interest rates spooked equity investors in several ways. It could indicate both a faster pace of Fed rate hikes to keep up with inflation and an increase in borrowing costs for U.S. corporations.

What should I do about it?

I don’t get emotional about stock market swings.  Stock market swings are sometimes irrational.  Look to the fundamentals instead.  In my view, nothing has really changed in the last week from a fundamental or economic perspective. We believe the cyclical backdrop for stocks remains positive given synchronized global growth, rising corporate profits and relatively easy monetary conditions compared to history in the U.S. and abroad.

At RCB Bank Trust, we are conservative, long-term investors. 

We don’t try to time the market and we don’t overreact to headlines and short-term volatility. That being said, this is a great time to gut-check your risk tolerance and make sure your asset allocation is right.

We offer free portfolio reviews at no cost, no obligation. We’d be happy to take a look at your current portfolio and offer a second opinion to ensure you’re getting the most out of your investments. Connect with a wealth advisor in your area.

Investment products are not a deposit. Not insured by the FDIC or any federal government agency. Not guaranteed by the Bank. Subject to risk and may go down in value.
Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. This information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Investments mentioned may not be suitable for all investors. The material is general in nature. Past performance may not be indicative of future results.
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Without risk there is no reward

knob showing risk and return

When it comes to investing, a person’s risk tolerance is an important factor in determining how their portfolio should be allocated.

I use a questionnaire to help me understand a person’s tolerance for risk. I use this information, along with other criteria, to recommend investments and the overall makeup of a portfolio.

What is risk tolerance?

Risk tolerance is an investment term that refers to your ability to endure market volatility. All investments come with some level of risk, and if you’re planning to invest your money, it’s important to be aware of how much volatility you can endure.

When gauging your tolerance for risk, consider the following factors:

Personality: Are you able to sleep at night knowing that you’ve put a portion of your hard-earned dollars at risk in a particular investment? Remember, it might be easy to tolerate a high-risk investment while it is generating double-digit returns, but consider whether you’ll feel the same way if the market takes a downward turn with your investment leading the way. It’s best to invest at a level of volatility that you are comfortable with.

Time horizon: The sooner you may need to use your investment dollars, the lower your risk tolerance. For example, for money you plan to use to make a down payment on a house in 2 years, your risk tolerance is lower than if you’re investing for retirement in 20 years. If you can keep your money invested for a long period of time, you may be able to ride out any downturns in the market (though time alone is no guarantee of higher returns).

Capacity for risk: How much can you afford to lose? Your capacity for risk depends on your financial position (i.e., your assets, income and expenses). In general, the more resources or assets you have to fall back on, the higher your risk tolerance.

We offer free portfolio reviews at no cost, no obligation. We’d be happy to take a look at your current portfolio and offer a second opinion to ensure you’re getting the most out of your investments. Connect with a wealth advisor in your area.

Investment products are not a deposit. Not insured by the FDIC or any federal government agency. Not guaranteed by the Bank. Subject to risk and may go down in value.
Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. This information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Investments mentioned may not be suitable for all investors. The material is general in nature. Past performance may not be indicative of future results.
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Are you financially prepared to live longer?

man giving woman piggyback ride
By Nate Haberman, AAMS®, Financial Advisor

 

By the year 2040, it is projected that 14.6 million Americans will be 85 years old or older. This is triple in population from 6.5 million in 2014, according to the Administration of Aging¹.

Are you prepared financially to live longer? If you’re age 20 or older, retirement planning should be one of your top priorities. Not sure where to begin? I asked Nate Haberman, AAMS® Financial Advisor at RCB Wealth Management to share a few tips.

Figure out your retirement income needs.

Use your current expenses as a starting point. Don’t forget to factor in items like travel, new vehicles and healthcare expenses.

“A financial plan does not have to be complicated,” Haberman said. “Its purpose is to help you get from where you are to where you want to go, as well as improve the odds that you won’t outlive your money in retirement.”

Invest in your employer-sponsored retirement plan or an individual retirement account.2

Start now.

“It can be hard to plan for retirement when you are living paycheck to paycheck,” said Haberman. “But, a small amount is better than no amount. Setting aside a little bit each month will add up in the long run, especially if your employer matches a percentage of your contributions.”

Build an emergency fund.

Prepare for the unexpected and avoid tapping into your retirement savings.

“At one time or another, an expense will come up that you didn’t plan for – car repair or hospital visit,” said Haberman. “An emergency fund is there to help manage the financial risks of unforeseen expenses and potentially lessen some stress. Plus, early withdrawals from retirement accounts often have tax penalties assessed to them.”

Revise your plan along the way.

Life happens. Plan, prepare, review and adjust regularly in order to stay on track of your goals.

“A professional advisor can assist you through realistic expectations in your planning, while taking into consideration items like the age you plan to retire, inflation and taxes,” said Haberman. “A professional can walk you through all the available tools so you can better understand your options.”

While having a plan doesn’t guarantee a successful retirement, it may help you alleviate possible hardships, and allow you to live the life you want during your golden years.

Source:
1U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living. Administration of Aging Profile of Older Americans: 2015. Retrieved from http://www.aoa.acl.gov/aging_statistics/Profile/2015/2.aspx
2Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal and there can be no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful. Before investing, carefully consider the risks, charges and expenses of the investment.
Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. This information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Investments mentioned may not be suitable for all investors. The material is general in nature. Past performance may not be indicative of future results.
Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. member FINRA/SIPC, and are Not insured by FDIC or any government agency, Not bank guaranteed, Not deposits, Subject to risk and may lose value.  Raymond James is not affiliated with the financial institution or any financial institution subsidiary.
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