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Perception vs. Reality: A Reflection on Q1 of 2019

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Another quarter has come and gone; a tick of the second hand in your lifelong financial journey.

At this moment, we can compare and contrast the current quarter-end to recent rounds. As a Wall Street Journal article summarized, “Stock investors have been on a wild ride the past six or so months: The S&P 500 has gone from a record high, to being on the cusp of a bear market, to being back within striking distance of its recent peak.”

At this moment, financial headlines are closely watching what’s in store for Brexit, the shape of the U.S. Treasury yield curve, China trade talks, and other potential slowdowns and stimuli.

At this moment, a financial commentator proposed a new “golden cross” is supposedly signaling a bull market ahead, based on comparing the 50-day moving average to the 200-day moving average. Noting the historical data isn’t sufficient to be telling, the author admits (emphasis ours): “The crosses derive their power not because there is something inherent but because many investors believe in them and act on them. Moreover, the media like the stories of golden crosses and death crosses, and promote them. This generates bullish or bearish sentiment.”


Seriously? Then there’s our perspective.

As always, this sort of circular logic leads too many investors astray. As you reflect on any forecasting “powers” reported in the popular press, remember the vast majority of them are premised on what may be the flimsiest platform ever devised: human sentiment.

As always, remember how easy it is to get tangled up in the ticks and tocks. There are always causes for global socioeconomic concern. There are almost always cases for optimism as well. Either way, remember these words from financial luminary William Bernstein, MD, PhD, in his March 1 commentary: “Investing, after all, is an operation that transfers wealth to those who have a process and can execute it from those who do not and cannot; from what I’ve seen, the average investor’s strategy consists of pride when prices rise and panic when they fall.”

As always, we encourage you to rise above the news of the day. It is our special privilege to help you do just that. There will always be plenty of prognosticators, enticing you to grab at “golden” opportunities. Fortunately, there are many voices of reason among us as well.


As we reflect on what may be this past quarter’s most meaningful news, we mourn the loss of one of our greatest allies on this front. Investors lost a staunch friend with the January 16 passing of John “Jack” C. Bogle, Vanguard founder and father of the first publicly traded index fund. In his honor, we recall one of his countless worthy observations (as shared by Jason Zweig): “If they can take your integrity away from you, it’s not integrity.”

These are words to live by – at home, in the office, and not least of all, as an investor. At this moment, and as always, please let us know whenever we can help you cut through the clutter toward your clear investment course.



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Andrea L. Blackwelder, CFP®, ChFC, CDFA® and Joseph D. Clemens, CFP®, EA are the founders and partners of Wisdom Wealth Strategies. Their shared passion is simple: to bring financial empowerment, understanding, and peace-of mind to people who wish to improve their financial future, build wealth for their families, and achieve financial independence. Click here to find out more about how you can work with the Denver Financial Advisors at Wisdom Wealth Strategies.

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