29 Dec 2017 Looking Back to Learn, Ahead to Be Prepared
Once again we find ourselves at the end of another year; a time when some reflect on past accomplishments and failures and look forward to new opportunities and challenges. Others simply desire to rest from a hectic Christmas season, and still others busily prepare for one last party to salute the old and bring in the new.
Whatever your temperament this year, thank you for taking a few moments to allow us to share some musings from the past year and hopes for the new one.
- The markets marched relentlessly higher this year making many Americans significantly wealthier. For the first time ever, the Dow Jones average reached four new 1,000 point milestones. According to “the Balance” the Dow Jones average has had two streaks lasting more than 10 days this year. The last time it did that was in 1959. It’s had three nine-day runs. The last time that happened was in 1955, when there were four nine-day stretches. The Dow has moved higher for eight months in a row. The last time that happened was in 1995. The Dow is 22% higher now than it was at the beginning of the year.
- The CRSP US Total Market Index (represented by VTI, the investment we use), was also up 22% for the year.
- Global stocks, outside the US were up 27.25%.
- Our clients saw their wealth increase between 8% and 23% this year, depending upon stock exposure.
- We’ve experienced markets rising now for more than a decade with few interruptions, and we’ve grown accustomed to it; maybe even a bit careless. The upward trend may continue, and it shows strong signs of doing just so, but everyone should take this opportunity to re-evaluate one’s current risk posture and the potential consequences of too much risk in the event of a severe or prolonged market decline.
- We have conducted hundreds of reviews, meetings and calls with our clients to simplify their lives, find opportunities, and to inform better decisions. As a result of those meetings, we have seen both current and future lifestyles significantly improved, measured both in dollars, statistical confidence and emotional comfort.
- We have spent many of those meetings helping clients organize and simplify their financial lives. We hope to do more of that in the new year.
- We moved into our wonderful new home in Raleigh’s Five Points area. It offers a relaxed and conducive setting for our creative goal-setting process.
- We added tax planning software this year to help our clients who are facing complex financial decisions confidently choose the best option saving them thousands. Early results are excellent. Most importantly the software enables us to share with our clients’ tax professionals our broader perspective on their financial lives so that we might work together to develop their best comprehensive tax strategy.
- The IRS is busy codifying the new tax law. We will continue to follow it for the opportunities and challenges these changes bring.
- Healthcare remains a big question mark in the coming year. We will stay laser-focused on it as it has a huge impact on life planning.
- We look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead. Our job is to ensure that our clients are prepared for the best and the worst of times, enabling them to make the best decisions possible when life’s circumstances require them.
On November 26th, we happily welcomed a new child into our Beacon family with the birth of Jared and Amy’s son, Charlie Hope Korver. He came too early, but is facing with strength and courage the challenges of premature birth. He is surrounded by faithful parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and so many family and friends from church and life. Baby Charlie’s health and homecoming top our list of hopes for the new year.
We also hope the very best for you and yours in the coming year. We exist to enable you to achieve your best and look forward to confidently gaining on that goal in 2018.
Happy New Year