We had some really bad weather this week in North Carolina (as did other places in the Southeast). Between tornadoes and severe thunderstorms and all that accompanies those events, it was probably enough to make you think more deeply than you're accustomed to about what's really important.

Efficiency and control are two words not generally associated with the process of active investing, but they should be. The disciplines of saving taxes, keeping expenses low, and ensuring you don’t under-perform the markets in which you invest, offer real and measurable improvements in your returns – in fact, some like Betterment and Wealthfront claim up to 4% or more. Our clients have enjoyed the benefits of control and efficiency for eight years. Here are eight ways we do it.

Note: Our office and markets will be closed on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Day.

Trends suggest direction, tendency, and strength of forces driving events or conditions we consider important enough to observe and track. As we embark on a new year, perhaps it would be useful to check in on some of the major trends impacting our lives and investments.