All posts by Scott Dauenhauer CFP, MSFP, AIF

Scott Dauenhauer is an experienced Fiduciary financial planner an investment manager for individuals, families and government defined contribution plans.

Your Spying Phone

You like your privacy, don’t you?  But do you own a cell phone?  A recent article in Science News magazine suggests that there are so many sensory features built into today’s smartphones that we’re all in danger of prying eyes, ears and other senses watching our every move.

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A Healthy Year Ahead?

 

According to professional forecasters around the world, the global economic landscape is healthy going into 2018—so much so that only three countries and one territory are expected to experience a downturn in their gross domestic product over the coming 12 months.  The map and chart show which countries are growing fastest (light, dark and darker blue), and which are lagging the rest of the world (light green and red).  The laggards include Venezuela (projected to lose 11.9% of production in the next 12 months); the hurricane-ravaged territory of Puerto Rico (-8.0%); Equatorial Guinea (-3.7%); and North Korea (-1.0%).

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Worker Wealth Decline

You hear a lot about the so-called “trickle-down effect” that lower corporate taxes will trigger, and also a lot about the decline in wealth of the middle class of American workers over the years.  A recent Harvard Business School report suggests that there HAS been an erosion in the income of American workers, but it also casts some doubt on the trickle-down theory.  Citing data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the economists found that corporate profits grew from 4.7% of the U.S. economy in the year 2000 to 9.1% in 2016—by any measure, a healthy rise, considering that the economy itself was growing during most of those years.  But worker salaries and wages fell from just under 47% of the economy in 2000 to 43.4% in 2016.

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Perspective on Today’s Market Events

It looks like the U.S. stock market will finally get something that happens, on average, about once a year: a 10+% percent drop—the definition of a market correction.  The last time this happened was a whopper—the Great Recession drop that caused U.S. stocks to drop more than 50%–so most people today probably think corrections are catastrophic.  They aren’t.  More typically, they last anywhere from 20 trading days (the 1997 correction, down 10.8%) to 104 days (the 2002-2003 correction, down 14.7%).  Corrections are unnerving, but they’re a healthy part of the economy—for a couple of reasons.

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Should We Be Alarmed?

Suppose somebody came up to you and shouted: “I have terrible news about the economy.  I think you should sell your stocks!”

Alarmed, you say: “Oh, my God.  Tell me more!”

And this mysterious stranger shouts: “Run for the hills!  The American economy just added 200,000 more jobs—more than expectations—and the U.S. jobless rate now stands at 4.1%, the lowest since 2000!”

You blink your eyes.  So?

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Downturn for What?

On Tuesday morning, Wall Street traders woke up to something they haven’t experienced much of lately: actual market volatility.  One trader posted an image of his Bloomberg terminal at the market opening (re-posted here), which showed an immediate scary-looking plunge in U.S. equities as the opening bell rung.  By the end of the day, American stocks were down more than one percent, the worst one-day loss since last August, and capping the largest two-day loss since last May.

What’s going on?  Are U.S. stocks really a full percentage point less valuable today than they were yesterday morning?

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How Important is a Healthy Breakfast?

In health circles, there’s an old saying: for maximum health, eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.”  A new study confirms at least the first part of the formula.

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