HFS Headlines

New Year…New Tax Changes

Posted by on Jan 23, 2018 in blog | Comments Off on New Year…New Tax Changes

New Year…New Tax Changes

New Year, new Washington is what 2018 is shaping up to look like. The 2017 year was an important one in Washington that promises to carry forward changes to each and every American tax payer in 2018 and beyond. One of the most notable changes of the year was the passage of a new tax law. The tax law’s most notable change included a reduction of income tax brackets. It is important to know smaller changes in the tax law that impact those filing their taxes single, married filing jointly, married filing single, and head of household. These categorize the primary filings of American tax payers: (more…)

Global Asset Allocation Views – Q1 2018

Posted by on Jan 12, 2018 in blog | Comments Off on Global Asset Allocation Views – Q1 2018

Global Asset Allocation Views – Q1 2018

Last year turned out a lot quieter than many pundits had expected going into the year.  The markets brushed off any potential geopolitical turmoil surrounding North Korea, Brexit, and trade wars with China.  There were only eight days when the market was up or down more than 1% and there were zero times where the market was down 3% from top to bottom!  The last time there were no drops of 3% in a year was 1995.  We are currently in the midst of a secular bull market similar to the one in the 90s and very similar to the year 1995.  Back then the market rallied another 155% before topping out four years later in March of 2000 during the tech bubble and ensuing crash.  I still believe we have some room to run and that we are currently in the earnings growth phase of this bull market.  We view any pullbacks as an opportunity to add to equities.

Key Positives:

  • Many valuation metrics are still within 1 standard deviation of their historical average
  • European and Emerging Market earnings, after bottoming out in early 2016, continue to shine heading into 2018
  • The recent corporate tax cuts into a low-rate environment continue to support equities.

(more…)

Managing Risk and not Returns

Posted by on Jan 5, 2018 in blog | Comments Off on Managing Risk and not Returns

Managing Risk and not Returns

As global equity markets continue to hit all-time highs, clients, family, and friends tend to ask the question: How is the market doing?  This previous question only touches on the return factor in investment management as individuals tend to be more focused on quantifying how much they are up or down.  As the father of value investing, Benjamin Graham, once wrote, “The essence of investment management is the management of risks, not the management of returns.”  Risk tends to be harder to quantify and thus seldom talked about by financial professionals.

Quantitative Measures

There are two quantitative measures that HFS Wealth Advisors utilizes, the Sharpe ratio and Max Drawdown, which can help investors understand risk in their portfolio. (more…)

Winter Winds with no HealthCare Breeze….Are you ready for it?

Posted by on Dec 7, 2017 in blog | Comments Off on Winter Winds with no HealthCare Breeze….Are you ready for it?

Winter Winds with no HealthCare Breeze…Are you Ready for it?

Every winter, consumers using the Affordable Health Care Exchange are asked to choose their healthcare benefits for the following calendar year.  November 1 began the 6 week open enrollment window that ends December 15. The health care exchange is designed to provide health care to Americans who are not covered by an employer provided health care plan. The health care exchange covers a portion of the bill, and the recipient of the health care receives a bill for the remainder, much the same as a traditional employer provided plan.

One of the goals of the Affordable Care Act is to provide preventative healthcare. Studies show that regular routine checkups can prevent major health issues throughout life. In this way, having health care can save money! (more…)

Global Asset Allocation Views – 4Q 2017

Posted by on Nov 6, 2017 in blog | Comments Off on Global Asset Allocation Views – 4Q 2017

The October 7th-13th cover of The Economist led with the phrases “The bull market in everything” and “Are asset prices too high?” The main article mentioned potential bubbles in equities (at an all-time high), fixed income (boosted by easy monetary policy), real estate (see the 2007 Financial Crisis), and cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Etherium, etc.).  I will focus my attention on equities since they tend to be the most important, and largest, component of a client’s long-term growth.

What I would like to share today are some of the counter-arguments I have come across in my research regarding high equity valuations.  I will then finish up with investment themes, risks, and how we are currently positioning client accounts. (more…)

The Goldilocks Economy and Bear Markets

Posted by on Sep 22, 2017 in blog | Comments Off on The Goldilocks Economy and Bear Markets

Sorry for the pun (hopefully you have heard of The Story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears), but as we get near year-end it seemed opportune to discuss the current market sentiment and our future outlook.

The U.S. economy is currently in a sweet spot, or a Goldilocks effect, of not being too hot to spur rapid inflation but not too cold to cause a recession.  A bear market, loosely defined as a drop of over 20%, and a recession, two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, seem a long way off.

There are a few factors that warrant monitoring: (more…)

College Planning 101

Posted by on Oct 5, 2016 in blog | Comments Off on College Planning 101

The dreaded Free Application for Federal Student Aid will be available October 1st of this year and should be easier to complete because you can use 2015 tax returns and not have to do any updates in the spring after filing your 2016 returns.  The following link summarizes the changes and gives some tips on obtaining the most aid possible.

http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/25/pf/college/fafsa-application-changes/    (more…)

You are the parent? So What?

Posted by on Aug 24, 2016 in blog | Comments Off on You are the parent? So What?

The applications are in, standardized tests are complete and a college decision has been made.  Now all there is to do is outfit the dorm room and drop the kids off, right?  Maybe not.  A recent visit to an attorney’s office to update our estate documents opened our eyes to something that we hadn’t thought of before. (more…)

Teach Your Children Well

Posted by on Jun 28, 2016 in blog | Comments Off on Teach Your Children Well

Several of the people in our office have college-age children as do our clients, so conversations around topics to prepare us for when our children enter the work force full-time occur frequently. In general, we find that the young people want to be independent and are willing to learn what is necessary to make informed financial decisions. (more…)

Kids, Retirement and a Sandwich?

Posted by on May 3, 2016 in blog | Comments Off on Kids, Retirement and a Sandwich?

Pardon me?

The Sandwich Generation has been defined as the group of adults in their 40s and 50s in the US that has a parent over age 65 and who are financially supporting at least one child.

But wait, kids are supposed to move out and parents can take care of themselves, right? (more…)