February 2016 Market Insight

It happens during every presidential campaign – the media churns the news and the public starts to feel uneasy about the State of the Union. Politicians are as polarizing as ever—they shout about the national debt, our immigration problems, free college for all, breaking up the big banks, raising taxes, cutting taxes, reforming healthcare, and so on.

Financial market pundits are much the same. They scream and yell at us to “buy” and “sell",  that interest rates are going up or down, and our retirement assets are at risk. It can feel as if the problems of the world are too many, our ability to solve them too limited, and our livelihoods too dependent on outside forces.

While it may be true that we individuals can do little to reduce the national debt or push the S&P 500 to all-time highs, we do have tremendous power to influence our personal world. We can care for those around us, get involved in local politics and churches, and start new businesses which create more jobs and improve the lives of others.

In the personal finance realm, we can remain disciplined in our spending, invest to provide future educations and down payments, and continue to fund our retirements. Within our investment accounts, we can make thoughtful choices about asset allocation, risk level, and capital protection. The power that we hold on any given day to make good decisions that affect our financial future is profound.

As advisors, Whitcomb & Hess seeks to provide a disciplined investment strategy that leverages the power of the individual investor. Although you cannot control the fluctuations in the markets, you can control your exposure to different asset classes in the markets at different times, how much and how often you save, and whether you panic at distressing news. If you develop a strategy that can be maintained over a lifetime, the prospects of a brighter future for you are very good.

Please call or email us with any questions about your investment plan.

February was another volatile month in US markets, as the major US indexes fell to new 52-week lows early in the month, only to later reverse course and finish the month nearly flat. Global markets, as a whole, fared worse, with the exception of select emerging markets.

Index

February

YTD

S&P 500 (US large cap)

-0.13%

-5.09%

Russell 2000 (US small cap)

0.00%

-8.80%

MSCI World ex USA (international stocks)

-1.40%

-8.18%

Barclays US Aggregate Bond

0.71%

2.10%