February was dominated by assets moving towards the “risk-off” trade. Most categories of equities around the globe lost ground this past month. Generally, from the traders to the longer term investors, there is an insatiable worry about the global lack of growth. Companies can only get so lean to continue showing year over year profitable comparisons and then demand must return. A lot of the same headwinds are still constant from last year: China’s slowing growth, very little if any wage growth, and a bunch of CEO’s who are still trying to beat the dead horse of the global economy with the riding crop of stock repurchases and corporate buybacks.
As we venture into the middle of March and rounding the ¾ pole of the first quarter of 2016, we are reminded of something an old lacrosse coach once told me: “if you don’t know how to vanquish the enemy, train harder each day.” That was good advice then as it is now. It means keep doing what has always been smart in the past. The following “remember list” is a checklist of items that will allow you to sleep better despite everything going on in the world, but more importantly, it permits you to control what you can control:
1. Remember to always maintain enough “cash” on hand so that you can have liquidity when the other fellow doesn’t. We try to do follow this logic with our investors, and we think everyone should do it at home as well.
2. Remember long term means long term. Therefore, as it relates to money in the U.S. or foreign stock markets, you shouldn’t have your money in that asset class if you cannot leave it alone for at least 5 years at a minimum.
3. Remember to have some money in very safe short term tax free bonds or the equivalent. The more aggressive investors always hate this advice, especially when it’s too late.
4. Remember to reach out and call us anytime that you feel uneasy. A.G. Campbell Advisory is founded on the principle of “the buck stopping here.” Our purpose is to provide fiduciary advice and stewardship as often as our clients need. We don’t believe in asking you to stick your head in the sand and suck it up.
5. Be thankful each and every day because if you are receiving this advisory commentary, there is a high probability that your personal wealth puts you in the top percentile of the world population, and I imagine that most of us have familial relationship riches that far exceed anything that is measured in monetary form.
On the horizon, we are looking for better days ahead and little to no change in view from the Federal Reserve this March. Also, as you know, there is usually a last minute panic for tax information; therefore, please call us at your soonest convenience to ensure you have everything you need. Finally, tax time is also a good time of year to review your financial plan/roadmaps with us and make sure that your charted course is exactly as you expect. If it provides peace of mind during a very normal sideways to down market move, then we feel like this is well worth the meeting. Enjoy March Madness!