Today we have the first of what will be a growing list of posts from industry leaders I know or have worked with. Paul Werlin, President Human Capital Resources, Inc., will be bringing you posts about the investment world that he has worked in for over 30 years. I hope you will find his comments, ideas and reflections helpful to you as you navigate the investment aspects of the FinancialVerse.
There are many old clichés about the stock market and investing. Just about everyone knows the “bulls make money, bears make money, but pigs go to slaughter.” And there’s “It’s time, not timing, that makes money in the market." But I think the phrase that work’s best today is “bull markets climb a wall of worry.” This phase means that the market continues to go up despite many negative factors and uncertainties. Right now, investors are worried about the upcoming election, zero and negative interest rates in many parts of the world, trade tensions with China, the long-term grounding of the Boeing 737 Max, Brexit, and that’s just a few of the more obvious uncertainties. And who could have foreseen the appearance of the coronavirus, which as of this writing is spreading across the globe.
Despite all these negative factors, the market keeps climbing to higher and higher records levels. Investment professionals have many different explanations as to why this is happening. Low interest rates makes bonds, money market accounts and bank CD’s relatively unappealing so money flows to stocks. Turmoil overseas just increases the flow of foreign money into the “safe haven” of US companies and US Treasury bonds. And, with inflation low and strong employment, US consumers are spending- helping keep corporate profits strong. Always keep in mind that the stock market is a leading indicator - it reflects where investors think the economy will be 6-12 months in the future. So, right now, investors are betting things will stay good for a least a while longer.
Given that the current bull market is over 10 years old and the longest in history, what should investors do now? Unfortunately, no one can predict the future, but most professionals do not see either a recession or resurgent inflation anytime soon. That means US businesses should continue to do well and interest rates remain low. That tends to be good news for the stock market and no so good news for bonds and those that are looking for low risk and solid income. With US Treasury bond yields at some of their lowest levels in decades, it’s hard for people living on a fixed income. Of course, no one knows what stocks or bonds will do, but most advisors believe the bull market will continue for a least a while longer. What your individual strategy should be depends on many factors: how far you are from retirement, your tax bracket, income, martial status, and family obligations just to name a few.
Working with a trained professional is the best way to plan out an investment and insurance strategy that’s right for your unique situation. There are literally thousands of investment and insurance products to choose from that can help every one design a plan that helps them achieve their financial goals. So, if you’ve been on the sidelines, forget about the “wall of worry” saying and remember it really is “time and not timing that makes money in the market.”
Paul Werlin is President of Human Capital Resources, Inc., a recruiting, consulting and training services firm. He has been actively involved in the securities industry for over 30 years. He is a frequent industry speaker, author and recognized authority on the financial institution investment programs.
Paul has been quoted in dozens of publications including The New York Times, and his articles have appeared in Bank Investment Representative, On Wall Street, Financial Planning, Bank Investment Consultant, American Banker and others.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.