Invest Locally: Do your investments reflect your values?

Welcome to our May blog.  Over the next few months, we are inviting guest bloggers to talk about their passions and ways to impact invest.  This month, Hunter Hopcroft, Special Projects Manager for Ellwood Thompson’s, is writing about his work with the nationwide Slow Money movement.   Slow Money provides local farmers equitable and nimble access to capital to help them improve their businesses and strengthen our local communities.

Whipsaws, Whiplash, and Algos

After living through the worst quarter (Q4 2018) since 2011, we just experienced the best start to a year since 2012, with the S&P 500 Index up +13.5% and international equities up +10.3% in Q1 2019. As recently as December 2018, the S&P 500 Index was down -20.2% (peak-to-trough, 9/20/19- 12/24/19), and the threat of moving into a global recession loomed large.  In other words, the first quarter was almost a mirror image of the fourth quarter.

What triggered equities to drop to bear market levels then to abruptly – and I mean abruptly! – reverse?

What's Your (Money) Relationship Status?

It’s time to have a talk. The “what are we doing here?” talk. But this time, instead of sitting down with your significant other to talk about your relationship with each other, it’s time to have “the talk” about your relationship to money. We understand that everyone has a different past, personality, and approach to handling their finances. The more you come to understand the motives and values  that guide your money habits and tendencies, the more intentional and mindful your overall approach will be. And that’s what we want for you, to be intentional with your finances, and to be inspired to live your values.

Dead Cat Bounce, Or Bull Market?

A “dead cat bounce” is a temporary recovery from a decline in equity markets. Downtrends are interrupted by brief periods of recovery — small rallies — when prices temporarily rise. The term is based on the notion that even a dead cat will bounce if it falls far and fast enough.  

I know – it’s a terrible analogy, especially for cat lovers like myself. But it’s a well-known term in the industry, and likely apropos to what has been occurring in equities over the past few weeks.   

The Cost of Chasing Money

I’ve worked in the financial services sector for most of my career. For big and small companies, from Wall Street to London to Richmond. The same theme emerges over and over again: Money is not about money – it’s about desire.

We all have painful patterns around money, desires we think money can help us achieve, and money fears and insecurities. But over-spending, over-working, accumulating debt, avoiding reviewing our investment statements – these are just symptoms of a deeper need or desire. 

Global Equities Taking a (Big) Breather... What's Next?

Recent selling has been relentless, with the S&P 500 index down -8.7% since the start of October, and about flat for the year. The index remains on track for its worst month since 2010. Global equities (US and international) have lost almost $8 trillion of value this month, and is set to be the biggest wipe-out since the height of the financial crisis a decade ago.

A bear market is defined by most as a decline in equities of 20% or more. Many are asking, are we heading into a bear market?

Will the Markets Have a Tariff Tantrum?

The first half of the year has been filled with a series of worries and shocks. A looming trade war. Rising interest rates. A stronger U.S. dollar.  Anti-European Union sentiment in Europe. A potential nuclear showdown with North Korea. Yet for all its gyrations and mood swings, U.S. equities made progress in the first half of the year, up 2.5%.

Raising Mindful Money Geniuses: 5 Messages To Teach Your Kids

If you’re like many parents, the thought of having a money talk probably sends you into a cold sweat even more than the birds and the bees. But there’s no time to lose – studies have found that kids start absorbing money messages very early on. And while money can’t buy happiness, it’s closely intertwined to a sense of abundance in life.

The Punch Bowl is Gone, Volatility is Back

Even though we think global recession risk remains low – at least for this year – markets are responding to "the punch bowl being taken away" (meaning, less accommodative monetary policies.) With less accommodative policies comes the possibility of less robust growth. And Trump’s newly minted tariffs on selected imports are not helping the situation.