Beverly Award Program Honors the Achievement of Saint-Laurent Associates

March 18, 2015 by  
Filed under Experience and Credentials

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Saint-Laurent Advisors Receives 2014 Best of Beverly Award

Beverly Award Program Honors the Achievement

BEVERLY April 23, 2014 — Saint-Laurent Advisors has been selected for the 2014 Best of Beverly Award in the Investment Advisory Services category by the Beverly Award Program.

Each year, the Beverly Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Beverly area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2014 Beverly Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Beverly Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Beverly Award Program

The Beverly Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Beverly area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Beverly Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Beverly Award Program CONTACT: Beverly Award Program Email: PublicRelations@recognitionawarding.com URL: http://www.recognitionawarding.com

2014 Year End & 1st Quarter 2015 Market Review / Outlook

March 17, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, Financial Information, Financial Tips, Latest Posts

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First Quarter, 2015 Market Review & Updates

Our Investors have benefited from the stock market recovery, which began in March 2009.  Most market indices collectively trended higher in a low-interest rate environment as corporate earnings improved in a lackluster economy stimulated only by the low interest rate environment.

If the U.S. economic growth continues to improve at a slow, but steady pace, the Federal Reserve Bank is likely to postpone raising interest rates, a key factor of stock market growth the last five years.   At present, we have lower oil and gasoline prices, which will contribute to low inflation, and hopefully low enough not to warrant an interest rate increase.   Historically, the Federal Reserve begins to raise rates when the annual GDP (Growth Domestic Product) rate hits 3%.  It is expected that GDP will hit 3% in 2015.  However, if the U.S. workforce doesn’t see a significant rise in wages, and consumer prices remain steady, the FED is likely to postpone raising interest rates.  This may prolong the economic expansion and the bull market in stocks.

Since the stock market’s current valuation level had surpassed the historical average, we probably won’t see annual gains as large as what we experienced for the past few years.  We are not likely to realize annual gains of over 20% and beyond, in 2015.  With the market’s multiple a few points above the historical average, annual gains of approximately 10% would be more reasonable.   There is still room for expansion in the market if the U.S. economy continues to post gains as measured by annual GDP growth, and the revenue/ earnings growth of individual companies.

No one should expect that the average price-earnings ratio of the market will be a great indicator of how the market will perform going forward.  The market’s direction will have more to do with the health of the economy.   We can expect modest sell-offs for profit-taking throughout 2015.  Corrections of 10% would likely be the result of some significant negative news that would affect a large portion of the world’s economy, or an event that would trigger fear in the markets.

Since the U.S. economy is showing steady increases, as measured by GDP growth, the market is likely to end 2015 higher than it is now.  That is, if annual GDP growth hits the estimate of over 3% this year.  We can expect sell-offs along the way, but the overall direction of the market should continue upwards as the economy continues to show increases.

Rather than try to figure out when the FED will raise interest rates, it pays to simply ride an uptrend using solid risk management strategies.  The smartest way to stay safe is to diversify, not just within assets classes but with various strategies.  In times like these, and during uninterrupted uptrend’s, many investors become complacent.  That is usually a mistake.   To effectively grow wealth over the long term and to mitigate overall risk, one proven strategy is dollar-cost- averaging.  This strategy takes emotion and the guesswork of trying to time the market out of the equation.           

When asked what makes Saint-Laurent Associates different than other investment advisors or financial services firms we note one of many facts, not least of which is that we will not follow what we consider to be outdated planning or investment strategies.  We continue to strive to seek out more current, non-traditional means to stop investors from utilizing outdated methods pushed by the main-stream financial services industry such as the “Buy and Hold” and “Modern Portfolio Theory”.  Sometimes tactical investment, alternative investments and certain guaranteed contracts need to be considered.

Stock markets can be a roller coaster – record gains – or big letdowns.  Either way, it is always best to reduce volatility.  Also, to help you sleep easier at night we follow through with income planning, in order to ensure that you don’t run out of money in your retirement years.

Remember how content everyone was while we had such a great market run before 2008?  So is it Déjà vu, all over again?  How can you be prepared for this type of market correction, again?

The short answer be prepared for inevitabilities market corrections as in 2000 and 2008.  Because many do not have strategies in place to fit their risk tolerance, even worse, most investors think their tolerance to risk is much higher than it truly is. 

How do you determine your true risk tolerance?  The basic answer is to ask the proper questions in the first place, in a format that anyone can understand quickly.  Contrary to what you may thing, most conventional risk questionnaires are not easy to understand, nor complete and can be ambiguous.  For instance, answer the following question yourself: If you suffer a 30 percent loss in your portfolio overnight, what percentage gain would be required to bring you back to even?” You would be surprised how many people answer, “30 percent.” However, a client who suffers 30 percent loss followed by a 30 percent gain is still down 15 percent.

What if we told you that you could rest easily knowing you had no down-side risk and only have to participate in 27% of the up-side of any annual stock market in order to beat average returns? The chart below proves this is possible.  The key is to control the losses, or another term we like to use: reduce “draw-downs”!                                                    

How do we reduce the draw-downs? By utilizing proper tactical strategies that limit draw-downs.

The bottom line is we may have the best investment advice and strategies available but if we are recommending them based upon a flawed assumptions – including unrealistic risk tolerances – then optimal results are unlikely.

Call us for a free, detailed risk tolerance assessment of your work retirement savings and personal investments.  If you can’t meet, we now have a quick and easy to understand process that you can take in the comfort of your own home.

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As always, we recommend regular reviewing of your estate and elder care plans, pending life – changing decisions, investments strategies, insurance coverage’s, or just want to ask our opinion of anything, please contact us.  Many problems and damage to family relations can result from incomplete estate planning.

It is necessary that we, as your financial advisors, have certain estate planning documents on file to make sure that accounts can be quickly and easily transitioned to surviving spouses and, or beneficiaries.  If not, assets may likely be held up in probate court for months and, or subjected to potential law suits, while costing you hundreds or thousands in fees. Contact us to review your estate planning documents and recommend an attorney if necessary.

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Please be advised the IRS has changed rules on IRA to IRA rollovers. Beginning January 1st, owners can rollover only one time per year.  If this new rule is violated, the ineligible funds will be treated as taxable distributions to the IRA owner and contributions to the IRA receiving the funds. In addition, if in violation, IRA owners are subject to a 6% penalty on the amount of the receiving IRA each year until removed.

Also, many companies have made changes that benefit the employees in company sponsored 401k, 403b and other benefit plans. Now employees can roll-over part of their company retirement plans to their own self-directed IRA. This is great for consumers because it allows for more options, assets classes, strategies and lower costs.

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According to a recent Christian Science Monitor article

“Assets in 529 college savings plans (which differ from 529 prepaid tuition plans) fell from a record high in the first quarter to $157.5 billion in the second quarter – a 0.5 percent decrease, according to Financial Research Corp. (FRC) in Boston. In the third quarter of 2011, net inflows were negative – more funds flowed out than flowed in – the first time that happened since the middle of the Great Recession. In the first half of this year, net inflows were nearly 7 percent below the same period last year and about 60 percent below The second quarter’s $2.9 billion in net inflows (contributions minus withdrawals) were 12 percent lower than they were a year earlier, and down nearly half from their prerecession heyday in the mid-2000s.”

Consequently, many are realizing that whole life insurance, especially cash value life insurance, as a college savings tool is a better option. After the stock market crash in 2008, many have stopped contributing to 529 plans for their children’s education and instead began using cash value life insurance for college savings.

The reason is – no surprise – safety.  Taking a hit to your investment portfolio is one thing. You have to expect that to a certain degree. But when your children’s college savings starts losing value, it’s time to rethink your strategy.

IMPORTANT: Not just any life insurance policy will do if  being used as an investment vehicle.  Talk to us to make sure you choose the proper insurance policy and a highly rated company.

As always, we recommend that you schedule a meeting with us, at regular intervals, and as soon as possible.