Friday, January 15, 2016

Chuck Donalies: 2015 in Review

From: Chuck Donalies, CFP  On Behalf Of Chuck Donalies, CFP
Sent: Tuesday, January 12, 2016 5:48 PM
Subject: 2015 In Review

“There is an end to everything, to good things as well.” – Geoffrey Chaucer, circa 1374

The quote from Chaucer isn’t particularly inspiring at the start of a New Year, but it’s appropriate given how the U.S. stock market ended 2015: Despite a rally during the fourth quarter, the six-year streak of gains in stocks came to an end. The average diversified U.S. stock fund lost 2.1% during the year. The bad news continued with the average diversified foreign stock fund was 1.3% for the year. The bright spot, if you want to call it that, was that bond funds were nearly flat, with the average intermediate fund down only 0.1%.

“Uncertainty”, specifically how it relates to global financial markets, might be a candidate for Word of the Year. Reasons for uncertainty included the following:
  • Would the Federal Reserve finally begin raising interest rates? Spoiler: It did.
  • How will the 2016 presidential election play out? For now, it’s providing good material for SNL.
  • Also, how long can Trump stay in the race? Answer: Far longer than anyone expected.
  • How will the big declines in China’s stock market affect the rest of the world? Not well.
  • Will the price of oil continue to fall? All signs point to yes.
Was there any good news in 2015? Definitely:
  • The U.S. economy continued to improve and expand.
  • Unemployment reached 5%, the lowest it’s been in years.
  • Total U.S. household net worth was $20 billion higher than the pre-recession peak in 2007.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens was surprisingly good.
Many of the uncertainties that caused problems during 2015 will continue to affect us in the New Year. Financial markets are on a rollercoaster ride, but I believe the U.S. economy looks good when compared to other countries around the world. As usual, my advice is to ignore the talking heads and instead focus on your own goals.

I hope 2016 is off to a good start for you! Don’t forget to call me if you or someone you know happens to win the $1.3 billion Powerball jackpot. I strive to provide you with the tools and resources to help you achieve your financial goals. Thank you for your trust and confidence.

Chuck Donalies, CFP®

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