PLEASE NOTE: ANGLIA ADVISORS IS NOW WORKING REMOTELY AND IS BOTH FULLY OPERATIONAL AND TAKING ON NEW CLIENTS. CONNECTIONS VIA VIDEO-CONFERENCE, PHONE, EMAIL, ENCRYPTED TEXTING AND VERIFYLE WORKSPACES ALL CONTINUE TO BE AVAILABLE.

A MESSAGE FROM SIMON

MY TAKE ON THE CURRENT MARKET CONDITIONS AS WELL AS THAT OF SOME OF OUR BUSINESS PARTNERS AND SELECT FINANCIAL PROFESSIONALS THAT I HAVE COME TO PERSONALLY TRUST, INCLUDING LINKS TO USEFUL RESOURCES.

PLEASE KEEP CHECKING BACK HERE FOR UPDATES DURING THIS PERIOD OF MARKET VOLATILITY.

WEEKLY MARKET RECAP FROM THE JP MORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT TEAM

(posted Monday 07/06/2020)

If reviewing this kind of stuff is your thing, I’ll post these market reviews each Monday ..

Screenshot

TOXIC .. DO NOT TOUCH!

(posted Saturday 07/04/2020)

In these strange times, the scumbag scam artists in my profession are out in force, preying on people’s enhanced level of fear and peddling their crap that makes them rich on commissions and is hazardous to their clients’ wealth. One of their favorite instruments is the Non-Traded REIT. Please run a mile if anyone tries to sell to sell you one of these.

“ASKING PEOPLE WHY THEY’RE BUYING GOLD IS LIKE ASKING PEOPLE WHY THEY SMOKE WEED”

(posted Friday 07/03/2020)

Classic headline. Interesting article. See here.

LOOKED AT LIKE THIS, 2020 SEEMS LIKE A PRETTY DULL YEAR IN THE STOCK MARKET

(posted Wednesday 07/01/2020)

See here.

WEEKLY MARKET RECAP FROM THE JP MORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT TEAM

(posted Monday 06/29/2020)

If reviewing this kind of stuff is your thing, I’ll post these market reviews each Monday ..

Screen+Shot+2020-06-29+at+11.08.30+AM

IT’S TIME TO DECIDE WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THOSE AIRLINE CREDIT CARDS!

(posted Saturday 06/27/2020)

See here.

PROBABLY THE MOST OVERLOOKED NO-BRAINER OF PERSONAL FINANCE FOR ANYONE WITH TEENAGE KIDS

(posted Thursday 06/25/2020)

See here.

THE MATH BEHIND WHY TRYING TO TIME THE MARKET ALL THE TIME IS SO F**^#G STUPID

(posted Wednesday 06/24/2020)

Time in the market, not timing the market, is what drives returns. Let’s take a look at how the world’s worst ever market timer would do and learn some lessons from it.

STOP GUESSING, WE DON’T KNOW YET .. LEARN FROM THE AIR CONDITIONER

(posted Tuesday 06/23/2020)

I’ve been as guilty as many, but I’m really trying to stop being one of these tiresome people who simply takes our current situation and projects it forward, confidently asserting that this is how things will be, these are the things that will die out, this is the device or way of life that will be critical and all the old ways that we will never see again. They use words and phrases like “definitely”, “obviously”, “it’s clear that ..”, “one thing’s for sure: ..” etc. Fact is, we have no idea, it’s just the mostly uneducated guesses of amateur future historians that completely leave out probably the most important elements; luck and the laws of unintended consequences. Learn from the air conditioner.

WEEKLY MARKET RECAP FROM THE JP MORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT TEAM

(posted Monday 06/22/2020)

If reviewing this kind of stuff is your thing, I’ll post these market reviews each Monday ..

image-asset

COURTESY OF JP MORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT ..

NEARLY 75,000 DESTINATIONS

(posted Sunday 06/21/2020)

Now things are easing in some states, here are some places to maybe go see shown in amazing map.

Now things are easing in some states, here are some places to maybe go see shown in amazing map.

(posted Monday 06/15/2020)

If reviewing this kind of stuff is your thing, I’ll post these market reviews each Monday ..

Screen+Shot+2020-06-15+at+2.01.52+PM

COURTESY OF JP MORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT ..

TOP FIVE SUNDAY TRIVIA ..

(posted Sunday 06/14/2020)

The S&P 500 index has about 500 component stocks (actually 505). These components are weighted by market capitalization - essentially in order of how big the companies are; the bigger the company, the higher the weighting.

  • What percent of the index is represented by just the five biggest companies right now? What are the five biggest companies’ names in size order?

  • What was this percentage at the beginning of 2014? What were the five biggest companies’ names in size order back then?

All is revealed here.

THE BEAR CASE ..

(posted Wednesday 06/10/2020)

How bad might things get in the stock market? The statistical evidence.

THE BULL CASE ..

(posted Tuesday 06/09/2020)

Is this the beginning of a new bull market in stocks? The statistical evidence.

WEEKLY MARKET RECAP FROM THE JP MORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT TEAM

(posted Monday 06/08/2020)

If reviewing this kind of stuff is your thing, I’ll post these market reviews each Monday ..

june eight

COURTESY OF JP MORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT ..

RACE, RIOTS AND MARKETS

(posted Sunday 06/07/2020)

A must-read article putting today’s protests against institutionalized racial violence into a historical context.

THE PRICE OF GOLD OVER THE YEARS

(posted Thursday 06/04/2020)

The role of gold in a portfolio is often hotly debated. Here is the extraordinary history of its price.

WEEKLY MARKET RECAP FROM THE JP MORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT TEAM

(posted Monday 06/01/2020)

If reviewing this kind of stuff is your thing, I’ll post these market reviews each Monday ..

june one

COURTESY OF JP MORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT ..

US STOCKS IN 2020 .. HOW ARE WE DOING?

(posted Sunday 05/31/2020)

Laid bare .. the incredible, the good, the bad, the ugly and the complete basket-cases of the S&P 500 so far in 2020

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD ..

(posted Wednesday 05/27/2020)

..is shown here.

WEEKLY MARKET RECAP FROM THE JP MORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT TEAM

(posted Tuesday 05/26/2020)

If reviewing this kind of stuff is your thing, I’ll post these market reviews each week ..

may 26

COURTESY OF JP MORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT ..

GLOBAL ANXIETY INDEX

(posted Sunday 05/23/2020)

Who is the most anxious of us all? Deloitte provides the answers. Soccer just started again in Germany. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

COVID-19: MAKING SENSE OF ALL THE NUMBERS

(posted Saturday 05/23/2020)

There’s so much out there, this graphic helps make sense of it.

THE S&P 500 IS NOW UP OVER THE LAST YEAR

(posted Tuesday 05/19/2020)

Just sayin’ ..

may 19

Source: StockCharts.com

WEEKLY MARKET RECAP FROM THE JP MORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT TEAM

(posted Monday 05/18/2020)

If reviewing this kind of stuff is your thing, I’ll post these market reviews each Monday ..

may 18

COURTESY OF JP MORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT ..

NEED MORE FINANCIAL AID FOR COLLEGE? .. JUST ASK

(posted Saturday 05/16/2020)

Yep. Really.

SOME THOUGHTS, WORRIES AND QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CRISIS

(posted Sunday 05/10/2020)

I’m gonna do one of these soon, thoughts and ideas as they pop into my head. This one from Ben Carlson is great, including some mind-blowing data from Goldman Sachs and the oh, so true quote: “Markets are not always right but investors are wrong more than the market is”

GREAT RESOURCE: WALL STREET JOURNAL ON HOW TO NAVIGATE LIFE DURING THIS PANDEMIC

(posted Thursday 05/07/2020)

From how to navigate the grocery store to tips on cleaning your home. From how the stimulus package affects you to how to best address non-corona related medical issues, the Wall Street Journal has made much of its legendary reporting available to all at this time without a subscription and have produced (and will continually update) this collection of timely and practical articles.

“WE NEED TO TALK” .. AN AGENDA FOR A FAMILY CONFERENCE ON PERSONAL FINANCES

(posted Wednesday 05/06/2020)

Lockdown is a perfect time to hold that family talk you’ve been putting off for ages. No, not that one; the financial one. Here’s what you may need on your agenda ..

WHY STOCK INVESTING WORKS, (EVEN - ESPECIALLY? - IN THE CURRENT ENVIRONMENT)

(posted Tuesday 05/05/2020)

Investing is often very mistakenly compared with roulette. In fact they could barely be more different; a roulette wheel has a built-in expectation of loss to the player over time, the stock market has a built-in expectation of gain to the investor over time. This great article by Nick Maggiulli, a Data Scientist for Ritholtz Wealth Management shows how investing systematically for long periods of time in the stock market (and not in individual stocks, which work completely differently) is actually a no-brainer when you do the math.

MISLED BY COVID COUNTRY DATA?

(posted Monday 05/04/2020)

From the streets of Albany to the pages of Facebook. From Twitter to the capitol building in Michigan. From government press briefings to sloppily sourced journalism, statistical distortion of coronavirus information either deliberately in promotion of an agenda, or just through plain ignorance, is everywhere. This video explains how easily we can be misled by some of the most commonly touted data. In an era when ignorance and un-enlightenment are often celebrated as perfectly acceptable traits instead of being the cause of embarrassment that they should be, at least you may be better able to interpret, and protect yourself against disinformation about, this particular subset of coronavirus data properly after watching this

WHAT WILL 2020 AND 2021 LOOK LIKE AROUND THE WORLD?

(posted Sunday 05/03/2020)

As the narrative begins to shift from shock at where we are and how we got here to what will coming out of this maybe look like, the International Monetary Fund (a far from infallible organization, it must be said) produced an assessment of how the next couple of years will look for countries around the world.

STOCKS IN THE LONG TERM - AND I MEAN REALLY LONG TERM

(posted Sunday 04/26/2020)

Us financial planners love to talk about the “long term” when we talk about stocks. And by that we usually mean somewhere between 10 and 50 years, depending who we are talking to and the exact context of the conversation. But what about really, really long term? What does that look like back to 1870 with all the crashes along the way? It looks like this. Great for context right now.

(Source: Morningstar)

DO AMERICANS THINK REAL ESTATE IS A BETTER LONG TERM INVESTMENT THAN STOCKS? RIGHT NOW, OF COURSE THEY DO!

(posted Saturday 04/25/2020)

Stocks have hurt us all the last few weeks. Homes have given us much-needed shelter. You can tell that guy in your town is wealthy because you can see his big house, but you can’t see his investment account. Of course, right now Americans prefer real estate over stocks as a long term investment. Boy, are they wrong!

THE NEW BEST RESOURCE I KNOW OF FOR ALL STIMULUS INFORMATION

(posted Friday 04/24/2020)

This is an excellent and seemingly well updated database for all things stimulus and CARES Act, including a listing of participating banks (with links) in the Paycheck Protection Programs, details of and links to all the different state programs and much more.

TEMPTED TO PANIC SELL BECAUSE OF THE MARKETS? PLEASE DON’T. HERE’S WHY

(posted Thursday 04/23/2020)

On 04/08 on this page I showed a chart of the psychology of investors over a market cycle and how anxiety, denial and panic dominate in the down part of the cycle. This often leads to investors doing what us personal finance professionals say is exactly the opposite to what is good for them. Here’s why we say that.

OIL PRICES BELOW ZERO? HTF DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN?

(posted Tuesday 04/21/2020)

If you are one of these people who cannot get their heads around the concept that a commodity can cost less than zero, read here how it happened.

OUR NEW WORLD

(posted Saturday 04/18/2020)

An amazing snapshot of where we have got to in just six weeks. Is it a deep dive? Yes. Is it packed with fascinating charts and stats? For sure. Should you take the time out to read this and get a better understanding of where we are? Absolutely.

(Courtesy of global technology investment firm, Bond)

PERSONAL INVESTING BASICS DURING CORONAVIRUS - WEBINAR .. Simon

(posted Saturday 04/18/2020)

I recently co-hosted a webinar from My Financial Counsel in which we discussed the challenges and recommended mindset of saving and investing at this time. You can see a recording of it here.

THE PAYROLL PROTECTION PROGRAM MONEY IS ALL USED UP .. Simon

(posted Thursday 04/16/2020)

It was announced this morning that the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) has already hit its limit of $349 billion. It appears to mean that if your loan application has not been approved yet, you are likely excluded from funding. If you've applied but not yet been approved, at this point the recommendation is to contact your bank and find out the status of your application. I, like you, am an outsider here and there is no further information I can provide at this time.

It is to be hoped that the federal government will appropriate additional funds for the program. There seems to be intention from both sides but partisan disagreement on how that should be done. I will try to provide updates as things develop.

NOTE: This does not impact Direct Stimulus Payments to individuals which, as of now, are still being processed and paid.

WHAT IS YOUR COVID OCCUPATIONAL RISK SCORE?

(posted Wednesday 04/15/2020)

Amazing graphic showing the occupations that are most at risk.

COLLEGE DISRUPTED BY COVID? - THERE’S A RELIEF FUND FOR THAT .. Simon

(posted Wednesday 04/15/2020)

College students have had their academic year wrecked by the virus. In many cases, this has caused unforeseen expenses for them and/or their families, including course materials and technology as well as food, housing, health care and childcare. Although colleges and universities have not exactly been shouting it from the rooftops, they have been provided with a fund from which they must give grants to their students to covers expenses incurred by educational disruption. Read more here and contact your college.

DEFERRAL OF LIFE INSURANCE PREMIUMS IN NEW YORK

(posted Monday 04/13/2020)

If you can affirm that you have suffered financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 and hold a life insurance policy issued by a New York-regulated provider, you may be eligible for deferral of some or all of your upcoming premiums. See here for more detail.

THE TRUTH ABOUT TOILET PAPER (SPOILER: IT’S NOT REALLY ABOUT HOARDING)

(posted Saturday 04/11/2020)

Read it here.

STUDENT LOANS AND THE CARES ACT, IT’S STILL COMPLICATED

(posted Friday 04/24/2020)

There has been much confusion and misinformation about eligibility and the terms of the relief provided to student loan borrowers by the CARES Act. Here is a recent summary of the latest interpretations and resources.

AUTO INSURANCE PROVIDERS STARTING TO RETURN SOME PREMIUMS, MORE TO COME?

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF INVESTING THROUGH A COMPLETE MARKET CYCLE

(posted Wednesday 04/08/2020)

This is not Corona Crisis-specific - it applies at all times. We have seen a compression of time in which the decline from the peak has occurred, but the human psychological responses have not changed.

Psychology+of+Investors

ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOAN, EMERGENCY GRANT AND PAYCHECK PROTECTION LOAN FROM SBA - THE APPLICATION PROCESS .. Simon

(posted Wednesday 04/01/2020)

Here is where and how to apply for the SBA economic injury disaster loans (EIDL), the emergency advance of up to $10,000 and the Paycheck Protection Loan for small businesses, private non-profits, sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed individuals harmed by the COVID-19 virus and its economic consequences.

To access the advance, you first apply for an EIDL and then request the advance. The advance does not need to be repaid under any circumstance, and may be used to keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent, and mortgage payments.

Eligibility has been expanded to include:

  • Business entities with 500 or fewer employees:
  • Sole proprietorships, with or without employees
  • Independent contractors
  • Cooperatives and employee owned businesses
  • Tribal small businesses
  • Private non-profits of any size.

 How to Apply:

You must have been in business as of January 31, 2020.  The expanded eligibility criteria and the emergency grants are only available between January 31, 2020 and December 31, 2020, but as early an application as possible is recommended

Paycheck Protection Loan:

Here is the process for applying for the Paycheck Protection Program funds through the CARES Act:

To apply for the program you must go through an approved 7(a) lender – which would be your financial institution. So it you haven’t already, reach out to them immediately for guidance & the application.

More Information:

For more information about SBA loan programs, please visit theSmall Business Administration website. More information about small business programs in the CARES Act can be found on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship website.

JUST HOW CRAZY WERE MARKETS IN MARCH? THE CRAZIEST IN HISTORY (BUT NOT THE WORST), IT’S OFFICIAL .. Simon

THE STIMULUS PACKAGE - WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU .. Simon

Screen+Shot+2020-03-30+at+3.39.13+PM

BETTERMENT MESSAGES TO INVESTORS:

REQUIRED MINIMUM DISTRIBUTIONS (RMDs) SUSPENDED FOR 2020 .. Simon

(posted Sunday 03/29/2020)

As a result of the stimulus package recently enacted by the federal government in response to the potential economic damage created by the coronavirus, 2020 RMDs have been suspended and there will be no need to take them this calendar year. Anglia Advisors will, therefore, not be making that transaction for clients in any managed accounts. If you have any other accounts elsewhere that require RMDs due either to the nature of the account managed (eg., Inherited IRA) and/or your age (eg., Traditional IRA, 401k) and you have set up to automatically take them, remember to stop payment. Any 2020 payments already taken this year are only refundable back into the account by means of a rollover within 60 days of the withdrawal date.  

You can see more about this RMD suspension here.

WALL STREET JOURNAL CRISIS COVERAGE FOR FREE - NO SUBSCRIPTION NEEDED .. Simon

(posted Friday 03/27/2020)

The Wall Street Journal has pulled down its paywall enough to allow viewing of a curated list of many of its articles specifically related to the Coronavirus crisis without the need for a paid subscription .. You can find the collection here.

$2,000,000,000,000 .. THE STIMULUS PACKAGE .. Simon

A brief summary:

  • Direct payments to families of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child for households making up to $75,000, based on the most recently-submitted tax return or social security statement.
  • Expansion of unemployment benefits to include people furloughed, gig workers and freelancers. Benefits increased by $600 per week for a period of four months.
  • The $500 billion fund for loans to corporate America (what Democrats were calling a “slush fund” when the Treasury was solely in charge) will be overseen by an inspector general and a congressional panel. Every loan document will be public.
  • Hospitals will receive over $130 billion.
  • State and local governments to receive $150 billion.
  • Ban on stock buybacks for companies receiving government loans during the term of their assistance plus one year.
  • $367 billion loan program for small businesses.
  • Cash grants of $25 billion for airlines (this is in addition to loans), $4 billion for air cargo carriers, $3 billion for airline contractors (caterers etc.).

AN UPDATED SUMMARY OF POTENTIAL ACTIONS TO MAYBE CONSIDER TAKING AT THIS TIME .. Simon

(posted Wednesday 03/25/2020)

Just because the vast majority of objective advisors (including myself) may be guiding most of their clients to “do nothing” when it comes to selling out of their portfolio, it doesn’t mean that nothing can be done. Instead, recent market volatility does present a number of other financial and tax planning opportunities and potentially necessary adjustments that might not be readily apparent mid-crisis. I have discussed a few of these in various posts before now, but I thought it would be a good idea to collect them here all in one place and add a couple of new ones.

It is essential to understand that the absolute priority is to ensure that your liquid cash at hand is sufficient for you to ride out your likely upcoming income scenario. Some of the following suggestions involve increasing the purchase of securities in long term accounts or spending money in other ways. Do not even consider any of these if doing so would lead to problems with your short/medium term cash flow, which is far more important.

Having said that, here are some actions for certain people to consider taking in the current climate ..

  • If you have concentrated stock positions, perhaps in employer stock, that have fallen at least as far as the overall market or more, now may be a good time to consider exchanging some or all of them for a low cost, diversified market index fund as the capital gains generated will be either lower or maybe even no longer existent in some cases.
  • If you have planned investments for later this year that can be accelerated and invested now, that may also be a good plan. Examples would be 529 plan contributions, IRA contributions etc.
  • Consider increasing your recurring automated contributions if you are more than 15 years away from likely retirement. The simplest and most effective way to do this is to immediately increase the % of your salary you contribute to your 401k, 403b, 457 plan etc. but this can also be done in your brokerage account (for example, if you already max out your workplace plan contribution).
  • If you haven’t already done so, sign up for a service like Acorns where money you don’t feel can now be invested at lower prices. Use some of their options to accelerate the savings or make regular deposits aside from just the round-ups. I have personally set it up to put a small amount of dollars literally every day into the market, as well as an acceleration of the round-ups.
  • Reassess the level of your Emergency Fund and begin to think where you would go to next for money in the case that the Emergency Fund runs out.
  • Look closely into refinancing your mortgage at this time as the Federal Reserve is using lower interest rates as a weapon to try and forestall an economic collapse. Existing clients can contact me for a referral to lender-agnostic mortgage brokers who can tell you more. Bear in mind, however, that the process may not be as smooth or timely as usual as getting participants together to close the deal is trickier and staff at the lenders may be less accessible.
  • Those of you with your assets managed by Anglia Advisors can be assured that a process of automated rebalancing (in the case of a rapidly falling stock market, selling bonds and buying stocks whenever a 3% or 5% drift occurs from our originally determined balance between the two) has been regularly taking place and will continue to do so. Those of you invested elsewhere where such automated rebalancing-by-drift does not occur should probably take a look at how your current balance compares with what you wanted it to be at the outset and consider whether a rebalance is overdue to get it back to where it needs to be. Manual rebalancing without specific software and experience can be particularly painful and complex in multi-asset portfolios and is a strong argument for using an automated service such as Betterment that I use to manage client assets.
  • Same with tax loss harvesting, the process by which losses are deliberately taken on some part of the portfolio in order to produce tax credits which are then immediately applied to gains that are taken from other parts of the portfolio. Once again, those of you with your assets managed by Anglia Advisors can be assured that this process has been happening regularly on an algorithmic basis when such opportunities arise. Those of you invested elsewhere where such automated tax loss harvesting does not occur will need either attempt to do this yourself (not encouraged, it’s a complex and time consuming task) or get your advisor to do so using their firm’s rebalancing software.
  • Look into money you may not have to pay, at least for the moment .. recent initiatives (some on a state rather than federal level) have offered some form of relief from federal student loan interest (see just below), mortgage and rental payments and certain payments for small businesses. Bear in mind that these initiatives are literally brand new and there may be confusion on the exact terms as all those who need to learn about them do so. Be patient and tolerant of knowledge gaps, late changes to rules and delays. As for credit cards, it is definitely worth contacting your card provider and asking them what relief they can offer. I have anecdotal evidence that they are currently open to the idea. It is not as the result of any kind of government mandate, so policies will be very different from one provider to another and you need to contact each of them.
  • If you have a child at college and have recently received a refund of some kind from that college due to their inability to offer classes or the student’s inability to complete them and that is a refund from a payment originally made from a 529 plan, you may be able to put that money back into the 529 plan via a rollover (and therefore not counting as part of an annual contribution), provided you do so within 60 days of it being issued.
  • Review your estate planning documentation, including advance medical directives. Understand that a ventilator such as one that may be used to treat a COVID-19 patient may very well be considered a form of artificial life support and that could subject it to coverage by certain clauses in your medical directives. Make sure you are comfortable with those. Many of you with non-complex cases have no estate documents yet in place and would now like to get some but are not able or willing to go and sit with an estate attorney, Anglia Advisors can, through its partnership with Helios, provide a “contactless” process of providing a set of estate documents, including a will, a trust, advanced medical directives, a Health Care Proxy, a Power of Attorney, HIPAA Release forms, A General Transfer Document and, where necessary, real estate deed filings. You can make all the arrangements from home with your financial advisor. Contact us for more details.
  • Remember, the search for the market bottom is futile. Ask yourself before making a purchase or sale of an asset “What would my 65-70 year-old self think of this transaction?”
  • Keep reading this page and check in as often as possible!
  • And, to repeat Downtown Josh Brown’s quote:

“ABC .. Always Be Cool. You only have control of one thing; your own actions. The other stuff will work itself out, regardless of what you think or say or do. So be cool. Be armed with context, wisdom, patience, humility and a sense of humor. See you on the other side.” - The Reformed Broker, 03/09/2020

As more potential actions, adjustments or opportunities become available, I will add them. Existing clients can contact me for help with any of this. Prospective clients can schedule a Discovery Call.

CYBER-ATTACK WARNING .. Simon

(posted Wednesday 03/25/2020)

As repulsive as it may sound, there are people out there looking to specifically exploit the Coronavirus crisis by conducting cyberattacks. The following is typical of warnings being issued particularly by financial institutions. Please read this and beware:

The public's growing concern for the coronavirus is being exploited by cybercriminals, who are carrying out e-scams to get private information from users. 

The types of cyberattacks that are being carried out to engage in these crimes are mainly:

  • Phishing: emails in which they impersonate an official organization and attempt to redirect the user, via a link, to a fake website where they can enter their personal and/or banking details. They may also contain an attachment infected with malware.
  • Smishing: the modus operandi is the same, but the channels used are SMS and instant messaging tools such as WhatsApp.

Be careful and stay alert if you receive any of the following fraudulent emails or messages related to the coronavirus that are making the online rounds these days:

  1. WhatsApp message pretending to be from the Ministry of Health with some recommendations for dealing with the new disease. The text features the headline 'CORONAVIRUS ALERT. Urgent message from the Ministry of Health' and contains a link that redirects users to a fake website selling masks.
  2. An email in which they impersonate the company's internal department and invite the recipient to download a PDF, infected with malware, with the protocol that the company has activated for communicable diseases.
  3. An email claiming to be from the World Health Organization (WHO) that includes a button to download safety measures (written in English, Security measures). The email is signed by one Dr. Stella Chungong.
  4. An email from sender CDC-Covid19@cdc.gov at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), informing of the spread of the coronavirus and requesting donations via bitcoin. The email, written in English, is signed by the Division of eHealth Marketing. There is another email pretending to be from the CDC that has a malicious attachment that allegedly contains the latest statistics on the affected victims.
  5. Several online maps have also been detected showing the number of people in each country infected by the coronavirus. The websites and applications that host them contain spyware and malware and have been designed to infect users' devices.
  6. Scammers are also extracting personal details by pretending to set up testing appointments.

The following security recommendations and practices should help you identify this type of cyberattack and properly protect your sensitive information and devices:

  • First, no official agency ever requests personal data via phone, email, SMS or WhatsApp, so never provide your details through any of these channels.
  • Verify the sender of the emails and any links they include by looking at the sending email address very carefully and be wary if they contain strange letters and characters. They will sometimes use authentic-looking addresses that are just one letter different than the one you would expect. You always have to check the website address a link wants to take you to before clicking on it.
  • Don't download any attachment on COVID-19 without first making sure that it is from a legitimate source. As the authorities have stated, you won't get the cure for the coronavirus through the mail.
  • Don't download unofficial applications that claim to show the global scope of the coronavirus.
  • Avoid spreading content that has not been verified, since it can be part of a malicious disinformation campaign or an attack on the receiving device.

STUDENT LOAN INTEREST FREEZE: AN UPDATE .. Simon

(posted Wednesday 03/25/2020)

The Department of Education has now provided some clarification .. it was announced that the interest rate on all Federally-provided student loans will automatically drop to 0% for a period of at least 60 days (pending further guidance) and borrowers have also been given the right to suspend payments for at least two months (pending further guidance). Notably, the reduction in the interest rate is automatic, but the loan payments will only stop if a forbearance is requested (or, in some cases, automatically if the borrower is late on payments). Thus, individuals who wish to stop payments must generally take proactive measures to do so. Call 1-800-4-FED-AID, or visit your loan servicer’s website to make the change.

STUDENT LOAN INTEREST FREEZE? MAYBE .. Simon

FAQ FROM THE IRS ON TAX FILING AND PAYMENT EXTENSIONS

NEW YORKERS: THE MORTGAGE RELIEF PLAN MAY NOT BE WHAT IT SEEMS .. Simon

INTEREST RATES CUT TO BASICALLY ZERO, ANGLIA GOES REMOTE, REBALANCING ETC. .. Simon

(posted Sunday 03/15/2020)

The Federal Reserve slashed its benchmark interest rate to near zero today and said it would buy $700 billion in Treasury and mortgage-backed securities in an aggressive bid to prevent market disruption from aggravating what is likely to be a severe slowdown from the coronavirus pandemic. Its target rate is now officially 0.25% but 0% is within its new band of acceptability. In a statement it said; “The coronavirus outbreak has harmed communities and disrupted economic activity in many countries, including the United States. The Federal Reserve is prepared to use its full range of tools to support the flow of credit to households and businesses.”

The most powerful of those tools, control of the benchmark interest rate, was used again today, but it is now unclear how that tool can be meaningfully used again, as that would mean negative interest rates, which is an Alice In Wonderland-world where banks can charge you to look after your own money and lenders can pay you if you take out a mortgage with them.

The immediate reaction of stock futures was to take another massive dive. There is still no visibility on COVID-19 containment in the United States and that is becoming very concerning to markets who are also looking for a more sensible and effective plan from the White House and Congress to deal with the economic and employment fallout, which is so far not forthcoming.

For those saving in High Yield Savings accounts, be prepared for your interest rates to temporarily fall to negligible levels. For a while at least, these accounts will not pay meaningfully more than bank savings accounts do now. But this is as the result of a very specific one-time strategy by the authorities to deal with a particular circumstance. This will pass.

In this environment, it is more important to ever for Anglia Advisors clients to try and focus on just one thing: Has the plan that we put together three years ago, three months ago or three weeks ago changed? In other words, if we were meeting now and discussing your financial picture for the first time, would it look any different to what we actually discussed when we did? If the answer is yes, then please contact me and we can review your plan and, if need be, make changes. That is a really useful discussion to be having. Among those changes might be be selling some stock in a falling market - but the point is that this is being done to account for a significant change in your personal circumstances and NOT because, of itself, it is a good idea.

I have taken the decision to operate remotely this coming week and will review this decision on a week-by-week basis going forward, but currently have no plans to schedule any face-to-face client or prospect meetings. In no way does this mean I am less accessible. Indeed, there’s a solid two hours + that I am gaining in my workday without the commute to and from Manhattan!

My ability to be reached by phone, encrypted text, email or video-conference is unaffected. My ability to onboard new clients and get started with them is unaffected. I can still hold Single Sessions or Foreign National consultations, they will just have to be by video-conference for the time being. Those of you on Monthly Memberships and Per Hour engagements can reach out. Professional Portfolio Management Only clients can email me about their managed portfolios. Prospects still deciding whether to move forward can do so at any time once they have made their decision.

I am acutely aware of the fact that all financial advisors will ultimately be judged at times like these - and that is how it should be. Not by simply watching as their clients got richer in an eleven year bull market. I was on Wall Street, on the other side of the curtain as an institutional broker, watching how things unfolded from the inside, in both 2000-2002 and 2007-2009. What did I learn from those experiences? That speculation and placing bets on stocks (especially individual stocks) is a road to ruin and it doesn’t even take a catastrophe of this magnitude to get you there, that you need a rules-based plan at the time you are building the portfolio and not be scrambling looking for the fire extinguisher in a kitchen that is already ablaze.

Emotion of any kind, fear, greed, FOMO, overconfidence (aka arrogance), hunches, taking advice from unqualified sources because it sounds good and those always-destructive gut feelings have no place in your investing life, ever. Especially not now.

Anglia Advisors clients have been placed in portfolios specifically designed to protect against market shocks. The paper damage is being done to the long end of the portfolios and not the short end that will have less time to recover. Clients’ ages and time horizons are paramount in any portfolio-building process. Some of you may even have got weary of the amount of times I referred to “time horizons” over and over again during the portfolio creation process. Well, welcome to the reason why!

Remember, the appropriate question to ask yourself is not “Is this the actual market bottom?” but rather, “In ten or twenty years (or whatever the associated time horizon is), is there a good chance I’ll be happy I invested at this level?”

Those of you with your assets managed by Anglia Advisors can be assured that a process of automated rebalancing (in this case, selling bonds and buying stocks whenever a 3% or 5% drift occurs from our originally determined balance between the two) has been regularly taking place and will continue to do so. Those of you invested elsewhere where such automated rebalancing-by-drift does not occur should probably take a look at how your current balance compares with what you wanted it to be at the outset and whether a rebalance is overdue to get it back to where it needs to be.

In my last email dated 03/09/2020, I suggested that there were actions that could be taken at this time by certain investors in particular circumstances. I would add one more here. Look closely into refinancing your mortgage at this time. Existing clients can contact me for a referral to lender-agnostic mortgage brokers who can tell you more.

Remember, when contributing to investment accounts right now, the appropriate question to ask yourself is not “Have I invested at the market bottom?” but rather, in ten or twenty years (or whatever the associated time horizon is), is there a good chance I’ll be happy that I invested at this level?”

Listen only to qualified experts, disregard loud, unqualified charlatans and those with an agenda. That goes for your reaction to the coronavirus as well as to the stock markets. Indeed, they can be pretty solid general words to live by.

Evidence is everything, noise is nothing.

Here if you need me,

Simon 03/15/2020

WALL STREET JOURNAL: HOW TO NAVIGATE THE CORONAVIRUS

STOCK TRADING HALTED TODAY - SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT WHAT TO DO .. Simon

(posted Monday 03/09/2020)

The New York Stock Exchange’s “circuit-breakers” triggered to halt trading this morning as the market cratered 7% at the open with oil prices in free-fall. The Fed is flooding the market with liquidity. There is now a majority opinion baked into the market that US interest rates will soon reach zero, with a 15% probability as I speak of negative US interest rates. The healthy state of the US job market will likely come to a crashing end. Congress will soon need to introduce an economic stimulus package, preferably without any political interference from the White House. From a technical standpoint, a number to look out for is 2709 on the S&P 500 That would represent a 20% fall from a recent peak. A daily close below that level would represent the official end of the bull market that began exactly eleven years ago to the day on March 9th 2009.

While most investors should be sitting tight right now, there are a couple of ideas that those in particular situations may want to start to think about.

“ABC .. Always Be Cool. You only have control of one thing; your own actions. The other stuff will work itself out, regardless of what you think or say or do. So be cool. Be armed with context, wisdom, patience, humility and a sense of humor. See you on the other side.” - The Reformed Broker, 03/09/2020

Happy to discuss these ideas and thoughts with clients.

Here if you need me,

Simon 03/09/2020

RITHOLZ WEALTH MANAGEMENT MESSAGES TO INVESTORS:

INTEREST RATE CUT TODAY .. Simon

(posted Tuesday 03/03/2020)

Today, the Federal Reserve cut its benchmark Federal Funds Rate by 0.50%, which is both the largest rate cut and the first emergency cut since late 2008. A Federal Reserve statement confirmed that the cut was in response to the "evolving risks to economic activity" posed by the continued spread of coronavirus.

The first and most obvious place you will notice the effect of this is in your savings account, particularly high yield savings accounts which are heavily tied to interest rates within the economy. I would estimate that the high yield providers could soon be paying in the region of 1.15% to 1.30% interest on these accounts following this Fed action.

Stock traders were unimpressed and major stock indexes got hit hard, having got off to a good start. As usual, this move was put down to a variety of factors (AKA we have real no idea why, but here’s some narratives that we have spun around the facts after the event to try and make us look smart); traders expected more of a cut, the cut implies things are worse than we thought, the cut was “kiss your sister” as foreign central banks will all be doing the same, if they haven’t already, the Chairman of the Fed is Trump’s ventriloquist doll blah, blah, blah.

Bond prices are soaring though as buy orders pour in and the inverse relationship between interest rates and bond prices is causing prices of bonds to rise noticeably higher.

Anglia Advisors clients own stock funds which will be having a rough day but will enjoy relief in the bond portion of their portfolios. As always, however, (I know I keep beating this drum, but it could not be more important!) the higher stock allocations can be found in the longer end of the time horizons of our recommended portfolios and therefore account goals that need to be accessed in a relatively short number of months and years will be mostly bond-heavy, thereby the holdings are not only swerving the worst of the equity troubles, but actually seeing gains as the result of what is happening to bond prices.

“Don’t do something, just stand there!” - Anglia Advisors clients should continue to stand aside, make their regularly scheduled auto-contributions to all their accounts, workplace plans and others, and let the heavyweight bulls and bears slug it out in the ring until they are exhausted. This is not an environment in which to try and be too clever.

Here if you need me,

Simon.

CURRENT MARKET CONDITIONS: AN EVIDENCE-BASED PERSPECTIVE .. Simon

(posted Friday 02/28/2020)

All of you will be aware of the behavior of the US and global stock markets over the past few days. As I write this from London where I have been this week, US stock markets are continuing their fall, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipping below 25,000, representing about a 16% correction from the recent highs. The S&P 500 has experienced a slightly lower percentage drop. The “official” threshold for a market to be considered in bear market territory is a 20% decline from a recent, 52-week high.

In the last quarter of 2018, the US markets fell over 19%, never quite reaching that threshold, but had eclipsed those losses by spring of 2019, going on to enjoy one of the best years on record. There have been 14 prior occasions when the S&P 500 has lost more than 10% in a week. Over the following week, the index has seen positive returns 12 times and has averaged gains of 3.53%. The next four weeks have seen average gains of 2.92%, with a median of 4.1%, while the next three months generate average gains of 5.61%. Longer term, the market has averaged gains in the following six months and one-year periods, but the results have been choppier. I am not forecasting such a rebound, but while history is not predictive, it can be instructive. And calming.

Those of you invested according to the advice and recommendations that I have been giving since I set up this firm, either directly under my portfolio management or indirectly through my advice will have portfolios where money anticipated for needs within the next three years is either not even invested in the stock market or is to a very small degree. This money, then, is either not being affected at all by current events or is barely affected. It should be in a high yield savings account without any concern for stock prices.

The accounts that are falling in value at or close to the rate of the market in general are very long term accounts and retirement accounts, which will have the highest stock allocations, anywhere up to 100% in some cases. By definition, these are accounts that will not be withdrawn from in most cases for many decades. Current valuations simply do not matter. If we are in a temporary paradigm of lower prices, then many of you with IRAs and 401ks should even be be celebrating what is happening as an opportunity has now arrived to buy stock funds at relatively bargain basement prices compared to the more expensive levels they have been at recently . So do not change those monthly auto contributions and this is even more of a reason to imminently (in the month of March) max out any available outstanding IRA contributions at these discounted prices, if you are eligible.

And those “middle”-term accounts, set up with an envisaged 7-15 years worth of time horizon are mostly allocated between 35% and 65% in stocks and the effect of the recent fall will be felt to a much lesser degree than in the retirement end of things. Once again, the regular periodic buying at these new lower rates could pay off handsomely in the future as markets recover in advance of needing access to the money.

Bottom line:There can be several reasons to sometimes make changes to your asset allocations within your investments, a significant change in personal circumstances being the most common. But the current behavior of the stock markets is not one of them. In fact, even trying to do so during a Dow -1,000 day can result in very poor price execution as bid/ask spreads have widened so much on chaotic exchanges. This is why Betterment occasionally suspends executing transactions at times of very high volatility - basically to save investors from themselves

Clients can reach me by email until my return next week. I will periodically keep in touch by means of posting new messages on this page. Refer back here regularly.

Investing can be scary, but remember it is only because of the possibility that things like this can happen that the market is able to reward stockholders at other times. If there was no risk of market action like this, then the rewards and returns experienced through stock ownership would not exist.

Here if you need me,

Simon.