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Could the Fed take us to zero?

Historically, the Fed lowers interest rates when the economy is struggling. “Cheap money” encourages additional borrowing. The belief is that more people will use loans to fund new projects (or spend) which adds growth to the economy (or company). Rates are usually lowered to offset high unemployment (currently low) or increasing inflation (seems to be a point of debate). Stock valuations are typically falling when the Fed decides to lower rates...or there is an expectation they will fall if not supported. But it is different this time. We are not starting with relatively low stock valuations. We continue to trade near valuations only experienced in pre-recession periods. We have close to historic low unemployment numbers. The same people screaming (or tweeting) for lower rates are also claiming we have a strong economy.

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WHAT SHOULD WE BE DOING ABOUT THE RECENT VOLATILITY?

What do you get when you throw together a few tweets, a potential change to Fed policy, a partial government shutdown, a wall (or no wall?), a Democratic-controlled House, and an Apple profit warning? You guessed it…market volatility.

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IF EBENEZER SCROOGE REVIEWED HIS PLAN WITH US

Charles Dickens brought us Ebenezer Scrooge. A man haunted by ghosts as they reviewed his life. We believe Ebenezer would have been better served looking forward (from a young age) rather than looking back. His story is like so many who choose to focus on emotions rather than numbers (and opportunity).

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REVIEWING OUR FINANCIAL PLANNING PROCESS

I tend to see how the financial planning process fits just about everything. I can be sitting at a sporting event and compare the team’s process to our financial planning process. The latest example…elections. I considered the key talking points as election results came in. As expected, there was a high level of emotion and conflicting opinions. Emotions and opposing viewpoints can be good or bad. It depends on how they are used. Financial planning is similar. Money decisions are often emotional. There is a wide range of opinions shared as you consider the best financial decisions.

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FINANCIAL STORIES: SEEKING THE TRUTH (PART ONE)

Finding the truth should be easy. The truth has only one version. Ironically, if the truth were the only option, we probably wouldn’t need courts. Reality is there is the truth often “becomes” the most believable story or the story we want to hear. The term “fake news” is used by politicians (both sides) to explain the difference between their version of the truth and the other’s version of the truth. This phenomenon isn’t new. The change is the titling of an opinion as fake news and perhaps the amount of opinion readily available.

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