When people think of financial planning I suspect their mind usually focuses solely on the investment management side of the business. What stocks should I buy? Is now a good time to get out of bonds? Should I short commodities? Having spent years in the business, I’ve learned some of the best advice you can get from a quality financial planner often has nothing to do with the stock market. Ideas and tips for things like buying a home, budgeting, managing insurance costs, saving on taxes, and passing on wealth to your heirs.
Homebuyer Grants for Denver & Boulder Residents
One great piece of news I was just forwarded by a local realtor is available to hundreds of thousands of Denver and Boulder-area residents. It’s a FREE grant (i.e. you don’t have to pay anything back) for up to 4% of the value of your new home’s mortgage- you don’t even have to be a first-time homebuyer. Income for households of two or less should be under $91,100 (and under $103,000 for households of three or more), a minimum FICO score of 640 is needed, a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 45 and a homebuyer education class must be attended. But, on a $250,000 home, that means up to $10,000 put right in your pocket (more for a larger home). How can you beat that? Contact me for more information!
At Flatirons Asset Management, we strive to be around other professionals in similar fields who share our passion of making use of every possible tax tip, free government grant, or other way to save money that helps our clients save (or find) thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars they might have otherwise never known they could have had… Oftentimes, absolutely free.
The Prior Month
The S&P 500 rose 4.5% in October as the government shut-down ended and the debt ceiling was raised. Apparently, someone remembered the cookies. Earnings from most companies have been given a “pass” despite not being that good. In fact, analyst earnings estimates for the fourth quarter were actually cut by 1.5% over the last few weeks. In our last commentary, we suggested that earnings expectations were fairly low and if stocks could just meet the lowered expectations things would likely be fine- pretty much what we saw. The best reports have come from consumer discretionary, materials and technology names while the “bad” reports have come from the financial and energy sectors.
November begins the seasonally strong winter period for the equity markets. As we said above, the debt ceiling has been raised, the government re-opened and elections held. With Washington politics slipping into the background, at least for a month or two, stocks should move of their own accord for awhile. Keep an eye on interest rates as they have again begun to creep upward. The last time interest rates made a sustained move higher (earlier this summer) the equities markets tumbled. It’s been a twist of fate that would make any proponent of Modern Portfolio Theory scratch his head- as stock and bond prices are “supposed” to move opposite to one another. However, that inverse correlation has turned into a direct correlation as of late. Stay tuned…
“Power Spikes” occur when a stock trades up (or down) on heavy volume (number of shares traded). This often occurs in reaction to earnings reports or unexpected news. Typically, the direction of the power spike indicates the near-term flow of price- i.e. if the stock spikes higher, it is likely to continue trending higher. If the stock spikes lower, more selling is likely to ensure. This is why it’s often best to wait at least a few days, but often a few weeks, after your favorite stock drops sharply, to pick up additional shares.
In the US, there are 63 million more active Facebook users than employed people.
Calendar of Events
We hope everyone had a great time at the Flatirons Asset Management Happy Hour on Tuesday, October 22 @ Centro. Special thanks to the Centro staff and YOU who made the event a huge success!
Have a great November,
Steve Zakelj, CFP®