Clever apps are giving us the opportunity to do all sorts of things with our smart phones these days – ordering dinner, tracking mileage, measuring the thickness of windows (I know!), and helping us reach our goals. The Wall Street Journal recently published a story on How Your Phone Can Keep You From Spending (requires WSJ sign-in). In his experiments, Duke University behavioral economist Dan Ariely used smartphone apps and psychology to get people to save more, pay off more debt and stick to a budget.
If we can use these apps and principles of basic psychology to help build a retirement portfolio, then why limit the success to just one goal? The tenets of Ariely’s research (for those who like to watch/listen) speaks to all types of financial goals no matter what a person’s net worth or wealth; we can always learn new and better ways to do things. At White Raven Financial, we aim to incorporate the knowledge we gain from research in behavioral economics into our practice, helping our business and our clients.
But back to using smartphone apps to help us reach our goals – they can turn a chore into an easy and fun way to track and achieve something. Apps have the ability to change a difficult and unwieldy task into something that gives you instant gratificattion. Financial goals and retirement goals can be difficult because we’re looking at the long term, an app can get us connected to those goals on a daily basis.
Out of the personal and into the political, it was quite nice to read that our government will have adequate funding to avoid a shutdown this month; it allows us to continue with an improving economy. And despite numerous predictions for a large market contraction to end the post-election rally, U.S. equities, on the whole, have continued to post positive results. In addition, the first quarter earnings season reaction has been mostly positive. I read an interesting note by Frank Holmes, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of U.S. Global Investors, in which he says that we should get ready for inflation – lumber has logged a 12 year high! Holmes cites consumer optimism, the growing demand for new homes and millennial buyers who seem eager to enter the market as some of the drivers. An oft repeated remark trailed his comments: housing has a significant multiplier effect on the economy.
Globally, geo-political tensions with North Korea have held the headlines; hopefully a resolution will soon be found. Even with the upcoming elections in the EU / Eurozone and high corporate debt in China, we see growth momentum continuing to gain breadth. With emerging markets leading the way and developed international markets following, the results far outpaced U.S. markets. Writing about the French election and it’s impact, Zane E. Brown, Partner and Fixed Income Strategist for Lord Abbett, headlined his Economics Insights post with market’s relief should not give way to complacency. No matter where in the world you’re looking, it’s good reminder to us all.
The major U.S. stock market indices moved forward in April. The blue-chip barometer (the DowTR)* ticked up 1.45%. The S&P 500 Index (SPXTR)* followed suit and added 1.03%. Lastly, the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* raised its comrades by a percent and added 2.35% for the month – its six straight monthly gain. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller recent report showed that prices continue to rise across the country. On Tuesday, April 25, 2017, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national index reported that it had set its fourth consecutive all-time high. The 20-city composite February Home Price Index reported a 5.9% year-over-year gain; up from the 5.7% gain posted in January. Before seasonal adjustments, month-over-month data also showed a gain with the month of February posting a 0.4% increase over the month of January for the 20-city composite index.
Regards and Thank you,
The Team at White Raven Financial
*Indexes are unmanaged and do not reflect service fees, commissions, or taxes. You cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Returns for the DOW, S&P500 and the NASDAQ is the total return (price only) provided by Morning Star as of 2017April30