2014 Q4 Quarterly Commentary

In our quarterly reports to clients, we always include commentary on the markets, economy and other financially relevant information. Our 2014 Q4 reports recently went out, and we wanted to share our commentary with you as well. We would also love to hear your questions and comments in the comments section below.

New Year’s Resolution – “Do More of What Makes You Happy”

We think that would be a good resolution.  However, focusing on the financial markets around the world will rarely help!  The Media elicits emotions that cause lots of dissatisfaction and fear.

In 2014, for example, few categories did as well as big blue chip American companies.  The S&P 500 index did great, so now the news is full of advice about how you “should” have invested!  Of course with us, you DID invest in the S&P 500 – and your diversified portfolio also invested in bonds and other assets worldwide.  Remember 1987, 2000, and 2008 when the S&P 500 was, as the pundits later agreed, the one place to avoid investing in – EVER AGAIN! (Source)

Our society seems to love being unhappy about markets!  “Are they going to correct?”  Yes – we just don’t know which ones, when, and how badly.  “Did we miss out on the ‘best performance of the year/decade/century?”  “Which asset class was the one we should have exclusively chosen?”

If you had thought that the S&P 500 was the best place to be in 2014, think again.  The top performing market of 2014 was China (up 44%)!  Who would have guessed?!

We saw a fascinating report from the Medical Media about that other perennial New Year’s resolution – wanting to lose weight.  There exist as many, if not more, diets as there are sure fire ways to “beat the market”.  The American Medical Association threw up its hands and opined that although all diets may work, the only one certain to do so is “the one the patient will stick with!”  We think that makes a lot of sense, and we try hard to design investment portfolios that “the client can stick with.”

2015 will probably be the year the Federal Reserve raises interest rates – very carefully (Source).  We expect that our US bonds and stocks will weather the change well, despite turbulence and dire headlines.

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Inside the Economy with SH&J: January 19, 2015

On Monday, January 19, we had our second economic discussion of the New Year. We covered many interesting facets of the economy including oil, global unemployment, China and more. Listen in and share with your family and friends. We would love to hear your comments and questions in the comment section below.

3 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Advisor

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Finances are intimately woven into our lives. Choosing a financial advisor to guide you in your financial decisions can be a stressful process, but an important one. Having the right financial advisor on your team gives you peace of mind and can put you on a good financial path.

Whether you are looking for a financial advisor for the first time or you are looking for a new advisor, here are some key questions to ask:

1. How are you compensated?

Starting with this question is key to understanding the type of financial advisor you are working with. They should be able to answer the question quickly and with specifics. Are they receiving kickbacks for recommending certain investments? Do they have sales quotas to meet? Are they paid by salary or commission? Are they recommending the same investments to all of their clients? Why or why not? A planner who is paid by commission or sales versus a salary or hourly rate could have an incentive to steer you in a specific direction.

Ask for information about all of their fees and how much you will be paying per transaction, product and service. Also, ask about any additional fees you can expect from other services they offer. If the advisor is unwilling to answer or vague in their responses, consider looking elsewhere for a financial advisor. Continue reading

Take Eileen Sharkey’s Financial Literacy Course

Eileen Sharkey
Eileen M. Sharkey, CFP®

Each year, Eileen teaches an interesting eight part financial literacy course to groups here in Denver. The course is well attended and very informative for those who attend. We know not everyone can be there in person, but wanted all of you to have access to the wealth of information provided throughout this class, so we recently videoed the class and posted it online for viewing. Each part of the eight part series is about 45 minutes to an hour long and well worth the time.

We encourage all of our clients, their children and their friends to take the time to ‘attend’ Eileen’s class via our website. If you complete all 8 sessions, please email us to let us know so we can congratulate you with a Certificate of Completion.

Click here to be taken to the series or watch part one of the series below.

Sharkey, Howes & Javer’s Advisory Team Makes the List as 2014 Five Star Wealth Managers

(DENVER, CO) Sharkey, Howes & Javer’s team of financial advisors has been recognized as 2014 FIVE STAR Wealth Managers in the November issues of 5280 and ColoradoBiz magazines.

Eileen Sharkey, CFP®, Lawrence Howes, CFP®, Joel Javer, CFP®, Mimi Hackley, CFP®, Karlton Childress, CFP® and Harold Kirschner, CFP® of Sharkey, Howes & Javer, are among the Denver area wealth managers with at least five years of experience and no regulatory actions against them to be recognized as 2014 Five Star Wealth Managers.

There were 4,385 award candidates in the Denver area that were considered for the Five Star Wealth Manager award. Only 528 (approximately 13% of the award candidates) were named 2014 Five Star Wealth Managers. Continue reading