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No No, I Really AM a Long-Term Investor! 10.15.2021

“I’m definitely a long-term investor.”

“I don’t get worried about the negative news headlines.”

“Declines happen – I get it.”

We have heard these lines uttered by the most well-intentioned and intelligent investors time and time again. Sometimes, they hold true to their word. Sometimes, the polar opposite. Saying you are a long-term investor is easy; behaving like a long-term investor is much more difficult, as this is clearly easier said than done. 

Put differently, as the great boxer Mike Tyson said: 

Mike Tyson

When things are relatively “normal,” investing seems easy. However, when things get (pick your favorite adjective): crazy, volatile, unbelievable, explosive, unpredictable, turbulent, harrowing, and/or unsettling, it becomes much more difficult to tolerate, endure, and absorb a major body blow to your “nest egg” (read: a consequential drop in value). Watching your money SHRINK can be a very emotional and traumatizing experience. And while there is no perfect recipe for becoming a successful long-term investor, at Towerpoint Wealth we believe it all starts with three basic ingredients: 

  1. Consistent objectivity
  2. Measured behavior
  3. Disciplined thinking and execution

In addition to the inherently emotional nature of money, there are a myriad of uncontrollable variables populating the external environment we live in: The movements of the stock market. The vicissitudes of the US and global economy. The fickle nature of the political winds. Increases and declines in interest rates, income taxes, and inflation. Just a few examples from a very lengthy list of items that are out of our control. And while it is human nature for us to think (even to outright believe) that we have some control over many of these things, the truth is, if we want to truly be a successful long-term investor, we must recognize and accept the things we do not control.

At Towerpoint Wealth, we believe that the most successful long-term investors and wealth-creators have a somewhat-unique capability, a skill, that allows them to maintain appropriate perspective, to exhibit a high degree of humility, and to be laser-focused on the bigger picture. Fortunately, this is a skill that can be coached, cultivated, and learned, and is something that we have a relatively high degree of control over.

Long-Term Investor

Investment Strategy

Let’s make this more tangible – below are seven key principles that, at Towerpoint Wealth, we believe are necessary to be a successful long-term investor:

  1. Be humble, be aware of, and accept, things that are out of your control
  2. Keep your emotions in check, and be acutely self-aware of the fear and greed that we may feel when considering our finances and investments, especially in periods of extremes
  3. Plan to live a long life, which we do have some control over!
  4. Einstein was right: The power of compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t, pays
  5. Volatility should be expected, embraced, and taken advantage of, not feared nor averted
  6. Unless you have the unique ability to consistently AND accurately predict the futurestay properly invested and diversified, regardless of what you believe may happen in the market and in the economy
  7. Have a plan and a strategy, and be disciplined in sticking to it, regardless of the things you have no control over
Investment Strategy

In opining about what we believe it takes to be a successful long-term investor, we would be remiss if we did not directly integrate Warren Buffett’s (aka the “Oracle of Omaha”) wisdom on this subject into this newsletter. Please click below to watch an excellent YouTube video, featuring a 2016 CNBC interview of Warren, where he outlines his FIVE best tips for successful long-term investors:

Do you have a plan to properly manage and coordinate all of your financial affairs and a strategy to grow and protect your wealth and investment portfolio, even during turbulent times?

If so, are you being disciplined in consistently following it? If you have concerns, or simply would like to discuss how you can apply the long-term investment principles discussed above, we welcome having a conversation with you. Click HERE to message us, as we regularly have no-strings-attached conversations about these issues, and are happy to be an objective resource for you as you begin to consider your personal and financial circumstances further.

What’s Happening at TPW?

Nathan P. Billigmeier Director of Research and Analytics

Our Director of Research and Analytics, Nathan Billigmeier, took last Friday off to spend time in Wheatland, CA at Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm with his two boys, Ethan and Grayson, specifically helping Grayson celebrate his 2nd birthday!

Philly cheesesteak

Our President, Joseph Eschleman, devouring a Philly cheesesteak (the only way a cheesesteak should be ordered, a “wiz, wit”) before jumping on a flight back to Sacramento earlier this month. Fuhgeddaboudit if you think you will find a better cheesesteak than Pat’s!

Graph of the Week

Yikes – inflation is at a 13 year high!

If you have any exposure to bonds in your portfolio, we strongly feel that it is time to take a hard look at:

How you are allocated within bonds

Your exposure to interest rate fluctuations (specifically, to rates going UP) due to inflation

Whether the risk you are taking is appropriate for your set of unique personal and financial circumstances

At Towerpoint Wealth, we have been successfully modeling what the value of a client’s portfolio would look like if interest rates INCREASE by ½, 1, or even 1 ½% over the next year or two. Message us by clicking HERE if you would like this custom analysis done for you.

Inflation Hits 2021

Cartoon of the Week

Issues with global supply chains will impact the holiday season…

Cartoon long term investor

As the 24/7 news cycle churns, twists, and turns, a number of trending and notable events have occurred over the past few weeks:

As always, we sincerely value our relationships and partnerships with each of you, as well as your trust and confidence in us here at Towerpoint Wealth. We encourage you to reach out to us at any time (916-405-9140info@towerpointwealth.com) with any questions, concerns, or needs you may have. The world continues to be an extremely unsettled and complicated place, and we are here to help you properly plan for and make sense of it.

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– Joseph, Jonathan, Steve, Lori, Nathan, and Michelle

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Long Term Investing Tips

Twenty Tips for No-Nonsense Investing

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Trading vs. Investing 04.15.2021

Trading vs. Investing | These two terms Trading vs. Investing are often used interchangeably by many, understanding the goal of both is to generate profit in the stock market. However, they represent two very different philosophies in how you approach the market. 

Oftentimes when we watch movies and TV shows about the stock market, we see a Gordon Gekko-type of character, quickly buying and selling stocks, making the big bucks, and living an opulent life. They make trading look seductive. But, as you would expect, it can be a very risky enterprise.

Investing, on the other hand, involves strategically buying an asset you expect to rise in value over time, independent of any shorter-term movements in its price. Investors usually have a longer-term time horizon, and look to build wealth through *discipline*, gradual appreciation, and compound interest.

Watch this video from our Sacramento Wealth Advisor and CPA, Matt Regan, to learn the pros and cons of both investment philosophies and how you can incorporate both approaches into your own portfolio.  

Sacramento Certified Public Account, Matt Regan | mregan@towerpointwealth.com
Sacramento Wealth Advisor | Sacramento Financial Advisor | Trading vs. Investing

Trading vs investing | Two terms that are often used interchangeably by many, understanding the goal of both is to generate profit in the stock market. However, they represent two very different philosophies in how you approach the market. Depending on your level of market expertise, time availability, risk tolerance, emotional discipline, and goals, one of these approaches may be better for you than the other.

Hi Everyone, Matt Regan here from Towerpoint Wealth, and today I am going to discuss the differences between Trading vs investing, and why you would want to incorporate either of these philosophies into your investment strategy.

Oftentimes when we watch movies and TV shows about the stock market, we see a Gordon Gekko-type of character, quickly buying and selling stocks, making the big bucks, and living an opulent life. They make trading look seductive. Trading focuses on timing market moves and buying and selling individual stocks within a short period of time to generate quick profits. As you would expect, it can be a very risky enterprise. If a trade doesn’t go your way, you can lose a lot of money in a very short period of time. The costs of short-term trading are also greater. The more trades you execute, the more fees or commissions you might have to pay. Also, any quick gains that are made will be subject to higher ordinary income tax rates, and not the lower long-term capital gains tax rate. These two costs can be a huge drag on overall portfolio growth.

Investing, on the other hand, involves strategically buying an asset you expect to rise in value over time, independent of any shorter-term movements in its price. Investors usually have a longer-term time horizon, and look to build wealth through discipline, gradual appreciation, and compound interest. Investors typically own a well-diversified portfolio of investments, and only sparingly make major adjustments. Since investors are not constantly buying and selling, the overall costs and drag on the portfolio oftentimes is lower as well. So, while investing may not be fast paced, nor exciting, at Towerpoint Wealth, we feel it is the best way to gain the highest return at the lowest risk.

So, there you have it. Both ways of approaching the stock market have their pros and cons. If you’re comfortable with the risks, trading can be an exciting way to earn quick profits. If reducing risk and taking a more methodical approach to building your net worth are your main goals, then you’ll want to stick with a longer-term investment philosophy. Regardless, these philosophies don’t need to be mutually exclusive, and if you are interested in learning how you can incorporate both approaches into your own portfolio, feel free to contact me on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram for some expert guidance and to have a no-strings-attached conversation. Thanks, and have a great day.

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Coinbase | Largest cryptocurrency exchange 04.15.2021

Today, Coinbase Global Inc., the largest cryptocurrency exchange platform in the U.S., went public on the Nasdaq exchange via a direct listing under the ticker symbol COIN. Coinbase is the world’s third largest digital asset exchange, and by far the most well-known cryptocurrency exchange platform in the US. COIN provides a service that helps its users easily secure direct ownership of cryptocurrencies.

For years, cryptocurrency has faced skepticism and resistance, but the floodgates appear to continue to be opening as banks and businesses have begun accepting Bitcoin for transactions or investing heavily into it with corporate cash. Many people see Coinbase’s arrival on the stock market as further validation for cryptocurrencies, and a great PR opportunity for the entire crypto industry.

Watch this video from our Sacramento Wealth Advisor and CPA, Matt Regan, to learn more about Coinbase, what it means for the cryptocurrency world, and what it means for individual investors like you and me.

Sacramento Certified Public Account, Matt Regan
Sacramento Wealth Advisor | Sacramento Financial Advisor

Over the past year, Bitcoin has been on a tear. On April 13, 2020, a single coin was valued at $6,879. At the close of yesterday, a single coin was valued at $63,291, an 820% increase in value in just one year, just remarkable. This is clear evidence of just how much cryptocurrencies have continued to be viewed as a legitimate asset. And cryptos received another boost today, as Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange platform in the U.S., went public on the Nasdaq exchange via a direct listing, under the ticker symbol COIN.

Hi Everyone, Matt Regan here from Towerpoint Wealth, and today I am going discuss what Coinbase is, what it means for the cryptocurrency world, and what it means for individual investors like you and me.

Coinbase is the world’s third largest digital asset exchange, and by far the most well-known cryptocurrency exchange platform in the US. “COIN” provides a service that helps its users easily secure direct ownership of cryptocurrencies. About 90% of Coinbase’s revenue is currently derived directly from retail trading, with most if that here in the U.S., and centered primarily on the two largest cryptocurrencies: 1. Bitcoin and 2. Ethereum. The benefits to owning shares of Coinbase? Revenue and profit increase as interest and demand in cryptocurrencies continues to increase. The risks? ONE: The possibility for stricter governmental regulations, and TWO: Business and financial conditions for Coinbase could be negatively affected if demand for Bitcoin and Ethereum declines and is not replaced by new demand for other crypto assets.

For years, cryptocurrency has faced skepticism and resistance. Just this past February, Warren Buffett said “Cryptocurrencies basically have no value, and they don’t produce anything. I don’t have any cryptocurrency and I never will.” But at least for now, Warren appears to be wrong, as the floodgates appear to continue to be opening. Banks, credit card companies, professional sports franchises, and even automakers have begun to make moves into the space, either by accepting Bitcoin for transactions, or by investing heavily into it with corporate cash. Many people see Coinbase’s arrival on the stock market as further validation for cryptocurrencies, and a great PR opportunity for the entire crypto industry.

As cryptos become more mainstream, we feel confident that it doesn’t mean volatility will decrease. Just like mainstream markets, news developments and speculation fuel price swings. Crypto markets are less liquid than traditional financial markets, so this heightened volatility and a lack of liquidity can create a dangerous combination, as oftentimes they both feed off of each other. As a result, it is very important investors have a long-term investment strategy and the ability to control their financial emotions during these expected wild fluctuations. If you are interested in discussing how cryptocurrencies can fit into your own financial plan, contact me, Matt Regan, on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram. Thanks, and have a great day.

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No Outcome? No Surprise. No Problem!

We expected it to be this way, right? Historically, the market has always gotten a bit crazy both before, and after, the election:

Since Election Day on Tuesday, the S&P 500 has rallied 4%, and has enjoyed its best start to the month of November ever, up 7.4% in four days.

At Towerpoint Wealth, we believe there are a few reasons for this big jump:

  1. While investors do expect a fiscal stimulus package out of Washington D.C. in the near future, perhaps before January, the size of a deal reached in a divided Congress is likely to be much smaller than it would be under a Democratic-controlled Congress. However, sometimes bad news equals good news on Wall Street, and this had led investors to believe that more pressure will be on the U.S. Federal Reserve (“the Fed”) to pump more funds into the financial system, theoretically supporting stock prices. Just yesterday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said more stimulus is “absolutely essential” to economic recovery.
  2. Assuming Republicans hold the Senate, the likelihood of significant increases in both regulations and income taxes is significantly decreased.
  3. Interest rate and inflation expectations have recently dropped:
         Interest Rates       
Inflation

Additionally, as the Chart of the Week towards the bottom of this newsletter indicates, gridlock has historically been good for the equity markets. And while ballots are still being tallied, and Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania remaining in focus, it does appear that Joe Biden is on the brink of victory, and that we are much closer to having a clear winner, possibly by tomorrow or Sunday. The betting markets on the Presidency sure seem to agree:

There are many reasons for us here at Towerpoint Wealth to be paying close attention to events out of our control, but no reason to be reactionary to any of them. In addition to the recent interest rate and inflation-expectation adjustments, some of the other post-election, split-Congress items bearing scrutiny include:

  1. Renewed weakness in the financial sector
  2. Growth stocks outperforming value stocks
  3. Industrial and materials sector stocks lagging
  4. The volatility of the U.S. dollar
  5. Strengthening emerging market stocks
  6. Continued strengthening of technology sector stocks
  7. Potential weakness in tax-free municipal bond prices
  8. Weakness in healthcare sector stocks
  9. Weakness in renewable energy stocks


All of these moving parts and variables can make it tempting to consider second-guessing your investment strategy and philosophy. The constant struggle between the desire for growth and protection is natural, and the goal of managing a well-diversified portfolio is to be prepared for any market environment or political change.


Ultimately, when we put aside all of those “uncontrollables,” we keep the following graph in focus (hopefully the trend is an obvious one):

What’s Happening at TPW?

The Towerpoint Wealth family enjoyed an afternoon of teambuilding and camaraderie on the Sacramento river earlier this week, taking a quick voyage on the Sacramento Brew Boat up and back to the iconic Virgin Sturgeon restaurant for lunch.

While on their adventure, they also helped our newest family member and wealth advisor, Matt Regan, celebrate his birthday!

TPW Service Highlight – Morningstar Portfolio “Instant X-Ray”

Often enough, clients ask us what stocks they have exposure to within the various mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs) that comprise their portfolio. We now have a sophisticated tool available to us that not only does a deep-dive in evaluating your specific asset allocation and sector weightings, but also the actual individual underlying holdings you have exposure to.

Think you are properly diversified? There is only one way to find out for sure – ask us to run a Morningstar portfolio Instant X-Ray report, and we will dissect your portfolio to uncover concentrated positions, areas of unexpected overlap, and provide detailed insights into your portfolio’s diversification, illuminating what is truly driving your portfolio’s risk and performance.

Chart of the Week

The odds right now seem to favor a Biden presidency, a Republican Senate, and a Democrat House. The chart below, from LPL Financial Research, shows how a split Congress has been historically good for the stock market.

As always, we sincerely value our relationships and partnerships with each of you, as well as your trust and confidence in us here at Towerpoint Wealth. We encourage you to reach out to us at any time (916-405-9140, info@towerpointwealth.com) with any questions, concerns, or needs you may have. The world continues to be an extremely complicated place, and we are here to help you properly plan for and make sense of it.

CLICK Here To Download Towerpoint Wealth PDFs

– Steve, Jonathan, Lori, Joseph, Raquel, Nathan, and Matt

Towerpoint Wealth Our Team Sacramento Wealth
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24 Karat Shine or Pyrite for Your Portfolio?

By: Nathan Billigmeier, Director of Research and Analytics 

From ancient civilizations to modern society, humans have always had a fascination with gold. The yellow metal has been used as currency, as jewelry, and incorporated within various other industrial applications. Gold also helped shape United States history when it was discovered in the Sacramento Valley in 1848 sparking the California Gold Rush. But does it belong in your investment portfolio? We will discuss some of the benefits and drawbacks below. 

1) Store of Value

Famed financier J.P. Morgan once stated, “Gold is money, everything else is just credit.” This quote strikes at the core of the “gold as a store of value” argument. But what exactly is a store of value and what qualifies gold to be viewed as such? 

By definition, a store of value is an asset that maintains its value without depreciating. Gold’s ability to maintain wealth by preserving purchasing power has been well documented. Civilizations throughout history have turned to gold as a means of exchange as well as a hedge against currency devaluation. 

Gold’s finite supply also helps boost its appeal as a store of value. To date, all the gold mined throughout history would fit into two and a half Olympic-sized swimming pools. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), approximately 187,000 metric tons of gold has been mined in total, with 57,000 metric tons remaining underground. 

Critics of gold state that it is an antiquated means of exchange with little utility or industrial application, outside of jewelry, and should therefore not be considered a store of value. Specific to utility, their argument could be viewed as valid. But what gold lacks in utility, it makes up for in investor psychology. Humans have long placed value in gold. While this value may very well be due to its historical reputation, until this connection is broken, gold will remain one of the primary assets used to preserve wealth 

2) Low Correlation to Other Investments

One key aspect of a properly diversified portfolio is owning investments that have a low correlation to each other. What does this mean, and why is it important? Correlation is a numeric value from -1 to +1. The closer that two different investments are to having a +1 correlation, the higher the likelihood their respective market values will move in tandem with each another. Vice versa is true for investments with a -1 correlation. Investments with a correlation of 0 are completely unrelated, meaning the price movement of one has no relation to the price movement of the other.For longer-term investors, it is important to have the correlation between the various asset classes (read: stocks, bonds, alternatives, cash, etc.) held in their portfolio be as close to zero as possible. This allows investors to better manage the risk of their portfolio and increases the likelihood that the share price of investments held in different asset classes will not move in the same direction in response to current economic and market trends. 

Gold is a unique asset in that it has a low, or sometimes even negative correlation to the other primary asset classes typically included in a properly diversified portfolio. In fact, as you can see from the above graph, it tends to have a negative correlation to US equities, hence sometimes being described as a “flight to quality” asset. 

3)Portfolio Insurance

Just as you purchase home or auto insurance to protect your assets against unforeseen events, you should consider doing the same with your investment portfolio. As recent events have shown us, market and economic crises can and do happen. 

Given its negative correlation to US equities, gold can provide needed insulation to your portfolio, helping it to better absorb these inevitable pullbacks. While it will not completely offset equity losses, gold can help reduce volatility and provide “downside insulation” to a portfolio. 

As the chart below shows, with the exception of two instances, the 1997 Asian financial crisis and 2013’s “Taper Tantrum,” gold has achieved positive returns during times of equity unrest. It also has a tendency to outperform US Treasuries during these downturns, which many view as another safe haven asset. 

4) But What About Income? 

Gold is not without its faults. One of the main arguments against gold ownership is the lack of a dividend or interest payment and the fact it has little to no industrial production value. 

One of the most famous investors in the world, Warren Buffet, is an outspoken critic of gold ownership for these very reasons. He has been quoted as saying, 

“Gold gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head.” 

…and Mr. Buffett would be correct. Gold has little to no real economic utility, does not generate sustainable cash flow, and does not pay a dividend. 

What it does offer is relative stability and the potential for price appreciation. During turbulent economic times when company cash flows decline and dividends are cut or reduced, gold tends to shine, as investors try to preserve capital and fear the inevitable stimulus measures taken by central banks and/or government could stoke inflation and decrease the purchasing power of their currency.

More recently, financial markets have also been grappling with historically low interest rates, with some countries even experimenting with negative interest rates (i.e. investors paying the government interest, instead of receiving it, when owning government-issued bonds). This has significantly lowered the opportunity cost of owning gold (which pays no interest) versus owning government-issued bonds (which pay interest) as investors look for safety during times of market unease. Gold has been a direct beneficiary as the declining interest rate trend has gained steam, particularly in countries issuing bonds with negative interest rates. Why would an investor choose to pay interest to own a government bond when they could own gold instead, achieving the similar end goal of capital preservation? 

4) What happened to gold with the COVID-19

COVID-19 market pullback in March of 2020, gold suffered sizable declines along with equities. In fact, it suffered its largest weekly decline since 1983 while equities dipped into bear market territory in a record-shattering 20 days. Doesn’t this fly in the face of all the previous arguments for owning gold?

It depends on what you believe. Some have argued that the declines in the price of gold, at the exact same time equities were dropping precipitously, debunks the theory that gold should be viewed as a safe haven asset during times of market turmoil. Especially coupled with the fact that US Treasury bonds and the US dollar remained strong throughout the collapse in equity prices.

Proponents of gold have argued that the price decline the metal suffered in March, 2020 was due to the rapid shock the US economy experienced as virtually all of us entered lockdown. This forced many investors to raise cash as rapidly as possible, and gold, being a very liquid asset, provided easy access to needed cash. These proponents would challenge that the price of gold acted similarly during the 2008/2009 financial crisis before ultimately touching all-time highs, not too different to what has happened over the last three months. 

By analyzing the above chart, we are able to see that initially gold did maintain its strength as equities began to move lower. As the equity losses accelerated, gold prices declined before beginning a steady march higher prior to the March 23 low in equity prices. This does lend credence to the claim by gold “bulls” that the metal was used as a source of cash by investors during the selloff, and in doing so, helped them limit their losses.

In Summary

While critics may remain unconvinced, it is hard to deny that gold has maintained its luster throughout history as a go-to asset during times of uncertainty. Its ability to provide ballast to a portfolio allows your longer-term financial goals to remain upright and on course. We are by no means advocating that investors transition 100% of their assets into gold. However, we feel that a modest allocation of 3-7% in gold does have a place in a properly diversified investment portfolio. 

How Can We Help? 

At Towerpoint Wealth, we are a legal fiduciary to you, and embrace the professional obligation we have to work in your best interests 100% of the time. If you would like to discuss your circumstances further, we encourage you to call (916-405-9170) or email (nbilligmeier@towerpointwealth.com) to open an objective dialogue. 

Sacramento Wealth Management Nathan Billigmeier Director of Research and Analytics

Nathan Billigmeier Director of Research and Analytics 

Towerpoint Wealth, LLC is a Registered Investment Adviser. This material is solely for informational purposes. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Towerpoint Wealth, LLC and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Investing involves risk and possible loss of principal capital. No advice may be rendered by Towerpoint Wealth, LLC unless a client service agreement is in place