Views from the Hill

Our monthly view on global financial markets and behavioral finance. Insightful commentary in a brief format to help professionals and clients make informed planning decisions.

Sailing with the Tides

Embarking on a financial plan is like sailing around the world. The voyage won’t always go to plan, and there’ll be rough seas. But the odds of reaching your destination increase greatly if you are prepared, flexible, patient, and well-advised. … Continue reading

Knowing the Limits of Financial Models

Checking the weather? Guess what — you’re using a model. While models can be useful for gaining insights for making good decisions, they are inherently incomplete simplifications of reality. As disappointed investors increasingly move away from traditional active management investing … Continue reading

Our Perspective on Recent Market Volatility

After almost two years of relative calm, in recent days a violent unforeseen increase in stock market volatility around the world has caused anxiety for many investors. From February 1–5, the US market (as measured by the Russell 3000 Index) … Continue reading

As Goes January, So Goes the Year?

As investors ring in the new year, some may see the occasional headline about the “January Indicator” or “January Barometer.” This theory suggests that the price movement of the S&P 500 during the month of January may signal whether that … Continue reading

What Should We Make of Bitcoin Mania?

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are receiving intense media coverage, prompting some investors to wonder whether these new types of electronic money deserve a place in their portfolios. Only days ago, the price of bitcoin plunged sharply, declining over 25 percent … Continue reading

Having an Informed Strategy for Crisis Events

The 10-year anniversary in October of the S&P 500 historical high point before the so-called “Global Financial Crisis” is approaching. Over the following year and a half, US stock markets declined by more than 50 percent. Today US equity markets … Continue reading

Is the Monkey Model a Smart Strategy?

An interesting notion for picking stocks first proposed nearly fifty years ago, and resurrected from time to time, is that blindfolded monkeys throwing darts at pages of stock listings from Barrons can be used to “construct” portfolios that should do … Continue reading

The Paradox of Uncertainty for Planning

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one. — Voltaire “The market hates uncertainty” is a common enough saying, but does it make any sense? Actually, people hate uncertainty. Uncertainty has many different aspects: some that … Continue reading

The Season for Predicting or Planning?

At year-end, predictions about market gloom or doom for 2017 are coming from all directions, tempting even smart investors to play the old loser’s game of forecasting market prices. The closing of 2016 brings not only New Year’s Day but … Continue reading

Dimensional Fund Advisors: An Active-Passive Powerhouse

Dimensional Financial Advisors, an institutional investment advisor all but unknown to the general public, is “An Active-Passive Powerhouse” according to an October 20, 2016 Wall Street Journal article. This Wall Street Journal article offers an in-depth look at Dimensional, explaining … Continue reading