Small but Mighty: How Individual Investors Can Compete With Large Institutions

Institutional Investors.  These are the big wigs as far as investors go.  They invest money for themselves, for other institutions (e.g. endowments, pension funds, etc.), and typically have billions of dollars at their disposal.  This enables them to buy a majority stake in any S&P 500 company, and if they feel like having a chat with the CEO, or commanding a seat on the Board, both are just a quick phone call away.

How are individual investors supposed compete with these guys?  Continue reading “Small but Mighty: How Individual Investors Can Compete With Large Institutions”

Limited Time Opportunity for NEW MCM Clients

For a limited only, new MCM clients who qualify are eligible for one full-year of free equity and ETF trade commissions, making now a great time to refer someone you know!

Personal referrals are MCM’s primary source of new business growth. We are actively seeking to grow so that we can bring more of MCM’s great benefits and services to more people. We are very thankful for each referral we receive and for all of our existing clients who joined the MCM family via referral. If you appreciate someone who shared MCM with you, it’s likely someone you know will also appreciate the gesture. So…share the wealth, figuratively of course, by referring someone you know. They’ll be grateful, and we will too.

Why High Earners Still Live Paycheck-to-Paycheck

If you live in the United States and have yearly family income of $150,000 or more, a recent study by Nielsen Global Consumer Insights reveals that there is a 25% chance that you have little or no savings because you consume every last dollar you earn.  This is called living hand-to-mouth or, to put it bluntly, you’re basically broke.  Isn’t that hard to believe?

The average family income in the U.S. is just under $47,000 as of 2014.  It would be reasonable to think those fortunate souls making over $150,000 would not be struggling each month to make ends meet.  Not so, according to Nielsen.  Far from it, in fact.  The same study revealed 33% of households making between $50,000-$100,000 and 50% of households making less than $50,000 are in the same hand-to-mouth situation.

Continue reading “Why High Earners Still Live Paycheck-to-Paycheck”

4% Rule: Made to Be Broken?

A common concern among investors is running out of money in retirement. Combating this concern, the “4% rule” is widely presented as a simple way to help your money last. Created in 1994 by financial planner William Bengen, the 4% rule says if you withdraw 4% of your nest egg each year, adjusted annually for inflation, there is a 90% chance your money will last at least 30 years. Yet despite its notoriety, the 4% rule is not without issue.

Continue reading “4% Rule: Made to Be Broken?”

MCM’s Backbone: Administration

“I’m a Portfolio Administrator at a registered investment advisory firm, Meyer Capital Management.”

“So… you’re a secretary?”

“No, actually. I’m not a secretary.”

There is a stereotype, across various industries, that all administrative professionals are secretaries. This attitude isn’t always fair for individuals, such as myself, whose titles encompass the word “administrator,” since we are much more than secretaries. So what gave the title such a bad reputation?

Continue reading “MCM’s Backbone: Administration”

Global Markets Shocked by Britain’s Surprise Decision to Leave the European Union

 Polling ahead of yesterday’s Brexit referendum in the U.K. pointed to a slim victory for Remain proponents, including Prime Minister David Cameron. As a result, stocks gained steadily in the days leading up to the historic vote. How misleading those polls turned out to be as a majority of Britons cast their votes in favor of leaving the EU. This is a bona fide historic event but it is not a cause for panic and should not alter the basic calculus for the vast majority of individual investors.

Not surprisingly, global equity markets sold off by as much as 8%, the British pound plummeted, the euro fell and the price of gold jumped to a two-year high. Morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange is much tamer than elsewhere with the major stock indices moving down by 2.0-2.5%, on average. Fixed income markets are moving decidedly higher.

In the short-term, MCM portfolio managers are busy sorting through the carnage hunting for mispriced assets that can be bought at attractive discounts and/or sold for outsized profits. Our objective to maximize investment rate-of-return in client portfolios remains unaffected by the events in Europe.

Longer-term, all eyes will be on other EU countries and whether or not they follow Britain’s example and stage referendums of their own. Italy, Spain and Greece immediately come to mind. A total collapse of the EU is not out of the question. The only sure thing is that capital market volatility will be with us a good while longer.

Long-Term Investor, Short-Term Attention Span

Society has an activity addiction. We constantly need to be entertained. So much so that the average human attention span is only 8.25 seconds – down from 12 seconds a decade ago and almost an entire second less than a goldfish’s, according to Statistic Brain. Undoubtedly, millennials bring this average down a bit. 77% of people aged 18-25 said if nothing is occupying their attention, they will grab their phone, compared to only 10% of those over age 65. Begrudgingly, I can attest to this. I’m currently working to complete my MBA degree through Ohio University, which is rewarding but includes a lot of paper writing. Although I’m thriving, I’ll admit if I had a nickel for every time I checked my phone, answered a text message or opened an off-topic internet tab instead of focusing on a paper, I wouldn’t need to earn my MBA…I’d just buy one.

*stops writing this post to research the going price for MBA degree*

Obviously I can’t actually buy a graduate degree and as easy as it is to joke about the fact that many of us can’t pay attention anymore, this notion made think (impressively, for more than 8 seconds) about how investors are affected by short attention spans. This mindset makes investors hypersensitive to trading frequency (“Why didn’t my investment adviser buy anything today!?”) and short-term price movements (“She bought that for me last week, why is it already down -1%!?”). This mentality can cause investors to “act just to act,” or worse, act solely on short-term volatility.

Continue reading “Long-Term Investor, Short-Term Attention Span”

Behind the Curtain: My Path to MCM

After graduation in 2010 from Central Michigan University (CMU), I knew generally what I wanted from my career: to enrich people’s lives by helping them invest their hard-earned, hard-saved money. However, I didn’t have a clear idea how I would do that or how many different career paths were available within the investment management landscape. For example, there are firms that sell financial products such as mutual funds, insurance, and annuities, and there are firms that manage the money directly as a professional service, aka money managers. I knew of these different paths from my studies in college, but I was unsure which was right for me.

Continue reading “Behind the Curtain: My Path to MCM”

Investment Strategy: Gender-Based Differences

Men own penny stocks on Mars and women have a money market account on Venus.

At least I think that’s how the saying goes…

Okay, maybe not quite like that but the point is, there are noticeable differences between genders when it comes to investing strategies. Many of these came to light just recently, since for years it was the norm for the men to handle most couples’ finances. As women became a bigger presence in the work force, waited longer to get married and couples began divorcing more frequently, women found themselves solely in charge of their own finances. Once they began to invest, based on their own values and goals, it became evident they (typically) invest much differently than their male counterparts. As an investor, a professional investment adviser and a woman myself, this idea is intriguing to me, so I decided to explore these differences…what they mean…and what to do about them.

Continue reading “Investment Strategy: Gender-Based Differences”