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News & Market Commentary

Spring is in the air! We believe that not only are longer, sunnier days just around the corner, but so is a time when our lives and livelihoods can all return to normal.  

DecisionPoint Firm News - Matt Daley has Officially Moved to Gig Harbor!

We are pleased to announce that our partner, Matt Daley, has officially moved to Gig Harbor.  Matt and his wife Anna Marie, along with their two baby daughters, are excited to be back in Washington.  Matt will work out of DecisionPoint’s Gig Harbor office which is located at Baker Way and Canterwood Blvd. just up the hill from St. Anthony’s.

Matt has worked with us at DecisionPoint for the past 3 years.  Prior to DecisionPoint Matt worked as a Financial Advisor for Moss Adams in their downtown Seattle office.  Matt has a bachelors degree in Personal Financial Planning and he was one of the youngest financial planners in the Country to earn the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation.  Over the past 3 years Matt has spent time in the homes of 100’s of fire service families building financial plans and helping our clients with budgeting, investing, financial goal setting, estate planning, asset protection, college saving, and retirement planning.  Matt is one of the brightest and most talented financial planners and our firm is excited to now have a full-time presence in the area as our practice within the fire service continues to grow in the area.

For those of you who have yet to meet Matt, he grew up fishing and hunting and he is an avid golfer.  Matt has a gift for remembering names and faces so he is likely to recognize you long before you recognize him if he runs into you out in the community.  For more background on Matt please visit our website below:


Market Commentary & the Key to Successful Investing 

The DJIA remains well above 24,000 today, but still approximately 5000 points or 17% below stock market highs set back in February.  However, for those of you actively contributing into your 457(b) accounts, your deferrals this week are continuing to buy 1000’s of stocks all over the world at discounted values.

Good Behavior is the Key - How to Avoid the Behavior Gap when Investing 

“The investor’s chief problem - and even his worst enemy - is likely to be himself.” - Benjamin Graham (father of behavioral finance)

The quote above speaks to the behavioral challenges that we humans have when investing.  Unfortunately, as emotional animals, our investment behavior is primarily driven by fear and greed.  These two emotions fuel our propensity to buy high (i.e., buy in when prices are rising and all of our friends tell us how much money they are making) and sell low (i.e., sell the stock funds in our retirement accounts when the media tells us the world is ending and the stock market will never recover).  This potentially vicious cycle of fear and greed leads us to often make consistent investment decisions that cause us to give up valuable returns offered by the markets.  It can also significantly hamper our ability to accumulate wealth (i.e., grow your retirement savings in your 457(b) account).  For example, thanks to an ongoing 30+ year study by an organization called Dalbar, we know that the emotional cycle of investing causes the average investor to underperform the market index by an average of 4% annually.  This negative difference in realized investor returns vs. market index performance is referred to as the “Behavior Gap”.  Imagine if, over a 30 year career at the fire department, you could grow your 457(b) account balance at an extra 4% annually?  Think of what those additional retirement assets could provide you by way of income in retirement.

Key Things to Remember in Avoiding the Investor Behavior Gap

  • Never Panic - Stock Market corrections (loss of 10% or greater) and bear markets (loss of 20% or greater) arrive as regularly as spring flowers and they have not negated the tendency of markets to dramatically compound wealth over long periods of time.
  • Never let the Media Influence your Investment Decisions - Trust us, they have no clue what they are talking about and they always get it wrong.  Just turn off the TV.
  • Control the Controllable - As an investor, you are always in the driver’s seat.  You can’t control the markets or the economy, but you can control how you react to market volatility.  You can mitigate risks by broadly diversifying your investments and by patiently riding through the market ups and downs.
  • Start Saving Early in Life - Consistently contributing into your 457(b) retirement account throughout your career and taking full advantage of any employer matching contributions is the single greatest thing you can do to accumulate wealth.
  • You Must Take Risk to be Rewarded - Most of us are risk averse.  But few of us can afford not to take risk when investing.  Stocks will always outperform bonds over the long term.  The longer your investment time horizon, the more you should put your investment dollars into stocks. 

As always, please reach out if we can be of assistance! 

- Your DecisionPoint Financial Planning Team -