TO THE CONTRARY…

S&P500 Returns Graph

The University of Michigan’s consumer confidence index has been around for over forty years. As you might guess from its name, it measures how US consumers feel about financial conditions. From Investopedia: Consumer sentiment is a statistical measurement of the overall health of the economy as determined by consumer opinion. It takes into account people’s … Read more

HOUSING ON FIRE

Many of our clients have recently received annual notices of property tax assessments on their homes, and those assessments are higher across the board. In Texas, increases are limited to 10% over the prior year in most cases but in some states that limit doesn’t apply. If one were to pull up Zillow and check … Read more

1ST QUARTER INVESTMENT COMMENTARY

The first quarter tested the resilience of financial markets. Numerous economic and geopolitical issues are weighing on investors’ confidence about the future, while most traditional barometers are signaling the economy is on solid footing. Rising interest rates, supply shortages, geopolitical conflict and inflationary pressures have knocked down consumer confidence to historically low levels. Offsetting these … Read more

HOW ABOUT A RAISE?

collection of numbers ranging from 0 to 9

Retirees receiving Social Security benefits are seeing a significant increase in their January checks. 70 million Americans are getting a 5.9% increase in their monthly benefit. This is the largest increase in 39 years. Since 1975, Social Security beneficiaries have received a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban … Read more

THE COFFERS ARE FULL

Mug full of water

The pandemic and government stimulus has been good for states revenue. States collect revenue primarily from sales, income and real estate tax and their coffers are overflowing. State and local tax receipts are 16% above pre-pandemic levels while spending is up only 5%. The dramatic increase is a result of surging retail spending during the … Read more

JANUARY JITTERS

The smooth road stocks have been traveling on has recently gotten a lot bumpier. Several issues have surfaced almost simultaneously that have led investors to sell stocks and reduce risk, lowering the prices of stocks in the short run. While we have Russia saber rattling and trying to bully change in Ukraine, the issues most … Read more

4th Quarter 2021 Investment Commentary

We are long-term, goal-oriented, plan-focused investors. We believe that the key to financial success is to continuously act on a specific plan. It has been our observation over the years that substandard returns, and even investment failure, inevitably occur from reacting to economic or market events. It is useful to think about the future and … Read more

NEW DIGS

New Watchman Group Office Space

Many of you may not be aware that we made a few upgrades around the office this past year. Specifically, we added more meeting rooms, offices and a full-sized lobby which more than doubled our existing space. Our team has grown over the past few years and we are working with more clients so the … Read more

ENRON – 20 YEARS LATER

Enron Logo

Early December marked the 20th anniversary of the largest bankruptcy in US history, Enron. If you turned on the evening news during that event, you saw images of employees leaving the company’s Houston headquarters for the last time, carrying boxes of personal items out the front door. Many of these employees not only lost a … Read more

TAPERING – WHAT IS THAT AGAIN?

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The Federal Reserve started its reduction of new bond purchases in November. The process, known as “tapering”, is expected to conclude in March. After March, the Federal Reserve will not be adding bonds to its balance sheet. While it is logical to conclude that the the loss of a large buyer would cause rates to … Read more