White Papers & Articles

Preserving Your Legacy

Being a steward of your family’s wealth means preparing your heirs for the decision-making and the responsibilities that come with inheriting significant wealth. Family discussions about maintaining an enduring financial estate and legacy can be quite challenging. As with most things in life, the best place to start educating your heirs is to form a plan—one that involves familiarizing them with the basics of personal finance and wealth management, while sharing your family’s history, values and stories.

Buying at Auction? Some Do's and Don'ts

For collectors of all kinds—whether of art, collectibles, watches, or wine—buying at auction has never been easier, more fun or, perhaps, more dangerous. So here is the first item up for bid. In exchange for a few minutes of your time, I hope to give you a sense of how to play the auction game and win...

Who Says You Can't Take it With You? Caring for your Collection—In the Afterlife

I don’t know about you, but I really like collecting things. I’ve been a collector my entire life. Stamps, coins, books, antiques, cars, artwork—my interests keep changing, but each one has fed a lifelong hunger to learn, to beautify my surroundings, to own a little piece of history.

Convergent’s Live Well Series is produced to advance dialogue on topics to help people “Invest Well. Manage Well. Live Well.TM” It is our hope that these articles will illuminate, intrigue, and inspire—and we invite you to join the conversation. If you have questions, or wish to discuss any of our thought leadership articles, please contact your investment advisor or email us at: LiveWell@ConvergentWealth.com

Building a Legacy - An Introduction to Multigenerational Wealth Planning

How do you preserve family wealth across multiple generations? It's not easy—it takes work. Sustaining a financial legacy can be a surprisingly complicated task, fraught with emotion and difficult decisions. More resources don’t necessarily ease the burden either. Often, greater wealth means even greater complexity in the form of additional beneficiaries, investment opportunities, and estate planning strategies. It may then come as no surprise to learn that in approximately two-thirds of cases, family wealth is exhausted before the end of the second generation. In 90 percent of cases, wealth is exhausted before the end of the third generation. The key to avoiding this situation is proactive, professional planning.

Investments of Passion - Turning Pastimes into Profits

For most investors, the traditional foundations of comfortable living include a secure nest egg, a viable plan for long-term healthcare, and a dream home (or two). But for a growing number of affluent people, part of "living well" now includes investing time and money in hobbies, pastimes, and passions that can make their lives more fun, stimulate lifelong learning, and forge friendships with fellow aficionados. 

Convergent's Live Well Series is produced to advance dialogue on topics to help people "Invest Well. Manage Well. Live Well.TM" It is our hope that these articles will illuminate, intrigue, and inspire - and we invite you to join the conversation. If you have questions or wish to discuss any of our thought leadership articles, please contact your investment advisor or email us at: LiveWell@ConvergentWealth.com

 

Q4 2014 Market and Economic Update

Here we are, over ten months into the year, and much like 2011, U.S. equities and bonds are the leaders of the pack. We still see non-U.S. and emerging market equities, commodities, and non-U.S. debt lagging. This is in part because of a knee-jerk, risk-off shift that started in September, and is also a result of a stronger U.S. dollar. Earlier in the year, low volatility lulled most investors into a comfortable slumber, riding U.S. equities’ low volatility uptrend. Investors have been jolted awake, however, as September and October have proven turbulent. 
 

2014 Market and Economic Update:

Will Equity Markets Sputter Or Can They Continue Their Torrid Pace? If one were to extrapolate the annual return based on the first quarter return of the S&P 500 Index (+1.80%), we would end up with a return of approximately 7.4% for the year. Disappointing as that might be—especially after a 30%+ year in 2013—it is much closer to the historical average. The S&P 500 Index has produced annualized returns of 10% over the trailing 50 years ending March 2014, and despite the fact that many market forecasters regularly predict returns of 8-10%, the S&P rarely (if ever) hits that mark in a given year. In fact, looking at the S&P 500 Index total returns for calendar years back to 1926, the closest it has come to that prediction was in the back-to-back years of 1992 and 1993, when returns were 7.62% and 10.08% respectively. If you were a gambler, you'd likely benefit from taking your chances on betting the over/under rather than betting the returns will be in the 7-11% range. The fact that there is only a 3.4% probability of the S&P 500 Index returning between 7-11% (based on the last 88 years) we are left asking, "Will equity markets sputter or can they continue their torrid pace?"

2014 Economic and Investment Outlook

2013 will be remembered as the year of U.S. Equities. With returns topping 32% year-to-date, there was no better asset class. Non-U.S. developed markets (Europe and Japan) were also top performers, putting up a combined 23.3% for the year-to-date period. After that, however, the returns dropped off for other asset classes. In fact, relative to historic performance, high-yield bonds, real estate, U.S. investment grade bonds, emerging markets equities, emerging markets bonds and commodities all disappointed. Looking back, we will categorize 2013 as the year when the U.S. markets were further along in their recovery than the rest of the world. 

2013 Year-End Tax and Estate Planning Tips

It’s December 2013 and therefore a good time of year to make sure you are set with your 2013 tax and estate planning goals. This bulletin will provide some helpful tax tips, give you food for thought for year-end planning, and possibly spark some conversations between you and your advisors.

Why We Diversify

Risk is frequently defined as the possibility of suffering harm or loss. That definition seems straightforward enough—avoid taking any risks and you will be spared any losses. Yet the investment world presents a conundrum. The safest approaches (such as holding only cash or short-term bonds) will often be insufficient to meet financial goals and objectives, yet investing solely in the riskiest assets (such as stocks) can be hazardous. Some measured amount of risk must be taken, and a broader approach to the subject as it relates to investing is worth exploring. One of our favorite takes comes from Elroy Dimson, Emeritus Professor of Finance at London Business School, who wrote, “Risk means more things can happen than will happen.” Let that settle in for a moment. It does not necessarily equate risk to bad things happening per se—in fact, the outcome can be better than expected. But in investing there is always a range of possible outcomes, whether over the short term or the long term, which have the capability to make you experience pain and feel like a fool. This pain could come in the form of actual losses (such as in 2008) or the regret of missed opportunities (such as this year’s massive U.S. stock run).

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