Mountain Money Blog

2nd Quarter Client Note – Will Inflation Rear Its Ugly Head?

By Steven Smith | July 19, 2021

The S & P 500 (total return) index closed the quarter at a record high; up 8.55% for the quarter and 15.25% for the first six months, setting all kinds of winning streaks in the process. The MSCI Developed Markets Index rose 5.65%, with Europe beginning to get more people vaccinated and its economy opening […]

1st Quarter Client Note – Still Standing

By Steven Smith | April 16, 2021

When writing my client note at this time last year, we were in the vortex of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Cases were exploding around the world. Hospitals were overwhelmed – or nearly so. And deaths were mounting. Social distancing had been imposed. Businesses were shuttered. There were massive layoffs, particularly in the […]

4th Quarter Client Note

By Steven Smith | January 25, 2021

If you would have told me in April when I was writing my 1st quarter client note, reporting 19.6% loss, that the S & P 500 would be up by 18.40% for the year; I would have asked what you were smoking.  At that moment, we were at the beginning of the pandemic and its […]

DOL Proposed Rule Change Brings Awareness to Sustainable Investing

By Steven Smith | October 16, 2020

The current US Department of Labor (DOL) has a bone to pick with sustainable investing; what is now colloquially called Environmental, Social & Governance or ESG investing. On June 23, 2020 the DOL issued a proposed rule that would limit the use of investments that consider ESG factors in retirement plans subject to ERISA, such […]

3rd Quarter Client Note – COVID and Politics, a Potent Cocktail

By Steven Smith | October 12, 2020

Welcome to whiplash land. The S&P 500 (Total Return) Index gained 8.93% in the quarter and 5.57% year-to-date. On August 18, the index reached a record high for the first time since the COVID-19 bear market began on February 19. In just 126 trading days, the fastest bear market recovery on record, the market erased […]

Preparing for Short-Term Election Volatility

By Steven Smith | October 2, 2020

What’s better for investors, Republican Presidents or Democrat Presidents? It’s a trick question. First, because in general, over the long run, it doesn’t matter. While some data correlates Democratic administrations with stronger markets since the end of World War II, there is no evidence of a cause and effect relationship. And this nifty interactive exhibit […]

Book Review: The Deficit Myth, Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy, Stephanie Kelton (Public Affairs, 2020)

By Steven Smith | September 26, 2020

“Trillions of dollars of debt! This is what Republicans stand for?” Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, reacting to his own party’s proposed stimulus legislation in July. “Now is not the time to worry about shrinking the deficit.” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, on September 15 2020. “If you elect me, your taxes are going to be raised.” […]

Retire Early? Retire Late? Or Retire Right on Time? – Lessons from the Early Retirement Movement

By Steven Smith | September 10, 2020

The FIRE movement captured my interest only recently. Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) is an aspiration of motivated young people today to stop working and retire in their 30’s and 40’s. As a retirement advisor, seeing the obvious challenges of saving enough money and otherwise getting one’s act together at such an age, I rather […]

2nd Quarter Client Note

By Steven Smith | July 17, 2020

The US stock market just had its best quarter in more than 20 years. (Yes, you heard that right.) Of course, that was on the heels of one of the scariest quarters in history, fueled by the Coronavirus pandemic reaching US shores in February. At its worst, on March 23, the S&P 500 was down […]

1st Quarter Client Note – Covid-19 Edition

By Steven Smith | April 10, 2020

There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen. I’m pretty sure that’s the first time I have quoted Vladimir Lenin in a client note. And probably the last. A great deal has indeed happened since my first post on the coronavirus pandemic, when the implications were just beginning to emerge. The public health implications […]

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