Mountain Money Blog

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 […]

CARES Act Relaxes Rules for Charitable Giving

By Steven Smith | April 5, 2020

The $2.2 trillion stimulus package – known as the CARES Act – passed by Congress and signed by the President on March 27 created strong incentives for charitable giving in 2020 to meet the needs of people tragically affected by Covid-19. There are provisions for both modest and more affluent donors alike. $300 Above-the-Line Universal […]

Now is a Good Time to Review Your Estate Plan

By Steven Smith | March 30, 2020

While it may seem morbid, now, during the Covid-19 outbreak, is the time to make sure the estate and disability plans for you and other members of your family are in order. Especially if you or your parents are over 60. These documents typically include: Wills, Living Trusts, Financial and Medical Powers of Attorney and […]

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