Spectrum Management Blog

By Eric Kurth | September 17, 2015

Reaction: Federal Reserve Rate Decision

Anticipation has been building towards this day. The markets were estimating a one in three chance rates would move today, and it has caused a bunch of speculation .  During the 2008 financial crisis, the Fed pushed its benchmark rate to rock bottom levels. Specifically, the policy has been to hold the rate between 0 and 0.25%. The Fed has maintained this level ever since, and many wondered if today would be the day it changed.

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Topics: Markets and Investing, Market Outlook, Eric Kurth

By Eric Kurth | August 11, 2015

Performance History of Major Asset Classes

As the markets meander through the slower summer months, it becomes a good time to check-in on where we have been. I have compiled 10 major asset class indexes and compared the returns in a quilt format. The returns for each calendar year and a longer term view of annualized returns are provided.  

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Topics: Markets and Investing, Eric Kurth, CFA

By Eric Kurth | July 30, 2015

Don't Make These Common IRA Mistakes

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are not hard to find. In fact, IRAs hold a quarter of all retirement plan assets in the U.S according the Employee Benefit Research Institute. It is highly likely for investors to have some type of IRA account, and the vast majority of IRA accounts are of the traditional type. For many, assets in IRAs came from rollover contributions from other qualified plans such as a 401(k) plan of a previous employer, or from annual contributions. As IRAs become more common with time we expect there to be a greater understanding of them in society, but these accounts have specific rules that can become confusing for many investors. These are common mistakes that can be avoided if properly understood.

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Topics: Retirement, Eric Kurth, Insight of Interest

By Eric Kurth | July 17, 2015

From Rapid Expansion to Dramatic Drop: Chinese Margin Debt Situation [UPDATE]

Three months ago I found myself scrolling through Chinese web pages to locate margin data from the Shanghai Stock Exchange, and at that time there was a rapid expansion. However, today we see a different story. Over the past few months margin debt balances reached new highs and have contracted substantially.  

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Topics: Market Outlook, Eric Kurth, CFA

By Eric Kurth | July 7, 2015

Advice Worth Avoiding When Saving for Retirement

Retirement is a common goal sought by many people, and each person likely has their own idea for what retirement means for them.  It could mean never waking up before 8am again or starting that project you never had time for.  Whatever retirement might look like we can all recognize it requires having enough resources to live happily while not being required to work full-time.  For most, the resources needed for retirement is a large sum of money that isn't quickly amassed.  So when reveiwing advice on saving for retirement beaware of unbalanced approaches and advice that runs contrary to one of investings most powerful forces.

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Topics: Retirement, Eric Kurth, Well Being

By Eric Kurth | June 12, 2015

What Does it Mean?: Chartered Market Technician (CMT)

You might have seen these letters behind someone's name, on TV, or even on our website. I will be using this post to describe what this designation is, and why it matters to our clients.  

The letters CMT stand for Chartered Market Technician and professionals who hold this designation have demonstrated a proficiency in the broad topic of Technical Analysis.  Professionals with this designation have completed 3 rigorous exams, satisfy the Market Technician Association's (MTA) experience requirements, and have agreed to abide by the MTA Code of Ethics.

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Topics: Eric Kurth, Designation Description

By Eric Kurth | May 29, 2015

Economic Data Disappoints Analysts

2015 has been a difficult year for economic forecasters here in the U.S.  The actual economic data released has been keeping analysts on their heels the entire year as their estimates have been much more optimistic than the actual data.  While nobody expects analysts to be perfect, the degree to which U.S. economic data is surprising analysts is higher than we have seen in recent years.  Typically, market participants look to analyst forecasts to help guide their investment choices, and surprises to what is expected could have the potential to move markets.  

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Topics: Markets and Investing, Eric Kurth, Economy

By Eric Kurth | May 22, 2015

What Does it Mean?: Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF)

You might have seen these letters behind someone's name, on TV, or even on our website. I will be using this post to describe what this designation is, and why it matters to our clients.  

The letters AIF stand for Accredited Investment Fiduciary® and are granted to individuals who have met the educational and experiential requirements.  The designation, AIF®, educates professionals on what a fiduciary is and what is required of a fiduciary.  Today, it is even more important to understand how exposure to legal and practical scrutiny can be handled with proper policies and procedures.  The designation helps professionals know how to implement policies and procedures that mitigate liability by educating them on pertinent legislation and best practices.

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Topics: Eric Kurth, Designation Description

By Eric Kurth | May 13, 2015

Financial Tips for your Next Trip Abroad

It is that time of year again when we start looking forward to that special summer vacation. We at Spectrum sometimes get questions as to what should be done before taking a trip outside the country, or we might hear of someone else's unfortunate situation where something unexpected happened that affected the trip. There are a few things that can be done in advance that should help prevent unexpected financial issues from dampening what would have been a great trip abroad.

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Topics: Eric Kurth, Insight of Interest, Wealth Management

By Eric Kurth | May 8, 2015

What Does it Mean?: Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA™)

You might have seen these letters behind someone's name, on TV, or even on our website. I will be using this post to describe what this designation is, and why it matters to our clients.

The letters CDFA stand for Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® and are granted to professionals who have completed the requirements set forth by the institute for Divorce Financial Analysts™. The designation requires that individuals complete an educational requirement that provides theoretical and practical knowledge of financial issues in divorce.  Also, professionals are required to have at least 3 years of qualifying experience. 

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Topics: Eric Kurth, Designation Description, CDFA