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Wealth Watch Newsletter

The markets are complex.  In today’s data age, it’s easy to find more points of information.  However, it’s harder than ever to find out what parts of that information actually matter to you.  That’s the reason behind Wealth Watch.  At BDF, we want to make sure we are always thinking about what’s relevant and keeping you in the loop.

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The State of the State – Revisited

In May 2017, Gurtin Municipal Bond Management presented “Illinois and Chicago Credit Update,” which was an insider’s look at the state of the municipal bond market in Illinois and Chicago. It was an informative but sobering look at the many financial challenges faced by Illinois and Chicago. Just recently, Gurtin returned with “Updates for the […]

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Factor Primer Series: Value

Coming back to our series on factor investing (What is a Factor?; Small-Cap), this installment will focus on the value factor. As a refresher, we defined factors as a source of excess return that is sensible, persistent over long time periods, pervasive across markets, and cost-effective to capture. What is the Value Factor?  Broadly speaking, the […]

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Zero Commission Revolution

Sending shockwaves across the investment world, Charles Schwab announced zero commissions for stock and exchange-traded fund (ETF) trading effective October 7 (mutual funds will still have a small cost to buy and sell). Rival brokers, TD Ameritrade, E*TRADE, and later, Fidelity, followed suit. The move to zero commission trading is aimed at both keeping clients […]

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Factor Primer Series: Small-Cap

Returning to our series on factor investing (What is a Factor?), today we turn our attention to small-cap stocks. As a reminder, last time we defined factors as a source of excess return that is sensible, persistent over long time periods, pervasive across markets, and cost-effective to capture. What is the Small Cap Factor?  The […]

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The Positives of Negative Interest Rates

Negative interest rates are unbelievable.  In fact, in many ways, they were inconceivable until just a few short years ago.  Interest rates had a theoretical stopping point at 0% in past financial theory.  After all, why would someone lock in a negative return on an investment?  Wouldn’t they just hold cash instead?  It turns out […]

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Factor Investing Primer Series: What Is a Factor?

Factor investing, sometimes referred to as smart beta or enhanced indexing, is rooted in academic research. In their attempts to better understand the market, researchers have uncovered a number of persistent anomalies in the market. They sought to explain, then systematically exploit these “factors” in the market. As the breadth of this research evolved, researchers […]

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Indexing – Not as Easy as It Seems

With practically every area of the market up significantly this year, the appeal of index funds has been growing as well. Investors are attracted to the broad diversification, low cost, and tax efficiency index funds provide, and as a result, flows into index strategies eclipsed $1.6 billion in 2017 and 2018, according to Forbes. In […]

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Market Volatility Returns

Volatility returned with a vengeance this past week, interrupting what has otherwise been an impressive first seven months of the year for global stocks. Worldwide markets have fallen 5% since the beginning of August as investors sold out of equities and moved into the safety of bonds. What is causing this volatility? Will it impact […]

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Mind the Valuation Gap

Growth has continued to outperform value in 2019, continuing what has become a decade long trend. For the year, growth stocks have outperformed value stocks 25.7% to 18.1%*. Going back 10 years, growth has outperformed value 16.5% to 13.2%* on an annualized basis (*as of July 15, 2019 using the Russell 1000 Growth and Russell […]

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Picking Up Pennies

In investments, there’s not much more boring than cash.  Sure, it provides immense comfort when the markets go south, but in the long-term, cash is the piece of your portfolio which is basically set up to fail versus inflation.  By that measure alone, it’s exposure should be limited. Even so, cash still plays a critical […]

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Behaving Badly in Las Vegas

There is arguably no better place in the world to observe bad behavior than on the Las Vegas Strip. After all, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” However, when it comes to behaving badly, we investors can give Vegas casino-goers a run for their money. At the 2019 AICPA ENGAGE wealth management conference in […]

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Annoying Averages

Growing up in school, no one wants to be average.  From the start, averages are ingrained into us, and behaviorally, we always want to be better than average in everything we do.  Take this question: Are you an above average driver?  My guess is you’d answer yes.  And I’d venture to say that more than […]

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