Your Mental Wealth Advisors Blog

Markets Comfortably Numb, or Confused?

Published at Oct 19, 2020, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Buğra Bakan

If you think the stock market was down 5% since November, then up 8%, then down 2%…and it’s been on a trade mill during which time the end result performance has been flat for the last 8 months – you’d be correct (you’d get a very similar result with Dow Jones). Read More

5 tips loving life tough economic times

Featured Post | Published at Oct 19, 2020, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Dr. Brad Klontz

Many of us hold onto the belief that more money would make us happy. Research shows that there is a correlation between money and happiness. However this is only true up to a certain level of income. Poverty, with all of its profound stressors, is clearly a cause for unhappiness. However, when a household income rises above $75,000 per year, there is no real connection between money and happiness. Now $75,000 per year is nothing to sneeze at, especially in this economy. Still it’s hard for many of us to swallow that an extra million dollars wouldn't bring some happiness. But this just isn't the case. There have been significant economic gains experienced by Americans in the past few decades. These gains have NOT been accompanied by a rise in happiness. In fact, these economic gains have been associated with increases in depression. Read More

Once Again, It’s the End of the World

Featured Post | Published at Apr 27, 2020, 12:00 AM in finance by Buğra Bakan

The most popular question these days is: when will life get back to normal? The most accurate and honest answer to that is: no one knows. Especially when dealing with a novel virus with no vaccine, and the immunity levels of the people with antibodies unknown, making predictions seems like a fool’s errand, and yet, we can’t stop thinking about it because everything else depends on it. Let me present a case below, on how expectations and the outcome can fall on exactly opposite directions. Read More

Is a financial Planner Really Worth their Planning and Investment Advisory Fee?

Published at Mar 13, 2020, 12:00 AM in general by Dr. Brad Klontz

A recent survey indicates that an increasing number of high net worth investors are willing to pay for solid, unbiased, fee-only investment advice and financial planning. This is not really surprising considering the challenges of today’s markets and the economic environment. Read More

Nurturing a Child’s Relationship with Money

Published at Mar 11, 2020, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Dr. Brad Klontz

My six year old son asks me a lot of questions about money. How much do we have? How much does that cost? Why can’t we buy this? It would seem he is a little obsessed. Maybe some of that comes with being a son of a Financial Advisor, but I think it is just a part of growing up and inserting values on what we see around us. Like it or not, money is integrated into a lot of our day-to-day decisions and even our relationships. Read More

Are Investors Their Own Worst Enemy?

Featured Post | Published at Feb 3, 2020, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Dr. Brad Klontz

We like to think that we are logical, rational beings. We want to believe that we weigh the pros and cons of each decision and choose the most effective course of action before we act. However, when it comes to money, our brains haven't evolved much beyond those of our furry animal friends. Read More

Hind Sight is Twenty Nineteen

Published at Dec 28, 2019, 12:00 AM in finance by Buğra Bakan

In this last newsletter of the year, I think it is suitable to start with a story involving Dionysus, the god of wine, ritual ecstasy and theater, as most of us will likely be engaged in a related activity in one shape or form, joining the spirit of the season. Read More

Charitable Giving: Beyond the Basics

Featured Post | Published at Dec 24, 2019, 12:00 AM in finance by Nick Maratta

We all love to give. It feels great to give to others, whether it is your favorite charity, or as a demonstration of love and support of friends and family members. However, just like any expense, giving should be budgeted, tracked, and done with intention. It is not healthy to give beyond one’s means. It is not wise to support financial dependence in others, or to give out of a sense of guilt or shame. Time spent in support of people and causes you love can be just as valuable, as a financial gesture. Many find this kind of hands on giving to be even more rewarding. Read More

Financial Win-Win: Give to Charity and Avoid the Income Taxes on $100k

Published at Nov 11, 2019, 12:00 AM in finance by Dr. Brad Klontz

The tax code, with all of its hundreds of pages of regulations, stipulations, and loopholes always leave something be learned. Not only is the U.S. Internal Revenue Code massive, different write-offs and deductions occur at different stages in life, so it’s unsurprising if you don’t know the details of the IRA (Individual Retirement Account) charitable rollover. Read More

It’s Official: Correction is Here

Published at Oct 28, 2019, 12:00 AM in investment strategy by Buğra Bakan

The late September, early October market highs in stocks, may be this year’s all-time high in stock values. This is not due to the US economy doing poorly, or companies reporting dismal results. The stock market is forward looking, and so with rising input, financing and labor costs, along with a slowing down of global trade, European Union troubled with Brexit and Italy, China still on controlled slow down mode, equity investors are having a hard time finding bright spots. One thing is for sure, that the volatility is back and major indexes have touched the correction territory. Read More

Both Pedals to the Metal

Published at Sep 9, 2019, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Dr. Brad Klontz

I would like to start by apologizing for not writing my newsletters lately in their usual quarterly frequency. This has been an unusual year for many reasons, one of which is the time I have spent finishing my first book titled “Stop Overspending.” I am lucky enough to be asked the reason for my silence on the newsletter front, and this is one reason why. I will send a link to it once published, which is going to be in the next few months, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it. Read More

To Cut, Or Not To Cut…FED Is The Question

Published at Jul 9, 2019, 12:00 AM in finance by Buğra Bakan

We’re living in interesting times indeed. Wherever we look, a new, better, improved version of every product, service, policy or methodology is available for a spin. Some of these trials end up becoming hugely successful, and some of them prove to be disastrous. Read More

Pour Some Sugar On me

Published at May 5, 2019, 12:00 AM in general by Buğra Bakan

Current market conditions remind me of a scene from the 2000 Ridley Scott movie Gladiator, in which, the protagonist Maximus (Russel Crowe), a Roman army general turned gladiator, walks out of a wooden cage filled with other fighters, all paying their respects to him, while some so fearful that they can’t control their urine. After killing four opponents in one session, Maximus throws his sword at the spectators, filled with disgust of their enthusiasm towards violence, shouting his famous line “Are you entertained?”. Read More

2019…And the Plot Thickens

Featured Post | Published at Jan 31, 2019, 12:00 AM in finance by Buğra Bakan

According to the Chinese calendar, 2019 is going to be a Pig year and since it is a water animal, it can be as murky and confusing as a mud pile, or as clear as Lake Tahoe. Today, I will attempt to turn the murkiness of the current market conditions into a clearer picture. My goal is to share relevant facts without distorting them, and make useful and actionable forecasts…so, let’s start. Read More

It’s Official: Correction is Here

Published at Oct 28, 2018, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Buğra Bakan

The late September, early October market highs in stocks, may be this year’s all-time high in stock values. This is not due to the US economy doing poorly, or companies reporting dismal results. The stock market is forward looking, and so with rising input, financing and labor costs, along with a slowing down of global trade, European Union troubled with Brexit and Italy, China still on controlled slow down mode, equity investors are having a hard time finding bright spots. One thing is for sure, that the volatility is back and major indexes have touched the correction territory. Read More

…And Now, The End Is Near?

Published at Jul 25, 2018, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Buğra Bakan

For years now, market participants have been arguing on whether or not “the” market top has been seen. So far, those who had suggested “a” market top yes, but not “the” market top have won the argument and prevailed. That being said, “this time”, both economically and market wise, it appears likely that we are in the later stages of a growth and bull cycle. Read More

It May Get Worse Before It Gets Better

Published at Apr 3, 2018, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Buğra Bakan

One piece of the profit/loss puzzle of investments that is so easy to see in hindsight, is that market pull backs, or corrections present investment opportunities. The bigger the drop, the better the opportunity. Therefore, in theory, a successful investor would be happy to see market lows, but that’s not how the story goes for a variety of reasons. The hard part is how to keep your cool and implement this wisdom in the midst of crisis, fear and while losing the market value of your invested funds. Read More

2018: A Challenging Year Might Be Ahead

Published at Dec 3, 2017, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Buğra Bakan

First thing first: I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and loved ones, and wish you a great Holiday Season, Christmas, News Year….under whatever name, shape or form you enjoy celebrating. My usual attitude I have adopted from a longtime friend is: “Is there something to celebrate? What are we waiting for?” Read More

Yep, More of the Same, Which is Terrific

Published at Sep 7, 2017, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Buğra Bakan

One key concept of Buddhism is “impermanence.” That which changes cannot be real, and so we shouldn’t concern ourselves with what is not real…right? Given the stock market’s impermanent nature, which is bound to cease at some point (as resilient as it has been), should we still concern ourselves with its potential next move? Read More

A Mixed Bag of More of the Same

Published at May 1, 2017, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Buğra Bakan

Many observers are surprised with the current levels of US Stock Indices. There is so much talk about stretched valuations, Trump Trade being over, the potential damage of rising interest rates, trade/currency wars, political uncertainty, rising inflation and last but not the least, the aging economic growth cycle, that given all this, stock prices seem unjustified. Read More

End of an Era: A Big Change Underway

Published at Dec 28, 2016, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Buğra Bakan

When the stock market goes down, we wonder much how lower it can go. When it goes up, we wonder if we’ve reached a market top. Wonder, is the name of our game. Even if the result of the US presidential election were different, the title of my last newsletter for 2016 would be same. Read More

Looking Ahead to 2016

Published at Nov 11, 2016, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Buğra Bakan

On May 21st, the S&P 500 index hit an all-time high, 3.5% above December 31st close, only to drop 12.35% in the following three months. A similar and even deeper fall occurred during the summer of 2011, a loss of 17.6% in the same index. Read More

First Half Report, Brexit and More

Published at Jul 10, 2016, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Buğra Bakan

At first glance, the US stock market performance in the first half of 2016 can be summarized as a “all hat no cattle” type of action. Put in other words, a sideway trend has been the name of the game, with a lot of volatility, only to end back to square one for large US stock indexes such as S&P 500 and Dow Jones. Read More

The Key Question Is…

Published at Apr 25, 2016, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Buğra Bakan

Hello tax season survivors. In this commentary, I will do my best to explain the current state of capital markets as simply as it would please Einstein, and dive deeper as I move along. Read More

What is Wrong with the US Stock Market?

Published at Aug 6, 2015, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Buğra Bakan

A client and friend asked why the current US stock market was having a hard time finding a path and if I saw this lack of a path as a threat to the global financial stability. Read More

Macro Factors In Play

Published at Apr 1, 2015, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Buğra Bakan

My last market commentary’s title was “Dollar Is Up, Oil Is Down, Stocks Get Confused”. If you’re wondering why I haven’t written a newsletter for the last few months, that’s because this analysis has been as valid as it was a few months ago. Since November 2014, stocks have been in a sideway trend, dollar has been climbing up and oil looking for a bottom at around $40-$50 per barrel. Read More

Oil Falls, Dollar Rises, Stocks Get Confused

Featured Post | Published at Dec 30, 2014, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Buğra Bakan

As we come close to the end of a volatile year in stocks, one sudden an unexpected development (for some surely it was expected) slowed down the pace of a typical Santa Claus rally, it caused a shallow pull back, and raised a lot of questions. Crude oil price’s sharp decline caught many investors off guard and the confusion increased volatility. Read More

Most Hated Bull Still Running

Published at Nov 11, 2014, 12:00 AM in finance by Buğra Bakan

Recently, I’ve got invited to a Rotary Club to share my thoughts on current economic and market conditions. I chose instead, a topic more interesting and not as dry for many, and talked about the findings of a relatively new field of study called Behavioral Finance. It is a hybrid of psychology and economics and aims to understand how people make financial and consumption decisions. Read More

Glass Half Full (or empty?)

Published at Jun 10, 2014, 12:00 AM in finance by Buğra Bakan

When the markets don’t give us a clear direction and has mixed data flowing from many different sources, depending on our bias, one can easily call it half full or half empty. Either way, we would be right. Today, one can conclude that the stock market is due a correction or that it is building momentum for an uptrend. How so? Read More

An Irrational Stock Market?

Published at Mar 11, 2014, 12:00 AM in general by Buğra Bakan

There are many reasons why managing your own investments is a daunting task. The biggest challenge isn’t the lack of expertise or time…those can be attained. The ultimate challenge is removing your emotions from your money and investments. If you associate success, self-worth, security and future well-being with the balance in your bank account, then you need to be aware of the emotional roller coaster you are on. Read More

Investment management

Published at Jan 11, 2014, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Buğra Bakan

Investment management is the combination of science and intuition, anticipating what others anticipate, about a future set of events that are inherently unknowable. That’s what I will attempt to do in this market letter: Anticipate what others may anticipate about capital markets performance and behavior in 2014. Before I progress any further, I do need to disclose that I do not know. Having established some faith and confidence here, let’s pay a quick visit to 2013. Read More

Is Good News Actually The Bad News

Published at Oct 13, 2013, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Buğra Bakan

As I was looking for a quote to start October’s market letter, I have stopped yawning when I saw this one liner from my favorite fictitious character, Sherlock Holmes. It captures the current market mood perfectly as I have never seen a market rally that is much hated, and much ignored. Read More

Surprise: Long Term Equity Trends Intact

Published at Jan 20, 1990, 12:00 AM in wealth management by Buğra Bakan

While chatting with a friend, who works at a large wealth management firm in San Francisco, I wanted to hear his take on whether we have seen a market top in stocks. He answered “…how many times have we asked this question in the last five years?” Read More