Seven lessons from three legendary quarterbacks

  Among our prized memorabilia here at Winch Financial is a football helmet signed by three of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play the game. Best of all, they’re all Packers. Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers share a historic legacy and an astounding seven NFL titles so far. In honor of those titles, here are seven lessons you can learn from these storied players as you build your own legacy. Find your passion. Nobody gets to the NFL without passion for the game. These players fought through injuries and battled some of the bitterest cold in league history. It’s tough to play in a -46 wind chill with nothing but old school cleats on your feet if you don’t have a passion for the game. Bart did it, though, in the famous Ice Bowl and Brett quarterbacked the Packers in the second coldest game in franchise history, the 2008 NFC championship game. Passion for the task at hand helps in the face of whatever adversity you might encounter in your own life. Be a team player. Though they have diverse personalities, all three quarterbacks have earned the lifelong respect of their teammates. Elite quarterbacks are students of the game. For every minute you see them on the field, they’ve spent hours studying playbooks and reviewing game film. Planning makes the execution seem effortless. Allow yourself to recover from your mistakes. These three players are among the all-time best, but all three have thrown their share of interceptions, missed open receivers and fumbled the ball on key plays. As Coach Lombardi himself said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” Don’t be afraid to take a risk, learn from your mistakes, and keep moving forward. Don’t be threatened by anyone else’s success. Favre offered to wait as long as necessary to share the field with Bart Starr. He didn’t have to do that. One… | Read More »

What One Really Busy Chart Can Tell You About the Stock Market

I often use charts to illustrate hard numerical data.  Charting gives us the ability to see emerging long term trends.  Today, I charted some key fundamental data points to gain some perspective of where we are in the market cycle and what we are paying for at this juncture.   The S&P 500 is often used as a proxy for the stock market.  Thus, I plotted four fundamental metrics for the S&P: Revenue growth Earnings per share (EPS) growth Operating margins Price-to-earnings multiples (P/E) This is an extension of my last blog and adds a few more key variables, namely sales growth and operating margins. As the thick red line indicates, sales growth for the next 12 months is expected to be negative for the first time since coming out of the great recession of 2008.  It is important to note that, unlike last time we were at these levels, we now have a negative slope to the line. Over the past 10 years, annual sales growth has been 6.24% as represented by the red dashed line.  In comparison, growth in EPS fares even worse than revenue growth. As the thick green line indicates, EPS is also downward sloping and in negative territory for the first time since emerging from the great recession.  Currently, EPS growth for the next 12 months is expected to decline by 4.11% versus its 10-year average growth rate of 7.34%. The third important variable is operating margins.  Since peaking at all-time highs at the end of 2014 we have seen operating margins (a measure of profitability represented by the thick blue line) come down. And what are we paying for all of this?  The answer is above average P/E multiples.  As represented by the thick maroon line, the S&P 500 currently is selling at 16.58x the next 12 months’ EPS.  This compares to a 10-year average next 12 months P/E of approximately 14x. When I… | Read More »

2,100, Here we are again!

The S&P 500 is the most widely recognized index to represent the overall stock market.  Once again we find ourselves in familiar territory. The S&P 500 is right around 2100 yet again.  In the past, this level (or a tad higher to be more precise) has represented a challenging level for the market to surpass.  What is in store this time?  It is our belief that the market might find the usual struggles again in gaining much ground above the 2100+ level. Earnings season is almost complete and while this quarter did not present too many time bombs, we witnessed a lot of companies reining in their forward outlooks.  The most common excuses were: Slowing global economy Slowing emerging market growth Low oil prices. Unfortunately we see all three excuses not going away anytime soon.  In fact, some of these problems continue to get worse. Also, with Fed. Chair Janet Yellen, increasing the rhetoric around expecting a rise in interest rates, this might add another obstacle to further market upside.  As we mentioned before, the most important reason for our more conservative tilt is valuation and lack of earnings per share growth.  Indeed as the second chart illustrates, we are looking at the market selling at a market premium to historical multiple averages.  At the same time earnings per share growth over the next twelve months is expected to be negative. Thus, we would not be too surprised to see the market struggle once again at this familiar 2100ish territory.  

Don’t be afraid of your financial advisor

An astounding 71% of Americans say they’re afraid to speak with a financial advisor, according to a recent survey by the Harris Poll. In addition to cost concerns, many of the people cited said they were afraid an advisor would give them bad news about their financial situation. The quickest way to ease these fears, of course, is to sit down with a financial advisor. We suggest choosing an advisor who is also a fiduciary, which means he or she sits on the same side of the table with you, gets paid on a percentage of your assets, and makes money when you do. As Madam Curie said, “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.” In the face of long life expectancy, it is critical to understand the obstacles you may face in your retirement. A financial advisor will encourage you to take a thorough look at your finances, which might be painful, but he or she also will talk you through solutions. Together, you can set up a budget, track your 401(k), Roth or traditional IRA contributions, optimize your Social Security withdrawals, review your insurance needs and talk through options to cover yourself and your family in the event of a debilitating illness. A qualified financial advisor works as an ally to combat the real fear in life, outliving your financial resources. Our clients tend to find genuine enjoyment in their meetings with our advisors. They provide an opportunity for reflection, goal setting, and genuine camaraderie.  The meetings become touchstones and include laughter and respect, photo sharing and family pride, encouragement and prayers. If you find yourself among the nearly three-quarters of American adults who are afraid to talk to a financial advisor, pick up the phone and call us today. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll enjoy the conversation.