Artificial intelligence has not only been influencing some of the daily news cycle lately, it also has played a key role in driving investors toward tech stocks. Some analysts estimate AI technology could boost the global economy by $15.7 trillion by 2030, and investors want to take advantage of that trend. AI stocks like Microsoft, which owns part of OpenAI, developer of the chat bot, ChatGPT, is up more than 36% YTD and has helped boost both the tech sector and an otherwise flat overall market in these past several weeks. While our investment team is not chasing these AI-related returns, they do note that their decision to remain invested in tech stocks despite some earlier headwinds, is paying off. In particular, the team has been pleased by the performance of the American Growth Fund of America (GFAFX), which is weighted toward stocks that are participating in the AI investment wave, and Invesco QQQ Trust, which is also heavily weighted toward AI-related stocks. As with any trending investment, it’s important to analyze an individual company’s ability to sustain its growth. This is especially true of investors who want to take advantage of AI technology but may not understand the full breadth of its function and impact on both the markets and the world at large. The key now and always is to build diversified portfolios with an eye on consistent performance and reasonable valuations based on fundamental metrics. It has been fascinating to watch the impact of AI technology on the global economy and we’re only in its infant stages. As we all make our way into this new frontier, we will continue to work hard to sort through both the opportunities and threats it generates and to proceed with analytical resolve.
Summer is an important season to pay attention to your health. You need to watch your sun exposure, make sure all that extra sunlight isn’t disrupting your sleep and keep the weight you might gain from those ice cream sundaes under control. It’s also the perfect time to take a look at your financial health. Here are five areas you can analyze to make sure you’re in good financial shape moving forward: Do you have a budget and are you sticking to it? Are you adjusting your budget for inflation? It isn’t enough to spend less than you make, you also need to account for rising costs of essentials like food, fuel, clothing and housing. Are you saving enough for an emergency? Ideally, you should have saved three to six months of living expenses to tide you over in case of an unforeseen emergency like job loss, illness, natural disaster, fire, major appliance replacement or vehicle repair. Are you paying off your debt in the most effective way? The first step is to analyze your debt situation and review the applicable interest rates. Then, set up a payment plan and stick to it. Do you have an income gap and, if so, how will you address it? A retirement income gap occurs when your income stream from Social Security, pensions, and/or rental property is not enough to cover your retirement budget. Before you retire, you need to know how you will cover this gap. Will you withdraw from an IRA? If so, how much can you afford to withdraw without losing principle? Do you have an annuity? If so, what will your start date be to turn on your payment stream? How will taxes impact your retirement budget? It is important to know the difference between qualified accounts, like traditional IRAs and 401(k)s, and non-qualified accounts, like your checking or savings accounts. You will need to pay taxes on withdrawals… | Read More »