Thursday, November 27, 2008

10 Things I'm Thankful For

I love Thanksgiving.  I love the food, and I love the time with family and friends.  But, I also love the spirit behind the attitude of gratitude.  

You see, with all the negative news about the economy and stock market it's easy to forget the good things in life.  It's not intentional.  It's just that the negatives in life seem to build this cloud over all the positives not allowing us to see life with a clear perspective. 

However, when you take the time to step back and think about isn't so bad.  In fact, if you are living in the United States of America you have a lot to be thankful for even when the economy is in a recession and the stock market is struggling.

I have A LOT to be thankful for.  Here are just 10 things that come to mind:

  1. Family & Friends.  I have a great family and many wonderful friends!  No explanation needed.  Everyone knows what a blessing it is to have family and friends.
  2. Living in the USA.  Yes, today our economy is in a recession.  Since 1926, we have been through 14 recessions.  In all cases, the economy eventually recovered and the stock market went on to reach new highs.  Our country is resilient.  Freedom, opportunity, and determination have enabled Americans to make our world a better place.  I'm glad I get to be part of that.
  3. An opportunity to buy stocks at cheap prices.  The recent crash in the stock market has created an opportunity to buy stocks at levels rarely seen in an investor's lifetime.  If you're investing for a goal 10 years or more from now, then you don't want to miss this opportunity.  I see some high quality businesses with strong finances where the stock is now trading at value prices. 
  4. Our firm's new investment strategy, the Global Trends Strategy.  This strategy is designed to participate in rising trends and be on the sidelines when there are none.  The strategy is working!  
  5. Dividends.  When investing in individual stocks we prefer to invest in companies that pay dividends.  Dividends are especially nice when stock prices are declining.  We have retired clients who are living off their dividends.  Although the drop in price for the stocks they own is no fun to watch, it's the dividends that keep them invested.  Without dividend income what would they live on?
  6. Technology & the Internet.  I recently moved to South Carolina.  Technology has enabled me to continue to work seamlessly with the team in Ohio and stay in touch with our clients.
  7. Clients.  I wouldn't have the opportunity to do what I love without our clients.  Our firm has many loyal clients who have placed their trust and confidence in us.  I am honored to work for every one of them.
  8. The team of people I get to work with.  They are fun to be around and great at what they do.
  9. The invitation from some new friends to join them at the Clemson vs. South Carolina football game this Saturday.  Go Tigers!
  10. Did I mention family and friends?
I could certainly go on all day about the things I'm grateful for.  How about you?  Do you have an appreciation for the good in life, or are you stuck on all the things that aren't perfect?  There is no better time than now to re-focus your perspective on life.  Refuse to participate in all the "Oh, no! We are in a recession, and we are headed for The Great Depression 2.0!" talk.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Strategy Works

On July 1, 2008 our firm launched a new investment strategy, the Global Trends Strategy.  The investment approach is simple:
  1. Identify sustainable trends.
  2. Invest in those trends via ETFs.
  3. Adapt quickly when those trends change.
  4. When unable to identify a sustainable trend, wait in cash.
The strategy is designed to participate in rising trends and be on the sidelines when there are none.  The strategy is working!  On September 18th the portfolio was 90% in cash.  The Dow closed at 11020 that day.  By October 16th the portfolio was 100% cash and has been ever since.  As I write this the Dow is now trading around 8500.  In other words, the market is now 23% BELOW the level at which we began selling our positions.  Our risk management rules told us it was time to be in cash.  The decision to be in cash has protected us from the painful crash in the market as well as "the worst week ever".

On October 3rd (with the Dow at 10325) I wrote "Cash Is King...For Now".  My main point with that post:
If you've been executing a trend following strategy, then by now you should be in cash and you should stay in cash until new trends are established. 
Cash is still king for trend followers that are looking for sustainable rising trends.

[DISCLOSURE: Clients of Freedom Financial Solutions, LLC that are invested in the Global Trends Strategy currently have a cash position of 100%.]