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  • LEARN FROM THE LOSERS
    October 2017 Market Report

    John Gorlow | Nov 08, 2017
    SurvorshipBiasSmallDo you suffer from rearview-mirror syndrome, imagining how a top-performing fund might have boosted your portfolio? If looking at the winners makes you question your investment strategy, you’ll feel better after reading this month’s feature about survivorship bias. Things are not always what they seem. We start with a look at the October numbers.

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  • CATs Meet the Real World
    Plus Q3 2017 Market Report

    John Gorlow | Oct 13, 2017
    CatStormFrom the vantage point of October, our July 2017 blog about the perils of CAT bonds seems downright prescient. Over the past three months we’ve witnessed three record-smashing hurricanes, two massive earthquakes in Mexico, and raging wildfires that so far have destroyed over 50,000 acres in California’s prime wine-growing country. Each disaster has left untold human misery and property damage, while ratcheting up losses in the insurance and reinsurance markets. Will CAT bond investors be left holding the bag? Then we'll take a look at last quarter’s numbers.

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  • A DECADE OF PAIN AND GAIN
    And August Market Report

    John Gorlow | Sep 13, 2017
    bubble SmallThere’s a big anniversary coming up, and the financial press won’t let you forget it. It’s the tenth anniversary of October 9, 2007, the beginning of a ferocious two-year global bear market. It was a treacherous time for investors: Lehman Brothers collapsed, the S&P 500 lost half its value, and governments around the world rushed to prop up failing banks and markets. There was nowhere to hide. What would you have done differently?
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  • The Do-Good Investor: How Moral is Your Portfolio?
    July Market Report

    John Gorlow | Aug 12, 2017
    DoGoodInvestorThis month we take a look at socially responsible investing (SRI), which taps into the idea that we can make morally defensible choices with our investments. Who wouldn’t want a portfolio packed with ethically-minded companies that protect people and the environment? But not so fast. When an industry that wants your investment money also plays judge, jury and scorekeeper, it’s wise to ask a few questions before following the herd. But first, a quick look at July markets.
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  • Storm Warning: The Perils of Reinsurance
    Plus Q2 2017 Market Report

    John Gorlow | Jul 10, 2017
    catbonds192x128

    Insurers are on the hook when a hurricane slams into the coast of Florida, a tsunami hits Japan, a drought-stoked fire consumes large swaths of Northern California, or a Malaysian airline goes missing. Backing the insurers is a nearly $600 billion reinsurance juggernaut that’s also on the hook. As new investment money pours into this sector, some industry analysts worry that a storm is brewing with potentially devastating consequences. Could this be the next banking meltdown? After a review of Q2 2017 market data, we take a closer look at the reinsurance market. 

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  • Climbing the Mountain
    May Market Report

    John Gorlow | Jun 08, 2017
    Alex HonnoldLast week Alex Honnold, the famous climber, astonished the world with his solo ascent up the sheer vertical face of El Capitan, without ropes or safety gear. It was an impossible athletic feat made possible by years of careful planning and expert knowledge. Honnold studied the mountain, practiced, and knew every inch of his route. While the entire feat was insanely courageous and dangerous, he identified places where he could reduce risk. Then he stuck to his plan. There’s a lesson in that for investors. This month we’ll talk about beguiling shortcuts to the mountaintop and why sticking to a proven plan is a better idea. But first, a look at May numbers
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  • ANNUITIES: MORE PAIN THAN GAIN
    April Market Report

    John Gorlow | May 11, 2017
    Annuity Confusion

    I frequently write about clever new financial products designed to fleece investors. This month I want to discuss an older, well-established financial product offered through insurers. It’s called an annuity, and I am not a fan. While much has been written about these products, their high costs and restrictive features are not well understood. Here we’ll take a look at how annuities work and explain why we believe they’re inappropriate for most investors. Take a seat, because this blog is longer than usual.We’ll review April numbers at the end. READ MORE

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  • How Wall Street Formed Me
    March 2017 Market Review

    John Gorlow | Apr 12, 2017
    HikerLarge

    In March 2003, I launched Cardiff Park Advisors in California, becoming an SEC-registered firm a few years later. I’d had enough experience with Wall Street culture to be disillusioned and to know what I didn’t want (more on that in a moment). Cardiff Park was my opportunity to create what I did want: a financial advisory firm based on respect, transparency, and my own principles and values. READ MORE

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  • February Market Report: Do Deficits Matter?

    John Gorlow | Mar 07, 2017
    Trumps Plan SmallThe president’s recent inaugural speech to Congress had an unusually reassuring tone. But the speech raised one alarm after another for deficit hawks and anyone else still hoping that Mr. Trump would slash spending. The fear is that big-ticket plans like Mr. Trump’s lead to big deficits that dampen economic growth and drive down returns. That’s the conventional wisdom, anyway. But is it true? READ MORE

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  • January Market Report: Embrace Uncertainty

    John Gorlow | Feb 14, 2017

    FedResSmallInvestors and markets don’t like surprises. Will interest rates rise slowly or quickly?  Will Congress appropriate mega-funding to US infrastructure, slash taxes, or both? Are Trump’s growth plans mere dreams, or rooted in reality? What will happen to the Affordable Care Act? As financial pundits pondered these post-election questions, the January markets quietly defied expectations. There’s a lesson in that. READ MORE

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