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How to Invest in 2024: Insights from Wealth Managers and Stock Market Experts

Wealth managers have been busy lately, answering clients’ questions about how to build and preserve wealth amid stock market turmoil, high interest rates and recession fears. While advisers maintain that their advice depends on each client’s goals, risk tolerance, age and other factors, there is a recurring theme to their recommendations: Don’t panic.  

“Clients want to be reassured and make sure their plans account for an environment like this,” says Ali Phillips, executive vice president and partner at Obermeyer Wood Investment Counsel, with offices in Aspen and Denver. “We spend time telling clients you don’t want to respond to a bad year. Any good plan takes three to five years to come to fruition.”   

READ: Unprecedented Impact of Soaring Interest Rates — What It Means for the Economy

The inflation rate was 3.7% in October, much lower than the 9.1% in June 2022. Still, high interest rates are making mortgages and other loans expensive. Meanwhile, stock prices are fluctuating, and investors wonder whether they should adjust their portfolios.  

Phillips tells clients not to overreact when they read dramatic financial news headlines, and to instead focus on their long-term goals. Clients sometimes want to move money into more conservative investments or increase their emergency savings, especially now that high interest rates are making certain savings accounts more attractive than a few years ago. “Those pivots are appropriate,” she says. “What we don’t want to do is make dramatic changes that can adversely affect the longer-term outlook.”  

Some clients simply want reassurance that it’s OK to travel and enjoy the life they saved for. Others seek guidance on starting discussions with their families about passing wealth and wisdom to future generations, or to charity. “You want to honor their concerns, remind them of the longer-term picture, and guide clients in this environment,” Phillips says. 

Economic uncertainty motivates people to examine their portfolios. “There has never been a better time to look at what you’re doing,” says Adam J. Moeller, president of AJM financial in Greenwood Village. “The biggest thing is evaluating where you are now, what is this money for, and what are the consequences if you don’t do anything.”  

READ: Diversify Your Portfolio — Beyond AI Stocks with Treasury Bills and Dividend-Paying Companies

Many clients don’t know about fees they are currently paying for certain investment products, or what is in their 401(k). “Retirement sneaks up on them and they say, ‘Now what do I do?’” Moeller says. “When you uncover what they have, they don’t know what they are investing in.”  

Some clients are heavily invested in the stock market, which historically goes up, but if the investor is relying on stocks to fund their retirement and the market declines, they might have to return to work. “I see a lot of people who have too much risk,” Moeller says. “They have not done a good job of rebalancing and reallocating.”   

The traditional portfolio strategy of 60% stocks and 40% bonds, and of increasing the bonds when the investor approaches retirement, has not paid off recently. According to a Nasdaq report, stocks, as measured by the S&P500, lost 18.6% in 2022, or 25% when adjusted for inflation. Bonds, as measured by the Vanguard Total Bond Index, lost 13.7%, or 20.3% when adjusted for inflation.  

Meanwhile, people worry about whether there will be a recession, as estimates by the Wall Street Journal and others have put the probability at about 50%. “It’s a flip of a coin,” Moeller says. High interest rates will eventually come back down, so he is educating clients about alternative solutions such as fixed and fixed indexed annuities so they can take advantage of these high interest rates and lock in rates for five to 10 years. 

READ: Higher Interest Rates — What Does It Mean for Consumers, Bond Investors and the Stock Market?

Wealth managers are advising clients to consider other investments. “We are using more hybrid types of investments that don’t necessarily track the stock market such as structured notes,” says Patricia Kummer, senior wealth adviser/principal at Mariner Wealth Advisors in Highlands Ranch. “That includes the upside potential of an index while the client receives higher interest coupons on their investment.” 

Advisers also tell clients to consider individual stock holdings, especially stocks that pay dividends, rather than an index or a fund. “There were only seven stocks that moved the entire market,” Kummer says. “So if you were in a mutual fund that holds S&P 500 stocks, 493 did not perform.” Clients are also looking at U.S. Treasurys, because as of October the yield was around 5% for short-term Treasurys.   

During challenging economic times, it’s important for people to continue to fund their retirement accounts. “The volatility allows you to buy at different opportunities or prices,” Kummer says. “If you don’t want to take as much risk, that’s fine. Go to your adviser and say, ‘I want to update my strategy,’ not that you want to stop, or you may never catch up again.”  


Nora Caley is a freelance writer specializing in business and food topics.

Diversify Your Portfolio: Beyond AI Stocks with Treasury Bills and Dividend-Paying Companies

By now, you’ve probably heard of the chip maker Nvidia. And if not, at the very least, you’re somewhat familiar with the massive explosion of AI products and services in the corporate world.

This AI mania has been the single driver in getting the stock market out of a bear market, simply defined as a 20% rally from a market low. From October of 2022 until today, the S&P 500 Index has rallied over 20% from just under 3500 to over 4400. This is an incredible move in the index except for one thing, only seven companies (Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Meta, Nvidia, and Tesla) are responsible for almost all the gains. These companies also make up 27% of the index. If you don’t own any of these growth companies in your portfolio, your 2023 returns might be flat or slightly negative. That’s why it’s so crucial to diversify your portfolio.

READ: AI in Insurance: How New Technologies are Changing the Game

This same thing happened during the 1999 Dot.Com period when technology stocks were up 80%. And we all know what happened after that. It was a blood bath for investors, as the S&P 500 Index was down 50%. When one sector is completely dominating the market, it is known on Wall Street as “bad breadth,” which means very few companies are responsible for almost all the gains in the index. This is exactly what we have today.

So, what are investors supposed to do with their money now? The good news: treasury bills, international stocks and dividend-paying stocks are cheap. This is why 2023 is a great time to diversify your portfolio, particularly if you already have enough exposure to tech and AI stocks. It is time to broaden your investment holdings and find stocks that haven’t participated in this narrow rally.

READ: How to Maximize Your Investment Potential — Asset Diversification Strategies and Allocation

Treasury bills

Three-month and six-month treasury bills are paying yields of 5.2% and 5.3%, respectively. Since the debt ceiling crisis has been resolved for now, these fixed-income investments are safe to buy again. Because of the inverted yield curve, you get paid a higher interest rate by staying short rather than buying two-year, five-year or 10-year bonds, which is not usually the case.

At their last meeting, the Federal Reserve said they would raise short-term rates two more times in 2023. If this does happen, treasury bill rates could be even higher when these short-term bonds mature. If that happens, when your three-month bills mature, you can reinvest at a higher interest rate. Short-term treasuries are a great alternative to cash earning very little in a bank. They also tend to act as a pure hedge to stocks in a time of a Black Swan event or liquidity crisis.

READ: Silicon Valley Bank Failure: Could Your Bank be Next?

International stocks

International stocks have been out of favor for well over a decade and have underperformed U.S. stocks by a two-to-one margin. Their PE, or price-earnings ratios, are much lower at only 12 vs. the U.S. at 22. Their dividend yields are 1.5% higher, and international companies are more orientated to value stocks in the defensive dividend sectors of the market. These companies tend to be in the consumer staples, finance, energy and industrial sectors. The U.S. indexes tend to be heavily concentrated on AI and technology companies. If there is just a slight reversion to the mean or even a weaker dollar, international stocks could outperform their U.S. counterparts.

READ: Exploring Opportunities in the Global Stock Market: Unlocking Profit Potential in 2023

Dividend-paying stocks

What investors have missed this year is how cheap dividend-paying stocks have gotten. Looking at a dividend exchange fund versus the S&P 500 Index tells the story. VYM, the Vanguard High Dividend Yield Index Fund, yields 3.26% and is down 1.03% YTD vs. SPY, the SPDR S & P 500 EFT Trust, which only yields 1.55% and is up 14.91% YTD. Companies in the energy, healthcare, finance and industrial sectors are trading at PE ratios of 7-10 versus 22 and have dividend yields of 4%-6%. There is no reason not to own a few of these companies and collect great income until there is a sector rotation out of AI/tech into these companies because they are just too cheap to ignore.

Now is the time to diversify your portfolio with asset classes, countries and companies that pay meaningful dividends. Owning treasury bills can be a great alternative to cash; now that the debt ceiling crisis has passed, they are safe too. International stocks are a smart way to hedge a weaker U.S. dollar and get exposure to companies outside of the growth/technology arena. Finally, why not buy a few great U.S companies that pay meaningful dividends and have a history of increasing their dividends annually.


Thumbnail Fred Taylor Headshot CurrentFred Taylor is a Partner and Managing Director at Beacon Pointe Advisors, LLC. The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only. Opinions referenced are as of the publication date and may be modified due to changes in the market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass. Forward-looking statements cannot be guaranteed. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Beacon Pointe has exercised all reasonable professional care in preparing this information. 

Exploring Opportunities in the Global Stock Market: Unlocking Profit Potential in 2023

There is an old adage on Wall Street: “Sell in May and go away.” In theory, on a calendar basis, the worst months to be invested in the stock market are from May to November.

Whether this is true or not is anybody’s guess, but last year it certainly was. Today, investors must decide how best to position their portfolios for the rest of 2023. Should you buy dividend-paying stocks, longer-duration bonds to lock in yields, or invest money overseas? Before you can answer any of these important questions, consider what the Federal Reserve might do with short-term interest rates for the rest of the year to combat inflation, and how the debt ceiling gets resolved. Both issues will impact the direction of the markets and, quite possibly, your investments.

READ: 4 Key Asset Allocation Strategies for 2023

Interest rates & inflation

Since the fall of 2021, the Federal Reserve has struggled with the issue of inflation. At first, they considered it transitory, but last spring inflation became the real deal. Consequently, the Fed had to aggressively raise interest rates nine times. Fortunately, inflation has begun to come down, from over 9% to 5%, but the Fed’s inflation target is 2%. This means the Fed still has some more work to do. There is a chance with the latest regional banking crisis in March, small businesses and individuals will find it harder to get loans from their local banks, which, in turn, could slow down the economy. However, the Fed is poised to raise interest rates at least one more time on May 3. After that, it will be data-dependent, with the unemployment and consumer price index numbers being scrutinized carefully to get a read on inflation.

Debt ceiling

Looming in the not-too-distant future, the debt ceiling issue could turn into a full-blown crisis if the Republicans in the House of Representatives and President Biden do not raise the debt ceiling before the government is no longer able to pay its bills.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned Congress that time is running out — if the April tax receipts are not high enough, the due date could be as soon as early June instead of August. Republicans would like to extract spending cuts from the Democrats/President Biden in exchange for passing a debt ceiling resolution. At this point in time, neither side wants to compromise. If they do not find common ground, the country could face financial Armageddon by defaulting on its debt. The consequences would be catastrophic. We came close to a debt default in 2011. Because of that threat, America’s debt rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor’s from AAA to AA+ for the first time. A default could make borrowing costs increase, cause a massive sell-off in the stock market, or bring on a recession.

READ: What Does a Recession Mean for Your Finances?

Investment ideas

Despite higher interest rates, inflation, and the debt ceiling issue, the stock market is the greatest discounting mechanism ever created. By the time all the bad news comes to fruition, investors are already looking ahead and markets tend to climb a proverbial wall of worry and go higher. Knowing this, where are logical places to invest money for the rest of 2023?

Dividend-paying stocks

When markets are volatile and the headlines are scary, a great place to ride out the storm is with a diversified mix of blue-chip dividend-paying stocks. Invest in companies that can increase their dividends regardless of what economic cycle we are in. Today, stocks that provide meaningful and growing dividends are in the consumer non-durable, industrial, energy, and utility sectors. Another positive is that these stocks have been underperforming year-to-date versus the largest technology stocks and should be able to weather a recession because their products tend to be essential.

Bonds and money market funds

After the worst bond market in decades and much higher interest rates, now is a decent time to buy bonds or money market funds. In the bond market, you may want to consider a barbell approach. You do this with bond ladders, where you buy both short-term bonds and long-term bonds. If you do this, you could benefit if interest rates rise because you will have new money from your shorter-term maturities to reinvest annually. If interest rates drop, you will get appreciation on your longer-term bonds. If you want to have more liquidity and less interest rate risk, you can keep your money in a brokerage money market fund yielding almost 5%. 

International stock market

For the first time in a decade, the international stock market is outperforming U.S. stocks. This makes sense for a myriad of reasons.

First, the dollar has quite possibly peaked; when this happens, international companies make more money by selling their products to consumers in the United States. Second, China has recently reopened for business after three years of tight COVID-19 restrictions. Third, international stocks are inherently cheaper. Today they trade at significantly lower price earnings multiples. And finally, Americans typically have a home investment bias and may be under-allocated overseas. If international stocks continue to outperform, money could move out of the U.S. to international markets to find higher returns.

The bottom line

It has not been easy being an investor since the spring of 2020 and the pandemic, but despite all the volatility and negative headlines, we believe you have been better off staying invested through all the ups and downs. Moreover, for the first time since 2008, if you want to play it safe, you can own short-term bonds and brokerage money market funds. They all yield close to 5%. For longer-term investors, collecting dividends from great companies here and abroad is not a bad way to go either. 

Thumbnail Fred Taylor HeadshotFrederick Taylor is a Partner, Managing Director at Beacon Pointe Advisors, LLC. The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only. Opinions referenced are as of the publication date and may be modified due to changes in the market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass. Forward-looking statements cannot be guaranteed. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Beacon Pointe has exercised all reasonable professional care in preparing this information. The information has been obtained from sources we believe to be reliable; however, Beacon Pointe has not independently verified or attested to the accuracy or authenticity of the information. The discussions, outlook, and viewpoints featured are not intended to be investment advice and do not consider specific investment objectives or risk tolerance you may have. All investments involve risks, including the loss of principal. Consult your financial professional for guidance specific to your circumstances. 

Pros and Cons of Buy and Hold Strategy

Nearly every financial expert agrees that real estate and the stock market are the best ways to invest your money. And they’re more alike than you might think.

When you’re aggressively trading stocks, you want to find ways to reduce transaction costs like trade commission, and when you’re buying a house, you want to save on realtor commission. And just like a trader wants to find a low-priced stock that has plenty of room to grow, entire real estate empires have been built by buying houses for cash, renovating them, and selling them high.

But playing the stock market takes more strategizing than buying real estate. After all, you can buy and sell a stock in the same day — it’s a much more fluid, fast-moving market.

Generally speaking, there are two kinds of stock traders. The first one believes they have a special insight into the market or a unique trading strategy that gives them an edge. They execute a lot of trades rapidly to take advantage of market fluctuations, and they aren’t afraid of unconventional investments.

The second kind of trader believes there are no secrets, and that everything important about a stock has already been priced in. When they find a stock they believe offers solid value, they buy it and hold onto it — for years, or even decades — and have faith that the market will carry them to the promised land.

This type of strategy is called the “buy and hold” strategy, and if properly used, it can be extremely lucrative.

For example, if you’d figured out in 2002 that caffeinated energy drinks were going to explode in popularity, and put your money into Monster Energy stock, your investment would’ve grown 87,560% over the past two decades.

Still, every investment strategy has its pros and cons, and “buy and hold” is no exception. Let’s look at some of the positives and negatives of buying and holding.


It’s Simple

Simplicity is one of the highest virtues, and “buy and hold” is elegantly simple. You simply find value, buy in, and let the market deliver profits. Unlike active traders, who are forced to monitor the market hour to hour or even minute to minute, you can check in on your investments once a month or less.

It’s Based on Solid Analysis

Before you buy and hold, you’ll want to research your prospective investment to make sure it’s a good long-term prospect. If your analysis is solid, your investment will be solid. And when you do eventually buy in, you can do so with confidence — and weather the ensuing ups and downs without having second thoughts.

Short-term trading is often less logical. It can be more reactive to market movements and can sometimes resemble gambling.

It Puts You in a Good Tax Situation

Profit from an investment held for less than a year is subject to short-term capital gains tax, while profits from investments held for longer than a year are treated as long-term capital gains. The good news for buy-and-holders? Long-term capital gains are taxed at a more favorable rate than short term capital gains.

It Saves You Money

Trading comes with transaction costs, and the more trades you execute every day, the more those costs add up. If you buy and hold, though, you don’t have to worry about costs like trade commissions eating into your profits.

It’s Less Risky

The term “manager risk” basically describes the risk of human error that’s introduced when you’re actively trading and managing your portfolio. The more trades you execute, the more risk you’ll make a bad decision and cost yourself money.

Buy and hold minimizes manager risk almost down to zero.


Your Money is Tied Up

The money you invest in those long-term stocks is going to be tied up for the duration of your investment, which could take several years.

If another investment opportunity comes along, you won’t be able to take advantage. If an emergency comes up, and you need to sell off, your long-term gains are now lost.

You Could Miss Out

When the market is volatile, as in the post-2008 bear market, there’s a lot of money to be made by active trading. If your money’s tied up in your “buy and hold” stocks, you may be stuck on the sideline, watching your more aggressive competitors cash in.

You’re Vulnerable to a Correction

Corrections happen every decade or so, which means that the longer you hold onto your investments, the more likely it is you could be stuck in a crash. Of course, no one knows when it’s coming. You can always find analysts swearing the market will never crash again, but it’s a real risk.

There’s Still Risk

Investing is always a risk, and there’s no guarantee your investments will appreciate along with the overall market. Buy-and-hold seems like a very safe investment strategy, and it can definitely be safer than active trading, since you’re avoiding all the variables introduced by frequent buying and selling, and relying on your expert analysis to guide your investments.


Screen Shot 2021 12 28 At 113128 AmLuke Babich is the Co-Founder of Clever Real Estate, a real estate education platform committed to helping home buyers, sellers, and investors make smarter financial decisions. Luke is a licensed real estate agent in the State of Missouri and his research and insights have been featured on BiggerPockets, Inman, the L.A. Times, and more.

The stock market is not Vegas

These days you would have to live in a cave not to have heard something about the trading platform, Robinhood, and the company GameStop.

For those who somehow missed it, GameStop’s stock has soared from a low of $2.57 a share in the spring of 2020 to a high of $483 in January 2021.

This massive surge in the stock price was fueled by small investors, who began promoting the video game retailer’s shares in online message boards after growing angry with hedge funds who had shorted the stock.

Others jumped on board thinking the stock presented a good opportunity to make a quick profit. As the stock took off, the trade took on a life of its own. Small investors were emboldened–viewing themselves as David and hedge funds as Goliath. Finally, the little guy had a chance to take on and beat Wall Street.

Two other factors enabling this kind of activity include an increase in commission-free trading and the rise in platforms like Robinhood, which allow retail investors to buy and sell securities simply by downloading an app. The barriers to entry are so low a kindergartener can do it. Maybe not as simple as putting a quarter in a slot machine, but darn close.

First, investing is not meant to be a mode of gambling Las Vegas style. Second, investing is a way to build wealth over a long period of time. Third, it is time in the market, not timing the market that makes you a successful investor.

Granted, you may get lucky occasionally day trading, just like placing a bet on red or black sometimes pays off, but the odds are stacked against you, as they are in Vegas. The dealer wins almost every time, which is why most people leave Vegas having not won a dime.

A smarter way to invest in the stock market is either to buy a stock because it pays you some income in the form of a dividend every quarter or because it has tremendous growth prospects. Blindly buying shares in a company because someone on Reddit says you should squeeze the shorts in the stock is a fool’s errand. Hedge funds have billions in capital to survive a short squeeze; you the individual investor, do not.

Fundamentals should matter, corporate earnings should matter. GameStop recently missed their earnings and the stock closed 33% lower. The company also announced that it was going to increase the supply of shares on the market by $100 million. Both are valid and real reasons why the stock should go down and someone touting it on Reddit is not a good enough reason to buy it.

The real purpose of the stock market is to help companies raise enough capital to build and expand their operations. Owning shares of stock in a company means you become an owner of the company, and if that company pays a dividend four times a year, you will get paid something every quarter as a reward for owning their stock.

However, the real attraction of owning stocks is for long-term appreciation. If a company does well and makes a ton of money with their products or services investors will take notice and bid up the price of the stock. Over time, as the company continues to prosper, so will you as an investor.

Trading GameStop every 20 minutes might be a lot of fun, but it is certainly incredibly risky and not what investing was meant to be about.

Instead, pick a company you know something about with a product that you use. Make sure this company is the best at what they do and incredibly profitable. Once you do this, leave the stock alone and watch the company and stock grow. Over time, this approach has been more successful than rolling the dice.

 Fred Taylor co-founded Northstar Investment Advisors, LLC in 1995. The firm specializes in managing personalized investment portfolios for individuals, families, and retirees with a focus on income generation. He is a member of the Colorado Forum and also served as an economic advisor to Colorado Governor Bill Ritter from 2008 to 2010.