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Continuum Insights


Examining the Growing Recession Risks

I recently saw data that said there is 100% certainty of a recession this year. In a world of probabilities, I like to avoid absolutes like that. What follows is not a prediction of what I think will happen but rather a look at the other side of the argument.

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Lessons Learned in 2022

I think it is safe to say that this year is not one most people will look back on with affection. We know that, historically, roughly three out of every four years is positive in the stock market. 2019-2021 saw positive annual returns, which simplistically meant we were due this year. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and using simple averages like that is no way to invest your money. My point is that occasionally, we need these resets to flush the system of excesses. It doesn’t make them any more fun to live through, but hopefully, we learned some valuable lessons.

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The Biggest Surprise of 2022

Markets are difficult. Anyone who says differently is a fool or a liar. Entering this year, many were looking at the potential for inflation to rear its ugly head. However, it has been hard to capitalize. Imagine this: on January 1st, 2022, you were given all the future inflation readings for the year. How would you have invested your money? Gold? Bitcoin (“digital gold”)? Inflation-protected government bonds? The correct answer, and its implications, may surprise you.

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The R Word

It is at the tip of everyone’s tongue. It is the lead story every night on the news. Of course, I’m talking about a recession. Beyond the sensationalist headlines and the actual financial pain felt by millions of Americans lies the question: “What can I do about it?” A pragmatic approach shifts the focus from worrying to doing. These periods are never fun for anyone involved, but they are expected throughout history.

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The Path Forward

Most things in finance can be simplified into a simple supply versus demand equation. Without having to take an Economics 101 course, changing one or both sides of the equation will affect the price of the good or service in question. Think about the exorbitant prices people are willing to pay for popular sporting events or the hottest Christmas toy – a classic case of demand overwhelming the available supply. On the flip side, the discount bin at a department store represents oversupply related to current demand. Our present inflation predicament is a result of abnormalities in both supply and demand.

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Ukraine, Inflation, and Midterm Elections

The rogue thunderstorm blowing into this situation is the standoff between Russia and the West by way of Ukraine. I don’t pretend to be an expert in geopolitical matters, so I won’t attempt to forecast the outcome. However, plenty of investors are taking measures to protect their portfolios from any escalation on that front, which shows in the daily price moves. This isn’t the first flare-up of hostilities, and it certainly won’t be the last. Before hitting that sell button, think about all the prior occurrences and the related outcomes.

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