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Q2|2022 Market Commentary

 

  • The rocky first quarter of the year now appears tame compared to a downright treacherous second quarter. With historically high inflation presenting a challenge for household purchasing power, the Federal Reserve (Fed) has been raising rates in rather large chunks (0.75% in June). Rising rates reduce the attractiveness of current bonds sending their prices lower and returns negative. Normally, when equity markets fall as they have over the first half of the year, the economy is on the brink of recession and US treasuries become a haven in the storm. This obviously hasn’t occurred recently as rising rates have caused bonds to lose money in coordination with stocks.  US large cap stocks dropped 16.1%, US small caps fell even further 17.2%, non-US stocks were down 14.3%, and emerging market equities fell 11.3%.  After plummeting 5.9% in the first quarter of the year, bonds fell another 4.7% during the quarter. Those back-to-back quarters produced one of the worst returns for the Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate Bond Index in history.

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The SSA highlights some sobering statistics that confirm what studies have shown: most people have not saved enough for retirement. As a result, people are not determining their Social Security benefit timing. Instead, benefits usually begin immediately after gainful employment ends as their savings buffer is limited. For prepared investors, the goal is to make an active decision on benefit commencement.

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DOL Fiduciary Rule Takes Effect

On June 9, 2017, the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule went into effect. The rule, also known as the Conflict of Interest Rule, expands the fiduciary definition under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). In the simplest terms, the DOL Fiduciary Rule will require advisors to put their client’s interests ahead of their own when giving advice to retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs. Further, any potential conflict of interest must be disclosed along with a clear statement of the fees and commissions received in exchange for the advice.

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