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Blind Spots – Financial Risk is Much More than Market Volatility

In our new series "blind spots", we focus on the risks and planning topics outside of our investment portfolios that can get lost in an industry so focused on money management.


  1. Equity Markets – were lower this week with U.S. stocks (S&P 500) down -1.68% while international stocks (EAFE) fell -1.10%.

  2. Fixed Income Markets – were mixed with investment grade bonds (AGG) up 0.01% while high yield bonds (JNK) fell -0.18%.

  3. China Crackdowns Continue - This week saw another hit to China’s tech sector as country regulators instructed industry executives to break their “solitary focus” on profits and put a temporary freeze on the approval of new online games. This stands in direct contrast with free and open markets and marks the clearest signal to date that China will continue their push for more state-owned enterprises and oversight.
  4. 4. Bitcoin Makes History - A new precedent was set in the legitimacy of crypto-currencies this week when El Salvador officially adopted Bitcoin as legal tender, with the country also rolling out a plan to give citizens who register $30 worth of the currency. However, the rollout was anything but smooth amid multiple tech issues as well as a selloff of over 10% in Bitcoin’s value.
  5. Key Insight – [VIDEO] In our new series "blind spots", we focus on the risks and planning topics outside of our investment portfolios that can get lost in an industry so focused on money management. [ARTICLE] In an industry so focused on managing money, intentional conversations on the risks outside of one's portfolio can get pushed to the side. When, in reality, these life changing events can actually bring more risk to potentially jeopardizing your financial well-being.

We wanted to make sure to recognize the important 20th anniversary tomorrow of the tragic events on 9/11. May we all take a moment to not only remember the lives lost but honor their memory by seeking to heal our divided country and unite around what’s important just as we did then.


It goes without saying that as a wealth management firm, many of the conversations we have with, or questions we receive from clients address the risks within the stock market. And yet, arguably the greatest risks are those which have nothing to do with the stock market.

The reality is the life events outside of our investment portfolios are the ones which can really change the course of our financial well-being. In some instances, these blind spots can be so drastic that our portfolio returns simply can't make up for the losses they create.

Whether they are true blind spots or calculated risks, knowing they exist and having a plan in place to address them can be the difference between the outcomes we want and those we fear.

Addressing this topic is about more than just playing my role as a financial planner, I speak from some very personal experiences.

My Mom was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at the age of 59. She, amazingly, is still around and at home with my dad almost 14 years later. She was a kindergarten teacher of 20 plus years and a mother of 4 kids that absolutely could not wait to become a grandma. Then, life threw our entire family a curve ball. My Dad was in the process of purchasing Long Term Care for the both of them, but was about 6 months late due to her diagnosis. They had to throw out their game plan and adjust to life’s surprises.

My Dad has been a Certified Financial Planner for almost 40 years now ... life doesn’t care what you do for a living or what your goals are, the highs and lows happen to all of us.

The question, and thing you CAN control, is do you have a partner in place that can help you both plan AND adjust to life’s surprises? Ultimately, that's what we’re here for as wealth advisors to our clients. The portfolio, while extremely important, is just one piece of a much larger and ever evolving financial picture.

Attached below is wonderful checklist we use with clients to help them with a baseline financial wellness review. It lays out six different areas of your financial life that could dramatically alter the outcomes and dreams you hope to achieve.

Look at it, keep it, and know we are here to help you address any of these issues anytime.

At the end of the day, it's not about completely getting rid of all risk within your financial life – heck, that’s not possible. But mitigating those risks, and in turn reducing the likelihood of making emotionally based decisions during one of life’s surprises will give you the best chance of achieving your goals regardless of life’s (and the markets) inevitable ups and downs.

To your health,

Dave and the team at TEN

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