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Optivest Updates

Family Lesson Inspires Unique Model for Corporate Giving; Changing the Lives and Hearts of Employees and Charities Around the World

Unlike most financial advisors, Mark Van Mourick did not earn his stripes on the back of a client’s portfolio. He lost both parents in a plane crash at the age of 12 and bounced around several foster homes,

When is a 50/50 divorce settlement not really equal?

In many divorces, former spouses split their combined assets down the middle. But because of market trends, taxes and other factors, the ex-wife often ends up with the short end of the stick.

“Conscientious divorce attorneys want equitable outcomes for their clients,” says Sven Buncher, Managing Partner of The Buncher Law Corporation. “And achieving that often requires a more in depth analysis of the divorcing couple’s assets.”

April 1, 2015

RE: Important Market Update

Dear Client,

All good things must come to an end, even if just temporarily. The stock market has climbed admirably since March of 2009 and is now at all-time high valuations according to a number of ratios in the attached charts. Calling tops is dangerous as the market has always come back and eventually made new highs, yet there are certainly good times to take profits and become less vulnerable to stock market pullbacks… 


US Economy

2014 started with a 1.9% drop in the first quarter GDP, increased 4.6% (revised) in the second quarter, and further gained 5.0% (revised) in the third quarter. This 5.0% gain was the best quarter since 2003 (Reuters) and the fourth quarter of 2014 is expected to be strong as well. Consumer sentiment has steadily increased along with business and consumer spending; the economy is finally in a healthy recovery mode. Low inflation (helped by lower inflation in Europe and a drop in commodity prices) allowed interest rates to drop back to 2% levels on the 10-year Treasury Bond. We have now moved from a fragile economy which was threatened by rising inflation to a healthy economy likely to enjoy relatively low inflation over a couple more years. The financial markets responded with the average US stock fund rising 7.6% and most other asset classes gaining 1-5% (WSJ).

CLICK TO READ MORE: First Quarter 2015 Newsletter


US Economy –

With residential home prices at multi-year highs and the US stock market near all-time highs, you would think that inflation has picked up. However, it has not. A stronger dollar, lower energy costs, weak wage growth and 1% – 2% inflation worldwide has led to a stubbornly low 1.7% – 1.9% US inflation. Our dollar has strengthened despite our low interest rates (US 10-Year Bond yield is < 2.4%) because our interest rates are higher than in Europe and Asia and the US is a better credit risk. The Fed’s tapering of its bond buying program will end next month with very little of the “taper tantrum” that was feared.

US Economy –

The US Economy took an unexpected GDP drop of 2.9% in the first quarter. The blame was on our tough winter weather, the start of Obamacare, and uncertainty over the Fed’s tapering policies. While the economy recovered to an estimated +2% in the second quarter, most forecasters lowered their full year estimates down from the 3% range back to our recent muddle through 2% growth. Since the recession’s bottom in 2009, we have only gained a total of 11% GDP growth in 60 months – the weakest U.S. recovery ever, despite the most expansive monetary and fiscal stimulus in history.

It has been a very busy and productive first quarter at Optivest:  asset allocation and manager changes with SageView, a breakfast meeting with Mohamed El-Erian (departing CEO at PIMCO), interviews with the Wall Street Journal and Forbes, high level real estate discussions with large local owners including Rick Caruso, launching a Retirement Strategies department, joining Tiger 21 and meeting with 8 New York investment bankers conducting due diligence on our nearly $1 billion REIT.

US Economy –

After a vigorous 3rd quarter in 2013, the economy has fallen back to 6 months of slow growth and uncertainty as the new Fed Chairman, Janet Yellen, continues tapering the artificial support of the monetary system. The year has started exactly as we forecasted in our last newsletter – with a wobbly/sideways stock market and virtually every other asset class (see below) showing only slight gains of 1-3% which are the opposite of 2013. Interest rates have dropped slightly and are holding for now, but Mrs. Yellen has signaled that she expects short-term rates will rise to 3% by the end of 2015 and 4% by the end of 2016. This would only happen if the economy actually picks up organically after the Fed has stopped current stimulus.

(As reported in on February 27, 2014) By Kevin Noblet:

“It’s all too common a situation: A client has beloved possessions that he or she thinks the children will treasure someday, too. But have they ever been asked if they really want the house, antique furniture or whatever it is dad or mom held so dear? No, they haven’t. California wealth manager Mark Van Mourick relates just such a case to Wealth Adviser at The client had $250,000 in Asian art she and her late husband spent 50 years collecting. She didn’t want it sold off after she died but, when asked at the adviser’s suggestion, the kids said they were likely to do just that. Mr. Van Mourick helped with an estate plan which took that reality into consideration.” READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

US Economy –

The strength of the American economy picked up steam in the 3rd quarter of 2013 with a final GDP estimate of 4.1%, about double the average of the last few years. It is further estimated that the 4th quarter GDP (despite the short government shutdown) also exceeded 3%. Unemployment has dropped to 7.0% and consumer sentiment is back up to 82.5 (Reuters/University of M), up from a November dip of 75.1. This in turn has led the Fed to finally announce the start of tapering to their long-term interest rate support/bond buying program. This positive economic news was welcomed by Wall Street and pushed the S&P 500 further, up 32% for the year, while the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond crept back up to its high for the year, near 3%.  

US & World Economy –

The rapid rise in the 10-year Treasury interest rate from 1.6% to 3% has rippled through the financial and real estate worlds. Bond portfolios got crushed, stocks dropped then rebounded and residential and commercial real estate appreciation has stalled. In response, the Fed has delayed the action that caused the rise (reducing its monthly bond repurchases) as they are concerned with not harming the improving economy. The financial markets are digesting all of this as well, and the 10-year Treasury yield has backed down to 2.65% for now.