Westover Capital Advisors - Fireworks

First Quarter 2019 Snapshot

– by Chip Sawyer, CFA® and Chief Investment Officer

It has been a great start to the year for both the stock and bond markets, which is a welcome change from last year when cash was the best performing asset. Most equity indices were up double digits for the first quarter, and the bond market was up over 2%.

The majority of the quarter’s gains occurred in January when the market correctly anticipated the Fed reversing their hawkish tone from late last year. In general, investors preferred the more cyclical sectors as tech, industrials, and energy were the best performing sectors while healthcare, staples, utilities, and financials were the worst performing sectors.

We have yet to see a confirmation of this recession signal from the Leading Economic Indicators Index, which also does a good job of predicting recessions. Therefore, we still believe this bull market will continue.

The end of March saw the first inversion of the yield curve since 2007 when the 3-month Treasury yielded more than the 10-year Treasury for a brief five days. That has since reversed with the 10-year currently yielding about 8 basis points more than the 3-month. Historically, inversions like this have been a pretty accurate indicator signaling a recession is on the horizon.

However, in none of the previous seven inversions was the 10-year Treasury yielding less than 5% (currently, the 10-year is yielding about 2.5%). Current short-term rates of 2.5% would not have come close to inverting the curve in the past, so it may very well be “different this time.” Clearly, our 10-year Treasury would be much higher if not for the ridiculously low-interest rates seen overseas (where trillions of dollars of debt has negative yields).

We have yet to see a confirmation of this recession signal from the Leading Economic Indicators Index, which also does a good job of predicting recessions. Therefore, we still believe this bull market will continue.

If you want to know more or would like us to review your personal financial picture and offer our best advice, we encourage you to give us a call!

April 2019. Westover Capital Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved.

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

– by Murray Sawyer, JD, President and CEO

News happens fast now. Today’s new and timely story will soon be tomorrow’s forgotten tale. It is easy to miss things now because of how quickly stories get turned around, as our attention is diverted to the next “New, New Thing”. Daily, we are inundated with a veritable fire hydrant flow of news through social media. Every so often, we need to take the pedal off the gas, step out of our fast lane; we need to slow down just for a minute to appreciate and celebrate a notable and newsworthy accomplishment. This is one of those occasions.

Chip, Matt and I want to congratulate our close and dear friend, George Alderman. George has just been inducted into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame for the class of 2019.

Westover Capital Congratulates George Alderman

The picture above is early-‘70s and George is celebrating another race car victory with his dear wife, Marilyn, who passed away a few years ago.

George grew up in Delaware, graduating from Newark High School. In addition to owning Alderman Automotive, George Alderman Racing and the local Datsun/Nissan dealership back in the day, his avocation, which he pursued with a true passion, was race car driving.

George spent 49 years as one the country’s top race car drivers, competing in Sportscar Club of America (SCCA) and International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) events.

He was named the Sports Car Club of America Formula 3 national champion in a Cooper-Norton in 1960 and also their national champion in a Formula Libre Cooper-Alfa in 1964. He drove a Lotus 23 to the SCCA divisional championship in 1966 and a McLaren Chevy to the Governor’s Cup in 1967 SCCA NE divisional championship. George won the IMSA Baby Grand championship in 1971 in a Datsun 510 and the 1974 BFG Radial Challenge Series championship in an AMC Gremlin. In the 1980s, he drove Datsun Z cars in the Camel GT series and had five wins and 50 top 10 finishes in 70 starts. Now that’s Tigeresque!

He competed in his final race just a mere two days shy of his 70th birthday.

Please join us as we salute George for this wonderful recognition!

Keep the faith.

April 2019. Westover Capital Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved.

Westover Capital - WealthView Financial Management Platform

Introducing Westover’s WealthView

– by Murray Sawyer, JD, President and CEO

For nearly twenty years, Westover has served the needs of our clients and their families, and for some over multiple generations. We are aware of the unique circumstances that apply to each of our clients, and are both mindful of and humbled by our role as a trusted advisor.

Whether it’s our client luncheon series we started last year or the rollout of the Westover mobile app we also initiated in 2018, we continuously challenge ourselves to provide relevant, thoughtful, and innovative enhancements to enrich and simplify our clients’ increasingly complex financial lives.

Westover Capital - WealthView Financial Management PlatformIn today’s fast-paced environment, safe access to real-time financial information is key to wealth advice and management. Intelligent use of technology continues to play an increasingly important role in this process.

To that end, we are excited to introduce WealthView, Westover’s new personal financial management platform. WealthView enables you to store, view and manage your entire financial picture in one place, whether on your PC or mobile device.

With WealthView, you can do things like aggregate all banking (checking, savings, mortgages, credit cards, etc.) and investment accounts – both those held at Westover and those held elsewhere. You can even include assets such as real estate, vacation homes, personal property, business interests, life insurance etc. WealthView will track spending, create budgets, build consolidated reports of your entire financial picture and keep track of important financial documents.

WealthView is a user-friendly, intuitive platform that compliments your existing Westover portal – bringing more data into view which allows us to bring more meaningful and specific advice to you. Those with whom we’ve met and introduced to WealthView have all been surprised and pleased with its intuitiveness and comprehensive aggregation capabilities.

If you’d like a tour of WealthView or want to learn more about your comprehensive financial picture, give us a call!

Keep the faith.

February 2019. Westover Capital Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved.

Westover Capital 2019 Tax and Wealth Planning Guide

2019 Tax and Wealth Planning Guide

Westover Capital 2019 Tax and Wealth Planning Guide

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) introduced significant changes to many areas of the U.S. tax system with adjustments scheduled to occur annually between now and 2025. To help make sense of the complex array of tax laws, Westover has researched and distilled these changes and is pleased to share our 2019 Tax and Wealth Planning Guide.

Please click here to download it.

For clients, we’ve uploaded the Guide to your Westover portal vault and we look forward to reviewing relevant areas of the guide with each of you at our next meeting.

We hope this will help those of you who are unsure about how evolving tax laws will affect your financial life.

Westover Capital Promotes Use of Social Media

Westover Capital Promotes Use of Social Media

In 1999, we founded Westover Capital as an independent financial advisory firm to build relationships, implement sound investment strategies, and become trusted partners for our clients. At that time, roughly 4% of the world’s population had access to the internet, and the idea of social media as we know it today was a distant but burgeoning possibility.

The Rise of Internet Access and Social Media

The early 2000s saw exponential growth in internet access and, along with it, brand new ways to leverage global technology. Companies like LinkedIn (2002), Facebook (2004), and Twitter (2006) began to define how we interact with one another on a daily basis and are as ubiquitous in our culture as the internet itself.

Early users of these platforms included individuals who wanted to stay in touch, celebrities who wanted to stay in the public eye, and cutting-edge retailers looking to promote their brands. Eventually, social media entered the mainstream, with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to the President of the United States staking out space in a sea of hashtags and status updates.

Social Media and the Financial Industry

Conservative by nature, the financial industry was slower than most to adopt social media as a way to communicate with clients, prospective clients, and the public in general. The biggest driver for this was compliance. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has very specific rules about the way financial advisors can share information and promote their services, and there can be very steep penalties when the rules are not followed. These regulations continue to evolve as the SEC and other agencies struggle to keep up with the blistering pace of change afforded by new technologies.

At Westover, we recognize that our diverse audience wishes to receive and digest information in different ways, whether it be by email, a phone call, a blog article, or a face-to-face meeting. We are excited to announce that we are embracing social media as a way to responsibly communicate our best thinking on issues of the day and interact on a regular basis with our clients. During volatile markets and heavy news cycles, we will be able to share our thoughts and opinions on the drivers of events that affect the economy and our lives.

While social media will never replace direct communication and the foundation of trust we’ve built individually with each of our clients, this initiative allows us to reach clients and colleagues through multiple channels in the ways they prefer. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn!

Westover Capital Advisors - Mele Kalikimaka

Mele Kalikimaka

– by Chip Sawyer, CFA and Chief Investment Officer

A Westover client recently sent us some market commentary from a well-respected asset management firm. We love reading views on the market, so these emails are always appreciated.

We agree with much of what this firm presented in their newsletter. We agree that value stocks might finally start to perform better than growth stocks and that a recession in the US is not on the near-term horizon – GDP should come in above 2% next year. We are staunch believers in diversification which is why you’ll always see both domestic and international stocks, both large and small caps, and both value and growth stocks. We also know that market timing is rarely a good idea, which is why our tactical allocation decisions involve marginal moves in the portfolio rather than dramatic all-in or all-out decisions.

The Long-Term Investor

This last point is especially important for the long-term investor. When markets are going up, it’s easy to claim to be a long-term investor. The real test for the long-term investor comes when markets are going down. Unlike in 2017, the stock market does not go up every month, or every quarter, or even every year. But if you want to grow your assets at a pace that is greater than inflation, an investor must take on some equity risk. The level of that risk will be different for every investor – we each have our own tolerance for risk. But a portfolio dominated by cash and bonds, while insulated from dramatic drawdowns, is not a solution for an investor looking to maintain their purchasing power. For the long-term investor, quarters like this one present an opportunity to buy stocks at a much more reasonable valuation than three months ago.

For the long-term investor, quarters like this one present an opportunity to buy stocks at a much more reasonable valuation than three months ago.

However, we do have some short-term concerns, namely trade conflicts and rising rates. We’re also listening to economically sensitive, multinational companies that are describing a global economy that is very different than what we’re seeing in the U.S. Unfortunately, it appears that this weak global picture is not convincing the Federal Reserve to modify their plan to finally get the U.S. back to a “normal” interest rate environment. This may, in fact, be the right kind of medicine, but it’s going to lead to market volatility.

How Will Companies Fare in a Higher Interest Rate Environment?

A decade of low interest rates has encouraged companies to issue massive amounts of debt, and we have yet to see how these newly leveraged companies will fare when an economic downturn eventually comes in a higher interest rate environment. Combine this interest rate issue with a deteriorating global trade outlook, a weakening global economy, and a new Congress eager to rein in the President, and we think it prudent to hold a little more cash and little less in equities right now. All our client portfolios are underweight equities and overweight cash. We’ll maintain this positioning until we think it prudent to change.

All that being said, let’s not forget that the U.S. economy is relatively insulated from global weakness because we aren’t as export-driven as many economies. We do not currently see signs of a U.S. recession on the horizon, and stocks have gotten significantly cheaper this year thanks to double-digit earnings growth and the market decline.

The yield curve, while flattening, has yet to invert and the index of leading economic indicators has yet to go negative. So, while we think it best to be a little conservative, we don’t think we’re on the verge of a meltdown like we saw in 2008 or the early 2000s. Rather the market needs to digest a new interest rate environment, and the President needs to act like he wants to be re-elected and find a trade solution. Global weakness should give the Fed cover to pause their rate hike schedule and possibly allow the U.S. economy to extend the recovery into a second decade. We hope to ride out the current squall with a little more cash and hope that all signs soon point to calmer seas in the not too distant future.

This is such a great time of year to appreciate the best part of life—enjoying the company of friends and family. From the Westover family to yours, we wish you the happiest of holiday seasons and a prosperous New Year.

Mele Kalikimaka!

© Westover Capital Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved.

Westover Capital Advisors - Rainbows and Unicorns

Rainbows and Unicorns

 – by Murray Sawyer, JD, President and CEO

As I write, CNBC is streaming this news note: “Amazon on pace for worst quarter since 2008.” That’s not Al’s Sporting Goods CNBC is talking about. No, no they highlighted a company that’s the very heart and soul of our retail economy.

It’s not just Amazon either. December’s S&P Index is on pace to have as historically poor a performance as any seen over the last eighty years, save of those in the Depression-30’s, or the two most recent crises involving the tech meltdown and financial-housing market bubble bursts. 2018 will come in with the worst equity performance since 2008 and it will almost certainly be negative. Can’t be rainbows and unicorns forever.

Our job is to preserve capital in down markets and help our clients enjoy the fruits of appreciation in up markets. Next year, we see more clouds than sun on the horizon.

That said, the economy is purring. GDP will grow at 3.25% for 2018, a full fifty percent higher than its growth average for the eight years following the 2008 recession. Unemployment is at record lows. Our job market today has been called the “best job market in a generation” by recruiting site, Glassdoor. The Index of Leading Economic Indicators has more green than red lights.

So what’s an investor to do? Which door should we choose? Our job is to preserve capital in down markets and help our clients enjoy the fruits of appreciation in up markets. Next year, we see more clouds than sun on the horizon. With apologies to Billy Joel, we believe “There’s a storm front coming. White water running and the pressure is low.” 

We do not think this is a good time to be buyers, contrary to our usual counterintuitive investment approach. Why? Because the market is acting out, not following its traditional norms. The yield curve is not clearly inverted and the economy is certainly not sending recessionary signals, still the market has been falling, and for most of the S&P 500 companies into correction territory (negative 10%+) or worse. We don’t think this is the bottom either.

What’s happening is kind of like this: You’re walking in the California sunshine of Santa Monica Boulevard on your way Urth Caffe, the place Randy and I think is the best coffee shop in the world when you’re hit by an unexpected squall. We don’t know how long it will last, but we’re providing an umbrella for the journey until you can plop down in your chair and enjoy that Spanish latte.

Keep the Faith!

© Westover Capital Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved.

Westover Capital Advisors - John D. Rockefeller

The Evolution of the Family Office

– by Murray Sawyer, JD, President and CEO

“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”
Henry David Thoreau

It’s no secret that “family” is a big part of the Westover experience. It’s not only that Chip is literally family and Matt nearly so, but that we see our clients as extensions of the word. To that end I wanted to apprise you of our Westover Family Office. It’s alive and well, up and running as we speak. So what, exactly, you ask is a Family Office?

Westover Capital Advisors - John D. Rockefeller

John D. Rockefeller, 1911

Pioneered by the Rockefeller family in the 19th century, the traditional family office was created to manage and preserve generational wealth. This included handling everything from investment management and accounting services to booking travel and hiring staff. Once thought to be the limited domain of the ultra-wealthy, the family office has evolved and now is more than a little commonplace to high net worth families not named Rockefeller, as the needs of modern families have become more complex.

In 2014, New York Times “Wealth Matters” columnist, Paul Sullivan, wrote that the average asset value needed to justify the services of a family office was between $100 million and $1 billion. Today, with the advances in technology and the efficiencies they created, these services are attainable for a wider, yet still exclusive, market. You no longer need to own a private jet to enjoy the benefits of a family office.

Family offices are as unique as the people they represent, and no two are exactly alike. Here we believe that family office solutions should fit your needs instead of trying to fit your needs into pre-packaged bank-like family office “solutions”.

It’s no secret that “family” is a big part of the Westover experience. It’s not only that Chip is literally family and Matt nearly so, but that we see our clients as extensions of the word.

Just in case you didn’t know, Westover makes available a comprehensive set of family office services designed to give our clients the peace of mind they need to pursue their passions, support philanthropic causes, and protect their legacy through the responsible stewardship and the generational transfer of wealth.

Investment Strategy and Implementation

This service includes investment policy and asset allocation plan development, investment manager advice and in-house portfolio management. We also provide custodial, core asset class, and alternative asset class oversight so you can rest assured that your assets are working together for your benefit, regardless of whether Westover is actively managing them or simply advising on them. We offer single, consolidated statements and balance sheet review for assets wherever custodied and managed.

Liability Management

No one wants to put years of hard work, dedication, and the careful management of their family’s wealth at risk. Whether it’s analyzing your current property and life insurance or performing inventory and appraisal services, Westover will help ensure that your family’s assets are protected so they can be used specifically in the way you want.

Wealth Transfer Planning

One of the most important benefits of utilizing a family office is the full-scale ability to plan for the transfer of wealth. Westover will help you develop and define your objectives as well as examine a multi-generational snapshot of your existing strategies. We will evaluate any legal and tax strategies under consideration and perform financial modeling of alternative strategies. As a true partner with your family, we create an action plan to implement changes and thoroughly explain the plan to educate all owners and stakeholders.

Family Philanthropy

Giving back to others and caring for those who are less fortunate are the cornerstones of estate planning for many families. To maximize contributions to causes that are most important to you, Westover helps determine multi-generational objectives, set up personal giving programs, manage private foundations, and provide training for foundation trustees. We also assist with the often difficult tasks of governance and board development as well as foundation and grant administration.

Lifestyle Enhancements

Busy schedules can easily be consumed by the responsibilities that accompany day-to-day household operation. To simplify your life and the lives of your loved ones, Westover will provide important ancillary services such as personal bill paying, procurement of domestic help, payroll, property management, and family-specific travel management.

One Stop; One Shop

Other family office services offered by Westover include the full integration of your financial strategies, client information management with monthly, quarterly, and annual reporting, trusteeship services, and client family meeting education.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the hundreds of moving parts that comprise your financial and personal life, or if you think you might benefit from assistance in one or more of the areas above, give us a call for a detailed analysis and consultation. We’re here to help!

Keep the Faith

© Westover Capital Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved.

Westover Capital Advisors - Thanksgiving

A Simple Act of Kindness; A Story for Thanksgiving

– by Murray Sawyer, JD, President and CEO

We’ve just come through a divisive mid-term election. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a time for families to share the love we have for each other and for us to reflect on the shared kindness we provide or should offer to strangers in order to make this a better world.

I am not in the habit of disclosing the identity of our clients, but in this instance am making an exception because the story is so perfect for this time of year, this Thanksgiving weekend. If you just can’t watch another five minutes of another boring football game or spend five more minutes watching another Dumbo float in the Macy’s day parade, I invite you to invest that time in this 4-5 minute video.

When I was an attorney, I represented a delightful Odessa, Delaware couple, Ron and Martha Starnes. In the course of that representation, I drafted their estate planning documents and handled their respective estate administrations when they died in 2002 and 2004. Martha was an educator while Ron was a Methodist minister, a master cabinetmaker and a beloved and respected man-about-town in Odessa.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a time for families to share the love we have for each other and for us to reflect on the shared kindness we provide or should offer to strangers in order to make this a better world.

During the course of administering the Starnes’ estates, I came to know their son Ben, and he and his wife Margie became Westover clients in 2006. Today, he is the Chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery for the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, and as a Professor of Vascular Surgery, holds UW’s Alexander Whitehall Clowes Endowed Chair in Vascular Surgery. He is recognized nationally and internationally for his work in aortic pathology and vascular trauma. Before he joined UW Medicine, he spent 15 years as a medical doctor in the United States Army, serving three combat tours, one in Kosovo and two in Iraq. Ben and his wife Margie and their daughters live in the Seattle area, so they qualify as the most geographically distant of our U.S.-based Westover clients.

Margie just shared this news link with us which was produced by a local NBC Seattle television affiliate earlier this month. I don’t want to spoil the wonderful story and its uplifting message by telling you too much about it, so I’ll just mention a few words and phrases related to the story to engage your curiosity: Family road trip – Car breakdown – Kindness of strangers – POW war hero – Generational journey of discovery.

Please have a lovely Thanksgiving holiday, and should the political world make you start to feel angry with strangers, then watch this video again to be reminded of the higher purpose to which we all can aspire.

Keep the faith.

© Westover Capital Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved.

Westover Capital Advisors - Trick or Treat?

Trick or Treat?

– Murray Sawyer, JD, President and CEO

Last night was Halloween, a night when we warmly open our doors and hand candy to children dressed in all manner of costumes, hearing their squeals of laughter as they fill their Halloween bags. It’s an evening for reminding us of the joys of childhood and also the perfect night to close out Freddy Krueger’s month on Wall Street.

October truly was a Nightmare on Elm Street. Concerns abounded, principally focused on the trade war, rising interest rates, projected lower corporate earnings in 2019 and the weakening of the world’s economy outside the good old U.S. of A.

Does it make sense that one–fifth of Amazon could evaporate in thirty days and that this result would not ultimately prove illusory? I think more likely than not that it’s a Halloween trick.

I’d rather bring you a Halloween treat.

If this was a wrestling match, then in October those fears pinned our fifty-year low unemployment rates, our second quarterly 3+% GDP growth which is 50% higher than we experienced during the previous four years, our double-digit corporate earnings, our annual wage gains of 2.8% leading to what some experts have called the “best job market in a generation,” our increased consumer confidence and the impetus the economy received from reduced corporate tax rates.

Westover Capital Advisors - Trick or Treat?All three market indexes fell and fell hard. The Nasdaq Index fell 9% for the month, making October the biggest monthly drop since November 2008. Amazon and Netflix, two tech favorites, both lost about one-fifth of their value. Stop. Reread my last sentence. Twenty percent of the entire market cap of Amazon disappeared in the snap of the market’s fingers which was as quick as David Copperfield makes a train or an audience disappear.

And it’s just as ephemeral, I believe.

Does it make sense that one–fifth of Amazon could evaporate in thirty days and that this result would not ultimately prove illusory? I think more likely than not that it’s a Halloween trick.

I’d rather bring you a Halloween treat.

To do that I’m reprising a story about children, their innocence and the lessons they teach us about markets. Titled “Batter Up,” I wrote this piece almost a decade ago, after the month of March 2009, but you’ll see it has special currency today. For those with short memories, March 2009 was the month stocks bottomed out and the market then began its ascent, a strong nine-year climb which, notwithstanding October 2018, has moved the markets four-fold from those 2009 lows. I hope you’ll enjoy:

“Batter Up”

“The stock market’s returns in 2008 were the worst in seventy years, and to make sure investors felt the pain, a Force of Evil saw to it that the first quarter’s equity returns for 2009 were the worst for any first quarter since 1939. Investors now know how Sonny Liston felt when Muhammad Ali knocked him out that May 1965 night in Lewiston, Maine.

The list goes on and on, but you get my point. The last six months have been a cruel hoax to the millions of honest, hardworking, play-by-the-rules folks. They feel not unlike candidate Tom Dewey surely felt forty-eight hours after he finished reading the November 1948 election night Chicago Tribune headline declaring him the victor in his presidential race against Harry Truman.

So how about reading some good news for a change? There are certain verities in life: The stars come out at night; so does a rainbow after a hard rain. The Atlantic has a majestic blue-green hue in the Caribbean, the Pacific in Hawaii. Multi-hued tulips bloom here in April.

And kids don’t know about those bad news items; they experience joy in new ventures, especially when they’re too young to “know better.” And adults get happiness in watching their efforts and enthusiasm.

Last month Randy and I spent three weeks in Santa Monica where we visited with our daughter, her husband and their two children, Vivian age four and Isaac age six. The last Saturday we were there, Isaac and his neighborhood friends had their first T-ball game. For those who don’t know, T-ball is to Little League baseball as pre-K is to elementary school.

A baseball is literally placed on a stationary tee at home plate, set to the height of the batter’s belt. The batter swats it and then all hell breaks loose. Nobody makes an out. You play until the kids or their parents are exhausted, or until the six o’clock cocktail hour comes calling, whichever comes first.

Helmets, most of them three or four sizes too big, are worn at all times, both while batting as well as when playing out in the field. Teams can be comprised of 15 or more kids per side, it seems. And no matter what, your kids play with a smile on their faces and laughter in their voices.

None of these kids had likely ever played anything more than catch. They knew not the rules of baseball, nor what defined winners or losers. They just knew how to have fun. We could learn from them. Here were some Life Lessons they began to comprehend without even knowing it, and I was reminded of while watching the youngsters. (The kids’ names and their spellings were provided by my daughter).

Lesson # 1. If at first you don’t succeed. . .

The first batter up was Vonne, age 5. Like the mythical Casey, he struck a mighty blow with his bat and . . . whiffed, missing both the ball and the T. Thrice more the Mighty Vonne swung and missed. In T-Ball, the West Coast version, you get not three but five whiffs before you’ve struck out. On his last attempt, he barely managed to clip the ball and it slowly rolled toward the pitcher.

Lesson # 2. In life, know where you want to go.

As the “pitcher” Cody, age 6, daintily bent to pick up the rolling ball, treating it like a flower to be plucked from her parents’ backyard, here came Vonne barreling into her, trying to get that pesky pellet before she did. He succeeded, only to learn from his umpire father George that first base, not the pitcher’s mound, was his intended destination.

Lesson # 3. Quit while you’re ahead.

A few batters later Jaxon, another 5-year old, stood on third base ready to score for his team, the Angels, when the next intrepid batter, Stella, hit the ball. Sure enough, Stella smashed one toward shortstop and Jaxon took off toward home. However, he didn’t stop upon landing there but rather continued sprinting toward first base. He actually nosed out Stella by an eyelash. Lesson number 3 was relayed to him by Jaxon’s laughing father.

Lesson # 4. Don’t believe everything you’re told.

Fugi, age six, was sent out to play second base by his manager-dad Glen with these words, “Go play second base, son.” Sure enough and taking his father’s words literally to heart, Fugi skipped out to the infield, his oversized hat wobbling on his tiny head, and jumped directly onto second base. From that perch, he fiercely defended his ground, even when teammate Everett tried to physically move him closer to first base.

Lesson #5. There’s joy in small things; before your game is over be sure to stop and smell the roses.

When the game ended, tied something like 35 to 35 after those two innings, all the parents and their kids had smiles and kind words for each other. It reminded me that great joys come from the simplest things. Bernie Madoff and friends to the contrary notwithstanding, life is not as bad as some would have us believe.

PS. The market went up 22% over those three weeks while I was out of town. One dear friend even texted me while I was in the L.A. airport waiting to return and beseeched me to stay an extra week.”

So there you have it. Don’t let the recent events of October cause you to lose your focus on the larger picture. We’ve had a great run for almost ten years. And today, our economic signs are as strong as they have been for that last decade. There’s always a Yin versus Yang, but if we call the Yin positive and the Yang negative, Yin’s going to pin Yang. Unless markets totally decouple from their underlying fundamentals, this market should continue its march forward.

Keep the faith.

© Westover Capital Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved.