KFA Blog

Quarterbacking Your Planning Team

KFA's Michelle Smalenberger, CFP® teamed up with attorney Heather Walser, Partner in Lavelle Law's latest podcast, Quarterbacking Your Planning Team.

You’ve probably spent considerable time developing plans for accomplishing your financial and estate planning goals, but what have you done to ensure that the plans you’ve set in place will be executed properly? By working in conjunction with a team of advisors, instead of just one, you can take advantage of the specialized knowledge of many professionals instead of relying on the knowledge of just one. Tune in to hear the who, when, what and why of a successful planning team. 

Listen HERE



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Lisa Thuer Participates in Prestigious Leadership Summit

For Immediate Release


Lisa Thuer, Local Trading and Research Specialist, Participates in
Prestigious BlackRock Leadership Summit for Women Advisors


Palatine, Illinois, March 1, 2016 –  Lisa Thuer, a Palatine, IL-based trading and research investment specialist at Kabarec Financial Advisors, recently participated in an exclusive Leadership Summit organized by BlackRock – the world’s largest investment manager – for leading female financial advisors.


At this distinctive two-day event, held February 10-11 in San Francisco, a select group of women-advisors met with top BlackRock investment professionals to discuss the outlook for investing in 2016, timely investment themes, and how to further empower women as leaders in the financial advisory profession.


“In addition to the opportunity to build my knowledge of how to help my clients make good investment decisions in uncertain times, the BlackRock leadership summit provided a unique forum for sharing insights with my peers regarding the experiences of women in financial advisory,” said Thuer.  “The meeting gave me fresh appreciation of the strengths of women as financial advisors and renewed my commitment to supporting the advancement of other women in our profession.”


Speakers at the BlackRock summit included Hollie Fagan, head of BlackRock’s Registered Investment Advisors business; Martin Small, head of U.S. iShares, the firm’s exchange traded funds (ETF) business, and Susan Colantuono, CEO/Founder of Leading Women, a premier consulting firm supporting corporate initiatives to advance women. 


For over 7 years, Lisa has been a critical member of the Kabarec Financial Advisors team.  Her main areas of focus are placing all investment trades and maintaining the asset allocation to ensure our clients’ objectives and risk tolerance are reflected in their portfolios.  As a key contributor in the firm’s investment committee, Lisa spends much of her time becoming aware of any news regarding our investments and the impact it will have on our portfolios as well as researching new investment ideas.



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Market Conditions - Springing Forward


Spring is right around the corner and that typically entails swimming, fishing, and dreaded yard work. If you are anything like our fathers, your strategy for winning yard of the month begins now. Investing and yard work have a lot of similarities, you reap what you sow and sow what you reap. The basics of having an award winning lawn are simple; aerate, fertilize, and lime. In many ways, that same philosophy holds true to investing. Each and every day, we analyze investment data to find opportunities to grow your assets. We plant seeds of opportunity with an eye on the future and the guidance of our collective wisdom and convictions. After doing so, we cultivate our investments by setting price targets and strategies designed to help you grow into the retirement of your dreams.
The market was scorched in January as we experienced a fire sale and the S&P 500 lost 10% from its peak last year.  This is nothing new. Corrections are normal parts of economic cycles and it bears a similarity to keeping the grass cut. Before 2008, we experienced uncontrollable and unsustainable growth. Loose regulation allowed a steep housing crisis to ensue and affect virtually every American family. Our economic engine was unable to bear the brunt of the housing market crash as our market system and our economic system stalled. The same motor that propels us forward is responsible for dropping the blades and keeping growth in check. In the past week days we have seen the markets recover and there are significant signs of rebound. Our economy continues to grow in a sustainable manner that bears no resemblance to 2008.
Prominent investors who range from Warren Buffet to corporate investment houses have poured billions of dollars into oil. The same commodity that scorched the market in January is leading this week’s rebound. Although it is premature to announce OPEC’s death, one Texas congressman is claiming victory. Joe Barton says the American oil industry will flourish as OPEC suffers from internal strife within the cartel has created deep divisions. Oil continues to serve as the primary precursor to market volatility, however US production is only down 4% from a record high in April. In days of yore, 11 oil ministers from OPEC could have a conference call and effectively set the price of oil. Currently the US is exporting oil and pushing for greater market share which bolsters our economic might in the energy sector. At KFA, we continue to hold market neutral funds that have the ability to hedge against market downturns and volatility and one of these funds holds commodities ranging from energy to lumber.

The path to reaching your financial goals will have low points and high points. It is essential to always look forward and ask for help when needed. At KFA we can help you understand the whole picture, helping you prioritize your goals and find your risk and reward balance in your portfolio. In the coming days we are looking to add further diversification to most of our portfolios.  We are analyzing dividend payers that operate as islands of calm in a volatile market. Most portfolios have already added alternative investments and dividend paying stocks. We will continue to seek quality investments over all else in this era of volatility. Should you have any questions please feel free to contact us.
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Market Conditions - Understanding Market Relationships



An oily arrow from Cupid struck the market today as the DOW Jones Industrial Average finished up over 300 points. Oil and the market have been in lockstep this year, tripping and falling down the aisle in harmonious disappointment. Traditionally, market volatility blushes in comparison to oil volatility. According to Barclays, the correlation between oil and the market amount to 25% over the past two decades. In 2016, the narrative has been different as oil and the market have created a Thelma and Louise couple. Panicked investors are getting what they settle for as they drive off the cliff of sanity.

Ever since oil fell under $40 dollars per barrel in December the US equity market has been pushed downward. Investor confidence jumped off a cliff in holy matrimony with oil. Barclay’s 25% correlation number does not pertain to our current situation. The below graph illustrates how oil and equity prices have tangled downward, hand in hand, since December 7th. The contemporaneous correlation between Brent Crude Oil and the S&P 500 is unbelievably high at 91.39%, stunningly comparable to the correlation between US GDP growth and the S&P 500.


(Cumber Asset Correlation Group)

For the past two months, the market has endured an emotional correction. Retail sales in January were up, posting a third consecutive month of gains. When you exclude gas stations, retail sales have posted gains seven months in a row. Full-time employment grew by 2.5 million jobs as part time employment shred 120,000 jobs. The best news for a college student? There are 5.6 million jobs that remain unfilled in the US economy. The Fed targeted a 2% core inflation target and year to year we sit at 2.1%. Historically, GDP Growth and the S&P 500 have been the Romeo and Juliet of correlations. At KFA, not only do we endear classical beliefs about the economy but we also choose wisdom over short-sightedness. 
Valentine's day weekend aside, we are keeping an eye on every economic indicator. The media has been spewing the word "recession" without first consulting a dictionary. A recession is defined as a fall in GDP growth after two successive quarters, our GDP has not experienced a fall since 2009. Nearly every economist forecasts a rise in GDP for the 4th quarter of 2015 and another rise in the 1st quarter of 2016. What we seem to be experiencing is an emotional correction and not a long term trend.

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Market Conditions - Handling Market Volatility


Winter is being felt all across America; particularly in Chicago where temperatures are in the teens. Heavy snowfall is possible from Atlanta to New York. In spite of the groundhog’s prediction, we may be in for a long winter.  The market has almost been as unpredictable as the weather. Each and every morning we look for fundamentals, news, and the latest information to determine the best way to allocate your assets. KFA takes every effort to deliver the highest performance while balancing the risk of a fear driven market. Although we remain positive on 2016, we are currently plowing through a blizzard of emotional investing.

One of the top market forecasting groundhogs out there, Goldman Sachs, has abandoned five of six top recommended trades for the year[i]. There are a few other market groundhogs that have echoed negative sentiment, from the Royal Bank of Scotland to the doomsday forecasters who encourage you to buy gold now. At KFA, we are not investing in the shadows – we are looking forward to help you reach your long term goals. Goldman’s only remaining top recommended trade pits non-commodity companies versus emerging markets, which is the same conviction KFA has had since summer. None of our core portfolios are directly exposed to the energy sector and our international exposure has been around 1% since August. In the midst of groundhog discourse, prudence should be left to judge.  

Other than your KFA team, there are several prudent and esteemed economists that support our positive long term outlook. Dr. Jeremey Siegel, a Chicago native and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, strongly believes the S&P 500 may earn as much as 10% this year despite near term volatility. Another noted economist, Dr. Robert Genetski, believes stocks are undervalued by up to 30% and that short term volatility does not compromise long term performance. When we experience turbulence in the market, we consult our team of doctors and work in a pragmatic way to enhance your long term performance. 

Source: SentimenTrader as of January 15, 2016. SentimenTrader’s Smart Money Confidence and Dumb Money Confidence Indexes are a unique innovation used to see what the “good” market timers are doing with their money compared to what the “bad” market timers are doing. When the Smart Money Confidence Index is at 100%, it means that those most correct on market direction are 100% confident of a rising market. When it is at 0%, it means good market timers are 0% confident in a rally. The Dumb Money Confidence Index works in the opposite manner.

The trick for every business has always been to buy at the lowest price possible and sell at the highest price possible. There are several factors influencing the recent market downswing. On the forefront is oil, we are experiencing the biggest supply glut in US history and overblown recession fears hinge on oil continuing an almost never ending downward spiral. As we have mentioned before, demand will eventually meet supply and oil will find a bottom. OPEC nations have done everything they can to manipulate normal supply and demand conditions which has eroded the price of oil to historic lows and threatened the economic livelihoods of OPEC’s own members. On the horizon is the 2016 presidential election which means a new era of economic policy for the United States. There is no clear frontrunner and investor speculation is running wild based on the objectives of each candidate. In the near term, volatility will not end and to capitalize on market movement most portfolios have added an increased allocation in our market neutral fund. We will continue to watch over your portfolios with prudence and with an aim of long term performance. Should you have any questions or concerns you are always welcome to contact us.


[i] http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-09/goldman-sachs-abandons-five-of-six-top-trade-calls-for-2016



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