A Quick Guide to Charitable Giving Options
Clients looking to give to charity often already know where they want their money to go based on a personal connection or passion for a particular cause. Where they’ll need your help is deciding how to make those donations.
A Quick Guide to Charitable Giving Options reviews a variety of giving methods—offering potential benefits and other considerations for each—and includes a glossary of related terms. With it, you’ll be better equipped to help your clients find the right giving method based on their philanthropic goals.
Will Evergrande Take Down China and the World Markets?
For those who haven’t heard, global markets slumped yesterday as a Chinese real estate developer, Evergrande, was reported to be approaching bankruptcy. For many, this news brings to mind the great financial crisis of 2008.
Monthly Market Risk Update: September 2021
U.S. equity markets continued to rally in August, with all three major indices setting new record highs during the month. We did see some midmonth volatility, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.50 percent, while the S&P 500 experienced a 3.04 percent gain.
Market Thoughts for September 2021
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for August. It was another very good month for the financial markets. In the U.S., both the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 showed material gains, while developed markets also did well. On the medical front, the virus continued its spread. There are signs that the rising medical risks are starting to appear in the data, with consumer confidence dropping significantly in August. So, will we see a slowdown in the recovery as we move into the fall? Stay tuned for more. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.
Client Retention Checklist for Breakaway Advisors
You’ve put time and effort into cultivating great relationships with your clients. As you prepare to leave the wirehouse for independence, learn how to mitigate risk, announce your departure, and create a seamless transition process for your assets.
Market Thoughts for August 2021
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for July. It was a generally good month for the markets, with all three major U.S. indices up by more than 1 percent. But emerging markets were hit hard and ended the month down significantly. On the economic front, the data remains positive, although business and consumer confidence declined. Further, medical risks are on the rise, with the Delta variant hitting the unvaccinated population. Will these risks slow down the recovery? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.
So, You Want to Break Away from Your Wirehouse—Now What?
Breaking away from your wirehouse is a life-changing decision. If you know it’s the best move for you and your clients, you’ve taken the first big step. We can help you with what comes next. Download our guide to learn about picking an affiliation model, choosing the right firm to partner with, and starting a new business.
Midyear Outlook 2021: The Long and Winding Road Back to Normal
What’s the story for the rest of the year? In his Midyear Outlook 2021, Commonwealth CIO Brad McMillan says it will depend on whether the economy can find its way through a maze of problems—including rising inflation, labor shortages, and supply-chain gaps. Despite these risks, we’ve made real progress, and a return to normal could soon be in sight.
Market Thoughts for July 2021
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for June. It was a mixed month for the markets. In the U.S., the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 were up, but the Dow ticked down. We saw the same trend internationally, with developed markets falling even as emerging markets moved ahead. On the economic front, business confidence remains at or close to all-time highs. Still, the problems of success (labor shortages and supply chain issues) loom large. So, where do we go from here? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.
Market Thoughts for June 2021
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for May. It was a mixed bag for the markets, with the Dow up more than 2 percent, the S&P 500 up slightly, and the Nasdaq down. On the medical front, case growth and death rates declined, and more than 4 of 10 people are now fully vaccinated. With fading medical risks, the economy continued to improve. Layoffs are trending down, and consumer confidence remains close to pre-pandemic levels. So, could we be back to normal by the summer? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.
Building a Brand Identity: A Checklist for Breakaway Advisors
Leaving your wirehouse for the independent channel means you have an exciting opportunity to redefine yourself, what you do, and who you serve. Let our checklist help you create a strong brand identity that resonates with your ideal clients and sets you apart from the competition.
Market Thoughts for May 2021
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for April. It was a good month for the markets. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq gained more than 5 percent, while the Dow was up almost 3 percent. These returns were driven, in part, by the medical news, with new case counts, hospitalizations, and deaths all down. While the medical risks declined, reopening accelerated. Job growth rose, and weekly layoffs dropped. Consumer confidence and spending also improved. Will these positive trends persist? Stay tuned for more. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.
Breaking Away to Break Through
Thinking about leaving the wirehouse? Starting your own firm isn't for everyone, but it can be a rewarding journey for you and your clients. Read this case study to learn about two former wirehouse advisors who made the leap to independence, the challenges they faced, and the success they found.
Market Thoughts for April 2021
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for March. We saw a strong end to a healthy first quarter for stock markets. Both the Dow and S&P 500 here in the U.S. showed gains, while developed markets abroad showed lower but still positive returns. We also had good news on the economic front. Hiring rebounded, layoffs dropped, and consumer confidence rose to post-pandemic highs. But with more work to do to contain the medical risks, when will the economy return to full health? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.
Market Thoughts for March 2021
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for February. Markets climbed last month, although they faced some turbulence on a spike in interest rates. While markets were choppy, the medical news improved. New cases and hospitalizations dropped, and vaccinations more than doubled. On the economic front, unemployment remains high, but companies are hiring again. Plus, stimulus payments hit bank accounts, and consumer confidence is moving up. Could a return to normal be in sight? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.
Strategies for Targeting Organic Growth
One of your best chances for growth comes from client interactions and networking activities. That’s where additional assets, opportunities, and referrals come from. Simply put, the more time you spend with clients and professionals already in your circle, the greater your productivity potential.
Market Thoughts for Feb 2021
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for January. Most developed markets were down slightly, including the Dow and S&P 500 in the U.S., as well as developed markets abroad. Despite the weak January numbers, markets remain near all-time highs. On the economic front, layoffs were high and retail spending dropped. But with federal stimulus payments, consumer confidence has begun to recover, boosting higher-frequency spending data. So, will the recovery remain resilient? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.
5 Steps to an Effective Marketing Plan
Examining your marketing strategies and committing them to paper can transform your ideas into a powerful platform for success. 5 Steps to an Effective Marketing Plan will help you create an organized, thoughtful written plan to raise your competitive profile and enhance your ability to attract and retain valuable clients.
Is the Stock Market in a Bubble?
There has been a lot of talk about whether the stock market is in a bubble. As usual, there are distinguished professionals on both sides of the debate, armed with convincing statistics and arguments. So, what is the average investor to do?
The Biden Stimulus Plan
The economic news has continued to soften in recent days. December saw layoffs go up and the number of jobs decline, and, this morning, the retail sales numbers dropped. Consumer confidence has gone down. Clearly, the economic headwinds from the pandemic are getting worse.
Market Thoughts for Jan 2021
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for December. It was a great month for the markets, with gains across the board. Unfortunately, we saw rising economic damage. Job growth dropped, and layoffs rose. Consumer confidence and spending also declined as the medical risks drove governmental shutdowns. Still, business confidence and spending were solid, and December's federal stimulus bill should help revive consumer demand. So, could we be back on the road to normal in 2021? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.
Outlook 2021: A Return to Normal?
What’s the story for the economy and markets in 2021? According to Commonwealth CIO Brad McMillan, the recovery has been steady and much faster than expected. Even with ongoing uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus and some anticipated setbacks, McMillan outlines why we may still be on track to something approaching pre-pandemic normal by the end of 2021. Download his 2021 outlook.
Outlook 2021: Things Can Only Get Better
As we consider what may happen in 2021, it’s useful to reflect on how we ended 2020—both the good and the bad. For the good, the election is behind us. Vaccines look to be more effective than anyone expected. Jobs and confidence are holding up surprisingly well as the economy adapts. In many ways, things are much better than we thought.
Market Thoughts for December 2020
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for November. It was a very strong month for the stock markets, with most up by double digits. With good news on vaccines and the resolution of the presidential election, investors gained confidence. But medical risks remain, and the economic risks rose. Layoffs increased, and consumer confidence declined. Business confidence remained high but has pulled back. So, is there reason to believe that things will improve in the months ahead? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at https:www.blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.
Markets Rally on Vaccine News
As expected, the medical news continues to get worse. New infections hit all-time highs last week as the third wave of the pandemic has accelerated around the country. Case growth in many states remains at levels that threaten health care systems.
Looking Back at the Markets in October and Ahead Through November 2020
A lot has changed in the past week. I normally try and get this post up earlier in the month, but with everything that has happened—and which has demanded comment—this is the earliest I could fit it in. But that is a good thing...
First Thoughts About the Election
“It will take as long as it takes,” a reported quote from the Pennsylvania attorney general about the vote count, can also apply to the election itself. Indeed, from where we stand right now, the Pennsylvania vote count will determine the election. We don’t know what the final answer is, and we don’t know when we will know. So, are we any further along than yesterday?
Market Thoughts for November 2020
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for October. The markets started the month strong but rolled over on rising medical risks. Fortunately, the impact was cushioned by better economic news. Layoffs dropped, and consumer confidence held at higher levels. As a result, spending held up better than expected, and the housing market has boomed. Business confidence and investment have also been healthy. With the election just around the corner, could we face more risks ahead? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at https:www.blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.
Help Clients Stay on Track with This 10-Point Year-End Financial Planning Checklist
Want to make the most of year-end planning conversations with clients? This checklist outlines 10 key points to get you started, including new tax and retirement changes in 2020 due to the pandemic. Use this easy reference guide to help your clients get a jump on planning.
An Estate Planning Blueprint for Financial Advisors
Implementing a comprehensive estate plan requires meticulous coordination of the financial, legal, and tax aspects of your client’s life. By asking the right questions and being prepared for issues that may arise, you can take a central role in the planning process and cement yourself as a trusted advisor. Our guide provides the steps you can take to help ensure that all your client’s needs and wishes are being met.
Market Thoughts for October 2020
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for September. It was a tough month for the markets. They began September with a drop and ended the month with everything down, but by much less than feared. The economic news was better, with improved data from the labor market and consumer confidence bouncing back. Business confidence and investment were also healthy. Overall, the recovery looks to be on a solid foundation. But could the upcoming election pose a real risk? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.
Why a Next-Gen Advisor Can Be Good for Your Business
Hiring a next-gen advisor can benefit every aspect of your business and set you up for long-term success and growth. Download our free white paper to learn insights and actionable steps you can take to help you find the perfect candidate and retain top talent to position your firm for the future.
Market Thoughts for September 2020
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for August. It was a very good month for the markets. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 reached new highs, and investors continued to move back into the markets. We also saw infection numbers decline, and the economic recovery started to regain strength. Consumer confidence looks to have bottomed, and wage growth has ticked up again, supporting spending growth. We’re in a much better place than we were a month ago, but are there risks ahead? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.
Financial Planning for Millennial Women: A Checklist for Financial Advisors
Although many millennial women’s needs will overlap with their more established counterparts, younger female clients face unique challenges and opportunities. Our complimentary checklist shows how you can guide these clients to become more knowledgeable, empowered, and confident about their financial outlook. Learn more about why millennial women are an emerging clientele, ways advisors can serve them better, and the right questions to ask to encourage independence.
Market Thoughts for August 2020
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for July. Overall, it was a good month for the markets. As July began, we saw strong job gains, declining layoff numbers, and rising consumer confidence and spending. Markets rose on this good news. But then infection counts went up, leading to state-level closures. This shift hit hiring and confidence, slowing the recovery. As a result, several market indices declined from their midmonth levels. Should we expect more volatility ahead? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.
Monthly Market Risk Update: July 2020
Markets continued to rise in June, as efforts to reopen state economies across the country continued throughout the month. Investors reacted to the continued reopening with optimism, driving the S&P 500 up 1.99 percent in June following a 4.76 percent increase in May.
2020 Midyear Outlook
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, gives his 2020 midyear outlook. The rest of 2020 will be about the virus. We’re seeing localized outbreaks, but the necessary countermeasures are in place. So, we can reasonably expect the virus to remain under control. Despite the medical setbacks, millions of jobs have returned, along with consumer confidence and spending. The recovery remains on track and is likely to continue. And that's exactly what the markets are expecting. But will there be volatility ahead? Watch this video to find out. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.
Looking Back at the Markets in June and Ahead to July 2020
June was a mixed month. The national reopening in May and June led to new viral outbreaks and a spike in new infections in multiple states. Surprisingly, though, both the economic recovery and financial markets did very well. As we enter July, the question of many minds is whether the medical situation will improve—and whether the good economic and market news will continue.
Market Thoughts for July 2020
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, recaps the market and economic news for June. It was a great month for the markets. In part, markets were reacting to progress on the viral front, with drops in the daily case growth rate and increased testing. They were also responding to the continued economic recovery. Millions of jobs returned, and consumer confidence bounced back. Of course, there were setbacks, with some states seeing an uptick in virus cases. Will the recovery remain on track despite the risks? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.