Recent Market Volatility

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Dear Clients & Friends,

From November 2, 2015 through February 8, 2016 the S&P 500 index has declined 11.91%.  During this time period there were days where the market rose significantly but, unfortunately, there were more days where it declined.

During market downturns like the one we are experiencing, the media focuses on the negative so watching the financial news, reading the newspaper, and listening to radio news programs can be excruciating.

At times like this, it is important to remember downturns don’t last forever and the aftermath usually leads to long periods of positive returns.  As long-term investors we need to look past the current market turmoil, hold our current positions, and wait for the storm to pass.

We have posted a recent article by Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) that talks about volatility; but more important, it provides statistics regarding 1, 3, and 5 year returns after periods of decline.  Here is a link to the DFA article: Recent Market Volatility Read more

BAM Quarterly Letter – Winter 2016

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January 19, 2016

Dear Clients & Friends,

As 2015 ended and 2016 began, the turbulence in the markets has been persistent.  On November 3, 2015 the S&P 500 reached 2,110, which represented a strong recovery from its August 25, 2015 correction low of 1,868.  Before rebounding, the correction ending in August brought the S&P 500 down about 12%.  Unfortunately, after November 3rd, concerns over continued weakness in the commodities markets and the slowdown in China’s economy caused the S&P 500 to move back down into correction territory with the index closing at 1,880 on January 14, 2016.  During this most recent correction, the market has declined approximately 10.9% from its November 3rd price. Read more

The Tax Planning Letter – New Year

Our 2016 New Year Tax Planning Letter is now available.

Here is a brief look at some of the topics in this letter:

DECEMBER 2015 LAW REINSTATES “EXTENDERS” 
The “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015,” which was signed into law on December 18, 2015, reinstated a long list of tax breaks known as “extenders.”

DON’T OVERLOOK DISABILITY-RELATED TAX BREAKS FOR YOU OR YOUR FAMILY
Medical deductions are one example of tax breaks you may be eligible for if you or a family member has disability-related income or expenses.

GET A HANDLE ON YOUR 2015 TAX FORMS AND DUE DATES
Check these important reminders that could affect your 2015 tax return filing.

WHAT’S NEW IN 2016
Here’s a quick review of some of the tax changes you’ll see from 2015 to 2016 as a result of inflation adjustments and tax law changes.

If you would like to discuss any of these Tax Planning Letter topics in more detail please call Steve at (818)449-3122 or send him an email at steve@berkson.net.

We hope you find this information interesting and helpful. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help with your financial planning or investment needs.

Warm regards,
Berkson Asset Management
Registered Investment Advisor

BAM Quarterly Letter – Fall 2015

October 19, 2015

Dear Clients & Friends,

The third quarter 2015 was the worst quarter for U.S. and International stocks in the last 5 1/2 years.  The Russell 3000 Index, a broad measure of the U.S. stock market, declined 7.25% for the quarter and was down 5.45% for the first nine months of 2015. The MSCI World ex USA Index declined 10.57% during the quarter and was down 6.69% for the first nine months.  Emerging Market stocks were the worst performing group ending down 17.90% for the quarter and 15.48% through three quarters. Read more

BAM Quarterly Letter – Summer 2015

July 24, 2015

Dear Clients & Friends,

U.S. and International equity markets had a volatile quarter and ended the period with marginally positive results as continued economic troubles in Greece dominated the financial news.  The Russell 3000 Index, a broad measure of the U.S. stock market, increased .14% for the quarter and was up 1.94% in the first half of 2015.  At the same time the MSCI World ex USA Index increased .48% (as measured in U.S. dollars) during the quarter and was up 4.34% for the first six months. Read more

The Top 5 Issues Found in Most Small to Medium-Size Businesses’ 401(k) Plans And What to Do About It

Over the years, many of our accounting and investment clients have asked if we could service their company’s 401(k) plan. They related to me a host of difficulties found in their current plans. These shortcomings are likely to be found in your plan or the plan you are considering. I decided that if Berkson Asset Management were to offer 401(k) advisory services, we would have to find a solution that was demonstrably superior to the other industry offerings on the market. I’m impressed by our result and I want to share with you why we decided to take on this endeavor. We begin with a summary of the key problems that are still found in most plans we review.

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BAM Quarterly Letter – Spring 2015

April 27, 2015

Dear Clients & Friends,

U.S. and International equity markets performed well during the first quarter of 2015. The Russell 3000 Index, a broad measure of the U.S. stock market, increased 1.80% while the MSCI World ex USA Index increased by 3.83% (as measured in U.S. dollars) during the quarter. This increase in international equities was particularly impressive given the strength of the US dollar, measured in local currencies the MSCI World ex USA Index actually increased by 10.98%.

Read more