What is Social Investing?

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Post by: Valley Financial Group

Over the past few years, the concept of socially responsible investing has taken the financial world by storm. To put it simply, social investing is simply the combination of ones investing strategy with their social values in the attempt to create a portfolio that both provides sufficient returns while also backing companies the investor deems socially responsible.

It’s not just individual investors jumping on the bandwagon either, as several major endowments have joined the movement to do well and do good at the same time. It varies from investor to investor, but if this investment strategy interests you, there are a few important questions that you and your advisor will need to answer before setting your socially responsible investing goals.

First, you’ll have to decide what a socially responsible company looks like to you, a task far easier said than done. No two individuals will have the same definition of “good”, ranging from just avoiding stocks in weapons companies or big tobacco to targeting specific social issues and investing only in company’s contributing to that cause. Many firms also have multiple facets of their business, with one aspect appealing to the cause of one investor while another aspect completely turns off an investor. Every decision is morally gray, albeit some more than others, and it’s important to set your goals and beliefs on the table beforehand in order to make the best of your new strategy.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, while your causes and missions are an important part of this portfolio, returns are still a very important aspect as well. It’s important to not be too idealistic about socially responsible investing, tempering your expectations and goals to fit the socially responsible model that you and your advisor have discussed. The narrower your social focus, the harder it will be to diversify your portfolio and the more risk you run of not meeting your goals in the long term. It is possible to do good and do well, so if you are interested in socially responsible investing, sit down with your advisor and begin a dialogue about your goals to contribute to making a difference, both for the causes you support and for your personal financial success. 

Finding a Special Gift  for Your Mom

Post by: Valley Financial Group

“Who needs superheroes when I have my mom?” -Unknown

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We've said it on this blog before, and it definitely warrants saying again, but no one deserves to be celebrated more than our mothers. Whether it’s our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, or anyone else, the women in our life would do anything for us, and the very least we can do is make their Mother's Day a phenomenal one. With so much gratitude to show, it can be pretty tough to find the perfect gift to show just how thankful you are for everything the woman or women in your life have done for you. That's, as usual, where we come in, with a brief list of some great ideas for Mother’s Day 2019. So, without further ado, here's our list in no particular order.

First, a really cool little gift, the Q&A-A-Day for Moms. This gift will keep your mom remembering you for the next five years or at least until next Mother’s Day.  Your Mom will keep this small book on her bedside table or anywhere else she'll see every day, the book has little one or two sentence question and answers for every day, spanning five total years. Questions like "what is your child interested in at the moment?" (Don’t answer that one Mom) and other questions of a similar vein will make for some great walks down memory lane when the book is finally finished.

https://www.amazon.com/Day-5-Year-Journal-Potter-Gift/dp/0307719774

If for whatever reason, you can't be with the important women in your life on Mother's day, there's no better way to show your love and gratitude than with a card, and there's no better card than Lovepop 3-D cards, which open to reveal awesome origami inspired pop up artwork that is worthy of display long after Mother's day has passed.

https://www.lovepopcards.com/?gclid=CjwKCAjwqqrmBRAAEiwAdpDXtPy-7wYNUs6Qq8AWXJpMyDlE1vUqhS4WSeT0ujBzPm6VeZmnEW65bBoCQy8QAvD_BwE

Lastly, picking jewelry for your mom or wife is sometimes very complex, but the Marama Personalized Necklace is a great way to get something unique for your mom without all the stress. Plus, you will look like a total rock star when she opens this gift. As usual, this is a long shot from a comprehensive list, but no one knows the important women in your life better than you, so do your best to find something you know they'll love, and, most importantly of all, make sure they know just how thankful you are for everything they've done. Happy Mother's Day!

https://www.gldn.com/blog/top-15-personalized-gift-ideas-for-mom?rq=mothers%20day

St. Patrick's Day

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Post by: Valley Financial Group

We're less than a week away from March 17th, the one day a year where people of every color and creed come together to be Irish for a day. Big cities throw elaborate parades, the Chicago river turns a fluorescent green, and everyone is decked out in green beads and shamrock shirts for one glorious day.

There are all kinds of holiday traditions and clever T-shirt sayings to commemorate the feast of St. Patrick, but perhaps the best known is the familiar "luck of the Irish". So, the question is, just what makes those of Irish heritage just a little bit luckier than the rest of the population? On the contrary, the saying actually was originally meant to be ironic, with the extremely unlucky history of the Irish people being cited for the saying's origins, but as time has gone by images of four-leaf clovers and pots of gold at the end of rainbows have taken away the phrase away from its sarcastic beginnings.

There are, however, some things that you would never want to leave up to chance, whether you have an apostrophe in your last name or not, and that is taking care of your money. Luck shouldn't be a factor when determining you and your family's financial future, and that's where selecting the right financial adviser becomes key. By doing your homework and ensuring that your adviser is going to work to the best of their ability to maximize your benefit rather than just doing the bare minimum to get their paycheck, you can take luck out of the equation when it comes to your financial security.

Happy St. Patrick's to all, and here's hoping everyone a bit of luck going forward, financial and otherwise.

NFL Playoffs and the Market

Post by: Valley Financial Group

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No one really knows how they pulled it off, but our Philadelphia Eagles have made it back into the playoffs with a chance to defend their Super Bowl LII title. Just one month ago, I don't think a single person in Philadelphia would have believed you if you told them the Eagles would run the table in the last three weeks and that Nick Foles would lead the Eagles back into the dance, but here we are.

The NFL playoffs are an amazing phenomenon, an entire month where 12 cities and the entire sports world collectively holds their breath during the first month and a half of the New Year, waiting for a new champion to be crowned. Not only do these games have an effect on us as fans, they may also have effects on the market. For example, if an AFC team were to bring home the Lombardi trophy, 80% of the time the Dow will go down in the following year, with the opposite being true for NFC teams. Also, teams with a corporate sponsored stadium, such as the New Orleans Saints who play in the Mercedes-Benz SuperDome, can affect their sponsors stock in the range of 1-5% up or down following the result of a big game at home, categorized as a prime time or playoff game, according to a study by University of Connecticut finance professor Assaf Eisdorfer, who compiled data from 3,399 games over the course of 16 NFL seasons.

So what causes these changes? Are people really making important investment decisions based on the outcome of their home team's playoff match ups? I certainly hope not, and I tend to think that we may have a classic case of correlation rather than causation of our hands, but who knows? Sixteen years of data is no high school science project, and it’s hard to argue with the Dow Jones rising or diving with the champion's conference four out of five years. Whatever side you take, I know I'll definitely be doing my research on this year's playoff team's corporate sponsors, you know, just in case.

Happy New Year everyone, and Go Birds!

Disclosure:

This material should not be relied upon by the readers as research or investment advice nor should it be construed as a recommendation to hold, purchase or sell a security.

Halloween and Market Spooks

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Post by: Valley Financial Group

We're just a one day away from the spookiest day of the year with Halloween falling this Wednesday. With ghosts, goblins and ghouls running amok, you'd be inclined to think that there is nothing but fear and fright all around on the evening of the 31st. There is, however, one reason to be just a little bit joyous when the clock strikes midnight and the eleventh month of 2018 gets underway, this being that October has come to an end. For a lot of us, the most frightening part of October isn't the creepy costumes, decorations, or haunted houses, but the fact that October is the worst month for the market in regards to overall average performance.

So is this just a random coincidence, or is there a reason for the consistent downturn during the month? Firstly, the month got its unfortunate reputation as a less than stellar one for investors in 1929, when on October 29 the market collapsed and resulted in our nation's worst economic recession, now known as the Great Depression. The second reason October has worse stock performance is that it follows September, another historically poor month for the market whose performance could potentially bleed into the following month. Finally, the idea of behavioral finance and investing comes into play heavily in this case. With a lot of investors cognizant of October's reputation as a poor month for the market, it can cause them to make rash decisions without really thinking, perhaps selling hard on their currently owned assets before the perceived downturn hits, which of course will end up aiding the cause of the downturn they sought to avoid. So, if the thought of vampires and werewolves are making you sleep with the lights on this week, just remember that October will soon be behind us, and with it, hopefully, the start of better market performance in the month of November. I've always liked Thanksgiving better anyway.