"Boring can be rewarding over time; can you invest in patience?" by: John Sample

   Well we made it through January with gains. Does that remind you of last year? 
   We are starting to see investors buying in rising markets rather than selling, as was the case in the last quarter of 2018.  
   That does not mean that the various equities indexes will climb back to record high levels anytime soon, but that all the Chicken Little investors are not in control.  
   We are seeing stocks like Apple and Facebook recovering ground from their pounding a couple of months ago. 
   I attribute this optimism with the reasoning that the Federal Reserve is satisfied to sit on its hands.  
   I believe that they have concluded the low jobless rate does not mean that inflation is coming, or that the current rates are not that low and may be more normal if one takes a long-term view.  
   We even had Chairman Powell eating dinner with the President and no food fight broke out. 
   In a world of isolation, the United States, along with the rest of the Americas, could do just fine economically over the next couple of years.  
   We know, however, that we don’t live in a bubble and the rest of the world can affect our economy.  
   It would be nice if politicians ever thought outside the box of reelection.  
   While there is much to be done to improve the quality of life in this country, we cannot ignore what is going on in the rest of the world. With great wealth comes greater responsibility. 
   It is already evident that the U.S. economy out-performs every other economy outside of China - and they are headed in the wrong direction.  
   The next two years should prove incredibly interesting as proposals are pitched that purport to raise us all up.  
   I would suggest that it is far from bad right now and most promised on both sides of the aisle does little or nothing to improve our daily lives.  
   The only real solution will come when we all have a stake and cash in the game much like the proposal outlined by former Senator Allen Simpson.  
   Given that no one gets elected asking people to sacrifice for the greater good, we will hear promises that make no economic sense from both parties. 
   I feel this year may be closer to the real norm, with a gain of 4 to 6 percent and a dividend gain of 2 percent.  
   Many would scoff at such a low level of return but that is reality in the equities market. 
   For those that can accept reality, I would recommend a couple of Exchange Traded Funds composed of companies that consistently raise their dividend, showing increasing revenues and cash flow for years.  
   The SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY) is composed of stocks with 20 years of dividend growth. Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG) is composed of stocks with 10 years of dividend growth.
   The latter reflects smaller cap companies.

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