As the year winds down, Americans have unwrapped an early Christmas present in the form of lower energy costs. Oil is abundant supply, thanks in no small part to robust exploration and production right here at home. At the same time, global demand is slowing. The subsequent decline in the price of oil has been breathtaking. How deep and how long the sudden price drop goes is anybody’s guess. The immediate effect is more cash in our pockets and in our consumer driven economy; it might not take long for the extra cash to find its way to shops and restaurants.

A newly elected US Congress will start work early next year. It will take a mighty effort for our leaders to modify and improve laws on everything from health care to immigration. We keep a close eye on the intersection of government policy and investing, especially as it relates to retirement issues. A more business-friendly government would likely help US workers left behind in the wake of the Great Recession. Our consistent message is to control what you can.

After a sharp decline in October, the stock market went on to new record highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average nearly reached 18,000 before concerns over slower global growth and geopolitics stole the show. When former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan first used the phrase “irrational exuberance” to describe the rise of the stock market in the nineties, gains continued for another 4 years. Less generous returns in the years following a long bull market are equally likely. It may make more sense to adjust your expectations rather than your allocations, assuming that your asset allocation is appropriate for your age and your willingness to absorb temporary losses.

January is a good time to meet with your advisor to set goals for 2015. We always welcome your calls. For now, we wish everyone a holiday season filled with joy.

Here are the dates we’re following into 2015:

January 1                   Happy New Year!

January 9                   Unemployment Rate

January 14                 Retail Sales

January 16                 Consumer Price Index

Asset Strategies Group, LLC / an Independent Investment Advisor Firm

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