Our “Off The Wall” Blog
is now Monument #Unfiltered

Subscribe below to receive our unique, straight-forward, unfiltered wealth advice delivered straight to your inbox.

Lindsay Lohan and the Fiscal Cliff


Once again all the attention was on the Fiscal Cliff last week, and as such, there was a funny joke on Leno that went something like this,

It’s 4 a.m. for our economy and Lindsay Lohan is behind the wheel.


As of the weekend, there was still no meaningful movement between the House Speaker and the President and it seems that the debate is increasingly centered on tax hikes for the wealthy rather than on spending.

However, the lack of any meaningful progress did not do much damage to the market. In fact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) pushed ahead, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) barely ended up in the win column. The NASDAQ Composite, lost ground amid weakness in tech giant Apple (APPL), which shed nearly 9%.

Here’s how the markets did last week.

Market Returns for the Week Chart 12 10 12 resized 600

The Physical Cliff

Fiscal Cliff Money Stack

In a conference last week, Chief Investment Officer for LPL Financial, Burt White, pointed out that a lot of people on Twitter are referencing the “Physical Cliff.”

WOW – Really?

Jeezzz…Anyway, over the weekend, the President stated he “won’t compromise” on his proposal to raise marginal tax rates on top earners. So with that line drawn in the sand, the

debate is centering squarely on tax rates and not spending cuts, tax reform, or entitlement reform.

While our sense remains (our hope anyway) that some deal or delay of the impacts of the Fiscal Cliff will be worked out, there is a lot of chatter about going over the cliff as an option.

In this scenario, the President would automatically get his tax increases and the Republicans get to say they did not vote for it.  In 2013, Congress would quickly pass and the President would sign any bill put forth.  Meanwhile, Main Street suffers a media field day along with a lot of volatility.

We believe that any major sell off on a ‘2012 no deal’ scenario would be met with an equal rally on a ‘2013 deal done,’ so for long term investors, this may not be anything that requires any action.


Last week, the government reported that employers added 146,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell from 7.9% to 7.7%.  If you take a look at the chart below, you’ll see that new jobs are shown as blue bars with the scale on the left and the unemployment rate is the red line with the scale at the right.

Due to how the government views time off from weather-related disasters, Hurricane Sandy did not substantially affect the numbers. 146,000 new jobs was a better report than what was expected (+90,000), so the “beat” is certainly welcomed.  However, the drop in the unemployment rate occurred alongside a decline in the labor force, which declined by 350,000.

Translation: That’s not very encouraging.

Nonfarm Payrolls and Unemployment 12-10-12

Here at Monument Wealth Management, we are still taking a ‘wait and see approach’ to everything going on with the Fiscal Cliff.  As we stated above, this may not be something that needs to be traded for long-term investors. There is a lot of evidence pointing to an underlying economy that is actually playing out better than a lot of people thought it would a year ago and there is some guarded optimism.

If the Fiscal Cliff does not become a huge obstacle, I think there is more to look forward to in the economy than to be worried about.

Next week, I’ll attempt to write a blog without reference to the Fiscal Cliff.  Please call or email with questions.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to industry regulations, comments are not permitted on this blog. If you would like to contact the author, please email us at info@monumentwm.com.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advice offered through Monument Advisory Group, LLC, a registered investment advisor.  Monument Advisory Group, LLC, and Monument Wealth Management are separate entities from LPL Financial.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is comprised of 30 stocks that are major factors in their industries, and widely held by individuals and institutional investors. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index (S&P 500) is an unmanaged capitalization weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries. The NASDAQ Composite Index measures all domestic and non-U.S. based common stocks listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market. The market value, the last sale price multiplied by total shares outstanding, is calculated throughout the trading day, and is related to the total value of the Index. The Russell 2000 Small Stock Index is an unmanaged index generally representative of the 2000 smallest companies in the Russell 3000 Index. The Russell 2000 is an unmanaged index generally comprised of companies with lower price-to-book ratios and lower forecasted growth values.  The 2, 10 and 30 year Treasury is simply the yield at the close of the day.

(1)      West Texas Intermediate crude spot price is as of end of week.

(2)      London Bullion Market Association; gold fixing pricing at 3 p.m. London time.

Get Monument #Unfiltered: Our Free Private Wealth Newsletter

Our no B.S. wealth advice delivered 2x per month, max. Tuned specifically for busy, high-net-worth business professionals and investors who want straightforward advice without the fluff.

David B. photo

David B. Armstrong, CFA

President & Co-Founder

Dave got into the industry when he discovered his passion for finance in his mid-20’s. He’s a combat veteran and served as an officer in the United States Marines Corps on both active duty and in the reserves, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. While serving on active duty, Dave was unable to spend money on deployments, so he became a self-taught investor. Along with a few bucks cash as a bouncer, his investing performance grew to be good....

Learn more ...


Please remember that past performance is no guarantee of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Monument Capital Management, LLC [“Monument”]), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Monument. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. No amount of prior experience or success should be construed that a certain level of results or satisfaction will be achieved if Monument is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services. Monument is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.

A copy of Monument’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request or at www.monumentwealthmanagement.com/disclosures. Please Note: Monument does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to Monument’s website or blog or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility for any such content. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.

Historical performance results for investment indices, benchmarks, and/or categories have been provided for general informational/comparison purposes only, and generally do not reflect the deduction of transaction and/or custodial charges, the deduction of an investment management fee, nor the impact of taxes, the incurrence of which would have the effect of decreasing historical performance results.  It should not be assumed that your Monument account holdings correspond directly to any comparative indices or categories. Please Also Note: (1) performance results do not reflect the impact of taxes; (2) comparative benchmarks/indices may be more or less volatile than your Monument accounts; and, (3) a description of each comparative benchmark/index is available upon request.

Please Remember: If you are a Monument client, please contact Monument, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services.  Unless, and until, you notify us, in writing, to the contrary, we shall continue to provide services as we do currently. Please Also Remember to advise us if you have not been receiving account statements (at least quarterly) from the account custodian.