The Best ETFs For Positioning Your Portfolio In 2015

At the beginning of each New Year, Seeking Alpha, the popular financial web portal, interviews Gary Gordon for its Positioning for 2015 series. Here is a transcript of that exchange.

SA’s Carolyn Pairitz (CP): How would your clients describe your investing style/philosophy?

Gary Gordon (GG): My clients would recite my mantra… There are four possible investing outcomes (i.e., big gain, small gain, small loss, big loss) and three of them are good. Successful investing is about controlling the investing outcome so that you ensure a big gain, small gain or small loss, and take action to avoid the big loss. The humongous loss is the only thing that can destroy a lifetime of wealth-building.

By way of example, I may own rental property in California where I live, perhaps for its capital appreciation potential as well as its annual cash flow. And along the way, I may experience price gains and dips, good renters and bad. But the one thing that my financial well-being would not be able to tolerate is an earthquake that decimates the property. It follows that, I may not enjoy paying the earthquake insurance premium each year, but I understand the criticality of doing so.

The exact same insurance principles go for investing in market-based securities. Stop-limit loss orders, technical trendlines, put options, non-correlated assets, hedges – no technique or asset type will eliminate downside risk completely nor appear particularly worthwhile in extremely bullish uptrends. Yet the tactical asset allocation decision-making to insure against the only thing that can kill a portfolio – the big loss – keeps my clients on track to achieve their financial freedom goals.

SA: Which global issue is most likely to adversely affect U.S. markets in 2015?

GG: Ironically enough, I have the same answer for 2015 that I provided in 2014’s interview: Deflation. Europe and Japan are both still struggling to beat deflationary pressures back; their 2014 efforts to stimulate their respective economies with asset purchases and negligible/non-existent or even negative overnight lending rates have pummeled their currencies more than anything else.

Indeed, the U.S. stock bull got knocked for a loop in October because of deflationary recession scares around the globe. So what did the U.S. Fed do? One of its committee members publically questioned whether or not the institution should even end QE3. Only then did U.S. large cap stocks rapidly recover from what might have been far worse than an intra-day 9.8% correction.

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ETF Expert is a web log (”blog”) that makes the world of ETFs easier to understand. Gary Gordon, MS, CFP is the president of Pacific Park Financial, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser ...

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