Program Report: Andy Esser Advocates the Basics in Market Update

Long-time members know fellow Rotarian Andy Esser plays a mean piano and sings like champ when called to service to help open club meetings.

At Monday lunch, they learned by way of an introduction from Steed Rollins that Esser is married with two daughters, holds platinum academic credentials, has a law degree and is active in local leadership at the Boy Scouts.  (Add the great head of hair and it begins to get annoying.)

Esser, a financial advisor at national financial services firm Edward Jones, combined an optimistic long-term view of global market opportunities with traditional strategic investment advice during a market-update presentation.

“The market is not crazy overvalued right now, though it is still at an all-time,” Esser said during a detailed powerpoint presentation that acknowledged 284 percent growth in value since its March 2009 low. “There are still some bargains to be had.”

He offered three basics to close his evaluation of short-term and long-term market trends driven by public policy, demographic distribution and substantial wealth ownership by an aging Baby Boom that will spend and transfer that wealth:

  • Buy quality stocks, usually indicated by a dependable dividend policy.
  • Diversify your holdings.
  • Hold for the long term.

Esser hit polite turbulence about midway through an otherwise smooth flight through his deck when he turned to pending tax reform as a short-term investment factor that will affect an individual investor’s ability to achieve his or her financial objectives.

 

His points on job-creating possibilities created by corporate tax relief and the possible or likely use of new tax windfalls by business spurred spirited comments and debate by Rotarians Christopher Gergen, Bill Stokes, Jim Leak, Marge Nordstrom and Rick Jorgensen. Each expressed points of view and pointed to specific facts and economic history around the impact of corporate tax policy on potential U.S. job growth. If you missed Monday’s meeting you missed out. It was an informed, lively and energetic exchange that had a full house fully tuned in, yielded no consensus on perfect tax policy and underscored the importance of Esser’s identification of tax policy as a critical short-term driver.

Among other tidbits:

Esser said investors should not be driven by headlines in the media, which are “reflective not predictive” and often dead wrong. He agreed with an earlier expert financial services presenter this year who maintains that the market now provides opportunities for investors to align their social values with their financial objectives. And he promoted investment in companies with international operations and sales given substantial population growth expected in economies such as China and India.

Our thanks to Andy and participating Rotarians for helping to provide a lively, informative discussion.

Submitted by Mark Lazenby

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