Year-end Commentary from TrueWealth’s Chairman

Year-end Commentary from TrueWealth’s Chairman

Year-End Market Commentary

Our market commentaries are issued each quarter to capture the short-term state of the market and remind readers of our long-term view. Year-end reviews are written infrequently, usually when markets are dramatically down or up.  Thankfully, I’m writing because of the latter.

It’s hard to remember all the investor emotions throughout the year, but I’m certain that they were extreme compared to previous years.  Post-election emotions, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Tweets, Judges, Repeal & Replace, ISIS are just a few of the emotionally charged issues, with clients having strong but varied views on how our country should deal with them.

At a minimum, even those with positive outlooks on the direction of our country expressed some uncertainty.  Given the political, cultural and emotional divide in the country, one could hardly be faulted for having a pessimistic market outlook.

And yet…

As of December 31 –

US Large Cap (S&P 500) up 22.83%
US Small Cap (Russell 2000) up 14.65%
International Developed (MSCI EAFE) up 25.03%
Emerging (MSCI EM) up 37.28%
Global Real Estate (S&P Global REIT) up 7.41%
Bonds (US Intermediate Govt/Credit) up 2.14%


Markets price risk, and as risk dissipates or outcomes improve, markets go up.  Personally, I think the corporate tax cuts are a big positive, and the growing likelihood of its passage may have driven much of the returns this year.  In addition to companies having more capital for investment and job creation, the more favorable tax environment could spur business formation and attract business from outside our borders, spurring personal income growth.

USA, Inc. has a great product – less regulation than other countries, strong laws and courts, and good infrastructure, but the price (corporate taxes) was too high.  Time will tell, but so far, the markets seem to like what they see!


I’m excited about the team we’ve built at TrueWealth.  I’ve been honored to lead the firm since its founding in 1999, but it’s time for someone else to head the firm, and I couldn’t be happier that Michael Maiorano became CEO on January 1, 2018.  This is a fulfillment of a vision that I’ve had since our beginning, and it gives me a great deal of satisfaction to see it become a reality.

And for me?  Well, I’m not going anywhere.  As Chairman, I still have some work to do on behalf of the firm, and I look forward to getting back to serving more clients.

There’s much to be thankful for, and for us at TrueWealth, many of those blessings are our clients.  So, to all of you, on behalf of all of us at TrueWealth, we thank you for allowing us to help you over the years to reach your most important personal and financial goals.

Happy New Year –



Jim Heard is Chairman of TrueWealth, LLC, a wealth management firm located in Atlanta. He has extensive experience spanning 30+ years in financial planning for Senior Executive Planning and Ultra-High Net Worth Individuals & Families. He can be reached at or 404.487.0501.

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