Volatility exposed: what the media isn’t telling you

Volatility has gotten a bad rap in the media over the last few months, but guess what? It’s your friend.

In today’s podcast, we expose volatility for what it truly is: an essential part of a healthy market. We’ll discuss three different definitions of volatility to help you understand why you can sleep soundly at night, knowing that volatility is a good thing.

Don’t be scared by the return of volatility in 2018–embrace it!

Here’s to wise investing,

Iron Gate Global Advisors

We’re not going to rip you off

At Iron Gate Global Advisors, we believe in a transparent, fee-only, fiduciary firm – not a firm driven by commissions.

But for years, some of our clients have gone to other firms to get a commission-based product that we didn’t offer. We watched in shock as these clients got ripped off.

Well, that stops today!

This week’s podcast will introduce you to our new product offering.

Give us the chance to show you how we can get you a better deal!

Here’s to wise investing,

Iron Gate Global Advisors




Meet Samuel Nelson. He’s definitely not going to rip you off!

Just send him an email at samuel@igga.com or give him a call at 888-591-0334.

Should you be worried about the market’s volatility?

For the first time in two years, the market is down 10% from its highs. We mentioned in January – when the market was rocketing higher – that we should expect some good volatility after a year when we didn’t experience any. Well, it’s finally here!

Now the question that we are getting from many clients is: should we be worried about the volatility? Our short answer is: no, you shouldn’t. We have two reasons why.

First, the chart of the day, coming at you from JP Morgan. This shows each year’s market performance and volatility since 1980.

For example, the market went down 17% (red dot) during 1980, but finished the year 26% higher (solid bar). In 2009, the market went down 28% but finished the year up 23%. In 2017, the market dipped only 3% at one point, but finished 19% higher.

Here’s the important part to remember. In an average year, the intra-year decline in the S&P 500 is 13.8%. In 29 of the 38 years shown in the chart, the S&P 500 finished with positive returns after those declines occurred.

So what does this mean? Volatility is normal. It is the price you pay for positive returns and growing your wealth.

Second, most of our clients have longer-term investment goals and time horizons. A two-to-four month downturn in the market does not destroy those plans IF you stay focused on your long-term horizon and ignore the short-term movements. We talked about this at length in one of our most important podcasts in the last six months, “How Uncertainty Can Help Your Financial Future.”

The only way short-term volatility can have a negative impact is if you make rash or fear-based changes to your strategy, like moving out of equities and into cash or gold.

Bottom line: focus on your long-term goals and objectives, take advantage of short term volatility by putting more cash to work, and go for hike instead of turning on CNBC (which is scaring everyone to death with their reporting).

Here’s to wise investing,

Brett Pattison

The Holy Grail of Investing – Is it just a myth?

For a decade, I spent my career teaching individual investors and financial advisors how to invest. Students would often ask, “What strategy works best for buying and selling stocks? What is the holy grail for investing?”

We address that exact question in this week’s podcast. Does the holy grail of investing even exist?

We tackle two popular holy grails and share our thoughts on whether they work. We also lay out three things that every investor should do to accomplish their long term goals.

Here’s to wise investing,

Brett Pattison
Portfolio Manager & Investment Advisor
Iron Gate Global Advisors


I highly suggest that everyone listen to the the podcast called “How Uncertainty Can Help Your Financial Future.” I believe it’s one of the most important principles about investing that everyone should understand.


How uncertainty can help your financial future (yes you heard us correctly)

Did you know that the more certain your investments are, the worse off you may be?

What do we mean by that?

In this week’s podcast, we discuss the correlation between certainty of investments and investment returns. We will review:

  • How short term volatility can save your retirement long term,
  • The battle you must understand, that takes place inside the brain of every investor,
  • Why you must put together a plan to be successful.

We hope this week’s podcast will get you thinking!

Here’s to wise investing,

Brett Pattison
Iron Gate Global Advisors


Three Investing Lessons from the Greatest

Warren Buffett – arguably history’s greatest investor – releases an annual letter sharing his words of wisdom and providing us with an update on his business.

Three things stood out to us in this year’s letter, and that’s what we discuss in our podcast this week. They include:

  1. What to look for (and not look for) in an investment,
  2. The biggest barrier to success as an investor,
  3. The role of bonds in a portfolio (and this one may shock you).

Enjoy this weeks podcast!

Here’s to wise investing,

Iron Gate Global Advisors



Information presented is gathered from sources to be reliable. However, Iron Gate Global Advisors does not attest to its accuracy and is not responsible for errors and /or omissions.  This is for educational purposes only. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Options may not be suitable investments for you and your financial situation. Please consult with a professional before investing.

Is the stock market still the place to be?

A few weeks ago we did a podcast that discussed what we would do when a stock market correction occurred.


Well, the volatility occurred, and may not be over yet.


This week we discuss how we handled the volatility, how our clients handled it, and  what we think of the stock market moving forward.


In addition, we share some interesting statistics about volatility that will hopefully help you sleep better.


We also share our thoughts about the bond market, which, is . . . well, hopefully enlightening to those that love bonds.


Here’s to wise investing,


Iron Gate Global Advisors



Information presented is gathered from sources to be reliable. However, Iron Gate Global Advisors does not attest to its accuracy and is not responsible for errors and /or omissions.  This is for educational purposes only. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Options may not be suitable investments for you and your financial situation. Please consult with a professional before investing.

What to do when the Market Finally Falls

The stock market has been on a tear…

. . . but at some point it’s going to fall. When that occurs, what should investors think and what should they do?

In this weeks podcast, Brett Pattison (who is silently cheering for some market volatility) discusses two portions of a portfolio, stocks and options.

These two asset classes should be treated differently during a falling market. Click the link below to hear just how they should be treated . . .

Heres to wise investing,

Brett Pattison


Three Things to Know Heading into 2018

***The following blog post is taken from the Iron Gate Global quarterly client commentary. Some things have been removed as they are for clients eyes only.***

What a tremendous year we had in 2017! The S&P 500 finished the year up 21.83% (including dividends). The global markets all finished positive for the first time in years. Earnings are growing, optimism is rising, and interest rates continue to stay low. From over here in Salt Lake City, we are certainly happy with how we helped you build and preserve your wealth over the last 12 months.

As we start this new year, we would like to focus our quarterly newsletter on a few questions we are getting from clients in the wake of a record-breaking 2017:

  1. What will the market do in 2018?
  2. Why do some portfolios beat the S&P 500 while others don’t?
  3. With stock prices at all-time highs, is now the right time to get out of stocks and into something more stable before the bubble bursts?

1. What will the market do in 2018?

No idea. Next question.

Okay, okay, we’re kidding…sort of. The bottom line about forecasting the market is to remember that it’s impossible. NO ONE, no matter how smart they are, has any idea what the market will do in 2018.  Here’s what we do know:

  • Corporate earnings continue to grow. A rising stock market is directly correlated to an expansion in earnings. We’re still waiting on final 2017 earnings announcements, but estimates are expected to higher by 18-22% in 2018.
  • Interest rates remain low. The lower the interest rate, the lower the cost of capital, which makes it easier for companies to grow and invest. If interest rates remain low, current growth conditions should continue. The reverse is also true: if interest rates rise quickly, we expect growth would slow. We trust that the Fed will stay true to their forecasts and not raise rates quickly. As a result, signs point to the market staying on its current trajectory.
  • The tax cut is business friendly. Regardless of your political views, the fact is most businesses will benefit from the tax cut. Visa, Aflac, Southwest Airlines, Boeing, CVS, and FedEx are among the companies who have announced positive moves because of the tax cut. They are increasing their 401(k) match, giving raises, and hiring more employees. This fuels optimism and keeps investors bullish.

We think 2018 could be a good year, but we still don’t know what that would mean for your rate of return. We are reminded of a favorite quote from legendary investor Sir John Templeton: “markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism, and die on euphoria.”  We believe that the current market is optimistic and not euphoric, so hopefully there’s a bit more left in this bull market.

What would cause a change to a bear market?

  • If we suddenly find ourselves at war (with North Korea, for example), certainly the market would suffer.
  • In any market, there is a possibility of a recession. With the economy as strong as it has been, and is forecasted to be, we see a recession as a low probability event in 2018.
  • A sudden rise in interest rates. As we mentioned early, a sharp, sudden rise in interest rates would likely negatively impact the stock market. We believe all three of these scenarios are a low probability during 2018.

Here is what you can expect in 2018: More volatility. That’s the one thing that is certain. In 2017, the largest pull back (or downward move) we saw in the market was 3%. That is insane! The average year normal pull back is 14%. Bottom line: you must expect more volatility in 2018. When it happens, we will reach out to reassure you and remind you that volatility is part of the process. We want to help you remain focused on the long-term goals of your plan and not to be scared off by short term losses.

2. Why do some portfolios outperform the S&P 500 while others underperform?

If your portfolio happened to underperform the S&P 500 in 2017, please understand two reasons why that might be the case.

  1. Risk Tolerance. No risk means no reward. If you are conservative in your investments and have a risk tolerance that is less than the average market risk level of the S&P 500, then you will underperform the S&P in years like 2017. Of course, this also means you will lose less in years like 2008. It’s critical for us to know which of these goals is more important to you.
  2. Time. For new clients, it takes several months to build your portfolio into the shape we want it and to adjust it according to your risk tolerance. This may lead to a lag in returns during the quarter or two. After that, time shouldn’t be much of a factor in the performance of your portfolio.

Of those two factors, the more important one is your risk tolerance. All our clients take a risk assessment from a company called Riskalyze, which assigns you a personal risk number. This risk number helps us understand how to invest your hard-earned money at a risk level that is both comfortable for you and geared towards your long-term financial goals. If you want to review your personal risk number, email brett@igga.com. Your risk tolerance is crucial to how we put your money to work, so let’s get your portfolio exactly where you need it.

Those clients with portfolios that are at (or higher than) the S&P 500 risk level should be happy after 2017! They likely saw their portfolios outperform the S&P by a several points or more (after fees). Outperforming the market isn’t easy, and we’re proud that we have been able to do it this past year!

3. Should I get out of stocks now while prices are high and before a bubble bursts?

Nope. We think you should stay put in stocks. We’ll get into this topic in more depth in our podcasts and newsletters, but for now, we’ll stay with the big picture and hope that we can convince you.

Usually when someone asks us this question, they are considering moving out of stocks and into bonds. There are very few scenarios in which we think this makes sense, but especially not now when interest rates are so low and growth is forecasting up. Yes, stock prices are at record highs, but they are still a rational economic choice relative to interest rates. They don’t feel expensive or irrational given other economic conditions, so if there’s a bubble that’s going to pop, we think it’s still a way off. Furthermore, bubbles popping is the absolute best moment to throw everything you can at the stock market! Buy stocks like you buy electronics on Black Friday: when they’re on sale.

One important point about bonds. If you pull out of stocks and invest right now in the 10-year treasury bond, you will get a guaranteed 2.5% rate of return on your investment. When you get your money back after 10 years and then factor in inflation, your investment basically will have kept you flat. There’s no growth in this scenario. In the ten years that your money will sit in bonds, the stock market (statistically and historically speaking) will have outpaced you. Why lose out on 10 years of growth?

If we haven’t convinced you yet, call or email us right now! Expect to hear more from us on this topic.

Two Other Important Things to Know

New services and talent coming soon! Iron Gate Global Advisors continues to grow and expand as a business. Over the next month, you will be hearing from us about some new services we will offer and some tremendous new people who will join our team. We are honored that more clients are trusting us with building, growing, and protecting their wealth, and for that reason, we are extremely bullish on IGGA!

Options. As a lot you know, we trade options for clients, which is not something most portfolio managers do. In fact, one of our technical service providers recently told us that only 1% of their clients (who are all advisors) use options in portfolios. In 2017 our options trading did very well; we were 42-1 in winning trades vs. losing.

If you have interest in discussing options as a potential investment for your portfolio, please let us know. Options strategies are more conservative in nature, focusing mainly on income. Implementing options in portfolios is something we believe can be a game changer! The amount and types of strategies we implement is based on risk, type of account, and account size, but we’re always happy to discuss it with you if you’re interested!


We are extremely grateful for you! We couldn’t build and expand this business without you as our clients and our friends. While we don’t know what 2018 brings for the market, we do know that 2018 will bring more (and better!) services to you. Stay tuned!

Thanks again for your business,

Iron Gate Global Advisors



Information presented is gathered from sources to be reliable. However, Iron Gate Global Advisors does not attest to its accuracy and is not responsible for errors and /or omissions. Please notify Brett Pattison of any change in your financial circumstances or investment objectives.

Past performance does not guarantee future results. This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation of any kind. 


Will 2015 Be Another 2016 for the Markets? IGGA Market Commentary

At IGGA we are kicking off the New Year with our regular Market Commentary, however this is a special edition because we have a heavy emphasis not just on the month behind and the month ahead. This time we’re looking at the full outlook for 2016.

I start off with a perspective on 2015 and a look at specific global indicators along with an assessment of major market sectors and how we’re weighting IGGA client’s across those sectors.

Then I get right to the heart of the matter. Is 2016 another 2015? I discuss the likely outcome from a probability perspective. We discuss the specifics of three major areas:

What we typical expect to see after a flat year
What a Presidential Election year can mean for the markets
The probabilities that accompany rising interest rates

And as always I’ll review how we at IGGA use a probabilities based approach to reduce risk in the “tails”. In other words, how to prepare for unexpected swings even when probabilities are suggesting certain trends.

I hope you enjoy this month’s commentary, and as always if you haven’t yet, I invite you to discuss with either Brian or myself how we at IGGA are positioned to be the strongest partner you can have when it comes to managing your money. Call us at 1.888.591.0334.