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​Navigating in a Low Return Environment



In 2015, we saw the financial markets enter into correction territory. Based on our analysis of valuations, it was not unexpected. With equity markets at all-time highs and interest rates at historic lows for several years, something was bound to buckle. Looking forward, we are planning for a potential stretch of modest returns, as opposed to the fairly generous returns we have seen since the recovery from the Great Recession.

Despite our expectations for modest returns, we feel there are pockets of opportunity to explore and steps investors can take to benefit from what the markets have to give. In this paper we take a closer look at equity market performance, fixed income investments, taxes, fees, inflation, and investor behavior in a low return environment.


  • Navigating a low return environment requires proper planning just in case there are obstacles along the way, as is commonly the case with any journey.
  • Markets and economies move in cycles with the pendulum swinging back and forth between forms of fear and greed.
  • Nobody knows precisely when we will enter into a low return environment, but with prudent expectations and guidance, a portfolio can have a foundation to overdeliver when the pendulum changes course.