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What Does the Silicon Valley Bank Collapse Mean for Investors?

Americans have suddenly witnessed three very large bank failures in only a few days’ time. The first was the collapse last week of Silvergate, also known as “the Crypto bank.” Soon after, we read the news of both Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank collapsing. These are some of the largest bank failures in U.S. history. What is going on here? Should we be worried? Is another financial crisis on the horizon? The short answer is no.

Why We Shouldn’t Press the Panic Button

Let’s start with the bottom line before we get into the details. This is something to keep an eye on, but it’s not the start of the next financial crisis. Unlike in the great financial crisis of 2008, the government is getting ahead of the problem rather than trying to clean up afterward. That is a very positive sign. We can certainly expect market turbulence—in fact, we’re seeing it already—but the systemic effects will be limited, and we’re not set for another major crisis.

Instead, the takeaway so far is that regulators and the federal government are on the case and are willing and able to support the financial system. Sunday night, the U.S. Treasury announced that depositors would be fully protected in the interest of maintaining systemic confidence and that funds were being made available to support banks under stress. Again, this quick action is what differentiates this situation from that of 2008.

What Will Happen Now?

Many people have written good descriptions of how and why these banks collapsed, and I won’t try to replicate those. To investors, the “why” is interesting, but what we really need to know is what it all means for the future.

The Federal Reserve’s (Fed’s) interest rate hikes are indeed affecting the financial system. The fact that the collapses have principally been in the tech and crypto spaces suggests that these sectors are even more at risk than the economy as a whole. While other banks will likely move to replace SVB, they will not be as focused or as dedicated to the sector, and things will slow down in the tech sector going forward. In short, one of the primary enablers of the tech boom is now gone.

Do These Failures Indicate a System-Wide Problem?

The answer to this question is good news. To set the stage, let’s look at the three factors that caused the financial system to lock up in 2008:

  • There was little transparency around asset values, which caused a lack of liquidity for those assets.
  • Banks didn’t have sufficient capital to weather a crisis.
  • There wasn’t enough available credit in the early stages of the crisis to support the banks until liquidity came back.

We’re in a very different place now on all three.

In terms of the liquidity issue, U.S. banks generally now hold very liquid assets, dominated by U.S. Treasury notes. Those values are clear, and there is a large market for them. Banks can raise cash, if necessary, simply by selling or borrowing against those assets.

Regarding sufficient capital, U.S. banks are, by and large, very well capitalized. They have the money to weather storms and, as noted, they can access those funds. These circumstances are both very different from those of 2008.

The third cause, lack of available credit, is where we must be careful. Banks have seen those Treasury notes decline in value significantly as rates rose, and there are questions in some cases about whether the value of the bank capital still covers the liabilities. This is what drove the collapse of SVB. What the Treasury did Sunday, however, was to solve this problem by providing a way for banks to borrow against long-term assets, like Treasuries, based on the par value, not the current market value. That largely eliminates the insolvency problem and will provide the credit that was missing in 2008. It will not eliminate the entire problem, though, as banks may still need to rebuild their capital bases. But it will allow the banks time to recover, which will be key to rebalancing the system.

Explained differently, the system is more transparent and has a more solid foundation compared to 2008. The government has also identified the remaining problems and put programs in place to deal with them. From a depositor’s perspective, the government’s decision to stand behind all deposits also reduces the risk of further bank runs. With a stronger system in place, and the government being aggressively proactive, there looks to be little systemic risk right now. We won’t see another great financial crisis.

What Comes Next?

What we can expect to see is continued turbulence. The primary purpose of diversification is to mitigate risk. By spreading your investment across different asset classes, industries, or maturities, you are less likely to experience market shocks that impact every single one of your investments the same. Our approach is to maintain a disciplined commitment to well-diversified portfolios. It may be a bumpy ride, but one that will eventually end. This story is not over yet, and we don’t fully know how it will play out. We do know, however, that we will make it through.

Certain sections of this commentary contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections, and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Past performance is not indicative of future results. All indices are unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly into an index.
Steve LaFrance, CFP®, AIF®, ChSNC®, MBA | Blakely Financial
Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals. Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being.
Commonwealth Financial Network® or Blakely Financial does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.
5 Staggering Stats About Women & Finance

5 Staggering Stats About Women & Finance

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, it is important to look into the ways in which women differ from men in the financial world. Though women have been greatly increasing their stake in global finances in recent years, they still have fewer advantages than men. You may be surprised to learn just how large the gender gap is when it comes to high-power positions, investing, savings, and marital finances. 

Only 19% of women are confident they’re on track to retire without running out of money

The fact that only 19% of women are confident they are on track to retire without running out of money, compared to 35% of men, implies a significant gender gap in savings plans. Women are more likely to face financial insecurity in retirement due to various factors such as the gender pay gap, caregiving responsibilities, and longer life expectancies. Women tend to have lower lifetime earnings and savings than men, which makes it challenging to achieve their retirement goals and can lead to a lower quality of life in later years.

This gender gap in retirement savings highlights the need for greater financial education and support for women, including increasing access to retirement savings plans and financial advisors who can help women navigate the complexities of retirement planning. Additionally, policymakers and employers must address the systemic barriers contributing to the gender gap in savings, such as the gender pay gap and lack of paid leave for caregiving responsibilities.

40% of men have invested money in the stock market compared to just 22% of women

There are nearly twice as many men invested in the stock market than women. This difference could be incredibly costly. Though the cause of this discrepancy cannot be determined with certainty, it is likely rooted in social and cultural norms which discourage women from taking an active role in financial decision-making. Additionally, the lack of representation of women in the financial industry can also create a barrier to entry for women, as they may not see themselves represented in the industry and may not have access to female financial advisors or mentors.

Addressing the gender gap in stock market participation requires a multi-faceted approach which includes increasing financial education for women, addressing systemic barriers limiting women’s financial opportunities, and promoting greater gender diversity in the financial industry. By creating a more inclusive and equitable financial system, we can help ensure all individuals, regardless of gender, have the opportunity to achieve financial security and prosperity.

If given an extra $1,000 men are 35% more likely to invest it 

There’s an investing gap between men and women. And for women who earn six figures, this gap could cost them as much as $1 million over a 30-year period.The disparity in investment behavior may be attributed to differences in financial literacy, risk tolerance, and cultural and societal norms between men and women. Men may be more likely to invest an extra $1,000 due to greater exposure to financial education and encouragement to take financial risks, whereas women may be more risk-averse and may prioritize more conservative investment strategies.

58% of women married to men leave financial planning and investment decisions to their husbands

Every couple is different in their ideas about financial responsibility, but most women leave the long-term planning and investing decisions up to their husbands. When wives are not involved in the financial planning, they could potentially be blindsided by the adverse effects of failed investments or lack of saving by their husbands. Though many relationships are successful under this planning system, it can leave women at a disadvantage by limiting their control over the long-term financial decisions for the marriage. 

Only 10% of Fortune 500 Company CEOs are Women

This statistic has remained around 8% for many years, so the increase is certainly a good sign of the increased power of women in the business world. However, 10% is still a shockingly small number considering the overall contribution of women to the workforce. This underrepresentation of women in top-level positions not only limits their opportunities for professional growth and economic advancement but also reinforces the systemic barriers preventing women from achieving their full potential in the workplace. Additionally, the lack of diverse perspectives in corporate leadership can lead to a lack of understanding of the needs and experiences of women, which can negatively impact company culture, policies, and decision-making.

Moreover, women’s underrepresentation in top corporate positions also contributes to their overall financial power. When women are excluded from the highest echelons of corporate leadership, it can exacerbate gender inequalities in wealth and income, perpetuating a cycle of economic disadvantage for women.

The Bright Side & Next Steps

Thankfully, plenty of progress has been made, and there is more to come. According to Fidelity’s 2021 Women & Investing Study of over 5 million investors in the last 10 years, on average, women outperformed their male counterparts by 40 basis points. The study goes on to share more women are investing than ever before.

Here are a few steps women can take toward financial freedom:

  • Seek the advice of a trusted advisor (like Blakely Financial). Investing can be intimidating, but working with an expert is the best way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your money.
  • Improve your financial savvy, you can improve your financial savvy by speaking with your financial advisor, referencing trusted online resources, and attending financial webinars.
  • Get a clear image of your financial situation, analyze your monthly expenses, and divide them into your needs, wants, and wishes. This will help you identify any extra income you can use towards investing.
  • Take advantage of all employer-offered benefits, for example: your employer may offer a 401k match. Make sure you are utilizing every financial opportunity your employer has to offer.

We believe strong representation of women in the financial field can encourage and inspire other women to make the most of their wealth. With an experienced financial advisor, successful women can take full control of their money and build a strong long-term financial plan. 

Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals. Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being.
Commonwealth Financial Network® or Blakely Financial does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.
Investing as a Couple

Love & Finances: How to Invest as a Couple

In a perfect world, both halves of a couple share the same investment goals and agree on the best way to try to reach them. It doesn’t always work that way, though; disagreements about money are often a source of friction between couples. You may be risk averse, while your spouse may be comfortable investing more aggressively — or vice versa. How can you bridge that gap?

First, define your goals

Making good investment decisions is difficult if you don’t know what you’re investing for. Make sure you’re on the same page — or at least reading from the same book — when it comes to financial goal setting. Knowing where you’re headed is the first step toward developing a road map for dealing jointly with investments.

In some cases, you may have the same goals, but put a different priority on each one or have two different time frames for a specific goal. For example, your spouse may want to retire as soon as possible, while you’re anxious to accept a new job that means advancement in your career, even if it means staying put or moving later. Coming to a general agreement on what your priorities are and roughly when you hope to achieve each one can greatly simplify the process of deciding how to invest.

Make sure the game plan is clear

Making sure both spouses know how and (equally important) why their money is invested in a certain way can help minimize marital blowback if investment choices don’t work out as anticipated. Second-guessing rarely improves any relationship. Making sure that both partners understand from the beginning why an investment was chosen, as well as its risks and potential rewards, may help moderate the impulse to say “I told you so” later.

Investing doesn’t have to be either/or. A diversified portfolio should have a place for both conservative and more aggressive investments. Though diversification and asset allocation can’t guarantee a profit or protect against a loss, they are ways to manage the type and level of risk you face — including the risks involved in bickering with your spouse.

It takes two

Aside from attempting to minimize marital strife, there’s another good reason to make sure both spouses understand how their money is invested and why. If only one person makes all the decisions — even if that person is the more experienced investor — what if something were to happen to that individual? The other spouse might have to make decisions at a very vulnerable time — decisions that could have long-term consequences.

If you’re the less experienced investor, take the responsibility for making sure you have at least a basic understanding of how your resources are invested. If you’re suddenly the one responsible for all decisions, you should at least know enough to protect yourself from fraud and/or work effectively with a financial professional to help manage your money.

If you’re the more conservative investor …

  • If you’re unfamiliar with a specific investment, research it. Though past performance is no guarantee of future returns, understanding how an investment typically has behaved in the past or how it compares to other investment possibilities could give you a better perspective on why your spouse is interested in it.
  • Consider whether there are investments that are less aggressive than what your spouse is proposing but that still push you out of your comfort zone and might represent a compromise position. For example, if you don’t want to invest a large amount in a single stock, a mutual fund or an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that invests in that sector might be a way to compromise. (Before investing in a mutual fund or ETF, carefully consider its investment objective, risks, charges, and expenses, which can be found in the prospectus available from the fund. Read it carefully before investing.) Or you could compromise by making a small investment, watching for an agreed-upon length of time to see how it performs, and then deciding whether to invest more.
  • Finally, there may be ways to offset, reduce, or manage the risk involved in a particular investment. Some investments benefit from circumstances that hurt others; for example, a natural disaster that cuts the profits of insurance companies could be beneficial for companies that are hired to rebuild in that area. Many investors try to hedge the risks involved in one investment by purchasing another with very different risks. However, remember that even though hedging could potentially reduce your overall level of risk, doing so probably would also reduce any return you might earn if the other investment is profitable.

If you’re the more aggressive investor …

  • Listen respectfully to your spouse’s concerns. Additional information may increase a spouse’s comfort level, but you won’t know what’s needed if you automatically dismiss any objections. If you don’t have the patience to educate your spouse, a third party who isn’t emotionally involved might be better at explaining your point of view.
  • Concealing the potential pitfalls of an investment about which you’re enthusiastic could make future joint decisions more difficult if your credibility suffers because of a loss. As with most marital issues, transparency and trust are key.
  • A spouse who’s more cautious than you are may help you remember to assess the risks involved or keep trading costs down by reducing the churn in your portfolio.
  • Remember that you can make changes in your portfolio gradually. You might be able to help your spouse get more comfortable with taking on additional risk by spreading the investment out over time rather than investing a lump sum. And if you’re an impulsive investor, try not to act until you can consult your partner — or be prepared to face the consequences.

What if you still can’t agree?

You could consider investing a certain percentage of your combined resources aggressively, an equal percentage conservatively, and a third percentage in a middle-ground choice. This would give each partner equal input and control of the decision-making process, even if one has a larger balance in his or her individual account.

Another approach is to use separate asset allocations to balance competing interests. If both spouses have workplace retirement plans, the risk taker could invest the largest portion of his or her plan in an aggressive choice and put a smaller portion in an option with which a spouse is comfortable. The conservative partner could invest the bulk of his or her money in a relatively conservative choice and put a smaller piece in a more aggressive selection on which both spouses agree.

Or you could divide responsibility for specific goals. For example, the more conservative half could be responsible for the money that’s being saved for a house down payment in five years. The other partner could take charge of longer-term goals that may benefit from taking greater risk in pursuit of potentially higher returns. You also could consider setting a predetermined limit on how much the risk taker can put into riskier investments.


Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals. Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM  to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being

Commonwealth Financial Network® or Blakely Financial does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.

Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.