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Montana State citizens are able to apply for their REAL ID beginning January 2019. You are not required to have a REAL ID to drive, but will need one to board domestic commercial flights or enter a federal facility without a secondary form of Department of Homeland Security approved identification.
The Markets 

People love rules of thumb. 

Sometimes, mental shortcuts are helpful. Other times they are not. When it comes to investing, seasonal shortcuts are not uncommon. In fact, January boasts two:

The January Effect explains why U.S. smaller company stocks tend to outperform the market in January. The original theory held that tax-loss harvesting pushed stock prices lower in December, making shares more attractive to investors in January. An article published in International Journal of Financial Research explained the effect could also owe something to the optimism that accompanies a new year, as well as year-end cash windfalls.

In his book, A Random Walk Down Wall Street, Burton Malkiel described the January Effect this way, “…the effect is not dependable in each year. In other words, the January ‘loose change’ costs too much to pick up, and in some years it turns out to be a mirage.”

The January Barometer suggests the performance of stocks during the first month of the year offers insight to the direction of stocks for the year as a whole.

Last week, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) was up 2.5 percent. If the Index finishes this month higher, then the January Barometer suggests it should finish the year in positive territory. 

Of course, you need look no further than 2018 to see the January Barometer is not completely accurate. In January 2018, the S&P 500 gained 5.6 percent, and it finished the year in negative territory.

According to Fidelity, the theory is flawed because, while stocks move higher for the year a significant percentage of the time after gaining value in January, they also move higher for the year a significant percentage of the time after losing value in January.

This is why mental shortcuts are often poor investment guides.

There is one rule of thumb investors may want to consider adopting: A well-allocated and diversified portfolio that aligns with long-term financial aspirations to help meet goals along with periodic reviews with their financial professional.

OH, WHAT A YEAR! Every year brings unexpected events. Here are a few remarkable stories you may have missed in 2018:

Abuzz in NYC
“…a menacing horde of honeybees descended on a hot dog vendor’s umbrella, bringing Times Square to a standstill and drawing swarms of gawking tourists. After a brief flurry of excitement, the buzzing interlopers were apprehended by a police officer armed with a vacuum cleaner-like device that sucked them up. The bees were then whisked away to safety.”
--Reuters, December 17, 2018

Mostly indivisible
“There's a new behemoth in the ongoing search for ever-larger prime numbers – and it's nearly 25 million digits long. A prime is a number that can be divided only by two whole numbers: itself and 1… We would write the number out for you, but it would fill up thousands of pages, give or take…”
--NPR, December 21, 2018

Hoop dreams
“Basketball is apparently being embraced by North Korea as a fundamental part of its ideology…‘Promoting basketball is not only a sports-related matter, but an important project that upholds the objectives of the [Workers] Party,’ the North Korean paper reportedly stated. ‘We must rush to elevate the sport to global levels.’”
--NPR, December 21, 2018

None for you
“A California court ruled…in a case involving a Celebes crested macaque who took a selfie using a nature photographer’s camera…the court rejected a lawsuit filed on the monkey’s behalf by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which argued the primate was the legal owner of all photos he took. In a decision that likely left the plaintiffs crestfallen, the court ruled that monkeys cannot sue for copyright protection.”
--Reuters, December 17, 2018

We hope 2019 brings you good health, good humor, and great happiness.

Weekly Focus – Think About It 

“As we navigate our lives, we normally allow ourselves to be guided by impressions and feelings, and the confidence we have in our intuitive beliefs and preferences is usually justified. But not always. We are often confident even when we are wrong, and an objective observer is more likely to detect our errors than we are.”
--Daniel Kahneman, psychologist and author

What is the REAL ID Act?

 The REAL ID Act is a federal law about the security, authentication, and issuance for state driver licenses and ID cards. Congress enacted this law based on a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission.

Why is a REAL ID credential beneficial for me?

It is your choice to get a REAL ID credential or not. If you fly domestically and simply want the convenience of carrying your driver license or ID card to board your flights or if you you not have another TSA approved alternative form of identification, you may want to obtain a REAL ID so your travel plans are not affected.

Where can I get a REAL ID credential in Montana?

Billings, Bozeman, Butte
Cut Bank, Deer Lodge, Dillon
Eureka, Glasgow, Glendive,
Great Falls, Havre, Helena,
Kalispell, Lewistown, Libby,
Livingston, Miles City, Missoula
Plentywood, Polson, Red Lodge,
Sidney, Stevensville, Superior,
Thompson Falls, Wolf Point

YOU CANNOT GET A REAL ID AT ALL DRIVERS LICENSE STATIONS.
For more information: REAL ID FAQS

Will it cost me anything to get my REAL ID?

Yes.



January Fun Facts!
January is National Blood Donor Month!
About 36,000 units of red blood cells and 7,000 units of platelets are needed every single day in the US. The most requested blood type is type O. Only 7% of people in the US have type O blood and is the most requested type of blood by hospitals
* Securities offered through LPL Financial Member FINRA/SIPC.
* This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer. 
You cannot invest directly in this index.
* The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
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* The DJ Equity All REIT TR Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results.
* You cannot invest directly in an index.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
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his information in not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor.
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Sources:
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321495311_Does_the_January_Effect_Still_Exists Page 51
Burton Malkiel, ‘A Random Walk Down Wall Street,’ W.W. Norton & Company, Page 271, January 1, 2019 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/01-14-19_BookExcerpt-A_Random_Walk_Down_Wall_Street-Footnote_2.pdf)
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/j/januarybarometer.asp
https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/active-investor/january-barometer
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/31/stock-market-wall-street-stocks-eye-us-china-trade-talks.html
https://www.fidelity.co.uk/markets-insights/daily-insight/what-the-january-effect-really-tells-us
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-oddly/bees-brothels-and-monkey-selfies-oh-my-2018-abuzz-with-odd-u-s-stories-idUSKBN1OG213
https://www.npr.org/2018/12/21/679207604/the-world-has-a-new-largest-known-prime-number
https://www.npr.org/2018/12/21/679291823/north-korea-promotes-basketball-as-an-important-project
Daniel Kahneman, ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow,’ Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Page 4, April 2, 2013 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/01-14-19_BookExcerpt-Thinking_Fast_and_Slow-Footnote_10.pdf)
https://mtrealid.gov/faqs/

The Markets:
[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/05/health/a-conversation-with-daniel-kahneman-on-profit-loss-and-the-mysteries-of-the-mind.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm&module=inline 
[2] https://www.schwab.com/active-trader/insights/content/7-tips-weathering-bear-market
[3] https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/26/us-futures-following-christmas-eve-plunge.html
[4] https://www.marketwatch.com/story/stock-market-ends-wild-week-in-negative-territory-as-dow-sp-500-set-for-worst-december-since-1931-2018-12-28
[5] https://jamesclear.com/habit-stacking
[6] http://blogs.umb.edu/quoteunquote/2012/05/08/its-a-much-more-effective-quotation-to-attribute-it-to-aristotle-rather-than-to-will-durant/