How to Make Smart Investments During Turbulent Times

We spoke with Jason Maas from The Burish Group about the state of the market, his tips for investors and more.

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Jason Maas is a Managing Director at The Burish Group, a wealth management team at UBS with six offices across southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. We spoke with Maas about the state of the market, his tips for investors and more.

Are you anticipating any economic trends for the rest of 2023? 

Jason Maas; Photo courtesy of The Burish Group

There’s a ton of uncertainty right now. It took 11 years to get out of the economic pothole of the 2008 financial crisis, and then lo and behold, the pandemic occurred. Locking down the economy has created this enormous pothole again. Because of the pandemic, governments and central banks across the world fed the economy financial Red Bull, just massive stimulus, to shock the economy back, and we’re in the aftermath of that right now. Things are overheating, and the Fed is jamming on the brakes, raising interest rates the fastest they’ve been raised since 1980. That’s causing all sorts of disruptions. I would expect that uncertainty to continue for the rest of this year, with the Fed trying to slow the economy down. But I’m not pessimistic about our ability to get through this. Hopefully we’re nearing an end, and I think most of the heavy braking by the Fed on the economy has been accomplished. We’re seeing evidence that inflation is calming down, and we’re encouraged that it appears to be decelerating from last summer. This too shall pass. 

What advice do you have for investors in this uncertain market?  

Patience and discipline are key. It’s so important to align your investment strategy with your needs and your time frame. It can be tempting to stray from your plan and get distracted by the news of the hour, but our best results come from a disciplined plan – no shortcuts. We think of investment in terms of time frames: so your one-to-three-year needs, your lifetime needs, and then money for after your lifetime, to give to the next generation. At The Burish Group, we call that liquidity, longevity and legacy. We develop strategies to meet those needs. 

I also recommend alternative investments where appropriate, for greater diversification. Broadly speaking, that could be investing in hedge funds, private equity, real estate or private credit. So for example, last year stocks and bonds both registered negative returns in the broad averages. Alternative investments would give an investor a third dimension besides stocks and bonds that could help offset that dip. 

Do you see greater opportunity in any sectors right now?  

Boring old bonds are looking much more attractive now. Bonds started 2022 at very low yields – they were paying very little as investments – but now we have this huge set of rate hikes on bonds. We were seeing near zero last year, and we’re now in the neighborhood of four or higher percentages for bonds today. That might not sound exciting, but it’s important for a diversified portfolio. It’s a significant driver for returns. 

In the stock area, there are a number of opportunities. I would say our preferences are for defensive sectors like consumer staples, given the slowing economy. But we also like energy stocks. The energy sector did very well last year, but still remains reasonably priced for the fundamentals.

What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve seen investors make? And how can they be avoided?

I think investors make mistakes when they haven’t thought through their plan very carefully or with the help of a professional. That can lead to mismatches between your investment strategy and your money. So maybe someone has a real aggressive long-term strategy after a good market lures them in – then when the market inevitably goes down they’re forced to sell at a low point because they need the money. Another common mistake is the more emotional aspect. When there’s a down market, people might believe it’ll stay that way and they get nervous, so they sell instead of waiting for it to go back up. Planning and preparing with a professional helps to create discipline around that. Instead of becoming the victim to market ebbs and flows, you can actually take advantage of those ebbs and flows. 

What is a topic in the finance and investing world that you think isn’t getting enough attention right now? 

I think there’s an obsession on the short term. If you look at CNBC or some other media, pessimism and fear get broadcast the most. I’m confident that the economy in the long run will settle out just fine, as the pandemic moves further into the rearview mirror. The old rules, the time-tested rules of free markets and competition, are still there and still driving our economy and the markets.  

What is one takeaway you’d like to leave readers with?

I hope they pursue a personal financial plan, whether that means creating one for the first time or refreshing one that they haven’t thought about for a while. It’s a bit of a chore, but once you spend some time with a qualified professional, you’ll see that there are a lot of great choices and exiting things to invest in. It’s all about connecting the dots from your own personal situation out to investments through a solid plan. Once you have that in place, all your other decisions become a lot easier. 

Wealth Way disclaimer: Timeframes may vary. Strategies are subject to individual client goals, objectives, and suitability. This approach is not a promise or guarantee that wealth, or any financial results, can or will be achieved. 

Alternative Investments US of UBS Financial Services Inc. provides investment management services to qualified high net worth and institutional clients. Eligibility requirements begin, generally, at a net worth greater than $1.5 million for individuals (with spouse) and $5 million for entities. This is not an offer to purchase or a solicitation to sell any security. Investors should be aware that alternative investments are speculative, subject to substantial risks (including the risks associated with limited liquidity, the use of leverage, short sales and concentrated investments), may involve complex tax structures and strategies, and may not be appropriate to all investors. Alternative investments may be illiquid, they may not be required to provide periodic pricing or valuation information to investors, there may be delays in distributing tax information to investors, they are not subject to the same regulatory requirements as mutual funds, and they may be subject to high fees and expenses, which will reduce profits. Alternative investments are not deposits or obligations of, or guaranteed or endorsed by, any bank or other insured depository institution, and are not federally insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve Board or any other governmental agency. They should not constitute an entire investment program. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  Asset allocation and diversification strategies do not guarantee profit and may not protect against loss.

As a firm providing wealth management services to clients, UBS Financial Services Inc. offers investment advisory services in its capacity as an SEC-registered investment adviser and brokerage services in its capacity as an SEC-registered broker-dealer. Investment advisory services and brokerage services are separate and distinct, differ in material ways and are governed by different laws and separate arrangements. It is important that you understand the ways in which we conduct business, and that you carefully read the agreements and disclosures that we provide to you about the products or services we offer. For more information, please review the client relationship summary provided at, or ask your UBS Financial Advisor for a copy. © UBS 2023. All rights reserved. UBS Financial Services Inc. is a subsidiary of UBS AG. Member FINRA/SIPC.



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