Why Wealth Can Be Fleeting

The recent announcement of P&G’s decision to lay off 5,700 workers reminded me how vulnerable financial security can be.  Even though our economy is recovering, many people are still afraid of losing their jobs.  In January, my sister learned her company is laying off 40% of its workforce on April 2nd.  As the sole income earner for her family, she has to wait and worry while she manages her staff until the announcements are made.
Obviously, the Great Recession of 2007-2009 had an impact on the financial well-being of many families, but it [read more]
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America Saves!

This week, we wanted to do our small part in furthering “America Saves Week”.  Slated for February 19-26th and coordinated by the America Savings Education Council, America Saves Week is celebrating its 6th anniversary.  The goal is to encourage employers, organizations and others to promote good savings behavior and for all of us to evaluate our saving and spending habits. If savings hasn’t been on your radar, or that of a loved one, in quite some time, focus first on basic emergency savings.  Most of us should have anywhere from 6-12 months of expenses in… [read more]
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Best for Whom?

Since the middle of last year, we have been refining The Asset Advisory Group’s (TAAG) mission and vision and creating a strategic plan for the future.  We want to ensure we continue to add value to the lives of our clients with the same level of service and care we’ve given them for the past 24 years.  This has made me even more aware of the treatment I receive as a client, as I mentioned in my last blog “Do You Want Fries With That?” 
Last weekend, I was reminded once again of how not [read more]
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Chasing Winners

It may sound strange, but I was almost unhappy to see a Barron’s article last week highlighting the good fortune of the two funds we use to invest in Emerging Markets; DFA’s Emerging Markets Value Portfolio (DFEVX) and DFA’s Emerging Markets Core Portfolio (DFCEX). The article illustrated how, after January’s impressive performance, especially in international and emerging market stocks, investors have been flocking to equity-based mutual funds as cash inflows continue to increase. 
This rush to emerging markets, in no doubt, stems from their excellent performance so far this year.  As [read more]
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Are US Stocks a Sure Thing?

The drive to restore investment portfolios to the levels set before the Great Recession is still influencing investor decisions. In past blogs, I’ve expressed concern the economic downturn would make people more vulnerable to get-rich-quick schemes.   A recent chart published by The Economist,  A Multitude of Madoffs, showed the SEC  filed more than twice the number of Ponzi scheme cases in 2010 as they did in 2008;  and the FBI is currently investigating 1,000 cases of investment fraud.  The temptation to invest in something that sounds too good to be true is much greater [read more]
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So, Um, What is a Private Equity Firm?

(from Marilyn Geewax’s NPR report, 1/19/2012 – click here for the original post.  Marilyn is NPR’s Senior Business Editor.  Besides assigning and editing business stories, Geewax regularly discusses economic issues on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday.  More on Marilyn can be found here.)  In the run-up to Saturday’s GOP presidential primary in South Carolina, candidates have clashed over the role of Bain Capital — a firm that either creates or kills jobs, depending upon whom you believe. Front-runner Mitt Romney sees the bright side. Before entering politics in the 1990s, he co-founded Boston-based Bain Capital, [read more]
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Do You Want Fries with That?

 
I was reminded of this line from a Tim McGraw song when I went to the dentist Monday.  I began a relationship with a new dentist a few years ago after my dentist of 25 years retired.  For the first two years everything was great.  I liked that my new dentist was close to my age (we could grow old together), had a friendly staff and appeared to be utilizing the latest technology.  My eyebrows were initially raised about a year ago when I noticed her face staring back at me from the seat … [read more]
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Social Media & Investing – Protect Your Information

Investors increasingly turn to social media for information when making investment decisions.  Our social media lunch and learns have been some of our most well attended sessions.  This is a positive advancement as information becomes instantly available to the masses, but it also means we must be more vigilant than ever when it comes to protecting privacy and identity.
The SEC recently released two separate Investor Alerts involving investors and use of social media, focusing on what investors can do to avoid potential fraud.  We thought it would be worthwhile to provide a brief synopsis [read more]
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Is My Money Safe? Part II

In my last blog I discussed the safety of investment custodians such as Fidelity and Schwab, after I received a concerned email from a client.  After watching Jon Corzine, the former CEO of MF Global, trying to explain how $1.2 billion was missing from their clients’ brokerage accounts, he was worried about his own.
The next important question to ask is whether you can trust your advisor.  Research indicates most investors believe their advisor is very trustworthy, even if the evidence shows otherwise.  It’s great to have an advisor you feel you can trust, [read more]
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A Plan for 2012 That You’ll Actually Follow

(from Carl Richard’s New York Times’ Bucks blog, 12/26/2011 – click here for the original post. Carl is a Certified Financial Planner in Park City, Utah. His sketches are archived on the Bucks blog and on his personal Web site, www.BehaviorGap.com.His new book The Behavior Gap, will be out in January.
For 2012, I have a challenge for you: make financial decisions on purpose. Too much of what we do is based on habits and assumptions instead of a thoughtful plan. During the next year, see what happens when you do [read more]
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