Monday, June 27, 2011

Exploring the "New Normal"

1 - I mentioned in last week's update that I have begun an extensive process of re-examining our investment approach in light of the changing U.S. and global economy. You may want to glance at the brief video below for my preliminary thoughts on the subject.

2 - Many people make bad decisions regarding their IRAs -- not necessarily in regard to the investments, but rather in regard to the designation of beneficiaries and the structural composition of IRA accounts that have been inherited from someone else. The article following This Week's Economic News points out some of the pitfalls and remedies.

3 - Along with several members of our Tryon Kiwanis Club, Sharon and I went kayaking on the Green River yesterday afternoon. The three-hour expedition was coordinated by Lee Coburn and was guided by Green River Adventures, a wonderful small business located in Saluda. Here is a great local resource (the Green River) that many local people do not even know exists. Regardless of your age (we had several quite mature folks in our group), if you're interested in a fun time surrounded by the beauty of nature, you could do a lot worse than contacting Green River Adventures.

Have a cool week!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Closer Look

1 - With a fearful national debt looming as well as a presidential election coming up next year, the debate on taxes is bound to become even more heated than it is now. In the midst of all the rhetoric, a little perspective might be in order. You may be surprised to learn that income tax rates are actually near historic lows across all income brackets. Take a look at the article immediately below for details.

2 - Speaking of historic lows, bank CD rates continue to be tiny, while inflation has begun to creep up -- which means that savers may actually be losing ground by keeping money in the bank. It's not quite that simple, of course; read the article following the week's economic news to get a more complete picture.

3 - I have begun an extensive process of re-examining our investment process and strategy. This is something we do periodically, but it seems especially appropriate at this point in history. For several years now we have known that the world economy is evolving rapidly -- but evolving into what? Plenty of people much smarter than I are looking into this very question, and I will be consulting with a variety of experts and other sources. As we gain greater visibility into this global process, we may be able to make some adjustments to benefit clients. I'll update you as the process continues.

Have a wonderful week!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Simple Pleasures

1 - The stock market lost ground last week, bringing the losing streak to six weeks; the last time that happened was nearly nine years ago. Before you get too depressed, though, check out the article below entitled "Reasons for Optimism." I have been reviewing many client portfolios, and for the most part, things still look pretty good overall, although it is shaping up to be a losing quarter for most clients.

2 - Our movie event for veterans of World Ward II was successful and fun. What an honor it was to just spend time in the presence of so much living history. Along with the guests of honor, there were quite a few others there to watch the movie and express their gratitude.

3 - The 18th annual Blue Ridge BBQ Festival (last week's update incorrectly said it was the 17th) appears to have been a success. It certainly was a success as far as crowd size and visitor fun. As for the financial question, it's now a matter of adding up the debits and credits over the next few weeks, but I'm cautiously optimistic.

They say a change is as good as a rest, and that seems to be true in my case. These days, my job at the festival involves managing traffic flow. Although it is physically and mentally demanding (think two 18-hour days followed by an exhausting clean-up), it exercises completely different parts of the brain and body than does my day job. So today I'm a little tired but strangely refreshed. Go figure.

Have a cool week!


             A good time was had by all:
 Libbie took this photo during intermission on Monday. They are veterans all, and all but three of them served in WWII.

I took this photo from behind the stage at the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival on Saturday at 7:51pm.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

D-Day Special Event & A Little QQB Fun!

1 - The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 2.3% last week; that's five weeks in a row that stocks have been down, and the market is off 5% from its recent high in May. But a news story by Reuters indicates that most investors are more cautious than panicked.

The recent slew of unsettling news -- weak jobs data, government debt squabbles, European debt problems, and unrest in the Middle East, among others -- has been building for some time. We need to understand that our economic problems are not over. Things will likely be rocky for some time to come. As is always the case, we need to be vigilant an continue to work our plan.

2 - Before we get too caught up in 2011's problems, we should consider what it must have been like to live through a real life-or-death struggle. Today is the 67th anniversary of D-Day, and along with the Tryon American Legion post, we are saying "thank you" to local World War II veterans by screening The Longest Day. The movie is a re-enactment of D-Day; it stars John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Richard Burton, Robert Mitchum, and nearly every other male actor who was famous in 1962. The show starts at 1:30pm on the big screen in the Depot Room. If you can, come spend the afternoon with us while we honor a few members of the Greatest Generation.

3 - This week also marks the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival's 17th anniversary. This is the biggest community event in Polk County, and I, along with hundreds of others, will be volunteering yet again. On Friday night (which is also graduation at Polk County High), up-and-coming country music artist Chuck Wicks will perform, and it looks like my parking crew may have a challenge on its hands. At least I hope so.

Have a cool week!



Ike talks with troops before sending them into harm's way on June 6, 1944.