Monday, December 26, 2011

Final Week of 2011 & Happy New Year!

1 - Reminder: Millard & Company will be closed today (Monday, December 26) and this Friday, December 30. We will be open all next week; our main focus will be producing year-end client reports.

2 - Investor jitters seem to be settling down just a bit. While there's still plenty of uncertainty ahead, including a bruising presidential campaign, it's good to see a brief spell of relative calm in the markets -- even if it turns out to be very brief indeed.

3 - New Year's Day has become my favorite holiday. New Year's is about reflection, renewal, and optimism -- each of which is in woefully short supply in the frenetic 21st Century. What's more, because it follows hard on the heels of the massive hype of Christmas, New Year's is largely untainted by the over-commercialization that detracts from so many of our other important holidays.

We can't know what craziness the world will throw at us next year. But we can control our attitude -- and thereby prevent the craziness from taking control of our lives.

Have a wonderful final week of 2011; here's to a stellar 2012!


Juliet at the White House

In late September, Juliet attended the TD Ameritrade Operations Conference in Washington, DC. While there, she had the opportunity to spend some quality time with Bonnie Armstrong, our special projects colleague who lives in the DC area. The afternoon before the sessions began, they did some sightseeing, and Bonnie snapped this photo of Juliet in front of the White House.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Message from Andy

1 - Despite all the drama in the stock market this year, it really has moved very little. Since the first of this year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is ahead by 2.5% while the broader S&P 500 is down 3.68%. Many potential pitfalls remain, of course, so we're skewing most clients' portfolios toward the risk-averse end of the spectrum.

2 - Our office will be closed this Friday and next Monday for Christmas.

3 - From all of us at Millard & Company -- Juliet, Michele, Bonnie, Sharon, and me -- we wish you a holiday filled with peace, joy and love.

Have a blessed week and a Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Celebrating Holiday Season Together

1 - Financial markets spent last week in a bit of a holding pattern as investors awaited the outcome of the European Union summit in Brussels. While most leaders of the 27 EU members reached a tepid accord (Great Britain demurred), they really did not appear to accomplish the big splash that investors had been hoping for.

2 - Economists are now talking openly about (1) the likelihood that Europe is already in a new recession, and (2) the possibility that the eurozone -- the 17 EU members who all use the common currency -- could come apart. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that member nations are tuning up their printing presses -- just in case they need to start churning out currencies of their own.

3 - We're gearing up for the end of the year: making sure all clients with annual required minimum distributions (RMDs) have taken them by the end of this month, clearing up lingering cost basis issues, and making sure client portfolios are properly positioned to ring in 2012. It is a busy time, but you know us: we're having fun doing what we do.

Have a wonderful week -- and please do your Christmas shopping locally!


In case you missed it, On December 1 we hosted a holiday event for clients and their guests. We enjoyed a sumptuous dinner by Pat Strother, delectable cheesecake bars by Juliet, and Frank Capra's timeless film It's a Wonderful Life. Michele did a great job planning and setting up. For the privacy of our clients, our videographer Erik Olsen took care not to show faces (other than us worker bees). Enjoy this one-minute video recap.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Replaying The Global Economy's Effects on Investors

1 - Talk about volatility. Despite the best week for U.S. stocks in almost three years, we are still slightly behind where we were just two weeks ago. This week promises to be just as rocky, as the leaders of the 27 nations constituting the European Union meet Friday to consider binding themselves into a closer political union. If they can do it, it could be an extremely promising signal to financial markets. If they can't, well....

2 - Last night, Bloomberg ran an excellent article outlining the important issues surrounding this week's meetings in Europe. If you have an interest in understanding the situation, I commend it to your attention. Click here to read it. In addition, last week's video commentary is just as applicable this week as it was then, so we're running it again below.

3 - Last Thursday evening, about 55 clients and guests set aside their worries and kicked off the holiday season in the Depot Room. We enjoyed hot cider, a fabulous Pat Strother-catered dinner, Juliet's homemade cheesecake bars, and and It's a Wonderful Life on the big screen. I was taken aback by the large number of attendees who said they had never seen the movie before; of course, they all loved it. Even for those of us who had seen it many times, its theme -- the notion that real wealth lies in doing good for others -- resounded once again. There's something about watching a classic film the way it was intended to be seen -- on the silver screen in a darkened room and surrounded by an appreciative audience -- that makes for a special experience. For those clients who have been unable to attend one of our "dinner and a movie" events, I hope you can make the next one.

Be thankful for our wonderful community. Have a terrific week -- and remember: do your Christmas shopping locally!


We ran this video with last week's update, but it applies just as much this week as it did then. And since quite a few readers didn't watch it, we're running it again. It takes a very brief look at (1) the U.S. and European economic picture; (2) its potential implications for investors; and (3) what we're doing about it at Millard & Company.