Monday, March 26, 2012

There is a Difference - Brokers vs. Fiduciaries

1 - Clients: Remember the clients-only Dinner and a Movie event coming up on Friday, April 13. The movie is Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller North By Northwest, starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. I recently found a very exciting and entertaining video intro  to the movie; click here to view it. If you're a client, click here to sign up.

2 - Many people believe that the big Wall Street brokerage firms care more about lining their own pockets than helping clients. In a startlingly frank resignation letter published in the New York Times recently, one Goldman Sachs' employee exposed a rampant culture of greed and hypocrisy. The author is not just some disgruntled employee: Greg Smith was an executive director and head of the firm's United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He is an achiever of the first order who began working at the firm as an intern in college. The letter has caused quite a stir in the financial world. I urge you to click here to read it; you can feel the man's pain as he watches one of the world's most respected firms devolve into a culture in which he can not longer participate.

3 - Speaking of brokerage firms, take a quick look at the very entertaining video below. Produced by HighTower Advisors, it illustrates the difference between brokers and fiduciary advisors more clearly than I have ever seen it.

Have a healthy week!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Good news, bad news, and a bit of fun

1 - Registration is now open for our clients-only Spring Dinner and a Movie event on Friday, April 13. The movie is Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller North By Northwest, starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. Take a look at the original theatrical trailer by clicking the video below. It features director Alfred Hitchcock in a mock travel agent role. (You'll have to watch a 15-second commercial at the beginning, but it's worth the wait.) If you're ready to sign up, click here

2 - Good news: The Greek Debt crisis seems to have been quietly resolved (at least for the most part). Read the article following This Week's Economic News for the interesting details.

3 - Bad news: Gasoline prices are rising fast. For an analysis, check out the corresponding article below the one on Greece.
4 - As always, this past weekend's Super Saturday was a blast.

Tryon's annual Children's Theater Festival brings a wide variety of professional performers to town: acting troupes, jugglers, comedians, storytellers and magicians, to name a few. Millard & Company sponsors the Fine Arts Center stage along with Henson's Mulch & More, and I volunteer as host for the TFAC stage. Super Saturday is one of the best things about Tryon. The streets are crawling with excited kids. They pulse with the joy of youth: an upbeat, exuberant energy that is positively contagious.

Don't you just love this town?

Have an exuberant week!


Monday, March 12, 2012

The Paradox of Risk

1 - We are in the final stage of a months-long project to update all client accounts to our new portfolio models. We have been modifying portfolios one account at a time, taking special note of possible tax consequences. With just a few exceptions, all clients' first quarter's reports should reflect the changes.

2 - Our first client Dinner and a Movie event for 2012 is coming up on Friday, April 13. These events have become very popular. The movie this time is Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller North By Northwest, starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. Online registration opens later this week; please sign up early!  

3 - If you love kids, make it a point to visit the Melrose Avenue area of Tryon this Saturday. It is the annual Super Saturday celebration. Tryon will be positively humming with youthful energy. I can't wait!

4 - Many people view investment risk in almost the opposite way from reality. See what I mean by looking at this week's 2-minute video below. 

Have a productive week!


Monday, March 5, 2012

When Nobody Was Looking

1 - When nobody was looking, the stock market has recently reclaimed a high not seen since 2008. It just goes to show that you never know -- so it's probably best not to pretend you do.

2 - My buddy Mike Karaman and his wife Kim treated Sharon and me to a lovely visit to the Biltmore Estate last weekend. We all know how amazing the place is, but walking through the massive chateau, an array of questions arise. What must it have been like for the Vanderbilts who lived there? For the servants? The visitors? What did surrounding residents think about the way-over-the-top consumption? And how hard must it have been for the family to later open it up to public visitors? The Cecil family continues to do a service by providing a small glimpse into a lifestyle that most of us can only imagine, and probably wouldn't want. 

3 - The Tryon chapter of the American Association of University Women celebrated their 25th anniversary last week, and I was privileged to give the program. What a great and receptive audience the AAUW always is. We had a good crowd in attendance; to get a taste of the event (although not much of the program's content), check out the video below.

Have an awesome week!