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The US Energy Revolution Could Be Big


It’s hard to believe the energy revolution that is going on in this country.  It’s being touted as a “game-changer” and “transformative”.  The US is quickly becoming the low cost provider of energy. International companies are in the process of building new manufacturing facilities in the US because energy prices are so low (especially natural gas). Just to stay competitive, they need to set up shop in the US. In the next few years, the US could be exporting energy to other countries.

This could all lead to…

  • Lower cost to do businesses (especially energy dependent ones) can lead to more profits.
  • Industries could transform. Perhaps in the near future natural gas will be a bigger player in transportation.
  • Added infrastructure and jobs to support this booming industry

More stable energy prices.  It was just a few years ago that OPEC was discussed what seemed like daily on the nightly news and price swings at the pumps would occur everytime there was a disruption in oil production abroad.

If you’re interested in reading more, visit: Blackrock

Putting Economic Dark Clouds in Perspective

Many experts argue that the Great Recession may have been the worst economic event since the Great Depression. But how does it compare to other economic events that have happened?

According to a new more encompassing economic indicator by the International Monetary Fund, there are several other economic events in the country’s history that were worse than the Great Recession, one of which happened 25 years AFTER the Great Depression. The indicator charted below combines several measures such as inflation, unemployment, government deficit, and GDP growth in one chart.

Notice in the charts below how this indicator paints a different pictures. During the Great Recession the indicator dropped down to the orange zone. But there were eight other economic situations in the past hundred years that resulted in this indicator dropping to orange as well, including the time period around World War II.

You can read more about the IMF white paper here.

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Why You Shouldn’t be Afraid to Invest

This week when we reviewed accounts for several clients, we found a few examples of client portfolios that have doubled in value over 10 or 11 years. That equates to a 6%-7% rate of return each year on average. Not too bad given that happened during some turbulent times:

The Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, The housing bubble, Fiscal cliff, “The Lost Decade”, Hurricane Katrina, Increased political infighting, Slowing growth in China, War in Afghanistan, Hurricane Sandy, Failure of Lehman Brothers, War in Iraq, BP’s oil spill in the Gulf, Possible government default, Election turmoil, European debt crisis, Government bailouts, “The New Normal”.

The point is that investors have good reason to look beyond the day’s headlines.

If you or someone you know is sitting on the sidelines waiting for the dark clouds looming in the distance to blow away and for the sun to come out, you’ll end up waiting for the rest of your life.  There will always be a reason not to invest. There will always be a reason to sit on the sidelines.

The government is no longer shut down. The U.S. did not default.  Clouds are clearing, right? No, they’re still there just in the distance. We still have to worry about the debt ceiling, bond tapering, interest rates, Europe’s economy, tensions in the Middle East, a new Fed Chairman…

Perhaps it’s time to implement an investment strategy designed for investors fearful of what those dark clouds could do to their portfolio. Contact us to learn how we can help you.

The 25 Documents You Need Before You Die

Having these documents set aside can be a huge gift to your loved ones. Take some time to make sure that you have these documents in order and be sure to revisit it at least once a year.

The Essentials:
  • Will
  • Letter of instruction
  • Trust documents
Proof of Ownership:
  • Housing, land and cemetery deeds
  • Escrow mortgage accounts
  • Proof of loans made and debts owed
  • Vehicle titles
  • Stock certificates, savings bonds and brokerage accounts
  • Partnership and corporate operating agreements
  • Tax returns
Bank Accounts:
  • List of bank accounts
  • List of all user names and passwords
  • List of safe deposit boxes
Health-Care Confidential:
  • Personal and family medical history
  • Durable health-care power of attorney
  • Authorization to release health-care information
  • Living will
  • Do-not-resuscitate order
Life Insurance and Retirement:
  • Life-insurance policies
  • Individual retirement accounts
  • 401(k) accounts
  • Pension documents
  • Annuity contracts
Marriage and Divorce:
  • Marriage license
  • Divorce papers

If you need help with some of these documents. Please contact us and we can help you (or point you in the right direction).

*Special thanks to Wall Street Journal for pulling this list together.


Planning for Retirement is Simple.

When it comes to retirement planning, there are only two outcomes.  You will either outlive your savings or your savings will outlive you.  It’s that simple.  Unfortunately, it’s not easy.  Below are a few strategies to consider during your transition years.

50s and 60s: Plan for the Future

Around age 50, investors should begin to plan more specifically for their retirement. It’s important for investors to remember that even though they are approaching retirement, they should still maintain a strong holding of stocks.  An investor will retire and may not touch some of their assets for a few decades. Those funds should be invested a little more aggressively than the funds they will need early in retirement.

Retirement Transition: Writing the Next Chapter

As an investor enters retirement, they transition from acquiring assets and saving to spending.  The asset allocation should not have a sudden change.  Rather, a phased approach can offer a smooth transition into retirement. We work with clients to solve this dilemma by using a bucketing strategy.  In a sense, investors split their portfolio in four buckets, with each bucket designed to provide income for 7 to 8 years at a time, and focused on using an appropriate asset allocation for each bucket based on the timeframe.

Age 70+: Staying Prepared

It used to be that the average American male had reached his life expectancy by age 65. In fact, when Social Security first started, it was designed to help people that had lived longer than the life expectancy at the time (age 65). Now, with changing retirement trends, many people are still working at age 70 and beyond.  Not to mention living longer… a lot longer.

If an investor is healthy and there is longevity in the family history, it’s important to review the portfolio to make sure it is not being depleted early.  If the investor is unhealthy, or does not expect to live much longer, it’s important to check that beneficiaries are up to date or develop a strategy for gifting the account to a loved one.