The ‘Live Big’ Philosophy

2 11 2009

MichelleInternetPicTiny By Michelle Ash, CFP®, CDFA™

I came across an article this weekend in a magazine for financial professionals* that talked about the philosophy of “Living Big”. In this time of economic turmoil and constant speculation by the media about whether our recession is truly ending or not, the phrase “live big” may not seem to resonate soundly. But the Living Big philosophy is not necessarily what its name might initially imply.

The Living Big philosophy is one that advocates living “big” on a frugal budget. It emphasizes ways to live one’s life that involve little (or no) money, but are likely to lead to fulfillment. Here are some sample items from the Live Big List:

– Start a gratitude journal and write down five things every day that you’re grateful for.
– Get Skype or MagicJack and call friends located all over the world.
– Have a book swap party
– Join Netflix and watch hundreds of movies
– Make a hobby of finding free weekend activities and planning outings with family friends.
– Discover a new park and go for a hike.

These are just a sampling of ideas; you can likely think of many more.

The gratitude journal struck a real chord with me. It’s so easy to complain and to be frustrated by seemingly trivial things. And yet, when I really think about it, the average American lives at a higher standard of living than probably 95% of the people on the rest of the planet. Most of us have food in our bellies, a roof over our heads, comfortable clothes on our backs, and more opportunity for fulfilling life experiences than most other humans ever have the opportunity for.

So the point of it all, ultimately, is this: money is certainly important, but not as important as living life to the fullest and appreciating the precious things that money can’t buy.

I hope each of you finds ways to “live big”. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

* – “Fulfilling Frugality” by Raymond Fazzi; Financial Advisor Magazine, October 2009

This blog is for informational purposes only.  This is neither an offer to purchase nor sell any securities.  All investing involves the potential of loss – including invested principal.  Indices quoted are general barometers of security price movement.  You cannot invest directly in an index.  All information is obtained from sources deemed reliable but not guaranteed.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance.  No tax or legal advice is given nor intended.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP(R), CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER(tm) and federally registered CFP (with flame logo) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

Investment advisory services provided by PARAGON Wealth Strategies, LLC, a registered investment advisor. 

10245 Centurion Pkwy. N. Ste 105, Jacksonville FL 32256   (904) 861-0093

Advertisements




Senate Committee to examine 401k target-date funds

21 10 2009

Michelle New Pic

By Michelle Ash, CFP®, CDFA™

 

If you have an employer sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k) or a 403(b), you have likely seen “target-date” funds amongst your investment choices. These are funds which state a date, such as 2010 or 2020 as the “target date” for retirement.  The idea behind these funds is that they are appropriately balanced with an equity and fixed income mixture that is appropriate for someone that is that number of years away from retirement.  Over time, the funds automatically become more conservative as the individual draws closer to retirement. The idea is to put the risk tolerance and investment management with these funds on autopilot.

But the Senate Committee on Aging will begin examination this month of the fees, risks, and potential conflicts of interest associated with these funds.

A recent analysis by BrightScope of the investment options in nearly 13,000 plans found that the expenses charged by target-date funds are significantly higher than those charged by other funds on plan’s core investment menus.(1)  Because these funds are now the default investment option of most plans, meaning investors are placed into them automatically if they don’t select other investment choices, this may put some workers at a disadvantage. 

Target-date funds also have no benchmark for comparison. So, who’s to say what the appropriate blend for a target date 2010 fund would be? Consequently, returns from these funds have varied widely over recent years; sometimes causing investors who thought their money was invested relatively safely since they were close to retirement, to experience significant losses.

Our hope is that the Senate Committee’s examination will provide standards for these funds so that, like any other type of fund out there, an investor can ultimately determine for themselves if the fund is truly appropriate for their situation in terms of risk, cost, and personal best interest.

 

(1)  Source: “Companies take reins of workers’ 401k’s”, http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com, 10/21/09

This blog is for informational purposes only.  This is neither an offer to purchase nor sell any securities.  All investing involves the potential of loss – including invested principal.  Indices quoted are general barometers of security price movement.  You cannot invest directly in an index.  All information is obtained from sources deemed reliable but not guaranteed.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance.  No tax or legal advice is given nor intended.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP(R), CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER(tm) and federally registered CFP (with flame logo) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

Investment advisory services provided by PARAGON Wealth Strategies, LLC, a registered investment advisor. 

10245 Centurion Pkwy. N. Ste 105, Jacksonville FL 32256   (904) 861-0093

www.WealthGuards.com





Is it Time to Market Time?

14 10 2009

Mike Carignan Internet

by Mike Carignan, CRPC

I was watching one of the many financial media/disinformation sources this morning and they were talking about the fact that the S&P 500 has had 6 days closing up. This is the most successive up days in the last 2 years. The follow-up question is one that we hear a lot…”Is it time to get back into the market?” Well, let’s think about the last year and where we are.

Last October the market “melted down”.   The media had a field day and was constantly bombarding us with the doom and gloom of the day.  It seemed every day there was some new revelation or calamity befalling the market that was going to cause the end of investing as we know it.  What followed was a mass exodus of money from equity and corporate bond investments into government debt and cash.  Many investors finally “had enough” in late February when the S&P 500 broke through 750 and lost another 70+ points…and they’ve been sitting on the sidelines since.

What have they missed?  Since the March low the S&P 500 has rocketed a whopping 400 points from 676 to 1076 as of 10/12/09. That’s a 59.2% increase.

This is a great illustration of why market timing is so dangerous. It gives us a rational for giving in to our worst fears, selling when everyone else is panicked and then waiting for the other shoe to drop while the market rebounds strongly.

The moral of the story…decide if you want to invest for the long term result or for the thrill of the gamble.

 

This blog is for informational purposes only.  This is neither an offer to purchase nor sell any securities.  All investing involves the potential of loss – including invested principal.  Indices quoted are general barometers of security price movement.  You cannot invest directly in an index.  All information is obtained from sources deemed reliable but not guaranteed.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance.  No tax or legal advice is given nor intended.

Investment advisory services provided by PARAGON Wealth Strategies, LLC, a registered investment advisor. 

10245 Centurion Pkwy. N. Ste 105, Jacksonville FL 32256   (904) 861-0093

www.WealthGuards.com





We All Like Getting Paid…Right?

24 08 2009

Mike Carignan 012a

By Mike Carignan, CRPC

After an equity market roller coaster ride, like we saw in 2008 and early 2009, many investors are wondering “where is the next hot dot?”  The more they watch the financial media the greater the urge to jump into the ocean of investments and try to snag one of the very few stocks that they’ll be able to ride high and make a fortune.  Of course, hearing this in the news is it’s exciting, but will it get them where they want to go?  Most investors forget, or just don’t know about the power of the dividend.

If our investor wants to get some good consistent growth of his capital, getting paid along they way may be a great way to get a boost.  If our investor takes $10,000 buys a non-dividend paying stock instead of a 5% dividend paying stock he needs that non-dividend stock to grow 50% more over a 10 year period to sacrifice those dividends.  Even down markets are a little easier to bear when you’re getting paid along the way.

A long term outlook and good consistent disciplined investing are more likely to provide a good return over time than chasing the “hot dot”.  Just think of the tortoise and the hare…the hare had an exciting start but the tortoise won in the end.

This blog is for informational purposes only.  This is neither an offer to purchase nor sell any securities.  All investing involves the potential of loss – including invested principal.  Indices quoted are general barometers of security price movement.  You cannot invest directly in an index.  All information is obtained from sources deemed reliable but not guaranteed.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance.  No tax or legal advice is given nor intended.

Investment advisory services provided by PARAGON Wealth Strategies, LLC, a registered investment advisor. 

10245 Centurion Pkwy. N. Ste 105, Jacksonville FL 32256   (904) 861-0093

www.WealthGuards.com