Skip to main content
Home Working together to build your tomorrow

Like Mom’s good fortune in skiing, here’s how Silicon Valley wealth grows

My late mother’s single foray into the world of venture capitalism happened in 1957 when she invested $1,500 in a ski area before it had any lifts or trails. It was just an idea of a young 20-something guy who snow camped and tested snow conditions for two winters at what became Killington, a ski area in Vermont which is now the largest in New England. To offer some perspective, $1,500 was about half of what a Ford Country Squire station wagon sold for at the time.

Why stock prices rarely reflect companies’ true value

With the market finally delivering its long-overdue correction, it’s comforting to recall Warren Buffett’s statement: “Stock prices rarely reflect the true value of companies. When it does happen, it’s an accident.” Say again? What do stocks represent if not the value of the companies we have in our mutual funds and investment portfolios?

Benefit Insights: Navigating Distributions

The first quarter of the calendar year typically sees an uptick in the number of retirement plan distributions and participant loans. This year may be even busier than most, given the relief announced by the IRS for victims of the recent hurricanes and wildfires. Whatever the reason, participant distributions present a complex set of rules for Plan Sponsors to navigate. Under current law, a participant is entitled to a distribution from their account upon the occurrence of certain events or, as they are technically known, distributable events. 

After first ‘Black Monday’ of 2018, event-risk cloud looms on the horizon

On this year’s first “Black Monday,” I happened to be busy all day and was oblivious to what was happening in the stock market. I had other reasons to bring up my accounts late in the day and was surprised to see that all the stocks or stock-oriented mutual funds had dropped about 5 percent. Whoa! Looking at the bright side, the uniform losses across the collection of my holdings confirmed the fact that any single stock’s performance is a function of what the entire market is doing — the latter being like a tide that raises and lowers all the ships.

Why Vanguard’s mutual funds may get a little more expensive

Since its founding in 1974, the Vanguard mutual fund organization has driven the financial services industry nuts. Run as a giant cooperative, effectively owned by its investors, the firm has illustrated how little you actually have to charge in fees to operate a mutual fund.

In what Forbes once described as “the world’s most profitable industry,” the financial services industry sells a product for which no one ever receives a bill or has to write a check. Costs are just automatically deducted from account balances on a daily basis.

Balanced fund investing: Only half the freak out during a stock market slide

Any time the stock market reaches all-time highs, the contributing factors are varied and their influences are impossible to measure. What we do know is that American companies for several years now have enjoyed steadily increasing profits, which are finally resulting in lower unemployment figures.

Stagnant growth of incomes, of course, has been a contributing factor to these rising corporate profits, but there are many other fundamentals, like the expected continuation of low interest rates, which make it impossible to credit the highs to any one factor.

How “selling too soon and never buying at the bottom” might actually make sense

J.P. Morgan once opined, “I made my money by selling too soon and never buying at the bottom.” Other financial titans from Baron von Rothschild to Bernard Baruch have made similar statements — not to mention (probably) Yogi Berra.

While on its face, the advice may sound counterintuitive compared to the simplistic “buy-low/sell-high” mantra, the investment climate today presents challenging extremes.

A technique exists that can automatically prompt us to sell too soon and not buy at the bottom.

Eroding fraud prevention in U.S. government is detrimental

Forty years ago, I owned an interest in a local bar that immediately showed indications of getting ripped off by the manager and employees. I hired a moonlighting IRS agent whose day job involved hanging out in restaurants and bars to determine how much cash was not being declared for income tax purposes. After hanging out in my bar for just two nights, he reported that there were five different ways money was being stolen. The bar closed anyway soon after opening when someone got stabbed outside, but that’s not the point.

Subscribe to