Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bequeathing Your Assets to Your Broker


This is an oldy, but a goody!

"A hoary piece of stockbroker lore has a young broker asking a senior partner at the firm about his proudest accomplishment. The reply:

"Over the years I've gradually transferred the assets of my clients to my own name." "

This is a good, short read!

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP(r), MSFP, AIF(r)zzzzz

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Scott Dauenhauer Named Time Magazine Person of the Year

That's right, now I have something else to add to my list of achievements, Time Magazine's Person of the Year. Now, considering Hitler was also a Time Magazine Person of the Year I think perhaps its not such an honor.

If you're wondering what I am talking about, just follow the above link to Time Magazine's website. Time named "You" as the person of the, since I am a "You," I qualify.

So I guess this means that if I ever do become the Time Magazine Person of the Year, it will be my second time.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP, AIF

Monday, December 18, 2006

UBS target of AG probe - Business First of Buffalo:

UBS target of AG probe - Business First of Buffalo:

Business First of Buffalo - December 13, 2006

"State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's office has filed suit against UBS Financial Services Inc., contending that the brokerage firm's "InsightOne" program overcharged consumers. Spitzer said the program promised the creation of an "advice-based" account that would deliver personalized investment advice and other financial planning services.

However, the attorney general said UBS aggressively sold the accounts to investors who would have done better by paying per-transaction commissions. UBS also created a conflict of interest for its brokers by giving them a financial incentive to enroll investors in InsightOne instead of steering them toward more appropriate accounts, Spitzer said.

According to court papers filed by Spitzer's office, UBS charged one elderly InsightOne client more than $35,000 for just four trades over two years -- some $33,000 more than she would have paid in a traditional brokerage account.

Spitzer's suit was filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan. UBS said in a statement that it is committed to "clients' individual needs" and it denied that "InSightOne" was pushed on some customers instead of cheaper options. "UBS categorically denies that the program was part of a scheme to disadvantage clients, and intends to defend itself vigorously in this matter," the company said.
It also complained that Spitzer's office "did not review or consider relevant data that supports the firm's position" before it filed the suit. "

Meridian Comments:

Spitzer is actually correct on this one. The Wall Street Journal called me the other to ask for my comments on the case and I told them that this is a classic case of a brokerage firm attempting to disguise itself as a financial planning operation without taking on the responsibility that a planning organization has to its clients.

The broker involved has only a "suitability" standard to meet, not a "fiduciary" standard. In other words the broker at UBS was not REQUIRED to put the client's best interest first. It turns out the broker broke both standards and put the client in an unsuitable account and also failed to place the clients best interest first.

Brokerage firms everywhere are perpetrating a fraud on the public, assisted by the SEC in that they are holding themselves out as fiduciaries when they are not. They try to position themselves to look just like a company similar to mine, but they are not held to the same standards - this is not right.

You should not do business with a brokerage firm.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP(r), MSFP, AIF(r)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

HSA Upgrade

This is a good PDF document explaining some of the possible changes to the HSA.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP, AIF

Monday, December 11, 2006

How to Keep More of What You Make

How to Keep More of What You Make - New York Times

I believe a log-in is now required - it is free with registration.

This is a good article about why it is important to take into account taxes when building a portfolio. You can quite literally increase your rate of return, thereby putting more money in your pocket if you manage for tax purposes.

At Meridian we take into account which assets should be held in which accounts and manage your money to ensure we maximize it on an after tax basis.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP

Friday, December 08, 2006

Seniors 'duped' into bad investmen

Seniors 'duped' into bad investment | Santa Rosa Press Democrat // News for California's North Bay and Redwood Empire

Another article about the pitfalls of Equity Indexed Annuities (EIAs). These products are sold a lot to seniors and educators because they sound like a great deal. Who wouldn't want the upside of the market without the downside.....the problem is that this is a lie.

If you are pitched an equity indexed annuity don't be lured by the siren song. You'll know that you are dealing with someone who is less than professional.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Laugh Break

"boemerang": Erik Hartman Laughs At His Guests. Subtitled.

A client sent this too me, it is really funny. They say laughter is good for the soul, my soul is full today thanks to this video!!

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP

Monday, December 04, 2006



A client of mine forwarded this link to me. It's pretty cool. John Wayne narrates why he loves America while pictures of what he says play in the backgound. It will only take you a few minutes to watch, I promise you won't be disappointed.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mad Money Foolery - Mad Money

I've said it before and I'll say it again, CNBC's Jim Cramer is an idiot. Yes, I know I'm not being tactful, in fact I may even come off to be a tad jealous (don't worry, I'm not), but the fact of the matter is Jim Cramer is an idiot and we now have evidence to prove it (at least that he is an idiot stockpicker).

The linked article by Larry Swedroe details a study done by three Ph.D students from Northwestern's Kellog School of Management. The basic result is that Cramers antics and stockpicks, while entertaining to some, are losers. You don't make money following Cramer's advice. You make CNBC, Cramer, and Wall Street rich, but you won't make yourself anything. Investing is not entertainment, its serious and needs to be taken seriously.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP

An Overview of Equity-Indexed Annuities

EIA_Working_Paper.pdf (application/pdf Object)

This is a link to a paper by two PH.D's who have studied Equity Indexed Annuities and concluded that they are not good products. In fact these products work as a wealth transfer device, basically taking money from the policyholder and transferring it to the broker and insurance company in a very sly way.

If you don't want to read the 13 page report, just know that Equity Indexed Annuities are bad products - stay away.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP

AARP:Many 50 Plus Californians Perplexed And Overwhelmed

AARP Financial Survey Finds: When It Comes...

AARP did a study of Californians over age 50 and guess what? They find prospectuses difficult to read......imagine that!

A prospectus is what you are given when you purchase a mutual fund or an annuity, you are supposed to read and understand it, but that is nearly impossible given the way they are written.

I'm not sure we actually needed a study to tell us prospectuses rarely get read and are hard to understand.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Things To Do To Stay Out of The Morticianian's Parlor

  1. Cholesterol? Check your LDL (Low Density)(Bad) cholesterol; if its above 100 ask your doctor about taking a statin family of cholesterol lowering drug.

  1. Blood Pressure? Check your blood pressure, and keep it under 130 systolic and 80 diastolic.

  1. Take one aspirin daily-- a child's aspirin (81mg) is usually enough.

  1. Weight Reducing program? If your body mass index is above 27 or, if you�re a woman and your wait is over 35 inches or if you�re a man and your waist is over 40 inches, you should seriously begin and sustain a weight reducing program.

  1. Diabetes? If you fit any of the here criteria above you should have your fasting or 2 hour post meal blood sugar checked for diabetes.

  1. Flu shot? Get an annual flu shot, and get a periodic pneumococcal vaccine.

  1. Colonoscopic exam?
  2. Get a baseline colonscopic examination and then follow-up as indicated by the initial exam. Men should get an annual PSA at least up to age 80 and a digital rectal exam; women should get an annual mammogram and do self breast examinations.
  1. Establish a relationship with a primary care physician? Yes.

  1. Network with friends. Work on expanding a network of close friends, consider volunteer work, widen your intellectual interest, be cautious with using alcohol, and know the symptoms of depressions.

  1. Exercise regularly--including aerobic, weight resisted, stretching, and balance.

Keeping your weight within a healthy range.

1. Calories. 3,500 calories on the plus side are an extra pound while on the negative side are a pound lost.

2. 1 gram of fat is 9 calories

1 gram of carbohydrate is 4 calories

1 gram of protein is 4 calories

3. Pure carbohydrate, may be metabolized rapidly, however, and make you hungry

way before your next meal. (Helpful hint: don't put sugar on your cereal.) Mixing

fiber or protein with carbs slows absorption and postpones hunger.

4. Successful weight losers and maintainers usually combine diet and increased

caloric expending exercise.

5. Walking and housework and yard work are easy and inexpensive ways to

to burn calories.

6. Weight loss medications all have significant side effects, and weight loss is

usually not permanent.

7. Alcohol has calories, increases appetite, and can make you ravenously hungry

the next morning.

Tips on Exercise

1. Aerobic exercise is beneficial to prevent heart disease, stroke, dementia, and

Probably some forms of cancer.

2. Weight resisted exercise builds or maintains muscle and maintains strength,

balance, and mobility.

3. Stretching prevents injuries to muscles, tendons, or ligaments.

4. Balance exercises can be as formal as a yoga course or simply practicing

standing on one leg.

5. After age 60, running raises the risk of joint or tendon injury; vigorous walking

is as beneficial without the risks associated with running.

Tips on saving on your health care dollar

1. Generic equivalent? Always ask your doctor if your new prescription has a generic equivalent or ask your pharmacist or pharmaceutical benefits management insurer.

2. Use house brand over the counter medications.

3. Buy a pill cutter if you are taking many drugs; ask your doctor for the larger dose pill.

4. If you have physical therapy with a co-payment, start your home exercises as soon as possible and after two sessions suggest that you would like to do exercises at home for a few weeks and then come back for monitoring.

5. Ask your doctor or dermatologist about "Efudex" if you have sunlight keratoses

6. Get a second opinion before most elective surgery.