Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Pro Shop: Monkey Business

This is an article/Interview with William Bernstein, my favorite financial author. Much of my investment philosophy is derived from reading Bernstein. I think you will find this article very different than others who purport to "manage money".

Smartmoney.com: The Pro Shop: Monkey Business

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP

Why We're Outgrowing Retirement

An interesting point of view from a popular futurist. I haven't read his book, but the history in this column about retirement is worth your investment of time.

Why We're Outgrowing Retirement: Reinventing Retirement - Yahoo! Finance

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP

Move Over U.S.A.: The Future for Investors

Jeremy Siegal has begun writing a column for Yahoo: Finance, I will be including his columns on my blog and in my newsletters (links) as I believe he is well spoken and smarter than I am. I don't totally agree with some of his recommendations investment wise, but we aren't that far off. I have read his new book The Future For Investors and it is well worth reading, even for those who hate books about finance/economics. I encourage you to read his columns, they are very enlightening.

Move Over U.S.A.: The Future for Investors - Yahoo! Finance

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP

The Meridian RSS Feeds

For those of you who are users of RSS feeds, The Meridian Blog is now available for users of the My Yahoo services. My Yahoo is a free service and if you subscribe to it you can click on the button on the left side of this page title "My Yahoo" and all my blogs will automatically appear on Your Yahoo personalized page. For those of you who have other RSS readers please let me know what they are and I'll try to get the feeds into them.

Yet another unique service of Meridian Wealth Management. For those of you who don't know what RSS feeds are, don't worry, just type Really Simple Syndication into Yahoo or Google. Or just sign up to use My Yahoo at www.yahoo.com.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP

The autopilot Myth: Pilots Have Value

How many people really pay much attention to the pilots of our aircrafts? For the most part we think they are just locked into the cockpit with the plane on autopilot, they don't actually do much work (Pilot Clients, keep reading before firing me!). In reality they are doing a lot more than we think (have you ever seen all the flips and switches inside a cockpit?), they are there before and after take-off inspecting the plane, they have a series of pre-takeoff and post-landing check lists that they go through to ensure the safety of everyone on board - none of us notice this though.

What we pay attention to is how fast we can get on board, how much leg room our seat have, are we able to store our five carry-ons, and whether we take off and land on time. It's not until a situation like what happened with JetBlue airlines this week that we realize the value of compentent, experienced, FULL TIME pilots. Imagine if that plane was just set to autopilot and no pilots where in the cockpit, everybody would have died, no computer in the world could have pulled off that landing and kept the passengers as calm as the heroic pilots did. Or imagine that the pilot didn't have the experience. Doesn't it give you peace of mind to know that there is somebody there in case of emergency who can guide you through it, isn't there value in the all the little things the pilot does that nobody sees?

While I cannot in good conscience compare myself to that heroic pilot, or any pilot for that matter I do believe their is a corollary to what I do for my clients. In a sense I am your financial pilot, keeping you from veering off course and in emergency situations keeping you calm and safe. This doesn't mean we won't experience bumps along the ways (portfolio fluctuation) or occasionaly have tough landings (negative returns), but there is value 100% of the time, even if you can only see if it 1, 2, or 3% of the time. I would like to invite you to review all the procedures I go through when working with my clients, the value justification can be viewed by clicking here.

Thank you for flying Meridian Airways.......Ok, perhaps not the best analogy with all the airline bankruptcies......not all analogies can be perfect!

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP

Some Laughter For Your Day

Hi Folks,

This blog has been pretty serious lately, so I thought I’d bring a little humor to your life, we could all use it.

1. Ever wonder about those people who spend $2.00 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backwards: NAIVE

2. There are three religious truths:
a. Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
b. Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian faith.
c. Baptists do not recognize each other in the liquor store or at Hooters.

3. If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren't people from Holland called Holes?

4. If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?

5. Why do croutons come in airtight packages? Aren't they just stale bread to begin with?

6. Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist but a person who drives a race car is not called a racist?

7. If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?

8. If Fed Ex and UPS were to merge, would they call it Fed UP?

9. Do Lipton Tea employees take coffee breaks?

10. What hair color do they put on the driver's licenses of bald men?

11. I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me .....they're cramming for their final exam.

12. If it's true that we are here to help others, then what exactly are the others here for?

13. You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.

14. If a cow laughed, would milk come out of her nose?

15. Whatever happened to Preparations A through G?

16. As income tax time approaches, did you ever notice: When you put the two words "The" and "IRS" together it spells: "THEIRS"?

Have a wonderful day,

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP

Friday, September 23, 2005

Hillarious Spoof of Modern Day Brokers

Saturday Night Live ran a hillarious sketch about a broker who is completely honest with a group of people in a town hall meeting. The broker is calm, cool, and collected as he tells them how he doesn't really care and he is actively working against their best interest. The reaction of the audience is quite funny. I have posted the video on my website, you should be able to watch it by clicking the above title link. Let me know if you have any problems.

The difference between a broker at a brokerage firm and myself is that I am required by law to put your best interest first, to be your FIDUCIARY. The word Fiduciary to a broker is like kryptonite to Superman.

Enjoy the clip!

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

www.GovExec.com - Cost of managing TSP continues to shrink (9/19/05)

The Federal Thrift Savings Plan is a great demonstration of two things - one, that a low cost plan can work and two, that you can take low costs to an extreme. While low in cost this plan is run like the typical bureaucracy in Washington, it is completely NON-user friendly. The recordkeeping and website is absolutely horrendous yet the plan is held up as a pillar of how a retirement plan should be run. I like this plan, but it needs some style, educational tools, better online management, and a little more choice. I like the low fees, but would rather see them slighlty higher if it meant a better run plan for the participants.....perhaps they should take a cue from Apple and combine style, creativity, and substance.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP

www.GovExec.com - Cost of managing TSP continues to shrink (9/19/05)

Pay For Long Term Care Insurance via 401k or 403b?

This is a good idea and one that we should all support. We need to find a way to make long term care insurance affordable and the ability to use pre-tax dollars saved in 401k or 403b plans is one way we can do that.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

A "Moronic" Proposal

I don’t normally post articles that are not available for public viewing (this is subscription only) because it is copyrighted material. I hope the Wall Street Journal will forgive me just this once because this editorial hits the nail on the head on Hurricane Relief. This article echoes my thoughts that I put forth on this blog last week.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP® , MSFP

A 'Moronic' ProposalSeptember 14, 2005; Page A20

Some public-spirited folks in Bozeman, Montana, have come up with a wonderful idea to help Uncle Sam offset some of the $62 billion federal cost of Hurricane Katrina relief. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that Montanans from both sides of the political aisle have petitioned the city council to give the feds back a $4 million earmark to pay for a parking garage in the just-passed $286 billion highway bill. As one of these citizens, Jane Shaw, told us: "We figure New Orleans needs the money right now a lot more than we need extra downtown parking space."

Which got us thinking: Why not cancel all of the special-project pork in the highway bill and dedicate the $25 billion in savings to emergency relief on the Gulf Coast? Is it asking too much for Richmond, Indiana, to give up $3 million for its hiking trail, or Newark, New Jersey, to put a hold on its $2 million bike path?

And in the face of the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, couldn't Alaskans put a hold on the infamous $454 million earmark for the two "bridges to nowhere" that will serve a town of 50 people? That same half a billion dollars could rebuild thousands of homes for suffering New Orleans evacuees. One obstacle to this idea apparently will be Don Young, the House Transportation Committee Chairman who captured the funds for Alaska in the first place. A spokesman in his office told the Anchorage Daily News that the pork-for-relief swap was "moronic." Sounds like someone who wants Mr. Young to become "ranking Member" next Congress.

In all there are more than 6,000 of these parochial projects -- or about 14 for every Congressional district -- funded in the highway bill. The pork reduction plan is particularly appropriate as a response to Katrina, because we have learned in recent days that one reason that money was not spent on fortifying the levees in New Orleans was that hundreds of millions of dollars were rerouted to glitzier earmarked projects throughout the state of Louisiana.

We're hearing all sorts of bad ideas about how to offset the $62 billion of spending already authorized for Hurricane Katrina relief. Cancel the Bush tax cuts, raise the gasoline tax by $1 a gallon, increase deficit spending, and sharply cut spending on national defense and the war in Iraq. In Washington, it seems, everything is expendable except for the slabs of bacon that are carved out of the federal fisc to ensure re-election.

The glory of what is happening in Bozeman is that taxpayers are proving to be wiser about priorities than their politicians. We like the suggestion by Ronald Utt of the Foundation Heritage that, when the new levee is built to protect the Big Easy from future storms, it should bear a bronze plaque stamped: "Proudly Brought to You by the Citizens of Alaska."

Friday, September 09, 2005

PCWorld.com - First Look: Apple's Dazzling iPod Nano

Ok, I know, this is supposed to be a blog about finances.....but I couldn't resist. The new IPOD Nano is incredibly cool, smaller than a business card and the width of a pencil, plus it has a color screen that displays pictures - oh, and it plays music, podcasts, books, and even games. For those business minded people who are looking to buy an MP3 player but want to use it as a write off.....this might be your best bet(see, I did get some finance related stuff in here), the IPOD NANO stores all your contacts & appointments and syncs with Oulook - now you have a business excuse to buy this cool gadget, though check with your accountant before writing it off!!

The article link below comes with a picture, it is dazzling - I am buying today (if i can find one in the stores) in the color black!

PCWorld.com - First Look: Apple's Dazzling iPod Nano

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Alaska's $223 million "Bridge to Nowhere"

I read this story with a deep sickness in my stomach, did Congress think they could hide this? Did Rep. Donald Young think that he was bringing home a prize to his Alaskan constituency? This my friends is government waste at its worst and it is sick.

We are now spending about $1 billion per day to provide relief and rebuilding to New Orleans - perhaps Alaska could forgo their pork windfall and instead allow it to go to Americans who will actually use it for something useful.

Perhaps we should all take a look at the last few bills that have passed in congress for pork - there is lots of it - then ask each individual state who recieved it to forgo it. I am under no impression that this will happen, after all we can just pass another supplemental spending bill and print/borrow another $50 or $100 billion. A billion here, a billion there - pretty soon it all adds up to real money! All those bridges to nowhere should not be built, instead lets spend some money building a bridge to somewhere......I don't know, say Lousianna and maybe Alabama?

Bloomberg.com: U.S.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Telegraph | Money | Forbes predicts oil will drop to $35 within a year

Let's keep politics out of this - I agree with Forbes in this article. I don't believe oil prices are high because of long term supply and demand problems. I see oil prices falling as well. Of course, my predictive abilities have been proven to be not that great, however I think this article brings at least some balance to the debate on oil prices.

Telegraph | Money | Forbes predicts oil will drop to $35 within a year

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP