Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rebekah After Surgery

Rebekah did great. She was smiling going into the surgery and was smiling coming out. First night was a bit rough, but better than we expected. Bandages will be coming off soon. Thank you for all you prayers and thoughts. Click the above title for a short picture gallery.

Scott Dauenhauer and Family

Monday, April 21, 2008

Its Surgery Week for Rebekah

Our little girl (3 months) is heading in for surgery tomorrow, Tuesday April 22nd. She will be having surgery to correct her cleft lip. It begins around 12:30pm.

I will be checking e-mail and voicemail Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and should be available all day Friday.

Thank you to all of you who have let us know that you'll be praying for her.

I'll keep you updated through this blog.

Scott Dauenhauer

Did the Fed “Bail Out” Bear Stearns?

Jeremy Siegel gives us a summary of the Bear Stearns deal and helps us understand exactly what the Fed did, he then asks the question of it was really a bailout.

He thinks the Fed did the right thing, only time will tell.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Business Week 1979 Cover: The Death of Equities

Business Week, the weekly magazine publication declared equities dead in 1979, just before the biggest run up in stock prices in the worlds history. My point....stocks don't die, they just go through tough times.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP, AIF

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tricks of the Trade - Annuity Salesmen - Busted

Click the above link to either read the NBC investigation into Equity Indexed Annuity salesman or watch the video. This sting operation by Chris Hansen is exactly what I've been talking about for almost 10 years.

About 10 years ago a teacher approached me and asked me to review her 403(b) account. This is when I began my journey of learning about what was then a new product, Equity Indexed Annuities.

These fixed annuity products were sold on a fraudulent basis in almost every scenario I came across. The surrender charges where rarely disclosed and the people being sold the product where told they would receive market returns without market risk. I literally met people that thought they could earn on average about 10% - the fact is that it is nearly impossible for this to happen.

Equity Indexed Annuities are not legit products in my opinion and I've never found a scenario where they are appropriate or make sense. They are sold because they generate a huge commission for the salesperson. These salespeople are not fiduciaries, do not usually sell anything other than Equity Indexed Annuities (or Equity Indexed Life Insurance) and are no better than used car salespeople.

I encourage you to watch this very interesting and enlightening video on Equity Indexed Annuities.

Another thing they highlight is how these slimy salespeople pay to get their name or picture on magazine's or books that they didn't write.....trying to make themselves look credible (when in fact its a pure sham).

Warm regards,

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP, AIF

Friday, April 04, 2008

Yale Money Whiz Shares Tips on Growing a Nest Egg

Got five minutes? Want to learn how to invest? Click on the above link, read the short article and listen to the podcast with David Swensen, Yale's endowment manager - you'll learn more in those five minutes than you've learned your entire life.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP,AIF

The Dark Side of the Moon

My favorite author William Bernstein comments on the strange yield curve and statistics of the present. Very interesting.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP, AIF

The Recession Boogeyman

Economist and Smartmoney contributor Donald Luskin declares we are not in a recession and have not been in one. He thinks the worst is over and gives his many reasons.

I've said all along that I don't think we are in a recession, but at the end of the day I have no idea and it doesn't matter. If you knew we were in a recession, how would you act differently? The answer is that you may sell stocks.....of course the average return of stocks during a recession is a positive 9.1% - so thats not such a good idea.

The fact of the matter is that recessions are inevitable and they come and they go and they are natural. A well diversified portfolio will get you through the good and the bad IF you stick to it. Panic and sell out and you'll join the legions of investors who earn sub-par returns in stocks.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP, AIF

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Ben Stein: Go Figure: Gloomy Market Numbers Need Scrutiny

Ben Stein read the same Wall Street Journal I did last week and his commentary basically parallels mine from early in the week, the data maybe accurate, but it is not meaningful. Stein gives us additional perspective on the 10 years of dismal S & P returns.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP, AIF

Guttentag: What Makes A Good Mortgage Broker?

Jack Guttentag entertains us again with a pair of stories about What Makes A Good Mortgage Broker.

Read Part I

Read Part II

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP, AIF

The Onion on Dennis Hopper and Ameriprise....Funny!

Theres No More Reassuring Voice In Retirement Planning Than Dennis Hopper

The Onion

There's No More Reassuring Voice In Retirement Planning Than Dennis Hopper

There's no denying it anymore: I'm getting to that point in my life where I should start thinking seriously about my retirement. I'll be living on...

Nearly $1 Trillion Barrels of Oil in North Dakota?

For those of you who believe in the "Peak Oil" you may be disappointed to find out that the earth has a whole lot more to give (now, whether we will receive it....thats another story).

The U.S. Geological Survey is completing a study of the Bakken Formation in North Dakota, one of the researchers who died before the study could be completed estimated their could be north of 900 billion (yes, with a "b") barrels of recoverable oil.

Now, other estimates peg the amount at "only" 200 - 300 billion barrels, a significant find. The famed ANWR is/was only expected to product 16 billion barrels. This find alone (which was actually found in 1951) at the low end would boost US oil reserves by a factor of 10.

The question that will be on everyone's mind as this survey is completed is what will the U.S. do with it?

I say we pay off the national debt first!!! (not really!)

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP, AIF
Meridian Wealth Management

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Perspective on the Current Market

The following charts present some interesting perspective about today's markets:

The College Solution: New Book by Lynn O'Shaughnessy

Our good friend Lynn O'Shaughnessy has been busy writing what I believe will become the defacto standard for families wanting to learn about sending their kids to college. Titled "The College Solution" this book represents a much different way at looking at college. An excerpt from Lynn's blog about the book:

Here are some of the things you will learn in the book:

1. A ridiculous number of books on college are dedicated to cracking the Ivy League even though the only ivy that most kids are going to come into contact with will itch and require calamine lotion. A mere .2% of college freshmen each year attend Ivy League schools. My book is dedicated to helping the remaining 99.8% of students.

2. Few parents realize that bachelor degrees are being priced like airline tickets — different families are paying wildly different prices. The average tuition discount at private schools today is 33.5% and the discount is nearly 15% at public schools.

Yes, there are definitely ways for parents to take advantage of this discounting phenomenon. I provide real examples of pricing discounts from schools around the country and I share how even “B” students can capture some of this money.

3. Families can obtain a huge amount of information on how individual schools dole out their merit money and financial aid if they look at each school’s Common Data Set. I share how students, using this data, can increase their chances of receiving money. You can commonly find an individual school’s Common Data Set by Googling the term and the name of an individual school.

4. I explain how students can research academic majors ahead of time and evaluate whether a particular department within a college or university would provide a first-rate education. There is no reason to embrace U.S. News & World Report’s flawed college rankings when families can do a far better job of sizing up schools.

5. A chapter entitled, Learning in a Crowd, shares how students, who attend large universities, can make their educational experience more intimate. Students should look for such things as first-year learning communities, undergraduate research opportunities, excellent advising programs and innovative teaching techniques, particularly for those large introductory classes.
6. Recognizing that about 45% of all college students start off at community colleges, I provide ways to evaluate these schools in a meaningful way.

7. Do you have a son? Here is a bit of good news. Boys don’t always have to be as good academically as the girls to get money from schools. That’s because there aren’t as many of them attending colleges. Roughly 56% of undergraduates are girls and the percentage is expected to continue to climb.

In addition to the book, I should also mention that I will begin holding college seminars — for a fee — at parents’ homes for those who prefer to go that route.

You can pre-order through Amazon - though you'll be waiting till late June to get it, I guarantee it will be worth the wait. Click Here to pre-order.