Saturday, May 07, 2016

Unlimited Free Entertainment

I am looking forward to the campaigns for the 2016 elections, especially the presidential elections. Typically, I have avoided any content related to elections.  However, this year it will be fun watching:
  1. Republican National Convention
  2. Republican Party infighting.
  3. Republicans distancing themselves from Trump.
  4. Trump debating Clinton.
  5. Trump tweets.about Clinton.
It's already started.  House Speaker Paul Ryan said in an interview that he's not ready to support Donald Trump yet.    Trump responded by saying, "I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan's agenda."

I expect the entertainment value to increase as the election gets closer.

Best of all, it will be free.

For more on  Reflections and Musings , check back Saturdays for a new segment.

This is not financial, entertainment or political advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2016 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Maybe No Retirement for Our Children

Coming soon: The Worst Investing Returns in 30 Years leads me to think that retirement, as we know it today, may not exist in the future.  With stock market returns lower, social security potentially being cut, the likely end of corporate pensions, future retirees will need to depend on themselves to increase savings early to have sufficient funds in retirement.

Given that the median retirement saving today is $60,000,  it doesn't seem likely young worker's today will save sufficiently to retire.

The new normal may be working for one's entire life.   And we may need to prepare our kids for that potential outcome.

For more on Crossing Generations, check back Thursdays for a new segment.

This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2016 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Relevant Fable

My boss once told me a fable that described a major issue with our company.  It went something like this:

Our company would traditionally come in last place against two of our competitors in an annual crew race.   After several years, we decided to hire a consultant to determine how to increase our chances of winning.  The consultant studied the three teams for several weeks and came back with the following report.

"Competitor A has average boats, average rowers and an average coach.   However, they work together and win a few races each year.   Competitor B has above average boats, above average rowers and an above average coach.  They practice regularly, work well together, and win almost half their races each year.

Your team has the best boats, best rowers and the best coach.   They practice hard regularly.  However, for some reason when the race starts, they all row in different directions.   Thus, winning no races each year."

We both laughed after my boss told me the fable, because, although exaggerated, had quite of bit of truth to it.


For more on Reflections and Musings, check back Saturdays for a new segment.

This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2016 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Thursday, April 14, 2016

22 Best Colleges for the Money

 The 22 Best Colleges for Your Money  by Business Insider shares the colleges with the best return based on Payscale's ROI (Return on Investment) methodology.  Number one on the list is the California Institute of Technology.  Number twenty-two is Harvard.

I'm happy to find that alma mater is ninth on the list.  Our daughter, with a tiny bit of  parental influence,  has made it her top choice for now.   However, she is still many years away from college.   And it is much more competitive than when I applied, with acceptance rates now being in the high single digits.

If she should attend, I will be prepared for sticker shock.  Today, the cost is about six times what I paid.  It will probably 7-8 times what I paid by the time she attends.

For more on  Crossing Generations, check back every Thursday for a new segment.

This is not financial or education advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2016 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Brilliance and Market Gains

"A bull market makes everyone look brilliant." ~ Wall Street saying

Right now, I look brilliant.  The investment accounts I personally manage are at all time highs.  I'd like to attribute the results to my personal brilliance, but I know that's not true.   More than likely, our accounts are riding the current rally up like many other stocks.

So while I am enjoying our continuing gains during this rally, I am still cautious.  For now, I am holding most of the positions we have and selling small amounts of some the commission free ETFs.  That way, we can continue to benefit from the rally, while doing a little profit taking.

At this point, I believe this rally will break down below its previous high, making it a bear market rally.  However, since I know I am not brilliant, my conviction on the stock market direction is not particularly high :-)

For more on The Practice of Personal, check back Wednesdays for a new segment.

This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2016 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

An Inflection Point

In the next few weeks, the stock market will either bust out to the upside or tank to the downside. To me a downside move has a higher probability.  After all, the bull market is waning and the current rally may be of the bear market variety.  And there haven't been many positive catalysts recently.

With earnings season just starting, the direction of the market may change suddenly.  So there is a small chance of a breakout to the upside.

It's too tough for me to call right now.  So I'm going to hold and wait for a confirmation of market direction. Until then, I hope to enjoy the rally and do a little profit taking.

For more on Ideas You Can Use, check back Tuesdays for a new segment.

This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2016 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Friday, April 01, 2016

Retirement and Political Involvement

Due to connections from a Princeton classmate, I've received an interesting offer to work on the Trump presidential campaign and, perhaps, even take an appointed position should he be elected.  It was an interesting offer that was worth considering.

On the upside, I would be able to make connections with some high powered financial people.  I would also get introduced to some very high level politicians.  Both of which would be helpful for my own financial goals.

On the downside, I would be despised forever by my spouse's family who are all liberal, hard core democrats, and union members.   It would also be the antithesis Princeton as exemplified by alumnae Sonia Sotomayer and Elena Kagan, who are U.S. Supreme Court justices.

After given the matter some thought, I decided it would be something interesting to do after being retired for a little over 8 years.  It would be a fun last hurrah.

So this morning I told my daughter that I was taking  position with the Trump campaign and traveling to Idaho.  In addition, I said we would need to move to Washington D.C. this fall if Trump won.  Needless to say, my daughter was not excited about moving.

Fortunately, for her, today was April 1, and I got to say "gotcha!"

For more on Reaping the Rewards, check back every Friday for a new segment.

This is not financial or political advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2016 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Monday, March 14, 2016

Definitely Not Buying

I have stopped buying equities and index ETFs and will wait until the next pullback before making purchases again. Given the events of this week (presidential primaries, Fed meeting), I expect there may be an outcome that disappoints the traders in the stock market.   So I may not need to wait too long before starting to make some purchases again.

For more on Strategies and Plans, check back every Monday for a new segment.

This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2016 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Saturday, March 12, 2016

From Pain to Gain

Buying stocks in January and February this year has been slightly less painful than sticking a pin in my eye.  I was implementing my strategy of buying good companies whose stock had higher paying dividends.  However, I was continually punished as my purchases sunk further for several more weeks.   Near the bottom, with my confidences waning, I stopped making additional purchases.

When the pain to too great and I stop buying, the market usually bottoms and reverses itself.   So now I am enjoying some good gains as the market rallies.   In fact, I sometimes think I should have bought more, but I know better.   Placing more funds in equities would have put me above my threshold of financial pain.  

I still believe this rally is of the bear market kind, a respite from the selling pressure.   So I continue to use the opportunity to take some profits and lock in some gains.

Because I expect the pain will return shortly.

For more on Reflections and Musings, check back Saturday for a new segment.

This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2016 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

Monday, March 07, 2016

Selling into the Rally

Although I have enjoyed the stock rally, it looks, feels and smells like a bear market rally.  Some of my beaten up stocks were up 10, 25 and even 120% on Friday.   So I'm taking this opportunity to lock in some profits by selling.   If the market continues to rally, I will continue to sell the total market ETFs  that we acquired over the last two months.

I expect that I will be able to buy back at lower prices when the bear market continues with its next downward leg in the next couple months.

For more on Strategies and Plans, check back Mondaysfor a new segment.

This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2016 Achievement Catalyst, LLC