We would like to welcome our new Director of Client Services, Elizabeth Michalek.
Trudy, our former Director of Client Services, will continue to provide administrative and back office support. If you have questions or need assistance, Elizabeth is the one to call. Her responsibilities will include processing client paperwork, generating statements, and responding to all client inquiries.
Elizabeth’s background is in the financial services and insurance industries. She has over 8 years of experience in customer relations, business development, and marketing. She has a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and holds her Series 7 & 63 securities licenses.
Elizabeth enjoys scrapbooking, cooking & menu planning, being a mom, and exercising.
We are excited to have her as part of our team!
Written by Nathan White, Paragon Chief Investment Officer
photo by gaetan lee
The term “Green Shoots” has been used a lot lately in the financial press in reference to signs that the economy is or might start showing signs of life.
Financial markets went to the extreme in pricing a worst case scenario during the sell-off leading the March 9th low. There was so much pessimism from investors, economists and analysts with nearly all becoming convinced that the markets would just continue to get worse ad infinitum. It was about as close as you can get to total capitulation.
Once the vast majority had given in to this mindset the market did what it does best — reverse course.
The subsequent rally was in large part a realization that the world was not going to end. Now to compound the problems for those who missed out on the rally is the appearance that many leading economic indicators have begun to turn.
Is it possible that the recession, which at 17 months is the longest since WWII, could end sooner than most think?
Is your portfolio positioned for recovery? If not or you aren’t sure, you should listen to Paragon’s webinar on May 27.
WHEN: Wednesday, May 27
TIME: 12:30-1:30 p.m. MDT
COST: There is no cost. It is complimentary
WHERE: Online (at your home or office)
TOPIC: How you should position your portfolio for recovery
R.S.V.P.: Click on this link Paragon Wealth Management to register
CONTACT: Shannon 800-748-4451 if you have questions or need more information
Written by Dave Young, President of Paragon Wealth Management
photo by Seansie
Smoke and Mirrors…
Politics and religion are two subjects we try not to discuss on this blog because we realize they are often more emotional than fact based and can be offensive to some of our readers.
Avoiding politics has been difficult this year because it seems that the center of the financial universe has recently moved from Wall Street to Washington. The continuous daily news updates from Washington have had much more impact on our financial markets than ever before.
I find it interesting that while 60% of Americans approve of how Obama is doing, a recently released poll of financial advisors showed that only 36% of them approve of his performance so far. Even worse, 68% said they have no confidence in his ability to “fix” the ailing economy.
Why is there such a difference between the ways that most citizens see the new president versus most financial advisors? In part, I believe, because financial advisors base their perception more on “the numbers” than “the personality”.
For example, last week President Obama held a press conference on the U.S. budget that was recently passed by Congress.
The budget was 3.6 trillion dollars.
Since one trillion (1,000,000,000,000) equals one million times one million — 3.6 trillion is beyond the grasp of most people’s understanding. So they ignore it.
As last week’s budget press conference, President Obama’s entire focus was that he is taking us into a NEW ERA OF RESPONSIBILITY. That is what they have named this massive spending bill. To make his point, he spent the entire press conference focused on the 17 billion dollars he was going to save through his new polices. No mention was made of the 3.6 trillion dollar budget or the 1.2 trillion dollar deficit that it would create.
The 17 billion dollars in savings that was the focus of the press conference is equal to one half of one percent of the entire budget. That would be like buying a car for $100,000 and then getting excited about saving $500. Never mind that the car cost $33,000 more than you had available to pay for it.
This is why financial advisors, (people that work with numbers) don’t have a lot of confidence in what the President is doing. What he does compared to what he says just doesn’t add up.
Sources: May 8, 2009 Investment News, and www.whitehouse.gov.
We thought you might find this entertaining…
photo by dailyinvention
Heidi is the proprietor of a bar in Detroit.
In order to increase sales, she decides to allow her loyal customers – most of whom are unemployed alcoholics – to drink now, but pay later. She keeps track of the drinks consumed on ledger (thereby granting customers loans).
Word gets around about Heidi’s drink now pay later marketing strategy and as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Heidi’s bar and soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in Detroit…
By providing her customers’ freedom from immediate payment demands, Heidi gets no resistance when she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages. Her sales volume increases massively.
She becomes the most profitable bar in the USA…
A greedy young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognizes these customer debts as “valuable future assets” and increases Heidi’s borrowing limit. He sees no reason for undue concern since he has the debts of the unemployed alcoholics as collateral.
At the bank’s corporate headquarters, expert traders transform these customer loans into DRINKBONDS, ALKIBONDS and PUKEBONDS. These securities are then bonded together into large packages and gradually upgraded to Triple-A (AAA) “very low risk” packages by greedy bond raters, and then traded on security markets worldwide.
Naive investors don’t really understand the securities being sold to them as AAA secured bonds are really the debts of unemployed alcoholics.
Nevertheless, their prices continuously climb, and the securities become the top-selling items for some of the nation’s leading brokerage houses.
Eventually, though, Heidi realizes she is not taking in enough cash to make even the minimum monthly loan payments to the bank, so she demands payment from some of her alcoholic patrons. Being unemployed, they cannot pay back their drinking debts. Therefore, Heidi cannot fulfill her loan obligations and claims bankruptcy.
DRINKBONDs and ALKIBONDs drop in price by 90%. PUKEBONDs perform better, stabilizing in price after dropping by 80%.
The decreased bond asset value destroys the banks liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans.
Retirees, who have worked hard all their lives and invested in these bonds, realize that their savings are all gone. Their money was used to buy drinks for Heidi’s customers for all these years. And now these same retirees can no longer get a loan from the bank to buy a car or take a vacation, because the bank is insolvent and no longer writing any loans.
The suppliers of Heidi’s bar, having granted her generous payment extensions, are faced with writing off her debt and losing over 80% on her bonds. Her wine supplier claims bankruptcy and fires all his staff. Her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 50 additional workers.
The bank and brokerage houses are saved from bankruptcy by the Government, following dramatic round-the-clock negotiations by leaders from both political parties. The funds required for this bailout are obtained by taxes levied on employed middle-class non-drinkers and by reducing benefits to the retirees.
So now you understand why I’m sitting on my porch, staring at my tiny social security check and my empty brokerage statement, and wishing I had been an unemployed drunk all my life…
Written by Nathan White, Chief Investment Officer
photo from iStockphoto
I have always been amazed at how fast markets can move.
If your pieces are not in place before a move occurs you often miss out on the best part of the move.
The hard part about getting your pieces in place before a move is that you must act early and you must pay the price of being wrong for a while. This is the trade-off, and there is no way around it.
Look at the way so many are now scrambling to get in the market now that the sun has appeared through the clouds and the world has not ended. The opposite is just as true after as people clamor to get out of the market after it drops.
If the clouds have parted, how should your investments be positioned?
At Paragon Wealth Management, we favor sectors and asset classes that perform the best after market bottoms. These include areas such as emerging markets, which can benefit from a snap back in demand not only from the U.S. but from domestic demand as well.
In prior periods, many of these markets were wholly dependant upon the U.S. However, with emerging middle-classes in countries such as Brazil and China the potential for growth is amplified. Sectors that get beat up the most in sell-offs often have the most “snap back” potential.
The Material and Financial sectors really took it on the chin during the last six months and have been roaring back with a vengeance after being severely over-sold. Other areas that perform well during recovery periods are Technology and Small-Cap.
It can be very difficult from a psychological standpoint to get back into the market after a low has been established.
People are so shell-shocked by the bear market that no one believes the rally when it first starts. Many (professional and individuals) wait for a re-test or pull-back to get back in only to have the market steadily clime away from them.
Does this sound familiar?