Fee-Only Financial Planning in North Carolina

Contact Us at: (919) 228-6312

Monthly Archives: September 2008

American Funds Update. Did we kill 12b-1?

All of you are familiar with 12b-1 fees (being clients of mine). Last month, we sent an email to Kiplinger’s editor and the author of their article on how great American Funds are.  Our email complained that American Funds was essentially shifting $2.7-2.8B/yr from the investing public to the brokerage industry via their 12b-1 fees. It could be that Kiplinger spoke with American Funds about […] Read the rest of this entry »

How is Europe?

We have always maintained larger non-US positions in client portfolios than most asset managers. Clients have benefitted as a result of the slide in the value of the US Dollar. Recently, the dollar made a small gain in value against it’s major trading partners. We do not anticipate a continued rally in the US dollar because there are so many systemic financial problems in […] Read the rest of this entry »

US Housing update

Sales of new homes have plunged nearly 60% from their 2005 levels, and are stabilizing. Sales of existing homes stabilized last fall. From comparison to previous housing cycles, we should be at the bottom, but we may be bounce along the bottom for a while. Previous cycles have housing peaking at 5.5% of GDP, then troughing at 3.5% of GDP. In this most recent […] Read the rest of this entry »

US Auto Bailout

The US auto manufacturers are playing the “me-too” card with Washington. They are expecting to be bailed out just as banks and brokerages have over the past year. Fair logic. A bad idea though.                          It is no secret that American auto manufacturers have been losing market share for decades. It may also not come as news that this is a very tough year […] Read the rest of this entry »

Fanny & Freddie update

Last month’s issue contained an article on Fannie & Freddie. Well, their stock continues to get pummeled – down 22-24% on Aug 18th alone.  This brings their past 12 month stock performance to a loss approaching 95%. There are now reports that existing share-holders will be wiped out as the odds are increasing that Fannie & Freddie become nationalized. This news rattled equity markets […] Read the rest of this entry »

Merrill update

A picture is worth a thousand words.  Recently you were sent an email about Merrill “being in danger of failure”. The non-remote  chance of this is pummeling Merrill’s stock, which in-turn hurts the company since they have to pay penalty payments to their new shareholders (that helped bail the company out in the spring of this year).   Merrill is paying a rather large […] Read the rest of this entry »

Avoid Russia

We began writing this article a week prior to the conflict between Russia & Georgia. Our view of Russia has obviously not improved… In general, mutual funds with large Russian exposure have done very well over the past 10 years. This is in no small part to the rise in Russian GDP from their wealth in petroleum & natural gas. With Asian economies growing at an […] Read the rest of this entry »

American Funds. The pride & shame.

We read an interesting article in this month’s Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine about the investment giant – American Funds.   disclosure note: of the 25+ ETFs & mutual funds we have used, one is from American Funds: Growth Fund of America (AGTHX.lw). The lw stands for load waived (no commission). It falls in asset class: US Large Cap Growth. Unfortunately, it has a 12b-1 fee of 0.25%. This […] Read the rest of this entry »