Below are articles that have appeared in various publications. These articles will be update periodically.
Investment Magazine Inc.
Has anyone seen my Beatle? Hey I admit it. I drove a VW Bug in the late 70s. Not only was it kind of cool, it got great gas mileage. I probably got something like 45 miles per gallon under ideal conditions. Man that car would run like the wind and was great on a student’s budget and gas was less than $1 a gallon.
The Volkswagen Beatle’s success was the result of the oil shock in the 70s. Starting in 1977 through 1981 auto manufacturers filled showrooms with small cars. The average fuel economy on these new models rocketed 41% in four short years. As a result gasoline demand dropped, OPEC couldn’t hold the cartel together and oil from the North Sea and Alaska flooded the markets, and prices at the pump plummeted. For the next 25 years SUVs and trucks took over the roads, and consumption of the cheap rose at an annual rate of 3%. OK, guess what happened next? The average fuel economy from 1988 to 2005 fell from 23.4 mpg to 20.8 mpg.
I have no idea where gas prices are headed or what’s going to happen with inflation. What I do know is preparation beats perspiration on any given day. That is not the same Volkswagen I see parked at the mall in Buckhead and this is not your fathers stock market. The economy is much different today then it was in the 70s and the conditions that drive the financial markets are different. How are you going to prepare? Is your 401k where it should be? Are you financially fit to retire within the next few years?
Years of domination by the big three auto makers are perhaps gone forever and sitting back waiting for social security and your pension to carry you through retirement is an obsolete strategy at best. You are your back up plan and its time to make sure your plan is in proper financial order.
1) Establish a relationship with a financial planner
To many of us a financial planner is a foreign word, it's not. This is someone who can help you shape your financial future. Someone that will help you put your financial house on order. It’s never too late to plan. A good financial plan today is better than an excellent one tomorrow.
2) Schedule a tax review with your CPA
Don’t just drop off your taxes with the Tax man on the corner. Go visit with a CPA. Someone who can help you plan ahead. Choose someone who understands your tax situation and will make proactive recommendations.
3) Update your will ( or create a will )
Far too few of us have current legal Wills. You need to have a current legal Will that reflects your wishes and desires for such time when you are not around to express your wills and desires.
4) Get an insurance review
That old ten thousand policies were great when you first took it out 20 years ago, but times and situations have changed. Visit an insurance professional who can review your old polices and advise you on any current insurance needs if needed.
5) Speak to your banker about your current mortgage rate
Interest rates have changed 17 times over the last two years. These interest rate changes have had a direct impact on mortgage rates. Speak with a Mortgage Broker about your current rate and if there are any advantages in you considering refinancing your mortgage loan.
6) Review your credit rating
When was the last time you reviewed your credit score? Well maybe it's time. You might want to know what it will cost you to borrow money in the future.
You don’t want to be caught of guard like the current auto industry was. For years the auto industry proved it could stop and turn on a dime to meet market demands. For years folks sat back and did little in the way of planning their retirement. Well times have changed and you have got to change with the times.
Eventually I believe Detroit will catch up with the rest of the world, I believe that energy prices will fall back down to earth, and I also believe the financial markets will return to averaging double digit returns soon. However in the mean time I will continue to diversify my financial portfolio and drive my new Mini Cooper.
written by Dennis Hinton
Atlanta Business Journal
Fed Chair Ben Bernanke and cohorts will keep the cheap money flowing into our capital markets but will it be enough to calm anxiety on Wall Street? I have no idea. Could we see further fall out from the Sub-prime mess? I don’t know. What I do know is from the dawn of time there has been periods of outstanding economic growth followed by over exuberance that led to borrowing large sums of money with often blind optimism of timely payback. Reality kicks in and you have fallout. Debtors are forced to surrender their collateral and their pride. Unlike the 1800s when creditors were permitted to torture debtors times are much different, today blame for bad risk-taking is so spread out its hard to know who to punish.
So as we wait out the current turbulence in the stock market I will look to find value. I will try and capitalize on this downturn by investing into quality positions as they present themselves.
Please contact me with any questions you may have.
written by Dennis Hinton