Jun 022015
 
#108 An Interview with Young Boozer, AL State Treasurer

Today we are honored to have the Alabama State Treasurer, Young Boozer, in our studio for a special interview to discuss the programs that he oversees and how they affect investors and business owners in our state.

Young Boozer’s responsibilities

Young Boozer is in charge of cash management for the state which takes in between $100 and $200 million dollars a day. He oversees the investment of that money which is used to fund the operations of the state. The Alabama State Treasurer is responsible for the state’s bond management, the safe program, the Alabama Trust Fund, unclaimed property, and others totaling over $40 billion dollars in assets.

College Counts 529 Plan

In this video interview, Young Boozer talks with Greg Powell about the impact of interest rates on the state and the role his office plays with the College Counts 529 Plan. He then discusses the advantages of the AL 529 plan and what investors need to know about it.

The ABLE Act for special needs individuals

Young Boozer is actively involved in new legislation that will affect individuals with special needs. In December of 2014, Congress passed the ABLE Act (Achieving a Better Life Experience) which is a 529a. This program establishes an investment account for individuals who have disabilities from birth through age 26. Young Boozer explains the purpose and details of this investment account. New legislation, which has to be passed in AL to offer this to state residents, has passed in the state’s Senate and is now in the House with the goal of it being in place of January 2016.

More information on Young Boozer

More information on all things related to the Alabama State Treasury Office and Young Boozer can be found at http://treasury.alabama.gov/.

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Young Boozer has no affiliation with fi-Plan Partners or LPL Financial.

Greg Powell is President and CEO of fi-Plan Partners, an independent investment firm in Birmingham, AL, serving clients across the nation through financial planning, wealth management and business consulting. fi-Plan Partners creates strategies in the best interest of their clients using both fee based investing and transactional investing.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.
Stock investing involves risk including potential loss of principal.

Mar 092015
 
#94 Positive Market Outlook

Last week there was a lot of volatility in the markets. A strong jobs report came out causing investors eyes to be on the Fed to see if they will raise interest rates. We still believe this will not happen until later in the year.

Support for a positive market

Economic reports were strong as there was a jump in personal income, salary, wages, and consumer spending. Also, the unemployment rate fell to 5.5%. In spite of the good week for the economy the markets went down. From a technical standpoint, the markets look favorable. We are in an area of the market where investors could start to buy bonds. If this happens, interest rates could go up. We believe this still won’t happen for quite a while.

Market reports this week

This week we will see reports on retail sales and the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation. The news media have given a lot of attention to inflation recently, but we are still very concerned about deflation.

Money flows from Europe

The European Central Bank starts its massive bond buy back today and the U.S. should see a lot of that money flow its way. In Europe bonds have a negative yield, which means you are paying the government to hold your money. This is good for the government but not for European investors.

Positive market outlook

The Fed conducted a stress test of the top 31 banks in the country to determine how well they could survive another recession. For the first time since 2009, all 31 banks passed the stress test. This has the potential to turn back on the spigot for commercial and industrial loans, which is important for economic growth. We are seeing the banking system start to normalize again so the quantitative easing can start to flow to the borrower. Combine this with the current low interest rates and it becomes a very positive market outlook.

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Franklin Bradford, CMT
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Franklin Bradford here

Ashley Page, JD, MBA
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Ashley Page here


Bobby Norman, CFP®
Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Bobby Norman here

Trey Booth, CFA®
Vice President
Email Trey Booth here

Positive Market Outlook
fi-Plan Partners is an independent investment firm in Birmingham, AL, serving clients across the nation through financial planning, wealth management and business consulting. fi-Plan Partners creates strategies in the best interest of their clients using both fee based investing and transactional investing.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.
Stock investing involves risk including potential loss of principal. 

Jan 092015
 
How We Create Our Investment Strategies

How do we create investment strategies?

Many of our clients ask us about the process our Portfolio Strategies Team uses to research market trends and how we create our investment strategies.

Our investment strategy process

Our process begins with each of us on the Portfolio Strategies Team conducting our own research and data gathering. Then, picture me walking into our daily team meeting to facilitate the sharing our findings in a bullet point fashion, followed by health debate and brainstorming.

Trends, data and research

Here are some recent bullet points we are debating and researching now:

  • The economic growth, since the recovery began mid-2009, will continue to be lower than previous post recession recoveries.
  • It could be a full 4 years before the Fed is in a position to raise interest rates.
  • The Great Recession still persists for most Americans. Real hourly wages have risen only 0.7% since the recession ended and are 7.5% below the 1973 level.
  • Birth rates continue to fall. Last year the U.S. birth rate was 600,000 below trend.
  • The Fed has used up most of its ways to improve the U.S. economy. The Fed can raise or lower short term interest rates and buy and sell securities. The Fed had hoped quantitative easing would create a rise in stock prices and other asset prices that would inspire consumers and businesses to spend money. That hasn’t really happened.
  • The unemployment numbers are tainted. The government will tell you it is 5.8% but the reality is closer to 13% due to the aging and retirement of baby boomers, as well as discouraged job seekers who have given up.

These are just a small handful of the trends, data and research we are looking at and debating as a team when we are developing investment strategies. As all five of our Portfolio Strategies Team members meet every morning and throughout the day, we are looking at every angle to create investment strategies designed with the goal to grow our clients’ wealth.

New market update

I will have a new market update letter going out to our clients next week with these bullet points and more as we look for new investment strategies. Please email me here or call me at (205) 989-3498 if you would like to talk with me about your investments or market concerns.
Investment Strategies
Greg Powell, CIMA
President/CEO
Wealth Consultant

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Greg Powell is President and CEO of fi-Plan Partners, an independent investment firm in Birmingham, AL, serving clients across the nation through financial planning, wealth management and business consulting. fi-Plan Partners creates strategies in the best interest of their clients using both fee based investing and transactional investing.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.

Stock investing involves risk including potential loss of principal. No strategy ensures success or protects against a loss.

Dec 262014
 
The Catch-22 Of Falling Oil Prices

One of the biggest stories in the news for the past several weeks has been about the demise of the Russian economy and falling oil prices. The cause has many factors all of which are interrelated. The political unrest in Russia stems from falling oil prices but much of this started back in the 80’s.

The biggest problem for Russia

Russia is, and has been, a major exporter of many products from oil to diamonds. Because oil is such a large part of the Russian economy, the recent price drop is hurting them severely. This has caused a fast and tremendous decline of the Russian Ruble.

The catch-22 of low oil prices

Obviously, we all love going to the gas station and buying gas for less but falling oil prices really is a catch-22. For the consumer, it’s great to have low oil prices because it puts more money in their pockets. This can help the economy as consumer confidence and spending rises. These low prices, however, can hurt the economy by keeping new jobs from being created and preventing the purchasing of capital expenditures.

What this means for the investor

As consumers, falling oil prices are great for our day to day lives. For consumers who are also investors, falling oil prices are bringing volatility to the markets which can bring down the value of their portfolio.

You can see why it’s important for investors to keep an eye on their investments and stay up to date on economic news. This is why we have an entire team at fi-Plan Partners dedicated to doing just this for our clients.

We will keep you updated as this catch-22 evolves over time. Please call us with your questions or comments.Falling oil prices

Franklin Bradford, CMT
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Franklin Bradford here

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fi-Plan Partners is an independent investment firm in Birmingham, AL, serving clients across the nation through financial planning, wealth management and business consulting. fi-Plan Partners creates strategies in the best interest of their clients using both fee based investing and transactional investing.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.

Stock investing involves risk including potential loss of principal.

Dec 052014
 
Investing In Energy Stocks

Big moves in energy stocks

Energy stocks have moved greatly since there has been a very big slide in oil prices since the summer. Since June of this year, the price of oil has dropped about 38%, going from $100 per barrel to $66 per barrel. When you have technological ways of doing business breaking down, it disrupts that model. This has happened to the oil industry.

Investing in energy stocks

This means there will be a lot lower input costs for many industries throughout the economy. But you can’t just buy a lot of stock in one particular sector, especially energy stocks. The recent gas drop has helped some oil companies while it has hurt others.

Important characteristics of a energy stock company

The oil companies that will survive this price drop have multiple lines of business, strong balance sheets with low debt and good cash on hand, and a senior management team that can act in a protracted level in a lower cost environment. The oil companies that don’t have these characteristics will lose market value.

Investors should gravitate towards energy stocks of the larger companies that have these components. Investing in energy stocks requires looking at the granular data of companies to assess these and other critical factors.

Do you have questions about your investments in energy stocks or other financial concerns. Feel free to call me at (205) 989-3498 or email me here.

Ashley Page, JD, MBA
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant

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energy stocks
fi-Plan Partners is an independent investment firm in Birmingham, AL, serving clients across the nation through financial planning, wealth management and business consulting. fi-Plan Partners creates strategies in the best interest of their clients using both fee based investing and transactional investing.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.
Stock investing involves risk including potential loss of principal. 

Sep 262014
 
Should You Be Chasing The S&P 500?

Why chase the S&P 500? The answer might surprise you. Many investors use the S&P 500 as a benchmark for their investments. Often, however, this can derail an investor from their life long financial dreams and goals.

Note: Originally posted on November 21, 2013 but still applicable for investors today.
Greg Powell, CIMA
President/CEO
Wealth Consultant

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Chasing the S&P 500