Apr 032014
 

Michael Lewis book, Flash Boys

Why is high frequency trading the hot topic?

The current hot topic is Michael Lewis’s book, “Flash Boys” where he talks about high frequency trading. Lewis tells how certain traders have developed a strategy to take advantage of information to benefit their investments. It’s controversial because some people think this type of trading is legal while regulators and the general public do not.

Should you be concerned about high frequency trading?

In one way you do need to be concerned about high frequency trading. I believe the markets need to be fair to everybody and not favor anyone. However, if you are a long term investor, the day to day trading strategies of the over all market, like high frequency trading, do not really affect you. High frequency trading can cause volatility in the market. Some people are debating that high frequency trading has caused the market to go higher, but the jury is still out.

Reality for the long term investor

If you are a long term investor, you will hold on to certain stocks for many years. High frequency trading then, will not impact you because you are going for the overall long term return.

My personal opinion

I still believe that the financial markets are still the best place to invest and grow your net worth. Can we guarantee that? No. But the the kind of strategies and investing we do here at fi-Plan Partners is not day trading so we are not worried about high frequency trading.

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Please send me your questions or comments below

If you would like to talk about your personal investment strategy, please send me a comment below, email me here or call me at (205) 989-3498.

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.

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Mar 242014
 

Your first move

Tax season is here. If you are an investor, you may be looking for information on how taxes can impact your investments. We encourage our clients to have their CPA contact us so we can work together to develop strategies to keep their taxes down and keep more money in their pockets.

Tax loss strategies

When we are looking at how taxes can impact your investments, we often consider tax loss selling. It’s one thing to have good returns on your portfolio, it’s another to make sure you don’t loose those returns in taxes. There are other strategies that can be implemented but you need to start as soon as possible.

Where most investors fail

The sad reality is that a lot of investors will lament over whether to implement these strategies. They eventually run out of time and their CPA has to file their taxes. This kind of decision really needs to be discussed in the fourth quarter of that year. It is during the fourth quarter when when we are having conversations with our clients about any tax loss selling or other strategies that can be implemented.
How Taxes can impact your investments

What to do now

You might not be able to change how your taxes will impact your investments this year but you can start making plans for 2014. You can begin evaluating where you need to be now so the next time you will be able to keep more of your returns from your investments.

What your financial advisor should do

I am a big believer that financial advisors should not only be doing financial planning, but they also should be coordinating with the CPA of their clients as well as other professionals. It all works together and the sooner you understand that, the far better off you will be in your life to achieving your goals. Give me a call or email me if your advisor is not doing this for you. I would be delighted to talk with you.

Greg PowellGreg Powell, CIMA
President/CEO
Wealth Consultant

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.

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Mar 172014
 

  1. Start saving saving for college now
  2. A normal part of our financial planning and wealth consulting practice is to guide our clients through successful college planning and the admissions process. Preparing for a child’s college education can often be families biggest expense. The foundation of successful college planning is to start saving as early as possible. As in any goal, the earlier you start preparing, the better. In fact, it is never to soon to start planning for a child’s college education.

  3. Look at several colleges
  4. successful college planningEven if your child has a specific college chosen, it’s advisable to visit many other colleges as you begin the process. By talking with the admission counselors of other colleges, your child will be better prepared to meet with the counselor from their college of choice.

  5. Guide your child towards what will make the biggest financial impact
  6. The number one factor that will impact your child’s acceptance and financial burden will be their grades. However, that is not the only thing colleges are looking for in potential students. Successful college planning involves knowing that colleges are looking for well rounded students because that means well rounded alumni. Well rounded alumni usually mean they will come back often to the campus and support the college financially.

    To a school of higher learning, a “well rounded student” means they are involved in their community and in other areas in their school besides sports. This could be anything from student government, non profit work, and the Boy’s or Girl Scouts.

  7. Start the application process with a purpose
  8. A student should start the application process no later the summer after their sophomore year in high school. This will allow the student to start building a relationship with the admissions counselors.

  9. Know the process
  10. This process is also the responsibility of the student. The parents do not need to drive this process. This is a valuable learning time for the student and a admissions counselor will be more impressed interacting with the student.

  11. Talk with an experienced financial advisor
  12. Quint CookWe have guided many families through successful college planning. We know the specific questions to ask you and your child to help your family have confidence you are doing all you can to lessen the anxiety of college planning.

So what are you anxieties and questions about successful college planning? Please send me a comment below. I will respond directly to you. I would be delighted to talk with you more about your child’s dreams and goals and how we can help you guide them.

Quint Cook
Executive Vice President
Wealth Consultant

Quint Cook is Executive Vice President and Wealth Consultant at fi-Plan Partners, an independent investment firm in Birmingham, AL, serving clients across the nation through financial planning, wealth management and business consulting. Quint has more that 20 years in the financial industry. fi-Plan Partners creates strategies in the best interest of their clients using both fee based investing and transactional investing.
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Mar 102014
 

Value investing recap

In an earlier vlog I talked about value stocks. Value investing is a strategy where you buy a stock worth more than what you pay for it.

growth stocks image

Are growth stocks a good investment?

Growth stocks

Investing in growth stocks differs from value investing and can be a excellent part of your investment portfolio strategy. Buying growth stocks involves buying a stock and hoping it will grow to be more than your purchase price. Investors will use a variety of metrics to figure out whether or not it has a good chance of growing.

Growth stock metrics

Metrics used in determining the potential of a growth stock include the speed of growth for sales and earnings. It also considers how quickly customers are inquiring about the product or service.

Franklin Bradford, CMT
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant

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Franklin Bradford is a Chartered Market Technician and part of the Portfolio Strategies Team at 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.

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Mar 032014
 

How to invest

When thinking about how to invest in this current market, we can be guided by the legendary coach, John Wooden. He said, “Move quickly but prudently.” Financial indicators are coming from the Fed, congress and the global markets. That is a lot of information to filter when you are thinking about how to invest your money. Our Portfolio Strategy Team is constantly watching and analyzing all these variables. We are constantly in a position to move quickly but prudently.

How to invest

Investing quickly but prudently

Sometimes you don’t want to move too fast because the change in the markets are temporary. This is what we’ve seen with the latest turndown. However, there are other times when it will take much longer for the market to turn back and in those times we believe you need to prudently move to cash.

We are not market timers but we are constantly watching the markets so our client’s portfolios will not take a beating in a downturn. We work with our clients to make adjustments to their portfolios based on these circumstances.

Greg Powell, CIMA
President/CEO
Wealth Consultant
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.

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Feb 122014
 

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There are two types of investing strategies

People constantly ask us if we we do fee based investing or transactional investing. In reality, they are asking how we charge our fees. This is a common and highly misunderstood question in the financial industry.

Fee based investing

Fee based investing is where you place your money in a portfolio and a percentage is charged to manage that money. That percentage is not based on trades made in the portfolio but on its value. The theory of fee based investing is that when the portfolio goes up the client and the advisor make more money. It’s a win/win situation, but if the portfolio goes down, both feel the pain.

The “Purist” will say you should only do fee based investing but I disagree. I disagree because of our ethics and values. When we know at fi-Plan Partners that a client’s money is going to be moved around a lot, fee based investing is in their best interest.

A case for transactional investing

Let’s say a client has tax free bonds. Tax free bonds are held for 10 years or more. In this case it would not be in the client’s best interest to put that in a fee based investing portfolio where it would get charged a quarterly fee when it’s just sitting there. Transactional investing is in the best interest of the client as it saves them quarterly fees. We believe that’s ethical as we are not charging the client just to stare at something. The same applies to highly concentrated stocks and there are other scenarios.

What is the best interest of the client?

The question, “What is best for the client; fee based investing or transactional investing?” is not the right question. The correct question is, “What strategy is in the best interest of the client?” Both fee based investing and transactional investing should be designed to be in the best interest of the client.

Greg Powell pictureThere are those that put marketing spins on this to influence investors. At fi-Plan Partners we educate our clients to understand the difference between transactional and fee based investing so they can understand the fees. Then, we analyze what is the most cost effective strategy for the client. We think that is fair.

What do you think? Please send me a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions.

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.

Find out more at http://www.fiplanpartners.com.

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