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Yeske Buie Weekend Digest – Feb. 19, 2010

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As another weekend approaches, we decided that it was time for another edition of Yeske Buie’s Weekend Digest. This week’s issue reports on a personal milestone, recent media coverage, and the significance of market milestones. Have a great weekend! The Yeske Buie Team.

Dr. Dave

Dave reached the end of a 13 year journey last week when he officially completed his doctorate in business. His dissertation, titled “Finding the Planning in Financial Planning: An Integrative Framework for Strategy Making by Financial Planners,” proposed and then empirically tested a new framework for thinking about how planners plan. The dissertation has already drawn interest from others in the academic world, with Zvi Bodie, a well-known economist at Boston University, proposing new research to further test some of the implications of Dave’s model.

Wall Street Journal
VOICES: David Yeske, on the Science of Financial Advising

Dave was featured in the VOICES section of the Wall Street Journal’s online edition recently. He had the opportunity to talk about Yeske Buie’s science-based approach to financial planning and investments.

New Webinar Planned!

Yeske Buie, in conjunction with the Delta Group (Elissa and Dave’s study group) will be hosting a presentation by Liz Ann Sonders, the chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab & Co. The webinar will be held on April 6th at 4:00 PM Pacific Time, 7:00 PM Eastern Time. You’ll receive your official invitation in a few weeks.


Milestone Figures Grab Attention, but Their Impact is Hazy

This article has an interesting chart showing the first time the Dow crossed the 10,000 mark in 1999 and the most recent point, in October of last year. Two representative quotes are offered from those two time periods:

1999 “It is a testament to the market’s strength and the underlying strength of the economy.” – Robert Murphy, chief executive of Robb Peck McCooey

2009 “People don’t believe it, they don’t trust it, they are nervous, they are anxious.” – Andy Brooks, head of stock trading at T. Row Price.

It’s worth noting that 10,000 doesn’t have the same meaning in 1999 and 2009. First of all, on an inflation-adjusted basis, 10,000 represents a lower level today than it did ten years ago. Also, and even more significantly, the Dow was a lot more expensive in 1999 than it is now. As measured by the price-to-earnings ratio, in fact, the Dow was TWICE as expensive in 1999 as it is today. So, all other things being equal (and not even thinking about making a prediction here) there has to be more upside and less downside than the last time the Dow crossed this psychological threshold.

FINALLY, notwithstanding talk of a “lost decade,” the fact that the Dow was at 10,000 in 1999 and again in 2009 doesn’t mean you didn’t make any money over that time. Even if you held nothing but the Dow Industrials, you collected dividends over that entire period. And the theoretical average annual rate of return to the Yeske Buie 80/20 portfolio (80% stocks and 20% bonds) over that period was 5.90% (source: Morningstar Principia).

Yeske Buie Weekend Digest 10/30/2009

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With the stock market serving up a little pre-Halloween scare, it seemed like a good time to offer up another edition of the Weekend Digest. From Jeremy Siegel’s defense of “market efficiency” to a discussion of how the demographics of the X and Y generations are going to rescue the portfolios of their Boomer parents, we hope you find something of interest below.

Happy Halloween!

Media Matters

Tough Questions Clients Ask.
Ron Lieber of the New York Times moderated a panel devoted to the “hardest questions that clients ask” at the Financial Planning Association’s recent annual conference in Anaheim. Elissa participated in the panel and was quoted extensively in Lieber’s subsequent write up in the Times.

Read the article.

New Members of the Team!

The Yeske Buie financial planning team has just been expanded by two recent graduates of the financial planning program at Virginia Tech University. In addition to their work as assistant financial planners, Jennifer and Yusuf will be doing Client Service work with Summar’s oversight.

Jennifer Micieli
Jennifer earned a B.S. in Agricultural and Applied Economics with an option in Financial Planning, as well as a minor in Business from the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys writing, reading classics, cooking, dancing, playing tennis, visiting new places, watching Hokie football, and spending time with friends and family.
Yusuf Abugideiri
Yusuf earned a B.S. in Finance in the financial planning track in Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business. Yusuf was an ambassador for the business school and Student Director of Hokie Camp 2009, an orientation and team-building program for incoming freshmen. In his free time, Yusuf enjoys watching football, working out, reading, cooking and eating great food, and spending time with friends and family.


Note on pronunciation

It wasn’t our intent to hire two new employees with last names that could be pronounced a hundred different ways, but here is how their last names are correctly pronounced:

Mi Shell’ Eee

Uh Boo’ Ji Dairy

How to Get Help

And don’t forget that our updated client page (http://clients.yebu.com/) offers a full list of who does what and who you should contact for help with various issues. Contact numbers and email links are available from that page as well.

Academic Hypothesis Not Guilty!

Jeremy Siegel
, writing in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, defends the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH), which many have declared defunct after the meltdown of the past year. Siegel points out, however, that the EMH never claimed that market prices are always right — to the contrary, it implies that prices are mostly wrong — it simply says that there’s no way to know HOW they’re wrong. That is, there’s no way to know whether they’re too high or too low, and thus, our best strategy is to accept the market price as our best estimate of true value.

He further points out that “neither the rating agencies’ mistakes nor the overleveraging by financial firms in subprime securities is the fault of the Efficient Market Hypothesis. The fact that the yields on these mortgages were high despite their investment-grade rating indicated that the market was rightly suspicious of the quality of the securities, and this should have served as a warning to prospective buyers.”

In addition to being a professor of finance at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Siegel is also one of the founders of Wisdom Tree, the company that manages the international mid-cap fund in your portfolio. Also worth noting is that the originator of the Efficient Market Hypothesis, Eugene Fama of the University of Chicago, is a board member and Director of Research for Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA).


Staying Calm in a World of Dark Pools, Dark Doings

Jason Zweig lays out the case for why dark pools and high-frequency traders are our friends. While the sometimes frantic trading of these “professional” players is just noise to the long-term investor, they also serve a valuable function by creating liquidity and lowering transaction costs for everyone.

As Zweig puts it, “As an investor, you are free to choose your own time horizon. If other people want to try to earn a few fractions of a penny, a few thousand times a day, you should wish them well — and refuse to join them.”

Use Demographics to Front-Run Your Children
The Business Insider reports on a little nugget that Tobias Levkovich included in a recent Citi presentation, in which he makes the case that demographic trends will tend to drive the markets higher for the foreseeable future. Levkovich points out that the number of people entering the prime savings years of 35 – 39 is expected to increase well into the future. While there will be a brief dip in the near term, Levkovich suggests that this is really a buying opportunity for Boomers.

I’m not a fan of demographic explanations for market trends (and the economic evidence for such is weak) but this should at least give pause to anyone claiming that the looming retirement of the Baby Boomers bodes ill for the market.

See the chart.

Yeske Buie Weekend Digest 9/25/2009

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We had another great open house on Wednesday in the Vienna office, thanks to everyone who came to see us. The Yeske Buie staff is now looking forward to a restful weekend after an intense fortnight of shuttling back and forth between the two offices. So, before Elissa and Dave drive to Blacksburg to see daughter Lauren at Virginia Tech, we thought we’d share another weekend update.

Have a great weekend!

Odds and Ends

Why bankers are like bacteria.
“WHETHER you call the current financial situation a setback, a crisis or a meltdown, it has had at least one positive effect: financiers are searching for new ways to deal with complex risk. I have a suggestion for them. Look to nature, where analogous problems have already been solved by engineers and computer scientists.” (The New Scientist)

How China Cooks Its Books.

It’s an open secret that China has doctored its financial and economic statistics since the time of Mao. But could it all go south now? (Foreign Policy)

Uncommonly Clever Economic Indicators.
The stock market is a foggy window on the economy. Follow the pink ties and restaurant garbage piles. (Forbes)

How to Get Help

And don’t forget that our updated client page (http://www.yebu.com/portal.htm) offers a full list of who does what and who you should contact for help with various issues. Contact numbers and email links are available from that page as well.

More opinions on the economy

From Bear to Bull. James Grant argues that the latest gloomy forecasts ignore an important lesson of history: The deeper the slump, the zippier the recover (Wall Street Journal) – this link will only be good for 7 days for those who don’t subscribe to the WSJ

The New Normal for Upper-Income Consumers.
The New Normal for upper-income consumers is to spend 37% less. (Gallup).

When Will Real Estate Recover Its Losses?
According to Paul Kedrosky of The Big Picture, it might not be until 2018 or beyond (The Big Picture)

Yeske Buie Weekend Digest 9/18/2009

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We had a great open house on Wednesday and are looking forward to a repeat performance in the Virginia office next Thursday. In celebration, we thought we’d offer up another weekend digest.

Have a great weekend!

Bits and Pieces


Why capitalism fails.
Modern finance creates illusions of stability that will cause capitalism to implode, argued economist Hyman Minsky. Minsky’s reputation—once tarnished—is now being revived as his theories are proving prescient. Maybe his prescriptions will too. (Boston Globe)

Why capitalism succeeds. Man is a born striver. Support that drive with free markets, and communities will end up happier, healthier, and more prosperous, argued philosopher Samuel Johnson. (Wall Street Journal)

The recession is over. One strong indication that always turns up at a recession’s end is capacity utilization. It looks like it bottomed this summer. (Zack’s Investment Research)

How to Get Help

And don’t forget that our updated client page (http://clients.yebu.com/) offers a full list of who does what and who you should contact for help with various issues. Contact numbers and email links are available from that page as well.

Bad Behavior

Maximizing revenues. Menu engineers help restaurants increase sales “by hacking common flaws in human decision-making.” They will strip away dollar signs and “anchor” patrons with a higher-priced item so everything else looks affordable. (Gigaom)

Quant models bypass humans. Geeky formulas won’t work unless they include variables for qualitative elements like trust, social networks, and herding. (New York Times)

The invisible hand at work. Adam’s Smith theory works, but it promotes a competitiveness that forces investors to focus on relative performance and short-term returns. (New York Times)

Happiness is catching. Expanded and deep social networks can keep you and your clients healthier, wealthier, and happier personally and professionally. (New York Times)

Bubbles result from investors behaving badly.
Economists don’t believe in bubbles, but then they don’t understand that investors exhibit different decision-making behavior in different “feedback loops,” writes finance professor Robert Shiller. (Shanghai Daily)

Yeske Buie Weekend Digest 8/14/2009

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As you may have noticed, I took a break from sending out the weekend digest during the month of July. Enough interesting items have now accumulated, however, that I thought it was time to send out a fresh edition.

Have a great weekend!

Media Matters

 

Maximizing Social Security

Dave was just quoted in the August 5 edition of the AARP Bulletin Today in an article discussing little-known strategies for maximizing Social Security benefits. These strategies range from “claim and suspend” — which allows your spouse to claim a “spousal benefit” even while your own benefits continue to grow — to “claim now, claim more later” — which involves claiming a spousal benefit now and then switching to your own, higher benefit later. See the full article.

Flash from the Past
We just stumbled across a Wall Street Journal article from June of 2005 in which Dave warned of the dangers of loading up on real estate. No crystal ball was involved, just the idea that chasing hot assets — “driving with the rear-view mirror” — rarely turns out well in the end. Remaining Cool in a Hot Housing Market.

Yeske Buie on Facebook

Yeske Buie now has a “fan” page on Facebook where we post the occasional item of interest or pearl of wisdom. You don’t have to be a member of Facebook to follow our posts however, as there’s a feed on our website at https://www.facebook.com/YeskeBuie/

Recent Recognition

In addition to being recognized by Wealth Advisor Magazine as one of the top wealth management firms in the country, Yeske Buie was also named a Top Registered Investment Advisor by Financial Advisor Magazine.

How to Get Help

And don’t forget that our updated client page (http://clients.yebu.com/) offers a full list of who does what and who you should contact for help with various issues. Contact numbers and email links are available from that page as well.

The Virtues of Muddling Through

David Brooks wrote an interesting piece last week in which he describes the “Wise Muddling Through” that allowed Fed and Treasury officials to guide the country through a recession that might have turned into another great depression, even as they continuously underestimated the size and scope of the problem.

In many ways, there are financial lessons for individuals in all of this. Coping with a sometimes chaotic environment requires the ability to adjust, adapt, and muddle through. This might involve the use of safe-withdrawal-rates, spending adjustments, or dipping into emergency reserves, but most of all, it means adapting to reality as it unfolds around us. Read the Brooks column.

What? Me Worry?

Tim Bond, writing in the Financial Times two weeks ago, tells us that it’s “Time to stop worrying and learn to love the recovery.” Bond notes that “never has a bull market climbed a steeper wall of worry,” and then goes on to declare that “pessimistic expectations are likely to collide with the economic reality of a strong recovery.”

Just to keep things balanced, we note that Wall Street retail analyst Kristin Bentz told tech ticker that “Americans are willing to do with less and aren’t going to be so easily seduced by retail,” so “you can kiss that talk of a ‘V’ shaped recovery good-bye.” Read the article.

Boston University economist Zvi Bodie told me yesterday that such analyses just shows that “nobody knows,” and what we need instead of a crystal ball is “an early warning system, a rapid-response system, and a risk-management system.” At its best, the financial planning process helps us to install all three.

Quote of the Week

But this is not a story of failure. It’s a story of effective muddling through. Bernanke & Co. never really got control of events. But they did avert disaster and committed only a few big blunders. In the real world, that counts as a job well done.

David Brooks

Yeske Buie Weekend Digest 6/26/2009

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There was a particularly rich batch of interesting (and sometimes conflicting) opinion on offer this week regarding the direction of the economy and the markets. We’ve culled the best of the bunch for your weekend reading. Enjoy!

And have a great weekend!

Financial Tools on the Web

Budgeting

www.Mint.com, a powerful, free online tool

www.Quicken.intuit.com, online version of popular software package

Charities

check them out before you give

www.CharityNavigator.org

www.Dmachoice.org (to cut down on junk mail)

www.Give.org

www.Guidestar.org

Credit Cards

www.Bankrate.com

www.Cardtrak.com, comparison shopping site

www.Cardratings.com, comparison shopping site

www.FederalReserve.gov/pubs/shop, Federal Reserve information on choosing a card


Travel

www.FareCompare.com, shows the lowest recent fare for a route

www.Expedia.com, major travel-shopping site

www.Hotels.com, you can guess what this one’s about

www.Travelocity.com, major travel shopping site


Student Loans and Financial Aid

www.CollegeBoard.com, look for the Pay for College section

www.FAFSA.gov, the site for the crucial financial-aid form

www.FastWeb.com, comprehensive scholarship information

How to Get Help

And don’t forget that our updated client page (http://clients.yebu.com/) offers a full list of who does what and who you should contact for help with various issues. Contact numbers and email links are available from that page as well.

Wither the Economy and Markets?

Writing in the New York Times, economist and former Federal Reserve governor Alan Blinder explains why recent Fed moves to stimulate the economy are not necessarily inflationary. Adding to banks’ reserves doesn’t cause inflation unless banks are lending those reserves, something that isn’t happening right now. And as long as Fed Chair Ben Bernanke follows through on his plans to soak up those excess reserves once sustained growth is on the horizon, there’s no reason to believe that an inflation surge is inevitable. Economic View: Why Inflation Isn’t the Danger

Former Fed Chief Alan Greenspan, meanwhile, believes that inflation may reappear in 2012, depending on money supply, housing prices, and investor psychology. Inflation – the real threat to sustained recovery.

Mark Hulbert, writing in MarketWatch, notes that companies are engaged in record share offerings, usually a sign of poor market performance to come. Interestingly, several analysts who subscribe to this inverse relationship remain “cautiously bullish.” Supply and Demand.

The Conference Board reported that the US Index of Leading Economic Indicators has risen for the second month in a row. The Board is now predicting that the economy will be back on a (slow) growth path before the end of the year. Leading indicators for every major economy except Japan rose last month. The Report. The Conference Board.

Interviewed by Knowledge @ Wharton.com, Jeremy Siegel predicts another 15-20% rise in stock prices by year’s end. The Market Will Stage Another Recovery.

Fareed Zakariah, writing in Newsweek, notes that every other crisis in the 20th Century led to massively expanded opportunities. This time is not different.

The Capitalist Manifesto: Greed is Good.

When the current crisis is over, the reputation of American-style capitalism will have taken a beating—not least because of the gap between what Washington practices and what it preaches. Disillusioned developing nations may well turn their backs on the free market, warns Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz, posing new threats to global stability and U.S. security. Wall Street’s Toxic Message

Human Nature Today

“Has there ever been a time when there were so many different views of human nature floating around all at once? The economists have their view, in which rational people coolly chase incentives. Traditional Christians have their view, emphasizing original sin, grace and the pilgrim’s progress in a fallen world. And then there are the evolutionary psychologists, who get the most media attention.”

read David Brooks’ entire column

Quote of the Week

The allure of evolutionary psychology is that it organizes all behavior into one eternal theory, impervious to the serendipity of time and place. But there’s no escaping context. That’s worth remembering next time somebody tells you we are hardwired to do this or that.

David Brooks

Yeske Buie Weekend Digest 6/12/2009

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We seem to have reached an interesting juncture in this current recession. On the one hand, there are a growing number of signs that the worst is behind us and we can begin to see a glimmer of recovery on the horizon. On the other hand, there’s reason to believe that our world going forward will be very different from the one we lived in before the crash. In this week’s digest, we’ve included articles discussing those encouraging green shoots, as well as some thoughtful writing about the the challenges to come. We also offer up some of the more interesting web-based tools for managing your credit and dealing with family loans. Have a great weekend!

Media Matters

Elissa was recently selected for inclusion in Northern Virginia Magazine’s 2009 list of “Expert Financial Advisors.”

The magazine’s list of independent financial advisors was culled from Wealth Magazine’s “Top Dog” list and information provided by the Financial Planning Association’s National Capitol Chapter. Elissa and Yeske Buie were among 15 of the listed firms to have appeared in the “Top Dog” list.

See the full list.

Financial Tools on the Web

Credit scores are under pressure these days, and yet they’ve never been more important as lenders continue to tighten standards. A new website, CreditKarma.com, not only offers the ability to get your score for free, but will point out the factors that went into the score and suggest ways for improving it.

And speaking of lenders, many people are finding themselves in that role with cash-strapped family members who have found it harder to borrow during the recession. One good way to manage those loans (and preserve good feelings within the family!) is to set up loans using Virgin Money. Not only will Virgin Money manage the collection and tracking of all loan payments, but you can even choose to have payments reported to the major credit bureaus, creating the opportunity to heal damaged credit histories.

Identity Theft

Just a reminder that we’ve posted an article on our website (“Guarding Against Identity Theft“) on how to protect yourself from identity theft.

How to Get Help

And don’t forget that our updated client page (http://clients.yebu.com/) offers a full list of who does what and who you should contact for help with various issues. Contact numbers and email links are available from that page as well.

More Green Shoots

Citing signals from a new USA TODAY/IHS Global Insight economic outlook index, IHS’s Nariman Behravesh said “we’re two to three months away from an upturn.” David Wyss, chief economist for Standard and Poor’s agrees: “We see a bottom in the fall, but there’s a lot of risk attached to that.”

The new index is based on 11 forward-looking economic and financial indicators that predict future GDP growth.

http://usat.me/?35319490

And in the Federal Reserve report released Wednesday, known as the Beige Book, there were signs that the economy’s downward slide is easing, suggesting that the worst of the recession is over.

http://usat.me/?35315644

A study conducted by JennisonDryden and released through Prudential Investment Management, meanwhile, suggests that whenever we have a period in which 10-year rolling returns of the S&P 500 are 5% or less (the last 10 years qualify), the following decade produces higher than average returns. Since 1929, such periods have produced returns that averaged 15% a year.

Muted Returns and Good News

In another study, the same research firm notes that small company stocks have outperformed large company stocks following the last nine recessions. Reasons cited for this behavior include a greater sensitivity to changes in business conditions resulting in more rapid growth during the early stages of an economic expansion.

Small Caps Lead the Way

The World to Come

David Brooks, writing in today’s New York Times (“The Great Unwinding”), observes the explosive growth in public and private debt, pointing out that the ratio of debt to disposable income grew from 55% to 133% between 1960 and 2007. And while Americans aren’t borrowing as before, the accumulated debt lingers on. Reuven Glick and Kevin Lansing of the San Francisco Fed point out that Americans would have to raise household savings rates from 4% to 10% by 2018 in order to restore the balance.

The implications for public policy are clear, but whether or not our elected officials can make the hard calls, asking Americans to sacrifice a lifestyle that depended on easy credit and little concern for saving, is far from certain.

Read the full essay.

Quote of the Week

The members of the Obama administration fully understand this and are brimming with good ideas about how to move from a bubble economy to an investment economy. Finding a political strategy to accomplish this, however, is proving to be very difficult. And getting Congress to move in this direction might be impossible.

David Brooks, The Great Unwinding

Yeske Bue Weekend Digest 5/22/2009

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Memorial Day weekend is upon us and we hope you’ve made plans to do something fun for the weekend. In honor of the coming holiday, we’ve devoted this issue of the Weekend Digest to all things Memorial Day. Have a great weekend!

Media Matters

Scott Simon, writing for Morningstar Advisor a few years ago, called upon financial planners to embrace the solemn responsibilities of a fiduciary. In doing so, he invokes the sacrifices of those in the military who we honor on Memorial Day and asks:

“In these times when we are asking men and women in uniform all over the globe to lay down their lives to defend America and to help build a better world, is it too much to ask that each of us do our utmost to help create an America imbued with the ideals for which so many of our countrymen shed their blood through the ages?”

Scott then does Dave the honor of quoting from his national conference speech in Philadelphia, where he called upon his fellow financial planners to aspire to the highest standard of conduct in their work with clients.

How to Get Help

And don’t forget that our updated client page (http://clients.yebu.com/) offers a full list of who does what and who you should contact for help with various issues. Contact numbers and email links are available from that page as well.

Some Memorial Day Facts

* Memorial Day began at the end of the Civil War. Waterloo, N.Y., is considered the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
* General Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, established May 30, 1868 for “decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.” The holiday was initially known as Decoration Day.
* It’s customary to fly the flag at half mast until noon and then raise it until sunset on Memorial Day.
* A World War I poem inspired the wearing of red artificial “buddy poppies” on Memorial Day, which you can buy from VFW vets.
* In 2000, Congress established a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, asking Americans to pause for one moment in national unity.

Things to do on Memorial Day

* Attend a morning memorial service at your local cemetery.
San Francisco Events
Northern Virginia Events
* Place flags and flowers at the grave sites.
* Buy and wear a VFW poppy.
* Write a note to an active-duty soldier.
* Fly the U.S. flag.
* Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance.
* Thank a veteran.

Quote of the Week

Instead of providing a quote, we’re going to recommend that you visit the Library of Congress site devoted to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Yeske Buie Weekend Digest 5/8/2009

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Mother’s Day arrives this Sunday, so I hope you’ve prepared for the big day. If you’re looking for a no-cost gift, consider making “Mom Checks” that you can fill out with chores you’d be willing to perform. Mom can then cash them in whenever the spirit moves her (and be sure to leave some lying around for your kids to find). Have a great weekend!

Media Matters

The Live Big List just keeps getting bigger! In fact, one of the reporters we work with at Businessweek, Lauren Young, wrote about it on the BusinessWeek website a few weeks ago, offering a few suggestions of her own. Dozens more were posted by her readers. Check out Lauren’s blog on BusinessWeek.com.

Lauren also quoted Dave in the latest issue of BusinessWeek. She was writing about unique benefits you can sometimes get by working with a financial advisor. Among other things, she notes the fact that we’re able to get access for our clients to the institutional portfolios of Dimensional Fund Advisors. These funds normally have a minimum initial investment of $5 million each, but our relationship with DFA allows us to access them on behalf of clients in any increment, no matter how small.

How to Get Help

And don’t forget that our updated client page (http://clients.yebu.com/) offers a full list of who does what and who you should contact for help with various issues. Contact numbers and email links are available from that page as well.

Buffet-Mania

And no, I’m not talking about Jimmy Buffet but the Oracle of Omaha himself. The annual shareholder meeting for Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet’s main holding company, was held last weekend and it led to the usual Buffet-mania:

A Back to Basics Weekend With Warren Buffet. Opening quote: “If you have a 150 I.Q., sell 30 points to someone else. You need to be smart, but not a genius.”

Is Warren Buffet Brilliant or Lucky? Answer: A little bit of both.

Here’s the Story on Berkshire’s Munger. Learn all about Warren’s 85-year-old partner, Charlie Munger.

While we’re not stock pickers like Buffet, we do have at least one thing in common: an abiding faith in the virtues of value investing.

Quote of the Week

“Wall Street needs to recognize that its proper role is, as it has been in the past, to follow the real economy, rather than trying to drive it. During the housing bubble, the financial sector essentially tried to create reality. Now’s the time for it to respond to reality instead.”

James Surowiecki writing in the New Yorker

Yeske Buie Weekend Digest 5/1/2009

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Today is the first day of May, also known as May Day. Depending on your state of mind, that phrase might refer to a distress call, a Marxist celebration, or the day we all dance around the maypole. On this particular Friday, I think we’ve earned the right to dance. Have a great weekend!

Changes under way at DFA

You should have received proxy voting materials from Dimensional Fund Advisors by now. You’re being asked to elect the Boards of Directors of Dimensional’s four investment companies and to vote on proposals which are intended to increase the funds’ abilities to attract and retain the best Directors and enhance the funds’ operating efficiencies in numerous ways, such as standardizing investment restrictions across multiple funds, creating greater flexibility in cash management for multiple funds, and minimizing costs associated with redemptions. These proposals will also simplify the funds’ prospectuses, making the investment process, the investment restrictions, and the associated risks more consistent across all of DFA’s strategies.

Yeske Buie is recommending that all of our clients vote in favor of these changes, which we believe will enhance fund efficiency and lower expenses, among other benefits.

To find more information and/or vote, go online.

How to Get Help

And don’t forget that our updated client page (http://clients.yebu.com/) offers a full list of who does what and who you should contact for help with various issues. Contact numbers and email links are available from that page as well.

25 Years to Bounce Back? Try 4 1/2

Mark Hulbert, editor of the Hulbert Financial Digest, pointed out in the New York Times last Sunday that the stock market recovered from the lows following the 1929 crash in a mere 4 1/2 years, not the 25 years so often reported. What accounts for the discrepency? The more pessimistic analysis fails to take into account three critical factors: dividends, deflation, and the distinction between the Dow Jones Industrial Index and the market as a whole. Check it out and see what you think.

12 Reasons to be optimistic

Economist Ed Yardeni offered up his list of 12 reasons for optimism in the Wall Street Journal this week. Reason #11: “Condé Nast has decided to shutter Portfolio after two years of struggle. The introduction of the glitzy magazine about Wall Street launched in the spring of 2007 marked the end of the bull market. Now its demise may mark the end of the bear market.” See the other eleven reasons.

IDTT: It’s Different This Time

Or is it? As Mark Twain said, “history may not repeat, but it sure rhymes.” Robert Arnott and John West examine the evidence of the past year and conclude: yes, it’s different in the short-run, but not in the long-run. And that means it’s time to be a contrarian.

Quote of the Day

“We know that what is comfortable is rarely profitable … and the most profitable opportunities are often the most uncomfortable investments to make. For this reason, contrarians form a disproportionate share of the world’s all-time greatest investors.”

Robert Arnott and John West


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson