Aging actors, questionable endorsements and Gatlinburg, TN

As we ended our vacation with a final night in Gatlinburg, TN in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, I was taken aback by the visual and audio assaults of what I consider to be less than desirable venues. These venues were a distraction from the beauty of the area and were kind of like a permanent carnival on steroids. That being said, as parents, my wife and I made sure that the ridiculous enticements, being bantered about like a carnival barker, did not draw us or our kids in to throwing good money after bad.   

Similarly, we are barraged daily with advertisements from once famous actors touting the advantages of owning gold, various insurance programs and reverse mortgages. It's great they are still working, but my respect for their acting ability is quickly diminished when they read from scripts that make claims that anyone with common sense would find less than truthful. Honestly, in some of these ads, they may as well be selling a map to Ponce De Leon's Fountain of Youth or to the secret land of unicorns. 

Just to give you a real life example, I had a client going through a career change and during our meeting he mentioned that he had refinanced his mortgage this past spring with a new 10-year mortgage. He and his wife want to have the house paid off before retirement. They both feel good about their plan, especially since it was a friend of theirs from their bank who helped them with obtaining the loan. Unfortunately, and again, this is my opinion, this "friend" did them no favors. I say this because the interest rate their "friend," obtained for them, on a mortgage, that closed less than four months ago, was approximately 3% higher than what was available from the mortgage professional we currently use. 

My opinions are based upon innumerable stories like this, along with other experiences and research I've read. I believe when it comes to advertisements, especially those targeting older individuals, the motto; "buyer beware" rings truer today than ever before. As a matter of fact, in the past week, a relative of mine was told that they needed a new furnace and air conditioner to the tune of $7,000. However, after talking with another HVAC professional I recommended, they found a repair solution that cost only $1,400 and they are good to go for now. 

As you know, one of my passions is obtaining honest, fair and good deals for you (my clients), and I hate seeing anyone miss a good opportunity or even worse, be taken advantage. Any savings we can find is just money in your pocket, and you can be assured that I and my staff do our best to look out for your best interests. As such, I am very blessed to know and work with many competent and trustworthy professionals in many industries; accounting, legal, consultants, bankers, contractors, etc. They are great resources we can provide you when you have a need or questions regarding issues that affect your personal finances or pocketbook. If the need, question or second opinion arises, feel free to let us know how we can be of service. 

 

Points to Ponder 

"It is important to recognize that results in the short term reflect a lot of randomness. Even skillful managers will slump, and unskillful managers will shine. But over the long haul, good process wins."

                        Michael Mauboussin, Daily News & Analysis June 4, 2012

"Contrarians should note that equity mutual fund outflows the first two weeks of May were almost triple the first 5-month average, which was a records, i.e., even greater than the first five months of 2008/2009!"

                        Ed Hyman, ISI Weekly Economic Report, May 29, 2012

"The public will only consider equities once they start to lose money in bonds. In an era of financial repression, this might take a long time but this moment will arrive just the same."

                        Jason Trennert, Straregas Investment Strategy Viewpoint, May 25, 2012

Interest "Rates must go substantially higher before bonds can challenge the return on stocks."

                        Jeremy Siegel, Kiplinger's Magazine, June 2012

"It's never as good as you think it is when it's great, and never as bad as you think it is when it's bad."

                        Preston Athey, Barron's, June 16, 2012

"Adjusted for inflation, current oil prices are below the levels that existed thirty years ago."

                        William Strauss, Economic Outlook, April 26, 2012

"Better to buy a great business at a fair price than a fair business at a great price."

                        Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway executive

My, how things have changed! "In the fourth quarter of 1984, there were 32 FDIC-insured banks with assets greater than $10 billion, and they controlled 27.50% of the nation's banking system. In the fourth quarter of 2011, there were 107 banks with assets greater than $10 billion, and they controlled 79.60% of the nation's banking assets."

                        Jim Grant, Grant's Interest Rate Observer, May 18, 2002

 

Quotes 

"The ultimate test of a relationship is to disagree but hold hands."

                        Alexander Penney 

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult."

                        Seneca 

"You can't have rosy thoughts about the future when your mind is full of blues of the past."

                        E.C. MeKenzie 

"The problem with retirement is that you can't leave all your problems at the office."

                        Author Unknown

 

 

Tony Moeller, CPA 

The information listed in this commentary is a compilation of various publicly available sources and is for informational purposes only.  It is not a recommendation or solicitation of any particular investment or strategy.  A risk of loss is involved with investments in the stock and bond markets.  

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