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  • The Most Successful Public Company In The World

    Today we focus on the most successful and profitable company in the entire world. It just happens to be an American company, but many of us have never heard of it. If you had invested $1 in this company in 1968, your investment would have soared to $6,638 at the end of last year. I think you’ll be surprised to see which company this is.

    Following that discussion, I will address the growing trend of “socially-responsible” investing. That is, not investing in so-called “sin” stocks such as tobacco, alcohol, gambling, firearms, etc. A new report from Credit Suisse points out that there is a cost associated with socially-responsible investing – in the form of lower performance returns.

    I bring this to your attention, not in an attempt to discourage it, but to point out that there is a cost involved in “politically-correct” investing. In my 35+ years in the financial business, I have never seen an analysis that compares socially-responsible investing to investing in so-called sin stocks. I think you’ll find it very interesting.

    But before we jump into those topics, I want to briefly revisit the likelihood that the Federal Communications Commission, under orders from President Obama, will vote a week from Thursday to take control of our precious Internet. It now looks inevitable that the federal government will enact what may prove to be one of the largest power grabs in history!

  • Is Your Stock Portfolio Up Over 30% This Year?

    This week’s Forecasts & Trends E-Letter beings with a simple question, but it’s one that can have a major effect on your financial well-being. Given that government intervention in the markets now seems to be built into our expectations, I’m going to recap one of our recommended money managers that has been able to navigate the QE3-induced market rally and is up over 30% year-to-date as of September 30.

    More importantly, the money manager I will talk about today - Niemann Capital Management - has significantly outperformed the S&P 500 Index since the company's inception in 1996, both on the upside and the downside.

    Yet return is only half of the equation. The other half is whether an investment strategy has the ability to manage risks by moving to cash when the market takes a downturn, which it eventually will. Niemann also covers both bases by offering a momentum-based strategy on the upside, and the ability to move to cash during downward corrections and bear markets.

    Best of all, Niemann’s not an amateur in this business.  Don Niemann and his staff have been successfully managing their Risk Managed Program for 17 years, so they’ve seen several different market cycles. I’m highlighting Niemann today because I think they are a viable alternative for investors who are in the market and getting nervous about a pullback, as well as investors on the sidelines who fear that the market may have risen too far too fast for them to participate.

  • An Awesome Gift For Your Kids, Grandkids, or You

    This week, I veer from our usual economic and investment themes to tell you about what I believe is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give your children, grandchildren or others who are dear to you (or maybe even yourself). What I am about to describe is something that has literally changed the lives of dozens of my friends and relatives over the last 30+ years.

    Today we’re going to revisit the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation and how it can have a huge impact on the future of any young or middle-aged person who goes there for aptitude testing and career counseling. Johnson O’Connor helps people decide which career fields they are most naturally suited for based upon scientific testing of their unique set of individual aptitudes.

    I have published similar articles on Johnson O’Connor (J-O) in the past because it has been such a godsend to everyone in my immediate family, many relatives and dozens of friends and business associates over the years. So, I urge you to read the following, especially if you have any loved ones who are struggling to find a career path.

  • 12 Market-Beating Investment Strategies

    From time to time, I like to share with readers what I do in my "real job" at Halbert Wealth Management. We are an Investment Advisory firm in Austin, Texas and we specialize in identifying successful independent money managers. However, these are not just any money managers, they all employ active management strategies in an effort to lessen the risks of being in the market.

    At the end of 2011, we ran our performance numbers on our AdvisorLink® programs and saw that ALL of our recommended managers beat the S&P 500 Index since the inception dates of each program. Not only were returns higher, but losing periods (drawdowns) were also significantly less. Higher returns with lower risk - that's the Holy Grail of investing.

    In this week's E-Letter, I'm going to review the performance of our active money managers as well as discuss how you can become one of our clients, if you are not already. Even more importantly, I'll tell you why NOW may be the best time to diversify your portfolio to include active strategies.

  • The Quest for Low-Risk Retirement Income

    Over the years, our client surveys have consistently shown that there is a high degree of interest in investments that can be used to provide retirement income. As the Baby Boom generation continues to age, this demand is going to become larger and larger.

    Fortunately, the Wellesley Convertible Bond Program that I highlighted earlier this month can be an excellent vehicle for taking income. Since convertible bonds are a hybrid of stocks and bonds, they have the potential to provide the growth necessary for a stable retirement income investment as well as manage the risk of loss during down markets. If you or someone you know is at or near retirement, this is definitely a program you should consider.

    I also want to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas. With both of my kids now in college, Christmas has become extra special as they come home to celebrate during their break from school. It's like old times, even if just for a while.

  • Bringing Financial Reform Closer to Home


    1.  The Concept of Personal Financial Reform

    2.  What No Reform Act Can Do for You

    3.  Conclusions