Tag Archives: investing

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Most High-Net Worth Arizonans Enjoy Hobby Investing

BMO Private Bank today released the results of a study on high-net worth Arizonans (those with at least $1 million in investable assets) and hobby (or passion) investing. The study, the fifth and last in a series by BMO Private Bank examining trends among the affluent, found that half of the state’s wealthy engage in some form of hobby investing. This compares to the national average of 68 percent.

Hobby investing is defined as adding collectible assets to one’s portfolio as a means of diversification and, just as important, as a way to have and to hold the things investors love the most.

“While diversification is critical when structuring a portfolio, hobby investments should be limited to a relatively small portion of an investor’s overall portfolio because of the unique risk and liquidity characteristics associated with most collectible assets,” said Mike Sullivan, Director of Investments – Western U.S, BMO Private Bank.

The study found that the items in which the Grand Canyon State’s affluent are most passionate about investing include:

* Art (25 percent)
* Jewelry and coins (23 percent each)
* Stamps (18 percent)
* Antiques and sports memorabilia (13 percent each)
* Classic cars and wine (10 percent each)

“People who choose to invest in their hobbies often do so because it allows them to feel a sense of engagement without having to spend a lot of time on them. Many hobby investors are keen to create a legacy to pass on to their heirs – one that is unique to them and reflects their interests,” said Jack Ablin, Chief Investment Officer, BMO Private Bank.

Why do People Engage in Hobby Investing?

According to the study, one of the main reasons why Arizona’s affluent engage in hobby investing is simply because it is “fun” (65 percent). Other reasons identified include:

* Combines interests with investing (50 percent)
* Allows for showing off investments to others (20 percent)
* Provides something unique to pass down to heirs (15 percent)
* Provides sound investments that will grow in value (15 percent)

Regardless of what influences people to combine their hobbies with investing, Mr. Ablin noted that, as with any form of investing, there are a few cautionary factors Arizonans of all income levels need to consider. For example:

Antiques: can be very illiquid and therefore not suitable for those who may need to convert them to cash in a short period of time.
Wine and art collecting: are long-term propositions, so not appropriate for those with a short-term investing horizon.
Stamps and coins: there is a robust counterfeit market in both these items, so investors need to be careful about their authenticity and well-educated about the risks.
Comic book collecting: may be trendy today, but the market may not be so strong in the long or even the medium term.

Key National Findings:

On a national level, the study found:
* Two-thirds (68 percent) of high net-worth Americans have a hobby investment.
T* he most common hobby investments are coins (38 percent), art (36 percent), and jewelry (31 percent).
* High net-worth Americans are most likely to engage in hobby investments because they find it “fun” (62 percent), because it is a way to combine an interest of theirs with investing (54 percent) and because it enables them to pass something special down to their loved ones (40 percent).
* Four-in-ten (40 percent) say they invest in their hobbies because it is a sound investment which will appreciate in value, with this being a larger motivator for men than women (41 percent vs. 36 percent).

The online survey was conducted by Pollara between March 28th and April 11th, 2013 with a sample of 482 American adults who have $1M+ in investable assets. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is ± 4.5%, 19 times out of 20.

phoenix

Now is the time to invest in Arizona

It used to be when I traveled to different business meetings across the country, people would ask me about Arizona’s politics. While we still have reputation issues to repair, the questions I’ve been getting recently are more focused on the buzz they’re hearing about our growing technology sector.

There’s good reason Arizona is getting noticed for its growth. Over the last five years, Arizona has developed one of the most robust technology entrepreneurial ecosystems in the country. The state is home to five of Deloitte’s 2013 “Technology Fast 500” firms, specifically First Solar, LifeLock, Telesphere, Inilex and GPS Insight. Other startups that have been home grown in Arizona into industry leaders include Axosoft, GoDaddy, iCrossing, Infusionsoft, Insight Enterprises, LimeLight Networks and WebPT.

We were able to accomplish our strong entrepreneurial spirit in part by drawing the attention of the media and the state’s policy makers to the need to diversify our economy away from construction and climate into a knowledge-based economy with higher paying jobs. Our efforts resulted in a tax credit for qualified research and development that is the best in the nation and a successful angel investment tax credit.

A lot of other resources have been invested. Over a dozen business incubators and accelerators call Arizona home, providing resources to support technology entrepreneurs. In addition to graduating a vibrant workforce to fuel quality jobs, Arizona’s world-renowned universities and community colleges are also heavily engaged.

Arizona State University (ASU) runs the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative and the ASU SkySong Innovation Center was recently awarded one of the best organizations of its kind in the country. University of Arizona (UA) is helping create the technology of tomorrow in its Bridges/UA Bio Park and UA Tech Park that includes a Solar Zone. UA also participates in Startup Tucson – an organization dedicated to growing a vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurship through educational events. Northern Arizona University fosters business growth through it Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology and benefits from its affiliation with NASA. All of that bodes well for Arizona’s innovation economy.

Other efforts are focused solely on exciting people about technology and science. We just celebrated the third annual statewide Arizona SciTech Festival with over 300K people attending more than 500 events this year.

And although we have a long way to go, there’s a growing pool of capital. We’re home to two of the largest and top rated angel investor networks in the U.S. ─ ATIF and Desert Angels. The Arizona Commence Authority has created the Arizona Innovation Challenge that awards the most money in the country to the most promising entrepreneurs meeting technology challenges. Grayhawk Capital just raised $70 million in funds for early and growth stage technology investments. And Tallwave Capital recently announced it has deployed $500,000 in capital in early-stage ventures.

The 2010 census reports Arizona’s population at 6.4 million, with a median age of 35.9 years. The predicted growth rates for Arizona by the federal and state government expect that between 1.5 million and 3 million people will move to Arizona by the year 2020. That type of robust regional population growth combined with an improved U.S. economy translates into high potential for investors.

It’s true we enjoy more than 300 days of sunshine each year. But we offer a lot more than golf and spas. Venture capital sitting on the sidelines should put money into promising Arizona high tech firms and startup ventures.

Now is the time to invest in Arizona.

investing

Most people don’t have financial plans

Most of us put more effort into planning a vacation than planning our financial future.

According to a study issued by BMO Harris Financial Advisors, only 38 percent of Arizonans have a financial plan, yet a majority admit a financial plan plays a critical role in achieving key life goals, such as saving for a home and being comfortable in retirement.

“There’s an obvious disparity when it comes to financial plans – most people know they need one, but they don’t have one,” says Larry Skolnik, regional sales manager, BMO Harris Financial Advisors. “No matter your income level, a financial plan can be an essential component to achieving your financial goals and ensuring the fiscal security of you and your family.”

Experts say a financial plan helps people work towards their short and long-term goals, providing a roadmap that outlines the path from where they are today to where they want to be in the future.

“Everyone should have some type of financial plan,” says Jason Miller, vice president and director of financial planning – Western U.S., BMO Private Bank. “Whether you are just starting out in your working years or nearing retirement, a solid plan is crucial to reaching your goals and protecting yourself and your loved ones.”

One crucial mistake people is assuming that they cannot afford to create a financial plan and will do so when they are making more money in the future, says Lisa S. Jackson, a certified public accountant and financial advisor with Whitman & Jackson CPAs.

“There is no better time to start than immediately,” she says.

Miller says the goal of a financial plan is to understand exactly where you are today and where you want to be in the future and then determine the necessary steps to get from point A to point B. A financial plan should include an analysis of where you currently are and what risks and/or challenges you currently face, as well as an analysis of how likely you are to reach your financial goals. Common areas included in a financial plan may be:

  • Budgeting and cash flow management
  • Asset allocation and investment management
  • Retirement planning
  • Risk management (e.g. life insurance coverage, disability insurance coverage, long-term care, creditor protection, etc.)
  • Estate planning

“When establishing goals it is recommended to include dollar and time specific targets in order to regularly measure the plan with clarity,” says Mary Collum,  senior vice president and director of private banking, National Bank of Arizona.

“Staying true to the vision is very important and will take discipline on both the planner and individuals’ part. Circumstances such as consistent injections of savings for the future, coupled with a plan to enjoy life today and live within one’s means, will weigh in on how successful the plan is.”

One of the most important elements to consider is making sure your financial plan is comprehensive and takes into account various possible outcomes, experts say.

“One of the most important elements of a plan is to make sure you are testing the outcome of your goals based on various economic environments such as rising interest rates, inflation, economic expansion or deflation and unforeseen events,” says Curtis L. Smith, registered investment advisor and wealth advisor for Raymond James Financial Services.

Smith’s list of things to consider when establishing your financial plan include:

  • Asset and investment allocation
  • Retirement accumulation and retirement income forecasts
  • Risk management items (liability coverage, life, disability, long-term care and health insurance)
  • Estate and philanthropy planning
  • Your economic and lifestyle goals (retirement needs,  savings goals, housing goals, vacations, etc.)
  • Family legacy goals

Another mistake people make when establishing the goals for their financial plan is not looking at all their investment options.

“People can get too focused on one investment strategy and forget to look at all options,” says Erik Pedersen, vice president of AXA Advisors. “The one they are focused on might not be the most suitable to reach their goals.”

Once your goals and plan are established, experts say you must remember to keep your financial plan organic and revisit the plan often.

“Be sure to revisit the plan when your goals have changed or events have happened in your life such as marriage, divorce, loss of job, inheritance or children going off to college,” Pedersen says. “But, there is truly never a bad time to revisit your financial plan.”

Once established, it’s been proven that financial plans will keep you financially responsible and healthy. According to the BMO Harris Financial Advisors study, 85 percent of Americans who have a financial plan say those plans have helped them achieve their goals, and 61 percent wish they has created a financial plan sooner.

“We are quick to take our car into the shop when the engine light blinks, giving us peace of mind our vehicle will take us safely to the next destination,” Collum says.

“Take charge of your financial world with this same sense of urgency in order to create and ensure you are headed on a successful journey to your financial destination.”

Investment Style

Do You Have An Investment Style?

Many investors rely on their expertise, or their advisors’ expertise, to develop and follow an investment style. These styles are important and can help provide direction and assist in making investment decisions. Investment styles are developed based on many factors, including age, gender, income, family, wealth, tax situation and previous investment experience. These factors play important roles when developing an investment style and should be considered thoroughly.

One of the most important factors to consider when determining an investment style is the investor’s objective. For example, the portfolio of an investor whose main objective is growth (accumulation phase) may differ significantly from the portfolio of any investor whose main objective is capital preservation (income phase).

The majority of investment choices available, be they equities, bonds, or financial derivatives, follow their own particular investment style. It is important for investors to understand each to ensure they fit into their style. A financial professional can help with research and help determine the appropriate style for an investor and his or her needs.

Most money managers typically focus on a few dominant styles, including active vs. passive investing, growth vs. value, bottom-up vs. top-down, and technical vs. fundamental analysis.

An active investor’s primary focus is to outperform the market by picking various individual stocks. On the other hand, passive investors may consider investing in an index fund designed for long-term results. An active strategy consists of timing the buying and selling of different stocks in hopes of beating the ups and downs of the market. The passive approach is very hands-off and relies on market performance alone.

One can also qualify an investor as having a growth or value approach to investing. Typically, growth styles seek investment in companies expected to have a 15 percent to 25 percent increase in earnings. Value investors, on the other hand, tend to lean more toward companies offering bargains or “cheap” shares compared to current earnings.  Growth style investments tend to be more volatile than value investments. Many money managers may combine both styles for diversification.

Bottom-up or top-down approaches are also important to understand and consider in one’s investment style. A bottom-up approach focuses on a particular company’s fundamentals. One example may be the performance of a company’s earnings (price/earnings ratio). A top-down approach will look at the macroeconomic picture, considering inflation and consumer spending, then choosing to invest in a particular industry.

Investors may also decide whether their investment style fits a technical or a fundamental approach. When applying a technical style, money managers will use charts, price and specific economic data to identify patterns related to a particular stock investment. An investor who uses a fundamental approach will analyze actual financial accounting data as well as the profitability of a company to determine what stocks to have in his or her portfolio.

These are important factors to understand and can help investors identify which investment style best suits them. Keep in mind that an investor’s style will most likely change as his or her objectives change. Constant monitoring of investments is critical to success and helps to avoid style drift.

For more information about investing and investment style, visit jacobgold.com.

Securities and investment advisory services offered through ING Financial Partners, Inc. Member SIPC. Jacob Gold & Associates, Inc. is not a subsidiary of nor controlled by ING Financial Partners, Inc. This information was prepared by Michael Cochell of Jacob Gold & Associates, Inc. and is for educational information only. The opinions/views expressed within are that of Michael Cochell of Jacob Gold & Associates Inc. and do not necessarily reflect those of ING Financial Partners or its representatives. In addition, they are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Neither ING Financial Partners nor its representatives provide tax or legal advice. You should consult with your financial professional, attorney, accountant or tax advisor regarding your individual situation prior to making any investment decisions.
value of money

Time Value Of Money And Planning

Understanding the general concept of the time value of money can help consumers plan appropriately for future needs and today’s wants. This concept applies to how a consumer may save, invest and make decisions on lending needs.

Many of us are familiar with the idea that the earlier one starts saving the more he or she will have in the future. This may be the case, but it’s also important to be familiar with present value of money and debt, future value of money and debt, and the beginning period and ending period of saving.

When a consumer considers how these concepts work together, it can provide the consumer with the valuable information needed to effectively plan for the future. A good example is credit card debt. If one were to calculate the length of time and amount of finance interest paid to credit card companies by only paying the minimum payment, it would shock most of us.

Saving for future needs is important. We must understand that the dollars we save today (present value of money) will most likely be worth less in the future. So how can we make decisions to save and take advantage of time value? Let’s consider a scenario of saving for retirement in an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) annually. Investors have a choice to save at the beginning (beginning period) of each year rather than saving at the end of the year (ending period of investing). Using this strategy, an investor can earn more on his or her money by contributing the same dollar amount annually at the beginning of the year rather than at the end of the year.

Investing consistently and taking advantage of different types of accounts sponsored by employers, deferred-tax saving retirement accounts and after-tax saving accounts can help consumers plan for retirement. Many employers offer match savings, as well as company contribution, just for signing up for the employer retirement plan. It’s important to take full advantage of the match. Also, some plans offer both a Traditional (pre-tax) deferred saving as well as (after-tax) Roth saving plan. Each of them has specific benefits, and if used properly, they can be a valuable piece of a consumer’s planning strategy. Keep in mind that withdraws prior to age 59-1/2 may result in a 10 percent IRS tax penalty, in addition to any ordinary income tax. IRA and Roth IRA accounts can also be used in addition to employer sponsored plans.

The traditional employer plan and individual retirement plans allows consumers to save on a tax deferred basis; however, he or she will need to account for ordinary income taxes during distributions. Where as, Roth contributions allow for after-tax contributions and tax-free growth and withdraws. By combining these options, and starting sooner rather than later, consumers can take advantage of the time value of money as well as using all options available.

As consumers, it’s not only important to take advantage of the time value of money by investing early, but it’s also important to manage debt in a similar way. Present debt and future debt are key ingredients to manage and can make or break consumer’s future plans. By applying the same concepts to debt management, one can see the value of using time as a way to structure debt for the consumer rather than the financing institution. For example, be wary of committing to long-term debt. When committing to long-term debt, consider a plan to payoff the debt early by making additional payments. Applying the time value of money in this case will save consumers a lot of money in the long run and reduce debt sooner. Also, keep in mind that lower interest rates will help save consumers finance cost. A little extra planning can greatly benefit consumers.

These concepts can be very valuable with practice, practice and more practice. Consumers can become experts in controlling their way of using time value of money and planning for future needs. For more information, visit jacobgold.com.

Securities and investment advisory services offered through ING Financial Partners, Inc. Member SIPC. Jacob Gold & Associates, Inc. is not a subsidiary of nor controlled by ING Financial Partners, Inc. This information was prepared by Michael Cochell of Jacob Gold & Associates, Inc. and is for educational information only. The opinions/views expressed within are that of Michael Cochell of Jacob Gold & Associates Inc. and do not necessarily reflect those of ING Financial Partners or its representatives. In addition, they are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Neither ING Financial Partners nor its representatives provide tax or legal advice. You should consult with your financial professional, attorney, accountant or tax advisor regarding your individual situation prior to making any investment decisions.