September 2004 Newsletter

Identity Theft

Identity theft is on the rise, in Portland and across the country. One police officer told me it is the "crime of choice" of meth addicts to finance their habit. How does a thief steal your identity? It is surprisingly easy. Crooks may search your trash for credit card receipts, steal your incoming or outgoing mail or wallet, hack into your computer, or get information working at a store or tax preparer's office. You may have heard about the computers that were stolen from an H&R Block office this last tax season, along with all the tax returns stored on them.

It is impossible to completely safeguard your identity, but the following ideas may greatly reduce your vulnerability:

If you are a victim, act quickly to minimize the damage.

Investment Boot Camp

Due to popular demand, we are sticking with Saturday mornings for our boot camp workshops, and offering them twice a year. Here are the upcoming dates:

October 23, 2004 and March 12, 2005
9:30 am to 11:30 am

Call or e-mail if you or a friend wants to sign up for this program.

Have You Met Jason?

Just after the last newsletter went out, we hired Jason Gardner to replace Paul Braghero. Jason has a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from Benedictine College in Kansas and an MBA in Finance from Rockhurst University in Missouri. His work experience has included a position as accounting manager for a 12 store retail chain and compliance work at a brokerage firm.

Jason is married to Angie, who practices as a surgical technician, and they have two spoiled cats sharing their home in SE Portland. His desk is in the front reception area, so next time you are in the office be sure to introduce yourself so he can put a face with your name!

Reminders

It's not too early to make your 2004 IRA contribution, if you haven't already.

For those of you over age 70-1/2 or with an inherited IRA, be sure to take your Required Minimum Distribution out before the end of this year.

If you've moved or changed your political party, be sure to re-register to vote in time for the November elections!

Stock Market Lessons - Part I

(Reprinted with permission from Sigma Investment Management Company)

The economy does not predict the stock market — the stock market predicts the economy. Much of what is written or said about the financial markets involves observing or predicting the condition of the overall economy and then predicting future movements in the stock market. As logical as this may sound, it has no basis in fact.

The stock market is one of ten leading economic indicators used by the government as an index to predict the economy. The stock market predicts the economy, not the other way around. Stock prices reflect all information known by investors — if information is released that is positive for stocks, investors will tend to buy stocks and bid up stock prices until they are fairly valued. The financial markets thus immediately reflect information that will impact the economy in the future.

...Most people want to hear the economy is doing well, so most pundits predict a good economy...and most popular economic reporting is an exercise in entertainment, not anything useful.

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