July 2008

Saving Money

One of the important things to do in a challenging market is look at how we are spending money. Where the market is going is anyone's guess, but reducing expenses is directly under our control.

Reducing Investment Expenses

One of the guiding investment principles of Silver Oak Advisory Group is to minimize investor costs in order to save our clients money. We do this by recommending lower cost asset class and index-based mutual funds. Recently, due to the volume of Silver Oak customer assets held at Vanguard (thanks for your continued referrals!), we are able to use a different share class of the same funds with lower expenses. In total, this conversion is projected to save our clients over $58,000 over the next ten years.

Primarily, there were two investments that we were able to convert for our clients, the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index mutual fund and the Vanguard Total Bond Index mutual fund. If you were an investor in either investment you were automatically converted to the new lower cost funds. Other conversions will be made as they become available in the future.

 
Annual
Expense
Total
Costs*
Vanguard Total Stock Market
Investor Shares (prior to conversion)
0.15%
$36,433
Signal Shares (after conversion)
0.07%
$17,074
Average U.S. Large Company Stock mutual fund
1.25%
$293,375
 
Vanguard Total Bond Market Index
Investor Shares (prior to conversion)
0.19%
$83,597
Signal Shares (after conversion)
0.10%
$44,213
Average Intermediate-Term Bond mutual fund
0.98%
$426,213
 
Total Savings to Clients
$58,743

* Total costs were calculated using the FINRA Mutual Fund Expense Analyzer and are based on a 10-year holding period and mutual fund returns from the prior 10 years. Savings calculated based on client holdings as of 12/5/2007. Because returns and expenses may vary over time, your actual expenses and returns may be higher or lower.

Reducing Travel Expenses

Anyone who has purchased an airline ticket in the past six months knows how much prices have increased. It seems that airlines are constantly finding new and creative ways to charge passengers money. We certainly can't avoid all of the new charges, but we can try to make smarter decisions when purchasing our airfare.

Most major airlines have a low-fare guarantee that allows customers to receive a travel voucher if the price of the ticket falls below the purchase price (if we could only do the same thing when purchasing a stock!). A great way to track these price changes is through a company called Yapta. Its website allows you to track the cost of flights (pre- and post-purchase) among several popular airlines. If the price drops, Yapta will notify you of the new price.

Recently, this worked to our advantage when we purchased tickets for Jessi and Ben to attend a financial planning conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Originally, the tickets were purchased for $658 each, but just a few weeks after the purchase the airline reduced the ticket price by nearly $100. Yapta dutifully notified us by email, and although the airline charged us a nominal rebooking fee (various airline fees and regulations are outlined on Yaptas website) the airline gave us each a $50 voucher for our next flight.

Newest Silver Oak Employee

We would like to introduce our newest employee, Linda Mullen. Linda will be assisting Jessi with administrative tasks and may soon be answering the phones. Linda worked in a law firm for fourteen years, and is also a licensed real estate broker. She has lived in Portland since 1986 (and loves it!). She enjoys spending time with her children, cooking, art and hiking. Next time you're in the office, feel free to say hi and help us welcome her to our team.

Upcoming Seminars

Our next "Investment Boot Camp" seminar will be held Saturday, September 20, 2008, from 9:30 to 11:30 AM at our office. All new clients are encouraged to attend.

Our next "Getting Started: Financial Planning for Young People" seminar will be held Saturday, October 18, 2008, from 9:30 to 11:30 AM at our office.

Please register online or contact Jessi to reserve a spot for you or a friend. As always, there is no charge.

Reminders

The economic and investment news has been dismal lately and is likely to continue that way for some time. We continue to have faith in diversification and will keep a close eye on your portfolios.

We will be reducing our staff hours during the month of August this year; however, we will be regularly checking messages. This is typically our slowest month of the year for client work but please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Have a great summer!


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