Vol.1 Issue 55 December 1st. , 2004
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of the Month: "The
economy is slowing and the government is lying about the inflation
rate because they want to minimize the increase in Social Security.
Have you bought gas, health insurance, or anything else lately?
The 2% inflation number is a joke."
Paul Woods, CEO, Odyssey
Stocks to Stuff in Your Stocking (and one to Hold
and One to Sell Now) By Natalie Pace.
Con Job By Bill Gross, PIMCO Bonds. ""The CPI [Consumer
Price Index] as calculated may not be a conspiracy but
it's definitely a con job," according to Mr. Gross.
Dreaming of a Green Christmas: When Buying Your
Holiday Gifts This Year, Think Green! By Natalie Pace.
Guide to P/E Ratios by Paul Woods, President & CEO
of Odyssey Advisors, LLC. An ongoing education series
intended to enrich your knowledge of investing.
Up With the Fed By Meri Anne Beck-Woods. What you
MUST know about bonds and rising interest rates.
Burned, Beaten and still in Burqas in Afghanistan. Interview
with Dr. William Schulz, the Executive Director of Amnesty
International, on why equality on paper has not translated
into a better life for women in Afghanistan-yet. By
Natalie Pace, founder and editor in chief, NataliePace.com.
Beauty: Your Guide to Botox, Restalyne and Other
Tricks of Science by Steven S. Carp, MD. Carp Cosmetic
Surgery Center, Inc.
Biotech Stock Report Card. by Natalie Pace. Botox
sales are ballooning, as are breast implants. Are the
company share prices as well?
me a Break! In this month's Living Wealthy Money
Makeover, four seasoned financial consultants help a
stockbroker find his heart… and more happiness.
9 Signs That it is Time to Take Your Profits
Thinking by Rev Dr Audrey Reed , D.S.S., CEA.
Reasons Why Investing is More Fun Than Buying Shoes
by Natalie Pace.
and Financial News… Important highlights from the
New York Times, Money Central, Reuters, Bloomberg, CNBC
Stocks to Stuff in Your Stocking
one to Hold and One to Sell Now.
we predicted a post-election Santa Rally for the markets, and
true to form, the markets have lit up for this most festive season
of the year. NASDAQ has rallied up over 8% since August, the Dow
Jones Industrial Average is up 3% and S&P500 has gained 4%.
Will the gains continue or should you consider this an opportunity
to take your profits and/or get out while the getting out isn't
still picking the NASDAQ as the 2004 Cinderella story, based upon
strong earnings, solid growth in the technology sector, and the
fact that NASDAQ is still off 50% since the March 2000 highs (see
chart below). With pension fund problems, continued low margin
profitability and competition from leaner, younger companies both
here and abroad, investors should be very selective about the
more mature companies they invest in, most of which are concentrated
in the NYSE. [NataliePace.com note: NASDAQ companies have four letters.
NYSE and ASE companies have only three.]
an accounting expert with Credit Suisse First Boston estimates
that 32 companies in the S&P 500 will be required to
contribute more than $200 million to their pension plans in 2004
or in 2005. Outside of the airline group, which is already making
headlines for seeking the bankruptcy courts to approve cutbacks
in pension plans, Zion predicts that some of the biggest amounts
will be forked over next year by Ford Motor (NYSE: F),
$1.3 billion; Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM), $1 billion;
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), $472 million; ChevronTexaco (NYSE:
CVX), $450 million; and Altria Group (NYSE: MO),
with total returns including dividends expected to be a mere 6%,
investors have to be extremely selective about their stocks and
their buy in/sell off price points, in order to beat the indices.
2005 is likely to be another year of day-trader's paradise--with
flat to mild annual gains, but spectacular whipsaws--rather than
a robust bull run…
market highs were in March of 2000, while the lows were in October
BIOTECH, MEDIA, METALS and ENERGY
what sectors and which companies are ripe and delicious for the
picking these days? In general, metals, energy, technology,
media and biotechnology are expected to perform well on growth
and demand. Earnings growth in technology have far outpaced
other sectors, however, skittish investors with distasteful memories
of the 2000 crash are not rushing in—yet—to buy into them. Expect
that to change as the earnings stories and the NASDAQ rally start
to catch the eyes and ears of the American public.
With the baby
boomers retiring, Americans are instinctively eyeing companies
with cutting edge cancer treatments, joint replacements and anti-aging
pharmaceuticals. The fall of Merck is a painful reminder of the
volatility of investing in the health care industry. Merck lost
$19 billion in its market capitalization on the day it was announced
that Vioxx was being pulled from the shelves. Even in the most
popular companies, like Genentech (NYSE: DNA) and Amgen (NASDAQ:
AMGN) there can be wild volatility in share price. Buying low
and selling high, or "trading around the core," as some
professionals call it, can be very rewarding.
energy companies are reaping the harvest of having limited supply
and ravenous demand, but their share prices have already, in a
lot of cases, doubled and tripled this year. If you're looking
to purchase today, you may have missed the best buying opportunity,
and should consider exercising patience, to buy your favorite
metals company on opportunity at a better price (say a commodities
sell-off, or on any day with bad news).
saying in the markets that holds true. "A rising tide lifts
all boats." Just so, a sinking tide grounds all boats. It
is very difficult for a company to push through to highs while
being drug under by a falling market. These days, the markets
have been reacting almost daily to fluctuating fuel prices. If
there is a successful significant strike on oil wells or oil lines
in Iraq or elsewhere (and the terrorists are targeting the oil),
it is likely that the markets will react swiftly and severely
downward, ( with the possible exception of the energy sector).
While it is difficult to gauge consumer confidence in the markets,
historically, the reaction to terrorism has a very strong correlation
with swift, severe sell-offs, and relatively prompt recoveries.
(After 9.11.01, the markets were up above pre-9.11 share prices
by January 2002.)
do, buy or sell? Let's start with a checkup on the companies
that we recommended in the October ezine. In general, NataliePace.com
considers December to be a hold month and January to be a profit-taking
month. However, this year, the Santa Rally run-up hasn't been
too robust yet. Many of our October recommendations, though up
in price, are still within a buying range. If you bought when
we originally touted these companies, hang on and enjoy the profits!
If you're just now considering buying in, chances are that you'll
be a happy investor come January, unless a major disaster (terrorist
strike, bad news in Iraq, earthquake, volcanic eruption, Black
Monday) drags the markets down severely. In that event, consider
disaster to be a buying opportunity, not a reason to fire sale
at a loss… If we've learned anything since 9.11.01, we've learned
that this is not the Apocalypse and that the Western economies
and people are solid and strong.
be your solace. What many individual investors don't realize is
that markets, historically, recover swiftly from adversity. By
January 2002, the NASDAQ was up 30%, the DOW was up 12% and the
S&P500 rose 9%, off the 9.11.01 lows. (The rest of 2002 was
pretty dismal, however, when the markets slid back into decline,
due to the recession that began in March of 2000.) Since the bottom-out
lows of October 2002, the markets have posted healthy gains—the
NASDAQ has rocketed up 50%, the S&P is up 30% and the Dow
Jones Industrial Average reports in positive territory of 20%.
TO LOCK IN YOUR PROFITS
roads for the last four years (and continuing into 2006) lead
back to selective stock picking and shorter windows on profit
taking. NASDAQ 1999 was indeed the stuff that dreams are made
of, a stock market utopia that will not be recreated without a
good deal of corporate restructuring, particularly with pension
plans, health care and Social Security. The one index that has
a chance of rallying is the still-undervalued NASDAQ, with its
younger work force and solid earnings growth.
for our current Stock Picks, along with comments on buying in
and profit-taking strategies. Again, it is important to remember
that no one has a crystal ball, and bad news always flushes the
share price in the toilet, at least for the short term. Don't
panic on bad news and sell (that's always a losing strategy, unless
you've got an Enron or US Airways), and don't wait too long to
take your profits (they can disappear in the blink of an eye).
If you are new at stock picking, invest a very small amount that
you are willing to learn on (and potentially lose).
: If I had
to pick my six favorites of the picks below, they would be: Opsware,
Jet Blue, Krispy Kreme, Sony, OSI Pharmaceuticals and LifeCell.
I'd buy them at today's trading price. (Advanced Micro Devices
was my favorite a few months ago, but I'd wait for a buying opportunity
today.) SELL AU Optronics NOW. Due to falling prices for plasma
TV screen panels, they'll miss annual earnings, which will take
another whack at their share price.
80% from our original buy price)
liked the price better when we published (at $11.96). A
down day in the markets could bring the price lower. Buy
at under $16.00.
earnings up 104% over last year . Marquis customers and
partners: US Dept. of Energy, BSkyB, Fed Ex, EDS, Hewlett
Packard and Microsoft.
issue 54. Cancer Cocktails and Celebrity Poker Challenge
just approved Tarceva on 11.19.04. Trials have gone extremely
is a partner, and the marketing campaign has begun!
an industry that is bleeding red, Jet Blue maintains the
best bottom line, with 15 consecutive quarters of profitability.
Net income down this quarter on fuel, price wars and hurricanes.
17.5% from original buy price)
recommended SUN at $69, but oil will remain strong. Company
has coke (used in steel industry) and chemical ops as well,
making plastic, fiber, film and resin.
world's #1 most trusted brand, with an exceptional turnaround
plan. Electronic Boutique's sales increased 5-fold, partially
on sales of new PS2.
That investors received 2:1 in 11.04. The issue 46 adjusted
price is $18.70.
exec leadership. Moving HQs to US will add institutional
investors. Satellite is stealing subscribers from cable.
Advertising revenues are up.
patents in 2003 for the 11th straight year! Great
company with dividends. Technology rally! Board approved
$4 billion to buyback stocks On 10.26.
(+30% since our BUY rec)
liked the price of $89.60, where it was trading in May when
we featured it. Metals demand is huge; supply is limited.
Copper prices are triple this year from last.
are huge. Australia's economy is one of the strongest in
connectivity. Holiday season should be robust. 163% non-GAAP
net income growth in 3Q over last year, +34% in net revenue.
screen prices continue to fall. Annual profits are expected
to be off 30% from estimates.
love this company as a Hedge Against inflation because it
nets $300 per ounce. GG's CEO is a smart one, but he's stepping
down. Wait and see how this story plays out.
if owned, BUY on Opportunity
for under $50 share)
since our 1st BUY rec at $10.50.)
loved OSTK at $10.50 share, back when we featured the company
in April of 2003. Analysts call this a $100 stock within
2 years. Sales leapt by 79% this quarter.
company stock is off 70% on the year, down to 2000 lows.
If you believe the low carb craze has ended doughnut eating,
don't buy the stock. SEC inquiry doesn't look great, but
overall we're banking on the best doughnut sweetening up!
and receive an updated Stock Pick List FREE, so that you can start
earning great returns, too. We update our list mid-month, before
the next e-zine's publication for our members who request to receive
the new list (by emailing us at info@NataliePace.com).
i-Sophia's subscription is just $6.50/month (less than lunch).
You'll receive THREE MONTHS FREE, paying just $54.00 for the
year (less than one night on the town) AND the FREE Updated Stock
Picks List. Getting smart about passive income, like the stock,
real estate and bond markets, is an investment that pays off for
Natalie Pace owns stock in the following companies mentioned in
this article: Opsware, NetGear, Sony, Jet Blue and Advanced Micro
Gross, PIMCO Bonds.
CPI [Consumer Price Index] as calculated may not be a conspiracy
but it's definitely a con job," according to Mr. Gross. (A reprint
of his October 2004 Investment Outlook.)
[Consumer Price Index] as calculated may not be a conspiracy but
it's definitely a con job foisted on an unwitting public by government
officials who choose to look the other way or who convince themselves
that they are fostering some logical adjustment in a New Age Economy
dependent on the markets and not the marketplace for its survival."
models are gorgeous. Fashion models are thin and desirable. Fashion
models wear the clothes that every woman will wear next year.
Fashion models…agh, enough already. How about haute fashion is
one big con and the models are the carnival barkers, swishing
down that runway, body language shouting, "Be a winnah, be
like me!" Except no one can. The ladies with figures that
can fit into a Jeffrey Chow creation are all 18-23 years old and
can't afford to buy them. And the women with some bucks have had
a baby or two or better yet a meal or two in their 30+ years and
can't fit into ‘em. Still the charade goes on, fall season after
spring season after fall season as if something very important
was happening here. Writers for the NY Times speak of the new
'05 fashion season "entering Phase 3 of its post 9/11 life
(displaying) the contrived simplicity of ethnic orientation."
Say what? I thought we were talking about a dress here, not some
editorial on the cultural ramifications of 21st century geopolitics.
But I jest
of course ladies. You can have your haute couture if it makes
you feel good just like we guys have our cars with phony wings
and "Goodyear" printed in big bold letters on the side
of our tires. After all, don't those NASCAR/Indy/Formula 1 cars
have ‘em? Doesn't matter that we can't buy a Dodge like Jeremy
Mayfield who just took the checkered flag at Richmond. Those Dodges
have gotta be damn good cars if they can whip team Toyota year
after year! Con, Con, Con. The American way of advertising. You
can fool some of the people most of the time and that apparently
is good enough to ring enough cash registers to perpetuate the
cycle whether it be fashion, cars, or politics. After all, if
$10 million in ads are enough to convince the American public
that something about John Kerry and swift boats didn't quite float
during the Vietnam War, then I figure you can sell anything to
just about anybody these days. My solution to all of this is for
the next Administration (whoever they are) to work with Congress
(whoever they are) to purchase a TIVO for each and every TV set
in these United States. To hell with Hoover's "A chicken
in every pot." I'm going for "A TIVO in every family
room." That way whenever a commercial comes on you just blast
right through it - except for Super Bowl Sunday - and you can't
get conned. No more haute couture, no more "haute cars,"
no more "haute con jobs." Not sure who would pay for
the TV programs, but I'll figure that out later. Forget about
Bush and Kerry. Gross for President!
wouldn't help much when it comes to the con job perpetually foisted
on the American public about the low level of inflation. "Inflation
under control" - (ex food and energy of course) shout the
carnival barkers. "The CORE is running at just under 2%,"
the barkers shout with glee because a low CORE number tells us
that we can continue to run monetary policy with negative real
interest rates and fiscal policy with $400 billion dollar deficits.
A low CORE number allows us to pretend that American productivity
is the best in the world, that the dollar should be strong, and
that the markets, by golly are going up. No matter that a gallon
of gasoline is over 2 bucks or that a half-gallon of milk will
set you back $3.69; the CORE is under 2%. Still as Todd Heft,
a 44-year-old salesman recently quoted in The Wall Street Journal
said, "People have to buy groceries and drive to work. It's
not realistic to strip out food and gas prices." Ah the core,
the core, the core. Semper Fi to low inflation, I guess.
though is not just with those who are fixated on the core CPI
or the core PCE, but with those who support what we know as hedonic
adjustments. Talk about a con job! The government says that if
the quality of a product got better over the last 12 months that
it didn't really go up in price and in fact it may have actually
gone down! Why, we could be back to Bernanke deflation real soon
if the government would quality adjust enough products. For instance,
prices of desktop and notebook computers declined by 8% a year
during the past decade, The WSJ reports, but because the machines'
computer power and memory have improved, their hedonically adjusted
prices have dropped by 25% a year since 1997. No wonder
the core is less than 2% with computers dropping by that much
every year. But did your new model computer come with a
25% discount from last year's price? Probably not. What is likely
is that you paid about the same price for hedonically adjusted
memory improvements you'll never use. Similarly, government statisticians
manipulate the price increases for cars and just about any durable
good that comes off an assembly line but find it difficult to
extend that theory to underwear or a pair of shoes. Perhaps that's
next. Talk about Uncle Sam getting into your shorts!
to make the case for a government con job, it's important to point
out that the bulk of these hedonic adjustments have come only
in the past few years, when it became necessary to buttress Greenspan's
concept of our New Age Economy. Back in the 1990s the Clinton
Administration blessed a start to quality adjust inflation statistics.
But then in 1998, the methodology was adopted for computers -
surely the biggest step backward in realistic inflation calculations.
Since then, the BLS has expanded the concept to include audio
equipment, video equipment, washers/dryers, DVDs, refrigerators,
and of all things, college textbooks! Today no less than 46% of
the weight of the U.S. CPI comes from products subject to hedonic
adjustments. PIMCO calculates that without them, and similarly
disinflating substitution biases, Greenspan's favorite inflation
measure, the PCE, would be between 0.5% and 1.1% higher each year
since 1987. This implies as well that since inflation was higher
than actually reported, that conversely, real growth must have
been lower by the same amount.
chart shows the hedonically adjusted numbers vs. what would be
reported if this hedonic stretch didn't exist
in a recent Economics and Portfolio Strategy piece makes the hedonic
point, as have Jim Grant, Stephen Roach, Marshall Auerback, Caroline
Baum, and a host of other voices in the inflationary wilderness.
Bernstein points out that since 1990, total CPI inflation was
2.7% a year, yet hedonically adjusted durable goods suspiciously
managed to increase by only .1% annually. Over the past 12 months
the BLS reports that non-durable were up at a 4.61% rate while
those quality adjusted computers, cars, and refrigerators by golly
managed to actually go down by 1.25%. "Holy Greenspan, Batman!"
If we just could focus on those durable goods we could lower interest
rates to 0% like the Japanese and drive up the markets one more
when "substitution bias" (a BLS maneuver that follows
your preference for Chicken McNuggets vs. a Quarter Pounder) is
eliminated, the gap gets even worse. For those of you sophisticated
economists who feel the substitution bias is more than justified,
chew on this for a second. If you substitute a pound of chicken
for a pound of beef because it's cheaper, then switch back to
beef later on because it came back down in price, the overall
round trip which resulted in no ultimate substitution and no relative
price change winds up reducing the stated PCE. Oh man, what a
me to a question that no rational money manager or economist wants
to answer for fear of becoming a fool, or a conspiratorial kook.
Why does the U.S. government and the Fed continue to foist this
hedonic/substitution mantra on a gullible public when they should
know better and when, by the way, no other government does
it in the same magnitude and with the same conviction? Let
me just answer it this way - and hopefully not seem foolish (or
worse) in the process. Alan Greenspan has a dual prerogative at
the Federal Reserve. He is charged with keeping inflation low
and economic output high. The magic of hedonic/substitution adjustments
keeps both of these birds flyin' at the same time, one under
the magical 2% radar, which marks the dividing line between benign
and worrisome inflation, and the other (real GDP), over
the hurdle of 3% which suggests the continuation of high productivity,
along with its concomitant implications that the stock market
should be healthy, the dollar strong, and all's well with the
Greenspan legacy. Granted Greenspan doesn't run the BLS, but he
pounds the table hard for hedonically adjusted statistics. They
might serve him well, but they do a disservice to those
grounded in the reality of stretching a paycheck for new cars,
laptop computers, and cell phones that somehow haven't gone down
as much in price as the government says they have.
hedonic/substitution adjustments also serve a government burdened
not only with hundreds of billions of annual deficits as far as
the eye can see, but ladened with a demographically aging U.S.
workforce rapidly approaching Social Security time. By fudging
on inflation, they pay less and the amount could cumulatively
run into the hundreds of billions over the next few decades. They
disserve, of course, all of those who receive social security,
as well as other private pensioners dependent on an accurate accounting
of prices paid. They disserve buyers and holders of TIPS - inflation
protected securities - which adjust inadequately to a faulty and
near fraudulently calculated CPI that one day could total billions
of dollars per year for TIPS holders. And they disserve all owners
of U.S. Treasury obligations - including foreign central banks
and institutions - who mistakenly assume that they are earning
a real return over and above inflation, and that the dollar upon
which they are denominated is justifiably strong because of GDP
growth and productivity numbers that are pumped by hedonic magic
to resemble the Arnold Schwarzenegger of 1980 instead of his verbal
"girlie man" analogy of today.
No I cannot
sit quietly on this one, nor as I've mentioned, have other notables
in the past few years. The CPI as calculated may not be a conspiracy
but it's definitely a con job foisted on an unwitting public by
government officials who choose to look the other way or who convince
themselves that they are fostering some logical adjustment in
a New Age Economy dependent on the markets and not the marketplace
for its survival. If the CPI is so low and therefore real wages
in the black, tell me why U.S. consumers are resorting to hundreds
of billions in home equity takeouts to keep consumption above
the line. If real GDP growth is so high, tell me why this economy
hasn't created any jobs over the past four years. High productivity?
Nonsense, in part - statistical, hedonically created nonsense.
My sense is that the CPI is really 1% higher than official figures
and that real GDP is 1% less. You are witnessing a "haute
con job" and one day those gorgeous statistics just like
those gorgeous models, will lose their makeup, add a few pounds
and wind up resembling a middle-aged Mom in a cotton skirt with
better things to do than to chase the latest fad or ephemeral
fashion. If those Moms are holders of government bonds based
upon a benign outlook for inflation, they had better cash some
of them in, especially at today's 4.0% yield for 10-year Treasuries.
H. Gross, CFA
is a founder and Managing Director of Pacific Investment Management
Company (PIMCO) and has been associated with the firm for more
than thirty-three years. As Chief Investment Officer of PIMCO
he oversees the management of over $370 billion of fixed income
securities. He is the author of numerous articles on the bond
market and has frequently appeared in national publications and
media. Morningstar named Mr. Gross, and his investment team, Morningstar's
Fixed Income Manager of the Year for 1998 and for 2000. In 2000,
Mr. Gross received the Bond Market Association's Distinguished
Service Award. In 1997, Mr. Gross authored Everything You've
Heard About Investing is Wrong, published by Times Books /
Random House. In December of 1996, he was the first portfolio
manager inducted into the FIASI's Hall of Fame. In a survey conducted
by Pensions and Investments magazine in its September 6, 1993
issue, Mr. Gross was recognized by his peers as the most influential
authority on the bond market in the United States. He has thirty-five
years of investment experience and holds a bachelor's degree from
Duke University and an MBA from the UCLA Graduate School of Business.
is no guarantee of future results. This article contains the current
opinions of the author and such opinions are subject to change
without notice. This article has been distributed for informational
purposes only and is not a recommendation or offer of any particular
security, strategy or investment product. Information contained
herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable,
but not guaranteed.
of the bond market entails risk. Inflation-indexed bonds issued
by the U.S. Government, also known as TIPS, are fixed-income securities
whose principal value is periodically adjusted according to the
rate of inflation. Repayment upon maturity of the original principal
as adjusted for inflation is guaranteed by the U.S. Government.
Neither the current market value of inflation-indexed bonds nor
the value a portfolio that invests in inflation-indexed bonds
is guaranteed, and either or both may fluctuate.
No part of
this article may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in
any other publication, without express written permission of Pacific
Investment Management Company LLC. ©2004, PIMCO.
Dreaming of a Green Christmas:
Buying Your Holiday Gifts This Year, Think Green!
wants to buy shoes made by 8-year-olds in Indonesia or flat screen
TVs from companies have no recycling plan? The idea of endless
research can stop altruism right at the wish stage, however. After
two minutes in a packed mall parking lot in December, Scrooge
starts making sense.
For all of
you with hearts of gold and overloaded schedules, here's the short
cut. Below are helpful clicks, so that with the tap of a finger
and fifteen minutes of scanning this page, you can buy those delightful
gadgets from companies that are doing the right thing. If two
companies manufacture comparable computers at the same price,
perhaps the one with the most proactive recycling program might
factor into the equation.
Each of the
blue-highlighted, underlined phrases below continues a link to
more information. Before we dig in, however, I'm going to give
you one shock.
#1: You are probably invested in a tobacco company.
Most investors who have 401ks and mutual funds are
invested in a tobacco company. Altria (NYSE:MO), Philip Morris'
parent company, is a very popular company for institutional
investors. The pretty corporate name is one that keeps investors
from suspecting that they are supporting "the enemy."
You may be one of the many consumers who are suing or boycotting
the tobacco companies, while at the same time supplying the capital
that Philip Morris needs to keep putting out more cancer sticks.
You should be able to get a list of the companies that your
mutual fund is invested in by requesting it from your broker or
directly from the company. If you know the name of your mutual
fund, try a Google search with that name and Altria to see if
the fund discloses an Altria investment. That process of weeding
out at least one company, assuming you are anti-smoking, will
likely give you warm, fuzzy feelings for days after the holiday
pie. You may even find yourself wanting to share this important
GIFT of 401k wisdom with ALL of your friends.
#2: Hewlett Packard Recycles and Rewards
Hewlett Packard's HPShopping.com
rewards you with up to $50 when you recycle your consumer computer
hardware through HP's recycling service and then purchase a new
hardware product on HPShopping. While all of the major computer
manufacturers have some sort of recycling program in development
or in place, Hewlett Packard is the only company to actually give
the consumer a strong incentive to do the right thing, while making
the process relatively easy. Dell
offers free recycling (for a limited time) when you purchase a
new Dell desktop or notebook and select the free recycling option.
charges you $30 to recycle your old computer. Sony
has a free statewide "take back" electronics recycling program
in Minnesota and Connecticut, with a goal of having the program
nationwide by 2005.
#3: Reebok vs. Nike: Some companies LEAD with socially conscious
policies, while others are EMBARRASSED into compliance.
In issue 41, we did a feature article entitled No
Sweat: How Levi Strauss and Reebok Eliminated Child Labor in the
Garment Industry. Levi Strauss, a privately-held company,
had a foreign labor policy that was the blueprint by which the
others followed. Reebok led the publicly traded companies in
establishing policies that actually worked to eliminate child
labor. It turns out that child labor is a very complex issue,
based in the larger problem of rampant poverty and illiteracy,
that Reebok and Levi Strauss addressed in an incredibly responsible,
forward-thinking way. All that and great clothes and shoes—something
to think about when you're shopping this holiday season AND when
you're considering your investments.
#4: Shareholder Activism Works
43% of Disney shareholders voted no confidence in Michael
Eisner's reelection to the Disney Board and succeeded in getting
a new Chairman of the Board within hours of the Disney Annual
Shareholder meeting. As Marilyn Tam wrote in September, "In
the USA, shareholders boycotted Home Depot to make them stop selling
lumber from endangered hardwood trees. The result was that not
only did Home Depot stop selling endangered hardwood, but other
home improvement store chains also stopped selling endangered
If you love
a product (like Krispy Kreme) and flat out HATE the low-carb craze,
boycott Atkins Diet books and eat Krispy Kreme donuts naked in
Times Square to ensure that those of us here on the West Coast
aren't stripped of our decadent delight just when it finally arrived
here! Okay, I'm kidding about the naked part. But if you love
a product or service, and you find out that the company needs
a little guidance in one of its policies, don't just throw the
baby out with the bath water. Do what Gandhi would do. Act for
Change. Remember: "We must be the change we wish to see."
The good news is that it works!
#5: Ford Motor Companies is as Green as It Gets
You might be surprised to learn that Ford was the first
to release a hybrid SUV, and that Ford's CEO, Bill Ford, is known
as a "greenie" who furnishes his office with environmentally
friendly furniture and building products (including ceiling tiles
made from recycled newsprint). "Our vision for the future
is simple," Mr. Ford writes. "We want to build great
products, a strong business and a better world." Ford has
many "green" cars that are rated right behind Honda,
Toyota and Nissan for fuel efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas
emissions, namely the Mazda 3, the Ford Focus and the Volvo S60
and V70. (Mazda and Volvo are owned by Ford Motor Company.) For
a list of green
cars that will cut your gas bill in half, click on
The Ford Motor
Company is also one of the founding companies of the Chicago
Climate Exchange. The Chicago
Climate Exchange is a Cap-and-Trade Exchange that
is succeeding in reducing green house gas emissions. This test
program provides financial incentives for corporations to get
green, while at the same time promoting "offsetting"
environmental strategies, like reforestation in Brazil. For more
information on how the Chairman of the Chicago Climate Exchange,
Dr. Richard Sandor, is convincing capitalists to buy clean air
and for a list of the twelve other founding companies, click on
the highlighted Chicago Climate Exchange above.
If you want
to surprise yourself or your sweetheart with a new car this holiday
season, it might make that down payment easier to swallow, knowing
that you are supporting one of the founding companies of the U.S.,
which is actively promoting eco-friendly policies to better our
Note to investors:
Ford Motor Company is not on our Stock Picks List. The auto industry
will continue to feel financial pressure on their bottom line,
with higher fuel and metals costs, and the pension fund problem
in the auto industry is more than substantial (akin to what we're
seeing in the airline industry). Perhaps, however, if American
consumers begin supporting Ford by buying their vehicles and increasing
Ford's market share, these problems will be more easily addressed…
You've done your homework for the month. Reward yourself with
spiked eggnog and feel twice as delighted with the gifts and investments
you've chosen this holiday season!
Guide to P/E Ratios:
Wood, President & CEO of Odyssey Advisors, LLC.
ongoing education series intended to enrich your knowledge of
Woods CEO, Odyssey Advisors, LLC
professions, investing is littered with jargon. However, most
of this jargon leads to a deceptively simple equation. The primary
job of the stock market is to place a value on businesses. The
value of a business, as measured by the stock price, is expected
earnings (per share) multiplied by valuation.
The term P/E
ratio is a synonym for valuation. In this equation, p is the price
of the stock and e is the earnings per share. P/E ratio is price
of the stock divided by earnings per share. This is also known
as a multiple (of earnings). In this equation, the price of the
stock is pretty straightforward and is the current or last price
of the stock. The earnings per share side of the equation is a
bit more interesting.
of the things the stock market is supposed to do is to discount
the future, and it does this with varying degrees of success.
As one pundit said, "The stock market has predicted 7of the
last 3 recessions". Be that as it may, professional investors
still mostly use expected earnings when they evaluate stock prices.
Ah, but which
expected earnings? And how do you compare companies on calendar
years with companies on fiscal years? (Note: calendar year earnings
are reported as of the end of December. Companies on a fiscal
year report 12-month earnings as of the end of any month except
To make all
companies comparable, our answer is to adjust earnings estimates
to put all companies on a calendar year basis. For example, assume
a company has a June fiscal year and reported earnings per share
of 1.00 in June 2004. For June 2005, the estimate is 1.20. The
expectation for calendar 2004 would be 1.10. This adjustment allows
us to compare apples with apples, but we're still faced with the
question of which estimates to use.
For most of
2004, we look at expected earnings for the calendar year and this
is the basis for most of our decisions on valuation. However,
sometime early in the fourth quarter, once we have a pretty good
handle on earnings for the current year, we begin to shift our
focus to the next year. Our valuations are now based upon calendar
estimates for 2004 and 2005.
1970, P/E ratios for the S&P 500 have ranged from a low of
just under 7X to a high of just over 29X. The median has been
about 16X, so we'll consider that to be average valuation. However,
before jumping to the conclusion that the stock market is cheap
at 7X and overvalued at 29X, there are a few other things to keep
stock market is in constant competition with bonds and real estate
for investor attention. Investors know that, depending upon the
time period measured, the long-term return on stocks is around
10-11%, which is similar to the long-term return on unleveraged
real estate. Investors also know that bonds with an average maturity
of about 5 years have about half the risk of stocks.
As a result,
when bond yields are high and approach the long-term return on
common stocks, the rational response is to sell stocks and buy
bonds. When Treasury bonds have a yield of 10% or higher, it's
hard for investors to find a good reason to put up with the aggravation
of owning stocks. The result is that money flows out of stocks
and into bonds and stock valuations decline. As a result, the
periods of low valuations in stocks invariably correspond with
high bond yields.
in the other direction also. When bond yields are low, more investors
are willing to consider stocks. If you check the data, you'll
see that periods of high valuations in stocks generally correspond
with low and relatively unattractive bond yields.
brings us to the present. Right now, bond yields are near their
historic lows. However, The S&P 500 is trading at about 18X
its 2004 earnings per share estimate, which places the valuation
close to the middle of its historic range. Given current bond
yields, stock valuations should be about 15% higher, and stocks
look cheap as a result. What's going on?
is that stocks appear to be losing ground to real estate in the
battle for the affections of long-term investors. Not only have
stock investors had to endure the perfect storm of 2000-2002,
but the equity market is now becoming overrun with hot money halfwits
exempt from SEC regulation. In some segments of the stock market,
relatively minor changes in company expectations can produce a
25-50% drop in the underlying stock price. Only short sellers
and hedge funds view this as a positive.
is a comparison of the volatility of the S&P 500 and NASDAQ
for the last four decades:
2000s vs. Avg.
deviation of monthly returns measures the amount of fluctuation
in returns. A higher number indicates more volatility, which is
one proxy for risk. For the S&P 500, risk in this decade is
about 6.5% more than average. However, S&P 500 stocks are
mostly too boring for short sellers and hedge funds, so they focus
their attention on NASDAQ stocks. Here, volatility has increased
a staggering 44% from average.
As risk and
volatility increase in some segments of the stock market, we come
back to the same consideration. In this case, there are two asset
classes (real estate and stocks) with similar returns over time.
However, as one has become riskier, investors are shifting funds
to the other. Money that should have gone into stocks has instead
gone into real estate, and this has kept P/E ratios in the equity
market relatively low.
Few More Considerations
this point, you're probably wondering what else influences P/E
ratios? The answer is just about everything. A proper answer to
this question would make War and Peace look like a short
story. However, here are a few more rules of thumb:
- The higher
a company's growth rate, the higher the valuation
earnings produce higher valuations than companies with unpredictable
with proven managements have higher valuations
gaining market share have higher valuations than companies losing
- Clean balance
sheets produce higher valuations than companies with a lot of
The gist is
that uncertainty in any form produces lower valuations. From this,
it's tempting to conclude that the ideal investment is a company
with an above-average growth rate, consistent earnings, a proven
management, and a clean balance sheet. That's what a lot of professionals
have concluded, and an explanation of why this makes most of them
unable to produce even average returns will be the subject of
an upcoming article.
is the CEO of Odyssey Advisors, where he manages investments for
high net-worth individuals, families and institutions. He can
be reached at 310.568.4700.
has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable however
Odyssey Advisors LLC does not warrant its completeness or accuracy.
Opinions constitute our judgment as of the date of this material
and are subject to change without notice. This material is not
intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale
of any financial instrument. Securities, financial instruments
or strategies mentioned
Up With the Fed:
Anne Beck-Woods, Chairman & CFO Odyssey Advisors, LLC, Investment
you MUST know about bonds and rising interest rates.
bottom line is that bonds are not a less risky asset if they are
of low quality or if you have to sell them prematurely when interest
rates are rising."
Chairman and CFO,
Odyssey Advisors, LLC
10, 2004, the Federal Reserve again raised its target for the
Federal Funds rate, the benchmark U.S. interest rate a quarter
points to 2 per cent. From their latest comments, the Federal
Reserve Governors echo the point that monetary policy in the United
States "remains accommodative" and the fed funds rate
still seems low relative to inflation and the economy. As of November
10, the level of the primary discount rate was 3 percent and the
prime-lending rate charged by most banks was 5 per cent.
of most Federal Reserve Governors indicate that the fed funds
rate will continue to go up perhaps as soon as December 14th,
when the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meets again. Since
late June, the Fed funds rate has gone up 100 basis points, or
one per cent at the same time energy prices have soared and inflation
has been less benign.
Fed governors have said they will raise interest rates at a "measured
pace," one cannot help but think of 1994 when the Fed funds
rate was raised five times from 3.25% on 2/04/1994 to 4.75% on
8/16/1994 devastating the bond market. In five out of six meetings,
the Fed was tightening in their bias. That period also marked
a period of inter-meeting increases in the Federal Funds Rate.
So far this
activity has dampened home sales, as sales of existing homes and
condominiums dropped 1.8% from the second quarter and prices,
which had risen 8.9% in the prior quarter, were only up 7.7%,
putting the real estate market on notice that times may be harder
in the future.
Reserve was founded in 1913 and established a central banking
system long used in Europe to pool bank reserves and create a
lender of last resort. In 1920, the fear of inflation caused the
Fed to raise interest rates on 12-month treasury certificates
to 7.75%. This caused a drop in the value of corporate bonds by
11%, pretty big for a so-called less risky asset. Will they do
it again? I hope not. Productivity is still strong and even though
inflation is back, it is not out of hand.
What do you
do in a rising interest rate market? There is the "buy and
hold" strategy, ignoring the Federal reserves ups and downs
and the subsequent drop in the price of your bonds and collecting
your coupons and principal at maturity. The market timers are
a different breed and try to anticipate the direction and timing
of interest rates--a dicey job at best. It is better to have higher
quality bonds when interest rates are rising, as the spread or
difference between different sectors of the bond market may not
justify lower credit quality. Consider callable bonds, as the
likelihood of a call is diminished due to rising interest rates
and a more expensive cost of money.
If rates are
rising rapidly, you will get more out of your money market funds
as rates go up, and if your bond holdings are short to intermediate
term, your price fluctuations will be less than if you had long
term bonds. In 1987, when the stock market dropped over 500 points,
interest rates on 7-year bonds soared to almost 10%. That made
them very competitive with the long-term return on stocks and,
if non-callable, a good buy.
has been chairman of the Federal Reserve since 1988 (Paul Volcker
was chairman from 1979 to 1987, and the two are completely different
characters.) Where Greenspan will make public comments that can
dash the hopes of equity and bond investors alike, Volcker was
close-mouthed and never entirely comfortable with the press. You
would never hear him speak of irrational exuberance to deliberately
affect the market.
appears before congressional committees, which are open to the
public, he may choose politely to decline to answer committee
questions on his intent or use dense technical language to confuse
the public and the panel. Some points you should watch for in
Fed stories are if the Fed says it sees the economy growing faster,
inflationary pressures increasing or the money supply expanding
at a faster clip, it may be preparing to push interest rates higher.
Also look out for announcements of low unemployment levels or
increasing labor costs.
On the other
hand, if the Fed is concerned about economic weakness and high
unemployment and confident that inflation and labor costs are
well contained, the central bank may push interest rates lower.
In the usual
case of conflicting or confusing statements, you must weigh the
emphasis given for each statement. Tarot cards or an Ouija board
might help. In any case, a government official has a lot of power
in this country and perhaps it is time we reined that power in
a little bit. Greenspan is well past the age of retirement and
who knows whom the next Federal Reserve Chairman will be.
If you have
high coupon bonds that are of good credit quality, you might lose
the premium or high price but you will still collect the coupon.
If they are government bonds, presumably get you money back at
maturity. If you have lower quality bonds be prepared for some
significant price volatility and make sure you don't need the
money before the bonds mature. The bottom line is that bonds are
not a less risky asset if they are of low quality or if you have
to sell them prematurely when interest rates are rising.
35 years, Meri Anne Beck-Woods has managed investments for an
expanded client base including Norton Simon and the Federal Reserve
Pension Fund. She is a member of the CFA Institute, the Los Angeles
Society of Financial Analysts, a past President of the Los Angeles
Association of Investment Women, and a lifetime member of the
Network for Empowering Women Entrepreneurs. She is Chairman, CFO
and Co-founder of Odyssey Advisors. Meri Anne is a contributing
writer of the new book, Inspiration to Realization, in
which real women reveal proven strategies for personal, business,
financial and spiritual fulfillment. To order the book or to contact
Meri Anne, call 310.568.4700.
has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable however
Odyssey Advisors LLC does not warrant its completeness or accuracy.
Opinions constitute our judgment as of the date of this material
and are subject to change without notice. This material is not
intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale
of any financial instrument. Securities, financial instruments
or strategies mentioned herein may not be suitable for all investors.
Women: Burned, Beaten and still in Burqas in Afghanistan:
Pace, founder and editor in chief, NataliePace.com.
with Dr. William Schulz, the Executive Director of Amnesty International,
on why equality on paper has not translated into a better life
for women in Afghanistan - yet.
Afghan Interim Chairman Hamid Karzai meeting with First Lady
Laura Bush at a USAID ceremony.Photo credit: U.S. Agency for
and 2000, there were hundreds of emails circulating, mobilizing
women in the U.S. to improve the circumstances of women living
in Afghanistan, under the misogynistic Taliban regime. If there
can be any silver lining to war, giving women the right to vote
in that country seemed like a huge coup. But, if things are so
great for women now, why were so many Afghani women still in burqas
at the voting booths, and why, in the only part of their body
that was visible—their eyes—did they look so frightened?
on October 9, 2004 was a positive one, and I eagerly tuned in,
ready to applaud. The first democratic elections in Afghanistan
were including women, and U.N. reports had registration as high
as 41% of female participation. The programs aired images of women
holding their ballots to the camera, giving the impression that
things in Afghanistan had dramatically improved since the U.S.
invasion. There was even one female presidential candidate, Massouda
Jalal, though she received little press. Certainly the right to
vote was a huge step forward, but why was I so haunted by the
look in their eyes and their timid body posture? Was there more
to the story?
momentarily, about my discomfort (which is so easy to do in a
country where horrible circumstances in faraway places are aired
every minute), I turned my attention back to the tasks at hand.
That task included a call to Amnesty International to find out
about another story—the rape and murders of women in Juarez. A
friend of mine was putting the final touches on a film exposing
this issue and my spinning class had recently done a fundraiser.
We're still working on that story, but, while I had Amnesty on
the phone, did she happen to know anything about women living
in Afghanistan? Why was I so disturbed by those photos at the
voting booths, when getting the right to vote is such a giant
leap forward in human rights? Was I crazy or did those women look
almost identical to the women I saw back in 1999, when Americans
were so motivated to improve their desperate lives?
What I learned
from Amnesty International, and they sent me over reams of information
on focus groups and ongoing research in Afghanistan, was extremely
disturbing. Pictures never lie. The daily life of a woman living
in Afghanistan has not measurably changed since the fall of the
Taliban, even though the new Constitution is written according
to international standards of human rights and equality. In the
words of an Afghani woman, speaking to an international worker
under conditions of anonymity, "No one listens to us and no one
treats us like human beings." Three women were killed in an attack
on a voter registration bus in June 2004. Warlords threatened
women to deter them from registering, and there are reports of
targeted killings of Afghan women holding voter registration cards.
In the villages, female voter registration was well under 10%,
though women make up almost half of the population (source: Amnesty
It is often
the case, especially in rural areas outside of Kabal, that the
men and women don't even know that the new Afghan Constitution
guarantees women equal rights. There are no phones and illiteracy
rates run high in rural Afghanistan. Thus, twelve year old girls
(and younger) are still traded off in marriage to keep peace between
two families or to raise money, women who are raped can be imprisoned
as the criminal (instead of being cared for as the victim), and
election workers seeking to register women get blown up. Further,
there are few escape routes from these unbearable conditions,
where a woman cannot walk the streets without a male relative
and there are only a handful of shelters in Kabal, except the
one exit plan that is resorted to all too often--to set oneself
on fire and hope to break on through to the other side—death.
just a few of the worst circumstances and biggest challenges that
are currently being addressed by the international community in
Afghanistan. Focus groups of women were assembled in each location
visited by Amnesty International. These groups provided a forum
for discussion where women of different ages were able to talk
in confidence. Participants were drawn from village communities
or urban neighborhoods with the cooperation of international agencies,
in particular UN Habitat (UN Human Settlements Programme).
of rape, violence and undermarriage (under the age of 12) are
not reported because, in the words of an Afghani woman,
"A woman would be killed [if she sought help] because it is
the Pashtun Wali tradition, and because it is a big shame if
a woman brings her problems outside the home."
help causes more violence. Some women also expressed fear
that seeking help would result in increased violence in the
family. "In our community and tradition, if a girl complains
to a government body, they say this girl is a bad girl who doesn't
obey her father or brother."
Violence is her fault because presumably, the woman did
not obey her husband.
- No Access
to Support Groups. In some communities, women cannot leave
the home without an accompanying male relative or mahram. To
be seen to travel alone might result in loss of reputation,
or worse, a license to rape her. How can a woman even leave
home to seek outside help?
Do the women
in Afghanistan want change? Do their religious beliefs prevent
them from believing that life can and should be any different?
It appears, while Afghani women are very faithful to their religion,
they do not necessarily believe their doctrine condones a life
of abuse, rape, trading young girls off in marriage and limited
access to jobs. Bearing evidence to the desire for a new life,
on March 10, 2004, in Peshawar, over 1,000 people attended International
Women's Day, sponsored by the Revolutionary Association of the
Women of Afghanistan, RAWA.
5th photo. "The hall was full and a large number
of women…) Get rights approval at email@example.com.
to the Amnesty International report:
women] did not agree with practices such as forced marriage,
although they are established custom. Many women supported
the idea that acts of violence, such as forced marriage and
abuse in the family should be punished. One focus group member
said "then men would learn and they would not do this to us."
Several women in situations of abuse or violence stated the
need for support, in particular from other women. Overwhelmingly,
their desire for improvement in their rights was driven by
the wish to be able to work and contribute to their communities
Paper Into Practice
any major shift in social ethos, writing a law doesn't mean that
people change their thinking overnight. Abolishing slavery was
just the first step in leveling the playing field for all races
in the U.S. It took the Civil Rights movement, over one hundred
years later, for a Black woman to get a seat on a bus, much less
any job that she wanted. "Today, with the help of oversight
organizations, international human rights' laws and the power
of the United States government, we can push the process along
much faster," according to Amnesty International Director,
Dr. Bill Schulz. However, as early as the 1920s, before the establishment
of all these support mechanizations, one man, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk,
transformed an Islamic nation—Turkey—and instituted equal rights
for women. How did he do it?
is often held up as an example of a progressive Islamic country,
where women are not only entitled to the same privileges as men
in all things, they actually hold positions of authority. How
did Turkey, another country with strong Islamic presence, end
up having the world's first women Supreme Court justice? It all
started by example.
of the challenge of reform is getting the word out to the people,
and in the case of Turkey, a picture isn't just worth a thousand
words. It may have saved 100 years of painstakingly slow progress.
Even the illiterate can understand a photograph, and word travels
fast when the leader of a nation makes a bold, new stand. Mustafa
Kemal Ataturk and his staff made it a point to be photographed
with their wives in Western dress at presidential functions. Ataturk's
reform movement was so successful that Turkey had 18 women in
the national parliament by the mid-1930s, and the world's first
women Supreme Court justice.
In 1919, King
Amanullah Khan, credited as being a champion of women's rights
in Afghanistan, followed the modernization movement advanced by
Mustafa Ataturk in Turkey and abolished the traditional Muslim
veil. In the Independence Day Celebration of 1919, Khan's wife,
Queen Soraya, joined by the wives of the cabinet officials, shed
her burqa, and showed up in modern formal attire. This reform
was subsequently dashed in a land notoriously torn with violence
and war, and current reform in Afghanistan, particularly in regard
to women, is decidedly measured. Is that any reason, however,
to hide President Karzai's First Lady? What kind of message of
reform does that send to the people of Afghanistan?
Invisible First Lady
who is President Karzai's wife? She rarely ventures beyond the
palace security, and few people worldwide even know that President
Hamid Karzai is married. Halima Kazem, a correspondent for Womensenews.org,
wrote in September 2002 that Karzai's First Lady, Dr. Zeenat Karzai,
a gynecologist, wants to "work for my people and my own country."
I searched archives, the Internet and found no photos of First
Lady Kazem. I sent repeat requests to the Afghanistan embassy
in Washington D.C., asking for any press release or image of the
First Lady. Though I was passed around the Embassy and promised
a return call, my inquiries remained unanswered at press time.
be committed to women's rights when it hides its own first lady,
even in photo opportunities with the First Lady of the Unites
States, Laura Bush?
We put these
questions and more to Dr. William Schulz, the Executive Director
of Amnesty International, to understand the plight of the oppressed
Afghani women, who are still burning themselves to escape abusive
husbands and fathers, who are still beaten and imprisoned for
morality crimes and are still terrified to be seen without their
burqas on. At the end of the interview, we will provide you with
an email address, where you can sign a petition to mobilize President
Bush, President Karzai and the U.N. to keep the focus on enforcing
the new laws that protect women.
Pace—What is the significance of having women voting in Afghanistan?
Was this a media event, where a handful of women turned out and
posed for cameras, or are women really out there taking charge
of their lives and government?
Schulz --It's a significant event, but there is no question
that women were intimidated, harassed and discouraged from voting.
Men monitoring the stations may have intimated women and prevented
them from voting. There is a lot more to the story than you see
in the pictures.
was Women Vote in Afghanistan, with a subtext, "Life is So
Much Better There Now!" Those women looked exactly the same
to me as the pictures I saw under the Taliban… They were wearing
burqas, with eyes and body language steeped in fear.
problem is that despite all the changes in the law, there is a
cultural lag there. There are not yet institutions in place to
enforce the Constitution and to make the quality of life more
than just pretty words on paper. Women were prevented from voting
by family members--by threats they received when they tried to
exercise their rights. The fall of the Taliban was just the beginning
of addressing this issue. We receive reports of rape and sexual
abuse that never gets responded to. Women are in prison for committing
crimes of adultery or running away. Women who are assaulted are
treated not as victims, but as criminals.
like the enforcement and/or the judicial system is failing them….
Since the education of women in Afghanistan was cut off for so
long, is the problem that there just aren't any women in positions
Most of the
female judges are regarded as clerks, rather than adjudicators.
There are four women shelters in Kabal, and none outside of Kabal.
The voting is a manifestation of a much larger ongoing problem.
the next step, and can the international community help or is
this something that should be left to the new government in Afghanistan?
next step is for the U.S. and other countries to both insist that
these things be redressed and to offer ongoing assistance in the
creation of institutions that can protect and train women. This
needs to be addressed at the systemic level—from the police, to
the judges, to the legal systems review. The Afghani government
cannot do it by itself. There are still major issues on security--outside
of Kabal certainly--changes needed in the legal system and educational
problems that need to be addressed culturally.
International working in all these areas?
our best to monitor and to be in touch with human rights defenders
in Afghanistan. Most of the work is done out of our International
Secretariat in London.
ZINA crimes and why are so many women in prison for them?
personal behavior crimes--accusations of adultery, running away
from home, defying the male family members, sex outside of marriage,
etc. The interesting thing is that the majority of women in prison
today are not in prison for committing crimes against other people,
like burglary and murder, they are in prison for transgressing
mores. The fact that this act is still prosecuted, and women are
targeted--men are not prosecuted for sex outside of marriage--and
the majority of women in prison have been convicted of these crimes,
is reflective of the prejudices of the judicial system and that
the system has not come to standards of equity. Afghanistan is
still far from meeting international standards for women. This
discourages women from using the criminal justice system for rape
or assault. If a woman reports rape, she is often in danger of
being charged with a ZINA crime, even if she was the victim of
like so little has been accomplished. Sure these women have the
right to vote legally, but have their daily lives improved at
all in reality?
is far better than the Taliban. No one who knows anything about
social change expects these things to happen overnight. As the
country is pushed to meet international standards, naturally,
there is a lag, a process and a time that has to be at work here.
At the same time, it is the job of the monitors, like Amnesty,
to hold these standards up and say this is what we expect of every
the U.S. like this 100 years ago? Is there anyway to speed up
the march to equality?
There is one
important difference between the U.S. 200 years ago and the world
today. 200 years ago, there were no generally accepted standards
at the international level of civil and political rights. So,
while it is certainly true that cultures take time to make these
changes, it's not a legitimate analogy to say that Britain and
the U.S. took a long time to adapt to these changes.
you say to the argument that we are imposing Western standards
on a country that is perfectly happy with its social mores. Should
the international community really be butting in?
always begin at the national level. Take slavery, for example.
Britain abolished slavery in 1830; the U.S. in 1865. The British
decision to abolish slavery, and the gradual addition of other
countries, established an international norm. That meant that
after the Civil War, when more countries abolished slavery, it
became harder in 1880 for a country to defend itself. The emerging
international consensus was and is that slavery is a violation
of civilized behavior. Today it's even simpler, the examples and
norms of the international community are laid out in international
treaty, and it is a matter of international law.
courts were key in taking equality off of the pages of the Constitution
and into the enforcement of civil rights. Are Afghani men being
prosecuted when they beat, burn, imprison or rape women, so that
others understand that there are consequences for those previously
I just don't
are the Afghani men educated about the international law? Do they
clearly understand that a new standard now supercedes the social
mores they were raised on?
ago, this country was under the control of the Taliban. Before
that, it was years of warfare. This is not a country that has
a long history of abiding by international standards. I'm sure
that the answer is that these men are very poorly educated. That
is presumably what the international community is committed to
helping this new Afghani government to do.
anything that American women and men can do now, easily, to help?
insist to the Bush Administration that they finish the job in
Afghanistan. The job is not yet finished. While women's conditions
have improved, women are still subject to sexual assault and rape
without recourse. There are enormous inequities that remain in
Afghanistan. The U.S. has poured enormous resources and human
lives into Afghanistan. It has great investment in the government
of Karzai, which will not be successful if half the population
of Afghanistan is denied rights. No country flourishes if half
of the nation is underutilized. There is a direct correlation
with the opportunity for women and the economic success of an
emerging nation. We need to do everything we can to put this BACK
on the radar of Congress, and to support organizations that are
offering support to the indigenous groups of Afghanistan.
If equal rights
are to go beyond lip service to reality, history teaches us that
Dr. Zeenat Karzai will have to come out of hiding, and set an
example to the women of Afghanistan. It worked in Turkey. It worked
in the U.S., after Rosa Parks asserted her equal rights. Otherwise,
while the laws are there on paper to protect women, the customs
and abuses remain the same.
clicks and a email signature, you can ACT NOW to Stop Violence
Against Women and improve the lives of women in Afghanistan,
who are still cowering behind burqas and being burned, executed,
imprisoned, raped and beaten if they dare to try to change their
lives. This petition is being circulated by NataliePace.com (a company
that does not share or sell email addresses). We are calling
on all of our members, readers and all of your friends to help
us achieve our goal of collecting ONE MILLION signatures, which
will be passed on, to President Bush, President Karzai and the
United Nations. Less than five minutes of your time could save
- Cut and
paste the following petition into an email.
- Add your
name and city to the bottom of the list.
- Email it
to at least 10 of your Friends.
- Once there
are 1,000 names on the petition, forward it to info@NataliePace.com.
Then start a new list and send it to at least 10 of your friends.
AGAINST AFGHAN WOMEN NOW PETITION
We the undersigned,
condemn the atrocities committed by fundamentalists in Afghanistan.
We condemn the violations of human rights, especially women's
rights, in Afghanistan. We encourage the United Nations, the US
Congress, President Bush and President Karzai to encourage a democratic
movement in Afghanistan and to actively promote the liberation
of women by setting an example in the public eye. We urge the
United Nations, the Afghan government and the international community
to enforce sanctions against anyone who violates international
law, particularly in regard to women's rights.
GET MORE INFO:
You can get more information on this important issue by reading
the NataliePace.com article "Women: Burned, Beaten and still
in Burqas in Afghanistan. An Interview with Dr. William Schulz,
the Executive Director of Amnesty International" at www.NataliePace.com,
issue 55. Use the following passwords: USER ID: Free PASSWORD:
Pace, Santa Monica, CA
1. Cut and
Paste the following petition into an email.
2. Add your
name and city to the bottom of the list.
3. Email the
Petition to at least 10 of your friends and family members.
4. Once there
are 1,000 names on the petition, forward it to info@NataliePace.com.
5. Start a
new list and email it to at least 10 of your friends and family
goal is to get at least one million names before December 15,
2004, that will be forwarded to President Bush, key congressional
leaders, United Nations' diplomats and key leaders in the fight
for freedom in Afghanistan. That goal is just five clicks away,
as this missive will be sent out to 10,0000 people. We can easily
do this. If you want to ensure that you continue to receive important
information on the social and economic empowerment of women worldwide,
email NataliePace.com at info@NataliePace.com,
with ADD ME TO YOUR EMAIL LIST in the Subject.
Nations Development Fund for Women
- See the
NataliePace.com calendar at www.NataliePace.com
for the December 4, 2004 Holiday Bazaar of Afghan Handicrafts
in Santa Barbara, California. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Bergan Renegade Pictures, filmmaker and Advisory Board member.
Voices of Women. www.renegadepix.net. Filmed in 2002, this film
documents the voices ofseveral women living in Kabal, Afghanistan
and Pakistan. 2003 Winner of the Social Justice Documentary
Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
- Amnesty International http://web.amnesty.org/actforwomen/index-eng
S. Carp, MD. Carp Cosmetic Surgery Center, Inc.
Guide to Botox, Restalyne and Other Tricks of Science.
S. Carp, MD.,
FASC Carp Cosmetic Surgery Center, Inc.
As we enter
2005 the world of facial rejuvenation continues to evolve. Facial
lines and wrinkles are one the most frequent signs of aging that
both men and women seek to eliminate. Soft tissue fillers, which
are injected into the skin and underlying tissues to help reduce
these lines, wrinkles and folds, have become some of the most
common cosmetic procedures performed today. The use of injectable
products has and is continuing to change. From collagen to Botox®
, there are more options available today then ever before. I am
going to review the most common injectables used in the United
with collagen. First available for use in the 1980's, collagen
had until recently been the predominant injectable soft tissue
filler. Collagen is a protein that exits in nearly all tissues
of your body. In the skin, collagen begins to break down and become
disorganized helping to create wrinkles, smile lines, crows feet,
frown lines and so on. (Muscle movement also contributes to the
formation of facial lines). Injecting collagen helps plump up
these lines and reduce their appearance. Two basic forms of collagen
are on the market; animal and human derived. The first of these,
Zyplast and Zyderm, have been available since about 1991. These
are made from purified bovine (cow) skin. Because they are not
human derived allergic reactions may occur. Therefore, patients
are required to have a skin test at least 30 days before receiving
treatment. The results following collagen are immediate, and may
last on average 3 months.
two products derived from human collagen. First is Cymetra, which
is made from human cadaver tissue that has been screened for transmittable
diseases. Skin testing is not necessary. Treatment effects last
about 2 months. The second is CosmoDerm/CosmoPlast. Also made
from human tissue, these are grown in a laboratory. Once again
skin testing is not necessary, with results lasting from 2 to
are usually performed with a topical anesthetic, or in possibly
a local injected anesthetic in the doctor's office or at the time
of another procedure. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons
(ASPS) reports that more than 575,000 patients had collagen injections
is the patient's own tissue. Far and away the most common source
is fat. Fat injections or fat transfer is used to add volume to
areas such as the lips, cheeks, and around the eyes. It may also
be used to plump up wrinkles and lines. The procedure is performed
with local anesthesia. Fat is taken from an area such as the buttock
or abdomen and injected below the skin. Because it is the patient's
own tissue, allergic reactions cannot occur. The results vary
from 3 months or longer, with many patients noting long-lasting
results. Over 61,000 patients had fat injections in 2003, according
available but less common are Fascian (human tissue), Autologen
(prepared from the patient's own skin), and Plasmagel (derived
from patients own blood and a Vitamin C complex).
In 2004, the
excitement has been centered on hyaluronic acid products. Hyaluronic
acid is a naturally occurring substance in skin, as well as many
other tissues. Early this year, the FDA approved Restylane for
use. This product is derived from non-animal technology. Allergic
reactions are rare, and patients can expect results to last from
4 to 6 months. Restylane Fine Line and Perlane are modified forms
of Restylane, however, neither is currently approved for use in
the United States by the FDA. The second hyaluronic acid product
approved for use is Hylaform, which is derived from rooster combs.
Because it is made from rooster combs, people with allergies or
sensitivities to avian products could have an allergic reaction.
It too may last up to 6 months.
All of the
previously described products are temporary, with the perhaps
the exception of fat injections. There are 2 additional injectables
that have received a lot of attention recently. Radiesse (previously
called Radiance) and Artecoll. These products have much longer
lasting effects then the others. However, Artecoll has limited
availability as the FDA advisory panel has recommended approval
on conditions. This may change in the near future. Radiesse is
FDA approved, but only for vocal cord paralysis and urinary incontinence.
Use of Radiesse for facial lines is considered off-label, but
is growing in popularity. Radiesse is made from calcium hydroxylapatite,
which is also found in bone and teeth. Results will usually last
longer than 18 months and allergic reactions are rare. Aretcoll
is derived from a mix of bovine collagen and polymethylmethacrylate
(used for many years as a bone replacement material).
hear of another filler very soon, Sculptra. This is made from
a synthetic polylactic acid. It has been used successfully in
HIV patients to replace facial volume loss and may shortly be
available for cosmetic use.
injectable soft tissue I will mention is silicone. I do so only
to raise awareness that is not approved for cosmetic use and was
banned by the FDA in 1991.
soft tissue fillers can do a wonderful job reducing facial lines.
In most cases the side effects are minimal and temporary. This
includes bruising, redness, or lumpiness. Recovery or down time
is brief with immediate results.
about injectable products to treat facial lines must include botulinum
toxin. To date, the FDA has only approved Botox® for cosmetic
use. Botox® has
been in use for many years to treat muscle spasms of the neck
and around the eyes. Its use expanded to the treatment of facial
lines in the past 10 to 15 years. Botulinum toxin effectively
blocks the signal from nerves to muscle resulting in paralysis
of the muscle. This is a temporary effect. The dose injected will
only work on muscles directly at the site of injection. It has
been shown to be extremely safe, with rare side effects. Some
patients may develop immunity (resistance), which will reduce
and eliminate its effectiveness. It is important to understand
that Botox® does not act directly on the wrinkle, but rather
on the muscle activity that contributes to wrinkle formation.
The FDA has approved use on the frown lines between the eyebrows.
However, it is commonly used off-label on the forehead, crow's
feet, around the mouth, chin, and neck. Its effect will not be
evident for about 1 week, and will last from 4 to 6 months for
most patients. The ASPS reports more than 2.8 million Botox®
injections in 2003.
forms of botulinum toxin are in production. Myobloc is approved
for non-cosmetic use, and Dysport that is not FDA approved for
use in the United States.
So what does
this all mean? First, what are your goals? Second, in many cases
you may have several options. Treatment of facial aging has become
more complex, but also more effective. This includes safer and
more predictable results. Many patients are now treated with multiple
products, multiple procedures, and multiple treatment sessions.
A patient may receive Restylane and Botox. Or perhaps Restylane,
Botox, laser treatments, and a facelift. It is important to understand
that each patient has different goals and equally important, different
needs. For example, non-surgical treatment with injectable fillers
may not be the best option. Surgery may be more effective even
with the other options. Therefore, you should consult with a qualified
board certified Plastic Surgeon. As with any healthcare decision
educate yourself, understand what is possible for you and what
are the risks. In this way you are likely to have a great experience
and be pleased with your results.
Steven S Carp,
Certified Plastic Surgeon
Biotech Stock Report Card:
sales are ballooning, as are breast implants. Are the company
share prices as well?
collagen, Restylane, hyaluronic acid. When medical terms like
these pepper the conversations during Girls' Night Out, you know
the world is changing, and it is. With over 26% of the US population
nearing retirement (Baby Boomers), anti-aging is all the rage.
Many of the companies involved in post-prime beauty are also manufacturers
of the most popular plastic surgery in the teen crowd—breast implants.
when silicone breast implants were banned for most women, the
number of women opting for an increased bust line has exploded.
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports that
in 2003, there were 247,000 women who received breast implants,
compared to just 32,000 in 1992. Of those 247,000, 11,326 were
girls 18 and younger. Silicone breast implants are still banned
for most women, but Inamed and Mentor Corp. are both working with
the FDA to get them approved for all women. The silicone gel implants
feel more natural, but concerns over ruptures and the possible
link of silicone to many autoimmune disorders has consumer groups
up in arms about an approval. (For more information on breast
implants, including complications, risks and other things to consider
before the surgery, go to the FDA web-site at: http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/breastimplants/indexbip.html)
leading the market in eliminating wrinkles with their dermal fillers
so far (notably Restalyne), but Inamed has an approved product
and Mentor is seeking approval for what they consider to be an
improved dermal filler product. Even with the 5-75% run up in
share price for the companies featured in this month's stock report
card, that has occurred since November 2003 (when Restalyne and
Hylaform were first approved by the FDA), it's easy to imagine
that the popularity of the biotechnology industry, combined with
the solid growth in sales for dermal fillers and breast implants
will keep the share price of these companies moving in the profit
direction. LifeCell, makers of various surgical and reconstructive
products, has been the top performer of the last twelve months,
with share price soaring 75%+.
What it may
come down to is your value system. Do you want to invest in a
company that makes breast implants? If so, Inamed and Mentor may
be your choice. Do you want to invest in the company that reduces
wrinkles with a product that is naturally absorbed by the skin
and has been in use in Europe for years (Restalyne)? If so, try
Medicis. (Note that both Inamed and Mentor have Restalyne-like
products. Inamed's Hylaform is available and Mentor's product
has been submitted to the FDA for a Pre-Market Application.) Do
you prefer a company that not only has a product for lip augmentation,
but also helps burn victims and makes tissue for reconstructive,
urogynecologic and orthopedic surgical procedures? Then LifeCell
may be your all-star beauty biotech company. Do you think Botox
parties are the coolest things since pajama parties? Allergan
has seen strong sales of Botox, since the FDA approval in 2002.
Life Cell outpaced all other growth in this report card, at 48%
revenue growth for 3Q2004, while operating margins also improved
by 100%, to 12%, from 6% a year ago. The company raised guidance
for full-year 2004 on October 21, 2004. Doctors like the product.
As Dr. Steven Carp says, "Alloderm is a nice product. Used
not only for lip augmentation, but also for reconstruction. The
reconstructive uses include nasal, face, abdominal hernias."
With the lowest P/E, the lowest insider trading, the most impressive
growth and testimonials as pretty as Dr. Carp's, LifeCell is the
NataliePace.com pick this month. Check out the numbers in the NataliePace.com
Beauty Biotech Report Card
me a Break!
this month's Living Wealthy Money Makeover, four seasoned financial
consultants help a stockbroker find his heart… and more happiness.
Living Wealthy financial consultants: Carista Luminare-Rosen,
Ph.D., Educational Director of Inner Securities and Holistic Wealth
Consultant, Stu Zimmerman, Chairman & CEO, Inner Securities
and Holistic Wealth Advisor, Gregory Wendt, CFPÒ Money
Manager and Certified Financial Planner, and Judith Green, Mortgage
and Real Estate Financial Advisor.
of this month's LIVING WEALTHY Candidate:
Seymour Bucks ( not a real name)
Age - 42
Children - two kids 8 and 5
Profession - stockbroker
Income - $200,000
Worth - $400,000, $220,000 equity in home, $550,000 market
value, $150,000 IRA
Allocation -, $70% mutual funds, 10% bonds, 20% cash
One Year Life Goal - To find more meaning in his work
Five Year Life Goal - To be making $500,000 a year with
a strong sense of purpose
Ten Year Life Goal - To have flexibility to work part-time
and generate $250,000 annual income
Deepest Heart's Desires - To love my life
Fear/Insecurity about Money - That I have to do things I do
not want to do to make money
seeks help, in his own words:
enjoy having money which is why I went into becoming a stockbroker.
I feel a lot of pressure to perform each month and it stresses
me out big time. Also, there are times when I just feel like a
salesman needing to sell a product to make my monthly numbers.
The pay is pretty good and I have grown accustomed to a lifestyle
that is comfortable for my family and me. I must admit that I
do not always find a lot of meaning in this job. It often feels
like pushing papers and numbers around. I feel like I am just
a number, and a replaceable part at my brokerage firm.
How can I
make the kind of money I want to make, find more meaning in my
work and not feel so dispensable?
Did you know
that The Gallup Management Journal's semi-annual Employee
Engagement Index puts the current percentage of truly "engaged"
employees who feel passionate about their work at 29%? A slim
majority of 54%, falls into the "not engaged" category who have
a tendency to be "checked out" at work, while 17% of
employees are "actively disengaged" with a propensity of undermining
other colleagues work.
these distinctions, it seems like your sense of fulfillment with
work has been based on strengthening financial security and professional
performance leaving you feeling emotionally discontent and disengaged.
I wonder if your personal life is also lacking more significance
because so much value is placed on making money. You mentioned
how you enjoy having money and it might be beneficial to clarify
for yourself what else gives you a direct sense of enjoyment and
passion in your life.
I invite you
to consider a holistic perspective, which embraces equal regard
for your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well being.
Consider answering the following questions:
- What do
I enjoy that optimizes my physical health? Be specific.
- What do
I enjoy that enhances my emotional security?
- What do
I enjoy that supports greater peace of mind?
- What do
I enjoy that inspires my spiritual being?
- What specific
actions can I take to improve my physical fitness?
- What specific
actions can I take to strengthen my emotional life?
- What specific
actions can I take to create greater peace of mind?
- What specific
actions can I take to expand my spiritual life?
can be fulfilled today or nurtured over time. You may want to
specify how and when you are going to accomplish these actions.
After you have answered some or all of these inquiries, then go
back to your original question posed to the Living Wealthy
Team and write down what new awareness you have about your
considerations and concerns. We would love to hear about the changes
you may make now that you have expanded your sense of what gives
your life greater meaning. Remember to include the needs of your
body, mind and spirit…. and however you make the money will be
more engaging, and hopefully a lot more fun.
Luminare-Rosen, Ph.D., Director of Education, Inner Securities,
Inc. To contact Carista directly to share comments or for a consultation,
she can be reached at Carista@Innersecurities.com
or visit the website www.innersecurities.com.
As a former
stockbroker and money manager for many years myself, I understand
your concerns and have directly experienced the pressures to perform
each month as you have described. The securities industry is well
known for its intensely competitive nature and the high stress
levels of its participants. And, as you have pointed out, the
financial reward can be lucrative in this field.
that you became a stockbroker to make money. Is this your only
motive for staying there? If it is, I strongly suggest that you
consider a move to another firm or another line of work altogether.
First of all, it doesn't sound like your efforts are appreciated
by your current firm, so you are working in an environment that
may not support the financial success that means so much to you.
Another shop may provide a more positive setting for you to thrive.
It may be
that being a stockbroker just isn't your true calling, no matter
how alluring the compensation. There are so many other ways to
make money without subjecting yourself to the level of stress
that can adversely impact your physical health and the quality
of your personal relationships. Being a broker just for the money
will just about guarantee that you will not attain your deepest
heart's desire: to love your life.
Maybe it is
simply a matter of shifting your perspective on your career. Ask
yourself this: "How can I find meaning in my work as a stockbroker?"
It may come down to whether or not you find purpose in being of
service to people.
much you value your relationships with your clients. If you truly
have a passion and purpose for caring for people and helping them
with their financial security and retirement needs, you can find
so much more meaning in what you are already doing! You will also
attract so much more business because passion and purpose for
what you do is the most effective selling tool.
choose, don't settle for anything less than finding meaning in
your work and loving your life. Because you can and you deserve
it! Best of luck!
Chairman & CEO, Inner Securities. To contact Stu directly
for a consultation, he can be reached at Stu@innersecurities.com
or visit the website www.innersecurities.com
taught to go for the big paycheck to secure a good financial future,
but your inner voice is telling you there's got to be more.
In fact, although
you have a comfortable living in many people's eyes, you rely
on your paycheck as the primary source of money to support you
and your family. Although your financial safety margins are better
than many, you are still stuck in the paycheck-to-paycheck mentality.
What happens to that income if you suffer burnout or some crisis
occurs that takes your time away from the job? Even a bigger paycheck
won't resolve this issue. And, as you are feeling, a bigger paycheck
won't bring you a deeper sense of fulfillment in your life.
author of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series, highlights the
importance of building passive income if you hope to achieve financial
independence--and the freedom to work at a job you choose on the
basis of what is meaningful to you, rather than on the size of
already play in the arena of stock investment, and you are probably
familiar with the power of real estate investment, I encourage
you to open your mind to other avenues of creating money.
As you explore
what is meaningful to you, stay open to the possibility of money
opportunities showing up alongside those more meaningful activities.
And be open to finding more meaning in your present occupation.
For example, would you "make your monthly numbers" just as effectively
if you applied more time and care to fewer clients? Would a different
brokerage firm have a style that would let your spirit flourish?
Or is this an unmet need, and are you the person to open a different
type of investment firm, and make more money in that way?
explore, you can also create more financial freedom for yourself
by using today's climate of cheap money to re-organize your monthly
overhead. Examine your house payment. If you have a 30-year fixed-rate
mortgage at 6% on your $330,000 mortgage, you pay $1969 per month
in principal and interest. Using a newer type of mortgage, you
could refinance, put another $70,000 in the bank (or in new investment
strategies), and pay only $1422 per month. (Based on a $412,500
mortgage, payment calculated at 1.5%, with deferred interest.)
By creatively re-thinking your use of money, you may find you
can live well on less, or that you can liberate non-working assets
such as equity to help you bridge into a more rewarding future.
you to open your eyes and your heart, to see more ways to welcome
money into your life.
a mortgage and real estate financial advisor, specializes in problem
solving for clients with more complex or non-traditional lending
and credit issues. She can be reached for comments or to request
a consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
question that comes to mind for me is that the general sense I
gather from your comments is that your focus is about money first,
and "purpose and meaning" second. I am sure that Stu
and Carista would concur with what I tell my clients all the time
that "Wealth has little to do with money." I would encourage
you to look a little deeper about what your goals would include
as far as experiences, relationships and events first.
The next step
is to estimate the various ways that you can pay for your vision.
The point of my suggestion is to encourage you to quantify in
financial terms what a fulfilling life would actually cost. At
that point you can evaluate if your income goals are actually
what you truly need to be fulfilled. Maybe you don't need to make
$500,000 per year in five years to have what you want.
once you have a vision of what you want to do in the near term,
you should also begin thinking about how much you would like to
live on in retirement, and at which point in time you wish to
retire. I suspect your brokerage firm has a financial planning
department where you can create an illustration for your own retirement
savings schedule. Again, this exercise will help you in re-evaluating
your income goals to determine how much you actually need to save.
I can identify
with the stress and concern that you have regarding your job,
as I spent 12 years in Wall Street brokerage firms. Even so, I
know from experience that there is a way to work in stressful
fields as our own and at the same time maintain fulfilling relationships
with our clients and employers.
Gregory Wendt, CFP®
Premier Financial Management, LLC
Investment Portfolio Management, Comprehensive Financial Planning,
Socially and Environmentally Responsible Investing
If you want to be considered as a candidate for this Living
Wealthy column, email your questions to email@example.com.
Be sure to include your name, email address and phone number.
For more information
on the Living Wealthy team, visit www.innersecurities.com
or call 707-425-2360.
9 Signs That it is Time to Take Your Profits:
and/or CFO gets his/her walking papers.
This is especially true if the event is "hidden."
When there is no press release, but all of the sudden you see
a different name with that credential in the news, that is a
warning sign that the executive got his/her walking papers fast,
in a dodge ball maneuver. Example: Bennett Environmental.
Insider Selling: Insiders find it very difficult to avoid
capitalizing upon information that they have. You may not know
why they are selling, but if you see everyone jumping ship,
don't be the last one hanging out with the rats. You can see
this activity at MoneyCentral by entering in the symbol of your
company, and clicking on Insider Selling.
investments. So.. you've been watching a dog lie there half-dead
on your brokerage statement for a year now. Could the money
be put to better use? Is that distressed company really going
to jump up and dance? Take the loss and move on. (Note: If this
occurs in October, you might want to wait for the seasonal year-end
rally, to see if the price improves a bit before selling.)
Revenues. "It's harder to lie about revenues than earnings,
but Enron and WorldCom proved it can be done," according
to Paul Woods. Odyssey Advisors have 2800 companies on a spreadsheet,
and look at the most recent quarterly increase in revenues versus
year ago, then do the same thing for the previous quarter. You
can hire a money manager (if you've got the portfolio) to do
this for you, or you can go to a very user-friendly web site:
Enter in the company name, click on Financials, and you'll get
the information you need there.
Profitability. Look at net profit margins for the most recent
quarter and a year ago. It's pretty easy to spot changes that
earnings on declining revenues and profit margin. When the
numbers don't quite add up, that's a warning sign, and here
consumer experience may be your best asset. The telecommunications
sector circa 2000 is a prime example of long distance costs
plummeting like the Titanic, while many corporations still reported
earnings growth. In 2001, a record 77 telecommunications companies
sought bankruptcy protection, according to Thomas K. Crowe of
the STC Regulatory Counsel, including Global Crossing, MCI and
Williams Communications. AT&T and Quest are still struggling.
Companies are able to report earnings on one-time events, in
divisions other than their core business and have other legal
"tricks" to smooth out earnings when profitability
and revenues are in decline. Wal-Mart is a current example.
With rising costs in transportation, health care, utilities
and accidents, lowered profit margins and slim margins in the
grocery segment of their Super Centers, Wal-Mart recently reported
12.7% in 3Q 2004 earnings growth. The truth is that same store
sales increased by a mere 1.7% in the Wal-Mart US division,
however. The big retailers and etailers are going to experience
profit margin pressure in transportation, with rising fuel costs.
Other sectors to watch out for: auto manufacturers, Freddie
Mac, Fannie Mae, mortgage brokers, utilities.
can't believe how much the stock has run up! If your share
price is in dreamland, it's not a bad idea to make it at least
partially real. (Oh, if only dream mates and dream dates were
so easily converted into reality!!) You can keep some invested,
if you believe the company will see more of a run-up, without
keeping all of your bet on the table.
portfolio is out of proportion. If you are over 50, as a
general rule, you do not want more than 50% of your money in
stocks. In a stellar stock market year, you need to make sure
that your investments are still in line with your diversification
January and everyone is predicting a rough year in the markets.
Remember this one in January. Most everyone we've spoken to
is predicting a volatile, though flat, year in the stock markets.
Historical trends on market performance in the first year of
a presidency support this prediction, as well. We're in the
Santa Rally now, so, with good fortune, you'll have a great
reason to cash some profits in for the New Year.
Where do you
put the money? Paul Woods, the CEO of Odyssey Advisors, likes
"companies growing faster than expected." He spots these
companies by looking at "accelerating revenues and improving
profitability," which usually produce better than expected
earnings per share. We like our stock picks, which are still outperforming
Rev Dr Audrey Reed , D.S.S., CEA.
I am now a wealthy and successful business woman, author, spiritual
being and money expert. This wasn't always the case. If
you had told me when I was younger that I would be writing books,
giving seminars and speaking on television about the soul of money
and your relationship with money, I would have said, "This
is not my forte." The question of our spiritual relationship
with the temporal caused me to peer into my soul and question,
"How does the healing happen?"
a time, I struggled to pay the bills, waited until the last moment
to pay some small amount to each vendor and "robbed Peter
to pay Paul". I drove an old Ford Mustang that couldn't pass
inspection - took the back roads and surface streets everywhere
to avoid the police, since I couldn't afford the registration
fee. (At least I did have insurance since my then three-year-old
daughter regularly rode in this vehicle.)
I was driving
down a back alley to get home one Saturday afternoon, when to
my horror, there in the alley was a police car waving cars past
a small accident. I was petrified. I began to say a small silent
prayer. "Please help me get through this, please."
stopped me and looked at the long passed due red sticker in my
window; I began to cry. I had to get to work. I couldn't be late.
I had to have a car to pick my daughter up at day care. I couldn't
couldn't couldn't… …
policeman must have had a moment of pity as grace shown down upon
me; he said, " Get that piece of junk outta here." And
with that, he let me go. Sure I was upset to be driving a piece
of junk, but it was the best I could do. Determined to have life
and money go better, I began to focus on what we had.
- I started
to pay the bills on time.
- I opened
them when they came in and said thank you for the electric,
for the gas and for the water.
- I got a
- I was grateful.
fallacy - safe in our abundance!
2001, as I snuggled deeply in my security of wealth, I
listened to my broker and not my intuition. The stock market tumbled,
and I discovered no matter how rich, when the cellular memory
of past poverty lurks around the corner, the body's response mechanism
kicks in. I found myself, once again not opening bills. As soon
as I got a hold of my shock, I took action:
- Pick up
mail each day.
- Open the
bills . Say a little prayer over the bill.
- Pay my
vendors. They are my partners for the services they provide--the
hard times that helped me through the now times.
- I said
grateful little prayers over each check I wrote.
for the blessing.
had times in our lives when we have wanted to avoid paying bills;
we either didn't have the money or wanted to hold onto it a little
longer. Financially, money is our safety valve. It is the soft
warm fuzzy blanket that says, "You are safe - no one can
Too many people
have come into my office with stacks of unpaid bills they just
couldn't face opening. One client said, "I don't pay them
until the pink bill comes, then I know it's serious, and I have
to pay or the vendor will turn off the service." Another
client doesn't answer her phone - it's only the bill collectors!
lots of money…millions of dollars have the FEAR; you are
One of my
very wealthy clients advised me she couldn't touch bills.
It was as though they burned her hands. She would avoid looking
at them or throw them away, thinking "I'm Mrs.----------.
I'm rich, very rich. Why would the electric company shut off my
service?" They did, because they didn't know who she was
nor did they care, they just knew she hadn't returned any of the
calls, and she hadn't paid the bills.
step at a time - one realization at a time.
thinking people know they have agreements with their vendors,
and they honor them.
- If you
cannot pay the entire bill, pay some of it.
- Take a
percentage from each paycheck to pay every owed vendor.
your thinking from "I am bill paying machine" to "I
am paying my vendor; someone who has supplied me with the service
I applied for and received. A blessing!"
- I agreed
to pay for the service when they agreed to sign me up for the
Effect - What Happens when we don't pay our vendors?
ask the doctor who just saw you on an emergency basis one Friday
evening. She stayed in her office after the nurse had left, because
you couldn't get there during normal office hours. Now three months
later, you still haven't paid her. If even 30% of her patients
did this, don't you think the doctor might have a hard time paying
her bills? It is a domino effect!
to the vendor, your partner - let them know your situation, and
act in partnership with them to get the amount of money you owe
people want to be able to go to the same vendor again and again.
So they take good care of the people and service providers that
take care of them.
people see everything in their world as an asset and can see the
way to use that asset to move them into further abundance.
William Nixon were thinking poverty and bankruptcy. They had stopped
thinking richly and saw only the debt. Jessica agreed to be on
a television money makeover with me on Fox 4 in Dallas. Family
Credit Card Debt - $30,000. Three months later they were out of
credit card debt and back on the road to financially rich thinking
instead of bankruptcy.
- We shifted
their thinking about home money into a business.
- We examined
- Used their
a 3-year loan with low interest.
their monthly overhead.
- The family
is talking about money and money issues.
- The entire
family all have individual savings accounts.
and the loving of this abundant world blesses us all. Our souls
are nurtured by the way we perceive our selves and our world.
Thankfulness and focused actions manifest the riches of life.
Reed has 30 years of masterful corporate and entrepreneurial experience.
Sold her business in 1994 at 45. Two years later founded Works
In Progress, Inc. Dr. Audrey's blend of business savvy and spirituality
is sought after by organizations, private clients and for her
workshops. Prized speaker, radio, and television guest; she is
the Money Fitness expert/columnist for MS Fitness Magazine, Direct
Selling Women and Money Doctor for Fox 4 Morning TV. E-zine
Author - Money ToolBox for Women and Verbal
Magik - Simple Practices - Increase Sales.
is from the book, Inspiration to Realization, compiled
by Christine Kloser. Women are the creators in the world - the
wisdom keepers, Inspiration to Realization reveals
the process behind how 41 women have become successful and dynamic
on the engine of soul-valued manifestation. Rev. Dr Audrey
Reed , D.S.S., CEA. To order your copy of the book, contact Dr.
Audrey Reed at www.draudreyreed.com.
Reasons Why Investing is More Fun Than Buying Shoes:
Should be Dancing, yeah!! You'll need those shoes to dance
on the ceiling when your stock pick doubles, but it is the money
you make that inspires the dancing.
try sleeping in a shoe? The Little Old Lady Who Lived in
the Shoe wouldn't recommend it. Did you know that women are
far more likely than men to live in poverty when they retire
or if they end up as a single parent? Are you listed on the
deed to your home?
is Sexy. Girl's Night Out Shoe Conversation: "Great
shoes, where did you get them?" "I love your top."
Girl's Night Out Investment Club conversation: "How
much money did we make? What company should we invest in next?
How about a girl's getaway?"
wear out and get thrown away. Stocks may dip, but over the
long term, provided the company is not an Enron, a great company
and their share price increase in value. FYI: less than 5% of
the publicly traded stocks had to restate their earnings in
2002. There are a lot of great companies run by ethical men
and women, and many safeguards in place to protect the investor.
- Ever try
to launch a business with the profits you made from shoes?
Statistics show that most new businesses are launched with an
entrepreneur's own personal resources (not through SBA loans
or venture capital). Put your money to work, reap some benefits
and you'll have the freedom to vacation, retire and/or start
your own business!
is Very Sexy. Demi Moore is hot and shoes sure show off
her toned and tanned legs, but her package becomes hard to beat
when you throw in the private jet, the homes across America
and the freedom to never have to work again. So, if you want
your own 27-year-old hottie, it may just be a stock pick away!
(It's not illegal to dream!)
stink and I've yet to find an odor eater that really works
(have you?). Stocks stink when the markets go down, and rally
with such a delicious aroma when the bulls run. Is everyone
enjoying the Santa Rally? It's predicted to continue through
January (when you should look to realign your portfolio into
a well-diversified plan).
and Financial News…
highlights from the New York Times, Money Central, Reuters, Bloomberg,
CNBC and more.
Mae and Freddie Mac.
"They [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] have not met their obligations…
They have taken advantage of the taxpayers' subsidies… The accounting
now appears to be faulty and at worse more than that. This comes
in a low-interest rate of environment while housing is strong.
Particularly Fannie is an amazing enterprise. They can have a
house on fire and call it a house-warming party…" Congressman
Richard Baker, speaking on CNBC 11.18.04
economy is slowing and the government is lying about the inflation
rate because they want to minimize the increase in Social Security.
Have you bought gas, health insurance, or anything else
lately? The 2% inflation number is a joke."
Paul Woods, CEO, Odyssey Advisors
low CORE number allows us to pretend that American productivity
is the best in the world, that the dollar should be strong, and
that the markets, by golly are going up. No matter that a gallon
of gasoline is over 2 bucks or that a half gallon of milk will
set you back $3.69." Bill Gross, PIMCO BONDS, on the "con
job perpetually foisted on the American public about the low level
of inflation," from his October 2004 Investment Outlook
underlying inflation expected to be relatively low, the Committee
believes that policy accommodation can be removed at a pace that
is likely to be measured. Nonetheless, the Committee will respond
to changes in economic prospects as needed to fulfill its obligation
to maintain price stability." Statement from the
Federal Reserve Board on November 10, 2004
Zion, an accounting expert with Credit Suisse First Boston estimates
that 32 companies in the S&P 500 will be required to
contribute more than $200 million to their pension plans in 2004
or in 2005. Outside of the airline group, predicts Zion, some
of the biggest amounts will be forked over next year by Ford
Motor (NYSE: F), $1.3 billion; Exxon Mobil (NYSE:
XOM), $1 billion; Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ),
$472 million; ChevronTexaco (NYSE: CVX), $450 million;
and Altria Group (NYSE: MO), $392 million.
VISION: To build
a global community of investors through a worldwide website, seminars,
radio, television and print partners.
GOAL: To provide high-quality, first-run, ethical financial news,
information and education, presented in an entertaining format,
across all media (television, radio, print and online).
MISSION: To provide the news, information and education investors
need to make better choices and to make investing as much fun
PHILOSOPHY: Member Mosaic. Piecing together a more complete picture
of the publicly traded company, one tile at a time, by valuing
firsthand consumer experience, conducting evaluations of the executive
team and lining up the numbers of the publicly-traded company
with its competitors in a Stock Report Card.
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