Portfolio Advisors Blog

Our Blog postings occur from time to time when we have an interesting article or opinion to share. We hope that you will find our postings of interest and encourage to forward them on to your family and friends.

Two Recent Dimensional Fund Advisor Articles - The China Syndrome & Greece is the Word

Two recent articles, written by DFA Vice President Jim Parker, are both timely and compelling. The first article, entitled The China Syndrome, highlights the recent severe volatility in China's stock market, raising questions among many investors about the causes of the fall and the wider implications for the global economy and markets. The second article is entitled Greece is the Word. This article highlights how the world's markets and media financial pages have focused intensely on the standoff between debt-laden Greece and its international lenders. Both news stories have been fast-paced and difficult to keep up with. More importantly, the speculation about possible outcomes has been intense. In his articles, Parker offers insight that provides investors with a unique perspective.


While these world events can be both troubling and unpredictable, we believe the best approach remains diversifying across many countries and asset classes, staying focused on your own goals, and most of all, talking to your chosen advisor who understands your situation best.

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Recording of College Planning Webinar Now Available

In case you missed our College Planning webinar presented by Global College Search Associates in April, a recording is now available. This is a new recording as the audio problems experienced during the actual presentation have been corrected. Please click below.

The Path to a Successful College Search

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Dimensional Funds Video

At Portfolio Advisors, our approach to investing focuses on controlling the things which are actually within our ability to do so. This differs from the conventional approach that relies on market timing, stock picking, and active trading. We believe that the structure of the portfolio is the single most important aspect in determining returns. We also believe that controlling costs, by minimizing trading and using low cost funds, can have a significant positive impact on returns over time. As such, our fund family of choice is Dimensional Fund Advisors. For more than 30 years, Dimensional has been translating compelling research into practical investment solutions. We offer this four minute video that helps explain how Dimensional is different, and how their investment philosophy evolved by drawing upon the academic community.

To view, click on the link below.

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Announcement from Portfolio Advisors

There are some new and exciting changes at Portfolio Advisors that were announced by Mike Leffler in a letter sent to clients in early February.

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The Art of Letting Go

Investors, besieged with financial news, reports, and information daily, may be inclined to constantly tinker or make adjustments to their portfolio. By following the advice from a recent article or a talking head, they can be susceptible to the latest fad or market predictions and may get caught up in the excitement of chasing what are all too often allusive returns. In his piece “The Art of Letting Go,” Dimensional Fund Vice President, Jim Parker suggests that investors might be better served by following the Chinese Taoism tenant of “wuwei,” or, “non-doing” than micro managing their portfolio. Find this month's article below.

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Who Has the Midas Touch?

From time to time we are asked to offer our opinion as to whether or not gold should be a part of one’s portfolio. While interest in gold seems to ebb and flow as economic reports and political events unfold, general interest seems to persist. As such, we thought Dimensional Funds VP Weston Wellington’s recent article exploring the merits of holding gold as an investment is instructive. Throughout the article Weston cites the thoughtful opinions of Warren Buffett. His comment that “where gold advocates see a safe harbor, Buffet sees just a different set of rocks to crash into” offers insight into his question of Who has the Midas Touch? Find this month’s article below.

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Investors Flee Stocks at Precisely the Wrong Time

As we approach mid-year 2013, rampant pessimism as measured by consumer sentiment has recently dipped to its lowest level in over 30 years. This degree of pessimism is so pervasive that some would suggest that “America’s best days are behind her.” As an investor, how worried should you be? Maybe not as worried as so many others seem to be as suggested in this month’s article entitled Investors Flee Stocks At Precisely The Wrong Time. The article points out that historically, consumer sentiment and stock market performance are often at odds. Read more of this month’s insightful article by following the link below.

http://portadvisors.com/featured-news

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It’s Not Too Late to Reduce Your 2012 Tax Liability!

There is still time to reduce your 2012 tax liability by making an IRA contribution before the filing deadline of April 15, 2013 (but please don’t wait until the last minute). You may be able to contribute up to $5,000 for 2012. If you are over age 50, you may be able to contribute up to $6,000*. If you are married and both over age 50, you could save up to $3,360 combined in Federal Income Tax for 2012 (28% tax bracket) provided that both of you have contributed up to the $6,000 threshold. Not only would your tax burden be reduced by $3,360, your $12,000 combined IRA contributions would continue to grow tax deferred until withdrawal at retirement age.

Another option to consider is a Roth IRA contribution up to the same $5,000 limit. Similarly, those over 50 can contribute up to $6,000**. There is no immediate tax benefit to the Roth IRA as after tax dollars are used to fund this retirement vehicle. However, the benefit is that the Roth IRA is allowed to grow free of Federal and State tax. Unlike the traditional IRA, there is no tax due when you begin to take money out at retirement age***. Because Roth withdrawals at retirement are not taxable, they can provide the additional benefit of tax bracket management. Simply put, money taken from a Roth IRA at retirement might allow one to control in which tax bracket they fall. Roth IRAs can be a consideration for those who will be in the same or higher tax bracket upon retirement.

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Important Year-End Information

If you have not already received your 1099 Composite and Year-End Summary for your respective accounts for 2012, it should arrive from Charles Schwab no later than the end of February. Should you have any questions regarding your Portfolio Report or your 1099 statement, please do not hesitate to call us. We also request that once you have completed your 2012 tax return that you provide us with a copy so that we may better advise you.

Warm Regards,

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Here’s a Map to Basic Fundamental Financial Planning

We just came across a great Financial Planning Flowchart that was published in the December 20 issue of Business Week. It was put together by the Business Week team of Nick Summers and Karen Wise with input from Milo Benningfield, a San Francisco-based financial planner; Eleanor Blayney, consumer advocate for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards; Tim Steffen, Director of Financial Planning and Wealth Management at Robert W. Baird; Maria Bruno a senior investment analyst at Vanguard Group and Meir Statman, finance professor at Santa Clara University.

The chart does a nice job of mapping out basic financial planning tenets and touches on debt management, retirement planning and insurance needs. We thought you might find it worthwhile in your planning for 2013 and perhaps even a little fun.

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