About Jim Malliard

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Jim Malliard has created 32 blog entries.

An Eye on Inflation

an eye on inflationBy most measures, the economy is running hot. But even the casual observer can’t help but notice a strong economy can come with a down-side. Inflation is becoming more and more obvious, as we fill our gas tanks and are alarmed by higher prices of everyday items like groceries. Inflation had been for many years an afterthought, but now it is getting more mainstream attention as we all keep an eye on inflation.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’s August reading of the core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index — the Fed’s preferred inflation measure — was up nearly 4 percent year over year, the highest inflation in three decades. September’s consumer price index, the more familiar CPI, rose 5.4 percent compared to a year ago.

The price of many basic family goods is up much more than that. For households earning the U.S. median annual income of about $70,000, the current inflation rate has forced them to spend another $175 a month on food, fuel, and housing, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

It’s causing many to ask if inflation will stay elevated or head back down toward the long-term trend. Economic analysts at The Vanguard Group believe inflation dynamics will be volatile in the short-term. This is mostly due to supply shortages and other economic disruptions caused by virus-related shutdowns and the subsequent re-opening. However, Vanguard believes by the end of 2022 inflation will decline back to the 2.5 percent neighborhood.

What can we do to control inflation? The answer is, of course, not much.

You can improve your odds of long-term financial success, though, by working with the right advisor. An independent, fiduciary advisor, like Perspective Financial Services, will help you map-out, document, and stick to a disciplined plan to get you through uncertain times.

By |2021-11-09T08:38:28-07:00November 22nd, 2021|Current Affairs, Financial Planning|

Cryptocurrency Risk

Mailiard-v1-WEBThe latest investment fad has arrived: cryptocurrencies. Younger, inexperienced buyers excitedly trade “cryptos” on their phones and brag about it to friends. One claims to be getting rich buying Bitcoin (the original cryptocurrency). FOMO kicks in (fear of missing out) and entices others to buy. Unfortunately, it’s rare that any fully understand what they’re doing or cryptocurrency risk.

As legendary investor Warren Buffett said, “I can say almost with certainty (it) will come to a bad ending.”

Cryptocurrency’s wide appeal is easy to understand. It’s basically digital cash that can be transferred immediately and anonymously between parties. Bitcoin trades using technology called “blockchain,” a digital ledger that is purported to be unhackable. This unique currency also isn’t bogged down by intermediaries, such as governments, banks or international currency exchanges.

Potential appeal aside, crypto trading should not be considered as investing, but rather speculation. Only those with giant appetites for risk should consider it. Stories of wild price swings abound. When the economy appeared to be collapsing due to the Coronavirus, Bitcoin fell about 65 percent – three times as much as stocks – by March 2020.

“Bitcoin is not real money now, and… without huge reforms it will never qualify as real money,” said Larry Kudlow, a noted economist formerly of CNBC and the Trump administration.

One should only risk money in cryptocurrency markets that he or she can afford to lose entirely. How many people really have “money to burn?”

In addition, the tax implications of cryptocurrency are extremely complex and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Real, long-term investing is the time-proven path we take at Perspective. We work with our clients to first develop a written plan, a road map.  From there, we build and maintain broadly-diversified portfolios in established markets backed by many decades of risk-and-return data. The result is a less volatile and more predictable portfolio.

By |2021-05-11T19:51:30-07:00May 17th, 2021|Current Affairs, Investing|

Holiday Financial Lesson

Jim MailliardThis time of year, I ask my children what they want for Christmas. Not that I am actually going to Christmas shop. Rather, I ask my kids to send me the exact internet links to things they would like. I just click and order. Granted, it pretty much takes all of the surprise out of Christmas for them. It also takes the risk out of gift buying for Dad, and for that we’re all grateful. Having wasted money in the past trying to be a creative gift-buyer, I have solved that problem and learned a basic, holiday financial lesson – don’t waste money on stuff nobody wants.

Recalling this simple concept, I asked myself, “What else can I learn at the holiday season?” I found an interesting article “Financial Lessons from Classic Holiday Movies” by Esther Trattner of MoneyWise.

Here are a couple lessons from my all-time favorites.

The timeless classic A Christmas Carol contains some important financial themes. The miserable Ebenezer Scrooge is the embodiment of “money can’t buy happiness.” Since the 19th century, a “Scrooge” has been known as a selfish, miserly person. The story ends on a happy note, though.

After being visited by the spirits of Christmas past, present and future — who show Scrooge the suffering wrought by his lack of charity, both to others and to himself — he is transformed into a generous, joyful guy.

Another favorite movie, Elf, is a hilarious contemporary classic. Will Ferrell plays Buddy who, as a small child, accidentally ends up at the North Pole to be raised by Santa’s elves. On reaching adulthood, he sets out on an epic journey in search of his real family. Along the way, Buddy charms even the hardest of hearts with his innocent wisdom and upbeat attitude. The financial moral here? Have a plan, stick to it, remain positive; and you are much more likely to reach your goals.

By |2020-12-13T12:42:12-07:00December 13th, 2020|Financial Planning|

US Economy Showing Resiliency

Amid a period of scary viruses and social unrest, it’s time again for a reminder that the wise investor maintains a written long-term investment plan, then holds on tight and stays invested when markets are volatile. Despite everything, U.S. markets and the economy are showing remarkable hardiness. How is the US economy showing resiliency? Read on.

We experienced a nerve-wracking stock market correction in March 2020, with U.S. stocks declining about 33 percent. Since then, markets have come back strong. Stocks rose around 30 percent from mid-March to mid-June 2020, as measured by the S&P 500 large company index. Who could have guessed?

Then May brought surprisingly strong employment numbers as the economy gradually re-opened. The number of unemployed fell by 2.1 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Note: the bureau acknowledged misclassification of workers on temporary layoff in its reporting since March. While May’s unemployment rate remains high at 16.4 percent, it still represents a dramatic drop from April.)

It’s wise advice to remain calm and steady in challenging times. Doing so helps us endure and navigate the unpredictable. Investors, too, are often rewarded for staying calm in volatile markets.

“Emotions can have lasting consequences, and this is particularly true when you try to time the markets,” says Josh Hile, a Seattle-based investment analyst.

Perspective Financial clients have a clear, written, long-term investment plan, executed using broad diversification and reputable mutual funds. Rough times tend to be easier to get through, as a result.

Speaking of the U.S. economy – built on grit and a never-give-up spirit – allow me to share a book recommendation. Graham Moore’s The Last Days of Night is a historical novel about the invention of the light bulb and efficient electricity transmission. Featured in the story is the sometimes-nasty rivalry between Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla. It’s an engaging read and wonderful break from every-day stress.

As Moore describes his work, “I love the notion that I could write something that two people could share. That’s the goal.”

By |2020-06-15T16:15:06-07:00June 22nd, 2020|Books, Current Affairs, Investing|

Ideas for a Healthy New Decade

ideas for a healthy new decadeAgain this year, my favorite Christmas gift was a book. My son gave me The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick. Author Gene Stone interviewed dozens of people who never get sick and asked them for their secrets. His book features 25 people who each possess a different secret of excellent health – one that makes sense and has a proven scientific underpinning. It got me thinking about ideas for a healthy new decade.

Some of the so-called secrets aren’t that astounding, though they’re presented with an interesting twist. Late comedian George Burns, who lived to be 100 years old, was remarkably healthy and fit his entire life. When asked to reveal his secret, he puffed on his cigar and said, “Eat half.” That’s a pretty easy one, considering the out-of-control portions served at many restaurants. Split that giant cheeseburger with someone.

Other ideas are more surprising and challenging. One example? Cold showers.

For thousands of years, ancient physicians recommended frigid showers for healing and to boost immunity. For me, that’s rough. A cold shower is not what I want on shivery mornings, despite Phoenix’s comparatively moderate winters. So I’m easing into the idea. My strategy is to pull back on the hot water just enough so that my shower is on the edge of warm and cold. Then I hurry out.

Another idea that takes some adjustment is consuming brewer’s yeast daily. A natural by-product of beer production, brewer’s yeast is a probiotic and excellent source of B vitamins and other nutrients. It looks like whole-wheat flour and tastes like liquefied pizza dough. I add a half-teaspoon to flavored, fizzy water, and then I choke it down. But, I’ve gotten used to it.

Maintaining financial health also involves a mix of simple ideas and uncommon though proven ones. Some are easier to put into action than others. At Perspective, we’re committed to helping you develop practical strategies to become and stay financially fit. Here’s to a physically and financially healthy new decade!

“I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.” — George Burns

By |2020-01-17T09:36:55-07:00January 27th, 2020|Books, Financial Planning|