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Mike Levine
 
The purpose of this group is to have participants research and report on personal finance and investing topics of interest to the group.  Our meetings begin with read outs by the researchers on the topics selected, followed by questions and answers. Then a round robin discussion will take place whereby each attendee will either indicate a concern they might have, a recommendation they can make, or an experience they recently had related to personal finance.
 
Sessions are attended by from eleven to fourteen individuals. There are almost thirty invitees currently. To become an invitee, contact Michael Levine at michael.levine@sbcglobal.net or RSVP to the next meeting listed below
 
Attendees introduce themselves, voice either a concern they might have, a recommendation they can make, or an experience they recently had related to personal finance. In addition, the group is now “tracking” the price performance of stocks, ETF’s, and mutual funds of interest to persons in the group.
 
Our group has developed an extensive list of topics to research and discuss.  The current list is available here but I am happy to provide additional info if you contact me directly. You can see our info regarding our next meeting, as well as, info on past meetings by scrolling down this page.
 
The Investment Group has begun a “Lending Library” of Financial Newsletters. Any SIR can contribute a Financial Newsletter to this “Library”. Meeting attendees can then take home and bring back any issue in the “Lending Library”.
 
This group has an Educational orientation. By researching and sharing information gathered, among ourselves, a safe-haven is provided to those who want more knowledge about financial matters. By volunteering to be a researcher, you will learn yourself by “teaching” others.
 
All SIR 128 members are welcome to join this group. You will be impressed by the array of topics initially thought of to research and to share information gathered, among ourselves. You will be able to add some of your own topics when you attend these monthly educational sessions. By volunteering to be a researcher, you will learn yourself.
 
 
If you would like to serve on our investing research committee, please contact Mike Levine
 
Upcoming Meeting Schedule
 
When Time Meeting Location Meeting Preview Sign-Up
12/11/19 1:30 pm 108 Margone Court, Danville The last meeting of the SIR128 Investment Group this year will be held on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 (due to Thanksgiving and Xmas holidays.)
The topic is:
Responsibilities of an Estate Executor.
A check list will be discussed.
Five SIRs will tell us about their experience as the Executor of someone else's estate.
Questions will be compiled and submitted to an Estate Attorney. Answers will be posted to the Investment Group web page.
RSVP
 
Past Meeting Results
 
Date Summary of Meeting/Topics Covered Materials
10/23/19
The October meeting of the SIR128 Investment Group was held the fourth Wednesday at the home of Michael Levine per usual. However, as part of our meeting, a guest speaker, Jim Worden, Vice President, Portfolio Consulting, Research & Operations – Strategic Wealth Advisory Group (SWAG) in Sacramento, presented a remote webinar to us in Michael Levine’s family room. Jim Worden supports 297 advisors in 16 states with a total of $15 billion assets under management and has day to day responsibilities on leading a team of Portfolio Administrators, as well as a trading and operations organization. 
 
Before joining SWAG and supporting the LPL Financial Services Network, Jim served as Director of Research at Allworth Financial (formerly Hanson McClain). Worden graduated from Brigham Young University-Hawaii in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science, International Business Management. Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®), Chartered Market Technician® (CMT®), Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst® (CAIA®)
 
Thirteen SIRs attended including Elliot Wenger, Rick Pyle, Russ Harrison, Steve Ellinwood, and Bruce Fitch. Nick Armentano dialed in from his home. A robust question and answer period followed the presentation, which is now posted on the Investment Group Activity web page along with past months materials.
 
After the presentation, we linked to the Fidelity web page to see what combinations of Mutual Funds they recommend for various types of investors (Conservative, Moderate with Income, Moderate, Balanced, Growth with Income, Growth, Aggressive Growth, Most Aggressive).
https://www.fidelity.com/mutual-funds/fidelity-fund-portfolios/overview
We then referred to Riskalyze to see how they rated the SIR128 Investment Group portfolio, the Fidelity Growth with Income portfolio, SPLV, and more conservative portfolios. Riskalyze shows amounts of gains and losses to be expected for various risk rated portfolios, does portfolio comparisons, does stress tests and historical back testing, and even makes a forward estimate to see if your funds will outlast your withdrawals.
 
In the final moments of the meeting, we visited Rochdale Forward-Looking (Three to Six Months) economic indicators and the CrossBridge recession predictors.
 
The last meeting of the SIR128 Investment Group this year will be held on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 (due to Thanksgiving and Xmas holidays.) The topic will be determined by surveying SIR128 members over the next four weeks.
 
9/25/19
The September meeting of the SIR128 Investment Group was held the fourth Wednesday at the home of Michael Levine per usual. The topic was Solar, Battery, Robotic, and Artificial Intelligence companies. The one year charts were reviewed, indicating that some of these companies were up over 100% YTD. The 22 companies that comprise the ETF TAN (which is up 68% YTD) were reviewed along companies represented in the ETF BOTZ.
 
SIRs from the STEM Group were invited to attend this session. First-timer Dennis Goodman added his insights into Artificial Intelligence based on his experiences at Lawrence Livermore Lab. Tom Felter explained how different solar panels are designed for maximum efficiencies. Michael Levine showed calculations as to how soon a homeowner that installed solar could under spend his electric bill and what the overall ten-year benefit would be. VectorVest showed how 100 Clean Energy companies ranked against each other and which ones were buys, holds, and sells; and which ones paid dividends.
 
Handouts used at this meeting are posted to the right.
 
 
 
 
 
8/28/19
Twenty four people attended the August  meeting of the SIR128 Investment and Financial topics group at the Fidelity offices in Walnut Creek. A presentation on Fixed Income and Bonds was made.  
Additional topics covered include:
-all the capabilities within the Fidelity web site.
- Investing/Trading Tools, Research, Resources,
-Active Trader Pro.
-Trade Armor
-other "Advanced" capabilities that Fidelity offers?
-What is the Fidelity Strategy Desk and what do they offer?
-What does Fidelity offer with regard to Legacy Planning?
 -How to "Manage" your trades and positions better
--the Advantages and Disadvantages of Closed End Funds, Private Placements, "Managed" Programs, and "Tactical Allocation" Programs
--portfolio balancing and re-allocation to more conservative positions and what you should do as economic conditions change.
 
7/24/19
Eleven people attended including first-timers Joe Velson and Bill Cunningham.
 
We discussed:
--what are the leading indicators now predicting (3 to 6 months out) about the US economy and the subsequent stock market reaction?
Resource material used was Legg Mason/Clearbridge and Rochdale dashboards.
--what was the stock market reaction at the end of June and into July to the Democratic candidate debates?
--what are some portfolio “hedging” techniques to deploy if a decline in the stock market is anticipated or experienced?
--what Dividend paying investments might retain their value in a market downturn?
--what impact are low or negative interest rates having domestically and internationally?
Frank Felicelli added his insights to this complicated subject.
 
John Noll commented on trends in the Food industry (e. g. organics, meatless, pre-made meals). Note-the price of Beyond Meat at its IPO was $45 in early May; its current price is over $200. An IPO for Impossible Foods is anticipated. Tysons, Conagra, and Kellogg are starting to respond. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc, was $428 at the start of the year and is now $778. McDonalds has risen from $175 to $215 YTD.
 
Handouts used at this meeting are posted to the right.
 
 
 
 
 
6/26/19
At the June meeting of the SIR128 Investment and Financial topics group, we went over electric, water, telephone, and energy Utility companies. The approach taken was to compare Utility companies recommended by various sources including Louis Navellier, Investor Place, US News Report, Kiplinger:
--how have these Utility companies performed over the last year?
--how have these Utility companies performed over the last year compared to the S & P 500?
--what is the dividend yield and capital appreciation of these companies?
--what is the XLU ETF (Utility sector) comprised of and how has it performed?
--how does VectorVest rank and rate all the different electric, water, telephone, and energy Utility companies.
 
The biggest revelation was how well various Utility companies have performed versus the S & P 500 during the last 12 months, especially given how badly the stock market performed in October and December 2018.
 
We also discussed “Safe Investments” to include money market accounts versus money market funds, CD’s, bond funds, non-correlated Assets, diversification, Real Estate, Gold, commodities, preferred stocks, and closed end funds (CEFs).  During the round table discussion, attendees described their idea and execution of “Safe” Investing.
 
Handouts with details of this meeting are posted to the right.
 
 
5/22/19
Eleven SIRs attended the May meeting of the SIR128 Investment and Financial topics group, including Tom Kremen from the Technology group. At this meeting we went over 5G and Chip companies. 5G will connect cars, ships, homes, offices, and countless other items with software, sensors and the cloud. 5G will transform our economy: Autonomous vehicles, smart factories (IIoT), smart cities, virtual and augmented reality, edge computing (high-performance data processing in real time without needing the cloud), health-care-specific IoT and more. 
 
Specific companies that will benefit from the advent of 5G were discussed including telecom companies, equipment companies, ETFs, and data and infrastructure real estate investment trusts. Additionally, recent events involving Chinese companies were reviewed. A handouts are posted to the right. 
 
4/24/19
At this meeting of the SIR128 Investment and Financial topics group we went over eight Fixed Income Investments and twelve Fixed Income Strategies. Frank Felicelli enhanced this discussion given his 30 plus years of experience at Franklin Templeton. Handouts covering Fixed income Investments, Bonds and Bond Ladders, Annuity Types, and Required Minimum Distribution strategies are posted to the right.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3/27/19 The March meeting of the SIR128 Investment and Financial topics group was held on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at the offices of Fidelity Investments in Walnut Creek. Two Fidelity professionals made presentations to our group. See the Fidelity website and handouts (from last meeting) for the various topics that will be covered.   
2/27/19
At the February Investment Group meeting we discussed Bank and Financial sector Stocks, including some Fidelity, Vanguard, John Hancock, and T Rowe Price Mutual Funds as well as the Regional Bank, Insurance, and Brokerage electronic traded funds (ETFs).
 
We reviewed the 2019 outlook for the economy and this sector, and the stock price performance of specific Bank, Insurance, and Financial Services companies. VectorVest was used to rank order the top 25 stocks in different sub- categories (mortgage, brokers, savings & loans, credit, management, crypto).
.
We also went through a ClearBridge presentation on 12 leading indicators that can predict recession several quarters prior to its occurrence. We will continue to look at these at future meetings.
 
In addition, we reviewed:
--our model portfolio performance
--Analyst recommended stocks
--a recommended Growth and Growth with Income model portfolio
--a simple income producing portfolio
 
The handouts from this meeting are posted to the right.

In the round-robin, attendees asked the question: “What are reasonable expectations for long term investors? How conservative should we be at our age? What rate of returns are deemed acceptable? Can you time the market dips or just hold through?”

These questions will be addressed at the April meeting when we go over Fixed Income Investments. Frank Felicelli will  enhance this discussion given his experience at Franklin Templeton.

In the May meeting, 5G and Chip companies will be examined. Members of the SIR128 Technology Group are invited to participate in these discussions.

First-time attendees included David Chien, Doug Beck, and a guest Clement Chou.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/23/19
At the January Investment Group meeting we discussed Retail Stocks, including some Fidelity, Vanguard, and Putnam Mutual Funds as well as the XRT electronic traded fund (ETF). Even though 2018 was considered a good year for retail sales, some very well-known retailers announced store closures and even bankruptcy.
 
The handouts from this meeting (and all prior meetings) are posted in the column to the right.
 
In addition, we reviewed:
--our model portfolio performance
--Analyst recommended stocks
--a recommended Growth and Growth with Income model portfolio
--a simple income producing portfolio
 
First-time attendees included Rob Callahan, Richard Gracer, and Frank Felicelli. In the round-robin, attendees asked the question: “Given the drop in the stock market in October and December 2018, what should you do now?”. Thus, sessions on “fixed income” vehicles and defensive investing are being considered for March/April 2019 meetings. A link to a audio by Economist Brain Wesbury (posted to the right) gives his Outlook on 2019.
 
 
 
11/28/18
Presentations were made on the Healthcare sector to include an overview, as well as specific stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds. The Healthcare sector was dissected into various segments (biotechnology, equipment & supplies, providers & services, hc technology, life sciences tools & services, pharmaceuticals).
 
Selected websites were used to identify Top performers in this sector (ETF.com, Fidelity, Morningstar, Zacks). Specific stocks within ETFs and Mutual Funds were identified and described. Michael Levine showed how Healthcare stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds have been performing for various periods (YTD, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years) and compared to Indexes.
 
A Master Portfolio of 100 Healthcare stocks and ETFs was loaded into VectorVest and reviewed by Bob Denison, John Noll, Steve Kwok, Chuck Lipper, and Nick Armentano.
 
In addition, we reviewed:
--our model portfolio performance
--100 recommended stocks
--a recommended Growth and Growth with Income model portfolio
 
Handouts used at this meetng are available to the right.for the November meeting have been posted to the right.
 
10/24/18
The topics for this meeting were focused on Cannabis Investing. The approach taken was to evaluate Cannabis from a macro and a micro perspective:

--how many countries and states have or will legalize Cannabis use?

--what are the various ways Cannabis can be used and/or consumed?

--what is the current and potential market size for Cannabis?

--who are the leading companies in each aspect of Cannabis (consumables, pharma/biotech, recreational)?

--which Cannabis Stocks are making new highs?

--which Cannabis companies have staying power?

--which non-Cannabis companies have become involved more with Cannabis in the future?

--what ETFs or Mutual Funds are emerging with a Cannabis investment emphasis?

 
7/26/18
The topics for this meeting included:
--a comparison of the large investment companies such as Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab, T Rowe Price, and American Funds etc.
--how to use the website ETF.com as a method of evaluating the various ETF alternatives.
--a briefly recap of what is going on with Tariff and Trade Negotiations:
--Mexico, Canada, China;
--sanctions against Russia, Iran;
--EU and other
Meeting Topics Handout
7/25/18
At this meeting:
--we reviewed the thirteen Dividend Paying Stocks within the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust portfolio
--we went over the best investment vehicles to be inside versus outside an IRA based on Tax Efficiency, including whether an Annuity within an IRA is recommended. Also discussed was conversion from a Traditional to a Roth IRA, beneficiary designations, and inherited and “stretch” IRA benefits.
--we examined how talks of Tariff and Trade Negotiations have impacted the stock market, selected ETFs, specific companies, and the VIX recently.
 
Handouts from today’s meeting, including a model portfolio being tracked, are posted to the right.
 
 
6/27/18
At this meeting:
-- Bob Denison identified, explained, and showed charts, graphs, and trends of economic leading and lagging indicators including Gross Domestic Product, Building Starts/Permits, Inventory, Consumer Confidence, The Money Supply, US Consumer Sentiment/Confidence, Durable Goods Orders, The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index, Retail Sales, The Home Price Index, New Home sales, Inflation, and the ISM PMI.
 
The consensus was that there were no red flags portending deteriorating economic conditions currently.
 
--John Noll made a presentation regarding Preferred Stocks (a hybrid of debt and equity) covering what are they; how do they compare to other income vehicles, common stocks, and bonds; are they worth investing in, or should you invest in an ETF instead of an individual issue. Four ETFs (PGF, PXG, PSK, IPFF) and the Flaherty & Crumrine Preferred Income Fund (FFC) were reviewed.
 
The conclusion was that Preferred Stocks provide very good income with some stability, along with return of capital.
 
--Michael Levine went over differences between Fiscal and Monetary Policy.
 
Handouts from today’s meeting, along with all prior session handouts and meeting notes, are posted to the right.
 
In the Round Robin discussion, attendees described at least one investment they have to the others (Name, Symbol, Description, Asset Class, Objective, Rationale for buying, Performance). A model portfolio of these items is being tracked and December 31, 2018 results will be reported out in the January 2019 meeting. GIS, PANW, SHOP, AMZN, ANWPX, and FXL were added.
 
 
 
 
 
 
5/23/18
At this meeting John Noll and Tom Felter made a presentation on Artificial Intelligence to include:
--What is it?
--How does it work?
--What can it mean to investing?
 
Michael Levine provided information on the Yield Curve (what is it, what are “spreads” based on duration, what is a flat curve, what is an inverted curve, what are the implications of each). 
 
The group had been “Paper Trading” stock recommendations. This session during the Round Robin discussion, attendees described at least one investment they have to the others (Name, Symbol, Description, Asset Class, Objective, Rationale for buying, Performance). A model portfolio of these items will be tracked and December 31, 2018 results will be reported out in the January 2019 meeting.
 
Handouts from this meeting are available to the left.
 
4/25/18
At this meeting:
--Paul Sheckler handed out, explained, and analyzed the C. Schwab Asset Class Matrix which showed the annual returns of ten different Asset Classes from 2007 to 2017. It was pointed out that if you had invested in commodities, you would have lost over 50% of your investment during that time period.
 
A) US Large Cap stocks lost 37% in 2008, but otherwise $10,000 invested in 2007 would grow to $23,867 (8.23% IRR). US Small Cap stocks lost 34% in 2008, but otherwise $10,000 invested in 2007 would grow to $22,668 (7.72% IRR).
 
B) High Yield Bonds lost 26% in 2008, but otherwise $10,000 invested in 2007 would grow to $22,035 (7.45% IRR). REITs and Core bonds grew to $17,068 (4.98% IRR) and $15,841 (4.27% IRR). Emerging Markets lost 53% in 2008, but otherwise $10,000 invested in 2007 would grow to $16,493 (4.65% IRR).
 
-- John Bevilacqua talked about how to enhance the returns on Covered Call trades. He used Exxon-Mobil in his example. Let’s say you own 200 shares of XOM. Instead of Selling two Covered Call contracts, you Sell four Covered Call contracts; then Buy two farther out of the Money Calls to limit your risk exposure on 2 “Naked” Call contracts sold. A handout indicates how doing a Covered Call with a 120 day hold period on XOM (repeated 2 more times) could return an over 15% annualized return.
 
The group has been “Paper Trading” stock recommendations. See the Investment Group Activity page for today’s results, as well as today’s and prior session handouts.
Asset Class Matrix_Covered  Calls_Paper Trades_News
3/28/18
On Wednesday, March 28th the SIR128 Investment and Financial Topics Group met at Michael Levine’s house. Twelve people attended including Tom Felter, Tom Judson, Chuck Lipper, Nick Armentano, Paul Sheckler, and John Bevilacqua.
 
At this meeting:
--Jack Grantham talked about Royalty Trusts
--Howard Kushner spoke about his approach to investing indicating which mutual funds and ETFs he had in his portfolio
--Bob Dension, Bo Brummett, John Noll, and Michael Levine addressed the similarities and differences between ETFs and Mutual Funds. Handouts indicated which ones are performing well, how to select among all the alternatives, types and sectors available, domestic versus emerging markets, and whether you should take a long-term approach or a “tactical” approach to holdings. The Fidelity Mutual Fund screener was demonstrated.
 
The group also reviewed their “Paper Traded” stock recommendations. Most showed a loss in March. Picks by Phil Sargent, Jack Grantham, Wing Tse, Bob Biasotti and Narendra Joneja showed gains. Session handouts are posted to the right.
 
 
 
2/28/18
On Wednesday, February 28th the SIR128 Investment and Financial Topics Group met at Michael Levine’s house. Ten people attended including Howard Kushner, Tom Felter, John Archer, and John Fischer.
The topic for this meeting was Strategies for Bear Markets and Market Downturns.
Among the many alternatives:
--Chuck Lipper talked about Deeds of Trust
--Michael Levine talked about Dividend paying stocks, Inverse ETFs, Puts, Collectibles
--Nick Armentano talked about his experience with Covered Calls as a hedge against a declining or Bear Market
 
The group also reviewed their “Paper Traded” stock recommendations. Top performers included cryptocurrencies-related and defense-related. 
 
In the past:
--Dennis Whitehead, Phil Sargent spoke about Investment Properties.
--Tim Pederson spoke about Reverse Mortgages.
--Alan Schroeder spoke about Annuities, REITs and MREITs.
--John Noll spoke about Asset Allocation and Diversification
 
 
 
 
1/24/18
On Wednesday, January 24th the fourteenth session for the SIR128 Investment and Financial Topics Group was held at Michael Levine’s house. Thirteen people attended including Wing Tse and Paul Scheckler.  
 
The group is “tracking” the price performance of stocks, ETF’s, and mutual funds of interest to persons in the group. Winners include Defense, Social Media, Cryptocurrencies, and e-Commerce stocks. Cannabis stocks were added to the list.
 
Nick Armentano, John Noll, and Michael Levine shared information about Model Portfolios including matching your risk tolerance with asset mixes, what to select to invest in once your asset class allocation is determined, and recommendations from various Advisors, Investment Providers, and Newsletters.
 
A roundtable discussion about being part of the Sandwich Generation also took place, plus a review of the list of 2018 topics was also undertaken.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
12/13/17
On Wednesday, December 13th the thirteenth session for the SIR128 Investment and Financial Topics Group was held at Michael Levine’s house. This group has an Educational orientation. By researching and sharing information gathered, among ourselves, a safe-haven is provided to those who want more knowledge about financial matters. By volunteering to be a researcher, you will learn yourself by “teaching” others.
 
Fourteen people attended including Nick Armentano, Al Hudock, John Archer, and Dennis Corburn. Bob Denison,  BoBrummett, and John Noll presented how what is going on in Washington, D. C. impacts the financial markets. Their handouts (now posted on our Activity page) cover:
 

1.  THE TRUMP WORLD:  WHAT ARE THE KEY TRUMP ISSUED (51) AND POTENTUAL EXECUTIVE ORDERS THAT CAN EFFECT THE FINANCIAL  WORLD, WHAT ACTIONS SHOULD INVESTORS TAKE WITH THESE KEY EXECUTIVE ORDERS,   WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF KEY TRUMP APPOINTEES ON THE FINANCIAL WORLD  

 

2.  PENDING TAX REFORM LEGISLATION, CHANGES TO HEALTHCARE PROGRAMS, REDUCTION OF REGULATIONS, THE FED ACTIONS, RAISING THE DEBT CEILING, INCREASE SPENDING:  DEFENSE, DISASTERS, BORDERS, IMMIGRATION

 
 
10/25/17
On Wednesday, October 25th the twelfth session for the SIR128 Investment and Financial Topics Group was held at Michael Levine’s house. Ten people attended.
 
This group has an Educational orientation. By researching and sharing information gathered, among ourselves, a safe-haven is provided to those who want more knowledge about financial matters. By volunteering to be a researcher, you will learn yourself by “teaching” others.
 
Using a new OLED TV as a projector, Michael showed the VIX Chart for 1, 2, 5, and 10 years, discussed how the VIX is computed, and how a spike in value translates to market reactions.  Numerous domestic and foreign stock charts were examined to see how they reacted to VIX spikes, and to see how they are trending.
 
In addition, there was a round table discussion on whether the stock markets will remain up or drop by year end, and what we expect for 2018. Each attendee prepared his remarks based on whatever sources he had available to him.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
9/27/17

Using Michael’s new OLED TV as a projector, Barry Rauchle presented the basics of Option Trading and focused in on Covered Call transactions. The analogy of “Buying a Home” was used to clarify the concept.  John Bevilacqua contributed his expertise on the subject as well.

Michael Levine computed the annualized returns for series of Covered Call transactions using T, GOV, OHI, and AMGN. They are 20%, 15%, 36.5%, and 89.5% respectively. The Investment Group website has the details of these calculations.

Michael also showed the attendees VectorVest and its capabilities to screen and select stocks or ETFs to buy or to track portfolios. VectorVest tracks the trends in the market or sectors, and produces price graphs.

The group is “tracking” the price performance of stocks, ETF’s, and mutual funds of interest to persons in the group. Winners include Weibo, Boeing, Bitcoin, and Ethereum. Blue Apron and ULTA have losses. 

8/23/17
On Wednesday, August 23rd the tenth session for the SIR128 Investment and Financial Topics Group was held at Michael Levine’s house. Fourteen people attended. New attendees this month included Barry Rauchle, Jim Hanafee, and John Fischer.
 
This group has an Educational orientation. By researching and sharing information gathered, among ourselves, a safe-haven is provided to those who want more knowledge about financial matters. By volunteering to be a researcher, you will learn yourself by “teaching” others.
 
In addition, the group is now “tracking” the price performance of stocks, ETF’s, and mutual funds of interest to persons in the group. Winners include Weibo, Boeing, Bitcoin, and Ethereum. Blue Apron and ULTA have losses.
 
We hooked up a projector and Jack Grantham showed us a website he uses named TradeStops.com to monitor a portfolio of stocks. Michael Levine provided examples of Structured/Buffered Products (caps and floors) along with definition of terms, descriptions, and returns expected. Bo Brummett talked about PayPal’s growth and how to use it. Materials from the meeting are posted on the Investment Group activity page.
 
7/26/17
On Wednesday, July 26th the ninth session for the SIR128 Investment and Financial Topics Group was held at Michael Levine’s house. This group has an Educational orientation. By researching and sharing information gathered, among ourselves, a safe-haven is provided to those who want more knowledge about financial matters. By volunteering to be a researcher, you will learn yourself by “teaching” others.
 
New attendees this month included Jerald Cerri, Truman Howard, Jack Grantham, and Mike Thelen.
 
The different aspects of Long Term Health Care were presented by Bob Biasotti. Bill Olmo gave an overview of BitCoin. Phil Sargent went over using Bank of America’s SafeShop credit card function. Hand out material is posted on the Investment group’s web page along with prior meeting synopses.
 
In addition, the group is now “tracking” the price performance of stocks, ETF’s, and mutual funds of interest to persons in the group. Winners include Weibo, Boeing, and Square. Blue Apron has a loss.
 
6/28/17
On Wednesday, June 28th the eighth session for the SIR128 Investment and Financial Topics Group was held at Alan Schoeder’s house. 
 
The different aspects of REITs were presented by Chuck Lipper and Alan Schoeder. Chuck also spoke about investing in Deeds of Trust (short term secured loans).
 
Then Dennis Whiteneck and Phil Sargent detailed different aspects of Investment Property Ownership to include investment criteria, operating issues/complexities and costs, financing options, advantages and disadvantages, and 1031 deferral of taxes from Gains on Sale.
 
 
5/24/17
On Wednesday, May 24th the seventh session for the SIR128 Investment and Financial Topics Group was held at John Noll’s house. 
 
Federal Tax reporting and calculation was discussed. Definitions were provided. Forms 1040, Schedule A (Itemized Deductions), and Schedule C (Sole Proprietor Profits) were reviewed in depth.
 
After this discussion, the topics for the next meeting were agreed upon:
The different aspects of Investment Property Ownership to include Investment Objectives, Cost Basis, Operating Issues and Costs, depreciation advantage, deductions and credits, 1031 deferral of Gain on Sale by Dennis Whiteneck and Phil Sargent.
In addition, the different aspects of REITs will be discussed by Charles Lipper and Alan Schoeder.
4/26/17
On Wednesday, April 26th the Sixth session for the SIR128 Investment and Financial Topics Group was held at Michael Levine’s house. The session was attended by: Mike Levine, Alan Schoeder, Bob Denison, John Bevilacgua, Phil Sargent, Bob Brummett, and Charles Lipper.
 
Absent were, Dan Poulin, Phil Reed, Bob Basile, Ken Sterba, Narendra Joneja, John Noll, Glen Park, Tim Pedersen, and Ron Knibbs. George Nicholas Carranza and Paul Sheckler will try to attend future meetings.       
 
Attendees introduced themselves, voiced either a concern they might have, a recommendation they can make, or an experience they recently had related to personal finance.
 
Topics discussed were:
  1. The different features of Trading Platforms such as Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, Scottrade, Trade Station, Think or Swim (this was covered by Bob Denison)
 
  1. ETF’s versus Mutual Funds  (this was covered by Alan Schoeder and John Bevilacqua)
 
All SIR128 members are welcome to join this group.
 
3/22/17
On Wednesday, March 22nd the Fifth session for the SIR128 Investment Group was held at Alan Schoeder’s house. The session was attended by: Mike Levine, Alan Schoeder, John Noll, Glen Park, Bob Denison, John Bevilacgua, Phil Sargent, Bob Brummett, and Tim Pedersen.  Attendees introduced themselves, voiced either a concern they might have, a recommendation they can make, or an experience they recently had related to personal finance.
 
Topics discussed were:
  • What is the Department of Labor Fiduciary Rules, which would require financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients in retirement accounts. This was covered by Tim Pedersen
 
  • Top Down Portfolio construction versus a Bottoms Up approach (start with the Macro Picture and your Risk Tolerance and end up with an Asset Allocation; versus Start with specific “sectors” or stock selections and decide whether to buy, sell or hold). This was covered by John Noll, who also advised on setting up “buckets of money” and how to prepare your portfolio for a Market Crash.
  • Stock Chart Indicators-definitions and use of Candle Stick depiction, Two-line Exponential Moving Averages (EMA-2), The Relative Strength Index (RSI), Moving Average Convergence/Divergence (MACD), and Directional Indicators (DMI and ADX) on Stock Charts (BigCharts.MarketWatch.com). This was covered by Michael Levine, who handed out charts of various Stocks (IBM, PPE, T, GS, CSCO)
Included in Summary
 
 
2/22/17
On Wednesday, February 22nd the Fourth session for the SIR128 Investment Group was held at Michael Levine’s house. The session was attended by: Mike Levine, Alan Schoeder, John Noll, Charles Lipper, Glen Park, Bob Denison, Dan Poulin, John Bevilacgua, Phil Sargent, and Tim Pedersen.  
 
Attendees introduced themselves, voiced either a concern they might have, a recommendation they can make, or an experience they recently had related to personal finance.
 
Topics included:
--Information Sources (Newspapers, Newsletters, TV, Websites) and Dogs of the Dow. John Noll provided a comparison of periodicals; along with lists of blogs, books, newsletters, brokers, fund managers, and many other resources. He also distributed articles and an assessment of the Dogs of the Dow. Baron’s, Kiplinger, Wade Pfau, and Bob Carlson were praised.
 
--Options (Calls, Puts, Covered Calls, Put Sales, Advanced Set Ups). Michael Levine provided a write up with definitions and examples of Calls, Puts, Covered Calls, and Naked Puts. John Bevilacqua showed how an “Iron Condor” consisting of buys and sells of two sets of AAPL Puts and Calls of different Strike Prices but with the same Expiration Date can lock in a profit so long as the stock’s price range remains only about +/- 10% from its current price until options expiration date.
 
--Annuities. Alan Schoeder’s PowerPoint defined terms and gave the purpose and benefits of Annuities, along with the Pros and Cons. Dan Poulin referred to an Annuity he has.
 
 
 
 
1/25/17
On Wednesday, January 25th the third session for the SIR128 Investment Group was held at Alan Schoeder’s house. The session was attended by: Mike Levine, Alan Schoeder, John Noll, Bob Basile, Ken Sterba, Narendra Joneja, Dan Poulin, John Bevilacgua, and Phil Sargent.  Absent were Tim Pedersen and Ron Knibbs.
 
Topics covered included:
  1. Aspects of Stock Trading covered by Phil Sargent
  2. Bonds, Bond Ladders, Bond Funds covered by Michael Levine
  3. The difference between a CFP, an RIA, a Brokerage House Representative, a Captive Products Financial Planner, an Insurance Sales Person and how to go about evaluating Investment Advisors covered by Alan Schoeder
 
Then a round robin discussion took place whereby attendees voiced either a concern they might have, a recommendation they can make, or an experience they recently had related to personal finance. From this discussion, three topics for the February meeting were agreed upon:
  1. Aspects of Option Trading will be covered by John Bevilacqua and Michael Levine
  2. The Pros and Cons of Annuities will be covered by Dan Poulin and Alan Schoeder
  3. Information sources used to make investment decisions plus “Dogs of the Dow” will be covered by John Noll
 
 
 
 
12/9/16 Major topics covered 1) "Sequence of Returns" and how drawing down from a Reverse Mortgage Home Equity Line (HECM) the year following a "down" market, rather than withdrawing funds from your "nest egg", helped to preserve your "nest egg" and allow you to bequest a much larger legacy, and 2) basics of Estate Planning and Trusts.  Check out the Meeting Summary and write-ups listed to the right.
 
 
 
 
11/8/16 The planning session was attended by: Mike Levine, Alan Schoeder, Ron Knibbs, and Tim Pedersen.  Discussed were several subjects which could be addressed by a group.  Two topics were selected to discuss at a December 9th meeting.  Ron Knibbs and Alan Schroeder will report on the use of Maximum Cash Value Indexed Universal Life Insurance as an alternative to CDs, savings accounts, REITs, Muni Bonds, or Roth IRAs. Tim Pedersen and Mike Levine will report on Key aspects of Estate Planning to include use of Trusts, Probate, Wills, Living Wills, Advanced Healthcare Directives, Power of Attorney, Taxation, and the importance of good legal assistance. Topic List