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SIR BRANCH - 128

SAN RAMON VALLEY

Investing Group

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, review of background hand outs developed, along with questions and answers. At some meetings, outside "experts" give their insights. At the end, a round robin discussion takes 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 Zoom meetings attended by from twenty to thirty individuals, including those from other Region 5 Chapters. There are almost eighty invitees currently. To become an invitee, contact Michael Levine at michael.levine@sbcglobal.net or RSVP to the next meeting listed below. 
 
In addition, the group tracks the price performance of stocks, ETF’s, and mutual funds of interest to persons in the group.
 
You can see our info regarding our next meeting, as well as info and hand outs from past meetings by scrolling down this page.
 
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 Region 5 members are welcome to join this group. You will be able to suggest some of your own topics when you attend these monthly educational sessions. By volunteering to be a researcher, you will learn yourself.

Next Session

SIR Investment Group Meeting
Wednesday, Sept 27, 2023
Zoom Link available on our Virtual Meetings Link Page
 
 
Meets next, on Wednesday, September 27, 2023. This session will be led by the Sean Armstrong team at the Fidelity Branch in Walnut Creek. You can indicate to Michael Levine the topics you would like Fidelity to cover by emailing him at michael.levine@sbcglobal.net.
 
The session will be conducted both by Zoom and in person. There is space at the Fidelity offices for about 16 people. We will require an RSVP for this session so one will be set up on the SIR website. In the RSVP, you would specify whether you will attend in person at the Fidelity office in Walnut Creek, or by Zoom (unlimited capacity).  
 
Emailed RSVPs will also be accepted.
 

 
Our group has an Educational orientation. All SIR128 members are welcome. By researching and sharing information gathered, among ourselves, a safe-haven is provided to those who want more knowledge about financial matters. To be notified by email of upcoming meetings, you can go to your SIR128 Profile, and check off the box “Investing” under all the Activities you are interested in. More information about the SIR128 Investment group and handouts from all of our meetings can be obtained in past meeting section below.

Past Session Notes and Materials

7/26/2023
 
Our SIR Investment group meeting was held Wednesday, July 26, 2023 by Zoom. 25 attended. We covered:
--a recap of 2023 YTD 
--the outlook for 2nd half
--will the Fed hike more?
--is a "soft landing" still the prediction?
--the "forward looking" recession indicators by Rochdale and Franklin Templeton [the Anatomy of a Recession (AOR)]
--expected trends for the second half of 2023 
--recommendations for the second half of 2023
 
Registered Investment Advisor Dan Hassey, whose focus is on income generation for retired investors, led the discussions. He walked us through his 2023 July Market Update which can be found on his LinkedIn webpage. Special emphasis was placed on expected growth in GDP, Interest rate activity, Inflation trends, Labor Market/Employment, Consumer Spending, and Chinese-American inter-dependencies.
 
Handouts from this meeting include:
 
6/28/2023
 
Our SIR Investment group meeting was held Wednesday, June 28, 2023 by Zoom. The topic was Foreign Stocks and International Stock Markets, including Emerging ones.
 
The handout used for our discussion is now posted to the Investment Group activity update web page.
It includes commentary from Vanguard, Fidelity JP Morgan, Black Rock, and Barclay as well YTD Performance of numerous mutual funds, etfs, and individual stocks, plus a section on commodities (oil/gas, grain, metals).
 
 

5/24/2023
 
Our SIR Investment group meeting was held Wednesday, May 24, 2023 by Zoom. We had 21 participants, including some from other SIR Chapters (e. g. 146, 8, 116, 171).
 
The topic was companies using Artificial Intelligence in their operations, product lines, or services offered, as well as ETFs with holdings in this sector; and start-ups. Numerous companies either developing or utilizing AI were reviewed. ChatGPT and BARD were compared to each other. In the round robin participants expressed their expectations as well as their concerns over the future uses of AI. 
 
AI is forecasted to create a $900 billion market by 2026 – and an incredible $15.7 trillion by 2030. Another prediction was that by 2030, 99% of what is on the internet will be AI produced.
 
Handouts from this session include:
 

4/26/2023
 
Our SIR Investment group meeting was held Wednesday, April 26, 2023 by Zoom. We had 27 participants, including some from other SIR Chapters (e. g. 146, 8, 116, 171).
 
The topic was Banks (top 8, Regionals) and recent events impacting them. Our guest speaker was Martin Noll a retired owner, founder and CEO of a community bank in Oak Park Illinois who has been in the banking business over 50 years in huge, medium and “small” community banks and was the recipient of the Illinois Banker of the Year award in 2020. He talked about the regulatory side of banking and what regulators look (or don't look) for when examining a bank and addressed bank runs.
 
He also made comments as we went through handouts on: FDIC, Certificates of Deposit, ETFs, Outlook, and Sector Assessment. The handouts used for this discussion are posted to the Investment Group web page. We also used Big Charts to determine share prices for the last six months in various stocks, and referred to VectorVest to determine which companies are deemed strongest in various Bank sub-sectors.
 
Handouts from this session include:
 

3/22/2023
 
Our SIR Investment group meeting was held Wednesday, March 22, 2023 by Zoom. We had 17 participants, including some from other SIR Chapters (e. g. 146, 8, 116, 171).
 
We evaluated Industrial (Semi-conductors, Heavy construction, distribution, electrical, HVAC, rental equipment, trucking, EV cars/batteries, Fuels, Aerospace/Defense, Agriculture, Nuclear/Renewables) and Metals/Mining/Minerals ETFs and their top 10 Stock holdings in light of current forces that are impacting them (COVID, US-China relations, Chinese GDP/re-opening, Invasion of Ukraine, Climate Change, Inflation, Immigration, Labor deployment, Jobs outlook, Unemployment Rate, Government Spending, Interest Rates, Fed Policy and Targets, Availability of Capital, Infrastructure Replacement, Renewable Energy push/de-carbonization, Supply Chain changes, Rare Earth Metal needs, Globalization Reversals/Re- shoring, Europe fuel needs, Global Labor unrest)
 
The handout used for this discussion is posted HERE. We also used Big Charts to determine capital gains for the last six months in various stocks and referred to VectorVest to determine which companies are deemed strongest in various industry sub-sectors.
 
 

2/22/2023
 
Our second Investment group meeting of the year was held Wednesday, February 22, 2023 at 1:30 PM by Zoom. We had 18 participants, including some from other SIR Chapters (e. g. 146, 8, 116)
 
The topic of discussion was Interest Rate drivers, trends, and their impacts on selected Investment Choices. It included recent Federal Reserve announcements and expectations from the Fed in 2023. The Fed has a triple mandate: to promote maximum employment, stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates. One of the ways they do this is through adjusting short-term interest rates. The Federal Reserve just increased its target federal funds interest rate by 0.25% to a range of 4.50% to 4.75%. This impacts CD Rates, US Treasury Rates, Bond Yields, Mortgage Rates, the Prime Rate, Asset Secured Debt Rates. We currently have an inverted Yield Curve which often precedes a Recession. 
 
When the Fed raises interest rates, banks increase their rates for consumer and business loans. In theory, this means there’s less money available for consumer spending. Also, increased rates for business loans can sometimes decrease earnings and cause companies to halt expansions and hires. Reduced consumer and business spending can lower the value of a company’s stock.
 
We noted the five best fixed-income funds to buy in 2023 compared to Dividend ETFs and REITs as well as the impacts of rising rates on Net Asset Values. When interest rates rise, bond prices fall, and vice versa. Bonds with shorter maturities may be less affected by interest rate fluctuations, while bonds with longer maturities will generally incur a greater paper loss.
 
Handout used for this discussion:
 


1/25/2023
Our first Investment group meeting of the year was held Wednesday, January 25, 2023 at 1:30 PM by Zoom. We had 32 participants. Fred Fuld III provided information and statistics on leading future industries and the companies that should participate, along with their stock charts. They included:
  • Drones: AeroVironmnet (AVAV)
  • Space Travel: Virgin Galactic (SPCE); Maxar (MAXR); etf (UFO)
  • CRISPR (gene splicing): IntelliaTherapeutics (NTLA); EDIT, CSPR
  • Robotics: Teradyne (TER); Intuitive Surgical (ISRG); I-Robot (IRBT); etf (ROBO)
  • Sports Betting: Flutter (PDYPY); Draft King (DKNG); etf (BETZ)
  • E-games: Activision Blizzard (ATVI); etf (NERD)
  • Artificial Intelligence and Biometrics: C3.ai (AI); Palantir (PLTR); MongoDB (MDB); Palo Alto Networks (PANW); Verin Systems (VRNT)
  • ChatGPT is a product of OpenAI. It has the ability to write and debug computer programs; to compose music, teleplays, fairy tales, and student essays; to answer test questions; to write poetry and song lyrics; to emulate a Linux system; to simulate an entire chat room; to play games like tic-tac-toe; and to simulate an ATM; to be used as a personalized therapist. OpenAI was started as open-source and non-profit. OpenAI is projecting $200 million revenue for 2023 and $1 billion revenue for 2024 (worth $29 billion if IPO’d). 
  • Quantum Computing: IonQ (IONQ); Arqit Quantum (ARQQ)
  • Helion is developing the Fusion Engine, a near term and low-cost solution for clean, safe energy. Helion Energy does not currently have an official ticker symbol because this company is still private.
Fred’s presentation is posted below
 
Fred is a member of SIR Branch 19. For over 30 years, Fred worked as an investment advisor, market maker at the Pacific Stock Exchange, and vice president of an investment management company. He is the author of several books, has given numerous presentations, and appeared on television (CNBC, Fox Business News, and Globo TV).
 
Handouts:
 
12/7/2022
Our final Investment group meeting of the year was held Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at 1:30 PM by Zoom. Michael Lee provided us with some insights into the Real Estate Markets today. Leading indicators for real home appreciation suggest that the real estate market is going to take a large downturn. It looks like the Real Estate ETF, VNQ has established a new lower trading range with support about $76 to $80 and resistance at around $88.
 
History indicated a correlation between US housing market crashes and recessions that follow. The Bay Area, due to its strong employment base and high demand for houses is less susceptible to real estate price downturns than other parts of the country, however.. Michael’s PowerPoint presentation and session handouts are posted here:
 
 
Leading indicators for real home appreciation suggest that the real estate market is going to take a large downturn. This video explains the data behind these leading indicators and real home prices.

How will the housing market effect the current 2022 recession? In this video we look back in history to see the correlation between US housing market crashes and recessions that follow.
 
We also consulted both the Rochdale Speedometers and the Franklin Templeton Anatomy of a Recession Indicators.
 
Against a backdrop of higher inflation, aggressive policy tightening and elevated geopolitical risk, the global economy appears heading toward a recession. 
 
Higher-than-expected inflation readings continue, and they now project the Fed will raise the Federal Fund rate to between 4.50%-5.00% this cycle.
 
The most aggressive monetary tightening cycle in decades has shaken global markets this year with concerns that central bank efforts to rein in inflation will end in recession. Investors have cause to worry, historical evidence shows how tightening cycles have often ended in economic downturns when inflation needs squeezing out of the system. 
 
Watch the video to hear more about the program from Investment Strategist Jeff Schulze. 
 
Current Sell Off has not priced in the upcoming recession.
Deterioration in Job Sentiment and Yield Curve.
-eight out of twelve indicators are RED.
-three months of a RED Overall Signal
-current indicators worse than in 2020 on Recession Risk by Comparison tab
10/26/2022
A Zoom meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, October 26, 2022. At this meeting, we discussed Energy Stocks and the Energy sector. We looked at both the Macro and Micro perspectives. Several handouts were used in this discussion; all of which are posted here. One handout lists both 50 individual stocks and 17 ETFs that have YTD gains of mostly between 30% and 100%.
In the round robin, various SIRs indicated they have invested in Chevron, Exxon, Occidental, Kinder Morgan, EOG, Conoco Phillips, and Phillips 66. Some ETFs that contain those stocks include:
  • John Hancock Multifactor Energy ETF (JHME)
  • iShares U.S. Energy ETF (IYE)
  • Energy Select Sector SPDR® Fund (XLE)
  • Vanguard Energy Index Fund ETF Shares (VDE)
  • Fidelity MSCI Energy Index ETF (FENY)
  • iShares U.S. Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (IEO)
The consensus of the group was that Energy/Petroleum sector investments would continue to be favorable at least during the next 15 months, even if predictions of a 2023 recession become realized.
 
 
9/28/2022
A Zoom meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, September 28, 2022. At this meeting, we demonstrated the income potential of Selling a Covered Call against stock you already own. Examples were given whereby annualized returns, as computed on a spreadsheet developed, were well up into the double digits. Nick Armentano spoke favorably about his experience Selling Calls against his Apple stock holdings. Three handouts were provided. They are now posted here. They included:
 
Identify Covered Call candidates
-best characteristics
Purchase at least 100 shares
Identify a Strike Price above the purchase price
Identify an Expiration Date at least 30 to 45 days in the future
SELL at least one contract (100 shares per contract)
-set up an Options Trading account or get permission on an existing account
Collect money
-between Bid and Ask price
Wait to be "called out" or for option expiration
 
If not "called out" collect the Dividend. Include Call Sale Receipt in computing "effective" Dividend Yield.
If "called out" include Gain on Sale in your return-on-investment calculation.
Repeat between 6 and 10 times per year (8% or much more annualized return on investment)
 
 
8/24/2022
A Zoom meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, August 24, 2022. At this meeting, we covered
--the mid-year Economic Outlook and Recession Indicators (Rochdale and ClearBridge)
--Inflation
--What is a soft-landing Recession and how do you navigate to it
--What investors should be doing under such conditions
 
Companies to consider under current conditions include:
Walmart Inc. (WMT), Procter & Gamble Co. (PG), McDonald's Corp. (MCD), Home Depot Inc. (HD), Pfizer Inc. (PFE), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Kraft Heinz Co. (KHC), Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI), Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV), Kroger Co. (KR), Quest Diagnostics Inc. (DGX)
 
Sectors to consider under current conditions include:
Healthcare (JNJ, CVS, PFE, UNH, WBA)
Consumer Staples (KR, PEP, PG, GIS, TSN)
Utilities (AWK, BIP/BIPC, NEE, WMB, WM)
Discount Stores (WMT, DG, HD, COST, DLTR)
 
Real Estate:
Prologis Inc. (PLD), Equinix Inc. (EQIX), Public Storage (PSA), UDR Inc. (UDR), Equity Residential (EQR), Realty Income Corp. (O), CBRE Group Inc. (CBRE), Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. (ARE), Extra Space Storage Inc. (EXR)
 
Handouts:
 

7/27/2022
A Zoom meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. At this regularly scheduled meeting, we covered Value Stocks
--why now?
--definitions, parameters, and qualifications
--sectors deemed less volatile
--ETFs weighted toward Value Stocks
--sources of information about, expert recommendations
--identification, evaluation, selection
--fundamental analysis applied to identifying Value Stocks (P/E Ratio, Price/Book Value, PEGY)
-- screeners used to isolate Value Stocks based on parameters set (VectorVest, Ben Graham, Yahoo.Finance, TradingView)
Bill Holly gave a presentation on how his investment group uses “Better Investing” software and Value Line to make stock purchase decisions.
 
Handouts: 
 
6/22/2022
A Zoom meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, June 22, 2022. This session was to be conducted by long-time investor and Vanguard advocate, Tom Henry of SIR171 (LaMorinda Hills). Due to technical difficulties, we could not cover this information. Handouts to be used in this discussion are posted on the Investment activity webpage, however. We will reschedule this presentation for July 18, 2022.
 
The discussion will be based on biographies written about Jack Bogle.
 
https://www.amazon.com/Bogle-Effect-Vanguard-Investors-Trillions-ebook/dp/B09B8XYXRL/ref=sr_1_10?crid=1YFA5EL2B4AOX&keywords=Vanguard&qid=1652703635&s=digital-text&sprefix=vanguard%2Cdigital-text%2C79&sr=1-10
 
The ideal investment vehicle for Bogle was a low-cost index fund held over a lifetime with dividends reinvested and purchased with dollar cost averaging. His 1999 book Common Sense on Mutual Funds: New Imperatives for the Intelligent Investor became a bestseller and is considered a classic within the investment community.
 
 
 
Tom was to review the life of John Clifton "Jack" Bogle (May 8, 1929 – January 16, 2019) an American investor, business magnate, and philanthropist and the founder and chief executive of The Vanguard Group. An avid investor and money manager, Bogle preached investment over speculation, long-term patience over short-term action, and reducing broker fees as much as possible. He is credited with creating the first index fund.
 
We were to have taken a deep dive into Index Funds including Pros and Cons and Paul Merriman insights.
https://paulmerriman.com/vanguard-latest-recommendations/
 
During the Round Robin, participants were to have indicated their personal experience with Index Funds compared to other types of investments in their portfolios.
 
 
Vanguard also offers ongoing access to advisors. The minimum investment for this service is $50,000, and the annual advisory fee is 0.30%. When you have questions, you get 1:1 advice—call or email their team, or schedule a video chat with an advisor. Advisors are salaried and don’t make commissions.
 
 
Bogle’s impact reaches well beyond index funds into many other areas, such as active management, ETFs, the advisory world, quantitative investing, ESG, behavioral finance and even trading platforms. 
 
Handouts:
 
5/25/2022
A Zoom meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. City National Bank representatives discussed the services they have to offer including Mortgages, Reverse Mortgages, Home Equity Lines of Credit; Private Banking and Wealth Management Services. The slide deck used is posted below.
 
In addition, they presented excerpts from their white paper which showed various charts and graphs and described drivers of the current Economic Outlook.  Here is a link to the abridged version.
 
We also reviewed the City National Rochdale Indicators that reveal that we are not close to a recession. See
 
and Franklin Templeton Clearbridge Indicators
 
 
Handouts:
 
4/27/2022
A WebEx meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. The WebEx was hosted by Scott Martinez, a C Schwab VP - Sr. Financial Consultant in their San Ramon office. He covered:
--What can Charles Schwab do more for me?
--What does Charles Schwab offer that I do not take advantage of?
--If I do not have a Charles Schwab account, what resources can I still access?
--What can a Schwab Financial Consultant do for me and for what fee?
--What is the "Private Client" program and fees?
--What is the Schwab Advisor Network and why and how do I access it?
--What are "Managed Portfolios" and Managed Account Select?
--What are Windhaven, Wasmer Schroeder, and Thomas Partners Strategies?
--What is there on the Charles Schwab web site that I am not fully utilizing including watch lists, alerts, research, screeners
--What reports and performance tracking does Charles Schwab provide?
--Pros and Cons of "Automated" Investing and Intelligent Portfolios and intelligent Income
--How much Cash is too much or too little and where to have it available; alternatives
 


3/23/2022
Our meeting featured David Hu. He bought his first Bitcoin in 2011 at $1 and since then has been involved with the cryptocurrency industry through investing and development. David is connected to an extensive network of early investors and developers in the crypto industry. He recently launched a hedge fund called Open Heart Capital that invests in cryptocurrency using quantitative and discretionary strategies that he has developed from his years of experience trading and investing, averaging 300% per year for the last few years.
Participants asked:
--What is the latest and greatest regarding crypto currency?
--Are Bitcoin and Ethereum still the dominant crypto currencies?
--Where and how might I make the most money off crypto currency in the next 6 to 12 months?
--What trends or developments are expected in the next 1 year, 3 year, 5 year horizons?
--What changes are expected in the Regulatory environment that will help crypto currencies?
--What changes are expected in the Regulatory environment that will hurt crypto currencies?
--What changes are expected in the Macro/Micro Economic environment that will help crypto currencies?
--What changes are expected in the Macro/Micro Economic environment that will hurt crypto currencies?
--What is the best way to Buy and Sell crypto currencies?
--What is the best way to Secure your crypto currencies?
--What about crypto currency ETFs or Futures?
--What about Funds like Grayscale (GBTC, ETHE)?
--What are NFT’s?
--Is there anything about the "Mining" of different crypto currencies we should know? Carbon Footprint concerns?
--What is the risk of having so many different crypto currencies?
--What "Don't ever dos" regarding crypto currencies should we know about?
 
Handouts presented at this meeting:
 


2/23/2022
 
A ZOOM meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, February 23, 2022. 28 SIRs participated on this call including others from SIR chapters that have met as $UMS in Retirement (an Area 16 activity that included 7 branches in Contra Costa). To be on future notifications of upcoming meetings, you can go to your SIR128 Profile, and check off the box “Investing” under all the Activities you are interested in.
 
Our meeting featured a retired Professional Advisor/Financial Planner who covered: What should you look for when selecting a Professional Advisor/Financial Planner? What data should you compile in advance of meeting with a Professional Advisor/Financial Planner? What work product should you expect from your Professional Advisor/Financial Planner? What questions should be asking in your periodic meetings with your Professional Advisor/Financial Planner? What should you do in your “Safe Money” bucket versus your “Play Money” bucket? What are "red flags" to be alert to? What is considered "elder abuse"? Spouses will be encouraged to attend this session.
 
Insightful Websites include:
 
 
 
 
 
Handouts presented at this meeting include the following:
 
For our next meeting on Wednesday, March 23, 2022 we are arranging to have a Charles Schwab representative as a guest speaker.
Other future session topics suggested included Emerging Markets, Asset Allocation/Diversification/Buy & Hold Strategy, and Fixed Income Alternatives. Another future topic under consideration is an update on Crypto Currencies.
 
 

1/26/2022
 
A ZOOM meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, January 26, 2022. Joining SIR128 Participants on this call were 12 others from SIR chapters that have met as $UMS in Retirement (an Area 16 activity that included 7 branches in Contra Costa). To be on future notifications of upcoming meetings, you can go to your SIR128 Profile, and check off the box “Investing” under all the Activities you are interested in.
 
Topics covered in a handout presented at this meeting, which is included:  What is meant by “Buy on a Dip”? What is a Market Dip? What is a Market Correction? What signs do we look for before Market Corrections? What is Dollar Cost Averaging? What is a Market Bottom? What is a Cup and Handle pattern? What is a Value Stock? How do you identify a Value Stock? What Screeners can be used to Identify Value Stocks? What is being Over Sold mean? How do you identify an Over Sold Stock? What are Support Levels? How do you use Support Levels in decision making? What are Moving Averages? How do you use Moving Averages in decision making? What is a Sector Rotation? What are Value Sectors?
 
Websites used in the presentation included: VectorVest, BigCharts, Yahoo Finance, Zacks, FINVIZ, CNBC, and TradingView. Articles from Kiplinger, Morningstar, and IBD were sited.
 
In the round robin participants indicated how they manage their financial affairs. Since many of the Participants use either a Professional Advisor/Financial Planner or Charles Schwab, our next meeting will feature a retired Professional Advisor/Financial Planner who will cover: What should you look for when selecting a Professional Advisor/Financial Planner? What data should you compile in advance of meeting with a Professional Advisor/Financial Planner? What work product should you expect from your Professional Advisor/Financial Planner? What questions should be asking in your periodic meetings with your Professional Advisor/Financial Planner? What should you do in your “Safe Money” bucket versus your “Play Money” bucket? What are "red flags" to be alert to? What is considered "elder abuse"? Spouses will be encouraged to attend this session.
 
Handouts from this meeting:
Other future session topics suggested included Emerging Markets, Asset Allocation/Diversification/Buy & Hold Strategy, and Fixed Income Alternatives. Another future topic under consideration is an update on Crypto Currencies.
 


12/8/2021
 
A ZOOM meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. There were 37 Participants on this call, including some from other SIR chapters that have met as $UMS in Retirement (an Area 16 activity that included 7 branches in Contra Costa). To be on future notifications of upcoming meetings, you can go to your SIR128 Profile, and check off the box “Investing” under all the Activities you are interested in.
 
At this meeting we discussed “Preparing for Dementia” with Michael Young, an experienced elder law, estate planning and asset protection planning attorney in Walnut Creek, CA. Mr. Young advises his clients regarding their estate planning needs with an emphasis on asset protection, Medi-Cal qualification, and preservation of assets for various levels of their care as they get older.  He is co-author of the book, “Don’t Go Broke In A Nursing Home” and is the author of the “Alzheimer’s Legal Survival Guide.”
 
 
Our first meeting for the year will be held on Wednesday, January 26, 2022, at 1:30 PM by Zoom. Our topic is:
  • Is it good to Buy on Dips? If so, how do you identify what is dipping and what to Buy?
  • Is it good to Buy low and Sell high? If so, how do you identify what is now low but will eventually be higher?
  •  What is a Value Stock? How do you identify what is a Value Stock?
 Participants should try to identify examples of each for our discussion and indicate why they have selected that investment as an example.
 


10/27/2021
 
A ZOOM meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, October 27, 2021. There were 33 Participants on this call, including some from other SIR chapters that have met as $UMS in Retirement (an Area 16 activity that included 7 branches in Contra Costa). To be on future notifications of upcoming meetings, you can go to your SIR128 Profile, and check off the box “Investing” under all the Activities you are interested in.
 
At this meeting we had John Lau, CPA/CFP and Managing Director of LFS Wealth Advisors, talk about Implementing 529 College Plans for children and grandchildren, Dividend and RMD income, Roth conversion insights and strategies – should you convert and how much to convert? Social Security, Capital Gain and Loss harvesting strategies, Charitable Giving, and 199A QBI Year-End Strategies. A copy of John’s presentation is posted to the Investment Activity web page.
 
In addition, we touched on how to find good Dividend Paying Stocks. These include e-Newsletters, websites, and subscription services such as VectorVest, The Oxford Club, Dividend Channel, InvestorPlace, Zacks, IBD, US News, Kiplinger, and Contrarian Outlook.
 
Participants indicated they use Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, Seeking Alpha, Thomas Partners, AAII, and Motley Fool as data sources.   Lists of recommended Dividend paying stocks showing their current yields and YTD Gains are posted on the Investment Activity web page.
 
Handouts from this meeting:
 
Our last meeting for the year will be held on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, at 1:30 PM by Zoom. Attorney, Mike Young will discuss “Preparing for Dementia”, Charitable Trusts, and Inherited IRAs. Wives will be encouraged to listen in on this session, as well.
 
 

9/22/2021
A ZOOM meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, September 22, 2021. There were over 20 Participants on this call, including some from other SIR chapters that have met as $UMS in Retirement (an Area 16 activity that included 7 branches in Contra Costa). At this meeting we had Dan Hassey, Senior Registered Investment Advisor at McIntosh Capital Advisors Inc. and Senior Research Analyst at James DiGeorgia & Associates, Inc. review his Outlook for 3rd Qtr 2021 with us. His review is posted below in case you did not attend this meeting.
 
Handout from this meeting:
 
To be on future notifications of upcoming meeting, you can go to your SIR128 Profile, and check off the box “Investing” under all the Activities you are interested in.

8/25/2021  
A ZOOM meeting  of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, August 25, 2021. There were over 20 Participants on this call, including some from other SIR chapters that have met as $UMS in Retirement (an Area 16 activity that included 7 branches in Contra Costa). To be on future notifications of upcoming meeting, you can go to your SIR128 Profile, and check off the box “Investing” under all the Activities you are interested in.
 
For this meeting we sent out a Survey asking Participants:
--what insurances do you have?
--within each category, are there specific policy types you have selected
Life, Long Term Care, Healthcare, Dental, Vision, Property, Earthquake, Liability, Auto, Flood, Home Warranty, and Other
--within each category, are there specific riders you have selected
--how much coverage do you have?
--what insurance carriers are you using?
--what discounts or waivers or exemptions are you entitled to?
--how much are you paying for your coverages?
 
We compiled, shared, and discussed the responses.
In addition, two Insurance Professionals joined the call and addressed questions such as:
--how much is too much insurance? by category 
--how much is too little insurance? by category 
 
--how important is Life Insurance?
--at what point do you not need Life Insurance?
--what is the most recent trend regarding Long Term Health Insurance?
 
--is Earthquake Insurance necessary?
 
--who are the better carriers or various insurances?
 
--should you "bundle" your insurances with one company?
 
--how good is USAA, CSAA
--how do you assess Insurance Companies (AM Best, Moody's, Fitch??)
 
--what major pitfalls do people run into regarding Insurance and being under insured?
--what else should you "look out" for
 
At the end of the meeting, we looked at eight Insurance Company Stocks and how well they have done YTD.
 
Handouts from this meeting:
 

7/28/2021
A ZOOM meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, July 28, 2021. Participants on this call included some from other SIR chapters that have met as $UMS in Retirement (an Area 16 activity that included 7 branches in Contra Costa). 
 
At this meeting we reviewed:
LPLs’ Mid-year Outlook
 
A webinar given by Joseph Zidle Chief Investment Strategist and Byron R. Wien Vice Chairman, of Blackstone regarding what they feel are factors impacting our economy.
 
The Role of The FED. Frontline did a program on the Power of the Federal Reserve.
 
Discussions centered on potential risks to Recovery as well as Inflation, Deficits, and Debt Costs.
 
Participants indicated their recent investment choices and experiences due to any insights they have obtained from their reading or from their Advisors.
 
Session Handouts:
 
6/23/2021
A ZOOM meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. Participants on this call included some from other SIR chapters that have met as $UMS in Retirement (an Area 16 activity that included 7 branches in Contra Costa). 
 
At this meeting we reviewed
--What does a “re-opening” of our economy mean and what impacts will be expected
--What are some expected impacts from certain Biden Administration policies
and
--How should you change your investment strategies to either not be adversely affected by them, or to take advantage of them if appropriate
 
A Kiplinger article and an Investor Business Daily article were used in the discussion.
Participants told us about their recent investment choices and experiences due to any insights they have obtained from their reading or from their Advisors.
 
Session Handouts:
 
Follow-up note: 
As a follow up to our last Investment Group meeting, check out this discussion of where we are in the Business Cycle.
Investment Decisions may be made based on where people perceive we  are in the Business Cycle.
  • If we are in a Late Stage and the Economy has peaked and is poised to decline, then Investors may change their Strategy and Asset Allocations to be more conservative. 
  • If we are in an Expansion Period, Investors may buy Industrials, Durables, Housing, and Consumer Discretionary stocks.
  • There is a debate as to where we are. The last Business Cycle trough began in 2009.
  • The COVID disruption triggered a downward spiral in March of 2020, but the recovery looks like we are now in a Expansion Period. 
Question to Investment Group participants:
--Where do you think we in the Business Cycle and how does that impact your investing decisions?
 
 
5/26/2021
A ZOOM meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. 17 people participated in this call including some from other SIR chapters that have met as $UMS in Retirement (an Area 16 activity that included 7 branches in Contra Costa).
 
At this meeting we reviewed Real Estate Investing vocabulary, concepts, and examples. We evaluated the Pros and Cons of investing in Real Estate and Mortgages. We then went into some depth examining various Passive Real Estate investments including Real Estate related stocks, Equity REITs, Mortgage REITs, Real Estate Enablers, Private Investments, Debt secured by Real Estate, and sector ETFs. Michael Sorensen provided us insights into his Active investing in Real Estate. Taxation considerations of real estate were pointed out to us by Jasmshed Gandhi.
 

4/28/2021
A ZOOM meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. 27 people participated in this call including some from other SIR chapters that have met as $UMS in Retirement (an Area 16 activity that included 7 branches in Contra Costa). 
 
Given that most people in our age bracket have only 50% invested in equities, at this meeting we discussed investing “the other 50%” of your money not invested in stocks. A handout, that is posted to the Investment Group web page, outlines the various alternatives to invest in such as Cash, Money Market Funds, Treasury Bonds, Corporate Bonds, High Yield Bonds, Preferred Stock ETFs, REITs, Fixed Indexed Annuities, Dividend paying investments, etc.
 
Investment vehicles from TransAmerica, Franklin Templeton, Fidelity, Eaton Vance, Vanguard, and Nuveen were compared. In the Round Robin, attendees indicated how they have been investing their other 50%.
 
Session Handouts:
 

3/24/2021
A ZOOM meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. 28 people participated in this call including some from other SIR chapters that have met as $UMS in Retirement (an Area 16 activity that included 7 branches in Contra Costa). 
 
At this meeting Chris Johnson, a registered representative with LPL Financial/Strategic Wealth Advisors Group, Inc. discussed risk tolerance, demonstrated Riskalzye, and showed how portfolios are constructed to match risk tolerances. He explained what is meant by very aggressive, aggressive, growth, growth with income, moderately conservative, conservative; what is the difference between strategic, tactical, balanced, alternative; and what Performance would you expect from the different Mixes.
 
 In January, we compiled a list of stocks to "watch" during 2021. The Riskiness of this list far exceeds what a typical 74-year-old would desire. However, it was used for illustration purposes to show how Riskalyze digests information and recommends a reallocation.
 
John Noll commented on how Fisher Investments approaches this topic.
 
We also looked at a Vanguard Model Portfolio (supplied by Doug Beck) and Fidelity Model Portfolios (supplied by Michael Levine).
 
At our April meeting will have a guest speaker from TransAmerica who will discuss Fixed Income Investments. We also hope that Sir Frank Felicelli will be able to contribute to this session. Given that most people in our age bracket have only 50% invested in equities, in the Round Robin, attendees will indicate how they have been investing the other 50%.
 
Session Handouts:
 

2/24/2021
A ZOOM meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. 18 SIRs participated in this call including some from other SIR chapters that have met as $UMS in Retirement (an Area 16 activity that included 7 branches in Contra Costa). 
At this meeting SIR members shared their screen and showed how they interact with various Web sites to either educate themselves or to make selections for investing or establish Watch Lists.
 
Such sites included:
Paul Merriman Education Foundation (Tom Henry)
Preferred Stocks (Al Hudock)
Charles Schwab (Mark Schlitt, Leonard Dorin)
Fidelity, Zacks, and VectorVest (Michael Levine)
 
Paul Merriman recommends a two-fund Strategy (Templeton Dragon Fund, Small Cap Value ETF) whereby you adjust the allocation between the two depending on market conditions and your age.
 
In the round robin, Nick Armentano indicated that he has success with selling Calls on seven companies he has gained familiarity with and that he expects to own for the long term (AAPL, AMD, BA, NFLX, NVDA FB, AMGN). Most of his calls expire worthless.
 
1/27/2021
A ZOOM meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, January 27, 2021. 27 SIRs participated in this call including 10 from other SIR chapters that have met as $UMS in Retirement (an Area 16 activity that included 7 branches in Contra Costa). 
 
John Noll presented a matrix that indicated which sectors analysts are Overweighting or Underweighting for 2021. For 2021, the consensus is financials, healthcare, and industrials are good sectors to invest in; whereas utilities and consumer staples are not. This matrix is posted below.
 
A "round robin" discussion then took place whereby attendees gave their opinions and insights on specific stocks and ETFs which we will track throughout the year. A spreadsheet listing these is also posted on the activity web page of the Investment Group.
 
At upcoming meetings in 2021 we will review how to select ETFs, Mutual Funds, and stocks using “screeners”; how advisors populate their Model Portfolios based on Risk Profiles of investors; What to do with your CASH and the difference between investing for Income and investing for Growth (including Preferred Stock ETFs yielding 5% or more); Automobile companies; Housing stocks along with Energy versus Alternative Energy companies.
 
Session handouts:
 

12/9/2020
A ZOOM meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, December 9, 2020. 43 SIRs participated in this call including 22 from other SIR chapters that have met as $UMS in Retirement (an Area 16 activity that included 7 branches in Contra Costa).  For the first hour we went over what to look for in a Financial Advisor. This discussion was led by Greg O’Donnell, Founder & CEO of the O’Donnell Financial Group. Daniella Sucato, Vice President – Structured Investments, First Trust Portfolios described Market Linked CDs and Structured Notes as alternative conservative investments. Her presentation is posted along with other hand outs to the Investment Activity web page. The other hand outs contained information on Winners and Losers during 2020, positioning for 2021, and Year End Tax Considerations. In the second hour, Jamshed Gandi  (CPA) talked about some Tax fundamentals now that we have an idea of what Biden's tax plan is.  He honed in on the retirement aspects and touched on the estate tax implications which could be significant if passed. A "round robin" discussion then took place whereby attendees gave their opinions and insights.
 
Session handouts:
 

10/28/2020
A ZOOM meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, October 28, 2020. Eleven SIRs participated in this call including three from other SIR chapters that have met as $UMS in Retirement (an Area 16 activity that included 7 branches in Contra Costa).  The topic discussed was Food, Prepared Food, Beverage, Restaurant, Supermarket, and Major Chains stocks. Individual companies were reviewed along with ETFs. VectorVest was used to show the relative strengths of each company in each subcategory. Big Charts was used to indicate YTD performance and to determine both BUY and SELL points during the year of each company according to the 2-line EMA, MACD, RSI, and DMI indicators
 
Session Handouts included: 
 

9/23/2020
A ZOOM meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, September 23, 2020. 27 SIRs participated in this call. 16 were from SIR128 and 11 were from five other SIR chapters that have met as $UMS in Retirement as an Area 16 activity that included 7 branches in Contra Costa.
 
Topic discussed was “expected impacts on the economy and investments depending on various outcomes of the November 2020 Congressional and Presidential election”.
 
Observations included:
·        Expect short-term stock market volatility as the election heats up. But longer term, economic fundamentals are likely more important drivers for stocks than who wins the White House. Fiscal policy—federal taxes and spending—is likely to be key to economic growth.
·        The outcome of the congressional races is key
·        The economy is better when there is a Republican sweep or when Republicans control Congress and there is a Democratic President. Much worse is when there is a Democratic sweep or when Democrats control Congress and there is a Republican President.
·        Even if 1st and 2nd year economic performance is impacted by the election, by 3rd and 4th year economic growth averages 8.7% regardless of who won.
 
A Biden presidency could mean more economic stimulus than a Trump second term, but also higher taxes on businesses, higher income people, and capital gains
While President Trump has focused on deregulation, a Biden administration would likely re-regulate certain industries. Among the possible targets: fossil fuels, financial services, health care, and big tech.
 
Stock buybacks have been a significant source of returns for stock investors over the past decade. Democrats could move to limit them, while Republicans would likely support the status quo.
 
Session Handouts included:
 
Recommended video links:
 


8/26/2020
A ZOOM meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, August 26, 2020. 11 SIRs participated in this call.
Topics discussed in this session included:
--US and Chinese fall outs and how they may impact investing
--US and International IPO ETFs  
--Emerging Markets: How are they doing?
--Is it time to look at Value Stocks?
--What about Gold and Silver?
 
Observations included:
Trade War, Hong Kong autonomy, Accounting Standards, Cyber security, Industrial Espionage, the oustering of diplomats,  the origination of the COVID virus, the Biden family affiliations, South China Sea disputes, Belt and Road initiative objectives, Currency manipulations, shifting Chinese stock trading from New York to Hong Kong or Shanghai, retaliations against U.S. companies, and other policy rifts between the U.S. and China threaten to put Chinese stocks out of the direct reach of American investors. IPOS and KraneShares CSI China Internet ETF (KWEB) could  provide U.S. investors access to Ant. The Oberweis China Opportunity Fund (OBCHX) has a 33% gain YTD compared to 5% for S&P.‚Äč
 
A means of participating in domestic and foreign IPOs is by ETF. IPOS is up 35% and IPO is up 50% year to date.
China and Japan began reopening their economies without a major second wave of infections, while Korea never went into full lockdown mode to begin with. The epicenter of the pandemic shifted in the second quarter from North Asia to India and Latin America. Brazil recently surpassed 1.4 million cases of the virus and 60,000 deaths. 
MSCI's all-country world index hit a new all-time high. Three ETFs that either directly track the MSCI World Index or are highly correlated to it include URTH, VT, and ACWI. Each dropped to -32% in March and are now at +3% year to date.
 
The US equity market during the second quarter regained much of the ground it lost in February and March, driven by massive government stimulus, low interest rates, and an improving economic outlook. Consumer discretionary, information technology, and energy were the best-performing sectors during the quarter, while utilities and consumer staples fared worst. Homebuilders have benefited from a resilient housing market. ITB is up 26% year to date. Growth stocks are outperforming Value stocks. SPYG is up 25% YTD, whereas SPYV is -9% YTD. Maybe larger rebounds will occur for some companies as businesses open.
 
An investment in a combination of gold and silver (XAU ETF) or in Wheaton Precious Metals is better than just in gold or gold miner ETFs or stocks. They are up 40% and 75% respectively year to date.
 
Session Handouts included:
 
 
6/24/2020
A ZOOM meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. Twelve SIRs were online. The theme of this month’s meeting was the Pros and Cons of Fixed Annuities, Fixed Indexed Annuities, Variable Indexed Annuities, and Variable Annuities. Loi Yu from Allianz led us in this discussion.
 
Topics like Budget Gap Analysis, Money of last resort, Annuities as Bond Substitutes, Minimum Returns, Riders, Internal Fees, Variations Available, Long Term Care Options, Death Benefits, Indexing, Inflation Protection, Second to Die, and other aspects of Annuities were covered.
 
Other aspects of Annuities that were covered included:
-Is it prudent to consider Annuities for a portion of your portfolio given the volatility in the Markets?
--Do Annuities provide a safety net for future cash needs?
-Withdrawing versus Annuitization
- Annuity features, riders, costs, benefits
Inflation Protection – optional benefits that increase your guaranteed income, at a fixed or variable rate, to hedge against the effects of inflation.
Death Benefits — optional benefits that pass your premium, or your income stream for a guaranteed period, to your heirs should you pass away prematurely.
Liquidity – ability to access your premium (often subject to a surrender fee).
Add-ons – how subsequent contributions are factored into future income.
-Criteria to use in evaluating the insurance company issuing the annuities and riders:
High safety ratings of the issuing company –the claims-paying ability of the issuing company and its re-insurers.
Company management, customer service, and ease of account access
 
Participants submitted questions regarding internal costs and fees, tax treatment of withdrawals, and suitability of the different options.
 
Session handouts included: 
 

5/27/2020
A ZOOM meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. Fifteen SIRs were online.
 
The theme of this month’s meeting was “Winners and Losers in the current pandemic environment”
There was a concern that there is a divergence between the “real” economy and the recent Stock Market performance. Increases in National, Corporate, and Private Debt levels may have adverse consequences in the future. Unemployment may not decline to pre-covid 19 levels either. What if the market “tanks” a second time? What if Democrats win the election? Until there is a vaccine, we will not get back to “normal”. Travel and entertainment may not normalize for a year for instance. Another concern voiced was once you go to cash, how do you know when to go back into stocks and into which ones: Asset Class rebalancing? Growth, Value, or Income? Technology, Healthcare, Consumer Staples, Energy, Travel/Leisure, Financials?; Small-cap, Mid-cap, Large-cap? Indexes? Dollar-cost-averaging?
 


 
4/22/2020
A ZOOM meeting of the Investing Group was held on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Twelve SIRs were online with the two presenters.
 
The theme of this month’s meeting was DON’T STAY TRAPPED IN YOUR HOME - Do you want to move or downsize but don’t want to pay a huge capital gains bill or a much higher property tax or both? There are many solutions that few people have discovered that can make selling your home possible. Real Estate brokers Dr. Michael Soon Lee and Lucky Chan explained the in’s and out’s of:
  • Proposition 60 & 90 property tax reduction rules.
  • The new statewide property tax portability initiative.
  • How the real estate capital gains tax exclusion of up to $500,000 works.
  • How to calculate the taxable gain on the sale of your home.
  • Why the cost of selling isn’t going to be as much as you probably think.
  • Why moving and renting out of your house could cost you big bucks.
  • A techniques for deferring the capital gains tax for 30 years called a Monetized Installment Sale was described. In this arrangement, there are two additional parties to the sale of the property. One is a Private Lender and the other is an Escrow Agent. Instead of the Seller receiving the proceeds of the sale directly, the proceeds go into Escrow. The money placed in Escrow is invested by the Escrow Agent over a 30 year period.
 
A Private Lender makes a 30 year, interest only “Bullet” Loan to the Seller for 95% of the Sale Price. Loan proceeds are not Taxable to the recipient. Interest paid may be a deductible expense under certain circumstances, however. The Loan is Non-recourse so a lien is not attached to any assets. From the Principle in Escrow plus the Earnings, the Annual Interest is paid to the Private Lender. At the end of the 30 year period, both the Note Amount and the Capital Gains Taxes are paid. Any excess money from Investments made is distributed to the Sell or his heirs
 


 
2/26/2020
At the December 11, 2019 Investing Group meeting we reviewed the Duties and Responsibilities of an Executor of a Will and/or Trust. Attorney Joan Grimes and her daughter addressed the group, made comments, and answered questions. They provided a 40-slide PowerPoint presentation which you can find below in our summary of the December meeting. Twenty-six people attended, including five wives.
 
A follow-on session covering Incapacity Planning (what you want to happen should you lose your ability to make choices, express your choices, or otherwise lose the decision-making skills you now enjoy; Must be completed while you are competent to know what you are signing, i.e. without dementia) was held Wednesday, February 26, 2020. Sixteen people attended, including two wives. Eleven others wanted to, but could not attend.
 
Financial, medical, and housing concerns were discussed. Joan Grimes and her daughter provided a twenty-three-page power point to supplement our six-page write up. Both are posted on the Investment Group Activity web page. Several SIRs were able to indicate their recent experiences with loved ones needing assistance.
 
A basic incapacity plan should include a Living Will, a Physician's Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (replaces DNR—Do Not Resuscitate Order), a Healthcare Power of Attorney, A HIPAA release, Durable Power of Attorney for Finances, an Advanced Health Directive, and Final Arrangements.
 
 
 
 


1/22/2020
At our January 22, 2020 meeting the Investment Group reviewed what economists and advisors are saying about the 2020 Outlook and what it suggests for Sector Rotation, Re-positioning, Rebalancing, Re-allocation, Strategies, Stock selection, ETFs, and various tactics. Numerous charts and graphs were displayed. Handouts and writeups are now posted to the Investment Group Activity web page. See historical trend “Quilts” at https://novelinvestor.com/sector-performance/
 
John Schafgans indicated what Rick Edelman predicts. Richard Gracer and Doug Beck also contributed 2020 predictions. Dan Owre, Cary Wiese, Chuck Lipper, Rob Callahan, and Nick Armentano added their insights.
 
We also reviewed the Rochdale and Legg Mason/ClearBridge recession predictors. The consensus appears to be we are not close to having a recession, however the closer we get to election 2020 results, the more certain of the future of our economic stability we will become.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
12/11/2019
The last meeting of the SIR128 Investment Group of the year was held on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 (due to Thanksgiving and Xmas holidays) at the home of Michael Levine 108 Margone Court, Danville, CA 94526. Twenty-six people attended, including five wives. We reviewed the Duties and Responsibilities of an Executor of a Will and/or Trust. Attorney Joan Grimes and her daughter addressed the group, made comments, and answered questions. They provided a 40-slide PowerPoint presentation which is now posted to the Investment Activity.
 
Seven SIRs (Dennis Goodman, Frank Felicelli, Tony Fassiott0, Mike Mullineaux, Joe Santone, and Bob Turner, and Russ Harrison) shared their experiences as Executors, in order for us to learn from each other and to give us insights on how we are setting up our own Estate Plans (for our children) and what they might experience in their future (when settling our estates).
 
 
 

11/22/2019
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.
 
 
 


 
9/25/2019
The September 25, 2019 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:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
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:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
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:
 
 
 
 


 
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. 
 
Handouts:
 
 


 
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 provided.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
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.
 
Session Handouts:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
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 below) 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
 


 
 
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 below:
 
 
 


 
 
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"
 
 
 


 
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 session handout below.
 
 


 
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 below:
 
 
 
 


 
 
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 crypto currencies-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, Crypto currencies, 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)


 
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