November 2009 

Employee Benefit Alert
If you are with a company that offers options in your employee benefits, this is typically the time of year when you get notified and can make changes. This can be very important to you.   Please give me a call or send an email so that I might review it with you.
Making an Intelligent Decision about this could give you up to thousands of dollars in tax savings. Also, there may be insurance offerings at very attractive rates. Often, coverage is offered that is simply not available any other way.
There are traps however, and not every offer is a good one. Please contact me soon as your deadline may be approaching.

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Look for the next issue featuring end-of- year tax planning tips.


"Every politician should be limited to two terms; one in office and one in prison!"

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Where We Are Today 

Well, the ride up from the March 9th low in the major indices to now has been fast and furious. Clearly, it has been an enjoyable one. Opening your statement is actually a pleasure again. While we certainly have not fully recovered the dramatic losses of 2008, by sticking to our disciplined plan, most are about halfway there.
The question is, of course, what happens now? (Is there ever really a different question than that?) What happens next will really depend on what has happened so far. Was it a wonderful 'kick start" to the economy or a false bounce? Interest rates have been held artificially low and there have been massive amounts of stimulus money and huge cash injections. I must add that it appears that much of this borrowed money has gone to the least productive members of society - including bankers, who for years have played "heads I win; tails, you bail me out"! Yet it is you and I, and our children, who will have to pay it back.
I can tell you though, it will be worth it....if it works, and we just don't know that yet. I am concerned that one out of ten Americans is out of work and the real number is probably close to double that. I am concerned that virtually every industry is shrinking except government and healthcare, and of those two, only healthcare is under attack. Mostly, I am concerned that everyone is getting so optimistic. Many of you have been through this with me before. Be cautious in times of exuberance and be optimistic when those around you are fearful. (The latter will not only make you wealthy; it will make you popular at parties, as well!)
So, am I worried? Well, just a little. As I have always said, we are Americans and we always figure it out. Our system, while not perfect, is so magnificent that it allows us to do so and, eventually, the best and the brightest lead the way. In the short term however, I am a little nervous.
What does all this mean to the stock market and your investments? As you know, the stock market is one part fundamentals and many parts psychology. It is now looking forward to that time when real growth resumes. Will prices hold until then, or are they like that cartoon character who runs off a cliff but remains in midair until he looks down and realizes there is nothing holding him up? We may take a bit of a fall along the way, but just like that cartoon character, we will be able to jump right up, brush ourselves off and resume our journey.
What we cannot do is wait on the sidelines for the inevitable drop because it is never inevitable. What we must do is be prepared for whatever happens. Keeping our money at work for when the market is with us and keeping our heads AND sufficient reserves, when it isn't. When the market tosses us around, it rarely does so in a coordinated fashion, so the strategy of rebalancing can add even more value. If I have the privilege and responsibility of managing your money, that is exactly what we are doing together.
Please enjoy the cool fresh autumn air (or the warm breezes for those who have journeyed south) and have a wonderful Thanksgiving with those you love.

I hope you like the new format and this feature, "The Intelligent Decision". If you haven't done so already, please add my email address - Robert@TheIntelligentDecision.com - to your email address book. That will assure that my words get to YOU, not your "spam" filter!
Email or call me at any time: 212-315-0345