All Posts By

Sam Bass Jr.

Physical Distancing, Not Social Distancing

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

The US economy is in peril and this time it’s Main Street in trouble, more than Wall Street. The largest economy in the world is shutting down with increasing speed as federal and state officials issue new guidelines and requirements on individuals and businesses to curb the spread of this menacing virus. To avoid a deep and long-lasting recession, Washington has to get this right, and so do we. The usual Federal Reserve tools and tax cuts for stimulating the economy simply are not going to work to help those most impacted. This time it’s not a top-down problem like

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Beacon Flash: Are We OK?

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

Times are scary. Virus numbers are growing, countries are closing their entire borders and ordering their citizens to stay in their homes, and uncertainty over how long it will last and how bad it will be for economies prevails. Yesterday’s shock to stocks was caused by the outbreak of an oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, sending crude prices down 24%. The S&P fell 7.6% bringing the total decline to 18.8% since the market’s latest peak on February 19th.  Why would cheaper oil be a bad thing for the economy? The answer is one of degree. Our country’s

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Maybe You Will Downsize

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

Last week, Ryan did a great job in his Brief titled Your Home is Not an Investment (You Probably Won’t Downsize), explaining how a home is a lifestyle or ‘use’ investment, behaving differently than stocks, bonds or other impersonal investments that produce income or can be easily sold to fund goals.  Ryan’s Brief was aimed at readers considering the purchase of a larger home; to inform a wiser and more practical financial decision. This week’s Brief is for our readers who have spent many years in larger homes and are considering the merits of downsizing. My wife, Sharon and I

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High Returns Don't Guarantee Wealth

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

Stock market returns last year as measured by the S&P 500 were a remarkable 31.5%. Gains this large are tempting. But return percentages can be misleading for several important reasons: Returns don’t necessarily correlate with improving wealth, returns come at a cost, and whole portfolio returns are generally lower than the reported market returns for very good reasons. A common mistake investors make is to assume that higher returns generate greater wealth. This assumption is correct when a single investment is made at a point in time and left completely alone for a period of time. But most people either

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The Best and the Worst of Times

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments
The decade of the teens has been one of the most remarkable in US history in terms of contrasts. Charles Dickens, in his Tale of Two Cities describes it remarkably well: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before
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Arm Yourself for Cyber Monday

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

First, we want to wish you and all yours, a Happy and safe  Thanksgiving. We are so thankful for you. As we prepare our homes and tables for one of our country’s favorite holidays, an industry of marketers and algorithm-developers is busily preparing its websites to entice, urge, cajole, and maybe even mislead us into buying goods we otherwise might not.  Your best defense against this adversary is knowledge. Today’s Brief is aimed at arming you with defenses against the all-too-common practices of manipulation that are arrayed against you every time you sign onto an e-commerce site, from the best

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Please Welcome Liz Glenn

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

We are thrilled to introduce you to Liz Glenn, our new Client Services Specialist at Beacon Wealthcare. Some of you have already met or spoken to Liz and agree that she is an excellent addition to our team. If you have not had the pleasure, we look forward to introducing you to her at our Fall Celebration coming up on November 7th. Liz is here to meet your account requirements efficiently and correctly and is working with us to continually improve your experience at Beacon. Please feel free to share with her your thoughts and ideas for ways we can

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Populism is Tough on Markets

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

Just a few years ago, before the populist revolution in our country, the ‘sausage-workings’ of government were largely carried out behind heavy gilded doors by professional politicians, appointees and bureaucrats. Every two, four, and six years we judged their finished products in terms how much better or worse off we were. We mostly left them alone in the interim to do their thing behind those closed doors. Then every election cycle, depending on the job they did, we either voted them another round, or we sent them packing. But in late 2016, with the dawn of a new era of

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The Inverted Yield Curve

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

So what exactly is an inverted yield curve and does it really matter? Historically, when long-term interest rates fall below short term rates, more often than not, recessions ensue. However, more recently the results have been mixed. Back in February of 2005 Allen Greenspan, then Fed Chair, debunked the theory that an inverted yield curve signaled an economic slowdown, calling it a “misconception.”  He said, “the quality of that signal has been declining in the last decade, in fact, quite measurably.”  The thinking is that when interest rates, ten years or longer fall, investors believe the long-term economic outlook is

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Debt Presumes on the Future

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

One thing that gaggle in Congress can agree on is spending billions of our hard-earned dollars, while turning a blind eye toward the futures of our children and grandchildren. Yesterday, the House voted to raise the federal debt and spending limits to allow them to spend 1,000,000,000,000 (a trillion) dollars more than they collect for each of the next two years. Our founding fathers are spinning in their graves as fast as the National Debt Clock. To raise a trillion dollars, without interest, they would have to set aside $1.58 MILLION A DAY for 243 YEARS! The men who risked

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