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Mr. Bernanke and his Federal Open Market Committee surprised markets this week by declining to begin tapering their monthly purchases of $45 billion in US Treasuries and $40 billion in mortgage bonds. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said markets shouldn’t have been surprised by the decision because the FOMC members have repeatedly said the decision to slow, or taper, would be “data dependent.” A nearly 1.5% jump in stocks on top of the no-go Syria rally of nearly 5% definitely implies surprise.

Rapidly rising stock markets are the most challenging times for financial advisors who truly care about their client's long-term well being. This latest market rally is no different  as it has prompted a number of calls from clients asking if they should be more aggressively invested to avoid missing out on the rally. Frankly, I’ve always suspected that my answer fell short of satisfying them. Now I know why.

Talk of tapering the Fed's $85 billion monthly purchase of bonds and saber rattling over the claimed use of chemical weapons on civilians by Syria's government put a damper on stocks in August and risks worsening our struggling economy.

When we shop for a bottle of wine on our own we invariably look to price and shelf location for guidance. Similarly when judging mutual funds for our 401K's on our own, our only guides are return and how they are presented by the fund providers. Return serves as a shortcut grading system of how the fund has fared over the market's recent past.

Welcome to the Beacon Weekend Reader: Our weekly compilation of interesting articles and videos designed to keep you informed and engaged in the areas of economics, personal finance and life. We hope you enjoy this week's edition. Please send us your thoughts on this week's articles and suggestions for future posts.  Have a great weekend.

About this time each summer it's fun to take a break from the humdrum of economics and investment practices to slow down and remember a simpler time. Travel with me to a place that no longer exists and perhaps never will again, except in the memories of a blessed few. The wonderful thing about growing up at Cape Lookout was

It's that time again.  Time for the Beacon Weekend Reader: Our weekly compilation of interesting articles and videos designed to keep you informed and engaged in the areas of economics, personal finance and life. We hope you enjoy this week's edition. Please send us your thoughts on this week's articles and suggestions for future posts.

You've no doubt heard the quote attributed to Albert Einstein: "Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it ... he who doesn't ... pays it." You understand that time can be your greatest ally or your greatest enemy depending on how much or how little you have to save. Finally, you've heard that younger people can be more aggressive than older ones when investing in stocks because they have more time to recover from setbacks incurred during significant market downturns. Today we'll share some fascinating aspects of compounding that will surprise and perhaps frighten you.

Welcome to this week's edition of the Beacon Weekend Reader.  This week's installment includes some great articles on personal finance including one must read.* Please send us your thoughts on this week's articles and suggestions for future posts.  Have a great weekend!