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So why is debt such at bad thing? Why all of a sudden is it bringing people and countries to their knees? It's not new, in fact it's been with us as long as money has. Debt can be a really great tool that allows us to buy more of a thing or to buy that thing much sooner than we could with only our cash. And there are some things we might not be able to buy at all without debt, like houses, roads, or college.

We are extremely pleased to announce that Geoff Hall has joined our Beacon team as a wealth advisor. He comes to us from Commonwealth Financial Group. With sixteen years’ experience in the financial services industry as a Certified Financial Planner®  Geoff knew exactly what he was looking for in a Wealth Advisory firm. He talked to a dozen firms in the area; eight of them in depth before telling us emphatically that Beacon met or exceeded all of his client-focused criteria.

Jesus Christ was crucified, died, and was buried on the Friday which preceded the original Easter. Why is a day that marks Jesus’ horrible suffering and death on a cross called "good?" 

You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own and you know what you know And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.

Dr. Seuss

Anyone who can grasp the concept of a future understands the power of goal-setting and planning. We and no one else are responsible for our own lives, yet we spend so little if any of our time directing our lives, with or for any great purpose.

What comes to mind when you hear the word confidence? You might think about the assurance of your own ability to accomplish a task or to succeed in some endeavor, great or small. You might also consider it as faith in somebody else; that they will do right or act in a trustworthy manner. Confidence in this light can also be associated with things that act in a predictable or reliable manner. It can mean a secret shared and it can describe the relationship of trust that exists to make sharing the secret possible.

The week’s economic numbers continued their trend toward improvement with manufacturing store sales, consumer confidence, and jobs growth all moving ahead. Even Greece looks to end the week on a strong note as arm-twisting forced enough bondholders to swallow losses of more than 100 billion euros ($132 billion) and allow the beleaguered country to move forward with its next phase of debt re-structuring.

It is now two and a half years since the Great Recession officially ended. The 18-month downturn was the longest and most severe since World War II according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private, nonprofit research group which officially calls the beginning and ends of recessions. But things are getting better you say. Why bring up the ugly past? Some economic data have indeed shown improvements, particularly of late. Manufacturing has been a steady stalwart of the recovery. Exports have been generally strong for months, while the much touted automobile industry has made a ‘remarkable’ turnaround domestically. GM regained the lead over Toyota for goodness sake.

Last week in Measuring Uncertainty I focused on the pitfalls of using performance alone to measure progress toward reaching your financial goals. It’s only natural to use returns because they are the universal language of the financial services industry. And if the language of the industry is returns, then the methodology for producing them is active management; where managers make specific investments with a primary goal of outperforming an investment benchmark index. But with return alone as your guide, you are left to wonder just how effectively your managers are improving your situation relative to your goals, how are they managing your wealth?