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Dick Cheney Shot Me in the Face Released Today!

Hey Bizzy Lifers –

My new book, Dick Cheney Shot Me in the Face – And Other Tales of Men in Pain – has just been released.  I will begin a book tour this weekend, and am heading to the following cities:

  1. Portland, OR
  2. Missoula, MT
  3. Billings, MT
  4. New York City
  5. Boston
  6. San Francisco
  7. Santa Barbara
  8. Los Angeles

You can find more info at www.timothyolearylit.com – or head to Amazon and buy a book!

https://www.amazon.com/Dick-Cheney-Shot-Me-Face/dp/0998087203/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487218685&sr=1-1&keywords=dick+cheney+shot+me+in+the+face

 

 

 

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Posted in Livin' Large

How To Protect Yourself Online

If you’re like me, the vast majority of your financial assets reside in cyber-space with only a login ID and password protecting your accounts. While many financial intuitions provide some sort of guarantee, a hack will nonetheless create a major headache. Perhaps even more problematic is someone stealing your identity and opening new accounts and credit cards under your name.

While no security system is 100% foolproof, there are several things you can do to reduce the risk of identity theft or fraud. First make sure your login ID and passwords use a complex series of letters, numbers and special characters and that you change them at least twice a year. Next, never and I repeat never, log onto your financial accounts using public Wi-Fi like at airports, libraries, Starbucks, etc. as they are not secure and hackers can steal your credentials.

To further protect your account, adopt a “two-factor authorization” process. The most common way is to download an app on your phone that sends a random code that you add to your login password. Thus, for someone to access your account they would need your phone (which hopefully you have password protected) as well as all your other account information. It is a very simple added level of protection. Ask your banker or broker for details.

To reduce the likelihood of identity theft you should adopt a “credit freeze” at the three major credit agencies. A credit freeze stops anyone who stole your ID from adding new credit to your account and running up large balances in your name. Anyone who has experienced this knows all too well how difficult it if to correct the damage that was done. To do this contact the agencies and request a freeze on your account. You can temporarily thaw the freeze by contacting the agencies with security codes assigned to you should you need to open a new account or add a credit line or a loan. The cost is approximately $10 per account and you need to do it for both you and your spouse. This is a great web site explaining how:  http://www.clark.com/credit-freeze-and-thaw-guide.

I recommend you periodically request a credit report on yourself and look to consolidate your financial accounts and credit cards as the more you have, the higher the risk of fraud. Make sure you review your accounts regularly and balance your checkbook each month. The guarantees offered by financial institutions require you to report a fraud in a timely matter so it is incumbent on you to be pro-active.

 

Ray Link recently retired as CFO of FEI Company and currently serves on the board of directors of three high-tech companies. He is a CPA and holds an MBA from the Wharton School.

 

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Posted in Investing

Baker’s Dozen Return for 2016

Now that the books are closed for 2016, time to check in to see how my Baker’s Dozen performed. After a blistering first six months, the returns leveled off with losses in the third quarter followed by gains in November and December. For the full year, the portfolio returned a very respectable 19.7% including dividends.  No stock posted a loss and 3 posted returns over 30%. This trounced both the S&P 500 which returned 11.9% with dividends and the Nasdaq composite which returned 7.5% for the year.

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As we launch into 2017 I suggest you read my blog on investing in a Trump world

Ray Link recently retired as CFO of FEI Company and currently serves on the board of directors of three high-tech companies. He is a CPA and holds an MBA from the Wharton School.

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Posted in Investing

Investing With A Trump Administration

Whenever there’s change in administration and policy, there’s opportunity in the financial markets, regardless of how one feels about the outcome. While we have seen a big run-up in all the major indices since the election, there may be some sectors worth considering.

For starters, it is likely that we will see corporate tax reform allowing U.S.-based companies to repatriate foreign cash for investment or dividend distributions without a huge tax bite. At the top of my investing list are those with a stockpile of foreign cash like Apple, Coke, Cisco, General Electric and Qualcomm.

Next, I am optimistic we will see some growth but growth brings inflation so the Federal Reserve is likely to increase interest rates. I am not too alarmed and think the increases will be small and gradual. However, that does mean bonds in the near term could be under pressure so I‘m avoiding longer-term bonds (maturity of over 5 years) and bond funds. In addition, stocks with a price earnings ratio of over 25 could see some pressure on valuations. However, we could see a nice uptick in small / mid-cap growth companies, especially those with a solid business model and a track record of profits. A few examples in the tech sector are Garmin, Seagate, Qorvo, FLIR and Maxim. I would also consider investing in the small cap index via the Russell ETF “IWM”.

Once the Fed does a few rounds of rate increases, it may be time to reconsider bonds.  I like U.S. Govt, agency and corporate bonds rated A or better with a maturity of no more than 10 years. I buy the actual bonds (not bond funds) and generally hold them to maturity.

We will likely see some pull-back on regulations, especially for banks, energy companies and health care. But I believe a lot of the gains we saw in the days since the election were in these sectors so I don’t recommend investing there now.

I remain of fan of larger cap, market leading, big dividend stocks. I am a “buy and hold” guy and less concerned with the daily fluctuations and more about long-term staying power and cash returns. Some of these companies include 3M, Johnson and Johnson, Clorox, Emerson Electric and Met Life.

I currently own shares in all the stocks noted above, but before you buy, please discuss your situation with your financial and tax advisors to see what is appropriate for you.

 

Ray Link recently retired as CFO of FEI Company and currently serves on the board of directors of three high-tech companies. He is a CPA and holds an MBA from the Wharton School.

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Posted in Investing

Time To Change The Electoral College

For the second time in just 16 years the winner of the electoral college did not win the popular vote, causing tumult across America. True, the campaigns may have been run differently if the popular vote was the determinant, and Trump may have won in the end. But the country just opted for change, so what better time to update our process to elect the President than now?

The Electoral College was adopted in 1787 as a compromise to balance power between large and small states, and to give greater power to the “well-informed” elite. With the advent of 24-hour cable, the internet, social media, and a literacy rate of nearly 100%, it’s clearly time to move on and return the power to the people directly. It’s ridiculous and theoretically possible to elect a President with fewer than 30% of the popular vote, and the “loser” getting 70%, because the “winner” got 270 electoral votes.  There is also no requirement for the electors to vote the candidate they were elected to support, so the outcome is in the hands of 538 party insiders.  Because so few states are “in-play” the candidates essentially ignore large states like California, Texas and New York and concentrate on tiny areas of swing voters.

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is an agreement among participating states to cast all their electoral votes for a candidate once that candidate wins the popular vote, regardless of the results within their state. However, it still retains some of the mechanism of the electoral college. It has been adopted by 10 states plus D.C. and will only come into play if enough states enter the compact and have a total of 270 electoral votes among them.

Whether we go the NPVIC route or amend the constitution, I can’t fathom how anyone would disagree with “most votes wins,” as this is how we elect over 100,000 political offices in every other election in America. The Senate, with each state regardless of size getting two representatives, is the balancing mechanism in place for small states to have more say in government.  We don’t need another.

Let’s act now, otherwise we will never fix this antiquated system.

 

Ray Link is a retired CFO of FEI Company and currently serves on the board of directors of three high-tech companies. He is a CPA and holds an MBA from the Wharton School and is a lifelong registered Republican

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Posted in Politics