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The Friday Brief

Where Do We Go From Here?

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With summertime upon us, complete with tropical storm Cindy soaking the South, and nearly half of 2017 in the books, this might be a good time to review the progress and condition of the capital markets. While forecasting the direction of the markets is not one of our value-adds, better understanding what could be ahead encourages us to keep our ‘financial umbrellas’ at the ready. Stock investors remain confident that President Trump and the Republican-majority Congress will improve US economic growth by fixing health care, lowering taxes on corporations and small businesses, and increasing military and infrastructure-spending, despite their plodding

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Financial Wisdom

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This week I’ve been cleaning out my desk as I prepare for our move to our new offices on Glenwood Avenue. While organizing, I discovered that I have a paper copy of every single tax return I’ve filed since 1994. The financial nerd in me has thoroughly enjoyed reviewing copies of my old Schedule D tax forms. Schedule D is the form where you report all your capital gains, err losses, to the IRS. Having copies of mine has given me the gift of being able to reflect on almost all the investment decisions I’ve made over the years –

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Imagine

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This weekend my wife and I will be keeping three of our grandchildren and I can’t wait. The twins are 6 and the youngest, 3. We’ve been thinking all week about the fun things we will do together. This morning, while pondering today’s Brief, I was reminded of one of the great joys of being with children; which is their boundless capacity for imagination. It is nothing short of amazing how freely and effortlessly they enter into a world that we adults have sadly  ‘grown’ out of along the way. But if we are willing, our children and grandchildren can happily lead

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What a 90-Year-Old House Can Teach Planners

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Just three weeks away from moving into our new office here in Raleigh, we’ve learned a lot of lessons about planning in a very hands-on sort of way. The hand-drawn timeline that we started with (thanks to our wonderful general contractor) appears almost laughable in hindsight, and yet if we hadn’t begun there, it’s likely that we would be three months away from move-in rather than three weeks.

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The Unexpected

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We plan for the expected, but the unexpected so easily and so often wrecks our plans. It’s why most folks don’t plan. They view it as a futile exercise in an increasingly complex and chaotic world. Increasing uncertainty doesn’t render planning any less useful than seat belts and airbags are in a crash. Not knowing what to expect in the future screams for the preparedness of planning.

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Buying Happiness, Part 3: Prepay for it!

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I have a distinct memory from my childhood of visiting the back of the Wal-Mart in Abderdeen, NC with my mom. We walked past the toys, and the electronics, and the clothes, and all the rest, and headed to the Layaway counter. I had a fuzzy idea of what was going on, namely that we couldn’t yet afford the item we were purchasing (I called her yesterday to try and nail down what it was—we think it was a stereo), but that after a certain number of visits to the Layaway counter in the back of the Wal-Mart, the treasured

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Buying Happiness, Part 2: Money Is Time!

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In the 1985 comedy film Brewster’s Millions Monty Brewster (Richard Prior) discovers that his deceased great uncle, Rupert Horn, has left him his entire fortune but with several conditions. Brewster can either take $1 million up front, or spend $30 million within 30 days to inherit $300 million. But, if he chooses the latter, after 30 days, he may not own any assets that are not already his, and he must get value for the services of anyone he hires. He may donate only 5% to charity and lose 5% by gambling, and he may not waste the money by

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Confessions of a Former Active Manager

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Just yesterday, following a conversation with a client, I experienced an all too familiar tug, not unlike the one an alcoholic might feel at a cocktail party, when the smell of alcohol is rich in the air and that drink is but an order away. During our conversation I learned that Amazon AMZN was now up 21% for the year so far. The broad stock market is up 5.7% by comparison

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Big News….We’re Moving!

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We’ve got some big news to share with everyone… We’re moving! Stay tuned over the next couple of months as we share photos and videos of the progress on our new digs at 1633 Glenwood Ave. We are renovating a circa-1930 home across from the Rialto Theatre and among a number of other great neighbors (like Hayes Barton Cafe) in the historic Hayes-Barton Neighborhood. We’re really excited about the possibilities of this space and what it will mean for our clients. Head over to our Facebook page to see a video tour of the downstairs, and let us know what

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