Thursday, January 28, 2010

Twitter Thursday

It's Thursday...time to follow me on Twitter! You can keep up with my tweets @scottjwheeler, or for those of you not yet on Twitter, go to and set up your free account. How will the markets do today? Will Apple stock take off after their big release of the new iPad yesterday, or will investors wait to see if it's a dud like the Power Mac G4 Cube, or just not hit expectations like the MacBook Air. At any rate, Steve Jobs certainly has credibility with the success of the iPhone and iPod so only time will tell, and we're assuming not many people will actually bet against him.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mutual Fund Monday

After last week's stock selloff, how are investors doing? Is it time to get out of the market again? Time to throw more money in? Mutual Fund investors participate in the market indirectly depending on what kind of a fund they own. Stock funds are professionally managed portfolios run by investment teams that try to beat a stock market benchmark like the S&P 500 index. An actively managed fund will try to add value to an investor's portfolio by successfully outperforming the indexes with the right mix of buys and sells. Some do have a higher turnover rate than others which can account for the differences in expense ratios. A long lasting debate is whether actively managed funds can beat the indexes over time, to make up for their higher costs, especially for funds that charge sales loads or commissions when sold through brokers. Index fund advocates say it can't be done, but active management proponents beg to differ. What is your preference? Do you own mutual funds? If so, which ones and why?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Twitter Thursday

I posted my 900th tweet today, not that I'm counting. Actually, Twitter tells me how many tweets I have posted all the time. You can "follow me" on Twitter @scottjwheeler. If you don't know what that means or if you don't have a Twitter account, go to: and sign up.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Like a lot of people, I have the day off today. Today is a holiday to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr's life and accomplishments. Hard to believe he did so much for the civil rights movement in his short life of 39 years. Hard to believe it has been over 40 years since his death. Hard to believe their is still much prejudice in this world. Do you see a person or the color of their skin? Do you see a people or a race? How will you spend the day today? Reflecting on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. or going to a sale at a furniture store? Hard to believe. Hard to believe.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pain at the pump?

It's been a long time since gasoline prices have averaged over $3 per gallon in the US, but that trend could be ending soon. This week gas is averaging about $2.74 per gallon which is about $1 per gallon higher than it was a year ago. Traditionally, gas prices are lowest in the winter months as demand is lower, but the price of oil has more than doubled since December of 2008. So with the spring and summer high demand months ahead of us, we may be looking at gas prices around $3.25 or more in the next 6 months. So what's an investor to do? You can't change the price you pay at the pumps, but you can participate in the price appreciation in your portfolio. Buy shares of major oil companies like Exxon-Mobil (XOM) or British Petroleum (BP). Not only do you have a good chance to make money on the stock, they both pay nice dividends as well, especially BP. For those who might like a more diversified approach, you can try a few of these ETF's: DBO, USO, and UGA. Like anything else, don't take my word for it, do your homework and decide if it makes sense in your portfolio. Talk to your financial advisor and come up with a strategy that works for your goals and objectives. Just remember, you can work the other side of the fence and soften the blow of higher gas prices!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Climate Change

In a world where we must constantly keep making sure that we do not offend anyone, someone decided that we must now call Global Warming, Climate Change. Now, I'm not sure who exactly would be offended by the term, global warming, but I hope that anyone who did feels better now that everyone must now say, climate change. Since I have not really wanted to make my blog a political forum, my take on climate change is this: the climate is always changing where I live in the Midwest (Missouri to be exact). We have four seasons which sometimes seem to last longer than necessary. Winter is a prime example of a season that can last too long. As I get older I understand more and more why my dad complained about the winter. Now don't get me wrong, I love snow and especially snow skiing, but when the temperatures drop below 20 degrees, it's just too cold for me. And as a motorcycle owner, any temperature below 40 degrees makes it too uncomfortable to ride and enjoy the open roads and fresh air. So as my Harley sits in the garage waiting for spring to come, or at least some unseasonably warm temperatures in the winter (hey, who would complain about that?), I will begin to count down the days until spring makes it's entrance. Let's hope that Punxsutawney Phil does not see his shadow!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snow day?

Unless you are a teacher or a student, a snow "storm" that produces only about 3 inches of snow does not mean that your place of business will close for the day. Although state troopers and the department of transportation encourages everyone to stay home and travel only when necessary, most people do have to get out and brave the roads to get to work. In St. Louis, a snow event that predicted 3-6 inches of snow, gave us the minimum in the part of town where I live. Road crews seem to be focusing on the interstates and highways for the most part, so the side roads, as usual, are predictably snow packed and slick, according to the morning TV reporters covering the "event". So it looks like I will soon get out and experience the elements and road conditions for myself as I head for my office. While it's nice that the TV and radio folks "warn" people about the coming snow storms, they seem to just help the local grocery and hardware stores sell food and snow shovels. One question: what happened to everyone's snow shovels from last year?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

State of the Blog

I started this blog in November of 2008. Not knowing what to call it, I decided upon "Thoughts from Scott" to allow myself the freedom to talk about any subject I wanted. I began writing about politics, then current events mixed with family life, and finally money and financial topics. As a financial advisor, I guess it was only natural that I landed on this topic. I see a lot of mistakes people make with their portfolios when they come in to transfer their account to me. I also read a lot of articles on investing that shows how little financial reporters know about investing. I like to point out the problems with these views and suggest other strategies to consider for the average investor. While I will continue doing this as long as it interests me, I have also thought about starting new topics of discussion. As a motorcycle owner, I have considered motorcycle riding and/or ownership as one new idea, or going back to more random discussion of current events and strange news articles that catches my eye. If you have some other ideas for me to write about, please comment with your thoughts. For now, I will continue to ponder the future direction of this blog. All I know is, it's cold outside!