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Our CEO and Founder, Stephen Butler, writes columns and articles on the subject of retirement planning and investing.  His columns are syndicated in most of the San Francisco Bay Area newspapers.  Subject matter includes basic investment concepts and how they should be applied in the context of current financial and world events.  Over the past 16 years, more than 800 of his weekly columns have generated a loyal following among Northern California readers who benefit from his objective, insightful advice --- a counterpoint to the flood of self-serving advertising from the financial services industry.


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What’s Best? Listen to Experts or Update Your Appetite for Risk
Jan. 24, 2020


What’s Best? Listen to Experts or Update Your Appetite for Risk

Twenty Basic Concepts Create Successful Investment Results
Dec. 2, 2019

Use these investment guidelines to help prepare for your retirement:

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  1. Identifying the time-frame of financial goals as either long or short-term is the first step in achieving success as an investor. Since stock market cycles tend to extend for four to seven years, a short-term goal like a house down payment or early retirement may be coming too soon to outlast a temporary market decline.
Retirement Income’s Simple Solution
Nov. 19, 2019


Retirement Income’s Simple Solution

Living With the Self-Inflicted Turbulence
Oct. 10, 2019

With the trade war soon escalating to include a total of $520 billion worth of Chinese products, it is impossible to know where this will end.  So many moving parts and potential for unintended consequences.  Wilbur Ross, our Commerce Secretary, earlier said as much when he confronted a group of Congressmen from the farm belt whose were largely corn and soybean farmers who are losing  their farms.  Secretary Ross said, “We can’t anticipate how the Chinese will respond to our tariffs.”

With Market Near a Record, Bond Funds Deserve a Look
May. 22, 2019

A few weeks ago, the U.S. stock market hit an all-time high which marked a quick recovery from the correction we experienced at the end of last year.  So now what do we do?  Those bulging quarterly statements are burning holes in our pockets.  Enough of us were around to experience what happened at the end of the 90’s and again in 2007 when the market was exhibiting similar levels of hubris.  The value of recognizing yet another high-water mark is that it should prompt some reflection on our current good fortune.

Our Country Viewed from Afar
Jan. 4, 2019

A recent trip to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos left me in awe of the stunning display of economic progress in that part of the world.  Driving in to Ho Chi Min City from the airport offered a testimonial to the success they are achieving as they move toward a free-market economy.  A string of automobile dealerships included those of Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, Jaguar, BMW, Mercedes --- and a complement of other major brands.  Our guide pointed out that changes happened overnight in 1995 when President Clinton lifted the sanctions that had persisted for the tw

Tech and small cap funds were ‘too hot not to cool down’
Oct. 22, 2018

Cole Porter’s “Just One of Those Things” describes market performance in recent weeks with lyrics such as, “If we’d thought a bit about the end of it, when we started painting the town, we’d have been aware that our love affair, was too hot not to cool down…”  which brings us to a collection of tech funds and small cap funds that gained from 25 to 35 percent over the past 12 months — until last week. Too hot not to cool down, in other words.

Youth Crusade Promises to be a Powerful Force for Change
Oct. 16, 2018

Back in early 2013, I wrote a column about gun-related health care costs for which society gets stuck with the bill.

Avoid being poor, strive to be rich in single retirement account
Oct. 1, 2018

The famous dialogue between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Earnest Hemingway is subject to much nitpicking as to who said what, but supposedly Scott said, “the rich are different from us…” and Hemingway replied “Yes. They have money.”  So to paraphrase, we might say, “those with more than an adequate sized retirement account are different. They have money.”

Is the punchbowl half empty or half full?
Sep. 17, 2018

I don’t know about you, but I tend to worry about things that probably wouldn’t faze the average person.  Worrying is a habit that I’ve had for as long as I can remember, but the practice, for the most part, has worked.  Nothing catastrophic has happened.  So how does someone with this mindset come to terms with a 9½-year stock market expansion marking the longest in history. With market cycles typically lasting from four to seven years, I could have started worrying about five years ago — and for sure starting two years ago.