Growing up on Gelston Avenue

Growing up on Brooklyn’s Gelston Avenue, we learned a thing or two about values, like loyalty and responsibility. Under the watchful eyes of our immigrant grandmas, we enjoyed the kind of come-home-when-the-streetlights-come-on freedom that led to all-day street stickball games and adventures in the park. When we made friends, we kept them. That’s what I love about my brother Ronnie and my friendship with the Sahadi brothers. Bobby and Charlie Sahadi developed the same work hard/play hard ethic their great uncle Abrahim Sahadi, and their father Wade Sahadi had when they first opened the now-famous Sahadi’s, a specialty foods store. We all learned from our grandparents, most of whom came from another country and made it through some really hard times. They stressed that success was always possible with a lot of work, and that education was essential. Charlie and Bobby grew up and took over Sahadi’s, and built it into a major on-line and brick and mortar business. But, they never forgot their friends and, when Ronnie needed a job, Charlie hired him. Later, Ronnie became a Lutheran pastor and established a thriving ministry in Seattle, but he never lost touch with his Brooklyn friends. I’m happy to say my friendship with the Sahadi family continues today. Even though I’ve built my own business here in Wisconsin, where I’ve lived for most of my adult life, I can taste a hummus, or an imported olive from Sahadis and it takes me right back to Brooklyn. I think of another native New Yorker, Paul Simon, and his beautiful song “Old Friends” when I think about my childhood growing up in Brooklyn. Time it was And what a time it was It was . . . A time of innocence A time of confidences This year, I plan to include a few treats from Sahadi’s in my Easter celebration. As we celebrate the new life we enjoy through Jesus’ resurrection, I… | Read More »

A toast to women in an industry that could use a few more

As we celebrated International Women’s Day this week, I took some time to reflect on my own experiences as a female in the workplace. In some ways, not much has changed since I first earned my license back in 1981. The wealth management industry is still heavily male-dominated and it’s a little puzzling to me why this trend continues. I have always been a working woman, since my early days in New York when I earned college money by working as a teller at J.P. Morgan Trust Company. I believe women are well suited for careers in finance, especially in the financial planning industry. Most of the situations I counsel clients through, I’ve already experienced myself. I’ve been a working mother and a proud member of the sandwich generation. I’ve taken care of my mother, tended my marriage, and willed myself through devastating loss, when my husband died ten years ago. I’ve seen my employees, many of whom are females, juggling full lives outside the office even as they dedicate themselves to the task at hand. I admire the way they’re raising their children and dealing with issues of marriage, health and family. It’s not easy, but these challenges make us stronger both as advisors and as human beings. The key to this industry isn’t spreadsheets or software. It’s empathy and I’m so proud to say I see that every day in my office. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the women in my life – my Russian grandmother, my feisty mother, my daughter Tanya, my lifelong friends, and the dozen wonderful women who join me in working for Winch Financial. It’s nice to have a day to celebrate international women, but it’s even nicer to recognize their value all year long.

We Are Problem Solvers: Matt Weyers and the search for liquidty

In addition to educating our clients and helping them realize their retirement goals, we work hard to solve their problems. In the next few weeks, we’re going to highlight that aspect of our job. Our first featured problem solver is insurance specialist Matt Weyers. Matt, who is also a registered investment advisor representative, spends most of his time helping clients solve the growing problem of potentially outliving their money. He develops client-specific strategies based on risk tolerance, income level, age and retirement goals. He also takes advantage of the company’s independence to analyze products and policies. Because Winch Financial is not affiliated with a specific broker/dealer or insurance company, Matt is able to access a wide variety of options for clients and he also can provide an unbiased analysis. Recently, a client came to Matt with an annuity he had just purchased from an outside insurance agent. The client asked Matt to analyze the annuity to make sure it was the right product for him, Matt asked about goals and the man said he wanted easy access to his money. Knowing that annuities are notoriously illiquid, Matt noted that the client would only be able to withdraw 10 percent of his money a year without penalty, and would have to wait until the second year to even do that. Fortunately, the annuity’s grace period had not expired and Matt was able to extract a full refund for the client. Working together, they then reinvested the money in more liquid assets to allow him the access he wanted in the first place. In another instance, a client who had filled out his group health benefits packet incorrectly came to Matt to see what he could do. The client inadvertently checked the wrong box, which left his wife without coverage. The company’s HR department would not allow him to add her because the open enrollment period had passed. Matt was able to… | Read More »

How tactical investing can maximize a bull market

Yesterday’s record setting performance in the stock markets provided a prime example of how tactical investing can be used to capitalize on market momentum. When the Dow Jones Industrial Average surpassed the 21,000 mark for the first time ever, we reaped the benefit. The S&P 500 was up 1.37% for the day. Approximately 80 – 90 percent of our client’s assets remain invested in global stocks with specific concentration in the US stock market.  (A typical allocation within our industry is 50% stocks, 40% bonds and 10% cash).  We have maintained a very bullish stance towards stocks since early fall and this positioning has benefited client accounts. In anticipation of President Trump’s first address to the joint sessions of Congress, in which he vowed to increase infrastructure spending, we positioned our accounts to be overweight stocks that would benefit specifically from this pledge, including those related to building and maintaining new roads, bridges, railways and highways. We reasoned that, after years of only monetary stimulus, the markets would be positively encouraged by the Trump Administration’s plan for a large fiscal stimulus plan. President Trump also discussed the de-regulation process already in play, which had a very positive impact on the Financial Sector. Also boosting this sector were increased expectations of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike due to favorable economic data, and positive takeaways on economic growth.  We have been overweight financial stocks since the beginning of November and we continue to benefit from this positioning. In addition to the President’s speech, the markets rose on positive economic news from three fronts: China’s manufacturing PMI came in higher than expected European markets closed up significantly, helped by some strong company earnings and economic data The majority of yesterday morning’s earnings reports were positive Energy stocks also got a boost from a very bullish analyst meeting held by Exxon Mobil, whose outlook for the energy industry and, specifically, shale oil assets… | Read More »