Retirement Planning Advice and Financial Related Education by Barry Unterbrink, Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Friday, June 08, 2018

May's Markets Review - Two New Programs to Consider

May’s financial performance in the markets was good to great, overall.

Stocks rose 1.5% to 5% depending on the index measured. Big stocks rose the least; the Dow and S&P 500 tallied +1.4% to +2.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite ran ahead over 5%. The chief reason: Big technology names such as Facebook, Netflix, and Apple all shot ahead between 11%-14% in May, thus supercharging the NASDAQ index.

Bonds did well too, as interest rates fell back from their highs (falling rates means higher bond prices).

5 year Treasury Notes ended May with a 2.66% yield, while the 10 year was 2.82% and the long 30-year Bond paid 2.99%. For uninvested cash, we recommend a couple short/intermediate term bond ETF’s that earn 3% to near 4% interest.

Our favored commodity, Gold pulled back about 1-1/2 percent, as the yellow metal declined $14 to $1,297 per ounce. Gold is even for this year thus far.

If you’ve been a reader here for a while, you will know that I do not recommend individual stocks. We use groups of stocks, called Exchange-Traded Funds (ETF’s) which cover a broad sector of the U.S. stock market.

Technology, Financials, Energy – are examples of these ETF’s. There are 10 in total. We rotate these sectors according to their performance each month. Technology and Energy are owned for June. We feel this is a safer way to manage money, as there is less single-issue risk. Why not use mutual funds, you may ask? Good point, but mutual funds are very actively managed – and that comes at a price – in trading costs and operating expenses that are deducted from your fund values. Mutual Fund fees may average near 1%-1.2% per year, vs. the ETF fees of 1/5% to ½% per year. ETF’s are the new mutual fund for many cost conscious investor now-a-days.

We recommend that you continue to have a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, and some Gold. And, consider some safe (no loss) savings instruments also such as fixed annuities and CD’s. Rates are rising here too; a plus for older savings-oriented folks.

2 New Strategies Offered this Summer

I have been researching and kicking the tires - with some professional financial firms during the past few months - that offer exceptional strategies that may greatly interest you and your money. Next month, I will get an invitation out to you on more details and how you can participate via my on-line webinar on this.

The first program is a system to pay down your debts much faster that you are now, using the same spending you are using now. Credit card, student loans, mortgage, etc. Paying down debt quicker frees up cash flow for more options with your money – agreed? And gets you on the road to asset accumulation / savings much faster too.

The second program is very unique – and involves using your qualified retirement money, IRA’s, 401k, etc. and – with the I.R.S. blessing – restructuring your money so that it falls outside the normal distribution and investment limitation rules of your current plan. It’s a bit complex, and requires qualifications from you the investor. Stay tuned for more information, or e-mail me and I will make sure you get advance notice.

Have a nice and safe weekend!
~Barry Unterbrink
 954.719.1151 w
 954.560.3622 m

Monday, March 26, 2018

Stock Market Falls Hard Again; How to React

The stock market’s fall last Thursday and Friday totaling 1,100 points on the Dow Jones raised a few eyebrows – for the second time this year.

The early February cliff-dive from the then-highs was met with a quick rebound in prices. In two weeks, the market gained back 2/3rd of the decline from the low of February 8th. Financial and Technology stocks – leaders for quite some time now, fell faster in price those two days. They both fell Friday 2-1/2 to 3%.

Will this latest fall of about 7% in the Dow Jones act as a floor or a celling? Or perhaps the start of another round of selling to lower prices?

We advocate watching your investments while you discuss them with your financial advisor. What is your plan for selling if (when) prices continue falling?
We recommend, as I have said in this space before – to watch your allocations: how much you have invested in stocks, bonds, and alternative investments - and make adjustments in necessary to keep them in line with your risk tollerance. Less stock usually = less risk. More bonds and gold mean less risk and volatility of falling portfolio values. In the late January / early February turn down, an equal mix (1/3rd ,1/3rd ,1/3rd ) of stocks, bonds, and gold – fell 3% overall vs. a 9% decline in stocks only. That’s diversification!

Interestingly, besides gold acting as a hedge against falling stock prices; it has returned some nice numbers on its own. It has averaged a +8% gain each year since late, 2004 (see gold investment recommendation below). Not too shabby, eh?

We don’t forecast of this and that happening in the markets. But we do look at trends and get ready for what ‘could’ happen to affect our client’s investments, so we’re ready in advance.

Our thoughts on Gold

Gold had a very good week – most of it capped off by Friday’s $17 gain to close at $1,347 per ounce. For the week, gold gained $37 or +2.8%. Not many stock-watchers probably know that. The financial media TV station, CNBC was asleep at the switch also. The reporters and guests on the Closing Bell - Friday’s wrap up of the days trading, offered little insight and ideas into where to shield your money from falling stock prices. Not one comment was made on Gold, even as the price was blinking with green arrows on the bottom of their quote feed. Unbelievable!

They must want you to think – and believe – that stocks, and stock-like investments (mutual funds and exchange-traded funds) are the only game in town. And that you are too dumb to look elsewhere for investments that can aid your money in a stock market downturn.

If you wish to get some exposure to the shiny metal, as our client's do - we recommend using the SPDR gold exchange-traded fund. The symbol is GLD.  It trades like a stock, and holds exclusively gold bars in their London vaults – 27 million ounces of gold. You own a fraction of that gold, and the share price you pay reflects the daily trading price of the gold bullion on the world markets.

For more information on this, please visit their web site at:

For more information on my services, please contact me.
Thanks for reading. 

~Barry Unterbrink
(954) 719 1151


Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Third Quarter Tally Impressive for Stocks, Bonds, Gold

The third quarter turned in some decent results, in light of the historically weak seasonal period most years. We saw disparity in the market sector performance - that it - there was a wide range between the highest and lowest performing stock sectors.

Technology came out on top, with a gain of 8%, Financials, +4.7%, and Healthcare, +3%. Utilities, Communications gained about 3% each. Industrials, Energy up near 6% each, and Consumer Discretionary and Consumer Staples lagged; +1% and down 1%. There are 10 Sectors to the market: 5 beat the market itself, and 5 did not.

For the three months, we held the same two sectors - Technology and HealthCare. This improved our client results, as the “market” was up near 4% on the S&P 500 for the quarter. Combined with our holdings of bonds and gold, that was a winning combination with less risk than holding an all-stock portfolio. Gold rose $70 an ounce, or 3%.

So, for the quarter: Technology sector ETF, +8%
                               HealthCare sector ETF, +2.8%
                               S&P 500 (the market), up +3.9%
                               Gold, up +3.1%
                               Bonds, even to +1%

Remember that these sectors of the market are not stocks, they are Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’s) that hold many stocks but trade as a single security. We use these for most client portfolios to reduce individual stock risks. We also use bond ETF’s when clients desire monthly income.

The two other ‘core’ stock-based ETF holdings we use returned 2% and 4% for the quarter (clients: you will see any new selections for October by week’s end in your accounts).

As we all get older (don’t remind me), we are less comfortable to accept the risks of the markets; losing principal namely. We aim to generate performance that is diversified and pretty darn safe in bad bear markets. 

With stocks up about 15% through nine months this year, we’re pleased to show gains of +9% to +12% depending upon the client objective and mix of stocks / bonds / gold we recommend. Call me to see how we may help you.

In early August, it occured to me: I've been in the financial services business for 35 years! In 1982, I joined my father's investment firm after spending a year or so after college at Manufacturer's Hanover Bank in Durham, North Carolina. I wish to thank immensely my father Larry for his guidance and teaching me this business through the ups and downs.

He is still quite active on the job most days as Research Director - and we spend time every week discussing strategy, odds, and ideas that make sense for our clients and family investments.

With 78 years of experience between us - we've seen it all (or close to it all).

Thanks for reading.