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Berkshire Trip 2018

Alex Morris, CFA, MBA
Research Analyst
alex@tfginvest.com
In early May, I attended the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. The event, dubbed “Woodstock for Capitalists,” attracted more than 40,000 attendees from around the world.
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Keeping Our Eyes on Access to Capital

Joel Goodman, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
joel@tfginvest.com
 
Scott McGhie, CFA, CPA
Director of Research & Portfolio Management scott@tfginvest.com  
Alex Morris, CFA, MBA
Research Analyst
alex@tfginvest.com
 
Jared Hammers, CFA
Research Analyst
jared@tfginvest.com
  In 2007, you could count the number of companies with a “AAA” credit rating on two hands. General Electric (GE) was among that select group. But decisions made by management over the preceding 10-15 years eventually led GE to lose that top credit rating in 2009 – and seriously tested the company’s financial stability. Consider, for example, the growth of the company’s finance division, GE Capital, which was created in the early 1930’s to facilitate customer purchases in the industrial business. Over time, the focus of GE Capital shifted from industrial purchases into the financing of other assets, including subprime mortgages, auto loans, and credit-card debt. GE capitalized on its “AAA” credit rating, raising billions and billions of dollars of low cost debt. By 2007, GE Capital was big enough to qualify as one of the largest banks in the country and accounted for the majority of GE’s profits.
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Indentity Theft

Brendan Flaherty
Director of Operations
brendan@tfginvest.com
Most people have been, or know someone who has been, affected by identity theft. It happens to those in their 20’s, those in their 90’s, and to all ages in between. According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft occurs when someone uses personally identifying information (PII) without permission to commit fraud or other crimes. How criminals obtain or use your data varies from incident to incident. Cyber-attacks against firms like Yahoo! and Equifax have exposed sensitive client account information ranging from social security numbers to email login credentials. The Equifax incident alone exposed PII of nearly half of the United States population.
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An Antidote to Volatility

Julia Butler, CFP®, JD, MBA
Director of 401(k) Advisory and Financial Planning Services
julia@tfginvest.com
“Antidote”: Something that works against an unwanted condition to make it better.
Investors might agree that market volatility is an unwanted (though unavoidable) condition. What works against it to make it better? The antidote is choosing—and sticking with—a strategic asset allocation target that meets your return objectives while respecting both your financial capacity to deal with, and psychological tolerance for, market volatility.
I’m going to show how this works, but first, let’s lay the foundation.
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Notes from the Investment Team

By Joel Goodman, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
Scott McGhie, CFA, CPA
Director of Research & Portfolio Management
Alex Morris, CFA, MBA
Research Analyst
Jared Hammers, CFA
Research Analyst

2017 was another banner year for investors. The total return (inclusive of dividends) for the S&P 500 was a gain of 22%. There were not any meaningful hiccups along the way; as shown in the chart below, the index posted positive returns in every single month of 2017. International stocks fared even better, with a total return for the MSCI All Country World Ex-U.S. index of 27%.

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Estate Planning For Life!

Julia Butler, CFP®, JD, MBA
Chief Operating & Compliance Officer Director of 401(k) Advisory & Financial Planning Services

Estate planning is really "transfer planning." It is an ongoing exercise of planning how you accumulate, conserve, and distribute your assets during life, at death, and beyond. There are both financial and non-financial reasons to plan.

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Investment Approach Revisited

By Joel Goodman, CFA Chief Investment Officer
Scott McGhie, CFA, CPA Director of Research & Portfolio Management Alex Morris, CFA, MBA Research Analyst

The S&P 500 continued its march higher in the third quarter and has now increased by 14% (including dividends) in 2017.  International markets have reported even better results, with the MSCI World index (ex-U.S.) climbing 21% over the same period.

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