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Latest UBS Reports on Gold & Palladium.

Written by Maksim. Posted in Economic

UBS just released reports with their outlook for Gold and Palladium. They expect further downsides over the next three months, in large part due to weakening economy in China as well as likelihood of Fed Rate Hikes. Initial targets are $1,100 for Gold and $600 for Palladium per oz.

UBS Gold Report

UBS Palladium Report

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Sustainability Investing – The next step in the evolution of (SRI) Socially Responsible Investing

Written by Maksim. Posted in Uncategorized

A number of years ago there was an initial movement towards Socially Responsible Investing.  During the run up prior to 2008, and in the years after, some of the best performers were investments that some people would not ordinarily may not want to support, such as alcohol, tobacco, firearms or gambling companies.  In light of this, you had sponsors putting together offerings that focused on companies that fit the SRI mold.  Furthermore, yo had a number of funds that aimed to comply with various religious tenants in a number of faith based funds. Unfortunately, many of these funds underperformed versus their unconstrained peers.

Over the last few years, in in the last 2 in particular, we had a new take on this theme with the introduction of “Sustainability Investing.”  While there is no one single definition, most of the sponsors who offer products in this space define it around 3 pillars, environmental, social and corporate governance and responsibility.

Touchstone Investments describes it as follows:

…evaluation of a company’s sustainability practices which considers and analyzes the potential environmental, social and governance impacts and risks of a company, how well the company manages these impacts and risks, and ascertains the company’s willingness and ability to take a leadership position in implementing best practices.

Based on the above criteria, sustainability themed investments will tend to be your larger, well capitalized firms.

From the few funds that we do have, on the whole, you can expect to get market performance with about the same volatility.  Generally the funds we have looked at are better performers than purely SRI driven investments, and should be an option to look into if SRI is a part of your investment policy.

3.5 Ways to Save Without Giving up Anything.

Written by Maksim. Posted in Economic, Financial Planning

Two economic indicators were released today, personal incomes and personal spending.  We learned that consumer incomes were up slightly, however consumers were not spending that extra money, even with lower energy prices.  Unfortunately, while putting away more money is great news for individuals, it is bad news for the economy, considering that the large portion of our GDP is based on consumer spending.

Since Maks Financial Services’ responsibility is to you individually , and not the economy as a whole, here are 3.5 more ways of saving money, without actually cutting things back.

What do credit cards have to do with a cash reserve strategy?

Written by Maksim. Posted in Economic, Financial Planning

As a financial planner,  I am frequently asked about credit cards, and what someone should do with credit cards that they no longer use.  After running across this topic on a credit card forum, I decided it was time for a post.

People will debate about the reasons to keep credit cards open, including using them for emergency spending, instead of or in cases of no emergency funds as part of a holistic cash reserve strategy.  Credits cards are not emergency funds. 100% correct.  However credit cards MAY be the solution for the large part of America that does not have enough in savings.  Let’s examine how credit cards and other credit products may fit as part of a holistic cash reserve strategy.