Archive for February, 2012

At the top of every organization chart lies a myth…this week on Your Financial Editor.

Friday, February 17th, 2012

The reality of the “senior management” in a lot of organizations is that critical decisions are typically made by the boss and a small group of confidants—a “team with no name”—outside of formal processes. Meanwhile, other members of the management team wonder why they weren’t in the room or even consulted ahead of time. The dysfunction that results from this gap between myth and reality has led to years of unproductive team building exercises.  Join me this week, and my guest will that the problems of many big corporations are ones of process and structure, not psychology.

Tune in this Saturday morning at 8am on AM 930 WFMD, or listen from your pc by logging onto WFMD’s website and click the listen live button.

About this week’s guest:

Bob Frisch

Managing Partner Strategic Offsites Group Author

Bob Frisch Bob Frisch, the managing partner of the Strategic Offsites Group, is the author of three Harvard Business Review articles: “Off-Sites That Work,” “When Teams Can’t Decide,” and “Who Really Makes the Big Decisions in Your Company.” His first book, Who’s In the Room? How Great Leaders Structure and Manage the Teams Around Them was recently published by Jossey-Bass/Wiley.

Tai Chi vs. Other Exercises for Parkinson Disease

Friday, February 10th, 2012

This is  a very interesting article I recently came across.

Women and Retirement

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Last week on “Your Financial Editor”, I covered some of the pitfalls women face with their retirement planning.  It’s apparent that menand women have some very similar circumstances, both “pre” and “post” retirement date.  However, some of the issues that women face, if not taken into consideration and planned for properly, could wreak havoc on their golden years.

The Urban Institute is a think tank organization in Washington D.C. and I recently read their latest report about retirement issues for Baby Boomers and found it to be very interesting and informative.  The issue talked about:

  • Boomer women have worked more than ever before, boosting family incomes and retirement wealth.
  • The shift from pensions paying regular retirement income for life to 401(k) plans subject to market volatility adds uncertainty to Boomer’s retirement income.
  • 30 t0 40 percent of the youngest Boomers will replace 75 percent of earnings received in their early fifties, making it difficult to maintain pre-retirement living standards.

I hope you find time to peruse the report.  I continually find it amazing to see how much health, wealth and family are intertwined with our clients’ retirement planning and wealth planning.

Current Law vs. Alternative Fiscal Scenario???

Friday, February 10th, 2012

I’m a member of the National Economists Club , and Dr. Douglas Elmendorf, Director of the Congressional Budget Office attended our meeting this week.  I found this very interesting considering the former Budget Director of the CBO, Peter Orszag, attended a meeting of our NYABE club in Manhattan last year. 

It’s amazing to hear how differently things are presented from a current cabinet member of the administration than from a former cabinet member.  Dr. Orszag (now Vice Chair of Global Banking at Citigroup), was much more relaxed and frank. 

That was not quite the case for Dr. Elmendorf this week.  The Director was kind enough to walk us through about 17 slides of the past, current and future budget and economic data.  However, when it was all said and done, one theme (or disclaimer) dominated the hour long discussion; The differences between baseline projections (based on current law), and the alternative forecast were at times like night and day.  It’s almost like looking at things how they really are (baseline), and what you hope they turn out to be.

Of course, most of that divide lies (no pun intended)with politicians.  Let’s face it, if discretionary spending is not brought under control, we’re going to spend ourselves into chaos.

Some other comments by Director Elmendorf that caught my attention included: “We are only halfway through the downturn, we haven’t had such a high unemployment rate for so long since the Depression, economic recovery is quite weak and will continue to be so, and America’s problems can be solved if lawmakers take drastic action”.

No disrespect intended, and I mean that, but how ’bout we start with paring down the Congressional Budget Office that has 250 government employees, and a $45,000,000.00 annual budget!

That’s right, not a one time payment of $45,000,000.00…but every year!!!

Why We Need The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth – this week on Your Financial Editor.

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

The noise from both Washington and the media is deafening, the deeds of our lawmakers alarming. America needs a break from the posturing and the politicking. We need information: how we got here and where we are headed. My guest this week,Catherine Crier, one of the most respected figures in television journalism, presents an incisive, unbiased analysis of America’s political crisis.  Join me this week, and she’ll deliver a message we cannot afford to ignore.

Join me this Saturday morning at 8am on AM 930 WFMD, or listen from your pc by logging onto WFMD’s website and click the listen live button.

About this week’s guest:

An Emmy and duPont-Columbia Award-winning journalist, and the youngest state judge to ever be elected in Texas, Catherine Crier is now a managing partner in Cajole Entertainment developing television, film and documentary projects.

Crier, a native of Dallas, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and international affairs from the University of Texas and received a Juris Doctor in two and a half years from Southern Methodist University School of Law. She began her career in law in 1978 as an Assistant District Attorney then Felony Chief Prosecutor for the Dallas County District Attorney’s office. From 1982 to 1984, Crier was a civil litigation attorney with Riddle & Brown, handling complex business and corporate matters. In 1984, she was elected to the 162nd District Court in Dallas County, Texas as a State District Judge. During her tenure on the bench, Crier also served as Administrative Judge for the Civil District Courts and worked extensively with the ABA, National Judicial College, and Texas Legislature on legal issues. Shortly after her reelection (unopposed) to a second term on the bench, a chance meeting with a television news executive led to a dramatic career change.

In September, 1989, Crier was hired to co-anchor the premiere evening newscast on CNN. Additionally, she co-anchored Inside Politics, all election coverage, and hosted Crier & Company, a talk show covering news, politics and international issues.

Crier joined ABC News in 1993, where she served as a correspondent and as a regular substitute anchor for Peter Jennings on ABC’s World News Tonight, as well as a substitute host for Ted Koppel’s Nightline. She also worked as a correspondent on 20/20, the network’s primetime news magazine program. Crier was awarded a 1996 Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for her work on the segment “The Predators” which examined nursing home abuses throughout the United States.

In October of ’96, Crier became one of the founding television anchors for the Fox News Channel, with her prime time program, The Crier Report, a live, hour-long nightly show, during which she interviewed the leading newsmakers of the day.  Additionally, she co-anchored the evening news, election coverage and Fox Files, a magazine news show aired on the parent network.

Catherine joined Court TV’s distinguished team of anchors in November 1999.  She served as Executive Editor, Legal News Specials, in addition to hosting Catherine Crier Live, a fast-paced, live daily series, covering the day’s “front-page” stories, until joining Cajole Entertainment in 2007.

Crier released her first book, the NYTimes bestseller, The Case Against Lawyers in October, 2002.  Her second book, A Deadly Game: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation became a #1 NYTimes bestseller and was followed by Contempt—How the Right is Wronging American Justice, and Final Analysis:  The Untold Story of the Susan Polk Murder Case.  Her fifth book, Patriot Acts—What Americans Must Do to Save the Republic, is scheduled for publication on November 1, 2011.

The Starving Artist

Friday, February 3rd, 2012
The announcement this week that Facebook is going to become a publicly traded company has brought to light some interesting stories. You have the normal “spotlight”attention on the owner, which in this case is a 27 year-old named Mark Zuckerberg who will be worth $28 billion, give or take. Sure that will make him one of the richest people in the United States, heck the world for that matter.

But what about David Choe? Have you ever heard that name? He’s a graffiti artist. A guy who has had run-ins with the law and other rough spots during his life. So how did this particular artist accomplish all of his financial planning,”investment planning, wealth planning, legacy planning and philanthropy in one fell swope? Dumb luck, tha’s how. In 2005 Mr. Choe  was asked by the President of Facebook to paint murals on the walls of the company’s offices. Choe was given a choice 1. Take thousands of dollars in cash or 2. Take some stock of the privately held company. Well, he took the stock (even though he thought what the company did was “ridiculous and pointless”).

David Choe working on one of his murals

So, when Facebook goes public this spring, David Choe’s stock is estimated to be worth $200,000,000. That’s right, two-hundred-million-dollars!

Gaffiti painting….might not be such an eye-sore after all.