Saturday, November 1, 2008

Thanks Grandma!

Reagan would like to thank her Grandma for her new, snugly, elephant fleece made just for her. It is so soft and warm... and just in time for the election. As you may guess from Reagan's names, I swing right and tend to be conservative.

Maybe one of these days the Republicans will actually have a candidate that acts conservative. I am against big government. I do not like government run programs like Social Security. I do not like our complicated tax system. I am for freedom and free enterprise.

Maybe the Libertarian party will eventually take the place of Republicans. I like the idea of the Fair Tax and so do many Libertarians. But like the Republican party even the Libertarian party is afraid to take a definite stand for it. Its annoying to me that the conservative political parties seem so wishy washy about taking a stand for something that effects us daily (like taxes). Yet will take a firm stand on an issue like abortion..... something most people probably don't even think about unless the car in front of you has a bumper sticker about it. I would suspect half of the folks that consider themselves conservative would also consider themselves pro-choice.

Freedom is really important to me. I do not want the government to tell me how many dogs I can have or which breeds. I do not want the government to take away my friend's right to occasionally breed a high quality litter of puppies. But it is happening everyday across this country. Bit by bit, rules are made, laws are passed, and our freedom is squeezed a little more.

In Georgia, we are very lucky to have the Georgia Canine Coalition on our side. They act as a watch dog for dog owners and fight laws that infringe on your right to own and enjoy dogs in the state of Georgia. I urge you to join if you live in Georgia. Membership is just $15 a year and it helps to pay for a lobbyist who works on behalf of Georgia dog lovers. The GCC is one of the most successful clubs of its kind in the US.

I try not to take for granted that I get to participate in "silly games" like dog agility. There is probably a small percentage of people in the world that get to have the kind of luxuries that we in the U.S. have. Even when times are tough, at least in my little world, the shopping centers are still full, everyone is still driving around, and the biggest complaints I am hearing are "I'm having to bring my lunch instead of eating out everyday." and "We are taking less vacations this year." Not my idea of a hardship. I don't doubt that there are people truly going through tough times right now. The economy goes through cycles and we are definitely on a down cycle. I suspect lots of people are still living beyond their means. Hopefully this is a wake up call. As a financial planner, I feel blessed that people need me through all cycles, so my job remains very steady.

And what about this stock market? All you need is a little cash and courage to benefit from this huge downturn. Being diversified has not protected portfolios this time. Everything has been hammered. At this point you could pretty much throw a dart at investments and pick anything. If you like stocks, buy good companies. Right now high quality companies are under priced and on sale. Don't buy companies that struggled during the good times as well as the bad. Sometimes I hear "it can't go any lower". Well, yes it can. The stock price can go to zero if you pick a company that goes belly up. If you prefer something that doesn't require much thought, just buy an S&P 500 Index Fund.

For those of you saving to retirement plans and are a good 10 or more years away from retiring, smile and be glad you are getting such a deal on investments. Bump up the savings if you can and take advantage of the big stock market sale. Like every other time in history... the stock market has always recovered.