Monday, May 28, 2012

On this Memorial Day...

...As we remember the memory of those who have paid the ultimate price so that we can experience the freedoms we enjoy today, the team here at Laser Financial Group, would like to THANK our fallen heroes, as well as, all retired and active service members (and their families). We can never repay you for your selflessness and dedication....thank you, thank you,THANK YOU!

May God bless you and the United States of America.
Samuel and the team at LaserFG

Monday, May 21, 2012

Putting “Long Term” Under the Common-Sense Microscope

Putting “Long Term” Under the Common-Sense Microscope

We hear it preached all the time in the investing world: if you want to be successful (and retire rich), you must take a “long term” view of the stock market. In other words, insofar as you invest in the market for a long term, you’ll do great.

Quick question: Do you buy that? I don’t! Of course, I’ll explain my contention.

Meet Senior and Junior

Senior has been investing in the stock market for the past 35 years and has accumulated $500,000. Junior, on the other hand, started out 3 years ago and has just $15,000 in his account. I think we’d both agree that Senior definitely qualifies as a long-term investor, but Junior doesn’t pass that test, right? Good!

Now, all things being equal, let’s say their investment increases this year by 10 percent. Senior would gain $50,000 (10 percent on his $500,000), ending up with $550,000. Junior’s investment would increase by the same 10 percent (note the key word same), earning him $1,500 on his beginning $15,000, for an ending balance of $16,500.

Since the stock market sometimes dips, let’s say the following year it loses 10 percent. Don’t panic! It’s just an example to drive home a critical point. Junior would lose 10 percent of his $16,500 which is $1,650, so he’d end up with a new balance $14,850. But how about Senior? How much would he lose? He’s been investing for the “long term,” so did he lose anything? Of course he did. And how much was his loss, compared to Junior’s?

Yes, this is pretty basic stuff (or shall we say it should be?), but bear with me for a moment as I drive home a valuable lesson.

The indisputable fact is that Senior’s account would experience the exact same 10 percent decline, regardless of his 35+ years in the market. Here’s how his numbers look: Losing 10 percent of $550,000, or $55,000, would whittle his balance down to $495,000.

It’s now pretty obvious that both Junior and Senior gained – and lost – the same percentages. However, in absolute dollar terms, Senior lost $53,350 more than Junior ($55,000 versus $1,650). Who do you suspect would feel more anxious about their retirement? Senior, the long-termer? You see, this concept is not specific to this example – that’s how variable investing works, period!

I have a rather simple request for those investing experts who believe strongly that investing for the long term is the key to a successful retirement: please define for us, once and for all, when exactly this so-called long term is. I’d like to know, as I think a lot of other folks would, too. I’m confused because it’s all over the map – depending on what’s happening in the market and who you’re talking to, the definition keeps changing.

I bet you’d tell Junior to think about the long term, like say 10 or more years. As for Senior, you’re probably more likely meaning 40 or more years, right? But what about those folks who’ve been investing for that long already? Gee, things are getting pretty tight here, right?

My dear, hard-working retirement investor, something tells me that investing your nest egg in the stock market is just plain risky – no amount of time will ever change the rule: it sometimes goes up and sometimes dips. And something also tells me that may not be the best approach at ensuring you’re going to have a secure retirement.
Contact a professional at Laser Financial Group TODAY to set up your complimentary, no-obligation consultation and discover ways to make sure you're protected from the only sure thing we know about the stock market: its unpredictability! 877.656.9111 or

Monday, May 14, 2012

Why Stock Diversification Should Scare the Heck Out of You

Why Stock Diversification Should Scare the Heck Out of You
One of the most popular pieces of conventional retirement planning advice is to make sure your portfolio is properly diversified, with the right mix of stocks and mutual funds because, in the long run, that’s what will give you the retirement lifestyle you desire. I say that’s pure baloney.
Variable investments will forever remain variable, no matter how many of them you lump together. To think that by purchasing bits and pieces of stocks you’re somehow eliminating market risk is simply laughable. Sure, diversification may reduce your market risk, but it will never, ever eliminate it.
Veteran trader, renowned risk expert, and New York Times best-selling author Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book Fooled by Randomness echoed the famous quip about Shakespeare, that if you set an infinite number of monkeys in front of an infinite number of typewriters, one of them would produce an exact version of Homer’s Iliad (notice the key word here is infinite). However, Taleb added, “Now that we have found that hero among monkeys, would any reader invest his life’s savings on a bet that the monkey would write the Odyssey next?”
What I find amusing is that with all the exotic, fancy computer models and “expert market predictors” to date (you know, those folks who know exactly where the market is headed?), no one has yet been able to help any investor that I know of come up with that killer diversified stock portfolio that has escaped fairly regular beatings from the market. That’s why I wholeheartedly agree with the assertion of Burton Malkiel, a Princeton University economist, that “a blindfolded chimpanzee throwing darts at the Wall Street Journal can select a portfolio that performs as well as those managed by the experts.”
In case you haven’t noticed, every time the market plummets and investors who thought they were properly “diversified” lose significant portions of their nest eggs, these so-called experts – the very ones who came up with the “diversified portfolios” these investors were using – cite “improper diversification” as the reason their clients lost money. So would our esteemed experts kindly tell us, once and for all, what that magic mix is, instead of always playing Monday morning quarterback?
Oh, wait. They can’t. Folks, these experts don’t have crystal balls; they’re just like us, with no idea how the market will shift next until it happens. I guess what I’m trying to say is that this hindsight business isn’t working!
Here’s what I can tell you after nearly two decades of working with lots of successfully retired clients from all across America: since its origins, the stock market has been a pure gamble. But hey, it’s your money and your retirement, so you’re free to invest it whichever way you want to. All the best!
Contact a professional at Laser Financial Group TODAY to set up your complimentary, no-obligation consultation and discover ways to make sure you're protected from the only sure thing we know about the stock market: its unpredictability! 877.656.9111 or

Monday, May 7, 2012

Are You Following "everybody else" Off a Retirement Cliff?

Are you following "everybody else" off a retirement cliff?

But I thought it was the best thing for me
because everyone around me was doing it.
Ever say (or think) something like that when you finally discovered that a product or a strategy you’d bought into wasn’t exactly as you expected?
By virtue of my practice – between the public speaking and private consultations – I interact with a fairly large number of people, most of whom are either very close to retirement age or already retired, and I tend to hear statements like the one above quite frequently from those who’ve been duped and/or disappointed by their retirement plan choices. 
It’s just human nature to feel comfortable when something we are considering is already being adopted or used by lots of people around us – which is not necessarily a bad thing, by the way. However, when it comes to your retirement money, you’re more likely to end up regretting going along with the majority. I understand that this may be a somewhat contrarian view, but I’m speaking from the real-life experiences of people just like you who I continue to meet almost daily!
If you’re interpreting this to mean that a strategy that seems to be working well for your neighbor or coworker might end up screwing up your entire retirement, then you definitely got my point. You’re not those other people, are you? I believe one of the main reasons every statistic today points to the sad reality that the overwhelming majority of Americans (a recent survey by the National Institute on Retirement Security has the figure at 84 percent) are in a bad shape retirement-wise is because “everybody” seems to be following “everybody else.” The problem is that they follow without even knowing exactly why.   
On the other hand, the “minority” who apparently are NOT doing what seems to be “popular” are ending up achieving the goal of comfortable, stress-free retirements. So, my dear retirement investor, maybe you should start entertaining the concept that being “financially UN-popular” is not such a bad idea after all.
I look forward to seeing you on the good side of the retirement spectrum!
Contact a professional at Laser Financial Group TODAY to set up your complimentary, no-obligation consultation and discover the easiest way to make sure you're not following the crowd right off a cliff when it comes to your retirement savings. 877.656.9111 or