Powerball: To Play or Not to Play

FullSizeRenderSubmitted by George Taylor

Ok, I understand the odds. If you don’t play, you can’t win. If you play, you probably won’t win. For the 5th time in my life, I bought a lottery ticket. About as many cavities as I have had.

I felt very stupid as I have little experience in playing the lottery.  I headed to my dear friend Peter Aziz’s gas station to buy the tickets where I learned that one ticket was $2. The staff was helpful in explaining how this particular game worked. I was told you could buy a multiplier but it doesn’t increase your chances of winning or make the jackpot bigger. Being a former math major, I calculated the odds were in my favor by buying one ticket. By buying one ticket,my odds went from 0 to something like 1 in 292 million. Much better odds!!!!

I have made plans of what I am going to do with the money. Being a financial advisor, I will set up trusts for my kids, make some cool investments, take care of debts, etc. I don’t think I will retire but I will take some cool vacations. I’ll also invest in some of many investments I have access too.

Since I am planner I have to think about what happens if I don’t win. My backup plan is to find the lucky person(s) who did win and convince them that we should be their advisors. Then I would make the recommendations that I have been trained to do as a Sudden Money advisor by the amazing Susan Bradley. Don’t make any big moves while you develop your strategy. Set up a GST trust to hold the money, probably coupled with an LLC. Don’t promise everyone who comes out of the woodwork claiming that they need help or want to borrow a couple thousand dollars or has a great investment idea. Take some time and make careful planned out decisions. Decide who you are going to take care of and who you are not.

Now if I don’t find that person or they don’t find me, I will leave my dreams and go back to my current reality. Just hope that person finds the right advisor so their life does not spin out of control.

I guess that I will go back to figuring out how big of a problem China is in the current market…

Gilead Watch

photo credit: Pills via photopin (license)
photo credit: Pills via photopin (license)


As we watch the unfolding earnings season, we are anxiously awaiting Gilead (GILD) to report later this month.

The biotech giant has underperformed the Biotech indices thus far this year, but we are encouraged by analysts expectations. Citigroup analysts Yaron Werber and Kumaraguru Raja indicate that the company’s Hep C sales are tracking ahead of schedule for 1Q2015 and they have issued a buy rating with a $120 price target.

We are curious to see how the accounting will be done for discounts on Hep C drugs, this seems to be a point of contention among analysts.

Consensus has Gilead earning $2.16 a share for the quarter with total revenue of $7.9 Billion.

Apple Watch

photo credit: mac via photopin (license)
photo credit: mac via photopin (license)


All eyes were on Apple yesterday.  CEO Tim Cook announced details of the first “Apple Watch” release.

The watch, which tethers to your iPhone, is set to price around $349 for entry level and we have read up to $10,000 for a fancy gold version.  The question that we all have?  Is Apple going to transform (or, really, define) the wearable computing market?  Samsung, Apple’s nemesis, has watches on the market, as do other smartphone makers, but no one has yet to definitively set the standard for this market.

Alas, Apple has an opportunity to make us all think we all need one. The current “smart watch” market is around 4.6 million sold in 2014. Projections for Apple alone are around 10 to 30 million this year.

We are excited to hear about the new watch and see how the market reacts.

An Apple a Day

photo credit: Iphone 4 via photopin (license)

photo credit: Iphone 4 via photopin (license)


The big headline “APPLE GRABS 93% of the Handset Industry’s Profit” was somewhat of a surprise. You would expect them to get the majority of the profits, but 93% is, again, staggering.

Last quarter (Q42014), Apple brought in $18 billion in earnings, so we knew they would have the lion’s share, but what happened to Samsung? It looks like the race for smartphone dominance is all but won.

We continue to own Apple and are excited to see what comes next. The buzz is Tim Cook wants to give Elon Musk a run for his money.

Gilead Beats 4Q, but suffers…for now

photo credit: Prescription Prices Ver5 via photopin (license)
photo credit: Prescription Prices Ver5 via photopin (license)


Gilead surprised us. A Dividend. $2.43 a share earnings on $6.67 billion revenue. Net sales between $26-$27 billion. And a $15 billion share repurchase program.

All of this is good news.

But, they also announced that they were severely discounting Harvoni, their miraculous Hep C drug, by as much as 50%.

Although it is a pricey, but effective drug, we remain positive that this discount will open up more doors. Making it cheaper and more available, we feel, will make it accessible to more people.

Interest Rate Outlook for 2015

photo credit: bhautikjoshi via photopin cc
photo credit: bhautikjoshi via photopin cc


We get two big questions every year: 1) What do you think the market is going to do? 2) What are interest rates going to do?

One is easier to predict than the other. Long term, both go up from here. Though historically, rates had been falling for 30 years and can only go up and the market goes down for short periods but has always recovered.

Back to question #2. What are interest rates going to do? Kathy Jones, a fixed income specialist at Charles Schwab, sees rocky times ahead in the fixed income markets. Tighter fed policy implies that real and inflation-adjusted rates will rise.

“The liquidity party of the last 6 years appears to be coming to an end.”

Give us a call to discuss how this might impact your planning.

Tax 529 plans? Hold on there Mr. President

photo credit: Tax Credits via photopin cc
photo credit: Tax Credits via photopin cc


When the idea of taxing 529 College Saving Plans came up, we collectively thought, “So soon?” It was just a matter of time before someone looked at that pot of gold and decided to raid it.

Our second thought? “It will never happen.”

The idea of offering college free to everyone is noble, but it is not free. Someone has to pay for it. Fortunately, it won’t be taxes on 529 plans that funds free college for the masses.

It seems both parties asked the President to back off of this intent. (Congress never would have passed it anyhow. Can you imagine?)

What’s next? ROTH Ira’s?


Oil Still?

photo credit: Chris_J via photopin cc
photo credit: Chris_J via photopin cc


As you know, the price of gas has declined. As we said before, it could be a mid East conspiracy to put U.S. shale frackers out of business or it could be that supply is just high and demand is low. Both are bad really.

OPEC is not going to intervene it seems.

Under $50 a barrel now, the energy companies are looking for a little stability. The swift movements are particularly hurting smaller oil producing countries and is forcing oil companies to slash budgets.

Our take? Oil will rebound eventually.

Is this a Bear, a correction or what?

photo credit: ota_photos via photopin cc
photo credit: ota_photos via photopin cc


What. Probably.

This article gives a great insight to technical analysis and what a correction is.

We have called this rally, the one that started February 2009, the “Most Hated Bull Market in History.” With perspective (Go look at a 10 year chart of SPY), you will see the latest pullback is, at this point, a healthy pullback. (It just can’t go up every day!)

Technology Predictions

photo credit: Twechie via photopin cc
photo credit: Twechie via photopin cc


Our company relies heavily on technology. As an Investment Advisor, trading is a pretty big deal. What used to take us 6 hours to do, now takes 15 minutes. We are always looking for new and cutting edge ways to improve our efficiencies and delivery.

This  article highlights some technology predictions for the coming year. Take a look and see what you think. How will technology advances impact you in your business?