Spring 2024 Newsletter


Last year, we held our first baseball client appreciation event with the Pulaski River Turtles, and were thrilled and surprised with the huge interest and turnout of over 200 of our clients with their guests. This year, we’ve reserved three nights for baseball, to better spread demand out and make sure everyone gets a chance to attend. Like last year, there’ll be complimentary food and beverages for everyone attending.

We will be sending out more details about how to register soon including the registration open date, but if you’re wanting to look at your calendars, we will have tickets available for the following dates: Friday, June 7th at 7pm, Friday, July 12th at 7pm, and Saturday, July 20th at 7pm. Look for details to come through a flyer in the mail and on our Facebook page!

Stay informed about this and future client appreciation events by visiting our Facebook page, which you can follow by scanning the QR code at the bottom of this page. This is a great way of making sure future newsletters or client event invitations do not get lost in the mail!


 20231Q 2024
International Stocks (EAFE)+18.85%   +5.9%
Gold (GLD)+12.7%+7.6%
US Stocks (S&P 500)+26.3%+10.5%
Bonds (AGG)+5.5%-0.7%
Real Estate (VNQ)+11.8%-1.3%
Cash (Money Market)+5.1%+1.3%

Stocks got off to a fast start in the first three months of the year, with the S&P 500 gaining 10%. Growth in the stock market during the quarter was not from an increase in earnings of companies, but in the price multiples of stocks: in other words, the price increase of stocks during the first quarter was not a result of companies making more money, but just people being willing to pay more for the companies making the same amount of profit.

Valuations on large cap growth companies – those driving the returns so far this year – currently sit around 140% of their historical valuation levels. This gives us quite a bit of concern for what could be coming for the remainder of the year, although valuations for many other asset classes, including small/mid-size companies and international stocks are not at the same frothy levels.

In our January newsletter, we listed some potential events that could roil markets this year, and one of those was a return to inflation and higher interest rates, which, as of the end of the year, had been trending lower. During the first few months of the year, inflation numbers have crept back up, and interest rates with them. This helps returns on short duration investments like CDs and money markets, and hurts returns on longer duration investments like long term bonds and real estate.


An experienced 60-year old paralegal in Southern California acting on behalf of a law firm, a retired U.S. Federal Judge, and PhD-holding professor in Northern Ireland, Barbara Streisand. What do these individuals all have in common? They were all individuals who were targeted and successfully victimized by scammers.

The FTC reported that consumers lost over 8.8 billion dollars to scams in 2022, nearly a 30% rise from the 2021 number. Scammers work to prey upon the emotions, good nature, and vulnerability of individuals and their nefarious methods have only become more sophisticated and refined as time has gone on.

While classic scams like the Nigerian Prince E-mail (usually rife with spelling and grammatical mistakes) are unfortunately still going strong, the scammers of today include individuals and teams of people who can come across as intelligent, friendly, well-informed, and compassionate, yet are nonetheless only concerned with playing on your fears and extracting money by illicit means. In fact, the technology of some scammers has become so refined that they can now make their phone calls, e-mails, and texts match the official number or address of a financial institution when it shows up on your caller ID or in your e-mail inbox. That’s right, some scammers can make it seem like they’re calling you from the exact same number that’s on the back of your debit card.
For us -the potential victims- intelligence and life-experience are not ample protection against being caught in a scam. In some ways, our intelligence and good natures can work against us. We may believe that we’re too smart to be caught by a scam. Or, because we cannot conceive of acting dishonestly against another person, we cannot believe that someone would try to scam us.

Types of Scams
The nature and form of the scams are ever-changing. Some notable ones include:

Imposter Scams – where the scammer will impersonate a friend or family member in trouble (often supposedly kidnapped, in jail, or stranded away from home) and request money from you.

Sweepstakes / Prize Scams – where you’re contacted with the good news that you’ve won a large cash prize or an expensive item like a new Mercedes. The catch – you cannot receive the prize until you’ve paid taxes and handling costs in advance, usually to the tune of thousands of dollars.

Internet Service Scams – where the scammer reaches out as “tech support” for a company, claiming that hackers have gained control of your digital systems and that you need to supply them with remote access to your computer to fix the problem. They then access your online banking, credit card info, or insert malware on your computer.

Romance Scams – where the scammer creates a fake online presence and starts to build a rapport with the prospective victims, sometimes slowly over the course of weeks or months. Once trust is established, the scammer starts asking for small amounts of money that incrementally grow larger and larger.

Anyone -and I mean anyone- can fall victim to a scam.

There are many more and the form they take constantly change, but there are some commonalities to most scams.

Some Hallmarks of Scams

They appeal to emotion, not to reason.
Someone you love is in trouble? Your account has been hacked and you need to act now to prevent your bank account being emptied? Someone has stolen your social security number or identity and is committing crimes in your name? You are overdue on your taxes and the police or local sheriff are on their way to arrest you?

They don’t give you time to think.
If you don’t send money now, your utilities will be cut off within the hour. If you don’t pay this overdue parking ticket today, your car will be impounded. If you don’t supply your credit card number right now, your package will be sent back to Amazon. If you don’t wire your money to the account number we give you for safe keeping, hackers are going to drain everything you have away. If you don’t send pre-paid gift cards by this evening, you’ll be in jail.

They isolate you.

If you tell anyone about this, we won’t be able to help you resolve the problem. If you tell your family, they will become complicit and will be in as much trouble as you. This is a special fraud division of your bank and you can only contact us on this number – if you contact your bank in any other way, it will jeopardize the work we’re doing to protect your accounts.

Other red flags that should give pause include:
• Being told to purchase gift cards, bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies.
• Receiving a text with a one-time security code and being asked to relay it.
• Instructions to download any program or app on your phone or computer.
• Being told to open an e-mail attachment or click on a link from an unknown e-mail.

What you can do to protect yourself

Be suspicious of unsolicited calls, texts, or e-mail. Let calls from unknown numbers go to voicemail rather than picking up immediately. If someone claims to be calling from a financial institution, even if it looks like the correct number, don’t share information. Ask for their employee number or a case reference number. Then look up the correct number of your institution online or in the phone book and call back.

Be cautious of requests to move money, particularly with financial instruments that are hard to trace: gift cards, offshore wires, cryptocurrency wallets. Remember, the IRS does not accept Apple gift cards for back taxes.

Be aware of your emotions. Is the unknown person on the other end of the line trying to create an emotional response, either a sense of fear of a problem, excitement for a prize, or feelings of trust and rapport? Take a moment and pause. Ask a friend, family, or trusted advisor. You will not get anyone in trouble by sharing your circumstances with them.


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