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All it took was 140 characters to negatively influence the financial markets.  The brief free-fall in the US market last month has solidified social networking’s presence as an influential, professional media. Social media has the capacity for truly unfiltered information flow- through without oversight from an editor, which can create credibility issues. Creditable news sources, such as the Associated Press, have standards to uphold, but the speed and influence their social media presence possesses, places a target on their backs from cyber-terrorists wanting to do harm... Continue reading →

May 28th, 2013

By Matthew Petersen

The Social Market

May 9th, 2013

By Blaine A. Carr, CPA, CFP®, AIF®

5 Tips for College Education Planning

As the days grow longer and my children get anxious for the school year to come to an end, I am reminded of the importance of planning for their college educations.  I have four children between ages 5 and 12 and it is easy to get discouraged when I think about the amount their tuition, room and board, books, and other fees will add up to.  While this figure is daunting, well into the six figures for each child, I am less overwhelmed when I focus on the steps I can take now to chip away at that mighty mountain... Continue reading →

The Cost Of Conventional Investing

April 18th, 2013

By Matthew Petersen

As the days grow longer and my children get anxious for the school year to come to an end, I am reminded of the importance of planning for their college educations.  I have four children between ages 5 and 12 and it is easy to get discouraged when I think about the amount their tuition, room and board, books, and other fees will add up to.  While this figure is daunting, well into the six figures for each child, I am less overwhelmed when I focus on the steps I can take now to chip away at... Continue reading →

Quarterly Report: First Quarter 2013

April 4th, 2013

2013 is in full swing, and it is already shaping up to be an eventful year. The US narrowly avoided diving off the Fiscal Cliff at the end of 2012, and the Federal Government entered into the Sequester, which has led to automatic spending cuts to total $85 billion. The austerity measures throughout the European Union continue to impact volatility abroad, but the international markets as a whole are positive. With all this uncertainty created by the governments throughout the world, we are still seeing the media popular Dow Jones reach new record highs and the S&P 500 edging closer to the same... Continue reading →

The Active Misperception

April 3rd, 2013

By Josh Chittenden, CFP®

There is a belief held by many investors that active mutual fund managers can beat the stock market and provide greater returns than the returns produced by simply investing in an index and getting market returns.  After all, active managers are experts in their field, right? They have intimate knowledge of the companies in which they invest.  They know all the details about the company’s prospects, cash flow, debt, etc. They have complex algorithms that tell them what to buy and when to sell.  They spend millions of dollars on research.  Therefore, one would assume they regularly beat their respective indices, right?  Not according to the data... Continue reading →

IRA Contributions

March 20th, 2013

By Matthew Petersen

It’s that wonderful time of the year again where we all have the same thing on our minds. I’m talking, of course, about one of life’s few certainties…taxes. To coincide with the season of giving, we also have the annual season of IRA contributions. The 2012 contribution deadline is April 15th, and the contribution limits are the 2012 limits ($5,000) instead of the higher 2013 limits ($5,500). Traditional and Roth IRAs both have different contribution and deduction rules. In this article I’ll be giving a brief overview of Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs, but for a more in-depth explanation on deductions and/or contributions please contact your CPA, Petersen Hastings Wealth Advisor, or a slightly more expanded explanation is available on the... Continue reading →

CEO Report

March 6th, 2013

By Jeff Petersen, CFP®

On behalf of the Petersen Hastings Team, I would like to thank our many clients for their continued loyalty. 2012 was another eventful year with financial uncertainty being spurred on by the presidential election and continued political dysfunction. Once again, properly diversified, patient, long-term investing paid off with the stock markets providing our clientele with another strong year of performance. Now in 2013, with the unknown effect of the “Sequester” on the financial markets, once again we recommend that our clients remain focused on the long term and avoid risky short-term investment... Continue reading →

Financial Gossip

February 20th, 2013

By Matthew Petersen

I’m not a fan of celebrity gossip or entertainment news shows that air on E and the like. I enjoy a different kind of “gossip” entertainment, in which I indulge through various media outlets such as CNBC, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, etc. Don’t get me wrong, these media outlets do present some quality reporting (The Wall Street Journal), but an overwhelming chunk of the “flash” that’s presented is borderline gossip. Who can blame them, flash draws in viewership, but unlike E or Entertainment Tonight, the financial gossip has the capacity to result in negative financial consequences. One could argue that the poster boy for financial gossip is CNBC’s charismatic Jim Cramer (host of Mad Money), and whether you love or hate him, he is without a doubt one of the most visible and vocal financial pundits in the media... Continue reading →

QUARTERLY REPORT: Fourth Quarter 2012

January 29th, 2013

A New Year brings forth thoughts of renewal and reflection, but it also means the end of another year and another quarter. As we look back and reflect on 2012, it is hard not to acknowledge the ups, downs and overall excitement. 2012 saw London host the summer Olympics and here at home we concluded the political marathon that is the US Presidential election. The European financial crisis was in full swing and the constant uncertainty of the looming Fiscal Cliff was only briefly overshadowed by the “Mayan Apocalypse” that never was. Tax uncertainty has not fully alleviated and has carried itself into 2013. 2012 was, however, a good year for stock markets around the globe; positive returns were in double-digits in all major stock market asset classes, which is a great way to close out last year... Continue reading →

What’s Missing in TV?

January 18th, 2013

By Matthew Petersen

Sunday night is one of my favorite nights for television, specifically drama. I’ve become drawn in and hooked to the various HBO and Showtime drama series. To preface, the overall tone and presentation of these shows are gritty embellishments of real life with some of the series even taking a dark creativity to history. They are, to some extent, an exaggeration of the human emotion they seek to depict... Continue reading →

What Does the Fiscal Cliff Deal Mean for You?

January 4th, 2013

The New Year began with some political drama, as last-minute negotiations attempted to avert sending the nation over the “fiscal cliff.” Technically, we actually did go over the cliff, however briefly, as a host of tax provisions and automatic spending cuts took effect at the stroke of midnight on December 31, 2012. However, January 1, 2013, saw legislation–retroactively effective–pass the U.S. Senate, and then later the House of Representatives. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) permanently extends a number of major tax provisions and temporarily extends many others. Here are the basics... Continue reading →

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