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“Most of us were not taught how to effectively manage money...so we provide you with relevant information”
 

 

DECEMBER 2013 NEWSLETTER
Removing Life Support
From the desk of Trow Trowbridge

You may read that headline again and scratch your head (at least I do) and ask how does that make sense? The "patient's" health is improving. The doctors may be able to remove "life support". In this case, the patient is the US economy and the life support is the torrent of cash flooding the system via the Federal Reserve Bank's policy of buying $85 billion worth of bonds per month with their own private credit card. This method of creating money, known as quantitative easing (QE), has taken approximately eight cents from the value every dollar-dominated asset you own over the last five years. This is over and above inflation losses in purchasing power. While the discussion of quantitative easing is plenty of fodder for a newsletter, we will instead be focusing this letter on the current perverseness in the investment marketplace.

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FEBRUARY 2013 NEWSLETTER
What is a Benchmark? And a Note on "The Sequester"
From the desk of Matt Brennan

In investing, a benchmark is a standard against which a portfolio's performance is compared. Often- times, it is an index of securities of the same or similar class. You can also consider comparisons by industry or by sector. A technology fund may be com pared to a group of other tech funds or stocks. The goal is to have a basis for evaluating relative performance. In order to do this accurately, a benchmark must first be appropriate.

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JANUARY 2013 NEWSLETTER
Want to "Save" the Economy? Take More Risk
From the desk of Matt Brennan

Happy New Year! We hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday season. This month we are going to (attempt to) avoid discussion of falling over fiscal cliffs or bumping our heads against debt ceilings. When clients inquire as to "what the impact will be on the investment markets," we can answer with the utmost certainty that the answer is uncertain. Markets hate uncertainty, and in the short-term this leads to price volatility. Therefore, it would be rationale to anticipate more volatility in the short-term. Our role as your advisor is to manage risk long-term and to make sure you succeed. We are focused on the big picture and how to protect and grow your wealth over time. You have incentivized us to do so. And that is what we’ll be focusing on in this newsletter – the concept of incentives.

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AUGUST 2012 NEWSLETTER
Cliffhanger
From the desk of Matt Brennan

George Steinbrenner, the long-time owner of the New York Yankees, passed away back in 2010. While he was a controversial baseball owner and media figure, the man consistently found ways to put a successful (and highly profitable) team on the field. Even in death, George Steinbrenner was successful. By passing away in 2010, George Steinbrenner's state completely avoided Federal Estate Tax. It is estimated that his $1.1 billion estate would have faced federal taxes of almost $500 million had he died the year prior (New York Times – 7/14/10).

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JUNE 2012 NEWSLETTER
Which Straw Breaks the Camel's Back?
From the desk of Matt Brennan

I have a bad back. I can't recall exactly when the pain began, but I know that by the fall of 2008 I had reached a point where no combination of sitting, standing, or laying could alleviate it. It was at that time that I bit the bullet and went to see a Chiropractor. At first it was terrific. One crack on the right, one crack on the left and I was good to go, at least for 24 hours or so. From 2008 to 2009 I visited the Chiropractor 3 times a week at $40 a crack and the best I ever got from it was temporarily relief. It was around the 1 year mark that someone referred me to Physical Therapist. One month later (3 total visits) and I was pain free and walked away with a stretching regiment that I do first thing every morning. Sure it takes time and discipline to adhere to, but it's worth the work in the short-term in order to make sure I avoid long-term pain.

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APRIL 2012 NEWSLETTER
Consumers are the Staple
From the desk of Matt Brennan

In his Congressional testimony on February 29th of this year, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged that there are limits to how much "the Fed" can do to boost the economy.

"Monetary policy is not a panacea," he said. "It can help offset cyclical fluctuations and financial crises like we've had, but the long-term health of the economy depends mostly on decisions taken by the Congress and the administration."

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MARCH 2012 NEWSLETTER
Skinny Dipping
From the desk of Matt Brennan

There's good and bad news in this month's newsletter. Let's begin with the positives for a change. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has crossed the 13,000 threshold and dancing has commenced in the streets! After the celebration dies down, we need to remind ourselves as to what the Dow Jones Industrial Average actually represents. The Dow is a price weighted composite index. It's "price" is the weighted average price of the 30 (THIRTY!) underlying stocks that comprise it. Back in 2009, the decision was made to add Cisco Systems (CSCO) to the Dow as opposed to Apple (AAPL). Had they added Apple instead of Cisco, the Dow Jones would be at approximately 14,600 as of February. So does this mean that just by adding Apple instead of Cisco 3 years ago we could have resolved our countries unemployment, housing malaise, sluggish industrial output, and stagnant GDP growth? No. Indexes are in essence, arbitrary.

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JANUARY 2012 NEWSLETTER
The Debt
From the desk of Matt Brennan

Happy New Year! We hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday season. Getting back to it, we'd like to ease into this Newsletter with a quick, little exercise.

Here is a brief synopsis of our country’s balance sheet as we begin the new year:

United States Tax Revenues: $2,170,000,000,000
Federal Budget: $3,820,000,000,000
New Debt: $1,650,000,000,000
National Debt: $14,271,000,000,000
Approved Budget Cuts: $38,500,000,000

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