October 2009: I went to the defense of gold as a long-term investment after a financial columnist in another local paper wrote how risky it was. Gold was trading at about $1,005 an ounce then; now, it’s over $1,300. That’s a gain of about 30 percent in one year.
November: A gloomy bunch of local realtors told me home prices had fallen 20.8 percent in the previous 12 months in Scotts Valley. But prices in San Lorenzo Valley rose 8 percent, helped by the now-expired first-time buyer’s tax credit and easier financing for moderately priced homes. I’ll talk to realtors again soon and report back.
December: The days of California municipal bonds being viewed as a worry-free investment may be ending as the state’s finances weaken.
January: A look back at the previous year confirmed the benefits of contrarian investing. People who rose above the widespread panic of early 2009 and put money into stocks were richly rewarded.
February: We are in the early years of a historic shift in economic power, away from the United States and toward China and other emerging economies. Americans respond by pouring money into emerging market mutual funds.
March: Buy low, sell high. That’s what investors strive to do. But too often, emotions get in the way and investors buy high and sell low. A strategy of dollar-cost averaging, where you buy a set dollar amount of a stock or fund on set dates, offers a way to overcome emotion and build wealth.
April: Scotts Valley Mayor Jim Reed and Santa Cruz Mayor Mike Rotkin talk about what they’re doing to rein in runaway pension costs.
May: Investors were pulling money out of stock mutual funds and piling into bond mutual funds then, and the stampede into bond funds is continuing now. Bond-fund investors may get a rude awakening if interest rates head higher. Individual bonds offer assurances that bond funds don’t.
June: The “nuclear-free zone” signs on Santa Cruz’s borders reminded me of the mistakes America has made on energy. I explained why I expect oil, gas and nuclear power to fill most of our energy needs for years to come.
July: Whose wallet will be lightened next year when Seagate moves its headquarters — and 400-plus jobs — out of Scotts Valley? Not Seagate employees, I reflected. They’ll still have jobs, because the move does not include layoffs. The financial hurt of this move will be felt by surrounding businesses. Local business owners hope the city can attract another big employer to fill the void.
August: I’ve always thought it best to delay paying taxes. But the uncertainty about future taxes calls that belief into question. Some experts say it may be better to pay now.
September: How to pick a financial adviser: Reading this column may help.
Mark Rosenberg is an investment consultant for Financial West Group in Scotts Valley, a member of FINRA and SIPC. He can be reached at 831-439-9910 or email@example.com.