Business & Economy
3 Tips to Avoid Outliving Your Retirement Fund PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 11 July 2014 13:04
Financial Experts Explain When It’s OK to Play It Safe –
and When It’s Not

As people get closer to the age when they hope to retire, traditional wisdom calls for moving into more conservative – safer – investments, such as Treasury bonds and many fixed-income mutual funds.

“The problem is, what is ‘safe’ for one person may not be ‘safe’ for another, given the amount of money in their portfolios, how their investments are allocated, and what their retirement lifestyle goals are,” says  financial advisor Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo, co-founder with advisor Chris Snyder of Pillar Wealth Management, LLC, (

“Some investors believe Certificates of Deposit and U.S. Treasury bonds are safe investments because of their backing, but the income they generate is so low, they may not be safe in terms of producing the income you need for 30 years of retirement.”

A better approach is to analyze how much investment risk you must assume to achieve what’s important to you, says Snyder.

“Your lifestyle goals determine your risk level, and your portfolio should be an allocation of stocks, bonds and cash that correlates directly with the risk level you need to assume.”

Snyder and Ashoo, co-authors of “Four Factors The Affluent Must Know To Avoid Financial Disaster And Secure Their Dreams,” available as a free download at(, offer these tips for building a portfolio you likely won’t outlive:

•  Don’t aim for earning a certain percentage rate simply because you consider it an acceptable one.

Once you’ve identified your retirement lifestyle wants and needs, you can calculate how much they’ll cost. Subtract your guaranteed income from sources like Social Security and pensions, and the remainder is what your portfolio will need to generate, adjusted for inflation, for the rest of your life, Ashoo says.

“Setting a goal of earning a 5, 6 or 8 percent return doesn’t work because the markets fluctuate each year and are unpredictable,” he says. “It’s better to evaluate inflows and outflows during retirement and adjust for inflation. That process helps determine how much money you’ll need at certain points in your life, and the returns you’ll need.”

•  Market timing and chasing hot managers is not the way to build a lasting, long-term portfolio.

Modern Portfolio Theory, developed by Nobel Prize-winner Harry Markowitz, tells us that 90 percent of the return in your portfolio is based on the allocation of stocks, bonds and cash, Snyder says.

“The percentages you allocate between these asset classes is far more important than timing the market or chasing around for the number one fund,” he says. “Wall Street prefers you spend your time focused on the wrong thing.

•  Don’t automatically spend when your portfolio earnings exceed expectations.

When your portfolio is growing at a rate that gives you a good amount of confidence you won’t outlive your money, are you safe to spend more when gains exceed your expectations?

“Everyone has different priorities – some may want to increase spending to enhance their lifestyle while others may take the opportunity to lower their risk even more, so they can sleep better at night,” Ashoo says.

He and Snyder say clients in that situation this year have responded in varying ways. Some have paid down mortgages with the extra money, moved up their plans to retire, traveled more or lowered their portfolio risk.

“What you need to remember is that gains can be taken away as quickly as they appeared,” Snyder says.

About Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo and Chris Snyder

Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo and Chris Snyder are co-founders of Pillar Wealth Management LLC, (, of Walnut Creek, Calif., specializing in customized wealth management advice to affluent families. Their unique five-step consultative process for new clients ensures they have a deep understanding of clients’ goals. With a combined 51 years of experience, they are the authors of numerous published works, have addressed thousands of investors nationwide, and have been interviewed on radio shows across the country.

Loebsack’s SECTORS Provisions Pass House, Head to President PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Joe Hand   
Friday, 11 July 2014 09:41

Jobs legislation was incorporated in reauthorization of Workforce Investment Act

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after large portions of the SECTORS Act, legislation he introduced to close the gap between the kinds of skills that workers have and skills that businesses need, passed the House. HR 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WOIA), is designed to improve the nation’s workforce development system. The legislation, which already passed the Senate on an overwhelming bipartisan vote, now heads to the President for his signature. Video of Loebsack discussing his SECTORS Act on the House floor can be found here.

“The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WOIA) is critical to our nation’s economic recovery, and I am pleased that it was passed with truly bipartisan support. I am also pleased that this bill contains large portions of the SECTORS Act that will close the gap between the kinds of skills that workers have and the skills that businesses need. The sector partnerships created by this bill will get people back to work and move our economy forward.”

Loebsack’s SECTORS Act links together businesses, labor organizations, local stakeholders, and education and training providers connected to a particular industry. These partnerships work to develop or implement plans for growing or saving that targeted industry, promoting long-term competitiveness and advancing employment opportunities for workers. The inclusion of the legislation will ensure employees on the local level are properly trained so they can effectively compete in the 21st Century global economy. Loebsack first introduced the SECTORS Act in 2009 and the House of Representatives unanimously passed it in 2010. While it was not taken up in the Senate at that time, Loebsack has continued to fight for its passage.


Discover the Advantages of Mediation and Arbitration for Your Business PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Mark McLaughlin   
Friday, 11 July 2014 09:38
IA/IL QUAD-CITIES – Conflict has always been a part of life. It occurs at home and at work and no one is immune from its effects. Having to deal with a disagreement is a frustrating experience that most would wish to avoid – but if some form of resolution cannot be agreed upon, the problem may lead to court, prolonging the dispute and adding in legal expenses.

At the next Idea Lab program, “The Advantages of Mediation and Arbitration for Your Business,” presenter James E. Slavens, Founder of New Era Mediation Arbitration, will discuss the benefits of mediation and/or arbitration and how this process may prove helpful the next time you must face a difficult dispute. The Idea Lab, a division of Results Marketing, offers live learning experiences in the Quad-Cities.
“The Advantages of Mediation and Arbitration for Your Business” will be held as a Lunch & Learn program from 12 to 1 p.m., July 18, at DHCU Community Credit Union, 1900 52nd Ave., Moline, IL. Admission is $15 and the event will include a catered Chick-fil-A meal. Attendees can select from a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich meal, a veggie-wrap meal, or for one dollar more, a Grilled Chicken Market Salad.
Key areas of Slavens’ mediation expertise include business issues, family businesses, labor/management, employment discrimination, custody issues, divorce, civil litigation and personal injury.
“Slavens will discuss various types of mediation and arbitration and tell when and how these methods of conflict resolution can prove most effective,” said Todd Ashby, Managing Partner of Results Marketing. “Not all problems can be solved through mediation/arbitration, but this is an option well worth exploring whenever conflicts arise in one’s business or personal life.”
“When working with New Era clients, my preferred mediation style has been a collaborative problem-solving approach,” Slavens said. “This approach encompasses more than just giving advice. In this hands-on technique, the mediator works as a team with the entire group of interested parties involved in a dispute. The mediator then takes the participants through an effective, multi-phase process so that the team can discover the best solution and act upon it.”
For more information on the event or to register, please call Les Flesher at 563-322-2065 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " target="_blank"'; var path = 'hr' + 'ef' + '='; var addy80378 = 'Les' + '@'; addy80378 = addy80378 + 'resultsimc' + '.' + 'com'; var addy_text80378 = ' '; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text80378 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Feel free to follow the Idea Lab on Facebook at

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Iowa WorkForce Strong and Improving PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ernie Goss, Ph.D.   
Tuesday, 08 July 2014 14:29
OMAHA, NEBRASKA - AIM's May Work Force Index (WFI) soared to 84.6 from April's very healthy 69.1. The WFI is a statistically based measurement tool produced by AIM, a nonprofit organization based in Omaha, Nebraska. The Index is a ratio of unique online job postings and the number of unemployed in Iowa (not seasonally adjusted). The Index ranges between 0 and 100. A WFI below 50.0 indicates short-term economic contraction while an Index above 50.0 indicates economic expansion. At 84.6, Iowa's WFI is in a range indicating healthy and improving job openings.

In June online job postings listed the largest number of open positions in absolute numbers in 1) Sales, followed by 2) Management, and 3) Skilled craftsman. As a share of employment, the largest number of job openings in descending order were: 1) Finance, 2) Engineering and 3) Customer Service positions.

In terms of indices among the states, North Dakota ranked number one with the highest WorkForce Index. North Dakota was followed by Vermont, at number two, Florida at three, Kansas at four, and Iowa at five. The state with the lowest index was Maine, followed by California and then Mississippi. New York ranked at 47th and Rhode Island at 46th rounded out the bottom five states. Iowa ranked as the 5th best in the nation for June 2014, which was an improvement over the state's May ranking of 8th.

View the Video

About the AIM WorkForce Index

AIM and the Creighton University College of Business produce the AIM WorkForce Index each month to track the relationship between the WFI and the changes in the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. This comparative analysis measures the relative strength of the Iowa labor market. It can also be compared to Creighton University's monthly survey of bank CEOs in 10 states including Iowa. Creighton's survey has also been pointing to an expansion in the Iowa Rural Mainstreet economy. See Rural Mainstream Index

This type of information is of value to both the employer and the job applicant as they develop plans and strategies for participation in the local and regional labor market. For more information on the WFI, please visit or

Read Contracts Carefully Before Signing PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Jason Alderman   
Monday, 07 July 2014 12:57

If you always stop to read the fine print before signing anything, congratulations – your parents trained you well. If you don't, beware: Your signature could commit you to a long-term gym membership you don't really want, an apartment you can't afford or worst of all, paying off someone else's loan you cosigned.

Broadly defined, contracts are mutually binding agreements between two or more parties to do – or not do – something. It could be as simple as buying coffee (you pay $3 and the restaurant agrees to serve you a drinkable beverage), or as complex as signing a 30-year mortgage.

Once a contract is in force it generally cannot be altered unless all parties agree. And, with very few exceptions (e.g., if deception or fraud took place), contracts cannot easily be broken.

Before you enter a contractual agreement, try to anticipate everything that might possibly go wrong. For example:

  • After you've leased an apartment you decide you can't afford the rent or don't like the neighborhood.
  • Your roommate moves out, leaving you responsible for the rest of the lease.
  • You finance a car you can't afford, but when you try to sell, it's worth less than your outstanding loan balance.
  • You buy a car and only later notice that the sales agreement includes an extended warranty or other features you didn't verbally authorize.
  • You sign a payday loan without fully understanding the terms and end up owing many times the original loan amount.
  • You buy something on sale and don't notice the store's "No returns on sale items" policy.
  • You click "I agree" to a website's privacy policy and later realize you've given permission to share your personal information.
  • You buy a two-year cellphone plan, but after the grace period ends, discover that you have spotty reception and it will costs hundreds of dollars to buy your way out.

Cosigning a loan can be particularly risky. If the other person stops making payments, you're responsible for the full amount, including late fees or collection costs. Not only will your credit rating suffer, but the creditor can use the same collection methods against you as against the primary borrower, including suing you or garnishing your wages.

Still, there may be times you want to cosign a loan to help out a relative or friend. The Federal Trade Commission's handy guide, "Co-signing a Loan," shows precautions to take before entering such agreements (

A few additional reminders:

  • Ensure that everything you were promised verbally appears in writing.
  • Make sure all blank spaces are filled in or crossed out before signing any documents –including the tip line on restaurant and hotel bills.
  • Don't be afraid to ask to take a contract home for more careful analysis or to get a second opinion. A lawyer or financial advisor can help.
  • Don't be pressured into signing anything. If salespeople try that tactic, walk away. (Be particularly wary at timeshare rental meetings.)
  • Keep copies of every document you sign. This will be especially important for contested rental deposits, damaged merchandise, insurance claims, extended warranties, etc.
  • Take along a "wingman" if you're making an important decision like renting an apartment or buying a car to help ask questions and protect your interests.
  • Be wary of "free trial" offers. Read all terms and conditions and pay particular attention to pre-checked boxes in online offers.

Bottom line: Contracts protect both parties. Just make sure you fully understand all details before signing on the dotted line.

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