December 2014 Newsletter

 

InvestEd 2015

InvestEd Webinars Postponed

Corporate Honesty

Handimania: A Fun DIY Website

 

 

InvestEd 2015: $40 Holiday Discount Savings ends 12.31.14

Richmond VA, June 12-14, 2015

Westin Richmond

Register Now!

 

Attend InvestEd 2015 and improve your investing skills in historic Richmond, Virginia, on June 12 through 14, 2015, at the Westin Richmond hotel. Meet aspiring and experienced investors, and build your prospects for financial security.

 

Curriculum and Instructors

View the InvestEd 2015 conference curriculum that includes many new sessions in the two and one-half days of investor education. Attend the General Program or choose to attend the Newbie Program. All registered attendees are welcome to participate in the Bonus Sessions on Friday. No additional costs apply. Learn more about your InvestEd conference instructors.

 

InvestEd 2015 Program Features

The conference includes your choice of stimulating educational sessions and a CD of session handouts with instructors' supplementary educational materials. Informative corporate presentations by quality companies supply ideas and comprehensive information. Included in your registration are five meals: breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday and dinner on Saturday.

 

 

Holiday Discount Registration Rate Expires December 31, 2014

The InvestEd holiday registration discount is an ideal opportunity to give a gift of perpetuating value to friends, family, and yourself.

 

The holiday rate of $369 expires December 31, 2014. Standard registration rate is $409. Full-time students with a valid school identification card who are under age 30 and first-time InvestEd attendees pay $259. Register now and save!

 

$25 Rebate Referral Incentive

To receive a $25 referral rebate, attend InvestEd 2015 and bring a friend or family member who did not attend InvestEd 2014. After the 2015 conference, you will receive a $25 rebate for each person you refer. Both you and your referred person(s) must register and attend InvestEd 2015, and referrals must provide your name when registering.

 

Hotel Information

The guest room rate in the InvestEd block at the Westin Richmond is a reasonable $119 plus tax per night. Make your hotel reservations today.

 

Learn and Vacation

Plan to extend your visit to Richmond and enjoy a vacation. Explore the official travel resource, and review InvestEd Tourism for a wide choice of attractions.

 

Join us for InvestEd 2015 in Richmond where we will build better futures together.

 

 

 

InvestEd Inc. Webinar Announcement

InvestEd is postponing webinars until after the holidays. Saul will resume his Option series on January 25. You may view any of the previous webinars in the free online education InvestEd library.

 

 

 

Corporate Honesty

Sandy Gallemore

 

The question: Can we believe what company CEOs tell us? The answer: Maybe not.

Annual surveys about corporate candor are conducted by Rittenhouse Rankings, a New York firm that provides advice to CEOs about improving their communications. L. J. Rittenhouse lets us know that not all CEOs tell us the truth, nor do analysts, nor do the media, nor do even the company employees.

 

Long-term investors, of course, want to know the truth about companies we plan to study or purchase. Companies untruthful about problems may flourish for a time, but eventually shareholders discover the truth, after which the stock usually crashes. Evaluating the truthfulness of company management before we invest is critical. Unfortunately, learning the truth about companies is one of the more difficult aspects of investing.

 

Certainly, one of the first aspects of research an investor should perform is to read the letter to shareholders the company CEO includes in the company's annual report. That's where Warren Buffet starts, even before he checks the company's financial data. While reading this letter, we need to look for growth forecasts and keep these in mind when we look at income statements, balance sheets, and statements of cash flow. Will our analysis of the financial data support those forecasts?

 

Checking announcements of earnings and any updates to those announcements and listening to presentations and media interviews made by the CEO give us added clues about the company. We want to listen for frank discussions about the company's operations, challenges, and plans for future growth.

 

In reading that shareholder letter, listening to presentations, and reading media interviews, we want to determine if the CEO takes responsibility for any mistakes the company has made. We should not see blame go to others for a company's poor performance or to external factors. We should see a CEO who faces business problems and risks with a plan to overcome those.

 

We want to see a shareholder letter that addresses the shareholders as business partners, letting investors and potential investors know about any serious threats to the company's financial health. We are not interested in the leader of a company sugar-coating company issues. When we see vague phrases such as "leveraging our competitive advantages," "powerful innovative culture," or "building momentum," we should see specific language immediately following those phrases explaining those assertions. With no specific discussion about how the CEO plans to move forward, we should raise our red flag. Is the CEO being honest with us? Is the company management hiding something we should know?

 

A noteworthy example of corporate dishonesty is Enron, the energy company that fooled many investors for a considerable amount of time. Analysts, investors, and the media put the company on a pedestal. In October 2001, just two months before the company filed for bankruptcy, Enron was valued at $28 billion. Those unfamiliar with the Enron story may wish to read about in at Investopedia. Of course, Enron is not the only company that fooled everyone for a significant amount of time before a severe crash and bankruptcy opened investors' eyes, but it may be the most notorious story of corporate deceit.

 

An article in The Economist over ten years ago notes that, although company management needs to be forthright about company performance, we investors would be well advised to look at the comments made by a company with a "more dispassionate view" of what we read or hear. We should not let the superlatives of a CEO lull us into viewing the company as better than it is. No formula is available to tell us whether or not a CEO is telling us the full story. Our best plan is to study not only what the company says, but whether or not the financial health of the company supports that and whether the economic climate supports the forecasts of the company.

 

Gallemore, SandySandy is an InvestEd Inc. director and serves as vice president for education. She is lead editor and prepares the general program brochure for the conference. Sandy has helped form investment clubs, presented introductory investing programs, and taught stock study and mutual fund classes at local, regional, and national events. In her leisure time she participates in a line dance group, plays handbells, bridge, and golf, and enjoys a variety of other activities, including investing. Sandy is professor emeritus of kinesiology, Georgia Southern University.

 

 

 

Handimania: A Fun DIY Website

Sandy Gallemore

 

Handimania is a website devoted to folks who like to be a bit creative with easy do-it-yourself projects, whether in the kitchen, sewing room, or workshop. Individuals may submit their projects to be put on the Handimania website, which provides step-by-step instructions, as well as tools and supplies needed.

 

Handimania includes several categories of projects: Home, DIY and Crafts, Knit, Crochet, Sew, Cooking, and Craftspiration. Some introductory information about a project in a sampling of these categories is below. More detailed information is available on the Handimania website under the project categories.

 

In the DIY & Crafts category is a project for an inexpensive desktop table using PVC pipes and a hollow-core door or tabletop. The tools needed for this project are an electric screwdriver or power drill. The supplies include screws and screw inserts, PVC cement, and the PVC pipes, caps, tees, and crosses. Full information is available on the website.

 

A project on the Handimania website in the Sew category is a snack bag. The only supplies needed are an old pair of jeans and an old belt. Supplies include a scissors, a needle, and some thread for this hand-stitching project. Of course, you may choose to use a sewing machine rather than hand stitching. A tutorial is available for making this fun project, complete with explicit instructions and photos of the project at various stages.



 

The third project I selected for this article is from the Cooking section: an easy maple dessert that uses only two ingredients: maple syrup and eggs. This Maple Soufflé recipe looks easy enough that anyone could make it, even a non-cook like me!



 

In the Craftspiration section is a neat hanger/storage shelf made from Ikea chairs. All you need are the chairs and screws to attach them to a wall. The number of chairs depends on how long you want your hanging rail and how much space you want on the above-rail storage. This design actually comes from Asian designer Yi Cong Lu, who lives in Germany. You may see images of this project on Lu's website. Perhaps you will want to check out some of his other projects.

 

 

 

Gallemore, SandySandy is an InvestEd Inc. director and serves as vice president for education. She is lead editor and prepares the general program brochure for the conference. Sandy has helped form investment clubs, presented introductory investing programs, and taught stock study and mutual fund classes at local, regional, and national events. In her leisure time she participates in a line dance group, plays handbells, bridge, and golf, and enjoys a variety of other activities, including investing. Sandy is professor emeritus of kinesiology, Georgia Southern University.

 

 

 

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