General Electric Has Taught Long-Term Investors A Painful Lesson

January 22nd, 2016 by

While analysts try and figure out what to make of General Electric GE +0.00%’s earnings Friday, you will read about three main themes.

GE Capital

First, the effects of divesting GE Capital on making earnings higher quality, whatever that is suppose to mean. Don’t all of us want high quality earning? Wasn’t the whole point of financial engineering to create profit from clever ideas being brought to light? Beware of management that once touted a new era only to treat it like a bad employee they have to fire. Back in 2007 Jeffery Immelt wrote in his letter to investors that “our financial services businesses should do well in a year like 2008.” By the time he wrote the his letter for the 2014 annual report we are told that GE Capital returns are “below GE’s cost of capital.” Read between the lines and you get a sense that the sales pitch went from a growth story to how much they can return to shareholders. GE makes a fortune, but in the end buying a stock at too high a valuation won’t save you. One thing that hasn’t changed since Immelt took over is the constant references to being leaner. The stock price has certainly reduced its size over the years…

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Amid Stock Market Rout, JPMorgan Earnings And GoPro’s Plunge Are Besides The Point

January 14th, 2016 by

What a week! On one hand we have JPMorgan Chase JPM +1.72% reporting decent earnings and analysts trying to convince us banks will have a good year. Then there is GoPro, the current whipping boy of hot small cap growth stocks (always a miserable asset class) dropping like a chute off Kachina Peak. [Okay, I’m thinking about skiing this weekend and always hoping for a decent close on Friday so I can forget my worries until Monday.] We all need to put these headlines into perspective or run the risk of spending our free time freaking out or, much worse, making an emotion-based decision in our portfolio.

This week I spent a lot of time in meetings discussing income and cash flow plans for a few clients retiring this month. One husband asked me if they should reschedule due to the market dropping. My response was simple: The only number I care about is the close. Then I reminded them that they will be retired for 30 or more years and to fret about today is useless. So, how do I reconcile those two statements? On one hand the close is important, but then we really don’t care longer term? Both are true!…


Less Doing – More Being

January 12th, 2016 by

It’s 2016!  Yay!  You’ve resolved to lose weight, eat better, save more, watch less TV – the list goes on.  But how about this: I resolve “Less Doing and More Being”.


Evidently, based on research from numerous places over the past few years including Cornell University, San Francisco University, Eventbrite and WebMD, the happiness achieved from spending money on an experience versus buying a material thing is longer lasting and more fulfilling. Why? One reason is that people are prone to buyer’s remorse or comparisons with material goods.  Also, objects tend to deteriorate with time whereas an experience can create a lasting memory.  After all, most people would agree they are more the sum of their experiences than the sum of their possessions.


Another interesting aspect is that people adapt faster to things that don’t change.  In other words, if you spend your money on a new vehicle, then by the end of a year or so, it is still the same vehicle (more or less).  However, each vacation you take is different than the one before! We can feel warm and happy reliving and relishing old memories whereas physical objects tend to leave us a little cold.


Now as a financial advisor I am torn between embracing this idea and advising against it.  Material purchases make more financial sense (in general).  Think of it as money spent on fulfilling a need versus a want. You need a new washing machine, but you want to go to the beach.


The other side of me looks around and sees hundreds of people daily and weekly, with heads down, staring at a smart phone, lost to the art of conversation, creating ‘experiences’ via 140 character tweets, or snapchats that self destruct after 1 to 10 seconds, or post’s that most of the world will forget about before the digital ink even dries.   At least Andy Warhol gave us a whole 15 minutes of fame.  I’m not sure what he would think about the “fame gratification” people strive for these days, as in the number of likes they get from a post?


The bottom line for me is to just stop doing this year.  Every chance you get, sit wherever you are and just BE there. Make a mental record of the sights, the sounds, the smells.  Build a library of experiences that (according to researchers) create for you a longer lasting and greater happiness and well being.  Here’s to a gratifying 2016!


Tracy Ann Miller, CFP®

CEO and Chief Portfolio Officer

How to get your portfolio ready for 2016

January 6th, 2016 by

On January 4, 2016, Lee Munson, founder and chief investment officer of Portfolio Wealth Advisors was asked to appear on Fox Business Channel’s Risk and Reward with Deirdre Bolton. We asked Lee after the interview his thoughts.   
“What an honor to be asked my opinion on the first trading day of the year and it was the very first segment of the show.  What I really wanted to get down to was three big points about the broader markets.
First off, the US faces peak products, peak consumer spending, and the dollar has had its longest or I should say it’s third longest bull run since 1971.  Something has got to give.
My second big point is that China is still growing at least twice as fast as the US, more if you believe the government, which I don’t, but it’s moving from a manufacturing to a service economy.  While the manufacturing data today stank, the services sector was really good, but what was most stunning was the incredible negativity.  What US investors may not know is six months ago Chinese regulators banned major shareholders from selling their shares.  Recall all the volatility in Chinese markets last year?  There were 20 days that their market went down 5% or more and half of those days they went down 7% or more.  Hey, today we had a 7% drop and they shut down the whole stock exchange, so clearly this panicked investors, plus if everybody knows this week major shareholders are going to be able to sell after six months, the market is going to see some volatility and we thought that was an opportunity for some of our clients that had a lot of cash laying around and needed to get invested.
Now let’s get to my third point.  We still look at Europe and Japan for stronger currencies by year end, and while it may take three to four months for the dollar to stop the decent because of these rate hikes, ultimately the US rally is going to be long the tooth and there are going to be investors that want deeper value and that’s where we’re positioning our clients.
In the end, it was a great interview.  Deirdre was awesome and gave me the first question and also the third follow-up question which his always great.  I look forward to being on the show again and have a wonderful and prosperous 2016.”
If you would like more information about how Lee Munson can help you spend more time on the mountain and have the retirement you deserve, you can call him directly at 505-884-3445 or email him at


Divergence: Munson on First Fed Rate Hike in 8 Years

December 17th, 2015 by

On December 17, 2015, Albuquerque Financial advisor and market expert, Lee Munson, was asked to appear on the Fox Business News program Risk & Reward with Deirdre Bolton.  The producers at Fox Business News wanted Lee to discuss the implications of the feds one-quarter point rate hike.  Here’s what Lee had to say after the interview.  
“I always enjoy discussing markets with Deirdre and today was no exception.  There was a lot of energy that you could hear in the control room and all the guests who were on before and after me were very enthusiastic and passionate about their points of view but here’s the bottom line.  The quarter-point rate hike isn’t going to make a difference for people who need to buy a home, buy a car, and it’s also not going to make a difference for savers that rely on anemic interest rates at a bank.  Nothing much is going to change.  In fact, what we see is year over year weaker global growth.  Oil prices are becoming a serious problem and a stock market that has less and less liquidity.  Now let me focus on that last small point because we never get to talk about it enough on television because it can’t be a simple soundbite.  When you have only a few companies pushing the market higher while almost every other company out there is selling off and going lower, we call that divergence and it’s not a great thing.  It signals to people in my profession that there’s not much breath in the market, that all the stock aren’t going in the same direction. So while we can see a broader index like the S&P 500 do relatively well it simply reminds me back in the 2000 during the .com bubble when companies like the JDS Uniphase, Cisco, and Yahoo were pushing the S&P 500 up but almost everything else was going down.  Is this bad news for investors?  Not really.  The business cycle is part of investing.  If you have a great financial plan, a globally diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds, and are able to keep discipline you’re going to be okay.  On the positive side, we already have much lower prices in Europe and Asia. While America might be catching on to some softness in global growth, if you want to find the real value you need to step outside of the United States and buy the cheapest stuff out there.  My only word of caution is if you’re investing new cash right now, think twice about how fast you want to do that.  While we don’t want to time markets, we also want to be practical and so today going forward we would rather let volatility be our friend rather than our adversary.  Again, get a plan, understand what’s in your portfolio and why, then execute that plan to the best of your ability.”  
If you’d like more information about how Lee Munson can help you spend more time on the mountain and enjoy the lifestyle that you deserve, call him at 505-884-3445.  His email  

Munson talks Star Wars and Diet Apps on Varney

November 26th, 2015 by


Albuquerque financial expert and Chief Investment Officer of Portfolio Wealth Advisors, Lee Munson, was invited by Varney & Co. to discuss the major earnings this week. “I love to get back to New York and talk shop with the crew at Fox Business. This was a Friday, the weather was great in the city, and my kids loved that I got to talk about Star Wars as they relate to Disney earnings,” said Munson after the interview. While New Mexico is his home Munson enjoys the occasional trip to Manhattan to give his opinions in person. “Nothing beats being live on the soundstage to feel the energy and excitement of live TV. Just remember that this is still entertainment and shouldn’t be confused with the long term investing we do for client’s.” While Munson has an eye to his client’s financial goals, he still likes to talk about current market topics. “It’s a great chance to discuss the topic of the day, but then include a little long term thinking people don’t always get from the typical market commentator.” For more information about how Lee helps client’s plan for retirement and spend more time on the mountain, email him at

Lee Munson on changes to Social Security that will hit some hard

November 23rd, 2015 by

Here are Lee Munson’s comments about his appearance on Yahoo Finance this week. “Anytime I get back to New York City I love to sit down and talk with Yahoo Finance about what I’m really passionate about. This week the new federal budget was signed with a surprise announcement about Social Security filing strategies. This was huge.” If you want to learn more about how the new changes to the law will affect your retirement income, contact Lee Munson at

Lee Munson and Liz Claman do a lightning round for fun

November 20th, 2015 by

We asked Lee to tell us a little bit about his interview with Liz Claman on Countdown to the Closing Bell, a Fox Business program on October 23, 2015.

“I’ve been doing interviews with Liz for a while. I started with her show After the Bell. One of the producers called me up and said Liz had a spot to talk about individual stock picks next Friday, would I be interested in joining her. Of course I said yes. While, in general I don’t buy individual stocks from my clients, I do have new clients transfer in securities that they bought elsewhere. What I decided would be the most fun is to pretend that a client just brought me stocks like Amazon, Microsoft, Pandora, and imagine me giving them some advice on what to do. This worked out great. We brought a lot of energy to the segment and for those out there that might find themselves over their head or realize maybe they don’t want to be individual stock pickers, I gave some great advice on how to reduce positions and replace them with low-cost exchange traded funds or index funds. For that, I’m grateful for the opportunity and hope to do it again soon.”

If you want more information about Lee Munson and how he can help you spend more time in the mountain, contact him at


Munson asked by Yahoo Finance to discuss Keystone, Facebook, and Social Security’s secret dealings

November 18th, 2015 by

Albuquerque financial expert and Chief Investment Officer of Portfolio Wealth Advisors, Lee Munson, was asked by Finance Editor in Chief, Andy Sewer, to discuss the top issues this week on Yahoo Finance’s Midday Movers. “This is a great web-based show on the most popular financial website in the country. We get to discuss the topics people are interested, and have the time to get beyond a soundbite usually found on cable TV. The bottom line is that you get time to develop an idea with no commercials cutting you off.” Munson also commented “Andy knows the topics I want to hit and creates the environment to make compelling content.” If you would like to talk to Lee about your financial situation and learn how to spend more time on the mountain, contact him at

Munson and Varney on October 2015 rally

November 16th, 2015 by

Albuquerque Financial expert and chief investment officer of portfolio asset management, Lee Munson, was asked his opinion on the biggest month in four years while on the Fox Business’s Varney & Co. on October 30, 2015. Here are Lee’s post interview thoughts:

“When I was asked by the producers to share my thoughts on what was turning out to be the biggest month in four years of course I jumped at the opportunity. Stuart is a great host and knows the market better than anyone else. You’ve got to remember this guy started the CNN News Division back in 1980. He got an award for his incredible reporting for the crash of 1987. Anytime there is a historic milestone in the market there’s no place I’d rather be than on his show talking about it. One of the things that I wanted to point out as he kept asking me about the market’s big rise was liquidity. Let’s face it, on October 30; small caps were not advancing in the same way as large cap securities. Now for those that don’t know what that means let me put it in plain English. If small caps aren’t leading the rally that means we don’t have enough liquidity to go into those smaller names. Liquidity is like electricity; it’s a thing that keeps the market lights on. Anytime, you see signs of less liquidity by virtue of slower relative momentum in small cap asset classes money managers like me that run globally diversified portfolios start to get a little leery and we might do things like sell stock versus bonds in a perceived bull run to meet our client’s cash flow needs. We also will be a little bit more hesitant about putting new money in the market especially if clients just send you fresh cash. Overall you need to get your money invested, but on that particular day we just wanted to wait a few days to make sure there wasn’t a shoe that was about ready to be dropped, but hey it was Friday. We all had a lot of fun and I cracked a few jokes with Stuart right at the end.”

If you have more information about how Lee Munson can help you spend more time on the mountain and get the cash flow you want to live a great lifestyle, contact him at

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