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February 2010 Archives

MarkFischer_LL.JPGMost people evaluate money managers from their past returns, but it is easy to get into trouble doing this. Here are some of the potential problems:

1. Future returns. If you and many other investors buy a mutual fund that has recently experienced exceptional returns, that fund will be flooded with cash. In a rising stock market that low-paying cash will drag down future investment returns.

2. Taxes. Furthermore, you will potentially be liable for taxes on past gains if your fund is not in a tax-sheltered retirement account. As your fund sells its holdings (and stock funds on average sell 80-95% of their investments each year), you become liable for your share of capital gains from those sales.


Headliners Walter Mondale and Larry Jacobs large version.jpgSince World War II, the U.S. has been locked in a constitutional crisis over the authority and roles of the legislative and executive branches, precipitating intense disputes over the competing priorities of national security and American laws and values. With many crucial challenges facing the country, policy-makers must carefully weigh the consequences of their choice of action--diplomacy, international coalitions, constructive engagement, covert action, military force. But who decides which strategies are in the country's best interest? Who really makes national security policy?

The February 4 Headliners explored this topic in an open forum featuring long-time public servant, Vice President Walter Mondale and Larry Jacobs, director of the Center of the Study of Politics and Governance at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

Listen to the audio online or download an mp3 file of their talk.

Donna_Bennett.JPGThe following quote by Martha Graham is a beautiful testimony to embracing your uniqueness:

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.
Martha Graham, quoted by Agnes DeMille, Martha: The Life and Work of Martha Graham

What is your expression of uniqueness? What is it about you that is like no other? Is this the time to go deep, to take stock, to take a close look at your gifts, your strengths?

The combination of all that you are makes you unique. There is not another person who is exactly like you. You need only to measure up to one person - and that is you.


Katherine_and_Elizabeth_Hirsh.jpgNew Year's is over and for many of us personal development is starting to feel more like a chore than an adventure. You might be feeling a little weary yourself, wondering if personal growth is some slick notion cooked up by self-help gurus to make you feel guilty for not being "more" - more enlightened, more patient, more fit, more perfect, etc. We feel your pain. Perhaps it's time to reconsider what self-discovery means to you as well as re-tool the way you go about it. Are you creating opportunities for growth that feel right for you and bring a smile to your face? Or have you inadvertently put effort in front of joy? How you go about your development will affect whether it's fun and rewarding or just something that you believe you're supposed to do. Take a look at the lists below and consider how you might reinvigorate your self-discovery process, knowing that if you enjoy yourself, you're likely to keep at it. It's all about making the journey your own - you can't do this wrong!


Thumbnail image for catherine_watson.jpgIt was the last night of Mexico City's winter festival a year ago, and I'd gone to the Zocalo - the great plaza that has always been the city's heart - for one more glimpse of its giant ice-skating rink and the brilliant tapestries of Christmas lights on the surrounding buildings.

The festival ended with a literal bang - a giant fireworks display with fiery rockets and rainbow-colored stars exploding from the rooftops, followed by thousands of balloons drifting up into the darkness. As they faded, the full moon rose, its light like molten silver.

Thousands of people had watched the finale - teenagers, young couples, whole families from tiny children to grandparents, everybody bundled against the kind of cold weather that any Minnesota would call spring.