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May 2017 Newsletter - Memorial Day Edition

Posted by Doug Kinsey on May 26, 2017 12:30:47 PM

Macro Overview – May 2017

Fiscal policy has taken center stage as President Trump’s tax proposals will begin a drawn out process for legislative approval. Individuals, small businesses, and large corporations are expected to benefit from the various proposals. Geopolitical risks weighed on global financial markets during early April as investors sought fixed income. Regardless, global equity markets achieved higher levels as confidence returned. French voters are a focal point in the international markets as they decide the probable fate of the European Union (EU) and the euro’s acceptance. A leading candidate, Marine Le Pen, is an advocate of France exiting the EU, which the British voted for last year. Mexico and Canada breathed a sigh of relief as President Trump suggested that perhaps the U.S. could renegotiate NAFTA rather than abandoning it. Trade has been a leading agenda item for the President as suggestions to impose tariffs on imports has raised anger among U.S. trading partners. Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. dollar has actually fallen after recent Fed rate hikes. Some economists see this as a signal that rates may actually stay close to where they are and not rise much until stronger economic numbers are in. The Fed gave no indication of slowing tightening plans this year, even though U.S. economic growth slowed to 0.7% in the first quarter of 2017, the slowest quarter in three years. Consumer sentiment, though, remained at elevated levels in April as the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index rose again. It is up 9% from April 2016 to April 2017. The S&P 500 Index finished up 5.5% during President Trump’s first 100 days in office. Timing has become a must when achieving an attractive first 100 days. Roosevelt began his term in the midst of the depression with a rebounding market from collapse in 1933, while Bush saw his first 100 days during the middle of the dot-com bust. (Sources: Eurostat, S&P, Bloomberg, Fed, Univ. of Michigan)

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Topics: Financial Planning

Savvy Cybersecurity Alert: Worldwide Ransomware Attack Under Way

Posted by Doug Kinsey on May 15, 2017 9:25:30 AM

May 12, 2017


The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) was hit with a ransomware attack this morning affecting nearly 20 hospitals. The malware locked patient files causing the hospitals to divert emergency patients to unaffected hospitals. The same ransomware is responsible for shutting down Spain’s telecommunication firm, Telefonica.
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Topics: Savvy Cybersecurity

Savvy Cybersecurity March 2017 Edition

Posted by Doug Kinsey on Apr 21, 2017 9:47:02 AM

In this issue:

  • CIA's Vault 7 and How to Hack-Proof Your Devices
  • Emerging threats: FAFSA tool brought offline after criminal activity, ransomware hitting Macs, and more
  • Cybersecurity shorts: Russians charged in Yahoo breach, 99% of Android users are vulnerable to security attacks, and more
  • Software updates
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Topics: Savvy Cybersecurity

First Quarter 2017 Market Review

Posted by Doug Kinsey on Apr 18, 2017 10:36:54 AM

Our quarterly review of the markets is complete and ready for your review.  You may read it by clicking here.

As always, let us know if you have any questions.
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Topics: Investments

Savvy Cybersecurity February 2017 Edition

Posted by Doug Kinsey on Mar 13, 2017 12:30:55 PM

In this issue:

  • New Tax Season, New Tax Frauds
  • Emerging threats: Can you hear me? scam and a new form of skimming
  • Cybersecurity shorts: President Trump's cell phone, a hotel chain breach, last year's cost of identity theft, and more
  • Software updates

Welcome to the February 2017 edition of the Savvy Cybersecurity newsletter. As always, this month was full of cybersecurity happenings—from a fast food restaurant breach to a police station hit with ransomware.

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Savvy Cybersecurity January 2017 Edition

Posted by Doug Kinsey on Feb 17, 2017 5:18:05 PM
 In this issue:
  • ‘Cardless ATM’ technology leads to major fraud 
  • Emerging threats: Netflix and Gmail phishing attacks
  • Cybersecurity shorts: Tax refund delays, the danger of a peace-sign selfie, a WhatsApp scam, and much more

“Cardless ATM” technology leads to major fraud

Kristina Markula’s Cancun vacation may have left her feeling refreshed—but a fraud left her bank account dry. Markula returned home to find nearly $3,000 missing. According to her conversation with security expert Brian Krebs, Markula tried to log into her Chase banking app while on vacation via the hotel Wi-Fi but was denied access. Thinking it was because she was in a new location, she continued her vacation without worry. However, when she returned home to San Francisco,

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Buckets or Pies?

Posted by Doug Kinsey on Jan 25, 2017 1:34:34 PM


As fee-only financial planners, the overriding concern we hear from people approaching retirement is “will I have enough to live on?”  Followed closely by “how can you make my money grow, without exposing it to a lot of risk?”  After the dramatic economic downturn in 2008, even the most confident investors can become a bit skittish when they think about relying on their investments for the next 20 or 30 years. 

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Topics: Retirement Planning

Financial Planning - Will Taxes or Probate Costs Reduce Your Estate?

Posted by Doug Kinsey on Jan 18, 2017 10:57:33 AM

Safeguarding the future of your loved ones is one of the most important parts of what effective Financial Planning is all about. Unfortunately, however, when you don't have a financial advisor who is on your side, chances are that your heirs and beneficiaries will receive only part of your estate. This is because the rest will go towards taxes and administrative costs that can center around commissions or other charges calculated as a percentage of your total assets. True fee-only Financial Advisors don't accept commissions or compensation based on product sales or other related costs. This means you get more comprehensive advice because they don't have to choose between what's best for you or what's best for them. Why is this so important in helping you minimize estate shrinkage and allowing you to achieve your lifetime personal goals?

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Topics: Financial Planning

Financial Planning Shifts: What Will the Next Four Years Look Like?

Posted by Doug Kinsey on Dec 1, 2016 2:12:59 PM

Every time the Presidency changes from Republican to Democrat or vice versa, the American public expects shifts in national fiduciary policy. That being said, we had a recent election, and President-Elect Donald Trump has now proposed many new policies, including adjustments to federal tax rates. He proposes, for example, eliminating the head-of-household exemption, which would impact single parents. Since we live in a period of flux, it's a good time to consider how to shift our financial planning goals, especially if our current investments aren't meeting our needs.

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Topics: Financial Planning

Happy Thanksgiving to our Clients and Friends

Posted by Doug Kinsey on Nov 23, 2016 9:48:01 AM


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Topics: Thanksgiving

Welcome to the Artifex Navigator

Commentary on the world of finance, and other things

We at Artifex believe in enhancing the wisdom of our clients and readers.  While most of our topics will be related to investments, personal finance, and the economy, we also endeavor to include thought-provoking commentary on topics that will help you expand your "mental models", as referred to by Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet. We want you to learn from us and others how to think logically and see the world through an informed lens.

Some of our regular topics include:

  • Monthly "Savvy Cybersecurity" updates with tips to keep your data safe
  • Economic and market commentary
  • Financial planning and investment management best practices
  • Thoughts to improve your mindset and your life
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