Monday, February 22, 2016

Nice Gig if You Can Get It

NPR linguist Geoff Nunberg, recently anointed the noun “GIG” as the word of the year. Whether you’re a business owner, full-time “monogamous” employee or independent contractor, you’re affected by our increasingly on-demand economy aka, the “1099 economy”, “peer-to-peer economy”, or “freelance nation.” According to the Financial Times our work will be less secure, but a lot more exciting in the future since we have the freedom to make our own schedule and hours, pick the projects that interest us, work from anywhere and try our hands at different trades.

But most of you reading this blog already know about what Nunberg calls "solopreneurs" and "free range humans" with "portfolio careers." You’re entrepreneurs or at least intra-preneurs for your organizations.  Many of you run your own financial advisory practices, media properties or professional associations. You have built your enterprises by hiring the past and brightest independent contractors you can find. In most cases you pay them well, treat them well and refer them well.

If you’re a wealth advisor, chances are your overhead is pretty low, but your earnings are quite high, since you bring in CPAs, estate planning attorneys, tax specialists, planned giving officers and more, depending on each client’s case. If you’re running a media property, you keep the full-time staff low and bring in designers, content shapers, web gurus, social media specialists, independent sales reps, videographers and production people as needed. If you’re running a trade association, you’re full-time staff is low, but you’re a master at wearing multiple hats and bringing in highly talented volunteers and centers of influence from your industry to help on any task imaginable.

See my latest Corner Office profile of Betsy Monseu of The American Coal Council for more on the joys of wearing multiple hats.

 As our client Gary Klaben, of Coyle Financial Counsel posted last week, “The idea is to team up with people who complement your skill set. Don’t try to do it all yourself. In today’s Internet age, it’s never been easier or less expensive to find highly qualified specialists for every task imaginable and to put together a great team.”


Figure out what you really do best (and like to do best) and leave the rest to the experts. You’ll get more done in less time and have more hours in the day for your friends, family and passions. Who knows, one of those passions may turn into your next Gig!

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TAGS: Gig Economy, solopreneur, Betsy Monseu, American Coal Council, Gary Klaben, Coyle Financial Counsel, portfolio careers, Geoff Nunberg, NPR

Friday, February 12, 2016

Can Anyone Explain the Suspicious Market Sell-Off Since Jan 1?

Like many of you, we’ve been fielding lots of questions lately about stock market turmoil and the global economic slump. While we work with many talented financial advisors and wealth managers, we’re not licensed financial advisors ourselves and don’t pretend to be.

Maybe some of you who are can
help explain what’s going on.

From where we sit as individual savers and investors, things shouldn’t be all that bad. To no one’s surprise, The Fed finally raised interest rates a little in early December and it didn’t cause a market meltdown. Throughout 2015, the Middle East remained highly unstable, the Chinese economy slowed dramatically, oil prices plummeted, corporate earnings in the U.S. were mediocre, and the U.S. dollar rose consistently against most other major currencies thus, making our exports more expensive.

OK. We get it.

But what’s really changed since Jan 1?  All these factors were at play long before the calendar flipped over to a new year and most U.S. stock indices ended 2015 flat +/- 1 percent. Why are we down about 10 percent already this year, the worst start to a new year in history?

We’re also confused because the domestic economy—while not great—hasn’t had a single quarter of declining GDP. We believe you need two of those in a row to have a recession, right? Also, the jobless rate fell to an 8-year low of 4.9 percent and the past six months were the best extended period for employee paychecks since the recovery began 6-1/2 years ago. Housing supply reached the lowest level since 2005 and the “quit rate” hit a 9 year high–that’s the percentage of workers who quit their jobs voluntarily to take a new job or who have the confidence to find a new job soon after leaving. Finally, with oil prices at such low levels, shouldn’t U.S. consumers be benefitting from much cheaper prices at the pump and much lower home heating bills?


Again, these are concerns of rational, individual (i.e. non-professional) investors and savers. Please
contact us directly if you can share any light from the trenches. We’d love to hear from you.

Have a great Valentine’s Day. Be thankful for the one’s you love.

Our blog and website has more about this and related topics.

bear market, recession, volatility, stock market