Category Archives: Business

The Other Path: Illuminating the Path toward Reduced Volatility while Achieving Equity-Type Returns by Robert J. Klosterman CFP

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

The Other PathIn The Other Path, Robert J. Klosterman’s follow-up to The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the author once again offers his astute financial and investment advice. The book’s subtitle, “Illuminating the Path Toward Volatility While Achieving Equity-Type Returns,” is apt, as that is just what Klosterman advocates that investors do to achieve optimal monetary gains with their investment portfolios. Klosterman gets his title from Robert Frost’s famous poem, “The Road Not Taken,” which he quotes at the beginning of The Other Path, a highly interesting book that offers investors insights into a different sort of investment approach than they might be used to, though a very effective one that is designed to aid investors to earn equity-type returns while reducing the volatility that many other investors experience who only try more traditional approaches when it comes to planning their portfolios.

Klosterman’s book, The Other Path, is relatively short, coming in at just 60 pages, not counting the Appendices at the conclusion of it, but his approach to investing which he details in it is one which is very informative. The book is sure to interest and be beneficial to anyone who would like to lower his/her investment risks while maximizing his/her potential monetary returns.

The very title of Klosterman’s book, The Other Path, alludes to an investment strategy, or road, that most people have traditionally followed, which is investing their money entirely in stocks, bonds and cash. Such an approach is a tried-and-true one that has proven beneficial to many investors, but it has also proven to be a sometimes volatile path for others. Investing in stocks, bonds and cash, Klosterman argues, is an important part of an overall investment strategy, though there are other opportunities for diversifying one’s investments and reducing the volatility many portfolios unfortunately undergo, a volatility which can cause the monetary value of one’s portfolio to experience a disastrous nosedive.

Still, the main leg of the milk stool, that is, investing in stocks, bonds and cash, is a vital component in a wise investment strategy, according to Klosterman’s assessment in The Other Path. He calls it the core leg of a metaphorical three-legged milk stool, with each leg in the metaphor referring to a different but complimentary strategy when it comes to investing. If an investor diversifies his/her portfolio and does not solely focus on the main leg of stocks, bonds and cash, but also invests his/her money in nontraditional ways, Klosterman argues, using a series of useful and informative charts and graphs, that one’s portfolio is much less liable to experience a disastrous financial loss and the volatility of one’s portfolio will be reduced.

The second of the three legs of the milk stool is “Diversifiers,” and the third leg is “Absolute Returns.” Klosterman argues that “Diversifiers,” or alternative or nontraditional Investments, help reduce the volatility of an overall investment portfolio. Some examples that the author gives of nontraditional investments include real estate, private equity, “developed and emerging international equities,” distressed debt, and managed futures. These sorts of nontraditional investments can reduce volatility by either having a “very low correlation with traditional markets,” as Klosterman writes, or by delivering “consistent returns year after year, with little or no volatility.”

The third leg of the milk stool, “Absolute Returns,” is also the name of Chapter Four of The Other Path. Absolute returns are investments, according to Klosterman, which “demonstrate the same qualities of a bond with the assurance of return of principle and consistent payment of interest.” The author writes that they are similar to ten-year treasury bonds but “they are not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.” Despite this, Klosterman states that aspect of absolute return vehicles can be considered to be an advantage. That is because strategies involving absolute return vehicles, as the author writes, “can invest in sound ideas and not have to fit restrictions that other institutions have.”

One example is investing in companies that lend money to small businesses and house flippers. These companies can work fast and close loans faster than banks. These companies have the ability to provide quick access to loans for money to people like real estate developers or house flippers, in comparison to banks.

In The Other Path, author Robert J. Klosterman writes about a no-nonsense approach to nontraditional investing and how it can benefit one’s investment portfolio and help reduce volatility. The book also examines and identifies “trouble signs” besides volatility when planning one’s portfolio, like groupthink, market disruptions and inflation. While Klosterman recommends that investors follow the advice of professionals who are experts in planning investment portfolios and have proven track records over at least a decade, The Other Path is an interesting and insightful look at adding nontraditional investments to an individual’s portfolio. Whether investors want and like to plan their investment strategies on their own, or with the advice of professionals, The Other Path is an eye-opening Must Read designed to inform investors of types of alternative investments that can balance out their portfolios and reduce the negative effects of market volatility. It is a book I would highly recommend to anyone who has ever considered expanding their investment portfolios and adding nontraditional investments to them.

Stories of the Indebted by Jorge P. Newbery

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Stories of the IndebtedThe lives of too many Americans are absorbed by debt, becoming prisoners of a vicious cycle from which breaking free is difficult. However, Jorge P. Newbery offers an escape plan in the form of a book, Stories of the Indebted.

Click Here for More Information on Stories of the Indebted

The book is comprised of seven chapters, each revolving around how to handle specific types of debt. Jorge P. Newbery finds an engaging way to present information which can easily be perceived as boring or overly technical for those who are not versed in economics; he uses the art of storytelling to compel and teach the reader. With the help of his characters who seem as real as you and I, he shares their problems and also the solutions to each case. However, do not expect to read any classic success stories; as the author himself realized, these are not as efficient in grabbing the attention as stories about failures. The focus falls on how to rise once you have fallen and how to learn from your (and other people’s) mistakes.

Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newbery

Burn Zones

Reviewed by Ronnie Alvarado

Part memoir, part inspirational story, Jorge P. Newbery’s BURN ZONES: PLAYING LIFE’S BAD HANDS is the true life tale of a modern-day Renaissance man, a self-made success who will stop at nothing to achieve his goals.

Newbery begins his telling with a short introduction informing the reader what he means by the concept of “burn zone.” It is a notion that Newbery borrows from his days of professional cycling, and refers to a period of extended, all-out effort which routinely separates the winners of a competition from those who finish behind them. It a metaphor that Newbery adopts throughout his book, using it to describe the various obstacles that he and his loved ones faced on the road to success.

The Four Horsemen of the Investor’s Apocalypse: The Four Evils That Will Crush Your Portfolio, and How to Fight Them by Robert J. Klosterman, CFP

The Four Horsemen of the Investor's Apocalypse: The four evils that will crush your portfolio, and how to fight them

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

The Four Horsemen of the Investor’s Apocalypse by Robert J. Klosterman, CFP, is a book that all investors should read and learn from, as it deals with four of the deadliest hindrances to investors finding success in their efforts to preserve wealth and maintain growth over time. The book is rightly subtitled “The Four Evils That Will Crush Your Portfolio, and How to Fight Them,” because the four hindrances that Klosterman details have often caused the best laid plans of investors to go terribly astray.

Compass: Creating Exceptional Organizations: A Leader’s Guide by William F. Brandt, Jr.

Compass

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Compass, subtitled “Creating Exceptional Organizations: A Leader’s Guide,” by William F. Brandt, Jr., is a how-to guide for business leaders. It provides the principles, processes, and tools business leaders need to build what the author refers to as “Exceptional Organizations.” What’s more, Compass is filled with lessons that provide business leaders the education, training, and tools that are necessary to support change and progress.

William F. Brandt declares right from the start of Compass that capitalism, whose premise is that “the pursuit of self-interest not only the individual but society,” is a good thing. But, the author believes that capitalism “does have its limitations,” and that sometimes if companies zealously pursue their own self-interests, the result can be that they may hurt their own stockholders and “disrupt the world financial markets.” Brandt suggests that businesses can be very successful through both pursuing their own self-interests, while at the same time expressing their “concern for others.”

The Inner World of Money: Taking Control of Your Financial Decisions and Behaviors by Marty Martin

The Inner World of Money Reviewed by Teri Davis

“Taking financial responsibility ain’t for sissies.”

How many of us have ever considered exploring a college-level economics class to discover the brilliance of those who have become financially successful in this every changing world? Have you ever felt intimidated by business gurus or have your eyes glaze over when anyone mentions the word economics?

This particular text, The Inner World of Money, deals with the daily decisions that directly affect our financial success, both now and in the future.

The use of psychology with financial choices allows an understanding how each of us spends money. This is helpful in discovering our own financial identity. This particular “scheme” is important for each of us individually to know what our personal tendencies are in order to better plan and to achieve your financial goals.

Dr. Martin also discusses the problems of buying on credit and using credit cards. With credit cards, he chooses to call them debt cards, which is not to be confused with debit cards. He strongly emphasizes the importance of seeing the charged amount as a “debt” rather than a payment which over time will eventually pay for the item but with considerable costs to the financial institution. He also shows the true cost of buying a home and the cost paid out depending on the interest amount or the variable amount. With the recent economic changes, this is an area that needs to be closely monitored and considered.

The author strongly promotes the value of a college education but a concern I have regards the student loans and the changing situation with our country’s present situation. For college grads who cannot find employment, the student loans for their college education can be an overwhelming burden. In the past, he shows that a college degree pays for itself over time, however, recently, especially in the area of law schools, many graduating lawyers are not getting jobs and even suing universities for misleading them, not to mention the amount owed in student loans.

Marketing Concepts That Win! Save Time, Money and Work Crafting Concepts Right the First Time by Martha Guidry

Marketing Concepts That WinReviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

There’s nothing more vital to having a successful winning product that will improve your bottom line than having a winning marketing concept. All too often, products that have been promoted and hyped as being the “next big thing” have fallen on their faces because of having a poor marketing concept. Examples the author brings up include New Coke and McDonald’s Arch Deluxe Hamburger. An example the author mentions of a product that got the idea of having a good marketing concept right is McDonald’s McCafe, that has successfully competed against brands such as Starbuck’s. If you are interested in improving your product’s image and increasing your sales, you owe it to yourselves to get, read, and study Martha Guidry’s latest book, Marketing Concepts That Win! One of the best aspects about Marketing Concepts That Win is that Guidry provides excellent examples and case studies throughout her book, and she offers tips, tools, and useful advice to help her readers refine the concept they’ve come up with so that potential consumers identify with the product more. For instance, Chapter 8, “Reason To Believe,” gets into the importance of the reason to believe, or RTB, to a product’s promise to the consumer.

RTBs are often built up over time, and it’s basically a combination of the branding of a product and its motto or other aspects of a company that have stood the test of time and which the public associates the company/product with. RTBs make the public look more favorably towards a new product companies come up with based on a belief system about the company’s track record and branding over the years. What the author terms “brand equity” plays a substantial part in this development of RTBs, as with Smucker’s slogan “With a name like Smucker’s, it has to be good,” or Apple’s image among consumers as being “hip, cool, easy-to-use,” and having “innovative approaches to technology.”

Chapter 4 goes into what the five basic elements are that comprise a concept: a headline, an ACB (accepted consumer belief), it’s benefit to the consumer, the RTB, and an effective wrap-up. It’s a very useful and informative chapter that analyzes what elements make the difference between a good concept and mediocre ones. With Martha Guidry’s guidance, you can learn how to formulate the concepts to sell your products to the widest audience possible.