AWM Blog

Does building green make financial sense? (published in the Santa Barbara News Press in July of 2009)

Green building has gained in popularity over the past few years.  Just about any new building, whether residential, office, or commercial, will have green features, either because they are mandated by the state or federal government, or because they are believed to be cost-saving in the long-run, and good for the environment.  But are they really either of these? First, we need to understand that while it is possible to…

Is it really different in Santa Barbara? (published in the Santa Barbara News Press in February of 2009)

I moved to Santa Barbara from La Jolla about seven years ago, and one of the first things I heard when looking at real estate was that it’s different here in Santa Barbara.  When other markets experience price declines, I was told, Santa Barbara just keeps right on going.  So, with the recent real estate debacle and accompanying price declines and resultant global recession, I thought it would be interesting…

Removing mark-to-market accounting rules is the exact opposite of what we should do (published in the Santa Barbara News Press in February of 2009)

Mark-to-market accounting is essential to our financial system, and to the health of our economy.  Recently, many have called for relaxing or the complete abandonment of mark-to-market accounting rules.  They feel that the only way to get us out of the financial calamity we find ourselves in today is to remove the requirement that firms place the correct value of assets like mortgage-backed securities held by banks, on their financial…

Limiting Executive Compensation is a Bad Idea (published in the Santa Barbara News Press in February of 2009)

Limiting executive compensation is a bad idea.  This week President Obama announced that a limit of $500,000 will be placed on executive compensation for any company that took government bailout money from the $700 billion TARP fund.  In his speech, Obama stated, “We all need to take responsibility.  And this includes executives at major financial firms who turned to the American people, hat in hand, when they were in trouble,…

An Historic Opportunity (published in the Santa Barbara News Press on February 28, 2009)

I am a student of history, whether it’s the history of the stock market, the economy, the country, the development of civilization, politics, or just about any other subject.  I believe very strongly that by studying history, we can learn to better deal with the present, and the future.  I believe this because history, as with the present and the future, is driven by human behavior, and people don’t change. …

Tis the Season (published in the Santa Barbara News Press in December of 2009)

With all of the financial turmoil we have experienced over the past year or so, many of us find ourselves asking a lot of questions, such as: What should I do about my portfolio? Should I have my will, trust, and other financial documents reviewed by an attorney?  How should I evaluate the performance of my investments over the past year, three years, or five years?  Do I have a…

To convert or not to convert: Special circumstances for taxation of Roth IRAs may make conversion a good idea (for some) (published in the Santa Barbara News Press in December of 2009)

With the recent “Great Recession,” we have seen many individuals losing their jobs in and around Santa Barbara.  Our most recent data from November 2009 shows 19,900 people unemployed in the county, which represents an 8.9 percent unemployment rate.  While we are still doing better than the state of California at 12.3 percent unemployment and the nation at 10 percent, having this large number of people unemployed is certainly placing…

The New Healthcare Bill (HR 3200) Will Raise Taxes on High-income Earners (published in the Santa Barbara News Press in August of 2009)

The new healthcare bill (HR 3200), “America’s Affordable Healthcare Choices Act of 2009,” promises to provide every American with affordable quality healthcare and to control healthcare cost growth.  The Democrats who drafted and support the legislation point to provisions in the bill that would build on what works in today’s health care system and fixes the parts that are broken, protect current coverage–allowing individuals to keep the insurance they have…

Should we worry about a double-dip recession? (Published in the Santa Barbara News Press in August of 2009)

The possibility of a double-dip recession has been raised in the financial press and media lately, but is this a real possibility?  Ironically, the fact that the stock market has rallied from the March lows by more than 50 percent, and that investor sentiment has jumped dramatically, may have actually increased the likelihood of a double-dip recession.  So what is a double-dip recession anyway?  The term “double-dip” refers to the…