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Archive for Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Financial advisers suggest how to invest a windfall (however unlikely)

April 21, 2009

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It’s your lucky day.

The Kansas Lottery scratch-off ticket you just bought awarded you $1,000.

Or maybe it’s less dramatic, and you just were frugal enough to scrape together some savings.

Now what?

Assuming your consumer confidence is still low and you don’t go out and spend your winnings, three Lawrence financial experts were willing to offer some advice on what you could do in today’s recessionary economy.

There are a lot of things to consider.

Among those considerations are your age, what investments you already have and your financial situation, said Charles Lemmon, president of Crown Select Financial Advisors Inc., 708 W. Ninth St. In general, though, he suggests parking your dough in money markets or six-month certificates of deposit.

“Hopefully that’s short-term,” he said. “You don’t want to tie it up very long with their low interest rates, but it’s very difficult right now. Everything is just too shaky.”

‘Cash is king’

Lemmon isn’t a fan of bond investments right now, either.

“I have bond mutual fund managers who are industry stalwarts who tell me they don’t even look at the rating services on bonds,” he said. “They don’t trust them. They do it (research) all themselves.”

There will be some opportunities come out of the markets, but for now “cash is king,” Lemmon said.

If you are young, say in your 20s, now is the time to be aggressive in buying stocks because prices have dropped so low, said Garth Terlizzi, of LPL Financial Services Inc., 900 Mass. If you are older and near or in retirement, you need to be conservative, he said.

“I still think there are some good stocks out there right now that pay good dividends that are suitable for retirement people and that also would get into more income-producing items,” Terlizzi said.

‘Hard assets’

But another financial adviser was more pessimistic.

The national economy is so bad now that any extra money should be placed in “hard assets” such as physical gold and silver, said Rich Lorenzo of Berthel Fisher Co., 3310 Mesa Way.

“Potentially I think there’s a chance the financial system has some serious systematic risk and that it could collapse,” Lorenzo said. “Our paper dollar system could collapse, and gold and silver will still have value.”

In early March, at the time this story was written, gold prices were well over $900 a troy ounce. Silver was a little over $13 an ounce.

Lorenzo thinks gold prices should be even higher.

“I think somebody is manipulating the price,” he said.

Lorenzo recommended putting 60 percent of your new money in silver and 40 percent in gold.

“I’m not a doom and gloom guy; that’s not my nature, and that’s not what I’m about,” he said. “But the things I’m seeing — all this printing of money by our government and bailout after bailout — it’s disgusting.”

Gold and silver can be purchased at coin shops as well as some long-time reputable Web sites, Lorenzo said.

Owning gold and silver on paper only is like “holding garbage,” he said.

Lorenzo, Lemmon and Terlizzi said their advice wouldn’t change if the amount to be invested involved larger sums, such as $5,000 or $10,000.

“Those probably aren’t a large portion of anybody’s net worth,” Terlizzi said. “Depending on their needs in cash over the next few years, I’d invest in the stock market.”

Before somebody puts that money in stocks, they should consider whether they are going to need to buy a car or take care of other major expenses, such as replacing the house roof, Terlizzi said.

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