The Glass is Half Full
Good Financial News - for People and Businesses - in Uncertain Times
October, 2008 - Issue #48
Local business and finance experts share their take on why, when it comes to a down-turned economy, there's a silver lining

Time to Capitalize on Unique Opportunities
"While the current economic environment may look dismal, keep in mind that opportunities only look like opportunities in retrospect. When you understand that the glass is constantly changing in both shape and size, it will help you to see that now is the time to capitalize on the unique situation we find ourselves in. Look around at your industry. Is the economic downturn forcing competitors out of the market? That creates an opportunity for you to grab market share. How about rising unemployment? Is that bad economic news? No, it is an opportunity to recruit highly skilled employees. The companies that will thrive in this stretch are those that can redefine themselves and find new ways of doing things." ~James D. Hicken, president and CEO, Bank of Santa Clarita 362-6000

Great Deals on Undervalued Stocks
"With regard to the financial industry, the glass is definitely half full - and for those looking to invest, it might just 'runneth over.' One of the most unfortunate bi-products of the bad decisions made by a few banks is a significant decline in the value of financial industry stocks. While it is disheartening to watch these values fall, there is an upside. Many of these stocks are now extremely undervalued. There are bargains to be had throughout the industry and with just a little research into a bank's past performance, great buys can and will be made. Never forget that millionaires are made during difficult times." ~ Tamara Gurney, president and CEO, Mission Valley Bank 775-4111

No-risk, High-interest Savings Options
"During these tough economic times, there are a few insurance companies that have created some very innovative financial products to help conservative investors grow their nest-egg with no market risk. The investor is able to preserve their principal savings while still earning very attractive interest during upside market growth. Interest credited can be based on the S&P 500 growth, with no downside market risk, earning at worst 0 percent when the market goes down. No loss is positive, so "zero" is your hero! You can also earn a very competitive, steady interest rate, choosing between the two crediting methods to keep your portfolio well-balanced." ~ Stacey Parnum, owner, Parnum Financial 255-5850

Market Volatility Promotes 401(k) Awareness, Education and Action
"Recent volatility of the financial markets is causing concern for many investors and retirees. However, personal attention to finances can be the catalyst for positive change. Many of us have been guilty of financial procrastination. In times of financial uncertainty, your personal financial adviser will be a great resource to educate you in identifying areas for opportunity you may have overlooked. A common area of neglect is 401(k) allocations, especially forgotten accounts with former employers." ~ Scott R. Alexander, MBA, president and CEO, Alexander Financial Group 295-8338

Community Banks Stay Strong
"The bad news for community banks is that they are being painted with the same brush as bigger banks mired in the sub-prime mess. The average net interest margin for a bank with assets $100 million to $1 billion fell by 3.82 percent in the fourth quarter, down from 3.97 percent the prior year. But the good news is that community banks aren't doing as poorly as their bigger counterparts. They are much more flexible and have not seen (in most cases) as much equity volatility. According to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, community banks appear to be doing a good job managing their risk in an environment of rising interest rates. 'Community banks are doing quite well, and I expect that performance to continue,' the Fed chief said." ~ Kris Hough, regional vice president, SCVBank 255-9250

Revitalize your Career
"Many companies have found themselves struggling in the declined economy. They've made the tough move to release valued employees, many of whom have years of tenure. Has this happened to you? Reinventing your career and finding a new home for your talents is certainly a daunting challenge, but many times, it leads to a great new opportunity. Perhaps you would never have taken the bold step forward, but maybe you've been unhappy or bored for years, no longer challenged or appreciated. Assess your capabilities, take inventory of your skills, and charge forward to a new career marketplace." ~ Susan Reynolds, Senior Partner and President of New Market Careers 702-1345
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