Sun Current http://current.mnsun.com Local News for Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina and Richfield Minnesota Sun, 01 Feb 2015 03:59:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 DWI arrests spike during Super Bowl weekend, ‘take the safe way, not the highway,’ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/dwi-arrests-spike-during-super-bowl-weekend-take-the-safe-way-not-the-highway/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/dwi-arrests-spike-during-super-bowl-weekend-take-the-safe-way-not-the-highway/#comments Sun, 01 Feb 2015 03:50:15 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=142984 by Joe Perovich

Murphy News

 

It’s been a two-week whirlwind for the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks – the storm before the calm. Press conferences that shouldn’t have happened did happen, and questions that should have been answered weren’t answered.

The disputes have since quieted, and both teams plan on making smart decisions on and off the field this weekend for the big game.

 

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) and former Minnesota Viking great Chuck Foreman encouraged Minnesotans to do the same.

 

They convened in St. Paul on Thursday for a press conference to raise the public awareness of an increasing trend in DWI arrests during the weekend of the big game.

 

“In the past 10 years, DWIs have spiked 24 percent during Super Bowl weekend compared to the weekend before, and 18 percent compared to the following weekend,” Office of Traffic Safety director Donna Berger said. “If you’re not fit to drive, make the right choice.”

 

DPS reports preliminary figures from 2014 indicate DWI arrests declined for the 13th consecutive year, but 190 motorists on average are arrested for DWI’s on Super Bowl Sundays.

 

Extra DWI patrols are scattered throughout the state’s 25 most dangerous counties this weekend, determined to catch drunk drivers in the midst of their unfortunate, ill-advised decision.

 

“The last thing we’d want to have happen is someone to be pulled over for drunk driving – or worse – have a life-altering event,” Minnesota State Patrol lieutenant Bob Zak said.

 

Foreman enjoyed three Super Bowl appearances during his NFL playing career, all of which taught him the importance of exhibiting responsibility and restraint in the face of distractions.

 

Take the safe way and not the highway, he said.

 

“I had a lot of fun playing in three Super Bowl, and there were some parties out there that we went to. We had to be smart about what we did,” Foreman said. “I knew if I made the wrong choice, I risked not only fumbling away my career, but possibly my life or someone else’s life.”

A person who gets behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above is by definition, driving while impaired. A DWI offense can result in a loss of license for up to a year, thousands of dollars in costs and potential jail time.

 

“If you’re not fit to drive, make the right choice after the game and crash at your friend’s house and not on the road,” Berger said.

 

Foreman showed self-control in the three, separate instances in which he was at the Super Bowl – so a partygoer in Hennepin County on Sunday night should be able to do the same.

Joe Perovich is a journalism student at the University of Minnesota.

 

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Richfield supports transferring control of inter-district magnet schools http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/richfield-supports-transferring-control-of-inter-district-magnet-schools/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/richfield-supports-transferring-control-of-inter-district-magnet-schools/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 16:05:13 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=142793 The Richfield School Board voiced its approval Tuesday, Jan. 20, for a fundamental change to the organization that provides guidance in the district’s mission of equity.

The inter-district West Metro Education Program, to which Richfield belongs, has two prongs to its mission – to aid districts in developing initiatives regarding diversity and equity, and to educate students at two magnet schools, one in downtown Minneapolis and one in Crystal. The schools are called Fine Arts Interdisciplinary Resource schools.

The program’s Joint Powers Board, which includes Richfield Boardmember Todd Nollenberger and Richfield Supt. Steve Unowsky, is considering a conveyance that would hand management of those school over to the Minneapolis and Robbinsdale school districts, respectively. The WMEP board has voiced near-unanimous approval for the plan, Nollenberger said.

The Richfield School Board followed suit by unanimously voting to support the plan after the WMEP board asked member districts to make non-binding votes on the resolution.

Since the state created the schools, it takes approval at the legislative level for the conveyance to go forward. The WMEP board is yet to take a formal vote on the resolution.

However, the WMEP board has named preferences regarding how the FAIR schools will be run in the future. The board is stipulating that the schools retain their status as inter-district magnet schools and that busing remains open to students attending the 11 districts that are part of WMEP. Fewer than 30 students from Richfield attend the schools, which have a total enrollment of 943, according to Nollenberger.

Parents raised concerns earlier this month that the new possible arrangement would fundamentally downgrade their students’ experience. They lined up during a listening session this month to defend the schools’ value.

“What I took away from the listening session,” Nollenberger said, “was a great deal of consternation on the part of parents and students, a significant amount of fear of change, and what I heard was a conviction that the schools will not be the same when they’re being operated by Robbinsdale and Minneapolis.”

Nollenberger added, though, that superintendents from Minneapolis and Robbinsdale districts have clearly stated the schools would be run the same as they are now.

Benefit to Richfield?

The district devotes a disproportionate amount of its resources to WMEP, Unowsky said. Both he and Nollenberger attend at least one WMEP board meeting a month, if not two, he said, even though so few students from Richfield attend the FAIR schools. Proportionally, that schedule would be the same as attending 300 meetings per month in support of 1,000 students, Unowsky illustrated.

In addition to freeing up that time to focus on home districts, some in WMEP believe dispossessing the two schools in question could improve WMEP’s ability to fulfill its mission of providing professional equity training to districts. Unowsky said this is where Richfield gets the most value from WMEP.

The role of program as an educator of the educators is not in question, Unowsky said. What member districts have doubted is whether the FAIR schools themselves are fulfilling their mission as an incubator for new approaches in education that can benefit standalone districts.

“The WMEP board has come to the conclusion that WMEP should be out of the school business,” Nollenberger said.

But that is not, he said, a reflection of the students’ individual experiences at the schools. Nollenberger was not questioning whether individual students at the FAIR schools are having positive experiences.

As for the disproportionate amount of time Unowsky and Nollenberger are spending on WMEP, the only way to alleviate that is for WMEP to convey the FAIR schools or for Richfield to vote to leave WMEP. That, however, means Richfield would lose the equity services of the program, which Unowsky called a “significant part of our vision.”

Contact Andrew Wig at andrew.wig@ecm-inc.com or follow him on Twitter @RISunCurrent

 
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Richfield’s Wellens, Voigt earn wrestling titles http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/richfields-wellens-voigt-earn-wrestling-titles/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/richfields-wellens-voigt-earn-wrestling-titles/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 01:02:54 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=142979 Two Richfield wrestlers brought home individual titles from the Spectrum Invite Jan. 23.

Richfield’s Christian Wellens controls his 152-pound Benilde-St. Margaret’s wrestling opponent during the  Spartans’ Metro West Conference dual meet loss to the Red Knights. Wellens and teammate Patrick Voigt were individual champions at the Spectrum Invite Jan. 23. (Photo by Mark Trockman-trockstock.com)

Richfield’s Christian Wellens controls his 152-pound Benilde-St. Margaret’s wrestling opponent during the Spartans’ Metro West Conference dual meet loss to the Red Knights. Wellens and teammate Patrick Voigt were individual champions at the Spectrum Invite Jan. 23. (Photo by Mark Trockman-trockstock.com)

Patrick Voigt won the 138-pound title and Christian Wellens was champion at 152 pounds. Those two Spartan wrestlers have each won over 20 matches this season.

Richfield entered seven wrestlers in the tournament and all of those Spartan competitors placed in the invitational. Michael Duque (170) and Joe Williams (195) placed third in their respective weight classes.

Placing fourth were Sebastian Moore (113) and Kendall Sandifer (132). Evan Ekholm finished sixth at 145.

“We finished fifth out of 10 teams in the meet and that was quite an accomplishment because we had only seven wrestlers competing,” said Richfield coach Carl Maiers. “All seven of them placed and did a good job in the tournament.

“I am seeing a lot of improvement from our wrestlers. Voigt and Wellens have been really tough.”

Chanhassen defeated Richfield 47-10 in a Metro West Conference dual meet Jan. 22. Moore recorded a major decision at 113 and Connor Swetala had a pin at 120.

Swetala placed second at 113 in a ninth-grade regional tournament hosted by Richfield Jan. 24. His high finish earned him a berth in the state tournament Saturday, Jan. 31, at Champlin Park.

Sam Hernandez was third at 145. Alonso Chavez-Saros finished fifth at 126.

Richfield will travel to Robbinsdale Cooper for a Metro West dual meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29. The junior varsity match begins at 6 p.m.

Contact Greg Kleven at greg.kleven@ecm-inc.com

 
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Richfield Nordic skiers show improvement http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/richfield-nordic-skiers-show-improvement/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/richfield-nordic-skiers-show-improvement/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 00:59:25 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=142976 Richfield’s boys Nordic ski squad finished fifth in a Metro West Conference skate meet Jan. 21 at Wirth Park in Minneapolis.

Stephen Peterson has been one of the top performers for the Richfield boys Nordic ski squad this season. (Photo courtesy of Marci Matson)

Stephen Peterson has been one of the top performers for the Richfield boys Nordic ski squad this season. (Photo courtesy of Marci Matson)

St. Louis Park won the team title with 475 points and Bloomington placed second (461). Rounding out the standings were Chaska/Chanhassen (430), Cooper (337), Richfield (332) and Benilde-St. Margaret’s (326).

Spencer Bergen of Richfield was 26th overall with a time of 20 minutes, 3.60 seconds on the 5K skate course. Sam Nelson placed 31st (20:43.20) and Evan Matson came in 37th (22:24.97). Also placing for the Spartans were Marcus Schaefer (39th, 23:34.48) and Joel Schaeffer 40th (23:42.97).

Richfield’s girls Nordic ski squad was last in the Metro West six-team skate meet.

Benilde-St. Margaret’s claimed first among Metro West girls teams with 474 points. Chaska-Chanhassen placed second (453) followed by St. Louis Park (446), Bloomington (386), Cooper (347) and Richfield (331).

Rachel Youngquist was Richfield’s top finisher with a 22nd-place time of 22:51.44. Katherine Schroeder finished 30th (24:33.39) and Emma Carlson was 35th (25:16.95).

Also placing for the Spartans were Ellie Hedlund (42nd, 27:24.58) and Lizzy Rode (45th, 28:50.49).

Stephen Peterson has been one of the top performers for the Richfield boys Nordic ski squad this season. (Photo courtesy of Marci Matson)

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Spartans take giant steps forward on court http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/spartans-take-giant-steps-forward-on-court/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/spartans-take-giant-steps-forward-on-court/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 00:56:02 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=142973 Richfield’s team is headed in the right direction according to Spartan girls basketball coach Kesha Ross Bradford.

Richfield’s Katrina Mogren shoots over a Waconia defender during a Spartan girls basketball loss. Mogren is averaging 10.5 points. (Photo by Mark Trockman-trockstock.com)

Richfield’s Katrina Mogren shoots over a Waconia defender during a Spartan girls basketball loss. Mogren is averaging 10.5 points. (Photo by Mark Trockman-trockstock.com)

The Spartans started the season slowly but have kept improving and are one game away reaching the .500 record. Richfield overpowered Minneapolis Edison 82-40 in a non-conference victory Jan. 24.

Four Spartan players scored in double figures — Kyla Adams (29), Katrina Mogren (15), Kailey Adams (14) and Breanna Wendlund (10).

“We are starting to jell as a team,” said coach Bradford. “Our defense has come along and we are running our offense better than earlier in the season.

“Mogren has done a great job directing our offense from her point-guard position. She is a good floor general.”

Richfield also defeated Benilde-St. Margaret’s 58-40 Jan. 21. The Spartans’ leading scorers were Kailey Adams (20), Kyla Adams (18) and Mogren (10).

The Spartans led by a slim two-point margin (24-22) at halftime but outscored the Red Knights 34-18 in the second half.

Chanhassen beat Richfield 65-47 Jan. 23. Delilah Taylor, Kailey Adams and Tenzin Tsega netted 10 points apiece. Mogren contributed nine points and Kyla Adams finished with six points.

Three Spartan players are averaging in double figures led by Kyla Adams (18.3 ppg). Kailey Adams is averaging 14.5 points and Mogren has a 10-5 average.

“Kyla Adams does a little bit of everything for our team,” said Bradford. “She’s not only our leading scorer but also provides many assists and rebounds every game.

“Kailey Adams runs the floor well and is strong in the post. We are trying to find her more offensive opportunities.”

Richfield has three home games during the upcoming week against St. Louis Park (Friday, Jan. 30), East Ridge (Saturday, Jan. 31) and Eastview (Wednesday, Feb. 4). The East Ridge game begins at 2 p.m. The Spartans’ other two games start at 7 p.m.

Boys basketball

The Richfield boys basketball squad is trying to discover that winning formula. The Spartans have a 2-16 record after losing twice last week.

Benilde-St. Margaret’s defeated the Spartans 73-38 Jan. 20. Junior Stone led the Richfield offense with 14 points. Davis Miles scored six points and Mark Blanchard chipped in with five points.

Chanhassen defeated Richfield 93-56 Jan. 23. The Spartans’ leading scorers were Stone (13), Rafael Bilal (11), Markest Brown (9), Antonio Maddox (7) and Miles (7).

Richfield is on the road for a 7 p.m. game Friday, Jan. 30. The Spartans play host to Bloomington Kennedy at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3.

Contact Greg Kleven at greg.kleven@ecm-inc.com

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Brancale makes Eagle wrestling history http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/brancale-makes-eagle-wrestling-history/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/brancale-makes-eagle-wrestling-history/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 00:51:10 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=142970 Eden Prairie senior Ben Brancale recorded his 200th career wrestling victory last week and became the first Eagle to achieve that milestone.

Eden Prairie wrestling coach Scot Davis presents Eagle senior Ben Brancale with a plaque commemorating his 200th high school career wrestling victory last week. (Submitted photo)

Eden Prairie wrestling coach Scot Davis presents Eagle senior Ben Brancale with a plaque commemorating his 200th high school career wrestling victory last week. (Submitted photo)

Brancale ahieved that milestone with an exclamation mark after pinning his Washington Tech opponent.

“Ben secured a place in Eden Prairie wrestling history during that quadrangular meet at Washington Tech,” said Eden Prairie coach Scot Davis. “He extended his overall high school varsity record to 201-31 and deserves congratulations for his achievement.”

Eden Prairie won all three of its team matches in the Washington Tech quadrangular event. The Eagles beat Burnsville 66-9 and Washington Tech 72-12. Eden Prairie completed the meet with a 40-23 triumph over South St. Paul.

“Many Eagle wrestlers contributed to our win over South St. Paul,” said Davis. “But Josh Reinke was probably our biggest hero after winning an exciting 8-7 decision at 220 pounds.”

Heavyweight Mohammed ElHassen earned a 6-5 win against the Packers. J.J. Veytia (120), Brancale (138), Nick Schneider (145) and Ben Matsui (152) all pinned their South St. Paul foes.

The Eagles improved their school-record team win record to 25-2.

Eden Prairie dominated Hopkins for a 60-15 Lake Conference victory.

Then the Eagles competed in a tournament at Prescott, Wis. EPHS defeated Luck (Wis.) 56-15 and Forest Lake (46-18). Brancale achieved a 6-4 overtime win over top-ranked James Pleski of Forest Lake at 145.

The Eagles were fourth out of eight teams in the Eden Prairie Invitational tourney.

“We definitely proved to be a respected team by finishing fourth despite not filling one weight class,” said coach Davis. “We finished one-half point behind third-place Annandale/Maple Lake.”

Eden Prairie can clinch its second straight Lake Conference title by beating Minnetonka at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29, at home.

Contact Greg Kleven at greg.kleven@ecm-inc.com

 
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Bowers, Lokken pace Spartan swim squad http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/bowers-lokken-pace-spartan-swim-squad/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/bowers-lokken-pace-spartan-swim-squad/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 00:48:07 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=142968 Richfield dropped a 100-70 decision to Cooper in a Metro West Conference boys swimming meet Jan. 22 at the Plymouth Middle School pool.

Richfield was third in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 2 minutes, 13.87 seconds. Members of that relay were Jake Magnuson, David Boldt, Randy Ham and Nick Swanson.

Jack Bowers placed second the 200 freestyle (2:02.63). Kyle Odefey earned a runner-up time of 2:33.94 in the 200 individual medley.

Daniel Lokken won the 50 freestyle (25.31) and teammate Swanson finished second (27.19). The Spartans’ Bowers was victorious in the 100 butterfly (1:02.26). Lokken added a second-place effort of 54.61 in the 100 freestyle. Magnuson finished third in the 500 freestyle (6:22.82).

Richfield won the 200 freestyle relay (1:44.02). That winning relay consisted of Odefey, Jack Bowers, Swanson and Lokken. Odefey was second in the 100 backstroke (1:07.65) and Magnuson finished third in that event (1:12.81).

The Spartans were second in the 400 freestyle relay with a cast of Lokken, Jack Bowers, Magnuson and Odefey. Richfield’s time was 3:51.02.

Richfield will be home to swim against Benilde-St. Margaret’s at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29, at the Richfield Middle School pool.

Contact Greg Kleven at greg.kleven@ecm-inc.com

 
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Bloomington pedestrian, struck by a vehicle, dies http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/bloomington-pedestrian-struck-by-a-vehicle-dies/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/bloomington-pedestrian-struck-by-a-vehicle-dies/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 21:44:03 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=142965 A 65-year-old Bloomington woman died earlier this week as a result of injuries sustained when she was struck by a motor vehicle.

Melani Sunarti-Nadeem died Jan. 28 at Hennepin County Medical Center, nine days after she was struck while crossing Penn Avenue on the north side of 86th Street at approximately 11:30 a.m., according to Bloomington Deputy Chief Rick Hart.

The driver, an 87-year-old Bloomington man, has not been charged with a crime, and the Jan. 19 incident remains under investigation, Hart noted.

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Is Soros’ Bet on Gross Smart? http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/is-soros-bet-on-gross-smart/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/is-soros-bet-on-gross-smart/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 21:30:28 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?guid=fb9cf621c0b2495f95efabdeace4b508 When a financial genius invests in you, that’s usually a good sign. This seemed to be the case recently when George Soros invested $500 million with Bill Gross at the latter’s new firm. The Soros money went into a separate account that follows Gross’ new Janus Global Unconstrained fund.

Turns out that Gross’ returns since his arrival at Janus in late September are slightly negative, in keeping with his sub-par performance in his last days at his old fund house, Pimco. But since he started at his new employer, his former flagship fund, Pimco Total Return, has outpaced his Janus showing, up 3.5%.

Has Gross, whose long-term record is extraordinary, lost his touch? Soros might have made a bad bet here.

Sure, a lot of folks don’t particularly care for financier and philanthropist Soros. Those on the political right are specifically annoyed that he leans to the left and that he prides himself on his progressive views (“a prominent international supporter of democratic ideals and causes for more than 30 years,” according to the Soros website).

Few doubt his abilities to make, earn, manage and control money. Everyday investors might know Oracle of Omaha Warren Buffett better. But Soros, along with the right-leaning oil magnets Charles and David Koch, appear to be among the largest benefactors of political causes.

We all seem to believe that money rules politics and big money rules bigger politics. Now put politics aside. Soros is one astute investor.

When this legendary financier recently made a $500 million bet on the future performance of Bill Gross at Janus Capital Group, it provided a vote of confidence for the onetime “bond king” of Pacific Investment Management Co., aka Pimco. So did reports of torrents of fresh investment coming into his Janus fund. Last fall, when Gross resigned from Pimco, it was one of the messiest exits from a major investment house in memory.

He now manages assets for Soros Fund Management, Soros’ private investment vehicle, a job that Gross calls an honor.

What gives? The Soros investment is small relative to Gross’ former gig at Pimco – though it does represent a significant amount compared with the total Janus holdings. Using a separate account also insulates Soros from any defections by Janus investors, if Gross’ new fund runs into the persistent under-performance problems besetting Pimco Total Return on the latter part of his watch – lagging behind the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, the standard fixed-income benchmark.

Disturbingly, much of the $1 billion-plus in new investments that flooded Gross’ Janus fund came from Gross himself. A Wall Street Journal article reported that Gross pumped $700 million into his new Janus fund. The nature of the Gross-Soros relationship is fuzzy.

Another WSJ story adds that Gross and Soros have met “but don’t have a close relationship.” That might change. You usually want to be close with someone who controls $500 million of your money.

Likely, the Soros move hinges a little on the bond king’s reputation. Gross, with Pimco for almost four decades, managed $293 billion in Total Return alone at its peak in August 2013, and oversaw billions more in Pimco. Reuters reported that $38 billion left Pimco in the two months following Gross’ departure.

Almost 20 years after its publication, his Everything You’ve Heard About Investing Is Wrong remains a solid seller, once critically applauded as “a surprisingly entertaining and thought-provoking book.” For years, the financial industry hung on every word Gross uttered.

Before his departure from Pimco, though, poor investment performance, months of hemorrhaging of fund capital as investors fled and even Gross’ erratic public behavior caused tension.

Last June, Gross donned sunglasses to deliver a disjointed (if not oddball) speech at the Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago. He likened himself to Gen. George Patton and pop singer Justin Bieber, then joked that he ought to control the media with brainwashing techniques from the 1962 assassination movie The Manchurian Candidate.

Mohamed El-Erian, Pimco’s former chief executive officer, left the company in January 2014, reportedly over personality clashes with Gross. Other key personnel also sought employment elsewhere.

To the best of my knowledge, Gross walked out of Pimco with no fanfare, unless you count the announcement soon after that the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating whether Pimco inflated returns on one of its exchange-traded funds.

Except for that, it’s just how I retired from teaching: No golden parachute, bonus or party. Unlike Gross and probably like most of you who recently retired, I did not become a billionaire at my old job. Or at my next one.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Phillip Q. Shrotman is founder and president of Principal Planning Service, Inc. in Long Beach, Calif. He was a professor in the Business Division at Long Beach City College for over 29 years, where he held the position as Coordinator for Financial Planning and Insurance for the college. He holds a Community College Instructors Credential from the University of California at Los Angeles and a master’s from the University of San Francisco. He also holds the profession designations of General Securities Principal of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Series 7 and 24. He has appeared as a guest on KABC Talk Radio and various television and radio programs.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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When a financial genius invests in you, that’s usually a good sign. This seemed to be the case recently when George Soros invested $500 million with Bill Gross at the latter’s new firm. The Soros money went into a separate account that follows Gross’ new Janus Global Unconstrained fund.

Turns out that Gross’ returns since his arrival at Janus in late September are slightly negative, in keeping with his sub-par performance in his last days at his old fund house, Pimco. But since he started at his new employer, his former flagship fund, Pimco Total Return, has outpaced his Janus showing, up 3.5%.

Has Gross, whose long-term record is extraordinary, lost his touch? Soros might have made a bad bet here.

Sure, a lot of folks don’t particularly care for financier and philanthropist Soros. Those on the political right are specifically annoyed that he leans to the left and that he prides himself on his progressive views (“a prominent international supporter of democratic ideals and causes for more than 30 years,” according to the Soros website).

Few doubt his abilities to make, earn, manage and control money. Everyday investors might know Oracle of Omaha Warren Buffett better. But Soros, along with the right-leaning oil magnets Charles and David Koch, appear to be among the largest benefactors of political causes.

We all seem to believe that money rules politics and big money rules bigger politics. Now put politics aside. Soros is one astute investor.

When this legendary financier recently made a $500 million bet on the future performance of Bill Gross at Janus Capital Group, it provided a vote of confidence for the onetime “bond king” of Pacific Investment Management Co., aka Pimco. So did reports of torrents of fresh investment coming into his Janus fund. Last fall, when Gross resigned from Pimco, it was one of the messiest exits from a major investment house in memory.

He now manages assets for Soros Fund Management, Soros’ private investment vehicle, a job that Gross calls an honor.

What gives? The Soros investment is small relative to Gross’ former gig at Pimco – though it does represent a significant amount compared with the total Janus holdings. Using a separate account also insulates Soros from any defections by Janus investors, if Gross’ new fund runs into the persistent under-performance problems besetting Pimco Total Return on the latter part of his watch – lagging behind the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, the standard fixed-income benchmark.

Disturbingly, much of the $1 billion-plus in new investments that flooded Gross’ Janus fund came from Gross himself. A Wall Street Journal article reported that Gross pumped $700 million into his new Janus fund. The nature of the Gross-Soros relationship is fuzzy.

Another WSJ story adds that Gross and Soros have met “but don’t have a close relationship.” That might change. You usually want to be close with someone who controls $500 million of your money.

Likely, the Soros move hinges a little on the bond king’s reputation. Gross, with Pimco for almost four decades, managed $293 billion in Total Return alone at its peak in August 2013, and oversaw billions more in Pimco. Reuters reported that $38 billion left Pimco in the two months following Gross’ departure.

Almost 20 years after its publication, his Everything You’ve Heard About Investing Is Wrong remains a solid seller, once critically applauded as “a surprisingly entertaining and thought-provoking book.” For years, the financial industry hung on every word Gross uttered.

Before his departure from Pimco, though, poor investment performance, months of hemorrhaging of fund capital as investors fled and even Gross’ erratic public behavior caused tension.

Last June, Gross donned sunglasses to deliver a disjointed (if not oddball) speech at the Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago. He likened himself to Gen. George Patton and pop singer Justin Bieber, then joked that he ought to control the media with brainwashing techniques from the 1962 assassination movie The Manchurian Candidate.

Mohamed El-Erian, Pimco’s former chief executive officer, left the company in January 2014, reportedly over personality clashes with Gross. Other key personnel also sought employment elsewhere.

To the best of my knowledge, Gross walked out of Pimco with no fanfare, unless you count the announcement soon after that the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating whether Pimco inflated returns on one of its exchange-traded funds.

Except for that, it’s just how I retired from teaching: No golden parachute, bonus or party. Unlike Gross and probably like most of you who recently retired, I did not become a billionaire at my old job. Or at my next one.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Phillip Q. Shrotman is founder and president of Principal Planning Service, Inc. in Long Beach, Calif. He was a professor in the Business Division at Long Beach City College for over 29 years, where he held the position as Coordinator for Financial Planning and Insurance for the college. He holds a Community College Instructors Credential from the University of California at Los Angeles and a master’s from the University of San Francisco. He also holds the profession designations of General Securities Principal of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Series 7 and 24. He has appeared as a guest on KABC Talk Radio and various television and radio programs.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Affording Retirement Travel http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/affording-retirement-travel/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/01/affording-retirement-travel/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 21:30:18 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?guid=dcb0b5b47fa7360153344c674fe6d4ef If you’re like most people who think about retirement, you probably imagine traveling in your golden years. Before you browse Acapulco websites and whip out the credit card to buy your ticket, make sure your finances can handle your trip.

First, don’t wait to fulfill your dream. Enjoy the items on your bucket list now while you are healthy enough to walk easily. If that list involves extensive travel that’s suddenly possible with free time after working, realize that seeing the world isn’t cheap.

You can do two things to afford it: increase your spendable income and decrease your travel expenses.

The bonds trap. In today’s virtually zero-interest world of bank accounts, increasing income can be a huge challenge. You either risk your savings in the stock market, hoping for more-or-less continual appreciation of your equities, or you go into bonds.

Except bonds might well be the next big crash. If interest rates finally rise from today’s historical lows, bond values will decrease substantially. In June 2013, the well-known brokerage firm Oppenheimer issued a report entitled “Effect of Higher Rates on Fixed Income Portfolios,” widely taken as a warning about bond investments.

As noted in the report, an interest increase of three percentage points will nearly halve the value of a 30-year U.S. Treasury bond; a jump of only one percentage point will cause an 18% drop in this bond’s value. You take a big loss after even the smallest budge upward in rates.

You have options. Consider a personal pension, where you contribute part of your savings to a financial institution that in turn invests your money to build a lifetime pension for you at retirement. These pensions are based on actuarial principles that offer a higher cash flow than most alternatives.

For instance, if you are 70, deposit $200,000 and wait five years to start withdrawals, you can often get about $17,000 to $18,000 of annual income for the rest of your life. This can fund a lot of travel, particularly when you mix one big foreign trip with two cheaper domestic ones each year.

Look for bargains. You can find many websites to one-click breaks on airfare, hotels, car rentals and all-inclusive packages. Innovative thinking helps, too: Just consider the Gentlemen Host Program.

The cruise industry has long known that older, single women constitute a significant share of shipboard vacationers. These women, often either divorced or widowed, enjoy cruises for the organized activities, lavish dinner and drinks and the entertainment after the dinner. Only thing missing: someone to dance with.

Gentlemen Host, a placement program operated through Compass Speakers and Entertainment, matches groups of such female travelers with outgoing, unmarried conversationalists – who preferably can cut a serious rug on the dance floor. The requirements of the hosts are extensive and activities strictly platonic; hosts’ cruises are almost free.

How much of your nest egg and estate on travel? About three years ago, I met a couple in their 80s who had been educators in public schools. They retired about three decades before and took two cruises each year since.

With only some $80,000 saved for retirement through their entire lives, the couple relied on generous teachers’ pensions and Social Security to fund extensive travel. They estimated that they spent slightly less than $700,000 on the cruises – but the trips were a big life dream.

The couple expected to leave nothing except their house to their kids.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Dr. Harold Wong earned his Ph.D. in economics from UC Berkeley and passed the CPA exam in 1979. He has appeared on more than 400 television and radio programs and published numerous articles in 1,600 newspapers. He writes the column on money for The Arizona Republic, the largest daily newspaper in Arizona, where this article originally appeared in different form. Dr. Wong is a tax advisor and financial educator. He can be reached at (480) 706-0177, haroldwong1@yahoo.com, or www.drharoldwong.com .You can find much of his archived research at www.DrWongInvestorGuide.com.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

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If you’re like most people who think about retirement, you probably imagine traveling in your golden years. Before you browse Acapulco websites and whip out the credit card to buy your ticket, make sure your finances can handle your trip.

First, don’t wait to fulfill your dream. Enjoy the items on your bucket list now while you are healthy enough to walk easily. If that list involves extensive travel that’s suddenly possible with free time after working, realize that seeing the world isn’t cheap.

You can do two things to afford it: increase your spendable income and decrease your travel expenses.

The bonds trap. In today’s virtually zero-interest world of bank accounts, increasing income can be a huge challenge. You either risk your savings in the stock market, hoping for more-or-less continual appreciation of your equities, or you go into bonds.

Except bonds might well be the next big crash. If interest rates finally rise from today’s historical lows, bond values will decrease substantially. In June 2013, the well-known brokerage firm Oppenheimer issued a report entitled “Effect of Higher Rates on Fixed Income Portfolios,” widely taken as a warning about bond investments.

As noted in the report, an interest increase of three percentage points will nearly halve the value of a 30-year U.S. Treasury bond; a jump of only one percentage point will cause an 18% drop in this bond’s value. You take a big loss after even the smallest budge upward in rates.

You have options. Consider a personal pension, where you contribute part of your savings to a financial institution that in turn invests your money to build a lifetime pension for you at retirement. These pensions are based on actuarial principles that offer a higher cash flow than most alternatives.

For instance, if you are 70, deposit $200,000 and wait five years to start withdrawals, you can often get about $17,000 to $18,000 of annual income for the rest of your life. This can fund a lot of travel, particularly when you mix one big foreign trip with two cheaper domestic ones each year.

Look for bargains. You can find many websites to one-click breaks on airfare, hotels, car rentals and all-inclusive packages. Innovative thinking helps, too: Just consider the Gentlemen Host Program.

The cruise industry has long known that older, single women constitute a significant share of shipboard vacationers. These women, often either divorced or widowed, enjoy cruises for the organized activities, lavish dinner and drinks and the entertainment after the dinner. Only thing missing: someone to dance with.

Gentlemen Host, a placement program operated through Compass Speakers and Entertainment, matches groups of such female travelers with outgoing, unmarried conversationalists – who preferably can cut a serious rug on the dance floor. The requirements of the hosts are extensive and activities strictly platonic; hosts’ cruises are almost free.

How much of your nest egg and estate on travel? About three years ago, I met a couple in their 80s who had been educators in public schools. They retired about three decades before and took two cruises each year since.

With only some $80,000 saved for retirement through their entire lives, the couple relied on generous teachers’ pensions and Social Security to fund extensive travel. They estimated that they spent slightly less than $700,000 on the cruises – but the trips were a big life dream.

The couple expected to leave nothing except their house to their kids.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Dr. Harold Wong earned his Ph.D. in economics from UC Berkeley and passed the CPA exam in 1979. He has appeared on more than 400 television and radio programs and published numerous articles in 1,600 newspapers. He writes the column on money for The Arizona Republic, the largest daily newspaper in Arizona, where this article originally appeared in different form. Dr. Wong is a tax advisor and financial educator. He can be reached at (480) 706-0177, haroldwong1@yahoo.com, or www.drharoldwong.com .You can find much of his archived research at www.DrWongInvestorGuide.com.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

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