Archives For Todd Burkhalter

 

Weekly Update – April, 16 2012

It was a rough one for the stock market last week as major indices closed out their worst session of 2012 on the backof disappointing economic growth in China and renewed fears about debt-ridden
Europe. The S&P fell 2% for the week, while the Dow lost 1.61%, and the Nasdaq closed down 2.25%.

China, the world’s second-largest economy, reported first-quarter growth figures of 8.1%, the weakest rate in nearly three years, and below expectations of 8.3%. Stocks fell sharply on the news, stoking
fears that a weakened Chinese economy could have global implications.[i] Concerns surrounding
Spain’s debt offering next week renewed fears about the European debt crisis, battering bank stocks and dragging down the euro against the dollar.[ii]

On the other hand, domestic indicators continue to provide a positive contrast to global worries. The most recent Beige Book report released by the Federal Reserve shows that the U.S. economy is
improving at a “modest to moderate” pace as solid auto sales, warm weather, and growth in high-tech manufacturing outweighed the effect of high gasoline prices.[iii]

Sales by U.S. wholesalers rose 1.2% in February, and they restocked their inventories at a faster rate in February than January, suggesting they expect a strong spring. Consumer confidence likewise grew in February by the most in seven months. This is especially good news since consumer spending drives nearly 70% of domestic economic activity; if consumers keep spending, the economy will continue to improve.[iv]

 

Domestically, the U.S. economy really seems to be chugging along, and indicators continue to support a broad recovery. Nevertheless, concerns about the fragile global economy will likely lead to continued
volatility in equity markets. The declines experienced over the last two weeks are not difficult to comprehend in light of the outstanding first quarter performance we experienced. In the weeks ahead, analysts will be examining quarterly earnings reports to determine whether the pullback has been exhausted, or if we should expect continued profit taking.

As always, when short-term declines test your resolve, it is critically important to remain focused on your long term objectives and trust that the portfolio strategy you have in place can weather a few squalls.


Caleb Huftalin – Advisor
Spotlight

 

 

Caleb is a one of Catalyst Wealth Managements newest advisors. Caleb is a tremendous asset to Catalyst. He and his wife Stacey and son Levi are building their life and family in Cumming
Georgia. I recently sat down with Caleb to interview him on different aspects
of business life; hopefully you will enjoy getting to know him.

 

TB: What type of training did you have that led you to become a financial advisor?

 

CH: I started with a degree in Business Administration and minor in Finance. A few years back, while working as a portfolio analyst with an asset management company, I started the course work to become a CERTIFIEDFINANCIALPLANNER™. But since I have an independent spirit, I realized moving from analyst to building a client base would take too long. I needed some real world relationship building experience first! Over the past several years I’ve garnered the experience and confidence needed by specializing in health insurance for small business owners.

 

TB: As you entered into this career what is your driving passion or motivation?

 

CH: What is my “why”? I want people to live and give their biggest life possible. It pains me to see families who generate sufficient income live with fear, limited choices and the inability to enjoy life and give as they want. I’m truly energized by helping people make wise choices that enable confidence in what they have.

 

How? By walking through a planning process that places emphasis on highest priorities first, families can ultimately enjoy life beginning now! By starting with the why and how, I can easily connect my clients with the best product or solution fit.

 

The growing, vibrant and profitable business I envision as well as providing for my young family keeps me laser focused on the Why and How!

TB: Has getting started been more or less difficult than you anticipated? What has been the most challenging aspect?

 

CH: I prepared well by moving into the role at the right time. Through countless conversations with people in the industry and potential clients, I knew the time had come to align with a firm that could provide the tremendous tools and resources needed in our complex financial world. I asked industry professionals how they would build their business model if they started today, and I talked with potential clients about their needs and how I could best meet those.

 

The almost unlimited, excellent options available to help families with specific planning needs have been challenging to keep up with. Fortunately I overcome that by partnering with other advisors in our firm and asking tons of questions!

 

TB: Has anything surprised you?

 

CH: I’m surprised by how open people are to our help. They feel the pressure of complexity and changing economic, legislative and tax environments, and often the trust level I’ve built has been the tipping point to getting a professional planner involved.

 

TB: What are some other career options that you considered?

 

CH: At one point I considered portfolio management, and I spent a number of years focused on individual health insurance, but I’ve always been drawn to big-picture personal planning.

 

 

TB: Do you establish personal goals? If so, will you share a few?

 

CH: I establish activity goals based on what produces results in our business and for the people we help. True power comes from tracking activity over time. What you can measure, you can improve! Whether it’s phone calls, appointments, or business miles or revenue, I can generate these numbers on a weekly basis.

 

TB: Describe your career in 5 years?

 

CH: As a trusted advisor for a number of families, I’ll be focused on a very defined client profile. Right now I try to narrow the playing field as much as possible, but that will get easier and more intentional over time.

 

TB: Has being in a group/firm environment been helpful in your career development?

 

CH: Before joining Catalyst Wealth Management I worked very independently. It’s been a major shift for me, and I’ve truly enjoyed the team environment and tremendous resources provided by being in a group. Learning new lines of business, generating ideas for adding clients and gaining access to a valuable process have made the transition worth it!

 

TB: Do you often have a chance to share your faith in your business practices?

CH: I love talking about Give, Save, Live priorities with clients. By helping families remove some of the fear and uncertainty, they’re able to more confidently give their time, energy and resources to others.

 

TB: What advice would you offer to a person considering financial planning as a career?

 

CH: Talk to a number of advisors who you admire. Most financial professionals enjoy sharing what works and what’s ineffective. Explore the different models to structure your business. When you find a model that provides great support, flexibility and a client focused approach, you’ll enjoy your work!

 

In conclusion, I think you can see why we are so excited to have Caleb as a part of the Catalyst family. If you would like to learn more about Caleb or meet in person you may follow him on LinkedIn, twitter or contact him directly chuftalin@catalystwealthmanagement.comor call 678-679-6950. Or follow on twitter @calebhuftalin

 

Back from the Brink

March 14, 2012 — Leave a comment

 

Weekly Update – March 12, 2012

Three years ago Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average saw one
of its darkest days. Closing at its Great Recession low of 6,547, investors
cringed to see how far stocks had fallen from their October 2007 high of
14,164.[i]
Since that day, we’ve experienced one of the greatest three-year runs in the
history of the stock market, superseded only by the dot-com craze of the late
nineties and the recovery from the Great Depression.[ii]

Stocks have returned with remarkable resilience. Between the
“flash crash” of May 2010, the European financial crisis, the downgrade of the
U.S. credit rating by Standard and Poor’s, fear of default by the U.S.
government, high gas prices, and supply disruptions surrounding the Japanese
tsunami, it’s amazing we’ve made it to where we are.

When you look at both the climb we’ve seen and the challenges
we’re facing, it’s not surprising that many analysts are calling for a pullback
in the near future. Even so, stocks managed to hold their own last week. After
a couple of rough days, Wall Street logged three winning sessions on the back
of a better-than-expected employment report. The S&P eked out a gain of
0.1% for the week, while the Dow dropped 0.4%, and the Nasdaq gained 0.4%.[iii]

While Friday’s jobs report was hotly anticipated, the market’s
reaction to it was surprisingly muted. The Labor Department reported that
227,000 new jobs were created while the unemployment rate remained the same as
February’s at 8.3%. If so many new jobs were created, why is the unemployment
rate the same? Well, while new jobs were created, the total number of job-seekers
increased as more people began actively looking for work. When the job market improves,
people who had previously dropped out of the hunt start applying for jobs again,
affecting the unemployment rate. Clearly, while the employment situation is actively
improving, we still have a long way to go.[iv]

Also supporting market performance last week was
news that Greece succeeded in convincing bondholders to swap their old bonds
for new ones valued at much less. In accomplishing this, Greece cleared a major
hurdle to avoiding a disorderly default.

We are living during one of the most interesting
times in history. Each week, as we analyze the stock market and the economy, we
find both positive and negative factors to weigh when making investment
decisions. We strive to do this with diligence and skill. All things
considered, we trust that the same resilience that brought us to Friday will
carry us into the future; even though there are sure to be bumps along the way.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday:

Treasury Budget

 

Tuesday: Retail Sales, Business Inventories, FOMC
Meeting Announcement 2:15 PM EST

Wednesday: Import and Export Prices, EIA
Petroleum Status Report

 

Thursday: Jobless Claims, Producer
Price Index, Empire State Mfg. Survey, Treasury International Capital, Philadelphia
Fed Survey

Friday:

Consumer Price Index, Industrial Production, Consumer Sentiment