I feel like one of the most important ways we add value to our clients is to be calm and clear-headed, even at times when they may not be.  We’ve spent a lot of time during our “Tuesday Team Lunch” talking about how to identify and address what is URGENT, what is IMPORTANT, and what merely seems urgent, but is not.

I also have two teenaged kids in my household.  Well, as I write this one of them is still months away from officially being a teenager, but he’s already emotionally there.  😉

That’s why this blog post from my good friend Jill Farmer really hit home on both a professional and a personal level, enough that I wanted to share it with you. (You can find the original post here: http://www.jillfarmercoaching.com/Blog.html?entry=urgent-information .)  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

J.P. Griffard & Associates, LPL Financial, and Jill Farmer are not affiliated.


My executive coaching client Rick was at the end of his rope.

The constant barrage of e-mails pouring into his inbox  titled “Important!!!”, “Need this ASAP!!”, and the old standby “URGENT!!” created a never-ending source of irritation and angst for Rick. 

He started and ended his day with the thought “I’m NEVER going to get caught up.”

The root of this desolate sense of being? False urgency

Rick and his colleagues were using it to inadvertently sabotage each other. Panic is contagious (Google emotional contagion if you don’t believe me). Someone else’s panic can become ours even when we’re not really threatened. It can spread faster than an infection.

Even though it feels horrible, we can get addicted to that panicked state of mind. Our brains trick us into thinking it’s the only way we can get stuff done.

Here’s the real story. When we’re panicked, we’re in fight or flight mode. Fight or flight (as you’ve heard me say about 1 zillion times) is a terrible place to be focused, efficient, productive, innovative, kind or smart. It’s nearly impossible to prioritize properly when we are in that state of mind. 

It’s a little like our panic prone brains are playing the role of a little old lady in an apartment building who pulls the fire alarm every time one of her neighbors lights a candle. Everyone in the building gets nervous and panicky when they hear the fire alarm because they don’t really know whether it’s the real thing. Over time, the constant false alarms cause everyone to be weary, skittish, and unfocused.

What’s the cure for all of this false panic spreading around? 

Cultivate patience.
Next time someone comes at you with a URGENT matter:

1) Stop. Let yourself feel any panic or anxiety you notice. If you can sit with the discomfort for just a little while, it will move through you, instead of staying stuck in you.

2) Take three deep breaths (this calms your nervous system).

3) Ask yourself “Does this truly equal an emergency?”

If the answer is YES, prioritize it and take care of it. 

If not, take another deep breath and tell the person at your desk, in your inbox, or at the foot of your bed that you see they’re nervous or worried. Then give them a time frame in which you can reasonably respond. Or, better yet, make a suggestion for when they can take care of it themselves.

You can’t control other people’s panic.
Start with yourself.
Am I emitting a panicky energy that’s going to infect the person I’m reaching out to?
Be onto yourself when you’re being like an impatient little kid. It will make your life saner, more productive, and more meaningful.

Getting calm, clear and connected. That’s what’s really important, my friend.

Thanking St. Louis Through Our New Charitable Giving Program

Several months ago, I started a Charitable Giving Program here at J.P. Griffard & Associates.  It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, and all of us here are pretty excited about it.

Why, you ask?  Simple enough-I was raised to believe that I give of my time and wealth because I have the ability to do so.  Furthermore, as I get “more mature”, I realize that my time here is fleeting.  I want to leave this world a better place than I found it, for my kids and for others.

There are other more practical reasons as well.  For starters-Jess, Molly, and I have found it pretty motivating to know that we are working not just to pay our bills, but also to serve a larger goal.  It’s so heartwarming to read the thank you notes we receive from people.

It also makes for more efficient decision-making.  As any business owner can tell you, it’s not long after you hang out your shingle that you are besieged by requests from local charities for assistance.  All of them make heartfelt appeals, most seem to be for a very good cause.  Too, once you make a donation of any size, they come back to you year after year, hoping you’ll donate again.  (Don’t get me wrong-if I ran a charity I would do the exact same thing!)   Now we have a clear and objective set of guidelines to help make those decisions.  In fact, the team (currently Jessica and Molly) makes the final decision.  I don’t even get a vote unless there’s a tie.

So far, we have also received positive feedback from clients as well.  Our monthly donation is based upon both total revenues and also qualifying new deposits from clients.  They like doing business with a company who supports meaningful charities right here in St. Louis.

Yes, it’s possible we could also receive some favorable publicity from this program, and I don’t see anything wrong with that.  I’d rather give the money away to a meaningful cause than pay for advertising.

It’s my hope that by sharing our news, we might inspire other businesses to “pay it forward”.  There is so much good to be done!  I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of this “greedy rich business owner” theme that’s being played out in the political world, so I’m going to combat it head on.  If you own a business and would like to know some details about how we set up our program, I’m happy to share.  Contact me at joe (at) jpgriff dot com.

If you want to recommend a charity to be considered as a candidate for our “Charity of the Month”, let us know and we will send you some information about our program guidelines.  We prefer to focus on organizations that have a strong presence in St. Louis, and who serve the following niches: veterans of any branch of military service, the homeless and near-homeless(especially programs that support a transition to independence), entrepreneurship, education, and medical research.

I’ll be blogging in coming months about some of the organizations we’ve selected as “Charity of the Month”.  Maybe you will decide you want to support them too.  I’d love to hear what you think as you read some of our updates!


Joe Griffard, CFP®



A Failure to Govern…

Those of you who know me in person or via social media know that I have some strong leanings about the role government should play in our lives-I’ll make no bones about that.   However, as I read the wall-to-wall coverage about the impending “fiscal cliff” – mandatory budget cuts and a possible tax increase all to take effect within roughly 60 days, it makes me angry at Washington D.C. politicians from BOTH sides of the aisle.

Perhaps oversimplifying, here’s how it SHOULD work:  Politicians govern, and businesspeople conduct business according to the rules created by the government.  Businesspeople take a look at the playing field set by the politicians, and in light of those conditions they make decisions regarding what risks they are willing to take in pursuit of profits.

When you are a businessperson trying to plan for the future, there is only ONE thing worse than bad policy, and that is NO POLICY.

Did you ever play Monopoly®* when you were a kid?  Most of us did at one time or another.  It’s a strategy game that can last hours, and a reasonably good simulation of the real business world.  Picture yourself as a kid playing Monopoly® with your favorite uncle.  You’ve acquired some major properties and you’re winning handily, and all of a sudden Uncle Sam changes the rules so that you get less rent from those major properties.  You adjust, and eventually gain the upper hand again, and once again Uncle Sam changes the rules.  This happens over, and over, and over, and each time the “new rules” become more complex.

At some point, would you decide that the game was no longer worth playing?  In my humble opinion, that’s exactly the problem in our economy today.  If you wonder why you, your brother, or your neighbor can’t find a good job, you might want to look to Washington, D.C.  Uncle Sam is changing the rules so frequently and making them so complicated that some business owners are deciding that they don’t want to play the game any longer.

Whomever gets your vote next week, or in future elections – we all need to send a message with that vote that states that “business as usual” in Washington is no longer OK.  Politicians need to get back to the work of governing, and spend less time preparing for their next election.

Thanks for reading, as always, happy to hear your opinions via twitter at @jpgriffard, or via email.


Joseph P. Griffard, CFP®

*Hat tip to Hasbro. No intent to shamelessly exploit your brand.  If you want me to remove this reference, just shoot me an email.

The opinions expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial

The Fiscal Cliff – LPL Video

LPL Financial Research’s Jeffrey Kleintop talks about the looming fiscal cliff in the video below

Make sure to subscribe to the J.P. Griffard YouTube Channel

Vive la France? Vraiment?

It’s been a while since I’ve shared some of Brian Wesbury’s thoughts with you.  In this recent commentary, Brian describes why he believes our economy will continue to grow, albeit slowly. JPG, CFP®

Monday Morning Outlook

Still No Recession in Sight To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury – Chief Economist
Bob Stein, CFA – Senior Economist
Date: 9/4/2012

Real GDP in the US has grown 2.3% in the past year, a mediocre rate of growth, little different than its 2.2% average since mid-2009, when the recovery officially began. It’s what we call the Plow Horse economy and we expect it to continue plodding along, at least through this fall.

We expect this for both “macro” and what we could call “micro” reasons – both the “big picture” and the “details.”

Take the big picture. Loose monetary policy, relatively low marginal tax rates (still!), and technological advances support growth. Entrepreneurs are relentlessly pursuing business opportunities that few could even imagine only a decade ago. This could, and should, create a boom.

But all of these factors combined are not going to get us to rapid and persistent economic growth – 4% plus – without more freedom. The US government grew by leaps and bounds in the past decade, and the extra spending and threat of higher future taxes – not the remnants of the financial crisis – are stifling growth, holding us back in mediocrity.

The micro details also suggest some optimism about the economy. Payrolls are expanding and wages are growing. Private sector payrolls are up 160,000 per month in the past year, while cash wages per hour are up 1.7% during that same time period.

Meanwhile, consumers’ financial obligations – recurring payments like mortgages, rent, car loans/leases, student loans, credit cards – are now the smallest share of income since 1993. As a result, consumer spending has more room to grow. (And it’s not just iPads. Look for solid reports later today on August sales of cars and trucks.)

Home building might provide the perfect picture of the economy right now. Housing starts are up more than 20% from a year ago, while every other piece of housing related news has turned the corner. This is the sector that pessimists argued must recover to have a real broad economic recovery. The only problem is that residential construction is such a small share of GDP – less than 2.5% of the economy. So, even as housing rebounds rapidly, it is only adding a couple of tenths to the growth rate of overall real GDP.

That won’t last forever. Eventually, housing will have gathered enough momentum to make a bigger difference for the overall economy. But, for the time being, there’s only so much it can do.

The bottom line right now is that the US economy looks a lot like France. No, not the French economy today which is teetering on the brink of recession. We mean the French economy of the past generation, which has averaged real GDP growth of around 2% and unemployment of 8%.

In order to accelerate and turn back into the United States of the 1980s and 1990s, rather than the Plow Horse Economy of today, it will take a change in the direction of policy. We think the pendulum is swinging, but nothing is for sure. The good news, we suppose, is that growth continues even though it’s slow and plodding.

This information contains forward-looking statements about various economic trends and strategies. You are cautioned that such forward-looking statements are subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and actual results could be materially different. There are no guarantees associated with any forecast and the opinions stated here are subject to change at any time and are the opinion of the individual strategist. Data comes from the following sources: Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Federal Reserve Board, and Haver Analytics. Data is taken from sources generally believed to be reliable but no guarantee is given to its accuracy.


The opinions voiced in this commentary are for general information only, and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations.  This material was prepared by Brian Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors, L.P.  LPL Financial, First Trust Advisors and JP Griffard & Associates are non-affiliated entities.

Shortest Blog Post Ever

There’s an old saying in the investment business that goes something like this: “The market will always move in the direction that causes the most pain for the largest number of people.”

Sometimes old sayings get that way because they contain a lot of wisdom.

I will probably expand on this theme in later posts, but for now I’ll just leave you with an interesting question: When was the last time you heard a friend bragging about the stock they just bought?

Perhaps my shortest blog post ever, but hopefully it gives you a lot to think about….

Joe Griffard, CFP®

Time to Reboot

Many times, when you’re the owner of a small business (or even work for a small business) you’ll find yourself wearing many hats around the office.  It seems the more hats you wear, the harder you work to get organized, but there is point many of us reach where we seem to be stuck in a rut.  We feel we’re taking the right steps to improve our business, yet nothing is changing.  Maybe you just have too much on your mind to be efficient although you’re making the effort. 

As Jill Farmer discusses in her blog, “Rebooting”, it sounds like you’re ready for a reboot!  This entry, along with many other great blogs can be found at: http://www.jillfarmercoaching.com/Blog.html?entry=time-to-reboot


By Jill Farmer

Ever tried to use a computer when it’s bogged down from processing too much information? It’s slow, inefficient and wildly infuriating. The only way to get it running right again?

Reboot it. 

Your mind also needs breaks to reboot. When your body feels sluggish, it means your brain needs a break, too.

Can’t take off on a vacation right this minute to rest and recharge? Believe it or not, a nap is a fabulous alternative.

My client Betsey, in the midst of running the family business, caring for an ailing loved one, holding a major volunteer leadership position, and planning her son’s Bar Mitzvah, discovered naps were the key to getting stuff done. “Every time I felt overwhelmed, I knew I needed to rest. I kept a notebook by my bed. I came up with so many ideas when I let myself shut down. It was awesome.”

Can’t take a nap right now? Try shutting your door, turn off everything but classical or jazz music, close your eyes and breathe ten deep, slow breaths. Repeat three times.

Or, get up and move for a couple of minutes. Going outside is a fabulous way to reboot. Taking even a short walk can be a powerful way to recharge.

“Anytime I find myself losing focus or I’m stuck in a particular way of thinking, I take a break and either take a walk or a shower. Almost every time, whatever I’ve been stuck on gets unhooked while I move my body or feel the hot water, and I get an insight or new idea that clears the path. When I sit back down to my desk, I’m re-energized and can keep moving forward,”  says my buddy and coach Kristen Stevens.

Still not buying it? In a groundbreaking study on women and time, Real Simple magazine (April 2012) discovered, “…women who set aside free time one a regular basis, EVEN THOUGH THEY HAD NOT FINISHED ALL THEIR CHORES (caps mine) were happier, more cheerful and more optimistic.

Further studies show, when we’re more optimistic, we get more accomplished, and we get it done more efficiently.  (Another bonus when we boost our positivity? Our families, friends, and colleagues often lose the desire  to shove our crabby attitudes where the sun don’t shine.)

Reboot Quiz

Do you find yourself dragging?______ (if YES, see option “A” below)

Are you having trouble focusing?_______ (if  YES, see option “B”, below)

Are you finding everything/everyone annoying, right now?_______

(if YES, see option “C”, below)

Are you thinking “everything would be better, if only…”?_____(if YES, see option “D”, below)

OPTION “A”— You need to reboot.

OPTION “B”— You need to reboot.

OPTION “C”— You need to reboot.

OPTION “D”— You need to reboot.

There you have it. Do something you can only do this time of year to rest, recharge, have fun and reconnect to your power source. It’s the best way to reboot, refuel and return to your best self this summer.

I’m off to my hammock.


5 Newbie Mistakes that Keep Self Employed Women Stuck (and Chaotic)

As a young female who aspires to become an entrepreneur, I am always looking for great blogs on marketing ideas, women in business, and financial tips.  Working for Joe, an avid reader as well, means he’s constantly sending links my way.  Here’s one such blog that contains great advice for any small business owner or anyone thinking about starting their own business.  Enjoy! – Jessica Pryor

5 Newbie Mistakes that Keep Self Employed Women Stuck (and Chaotic)

Written by Christine Kane

When you start your business, you’re so focused on getting new clients and making your first dollars that you don’t think much about how your business runs. Hey, you’re just happy that you’re making money doing what you love!

The initial novelty of starting a business is undeniable.

However, before you know it, years go by. Rather than Upleveling into the role of a business owner, you’re still stuck in “little ol’ me” thinking. That thinking translates into actions (or inactions) that can ultimately keep you at the same income level for years. Not fun.

Do yourself a favor and make sure you aren’t making the following “newbie” mistakes. Then, take action to Uplevel your business and yourself!

Mistake #1 – Not having a business checking account

Do you let your money just flow in and out of the same account? Are you paying for groceries and web design from the same checking account? At the end of the tax year, are you frantically trying to determine which expense is business and which is personal?

Yes, yes and yes?

Well, you must change this immediately. Make it a priority TODAY. Get a checking account for your business.

This may sound like Biz 101 to some of you, but I’ve met too many self-employed women who work in this kind of accounting chaos year after year. It’s a guaranteed way to fail.

Mistake #2 – Not paying yourself a salary

The woman with a Lack Mindset doesn’t pay herself a salary. She just grabs what she can at the end of each month. What she’s telling herself (and the whole world) is that she doesn’t value herself or her work.

Don’t be that woman!

Now that you’ve set up a business checking account, here’s your next step. Choose an amount to pay yourself each month or week. Then set up a system and do it.

Money is energy. As such, it needs to know where to flow. Once you set up an exact amount for your salary, you’ll be amazed to discover that this amount always seems to be there each month. It’s one of the key ways to Uplevel your business when you’re a newbie!

Mistake #3 – Not setting up a business entity

If you’re still a sole proprietor, you’re probably paying way too many taxes! Self-employment taxes are among the highest taxes you can pay.

Whether you choose to incorporate, you need to have both the tax benefits and the legal protection of a business entity. An LLC is also another option. Choose a name for your company, and research the options available to you. On-line legal services like LegalZoom.com make this process a breeze!

AMENDMENT: After I posted this article, Marilee (who is an attorney) generously added her thoughts in a comment below – and I wanted to make sure my readers could see what she wrote:

I am an attorney, and notice three big issues with what you said. First, a member of an LLC will still pay self-employment tax on the money that they earn working for the business. Second, if they incorporate, they may not be able to take advantage of any start-up losses. It’s a real decision to decide whether to incorporate or set up an LLC. Third, why would you recommend that people need to spend hundreds or thousands on an accountant, but say that Legalzoom.com is the way to go for legal advice. If you are not the only one in the business, having a good Operating Agreement or By-Laws could literally save your entire business. Please don’t discredit the value of good legal advice. If it hasn’t served you well so far, then you haven’t found the right lawyer.

Mistake #4 – Doing your own taxes

I recently overheard two self-employed people talking about how they saved “hundreds of dollars” by doing their own taxes. Ugh! This is a surefire way to stay stuck, in chaos – and most likely have to endure the painful process of an audit. (Plus, are you even any good at that stuff? I didn’t think so!)

Entrepreneur, take thyself seriously. Get a great accountant, and happily pay her the hundreds (or thousands as you get more successful!) to ensure that your taxes are done professionally. You’ll sleep better, and you have much less of a chance of being audited.

Mistake #5 – Not setting boundaries with well-meaning friends and family

If your friends or family do not take your business seriously, it’s an issue of communication.

People who have never had their own business simply don’t understand what you do! They often won’t take your time or space seriously. They might call during the day, drop in when you’re on a call, or accuse you of not being a good friend when you can’t just pick up the phone.

All of this can be prevented with some communication on your part.

But first, you must be clear about your boundaries. What are your hours? Who do you work with? Do you do pro-bono work for friends? (I strongly suggest that you don’t!) Does family get discounts? Do you hire family or friends? What will you/won’t you tolerate?

Take some time to get clear about what most needs to be communicated to the people in your life. And then, honor yourself and your business enough to share these boundaries in a clear, proactive manner. Then, it’s up to you to enforce your boundaries!
This particular blog as well as many others can be found at Christine Kane’s website, http://www.christinekane.com/currentezine/

Why Many Investors Fail

Let’s put the disclaimer up front for a change of pace:  This isn’t a research report, or a specific recommendation.  It’s intended as fodder for thought.  Don’t make a decision about your portfolio by relying solely upon this or any other blog post I write.  Consult an advisor you know and trust.  Consider the big picture.

Yesterday I attended a presentation about a new product that seemed pretty interesting.  Based upon my 20 years as a student of markets, I suspect this product will be a failure-not for the issuing company but for the investors who buy it.  It seems likely advisors will recommend the product, and investors will buy it.  I just think that their investment results will turn out to be disappointing at best.  This whole experience really got me thinking about my industry and why investors struggle to achieve good returns.

There are many studies in behavioral finance suggesting that investors tend to make decisions looking backward in time, and they give far more weight to recent history.  I’ve found this to be true, and it usually means that investors don’t want what is good FOR them, but rather what makes them feel good.  Human nature compels us to avoid pain, and seek pleasure.  (Contemplate how few people bought stocks at the depth of the market correction in 2009….)

Meanwhile, in my industry there is this massive “manufacturing and distribution system” of companies and advisors who want your business.  It’s logical that they would make an effort to identify, create and promote what investors want.  Unfortunately, this means that there are a lot of people out there trying to sell you a barn door after the horse has already run away.

See a little problem here?  Investors tend to want what is bad for them, and there are a lot of investment providers who compete on the basis of giving people what they want.  That’s hardly a recipe for success.

Over the years, I’ve encountered many people who have suggested that the odds are stacked against them on Wall Street.  I’m here to tell you those people are probably right, but that it is human nature that makes investment success difficult, not some grand conspiracy.

Here’s a few things you can do to tilt the odds back in your favor:

  • Find an investment professional who understands your needs, understands markets, and who is willing to challenge your assumptions.  Seek out an advisor who encourages you to do what is good for you, not what makes you feel comfortable.
  • Educate yourself – Learn some of the nuts and bolts about how markets work, and about history.  Read a few good books about investments.  I’d encourage you to look for “education” via some of the timeless classics(perhaps I’ll blog about that some time), rather than popular magazines or websites.
  • Think critically.  Question assumptions when they are presented to you as facts.
  • Have a plan – make certain that your goals are clear and realistic, and that you know the time frame when you want to achieve them.
  • Know the “why” – When you are making an investment decision, consider how the decision affects the rest of your portfolio and how it could help you meet your goals.  Be sure that you are making a decision for your long term benefit, not just to avoid pain or in hopes of a quick gain.

It isn’t easy, but (at least in theory) it is simple.  If you can learn to set your thinking apart from the “herd”, you will probably have a better investment experience than them also.

As always, happy to hear your feedback via Twitter (@jpgriffard) or email!

Joe Griffard, CFP®

The Genius of Capitalism – Monday Morning Outlook

“The Genius of Capitalism” – Here’s a great essay from Brian Wesbury at First Trust that contemplates the TRUE nature of capitalism.   It’s pretty fashionable in some quarters these days to characterize capitalism as a heartless economic system that truly benefits only those at the top of the economic pyramid. Some would suggest there is a way to allocate scarce resources that is “kinder”.  They present “unfettered capitalism” as something to be feared.   Brian essentially shatters that myth.  Please-read on:

Monday Morning Outlook

“On Your Own” Economics To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury – Chief Economist
Robert Stein, CFA – Senior Economist
Date: 4/9/2012

A new baby girl was born in the United Kingdom last week. The mother checked into the hospital at 8:30 pm, had the baby at 10:30 pm, and was discharged at 3:00 am….270 minutes later. This gives new meaning to the term “drive-through delivery.” No one there thought it was unusual even though maternity stays in the hospital of less than 2 days are considered aggressive in the US.

For centuries – millennia really – women gave birth without hospitals at all.  There was no going home because the mother never left home in the first place.

The 20th Century brought major change.  One of those changes was to provide a safer environment for giving birth. Mothers are watched longer and newborns are run through a battery of tests.  The result has been fewer deaths in childbirth and healthier children. It’s one of the reasons that in the past 100 years or so, life expectancy for women has increased more than for men.

But, when medicine is socialized and budgets become constrained, costs are cut anywhere and everywhere.  As a result, mothers and babies are sent home quickly to save money for the state. By doing so, hospitals in the UK are taking health risks.  To put it bluntly, these hospitals are very quick to tell moms and their newborns that they are “on their own.”

In truth, no matter what anyone tells you, in the end we are all on our own, whether we are expectant mothers or not. There are limited resources and deep down we all realize this. We all make choices about how to deal with it: how to find help. It’s why we join with larger groups – for defense, for support, or so that we can accomplish larger more complicated things.

The choice we ultimately have is where we get the major part of this help. Do we turn to government? Or, do we turn to private relationships; family, friends, private business, and charity.

The trouble with the government as helper is that the assistance must be taken (taxed) from someone else, who then has an incentive to object. Moreover, people end up competing (and advertising) to see who has the greatest “need” or is the worst “victim.” And with limited resources, there are fights about who gets them and before you know it, government provides “drive through delivery” services so that it can use more resources elsewhere. And when government tries to do too much, it “crowds out” private assistance, weakening those other institutions through taxation and regulation.

That’s why we find it so remarkable to see free market capitalism derided as a system that supposedly tells people you are “on your own.”

The genius of capitalism is that it harnesses self-interest to get people to cooperate in incredible ways. Most observers, including us, describe capitalism as a system of competition.

But on a day-in, day-out basis, this competition is not direct hand-to-hand combat to find a victor; it’s a race to see who can provide the best products at the best price. It’s about service to others, not finding ways to force others to bow to our will. More importantly, we work in cooperative effort with others (our co-workers, family members, and friends) to accomplish these tasks.

Government has a role, but economic growth is always strongest where it governs least.

Given a choice, people have always flocked to those countries where they could take care of each other with less government help, not more. Not because they don’t think of themselves as their brothers’ keepers, but because they do.

This information contains forward-looking statements about various economic trends and strategies. You are cautioned that such forward-looking statements are subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and actual results could be materially different. There are no guarantees associated with any forecast and the opinions stated here are subject to change at any time and are the opinion of the individual strategist. Data comes from the following sources: Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Federal Reserve Board, and Haver Analytics. Data is taken from sources generally believed to be reliable but no guarantee is given to its accuracy.


The opinions voiced in this commentary are for general information only, and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations.  This material was prepared by Brian Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors, L.P.