Gary Allen on Business – Sunday, February 15, 2015 – Podcast Now Available

Want to Get Rich?

Don’t Invest in a Hedge Fund, Start One!

Hedge Fund hunchIn my opinion, hedge funds are one of the worst investments offered to investors. They are full of promise and sound so sophisticated, but in the end, they often deliver poor results and they always have, in my opinion, very high fees. Over the years on my radio program, I have railed against hedge funds on a regular basis. I have never understood the logic nor the math behind hedge funds. Even the most sophisticated of investors (think California Public Employees’ Retirement System, (CalPERS)) have at one time or another been mesmerized by the story of hedge funds.

The CalPERS hedge fund story came to an end last year (2014), when the giant retirement system said no more.  Last year, they announced a termination of all of their investments in hedge funds after the conviction of former CEO, Fred Buenrostro , for hundreds of millions in fraud involving the funds. Beyond the salacious scandal was a bigger problem with the overall investments in the hedge funds. They failed to deliver on their promise. For example, CalPERS paid $135 million in hedge fund fees in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014 for their portfolio of hedge fund investments. Those investments earned a total of +7.1% during the period. However, over that same period of time, CalPERS earned +18.4% from its other investments. On top of that, they paid a small fraction of the fees for the conventional investments. This under performance by hedge funds has been a problem over the past decade not just for CalPers but for investors overall. The returns on hedge funds have lagged as a whole.

On the program this week, I provide my argument for why I don’t like hedge funds. I think they are a terrible investment for people. The reality is the people who really make out with hedge funds are the managers and the promoters, not their investors. This is the classic case of the manager doing very well, while the investors not so much. But you can make up your own mind on that opinion. I hope you enjoy the program.





Gary Allen on Business – Sunday, February 22, 2015 – Podcast Now Available

Some Oscar Swag… and America Saves Week!

One celebrates the art and glamor of Hollywood, while the other tries to celebrate the savings of average Americans. Strange bedfellows but it works for me!

Oscar Swag Bag

On the program this week, a little bit of Hollywood glitz with the Oscars grabbing all the attention this weekend. So who am I to ignore the bright lights! In the first segment, I cover this year’s swag or goodie bag that 21 folks will receive this year.

The host and twenty losers from the major Oscar categories will receive the so-called swag bag. However it must be quite a “bag” if you notice the picture to the left. In the show I mention it has a retail value of $125,000 but I found out later, that was an incorrect amount. In fact, the swag bag is worth an astounding $168,000.

Above is a picture of the Oscar Swag Bag, but the Academy actually has nothing to do with it at all. Back in 2006, the Academy settled a long dispute with the IRS over taxation of the goodie bag and since then they have steered clear of it.

Here is a list for those that really want to know what’s in the bag!  Here are SOME of the highlights of the 2015 Oscar Nominee Swag Bag:

Antiperspirant: $5.49
Each swag bag holder will receive a bottle of Dove Dry Spray antiperspirant and Dove Men+Care antiperspirant.

Lip gloss: $36
The swag bag will contain a bottle of Flickable’s vegan-friendly lip gloss.

Lollipops: $68
This six-pack of herbal tea-based lollipops from Dosha Pops incorporates 24 karat edible gold leaf.

Travel pillow: $69
The Oscar nominees and host can rest easy on the trip back home with an innovative travel pillow from NapAnywhere.

Ambrosia Apples: $75
This new variety of apple is known for its low acid content and sweet flavor.

Condiments: $280
Rouge Maple is providing an assortment of organic maple syrup, salad dressings, jellies and mustard, as well as an apron to keep all that sticky stuff off those gowns and tuxedos.

Accessories: $300
Female nominees will receive a trio of bracelets from Jan Lewis Designs, and the men will receive silk ties.

Personal Training: $900
Celebrity trainer Alexis Seletzky is offering up 10 sessions of personal training.

Skincare: $1,200
Gift bag recipients can stay forever young with a host of products from Wellness 360, including a hair stimulant and skin serum.

Liposuction Wearable: $4,068
The stars can avoid going under the knife with a non-invasive liposuction wearable device from Ventura Lipo-Light.

Home spa system: $5,060
Steamist is providing a home spa system that delivers the ultimate steam bathing experience.

Italian luxury hotel package: $11,500
The Nominees and host can enjoy a three-night stay at the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, the Villa Armena in Tuscany and the Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como. Maybe George Clooney will have them over for cocktails.

Glamping: $12,500
This luxury camping trip from TerraVelo Tours includes surfing, hot air balloon rides and horseback riding.

Lifestyle makeover: $14,239
Reset Yourself is offering the recipients supplements, hair mineral analysis, a kitchen/pantry detox, expert meditation consultation and more to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Luxury rail trip: $14,594
The Oscar swag bag recipients can enjoy a luxury rail trip through the Canadian Rockies from Rocky Mountaineer.

Horoscope reading: $20,000
The founder of Enigma Life, Olessia Kantor, will fly out to meet each Oscar nominee and host to deliver their 2015 horoscopes. Kantor will also teach mind control techniques and conduct dream analysis.


America Saves WeekIn segment two of the program, I start the festivities for “America Saves Week,” which is the eighth year of this event. However, in this segment and the following one, I point out how the name might not be the best. The reality is a better name might be, “America Does Not Save Week” or possibly it should be more aptly named, “America Needs to Save More Week.”

I continue to cover “America Saves Week” in this segment of the program. I spend some time chatting about one of the major problems or disconnects with saving for retirement. The actual information we receive about:  How Much?, How Am I Doing?, What Should I Be Doing?, and a few others is less than satisfactory. It is no mystery why people feel in the dark about their retirement. That needs to change if we are to see a marked improvement in the coming years.

In the last segment of the program, I cover some of the excuses people use not to save as well as some of the highlights of a Fidelity study that outlines how even small increases in savings over time can have a big impact. Finally, I challenge the listeners to make a difference in their own lives by increasing their retirement savings at work by one percent.

I hope you enjoy this program and I really hope you find it possible to increase your retirement savings.



Gary Allen on Business – Fourth Quarter Market Review Presentation Available

Financial Jungle

Financial Market Review (4th Quarter, 2014)

Often people will ask me, how did the market do this quarter? Keeping score is one of the more difficult things for people to do.  When someone asks how did the market do, there is a simple answer but it only scratches the surface of the right answer in my opinion. It is not as simple as looking up at the scoreboard and noticing the Patriots are beating the Seahawks.

Keeping proper financial score requires forethought about what is important to you. Ultimately, all that should matter to you is how are you doing towards achieving your financial goals. But the world is still fascinated by the concept of beating the market. My opinion on that is who cares! More bad financial decisions have been made by people trying to beat the market.


Of course, the market is still a yardstick, but it should not be the holy grail of profit only if you beat it. Another major problem for people is comparing their results to their friends, family and business associates. That is a very dangerous pastime as well. Just worry about how your doing and you will better off for it.

However, I do understand the fascination about keeping up with how financial markets have done. It is the heart and sole of benchmarking the investments you have. You do need to look at the indices in order to determine how your investments have done compared to the market and its peers.

Market Review

I have linked a quarterly report for the fourth quarter of 2014 to give you an example of one. It contains some slides reviewing financial markets as well as a voiceover explaining in simple terms what happened. Let me know if this is something worthwhile to share with you on a regular basis.

Have a prosperous week!


Gary Allen on Business – Sunday, February 1, 2015 – Podcast Now Available

Super Bowl Sunday – The Big Economic Impact

The big game dominates America the weekend and provides a very large economic impact (estimated at over $14 billion) as the country celebrates. On the program today, we take a look at the impact of the Super Bowl and just how it has come to dominate the landscape. By any measure, the big game lives up to the hype off the field.

In the second segment of the program, I provide a tongue in cheek look at the recent cheerleader legislation proposed in the California legislature. And we finish out this segment with a review of the WSJ Jason Gay’s third annual Super Bowl Party Rules list.

Bull BearIn the third segment I provide some insight into fixed income and how to approach this part of your portfolio prudently. You might be surprised by some of the ground we cover in this segment. Too often, people are using the wrong motivations for how they treat their fixed income investments.

Finally, in the short fourth segment, I touch on the surprising success of my blog in the previous week covering the Croatian Super Bowl with Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll facing off.

On a final note welcome to Justin Siddhu, my new producer who has been in training for a while under Jon Wilson. So thanks to Jon for all your great work and welcome to Justin. I hope you enjoy the program.