Gary Allen on Business: New Podcast Available – Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Story of the Pencil and More


Segment 1

How can the story of a simple pencil provide someone with an understanding of financial markets? Find out in the first segment of my program. It is an interesting story about knowledge, experience, pricing and human ingenuity.

You can read the short paper on the pencil by economist Leonard Read here:   The Pencil Essay

Segment 2

In this segment I cover some of the basics regarding the new 529 ABLE programs that are springing up around the country. 529 ABLE accounts represent a revolutionary way for disabled people to manage their finances. If you have not heard of 529 ABLE accounts you need to. Listen to this segment to get a quick overview of the new program and how it can fundamentally change the financial life of a disabled person. 

In the segmemiable-logont, I mention the State of Michigan’s new 529 ABLE program. My firm is the investment manager and investment advisor associated with that program. The program is a federal program, which means it is available to anyone that lives in the Unites States. You do not have to be a resident of Michigan to enjoy the benefits of the program.

If you would like more information on the Michigan 529 ABLE program you can visit there website at: Michigan 529 ABLE Savings Program

Segment 3

modern and historic architecture at college campusThe cost of higher learning (college) continues to skyrocket. In this segment, I spend a few minutes talking about the cost and how to plan for it. This is a high level look at the challenge parents face and how to approach this liability from a logical perspective. Ultimately, the answer is save as much as you can early, invest it aggressively, and then transition into lower risk (as measured by volatility) as college approaches. This is not personal advice, just a formula to consider for new parents. 

Segment 4

In the final segment, I spend time explaining the overarching formula of financial life. The trade-off between spending and saving… and the role of human capital and financial capital. Finally, near the end of the program, I provide an explanation of stocks and bonds. What they represent and what you should expect. 

I hope you enjoy the program!



If you would like to contact Gary, the best way is through this form.

You can also reach Gary via his work email at


PODCAST – Gary Allen on Business: Original air date – Sunday, February 19, 2017


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Gary Allen on Business – New Show Sunday, January 29, 2017


Gary Allen on Business is Back!

Greetings everyone. I am pleased to announce that I will be back on the air this weekend. My first show of the new year will be on Sunday morning from 8 AM to 9 AM on radio station KNBR 680 AM San Francisco.

It was very relaxing and wonderful to have the time off these past few months but it’s time to get back to giving you the business. I look forward to chatting with you about all of the recent events and how they might impact your investments.

Hope that you tune in on Sunday but you can always catch the show through my podcasts on this website. Thanks again to all of my listeners who have been with us for the past twenty years!

All the best – Gary

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Gary Allen on Business – Back Soon


Greetings everyone. In case you have not been paying attention, I have taken some time off in recent months. After 19 years on the air, I took a sabbatical to recharge the batteries and to just take a break from the grind. For much of my radio career I was broadcasting six days a week and providing thousands of business updates every year. It may be hard to imagine but after a while it does become a grind.

I have totally enjoyed my time off but I am now getting the itch to start broadcasting again. The good news for listeners is my program will be back on the airwaves of KNBR very soon.

Look for further details in the coming weeks about when the show will be back on the air. 2017 will mark my 20th year associated with KNBR. It should be a fun year. Happy New Year to everyone and I look forward to having further conversations on the radio with all of you.


Gary Allen on Business: Sunday, August 14, 2016 – Podcast Now Available

ABLE ACT529 ABLE Accounts Big Deal for Disabled People

Most people know about 529 College Savings Accounts but few are aware of the new exciting changes under code section 529A. Passed in 2014, the Stephen Beck Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 is the single biggest improvement for the financial future of disabled people in a very long time. 

Until the passage of the ABLE act most disabled individuals have been trapped in a life of government imposed poverty. Unfortunately, disabled people have been limited to financial assets of less than $2,000 or they would lose their government benefits. All of that is about to change with ABLE accounts.

Listen to the highlights of the exciting ABLE accounts program on this week’s program. The great news is disabled people will be allowed to have modest financial wealth and retain their government benefits. Wonderful news for the disabled community and their families.

Fiduciary ComparisonFiduciary Standard Versus Suitability Standard of Care

A recent interaction with an intern from a financial services firm on the east coast crystallizes the difference between being a fiduciary and a salesperson. This short segment is a great lesson in understanding the differences between a professional and a salesperson in the financial services industry. 

The All-Weather Portfolio and Goals-Based Investing

The final segment of the program introduces the concept of an all weather portfolio and focusing on your needs or goals. It is a change in thought process from the usual product driven/returns driven investment mindset.


Contact Information – Gary Allen

If you have a question for Gary or would like to contact him, the best way is through email at You can also try his office at 916.436.8331 but he responds more quickly through email.

Rare Interview with Costco Co-Founder Jim Sinegal

Jim Sinegal Interview

Costco Co-Founder and Former CEO

Jim Sinegal / at Costco store Nepean, Ontario

I have had a number of requests from people about the recent interview with Costco co-founder and ex-CEO Jim Sinegal. While the interview with Jim is included in the podcast from the show on Sunday, July 31, 2016 (segment 3), below you will find a podcast of only that segment. That should make it easier for anyone trying to find the interview with Jim.   

It was a real pleasure to have the interview with Jim Sinegal who does not often provide interviews these days. Thanks to the folks at The Organic Coup for arranging the visit with Jim. The interview contains some excellent advice and observations for entrepreneurs and employees alike. 


Podcast of Jim Sinegal Interview

Gary Allen on Business – KNBR 680 AM San Francisco, Original Broadcast on Sunday, July 31, 2016

Gary Allen on Business: Sunday, July 31, 2016: Podcast Now Available

The Organic Coup Interview

On the program this week an interesting story about a new startup in the fast food industry. The Organic Coup is America’s first certified organic fast food restaurant. The mission is a big one, in fact a revolution in the fast food industry. The upstart promises fast, healthy, organic food that promises to reinvent the concept of fast food.

The_Organic_Coup_Dennis___Erica.0The driving force behind the company are two former Costco executives without restaurant experience. However, Erica Welton is a well-known executive considered to be one of the most influential organic food individuals in the country. Erica was at the center of turning Costco into the world’s largest organic retailer. Her partner is long-time Costco executive Dennis Hoover.

The two represent an excellent partnership between Welton’s vision for the company and Hoover’s deep operational experience running Costco’s crucial Northern California region for many years.

While the two do not have direct restaurant experience, it is easy to see in the interview that Costco’s passion for excellence, quality and efficiency are key factors in the startup. In addition, the organic supply chain relationships developed by Welton are crucial for the company’s ability to scale up from its current three locations to as many as ten by the end of the year.Many more company owned restaurants are planned over the next few years.

The combination of clean, healthy, fresh food with the efficiency of Costco and an aspiration to match In-N-Out Burger’s service could be a disruptive force in the fast food industry. Only time will tell if Welton and Hoover with their team can scale and execute on the mission, but so far so good. 

On a personal note, everyone (including me) at KNBR 680 & 1050, KGO 810, KSFO 560 and 107.7 the Bone who tried their signature organic fried chicken sandwich gave it a big thumbs up. That is a huge endorsement since radio stations live on fast food 24/7. 


Jim SinegalJim Sinegal – Former CEO and Co-Founder of Costco

It was a real coup (pun intended) to have Jim Sinegal of Costco fame call into the program to talk about his business experiences and his connection to The Organic Coup. The retailing legend offers some excellent advice to business owners and employees in segment three of the program. 


signature-sandwichThe company currently has three locations (Pleasanton, San Francisco, Pleasant Hill) with more to come in the near future. You can find more information about The Organic Coup at


If you would like to contact Gary or have a question for him email is the best method. His email address is or you can try to contact him at 916.436.8331. 


Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Organic Coup






Gary Allen on Business: Sunday, July 31, 2016 Broadcast: The Organic Coup (A Fast Food Revolution?)

The Fast Food Organic Revolution

In 2015, the fast food industry generated approximately $200 billion in sales in the United States from more than 200,000 locations. However,  fast food has a general reputation for unhealthy food, poor working conditions and very low wages. Into this rugged playing field, two former retail executives with no restaurant experience are aiming pretty high.

The Organic Coup (yes a play on words, think organic revolution) is making big plans to disrupt and change the fast food industry. Yes, bold plans are often laid out by entrepreneurs and most do fail, but something seems different as The Organic Coup begins to hatch its plans for fast food stardom.   

The_Organic_Coup_Dennis___Erica.0Two highly experienced former Costco executives have launched their revolution in Northern California to shatter the fast food industry’s reputation for unhealthy food by boldly becoming the nation’s first organic certified fast food operation.  While the restaurant industry is something new, the two co-founders have deep and influential organic experience.

Erica Welton helped turn Costco into the nation’s largest organic retailer (yes it’s true), while Dennis Hoover was responsible for the company’s Bay Area region ($11 billion in sales and 15,000 employees). The two experienced executives are taking the Costco mentality and applying it to the fast food industry. One of the early investors in The Organic Coup is legendary Costco Co-founder Jim Sinegal.


The Organic Coup Story

On the program tomorrow (Sunday, July 31, 2016) our guests will be Erica Welton and Dennis Hoover co-founders of The Organic Coup. It is a great story about a startup that might just shake up the fast food industry in a big way.


Jim Sinegal, Former CEO and Co-Founder of Costco

Jim Sinegal

Jim Sinegal is a legendary retailer and considered to be a major contributor to one of the greatest American retailing stories. It is rare to get an interview with Jim and something not to be missed.  

Going to be a great show!