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Welcome to the 'No-Guilt' blog!
People come to here because they want to build financial confidence and take meaningful action. We provide the context for those things that affect your financial health. Our goal is to help you live in the 'No-Guilt Zone'.

William Pitney is a Certified Financial Planner™ and financial coach.  He is the founder of FocusYOU, a client-centered alternative to traditional financial sales and advisory services.  FocusYOU works primarily with high tech engineering managers, scientists, technical professionals and their families.  William has been featured in the New York Times, the Journal of Financial Planning, Black Enterprise and many other prominent publications.

It's All about Context... Federal Policy and Business Uncertainty

There is no such thing as business certainty. Uncertainty is a natural part of the business environment and never goes away. In our previous post, we saw evidence that rising stock prices reflect an improving U.S. economy. Still, there are plenty of noisemakers offering half-truths, mistruths and a distortion of facts who claim that uncertainty about taxation, regulation and other reforms are impeding the economic recovery. Simply listening to the media, one could easily conclude that there is widespread disagreement about how to accelerate the recovery.

In reality, however, there’s little disagreement among reasonable people. The University of Chicago Booth School of Business finds remarkable agreement among leading U.S. economists on most major macroeconomic issues, though they hold diverse political perspectives. The most surprising thing is that these economists agree, even when there is considerable disagreement on Capitol Hill. What have economists found concerning the extent to which federal policy affects business and economic uncertainty?

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Bad News Sells

Have you ever wondered why the news is so depressing? It's simple. Really!

Bad news sells! News editors and publishers know that fear is a more powerful emotion than greed. Greed sells, but fear sells a lot more.

Over the past 12 months, investors have been bombarded with a steady stream of discouraging economic and financial news. What are investors to do?

Some doom and gloomers recommended keeping money on the sidelines. Other advised to avoid the markets altogether. In either case, does this mean investors have to pay constant attention to their portfolios and make adjustments based on news events?

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Addiction to Prediction

It’s that time of year again. In the coming weeks, financial publications and gurus will release their hot list of stocks to buy, the best mutual funds, which sectors are going to out perform the market and which ones to avoid, and on and on. And, with all the upcoming holiday parties, I am sure to receive questions about my outlook on the market and whether it will go up or down. (Since I’ll be celebrating the holidays, I’ll simply stuff my face with a tasty morsel or down another beverage.)

Investors are driven by the innate human need for emotional and psychological security. Randomness is terrifying and creates discomfort. Investors want to believe that they or someone else knows what's going to happen next year. As such, they buy the hot lists and listen for hot tips. Some even pay substantial sums of money to those who claim to know what the future holds.

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How Good Were the Hot Stock Picks for 2012?

To kick start 2012, financial publications and gurus released their hot list of top stocks to buy late last year. The articles and gurus can be very persuasive. They use what sounds logical and reasonable to argue: “We know which stocks you should own to get above average returns.” And, many investors, middle class or otherwise, are inclined to act on the hot lists, as they do every year.

The average investor is led to believe that since we have wonderful technology, the Internet, and access to unlimited facts and statistics, investing is made easier and that we can research the stock tips before investing. The reality: Technology makes investing more difficult, complex, and confusing, not simpler. Can the average investor understand or even explain what all the information means?

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How Much Have the Peddlers of ''Snake Oil'' Really Cost You? A Painful Life Lesson About the Perils of ''Market Timing''

Remember 2008-09? Those scary times forced millions of investors to get out of the stock market and hold cash or “safer” investments. Were you one of them?

As painful as those times were, how much more painful has it been for those who cashed out for “safety?” That oh-so very seductive “market timing”. (For the unschooled, market timing is any attempt to change your investment mix based on some forecast about future stock market prices and its highs or lows). Market timing is perhaps the most destructive and costliest of all investment mistakes. And, there are an endless number of so-called investment gurus who will tell you they know when to get in and out of the market.

Truth is they can’t!

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