Friday, August 30, 2013

Financial Focus - Don't get trampled by the "herd"

Every year in early July, thousands of people “run with the bulls” in Pamplona, Spain. While the event is exciting, it is also hazardous, and many runners have gotten badly injured over the years. As an investor, you may find that running with the herd is dangerous to you, too — because if you’re constantly following what everyone else is doing, your own financial goals could end up getting “trampled.”

The urge to run with the herd, or follow the crowd, may have been hard-wired into our psyches, according to anthropologists. In prehistoric times, running with the pack may have helped people minimize danger or increase their chances for finding food. But today, there are far fewer rewards for following a herd mentality — especially in investing. 

For example, consider what happens when the financial markets go through a period of volatility. Virtually every time this happens, many investors flock to gold, apparently believing that the shiny yellow metal will always be valuable and that its price will never drop. Yet, the fact is that gold prices, like those of other financial assets, do fluctuate. Furthermore, certain types of gold-based investments can be quite risky in their own right. 

What other “follow the herd” movements should you avoid when you invest? For one thing, try to stay away from “feeding frenzies.” If you look back about 15 years ago, you may remember the buzz surrounding speculative technology stocks — many of which were companies that had futuristic names but lacked some useful elements, such as profits or business strategies. For a few years, the prices of these companies soared, but in 2000 and 2001, the “dot-com” bubble burst, splattering investors with big losses that were either irreversible or, at the least, took years from which to recover. 

The herd mentality often applies even when investors know the right moves to make. To illustrate: One of the most basic rules of investing is “buy low, sell high” — and yet many investors do the exact opposite. When prices drop, they sell, so that they can cut their losses — even though they may be selling investments that, while temporarily down, still have strong potential. On the other hand, when an investment’s price has shot up, these same investors will often keep buying more shares, hoping to reap even bigger gains — even if the investment has now become quite expensive, as measured by the price-to-earnings ratio, and has little upside potential remaining. 

Instead of emulating other investors, think about your own financial goals and create a viable strategy for achieving them, taking into account your risk tolerance and time horizon. Look for quality investments and hold them for the long term. Don’t be discouraged by the inevitable market downturns, but be ready to adjust your portfolio as needed. Above all else, be patient and disciplined, always keeping your eye on your ultimate objectives.

It can feel comfortable when you’re in the midst of a herd — but it can lead you to places where, as an investor, you don’t want to go. Steer clear of the crowds and go your own way.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Windham Child Care Providers, not just for Windham anymore

Anyone who legally provides care for children in their homes or in a center is required to have training hours each year, much like a school teacher. Windham has had an organized support group for child care providers for over 18 years and has a statewide reputation. The group is no longer only available to Windham business owners, but to any child care provider in the area. 
“Windham Child Care Providers (WCCP) is a support group for all of Cumberland County.

WCCP started from the desire of a group of child care providers in Windham to network and train together. Although known as Windham Child Care Providers, the group welcomes all licensed providers from surrounding towns to join them. At this time there are active members from: Cape Elizabeth, Westbrook, Gray, New Gloucester, Gorham, Scarborough, Raymond and Windham,” Debbie Arcaro said in a press release.  

“Most of us are family in-home child care providers, but anyone who works in a licensed child care program is welcome to become a member. The yearly dues ($10 for 2013-14) is payable at the first meeting you attend and covers all the offered trainings (18 hrs. total for 2013-14). We meet on the first Thursday of each month September thru June, in the lower room at the Windham Public Library. Meetings run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Training certificates are provided for attendees after each meeting.”

“We need to get it out there that we exist,” said Arcaro. “In child care it’s a pretty isolating profession. You’re in your house all day,” she said.
There are about 40 active members, but over 100 on the roster in the last five years. 

The group no longer does referrals for liability reasons and can no longer distribute their contact information through the schools. Providers can give games for those looking for child care, but do not call it a referral. To learn more about this group, visit or email

Meetings are scheduled for:
Sept. 5 - Business meeting to start the year followed by an informative training on today's 5210 program, resources and trainings by Ashley Edmondson

Oct. 3 - Margaret Cushing - Issues in emergency preparedness

Nov. 7 - Book and activity share - each member is to bring two books and an extension activity for each to share with the group

Business Spotlight - Gilbert's Chowder House - By Michelle Libby

Gilbert’s Chowder House is famous for its chowders made with fresh Maine seafood and homemade stock. The company has been in business for 20 years on the waterfront in Portland and has spent many of those years racking up awards and accolades. Seafood, clam and haddock chowders steal the show, but when Gilbert’s opened a restaurant at the corner of Route 302 and Route 35 in Windham, they had to reevaluate what they would be serving. It knew it couldn’t serve only seafood like in Portland. 

“We are rustic, casual and family-oriented,” said manager Melissa Gilbert. “Good food, good prices.” 

Windham Gilbert’s stands out because it has a full bar including happy hours and specials. It features live music on Friday nights and has a “fabulous outdoor patio.” 

“It’s the largest patio in Windham,” said Gilbert.

Live music is on Fridays at 6 p.m. and is described as a loud and crazy night. Saturdays are more of a dining experience. Sunday, there is live music outside from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

“This place has a lot of difference faces depending on the night,” said Gilbert.
When Gilbert’s opened in Windham in 2007, they completely renovated the building. The family was excited to take an old building and make it nice. The building was actually a house and the restaurant was at one point in history the barn.
The house is now used for private functions with no room fee. There is a unique menu for special parties and business meetings, Gilbert said. “That keeps us busy in the winter times,” she added. 

Patrons to Gilbert’s Chowder House come from all over including Portland. They like the ease of parking, Gilbert said. “We have locals and tourists, working Joe’s and lawyers, old and young.” 

The food is presented in fun, creative ways and runs the gamut from haddock sandwiches and lobster rolls to nacho plates and prime rib on Saturday nights in the winter. 

The chefs make homemade desserts that change seasonally. Strawberry shortcake, bread pudding, apple crisp with vanilla ice cream and brownie sundaes are the big hits. 

“It’s always fresh and local. Everything is made to order. We can make changes for allergies, or dietary restrictions,” Gilbert said. Don’t know how to eat a lobster? No worries, they’ll teach anyone willing to learn. 

For those who have never been to Gilbert’s Chowder House, Gilbert says, “Welcome to Gilbert’s. What took you so long to get here?”

For more information about either Gilbert’s location, visit Watch their outside board for live entertainment announcements.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Attracting success in business - By Kelly Mank

Let’s talk for just a moment about having a positive attitude and how important it is. Since I opened my business I can remember everyone telling me, “You’re so lucky”, “everything always just works out for you”, and “things come easy to you”. Let me clarify… none of this is correct. I work hard, put in long hours, have a positive attitude about almost everything that comes my way, and every single morning, before I put my feet on the floor, I tell myself how awesome my day is going to be. You can ask my husband if you don’t believe me… I say it out loud. Every day! Does that change my fate? Does that make me lucky? I have no idea. However, with a combination of convincing myself that everything happens for a reason and that every day is a great day, people are right… Things do happen for me! 

I get to talk to a lot of business owners every single day. It is amazing how many people I talk to who come in my office or I chat with on the phone who tell me how awful they are doing, business is terrible, they don’t have enough clients, they can’t pay their bills, the economy is awful, and they just don’t want to deal with people. Well, from a mother, business owner, shopper and consumer, if someone is putting out this information why in the world would they think people would want to do business with them… or even be around them. Sitting around and having a pity party is not going to get you anywhere. Get up and do something about it. Start with changing your attitude, get out to some networking events, go out and meet your potential clients. People like to do business with busy people.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Business Spotlight - A Joyful Noise Christian Daycare and Learning Center - By Michelle Libby

One of the toughest jobs a parent has is to leave her child with someone else when she returns to work. Choosing the right daycare is a decision that can haunt a parent, but in Windham there is one daycare center that tries to put parents’ minds at ease. A Joyful Noise Christian Daycare and Learning Center, on Route 302, is a non-denominational center that takes children from six weeks old to sixth grade. Owned by Jennifer White, the business opened in January 1999 and moved to its present location in September 2007.

“Working with children is one of the most rewarding careers. I have to have a lot of patience and a sense of humor. These kids are the future of our world, if we invest in them they are going to give back to us,” White said.

The center is divided up into an infant room, toddler room, pre-school with extended day care and an after school program. The center is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The skills they teach like character development and being a good neighbor are taught using Bible stories. They also focus on the Christian tradition of celebrating holidays.

“When I look at children I see the potential in each child. It’s our job to bring that out and help them discover it,” White said. “You have no idea how it’s going to affect one of these little guy’s lives somewhere down the road – something you say or do.”

A Joyful Noise employs 12 people and turnover is very low. Some people have been with the center for 12 years, White said. For the teachers at A Joyful Noise, “it’s not about punching a clock. You have to have that gift,” said White.

During the school year, the older children have different clubs to keep them occupied. This fall there will be a drama club option for them to choose.

A Joyful Noise also has a big multi-purpose room for when the children can’t get out on one of the two playgrounds. They also have a huge indoor sandbox with sand trucked in from Oregon because it’s the safest sand to use, White said.

A Joyful Noise has openings and gives sibling discounts.

“Staying home with your parent is the best thing, but for some of them this is the best thing,” said White.

Financial Focus - What do new investors really need to know?

If you’re starting out as an investor, you might be feeling overwhelmed. After all, it seems like there’s just so much to know. How can you get enough of a handle on basic investment concepts so that you’re comfortable in making well-informed choices? 

Actually, you can get a good grip on the investment process by becoming familiar with a few basic concepts, such as these: 

Stocks versus Bonds — When you buy stocks, or stock-based investments, you are buying ownership shares in companies. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to buy shares of quality companies and to hold these shares for the long term. This strategy may help you eventually overcome short-term price declines, which may affect all stocks. Keep in mind, though, that when buying stocks, there are no guarantees you won’t lose some or all of your investment. 

By contrast, when you purchase bonds, you aren’t becoming an “owner”, rather, you are lending money to a company or a governmental unit. Barring default, you can expect to receive regular interest payments for as long as you own your bond, and when it matures, you can expect to get your principal back. However, bond prices do rise and fall, typically moving in the opposite direction of interest rates. So if you wanted to sell a bond before it matures, and interest rates have recently risen, you may have to offer your bond at a price lower than its face value.

For the most part, stocks are purchased for their growth potential (although many stocks do offer income, in the form of dividends), while bonds are bought for the income stream provided by interest payments. Ideally, though, it is important to build a diversified portfolio containing stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit (CDs), government securities and other investments designed to meet your goals and risk tolerances. Diversification is a strategy designed to help reduce the effects of market volatility on your portfolio; keep in mind, however, that diversification, by itself, can’t guarantee a profit or protect against loss. 

Risk versus Reward — All investments carry some type of risk: Stocks and bonds can decline in value, while investments such as CDs can lose purchasing power over time.  One important thing to keep in mind is that, generally, the greater the potential reward, the higher the risk. 

Setting goals — As an investor, you need to set goals for your investment portfolio, such as providing resources for retirement or helping pay for your children’s college educations. 

Knowing your own investment personality — Everyone has different investment personalities — some people can accept more risk in the hopes of greater rewards, while others are not comfortable with risk at all. It’s essential that you know your investment personality when you begin investing, and throughout your years as an investor.

Investing is a long-term process —It generally takes decades of patience, perseverance and good decisions for investors to accumulate the substantial financial resources they’ll need for their long-term goals. 

By keeping these concepts in mind as your begin your journey through the investment world, you’ll be better prepared for the twists and turns you’ll encounter along the way as you pursue your financial goals.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor Pete Neelon.


Maine manufacturers meet with Sen. King to discuss jobs and the economy

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 15, 2013 – Senator Angus King (I-ME) took part in a forum earlier today hosted by Windham Millwork, Inc. and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Business leaders in Maine engaged Senator King about the challenges they are facing and how policies coming from Washington are impacting their businesses.

“Manufacturers of all sizes throughout Maine and those either directly employed in manufacturing or working as part of the supply chain want to see manufacturing grow. Today, manufacturers and Senator King discussed how to work together to develop policies that support the manufacturing sector in Maine and across our country,” said Bruce Pulkkinen, CEO of Windham Millwork, Inc. “We thank Senator King for taking the time today to meet with manufacturers.”

“In these uncertain economic times, manufacturers in Maine are fighting to remain competitive in the global marketplace,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Today’s forum was a positive opportunity for manufacturers to talk with Senator King about the issues that impact their businesses and their ability to hire, aggressive overregulation and the burdensome tax code.” The Senator and the guests then took a plant tour of Windham Millwork’s plant, a plant that blends old world craftsmen with high-tech manufacturing.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Business Spotlight on For the Chef - By Michelle Libby

Just off Route 302 in Windham, there is a hidden gem for anyone who likes to cook, shop for cooks or has a kitchen. For the Chef, located behind Stone Dog Café, is packed with hundreds of different tools for the kitchen.

“Once you open our door, the showroom explodes into a chef wannabee’s dream,” said owners James and Vicki Stokes. For 17 years For the Chef has sold commercial and professional products to restaurants and to the general public. “I like to brag. I am Windham’s most interesting store,” said James.

From a wall of small kitchen gadgets to lobster and clam preparing and eating supplies for the chef can take a cook from start to finish on any number of culinary projects.

Want to make your own pizzas? It has different types of pizza pans, stones and cutters. Into cake decorating? There is a whole section of decorating supplies from Wilton coloring gels to supplies to build a five-tiered masterpiece. Need barbeque tools? For the Chef is your one stop shop.

“Everything I have is practical. I cater to the restaurant trade. They need heavy duty stuff. Heavy duty is my middle name,” James said. He said he could also outfit an entire restaurant from silverware and knives to frying pans and stockpots.

His favorite items are a cheese knife that nothing sticks to, a gasket-less pressure cooker and a 4-in-1 digital timer that can time four items at once. For the Chef also has a large selection of Maine products including many flavors of Maine sea salt, Maine cookbooks and pepper grinders made by Vic Firth in Newport. Each month the company features different products.

James was a cook in the Army for eight years, and still loves to cook. His background is as a purchasing agent for a large company in Portland, where he worked with his father for 50 years. He’s always nearby for consultations and suggestions.

“We may be out of the way, but once you find me…people will never forget me,” said James.

Financial advice - Life Change? - By Chris Wallace, Primerica

Review these essential money strategies before taking one of these four steps.

Getting Married?

Talk about money. Discussing finances before the big day can help prevent misunderstandings in the future. Studies show that keeping money secrets can lead to divorce.1 Start your marriage with a tone of openness about money.
Get specific. Create a budget, discuss how to pay down outstanding debt, discuss long- and short-term savings goals, like saving for a home, vacation and retirement. Couples who take the time to regularly discuss money do better financially.2
Protect each other. No one wants to think about what would happen in the event of tragedy or loss, but when you are married, it is important to discuss your plans if something unexpected should happen. Your new spouse may depend on your income even if he or she earns as much or more than you do. While nothing can replace a spouse, a term life insurance policy is a way to protect one another financially.

Having a Baby?

You need life insurance. If you have a child, you need life insurance. If you are having an additional child, chances are you need more. Most experts recommend term life insurance, the most common and affordable type of life insurance. Is your family properly protected? Ask your representative for information.
Prepare a will. It is important to legally name a guardian for your children in the event of your death. Without a named guardian, the state could appoint a guardian for your children.
Save for college. The cost of higher education has skyrocketed – 570 percent over the past 30 years.3
The sooner you begin saving – even $100 a month – the more you will have for your child’s future.

Preparing for College?
Resist student loans. As a rule of thumb, try to keep student debt at 50 percent or less than the student’s expected starting salary. Considering a parent PLUS loan? Try not to borrow more than you can repay within 10 years or by retirement, whichever is first.4 Hands off that 401(k)!
Discuss money management. High school graduates may not know how to budget or avoid fees.
Graduate on time. Budgeting for a four-year stay? Most students actually take five or six years to finish.5 Make sure your student carries the maximum course load (not just the minimum for fulltime enrollment). Otherwise you’ll wind up paying for an extra year ($18,000 public, $40,000 private).6

Thinking of Retiring?

Clarify your definition of retirement. To make sure you can truly support the lifestyle you have in mind, estimate your retirement income, then live on it for a year. If you need to adjust, work longer. According to a new study, 34 percent of older Americans are using credit cards to pay for basic living expenses, such as mortgage payments, groceries and utilities.7
Stay healthy. It may sound like a no-brainer, but investing in your health now adds up to big dividends in the future. In fact, the healthier you are in the years leading up to retirement, the easier it is to build up the savings you’ll need: Those among the healthiest 20 percent in their fifties retired with three times the assets of the least healthy.8
Consider long-term care costs. Even the most well-funded retirement savings account could be wiped out in a matter of months if you require a nursing home stay or round-the-clock home health care. Long term care insurance can prevent this from happening. If you are age 50 plus, ask for advice on the best time to purchase long term care insurance.
Before taking any big step, it makes sense to review your finances.

1 “Half of Divorced Couples Blame Financial Infidelity for Uprooting Their Marriage,”, May 23, 2012 2 Money,
December 2011 3 American Council of Trustees and Alumni,, viewed May 7, 2013 4 Money, May 2013 5 Ibid 6 Ibid
7 USA Today, January 15, 2013 8 Money, March 2013