Friday, September 27, 2013

Financial Focus - How should your risk tolerance influence investment decisions - By Edward Jones

As an investor, how much risk can you tolerate? It’s an important question — because the answer can help you make the right investment choices.

Before you know your risk tolerance, you’ll want to make sure you first understand the nature of investment risk — the risk of losing principal. This risk is especially prevalent when you invest in stocks, because stock prices will always fluctuate — and there are never any guarantees about performance. Of course, a decline in value does not mean you need to sell; you can always hold on to the stock with the hope that its value will bounce back. And this can certainly happen, but again — no guarantees. 

How you respond to this type of investment risk will tell you a great deal about your own risk tolerance. Of course, no one, whether he or she has a high tolerance for risk or a low one, particularly likes to see declines. But people do react differently. If you’re the sort of person who can retain your confidence in your investment mix and can focus on the long term and the potential for a recovery, you may well have a higher tolerance for risk. But if you find yourself losing sleep over your losses (even if, at this point, they’re just “paper” losses), becoming despondent about reaching your goals, and questioning whether you should be investing at all, then you may have a low tolerance for risk.

This self-knowledge of your own risk tolerance should help inform your investment decisions — to a point. 

Even if you determine you have a high tolerance for risk, you almost certainly should not load up your portfolio exclusively with stocks. If the stock market enters a prolonged slump, you could face heavy losses that may take many years to overcome, causing you to lose significant ground in the pursuit of your financial goals. Conversely, even if you discover you don’t have much tolerance for risk, you won’t want to invest only in supposedly “safe” vehicles, such as certificates of deposit (CDs). During those periods when rates on CDs and similar instruments are low, as has been the case in recent years, your interest payments from these investments may not even keep up with inflation — meaning that, over time, you could end up losing purchasing power, which, over the long term, can be just as big a risk as market declines.

Ultimately, then, you’ll probably want to let your risk tolerance guide your investment choices — but not dictate them with an “iron hand.” So, if you believe you are highly tolerant of risk, you might have a somewhat higher percentage of stocks in your portfolio than if you felt yourself to be highly risk-averse — but in any case, you’ll likely benefit from building a diversified portfolio containing stocks, bonds, government securities, CDs and other investments. While this type of diversification can’t guarantee profits or protect against loss, it can help reduce the effects of volatility on your portfolio.

By knowing your own risk tolerance, and the role it can play in your choices, you can help yourself create an effective, suitable investment strategy — one that you can live with for a long time and that can help you avoid the biggest risk of all: not reaching your long-term goals. 

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

Business spotlight - South Shore Marketplace

The first thing people notice about the South Shore Marketplace, on Route 35 in Sebago Village, is the cleanliness. The second is the welcome from the friendly owners and staff who work there.

“We are happy to do anything we can to help our customers and we love doing it,” LeeAnna Tevanian said.
South Shore Marketplace is owned by Malcolm Tevanian and managed by his wife LeeAnna Tevanian. It has been in business for three months. “We took over the lease and gutted it and started from scratch,” said Malcolm. Despite some people’s concerns about a business on that corner, the Tevanians are optimistic that their food and family atmosphere will win them lifelong customers.

Malcolm was born and raised in Standish and even owns the lot and building across the street from the marketplace. “My job is to create business in the community,” he said. “This corner has always called to me.”

The head chef is Tim McLean, who once worked at the Barnhouse Tavern in Windham. Mikki of Ain’t Mikki Deez Eatery also mans the kitchen.

Malcolm is in the Air Guard and will be deployed next year. By then he hopes the business will be settled in. He is an inspector for the Guard and carries that over to the business. “I run this like I give my inspections,” he said, which explains why cleanliness is one of the first things a person notices.

The entire restaurant has a lakeside appearance with waterskis on the walls and a rudder from Malcolm’s old sunfish. “We brightened it up,” he said. Red and white bench tables are set up for dining.

The food varies from a fisherman’s platter featuring shrimp, scallops, clams and haddock, to a pulled pork sandwich. They also make their own pizza sauce and pizza crust, which sets them apart from the competition. “That’s what makes people drive from far away. We have a lady who calls from Walmart in Scarborough to order her pizza. She picks it up on her way home to Bridgton,” said LeeAnna.

South Shore Marketplace does takeout and delivers within a five mile radius. They also serve breakfast every day after 10:30 a.m. On the weekends, breakfast begins at 7 a.m. with Sunday offering additional selections like eggs Florentine as well as pancakes and other choices.

Broccoli and chicken alfredo is LeeAnna’s favorite dish. “Anything we can make in house we do,” she said. They cook their own pork and turkeys. They use real ingredients, not canned and make homemade meatballs.

The store sells specialty coffee, sodas, beer, wine and cigarettes. “We’re not a hangout, we’re a restaurant,” Malcolm said.  “We want to be a part of the community, not just be in it.”

For more information about South Shore Marketplace, visit or on Facebook.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Financial focus - What's your retirement "contingency plan"?

You probably have thought about what you’d like to do during your retirement years. But all your plans probably depend, to at least some extent, on your financial situation. What happens if you reach the age at which you wish to retire and you just don’t have the money you thought you’d have?

If this occurs, it’s time for “Plan B.” What does that look like? Here are a couple of possibilities: 

• Continue working. If you like your job, you may not mind working an extra year or so. You’ll be bringing in more income and contributing more to your 401(k) or other retirement account — and, perhaps almost as importantly, you may be able to avoid tapping into these retirement accounts, thus giving them more time to potentially grow. (However, once you turn 70½, you’ll need to begin taking withdrawals from your 401(k) and a traditional IRA.) But if you are really not enamored with the idea of working any longer, you might find that even the ability to “beef up” your retirement plans for another couple of years isn’t much consolation. 

• Adjust your retirement lifestyle. It’s pretty simple: If you don’t save as much as you had planned for retirement, you probably can’t do all the things you wanted to do as a retiree. For example, you may not be able to travel as much, or pursue your hobbies to the extent you’d like. 

Clearly, you’d like to avoid these “retirement contingency plans.” To do so, though, you’ll need to take steps well before you retire. And the most important move you can make may be to contribute as much as you can possibly afford to your IRA and your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan. 

During the last several years before you wish to retire, you may be in a strong position to “max out” on these plans because, at this stage of your life, your income may be at its highest point, your children may be grown and you may even have “retired” your mortgage. If you still have money left with which to invest, you may want to look at other tax-advantaged vehicles that can be used for retirement.

But while it’s important to put in as much as possible to your retirement accounts, you need to do more than that — you also must put the money in the right investments within these accounts. Your exact investment mix should be based on your individual risk tolerance and time horizon, but, as a general rule, these investments must provide you with the growth potential you’ll need to accumulate sufficient resources for retirement. 

Of course, as you know, investments move up and down. You can’t prevent this, but you’ll certainly want to reduce the effects of volatility as much as possible when you enter retirement. Consequently, during your final working years, you may need to adjust your retirement accounts by shifting some of your assets (though certainly not all) from growth-oriented vehicles to income-producing ones. 

 It’s a good idea to have contingency plans in place for virtually every endeavor in life — and paying for your retirement years is no different. But if you can make the right moves to avoid the contingency plans in the first place, then so much the better.

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

Biz Spotlight - Sebago Dock & Lift, Inc.

Sebago Dock & Lift Inc. is a local lakes region based metal fabrication company located at 204 Casco Road and a retail location at 342 Roosevelt Trail in Casco. Sebago Dock & Lift wears many different hats when it comes to the products and the services they offer but no matter the product their company is based on four basic principles, quality craftsmanship, value, customer service and pride in a Maine made product constructed with materials sourced as close to home as possible. 

“Keeping business local is very important to us,” said director of marketing Jason Pawlina, “as a member of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce we value participation in our community and we work with other local businesses whenever possible to cross market each other’s products and promote local business in general.”

Sebago Dock & Lift Inc. was established in 1994 By Jim Wynn. “We started as a dock service and manufacturing company, but as we grew as a company so did the product line and services we offer,” said Wynn. “It all started with a welder and the hope that our product would be well received by the consumer, which it was, and twenty years later we are still setting a benchmark in the industry. We have come a long way,” said Wynn. “In years past it was all about the docks, which was the product that got us where we are today, but we had to diversify to overcome the seasonal nature of the dock business.” For Sebago Dock, growth and success has not been about creating new cutting edge products, but putting much care and attention into developing their existing products and adapting them to fit into more everyday situations.

Sebago Dock is the manufacturer of Alummikon Docks, known throughout New England as the toughest, most durable and versatile dock systems on the market. In recent years Sebago Dock has started producing their own line of handicapped access ramps, aluminum picnic tables, truck beds, racks and accessories and even aluminum decks, fire escapes and staircases for homes. 

“If it’s made of metal we can build it,” said Wynn. “I have a staff of talented certified welders and fabricators, a hardworking production manager and a dedicated service department.” From the biggest custom made dock or deck to the smallest items they build Sebago Dock always puts the customer’s needs to the front of the line. “Customers need to be the focus of any business,” said Wynn. “There is no substitute for good customer service.” 

At Sebago Dock & Lift Inc. when they say “Made with pride the Maine way,” they mean it.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Consider your investment strategy at each "season" of your life

Fall is almost officially here — and if you’re like most people, you’re probably wondering how summer went by so fast. Those trips to the lake or the beach are fading in memory now, giving way to helping kids with homework, raking leaves and the other rites of autumn. And just as your day-to-day tasks change with the seasons, so, too, will your money management and investment activities at different phases of your life. 

Here’s how these scenarios might look:

Phase one: Planning for possibilities — When you’re young and you’re starting out in the working world, your most immediate financial concerns may be to pay off student loans and then, possibly, save for a down payment on a house. To address both these goals, you’ll need to budget carefully. And yet, even at this stage of your life, you should start thinking about saving for retirement — because time is your biggest ally. Consequently, if you work for an employer who offers a retirement plan, such as a 401(k), contribute what you can afford. At the very least, put in enough to earn your company’s matching contribution, if one is offered. You may also want to open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). 

Phase two: Gearing up for other goals — As you move through life, and possibly begin a family, you’ll likely develop other financial goals, such as helping your children pay for college. You may want to consider investing in a tax-advantaged college savings vehicle, such as a 529 plan. Also, it’s important to have enough life insurance to protect your young family.    

Phase three: Ramping up for retirement — When you reach the mid-to-later stages of your working life, you may find you have more financial resources available, as your earnings may have increased significantly, your children have grown and your mortgage may even be paid off. If you are not already doing so, “max out,” if possible, on your 401(k) and IRA. And if you still have money available to invest, you may want to look for other tax-advantaged retirement vehicles. 

Phase four: Reaping the rewards — Now it’s time to enjoy the results of your lifetime of hard work and your many years of saving and investing. You may have to tap into your retirement accounts, so you’ll need to choose a sustainable annual withdrawal rate. The amount you withdraw each year from your IRA and 401(k) depends on a variety of factors: how much you’ve saved, the lifestyle you’ve chosen, your estimated longevity, how much you have available from other sources, and so on. 

Phase five: Examining your estate plans — During your retirement years, if not sooner, you’ll want to review your estate plans so that you can leave the legacy you desire. If you have a need to create or update your legal documents, such as a living trust and durable power of attorney, you should consider consulting a qualified estate-planning attorney.

You’ll need to make the appropriate financial and investment decisions at many different times over the years. This may sound daunting, but with diligence and discipline, you can discover the paths to take as you move through the seasons of your life.

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


How money works - Answers to financial problems - By Christopher Wallace

How Money Works is designed to help consumers find answers to their financial problems.

It is intended as an overview of how to overcome the most common financial challenges facing people today.

Primerica believes the ultimate key to financial success is knowledge– about how money works, how to make responsible, well-informed decisions and how to get the best value for the dollars you spend. That’s what How Money Works is all about. As part of Primerica’s continuing commitment to consumer education, over the next several months we will discucss common sense financial concepts that can help people overcome the obstacles they face and achieve their goals. We will show you how greater financial security is within reach of every working American.

As the text explains, the critical first step is learning to make wise financial decisions. Primerica encourages consumers to become independent thinkers and always make their own choices, whether they’re purchasing financial products or any other goods or services.

There is a common misunderstanding that average and ordinary folks can’t become millionaires.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

The fact is, you have the power to accumulate wealth beyond your dreams. Many people who never earned a six-figure income become financially independent. How do they do it? Doesn’t it take a high-level job with a big salary? Or a large inheritance? Or winning the lottery?

The answer is no. No matter what your income level, you can achieve financial security – if you take the time to learn a few simple principles about how money works.

You can get out of debt. 

You can build savings.

You can get on the path to financial independence!

By applying the simple principles discussed here, you can achieve financial security and ultimately reach your goals. But nobody else can make it happen. It’s up to you. You have the power to change your life forever. Ready to get started?

The first step is to take control
Did you know one of the biggest financial mistakes most people make is dependence? Dependence on others allows “outside” factors in people’s lives to control them. The secret to financial security is learning to control te things ou can control.

1. Pay yourself first

Paying yourself first means putting yourself and your family before any other demands on your money. Paying yourself first is a form of self-respect. Deposit a set amount each and every month into an investment program, no matter what other financial obligations you have. It’s amazing how fast your money can grow if you invest even a small amount regularly, at a good rate of return.

2. Adjust your priorities

It’s been said that:

If you make $10 and spend $9 = happiness
If you make $10 and spend $11 = misery

As you begin your journey to financial independence, remember this key point: It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep.

3. Change your thinking

The way you think about money is everything. Your mindset is a powerful thing – especially when it comes to money. That explains why so many of the people who win the lottery … end up losing it all. It helps you understand how so many millionaires are self made. What is the difference between the two groups? It’s how they think. If you think you don’t deserve to be financially secure, you’ll never be financially secure. However, if you “upgrade” your self-image and believe you deserve the freedom and peace of mind that financial security provides, you’ll have a better chance at doing what needs to be done to obtain wealth beyond your dreams.

4. Adjust your lifestyle

Along with setting priorities comes one tough rule of life: you can’t have everything. You have to make conscious decisions about every purchase. An important concept to understand is want versus need.

• A need is something you have to have, something you can’t do without. You “need” food. You “need” shelter.
• A want is something you would like to have. You “want” ice cream. You “want” a bigger house.

If you want to achieve financial independence, you may have to make sacrifices for a period of time and go without some of your “wants.” It’s not that tough, but it is very, very important to your financial health.

5. Earn additional income

If your family income is very modest, things may be so tight that it’s tough to invest more than $50 a month. If you want to make significant progress, consider taking a part-time job to get the extra income needed to start your investment program.

6. Re-align your assets

This is another way to take control and free up income for savings. There are two major areas in which families are not getting their money’s worth that are great areas to target for adjustment:

   * Low-interest savings accounts or accumulations with banks. You can take money from a one percent savings plan and invest it in an area that has the potential for higher returns.
   * High-cost life insurance. You can replace your outdated, expensive cash value insurance policies with term insurance and potentially save thousands of dollars in premium over time!

7. Avoid the credit trap

Credit cards are good for convenience but that’s it. Be careful to avoid the pitfalls of “plastic money.” Pay your balance in full each month and you’ll not only avoid interest charges, but you’ll prevent your balance from escalating out of control. To keep your monthly charges under control, pay with cash. You’ll probably find you spend less when you have to hand your money over. See how many options you have? You do have a choice about your financial future.

8. Set goals and have a plan

You can’t reach your destination if you don’t know what it is. Setting goals gives you two things:

 * An incentive to make the necessary sacrifices.
*  Benchmarks along the way to gauge your progress.

After you’ve set your goals, you need a road map to get you there. You need a financial game plan. Together with your goals, a game plan is the cement that holds together your financial foundation.

In the months to come we will delve into more detail on these topics as you begin to learn “How Money Works.”

DiSanto's Italian Restaurant - By Michelle Libby

Fine dining, authentic Italian food and ambiance fit for a romantic night out or celebratory afternoon with the girls. No one can compare to DiSanto’s Italian Restaurant on Route 202, just over the Windham boarder into Gray. 
Owner Anna DiSanto is a stickler for details, from the wall covered with wine corks to the perfect ingredients in the family recipe for their new tomato vodka sauce. Focus at DiSanto’s is on the quality of the food, the service and the atmosphere. 

“The restaurant business is in my blood. I have 35 years of experience in this industry,” she said. “DiSanto’s is not just for a special occasion. We’ve become a destination point.” Open 365 days a year for lunch and dinner, people come from all over for the food. At one table a couple may be celebrating an anniversary, at another table a family could be talking about a sick child and at a third table a group could be celebrating a special occasion. DiSanto likes that diversity at her restaurant. 

Before she opened DiSanto’s, she had to remodel most of the space including the kitchen, which was not set up for the type of cooking she planned to do. She serves everything from pasta to chicken to gluten free items. There is a full bar and an extensive wine list to complement any dinner choice. 

This summer DiSanto updated the menu to lower prices on some favorite dishes and she added some new items like the Billy Risbara, a “combination of freshly sliced eggplant and your choice of veal or chicken parmesan served with DiSanto’s tomato sauce.” Risbara is a loyal customer and a friend, DiSanto said. “He adores our eggplant. It’s a tough thing to make at home.” Their other new item is blushing scallops prepared with the new vodka cream sauce. 

Sauces can also be purchased to take home in quarts or pints, choose from marinara, puttanesca, alfredo, vodka cream sauce and meat sauce.  

Desserts are made in the restaurant like tiramisu, seasonal delights and budini, a warm Italian bread pudding with amaretto sauce. 

The specials at DiSanto’s are dynamite, DiSanto said. Twin lobster rolls for lunch or a fisherman’s platter for $10. Prime rib dinner is $15 and twin lobsters or surf and turf dinner are $20. “It’s affordable,” she said. 

Three miles from the center of Windham, DiSanto’s can be found on Facebook and at Reservations are not needed, but can be taken at 207-420-4300.

“The town needed a restaurant like this in the area,” DiSanto said. “There’s nothing better than to sit down to eat together with a nice bottle of wine.”

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Tricia Jamiol Photography - By Michelle Libby

Just six months old, Tricia Jamiol Photography has made a splash in the area. The collaboration between Tricia Jamiol and Christina Fay, girlfriends, who both work full-time at Spurwink, took Jamiol’s love of art and Fay’s “type A personality” to create a business.

“Tricia has always wanted to make money out of her passion, which is art,” said Fay. “I come from a very long line of successful Fay women.” 

“I needed art in my life some way or the other,” Jamiol said. Jamiol’s experience has been 12 years of photography in Massachusetts before moving up here.

Jamiol loves using black and white film and says one of her strengths is how she interprets light. 

The business doesn’t have a physical studio, but they are willing to travel to anywhere in New England. 

“We shoot on location to make use of all the beautiful places Maine has to offer,” Fay, who has lived in Windham for eight years, said. 

The business offers digital photography with Photoshop editing. They shoot weddings, engagement shots, large conferences, portraits, pets, senior portraits, model shoots, commercial photography for rack cards, real estate or architecture, to name a few. 

They are getting better at getting out there and talking about themselves, Fay said. They are a part of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, are in a BNI networking chapter and use social media to interact with potential clients. 

Being social workers has helped when a client is stiff or nervous about having his picture taken, Jamiol has been able to put him at ease.
Staying competitive and offering something a little different is important to Jamiol. 

“We want to be known as a reasonably priced,” said Fay. To that, Tricia Jamiol Photography charges by the hour for weddings. “We believe in being flexible,” Fay said. 

“Your memories and your photos are all you have left of that big day,” Jamiol said. Having the best and best value photographer is important, she added. They also offer pre-wedding consultations to get to know who they are shooting before the big day. They are excited to work with more gay, lesbian and transgendered couples. 

“After meeting with them, I know what they want. I try to mimic that as best I can and put my own twist on that,” Jamiol said. 

To get in touch with Tricia Jamiol Photography, call 207-281-2681, email, or visit them at or on Facebook.  

Bullet-proofing your business - By Kaile Warren

There are seemingly countless considerations with starting and/or growing a business. Few considerations are as important as assuring you can achieve proof of concept with your business. For instance, without proof of concept, you have not proven your business can compete with the competition, much less beat it. Additionally, you need to prove that your brand is uniquely able to hold its position in the marketplace. You also need to know that others cannot easily duplicate your business, make it less expensive to operate, or substantially improve on your business deliverables.

The task of bullet -proofing your business may seem daunting, but the reality is that if you do not do so, your American Dream may be short lived.

Here are some ways to help you achieve proof of concept with your business: Document what the competition is doing and how well, or not so well, they are doing it. It is often times amazing just how much you can learn from simply asking and knowing the right questions to ask. 

Take whatever information you can secure and add it to your own opinions and experiences related to how you want your business to perform.

Then create a list of metrics you can use to determine improvements made, areas to improve upon, and changes needed to secure better results. 

It is very important for sustainable growth to know your business brand. Also know that the way it operates will be difficult for the competition to match or exceed. If you cannot bullet-proof your business by achieving proof of concept, it will be important for you to take a step back and evaluate the possibilities of long-term success. Keep in mind that proof of concept does not necessarily mean your business makes a lot of money during this proof of concept timeframe. There are some businesses that are driven by an economy of scale. Thus, until you hit substantial scale, substantial profits may not, and should not, be expected.

In short, get your business model so that it performs better than others and is uniquely different. Once you have done this you have built a solid foundation from which to grow.