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By Kathy Zucchi
It has been a little more than 10 years since I first started my business here in Noe Valley. I work for Edward Jones Investments as a financial advisor. We are trained to go out into the community and introduce ourselves to our new neighbors.
One of the first people I met was Robert Roddick, who just happened to be an estate planning attorney. He strongly encouraged me to join the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association. I followed his suggestion and ended up with more than I had bargained for. I later served as vice president and eventually president of the organization. That led me to my first physical office space here in Noe Valley, and in 2003 I expanded to a larger office.
I also owned a home in Noe Valley from 2001 to 2005 until I sold it, again with the help of a great real estate agent I met here in Noe Valley (Donna Sullivan at Hill & Company). I bought a place up in Twin Peaks, so I could keep a good eye on everyone in Noe Valley.
Well, I've seen quite a bit in my time in Noe Valley. I know these are troubling times for our economy. However, there are a few bright spots on the economic horizon.
I personally am keeping my clients very well diversified. A diversified portfolio has served many of them well, even in this severe downturn in the stock market. I have been able to give my retirees their monthly "paychecks," so that feels great.
Also, there are very attractive yields on high-quality municipal bonds. They are a nice way to get back some of your tax money, tax-free!
A Roth IRA has great tax-free advantages over time, so fund one if you are eligible. Pay down any credit card debt you may have.
And stick to a budget. And if you don't have a budget--make one.
These are just a few of the things I help my clients with. All common sense, but it has been my experience that common sense is all too uncommon in trying times. It's a new year, so it is always a great time to start fresh!
I see many quality companies that have been hammered, but they won't always be beaten down. This presents a great buying opportunity while they are on sale. I look for companies with a long history of paying rising dividends over time.
Don't "fall in love" with your investments and never overweight individual stock in any one company, no matter how great you might think it is.
With Obama in the White House, the economy will be the number one priority. So I sense a wave of mortgage refinancing this country has never seen. With interest rates at historic lows, I would encourage anyone considering refinancing to go for it. Just make sure you are with a reputable lender.
I also encourage clients to save a little and to spend a little. This is important if they want to achieve their longer-term goals, like buying a first or second home, saving for their children's education, or perhaps starting their own business. The ultimate goal for most of my clients is retirement. And the goal of the ones who are already retired is to stay that way!
Finally, I encourage everyone to shop locally. There are many businesses in Noe Valley that really deserve our shopping dollars. Because I work in the neighborhood, it is convenient for me to shop here as well. My dry cleaners is here, as well as my bank. I love the Noe Valley Bakery (perhaps too much!). I have purchased more than my fair share of flowers from our local florists, and baby presents from Small Frys. Rabat, Le Zinc, Noe Valley Deli, Subs Inc.--I can't resist their chocolate shakes! And now Toast Eatery. Can't forget my friends at Starbucks either.
Noe Valley is a great little community inside the much larger community of San Francisco. We are lucky to live and work in such a beautiful city in one of the greatest countries in the world. Think globally, but try to shop locally. Otherwise, all the businesses we enjoy so much in Noe Valley may not be there the next time we need them.
Many thanks to all the great people I have met in Noe Valley over the last 10 years, and hopefully, 10 more to come!
And if you are still depressed after all of this good news, how about buying a few good drug company stocks?!
Stay healthy, count your blessings enjoy your friends and family, work hard, play hard, live long and prosper! Peace to all!
Kathy Zucchi recently celebrated her 10th anniversary as an Edward Jones investment advisor in Noe Valley.
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