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Jerry Citarella: The heat to perform is on

Financially Speaking

Posted: August 21, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 21, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Here in the Santa Clarita Valley it’s been hot, hot, hot. “The heat is on.” With temperatures consistently in the high 90s and recently soaring into the 100s on a number of days, we’ve gotten to feel what it’s like to be slow roasted.

Whether in our backyards, walking through a parking lot, or spending the day at one of our local theme parks, the main objective for most of us has been to somehow get out of the heat as soon as possible. Unfortunately, sometimes we’re just plain stuck in it for a bit longer than we’d like to be.

This is exactly how I believe a lot of money managers, economists, government leaders, financial advisers and the like, actually feel. The desire is for something to shade us from the heat. I’ll bet if our economy as a whole had a voice, it would say, “Help … I can’t take this anymore! When will this end?”

It’s been a tough stretch in the recent past. Everywhere you look, there’s been trouble, or at least potential for trouble. Whether you like who’s in office or not, imagine how frustrating it must be to go on and on with no real resolve to our huge looming issues in sight. They’re politicians so they’re good at smiling and making everything look OK, but you have to assume it’s driving many, if not all of them crazy.

I know for a fact that many money managers are frustrated as well. It’s difficult to achieve positive results when the rules of the game keep changing so rapidly. Volatility is also more extreme than maybe ever before. If you want to feel some heat, try managing money with your main objective being trying not to lose any. The days of aggressively and consistently chasing gains are a distant memory. Investors are frustrated and turning up the heat regularly.

Pressure is all around us; jobs, housing, banking, government, international issues, unmanageable national debt and basic uncertainty are just some of the specific issues turning up the heat. What’s next? I’m not sure if anyone truly knows.

I wrote earlier this year about what I’m calling a wait-till-your-father-gets-home economy. In that column I mentioned I believe the biggest problem is not anything specific, but instead the lack of answers to the problems.

It’s like when you were in trouble and your mom said, “wait till your father gets home.” It was the waiting that caused the issues more than the actual event. What was actually going to happen when he got home? You never knew, but boy was it a long day waiting.

My belief is that a lot of uncertainty stems from questions about our future leadership. I don’t think I’ve ever seen people quite so divided. Typically, one side may not prefer the other, but we’re now seeing true hatred coming from both sides. People are digging their heels in deeper and deeper. If you don’t believe me, just walk into a room and say loudly, “so what do you think about (insert presidential candidate’s name here)?” It really doesn’t matter which name you announce, you’ll get a definite reaction. Name calling will most likely ensue.

What’s important to understand is this: Who’s in office next might not be as important as simply knowing who is in office. What we need right now is direction.

We’re all spinning around wondering what’s coming and what the rules are going to be. Once we know the rules, we can learn how to play the game. We can begin to move in a solid direction and commit to it. We can begin to heal the wounds.

The heat to perform is on. Soon, I believe, the road leading to some of the answers we seek will appear. At the very least, we’ll get the map. Knowledge is power and with it direction can be found.

Jerry Citarella is the owner of Infinity Wealth Management 23734 Valencia Blvd., Suite 301, Valencia, (661) 255-9555, ext. 11. He is also the author of The Truth Helps Series of financial planning books. Mr. Citarella’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. Submit questions to: Securities and investment advisory services offered through NEXT Financial Group Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Infinity Wealth Management is not an affiliate of NEXT Financial Group Inc.


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