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More Risk with Less Return

We are frequently asked for our opinion on international investing. Recent articles suggest an overweight allocation to international stocks, more specifically in European stocks, because of their attractive valuation relative to US domiciled stocks. While we agree the valuations may favor Europe over US in the short run, our concern is the risk/reward trade off in doing so. To summarize some of those risks: Transparency: Companies abroad follow different financial reporting standards and abide by different regulatory bodies so comparing apples to apples may be difficult. Less transparency can mean more volatility because audited financial information may not be provided on a regular basis and the local markets may be less liquid. Layers of complexity: There are a couple of ways to invest internationally: direct investment, depository receipts, or through a fund structure. In any structure, diligence is required to account for different settlement instructions, clearing instructions, regulations of the market,...
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The Economic Impact of Opioid Abuse

  As a follow up to our ongoing efforts to defeat the opioid epidemic in Westmoreland County, I wanted to share an article from the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy that briefs on the economic impact of drug abuse. What is the economic impact of opioid and heroin abuse in our area? The estimation ranges from $51-$108 million for each drug in costs for health care, crime, and lost wages and benefits. Nationally these costs were estimated at $55.7 billion in 2007.   Please click on the below link to review the article to learn more about this economic impact, nationally and locally.   http://www.alleghenyinstitute.org/the-economic-impact-of-opioid-abuse-locally/      
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ONGOING WORK TO DEFEAT THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC

      As a follow up to our meeting in D.C. The Honorable Timothy F. Murphy was in our office on Thursday, April 20th along with state law enforcement representatives, a local parole officer and local physicians to follow up on our request that Congressman Murphy apply, through the Justice Department, for a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) designation for our area. The only current HIDTA designation in Pennsylvania is in Philadelphia yet Westmoreland County has become the crossroads of drug trafficking in this part of the country traversing Route 30 and the Turnpike. The drug overdose death rate in Westmoreland County is growing 46% a year on average with 174 deaths last year.  At this rate ten years from now we could have 7,689 deaths a year from this drug epidemic.  The cost to taxpayers for autopsies, coroner man hours, transporting, etc. is about $3,000 per case according...
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The Opioid Epidemic

  I traveled to Washington D.C. yesterday to meet with Congressman Tim Murphy.  I asked him to consider applying for a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) office to be located in Westmoreland County and to also apply for a HIGH INTENSITY DRUG TRAFFIC AREA (HIDTA) program area designation from the Justice Department for the County.  Additionally, I asked Congressman Murphy’s office to help establish and facilitate collaboration among the U.S. Attorney’s office and his regional programs with that of the Westmoreland County government officials.   Last year in Westmoreland County we had 171 overdose deaths related to the opioid epidemic.  Fifteen years ago we only had 22 overdose deaths.  The opioid overdose death rate is growing on average at 48% per year and along with that comes continued growth in violent crimes in the county.         A HIDITA designation would bring federal funding to our area which I believe could...
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Schwab discounts yet again!

 Just a month after Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. announced they were reducing trading commissions, they have delivered more good news! Schwab anticipated that their competitors would likely respond to their significant commission decreases and they were right. Now, Schwab is adjusting their pricing again to remain competitive and make sure that trading commissions will never become a barrier to choosing them as a Custodian. Starting on March 3, 2017, Schwab reduced their standard online equity and ETF trade commissions further, from $6.95 to $4.951 per trade.  Schwab’s cost of investing will continue to remain among the lowest in the industry. 1Restrictions apply.  
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Patrick Wallace meets Jim Fowler of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom