The best news of the summer is that my daughter, Nikki, completed the Santa Barbara Triathlon with me. She joined my triathlon training group, TriDivas, and trained for months; doing ocean swims, biking and running. We did the triathlon, side by side, in 1:33. Quite a feat for an 8 year old! She loved tackling such a big goal and the accomplishment that goes with it. I competed in the Seal Beach Rough Water Swim, Naples Island Swim, Santa Barbara Swim (all one mile each), the Long Beach Triathlon and the Santa Barbara Triathlon.
Ask yourself this daily question: How would the person I want to be do the thing I'm about to do?" - Jim Cathcart, Professional Speaker/Author

The Fed and the Economy
The Federal Reserve could have taken a pause in the race to raise interest rates, in light of Katrina, but they did not. They lifted rates another � point, the eleventh rate increase in a row. They are scheduled to meet again on November 1 and December 13th. By now, the adjustable rate mortgages and home equity lines of credit are beginning to climb. I am fearful of adjustable mortgage rates increasing for all those that purchased homes in the last few years and wage increases cannot keep pace. I see signs of inflation coming back in 2006 and the Fed must also be concerned to continue raising rates.

Greenspan will leave office in January, 2006 and he does not want to leave the economy in jeopardy. Oil and natural gas prices are driving inflation pressures, as expected, and discretionary income will be squeezed as this continues. Are prices of homes beginning to deflate? The market has cooled and this time next year may be the time to buy as the 5 year adjustable rate mortgages will be coming due. As homeowners find they cannot afford the increased mortgage payment, this will put more homes on the market and prices should decline.

The economy and the market were in good shape before the devastation of the hurricanes. The future of the rebuilding and the demand for building materials will positively impact many sectors and companies. Prices have already increased for raw materials, such as lumber, concrete, and copper. The S & P 500 is up 1.7% year to date but 7% of the holdings are in energy. The oil and gas companies are rising to the top, as their cap weighting grows.

If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today ~E. Joseph Cossman~

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have done unbelievable damage, both physically and emotionally, to those in their path. For days, we stared at the television, trying to comprehend the damage done by a force of nature. How long will this clean up and rebuilding take? How will it be rebuilt? How will New Orleans, one of the most unique cities in the US, be restored? How will the people be able to resume their lives when all has been lost? We have several families in our area that have been relocated from Louisiana and New Orleans, arriving sick and devastated, with children needing to begin school. We must realize people are still living in shelters and need help. They will need to be supported for many, many months to come. Please continue to give for their continued support.

Steven Covey
I attended the Financial Planning Association Conference and had the privilege of hearing Steven Covey, author of �The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People,� and more recently �The Eighth Habit,� which was the subject of his presentation.
His message was this: �Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.� By this Covey means that each person has a unique personal gift to offer the world and when those gifts are activated, the world is changed for the better. He said that each of us should cultivate our vision, our discipline, our passion and our conscience, which he associated with mind, body, heart and sprit. �Vision is what is possible,� he said. �What you envision in the future, or what you see in another person, makes those things possible and gives them permission to happen.� What is your vision? What do you see in others? Find your voice!

Disaster ready
Are you prepared for a major disaster to hit Los Angles or Orange County? We are at risk for earthquake and fire damage. Do you have food and water stored in your home? Work out at plan and know where you would meet your family members if your home or surrounding area is damaged or inaccessible. Cell phones may not work so have a plan in advance. Have your data stored on a CD.

Sandra C. Field, CSA, MBA, CFP