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The Zoe Blog

North Korea escalation: What are the investment implications?

Posted by Andres Garcia on Aug 9, 2017 1:43:21 PM

Against the backdrop of an escalation of words between North Korea and President Trump, investors are scrambling to figure out what this means for their portfolios.

Should I hedge my portfolio by buying gold? Should I sell stocks? 

My response: Do nothing.

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Topics: Investment Insights

Financial advisors, the tell all series. Part 2: Brokers vs. Advisors

Posted by Andres Garcia on Aug 8, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Some people use the terms "financial advisor" and "broker" interchangeably, although they mean starkly different things. As someone wanting to take charge of your personal finances, these differences are important to understand.

This is the follow-up to Financial advisors, the tell all series. Part 1: How do advisors get paid?.

In this post, the second in our 4 part blog series, I will outline the differences between a broker and an independent advisor.

What is a broker?

A broker, or registered representative, is someone that has passed a state test allowing them to sell financial products such as bonds, stock, annuities and mutual funds. Brokers are overseen by FINRA, which is a broker self-governing body. Brokers are usually employed by a large broker-dealer such as Merrill Lynch or Morgan Stanley, or an independent broker-dealer like LPL, Ameriprise, or Edward Jones.

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Topics: Personal Finance, Financial Advisors, The Tell All Series

Financial advisors, the tell all series. Part 1: How do advisors get paid?

Posted by Andres Garcia on Aug 1, 2017 12:03:33 PM

A few years back, as a global strategist at JPMorgan, my job was to provide market and economic insights to financial advisors around the world. At one point, I was doing 240 presentations a year and speaking to thousands of financial advisors. The experience gave me a good grasp of their business.

The journey of using a financial advisor can be daunting for many, and the ins and outs of the business can be overwhelming. With this in mind, we created this blog series, Financial Advisors, The Tell All. In this initial post I will outline the different ways in which financial advisors make money. In the upcoming posts I’ll dive into the different players, Brokers vs. Advisors, followed by What Makes For A Great Advisor? and finally, Do I Need a Financial Advisor? My aim is to tell all, so that you, our readers, can make informed decisions. 


Five Ways Advisors Get Paid

There are 5 payment methods, each of which has its pros and cons for the client. The pros and cons metioned here relate to the way in which each method helps to align the interests of the advisor with those of the client. The more closely aligned, of course, the better.


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Topics: Personal Finance, Financial Advisors, The Tell All Series

How much does a Game of Throne's dragon cost?

Posted by Dillon Ferguson on Jul 18, 2017 10:36:00 AM

Here’s a question I would like to propose... How much is a dragon worth?

My guess, $9.75 BILLION!

This past Sunday I woke up with the biggest smile on my face. After months of trading theories with friends and watching trailers on YouTube, the new season of Game of Thrones was finally here. I prepared myself by buying a plethora of junk food and watching old episodes.

And I can say with some certainty that I’m not the only one that did this.

With a number of potential wars on the horizon, I started to wonder how much of an advantage Khaleesi's dragons are. I mean she basically has air support when no one else does, which got me thinking, how much are her dragons worth?

Since we live in a free-market society and generally something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it, I had to figure out how much a dragon would sell for. Of course Game of Thrones dragons aren’t real (unfortunately) so the most similar living thing I could find was the cost of a Komodo dragon, which, if you’re curious will cost you around $30,000 - not counting the hefty fines you’ll end up paying if caught with one.

Since Komodo dragons can’t fly or spit fire I had to find something a little more comparable. This article talks about how the dragons in season 7 are about the size of a Boeing 747. We’re getting close but again, a 747 doesn’t have the destructive capabilities or our beloved dragons.

So what’s the closest thing?

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Topics: General

Game, Set, Tax!

Posted by Donna Abbey on Jul 5, 2017 10:41:20 AM

Monday saw the first round of Wimbledon get off to a dazzling start with the favorites, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, cruising through their first matches. Steeped in tradition, Wimbledon is one of the most important Grand Slams for these tennis superstars. Although Fed is of course the undisputed grass court champion with 7 Wimbledon titles, 2 of Rafa’s 14 titles have been won on grass and he is always a threat to Fed - no matter the surface. They have one of the fiercest and longest-lasting rivalries in tennis history. 

Rafa’s on-court aggression is juxtaposed against his polite off-court demeanor and he has seldom appeared in the media for anything other than his grand slam records or huge guns. However, in the buildup to Wimbledon he mentioned that he has found it “increasingly difficult” to play in the Queen’s Club Championship, the London-based grass court tournament that is somewhat of a curtain-raiser to Wimbledon. By “difficult” he means financially - specifically referring to the tax laws in the United Kingdom for non-resident individual professional athletes.

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Topics: General

The Bitcoin Bubble - could Seinfeld help us?

Posted by Dillon Ferguson on Jun 30, 2017 12:48:22 PM

Those that know me well know that I’m a HUGE Seinfeld fan. In fact, I sometimes even imagine how my own day-to-day life would play out in an episode of Seinfeld. For instance, the other day my friend was telling me about how his current girlfriend uses way too many emojis in their text conversations and I immediately thought to myself: "Jerry would break up with a girl for this kind of thing!”.

I often watch reruns in my free time, a recent one being “The Opposite”, an episode in which George realizes that every decision he has ever made has turned out to be wrong and that his life is essentially the exact opposite of what it should be. Jerry tells him “if every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right”. This is when George starts to behave in the opposite way to how he normally would, to the point of telling a beautiful girl in the restaurant, “My name is George. I’m unemployed and I live with my parents”, which, to his surprise (and everyone else’s) actually works.

I was reminded of this episode as I read a newspaper article on the recent meteoric rise of Bitcoin. Now if you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know about Bitcoin, here’s an article that I think does a good job explaining it. Essentially, it’s a digital currency based on an underlying technology that has tremendous potential to be used for a number of different purposes.

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Topics: General

Are the golden years of Wall Street over?

Posted by Andres Garcia on Jun 27, 2017 9:47:00 AM

As is so often the case, the answer is both yes and no.

I worked at Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan during the 2004–2016 period as an institutional trader and then as a global strategist. I recently left to start my own fin-tech startup Zoefin.com, so I have a good picture of how things went down and also how technology is changing Wall Street drastically.

Why No?

Although the players change and the market gyrates between boom and bust, Wall Street finds a way to re-invent itself. Back in the 80s, junk bond traders ruled the world. By the late 90s, the rage was to be a tech banker or trader... then that went bust. In the 2004–2008 period the bond traders were kings. I am talking about friends that were 27 years old making well over $1mln dollars working 8am–4pm. Bottle service 4 nights a week,Ferrari, $2mln apartments, no money down in NYC… you name it.

During the 2009–2014 period the talent moved to the “buy side” to Hedge Funds and Mutual Funds. And trust me those where golden years in these places. Forget just the investors, there are sales people at plain vanilla Mutual Fund companies that were making well over $1mln. And the conferences to rally the troops... way over the top. We'll leave it at that. As Hedge Fund returns diminished with so much competition, talent has moved into Private Equity. There are mid level guys at large PE firms that pull $1-$5mln a year right now. Meaning that their lifestyles at times are pretty extravagant.

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Topics: Investment Insights

Is Oil below $40 unusual?

Posted by Andres Garcia on Jun 23, 2017 4:39:07 PM
  • Is recent oil volatility unusual?
  • Are current oil levels below historical standards?

When I was a kid, I used to love roller coasters. I might be exaggerating, but I think my brothers and I rode Kumba in Bush Gardens, Florida 12 times straight. Below is the picture of this beast.

Fast forward, and a few weeks back I went to Hershey Park in Pennsylvania with own my family. My kids had a great time. I would highly recommend it if you have kids under 10. When we were there I saw the below roller coaster.

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Topics: Investment Insights

The Rise (and Fall) of First-Timers

Posted by Dillon Ferguson on Jun 21, 2017 5:53:42 PM


  • Why are there so many young first-time golf major winners?
  • A look at why the same generation that’s winning their first major championships, aren’t buying their first home


“People often say “there’s a first-time for everything”. Well, this past weekend was no different as Brooks Koepka won the 117th U.S. Open, a first for him. This makes Brooks the 7th consecutive first-time golf major champion.

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Topics: General

It is impossible to beat the market

Posted by Andres Garcia on Jun 13, 2017 9:10:00 AM

I have spent years providing investment ideas to the most sophisticated hedge fund investors. Prior to starting Zoe, I worked  at J.P. Morgan Asset Management as a global strategist where I was on committees that decided what growth and inflation assumptions should be used in our U.S and Emerging Market portfolios. Roughly $300 billion in assets at stake. I can categorically tell you it is not only difficult for the average person to “beat” the market consistently... it is nearly impossible.

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Topics: Investment Insights

*All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.

**The projections or other information generated by Zoe Financial, Inc. regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of future results.


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Interesting and informative opinions and advice on personal finance.

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