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Margaret Starner

Margaret’s Musings

Here’s where you’ll find Margaret Starner’s thoughts and insights on developments that shape your community, your world – and your portfolio.

Margaret Starner

In the Chinese art of Feng Shui, the red door brings luck and positive energy to those who live behind it. Throughout our website, the red door is your portal to Margaret's Musings. “Red Door with Tassel” photograph appears courtesy of Julie Masterson Photography.


| February 2019 – Chinese New Year |

Tonight in Chinese communities around the world, families will begin the celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

New Year, or the "Spring Festival" as it is known in China, is the longest and most important Chinese Holiday.

On Feb 5th, we enter the Year of the Brown Earth Pig, the last year of the natural 12 year cycle. The Pig is the twelfth of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the Zodiac order would be decided by the order in which each symbol arrived to his party. Pig was late because he overslept. Another story says that a wolf destroyed his house. He had to rebuild his home before attending the party and hence arrived in twelfth place.

For those who haven't read my New Years' Musings in the past, a quick refresher:

The Chinese zodiac is made up of 12 different signs (all animals). In addition to the 12 signs, the calendar also includes 5 elements (earth, metal, water, wood, and fire) which have a strengthening or moderating influence upon the signs. Hence, in total, the Chinese calendar goes in a 60 year cycle (12 signs multiplied by the 5 elements). This year, the place in the calendar and zodiac makes 2019 the year of the Brown Earth Pig.

If you have read my past year Musings, you know an important part of welcoming the New Year is to prepare for good luck and ward off bad luck. Today is the eve of the Chinese New Year....still an opportunity to make your luck!

  • Celebrate with RED...wear red clothing, write poems on red paper and give children money in red envelopes. Why red? In China, red symbolizes fire which, according to legend, drives away bad luck. (The Starner Group's conference room is a lovely red with red candies for all who visit).
  • Clean your house and yourself today. Do all sweeping/dusting or hair washing before New Year's Day as there is fear of sweeping or washing away your good luck for the New Year.
  • Pay off your debts before the New Year!
  • Do not lend or cry on the New Year...as it is thought that anyone who lends or cries on the New Year will be lending or crying all year round. (this is how you keep complainers and children quiet)
  • Do not cut on New Year Day as you might cut away your good fortune
  • Welcome the DRAGON - the loud cymbals and drumming that comes along with the dragons are thought to chase away evil spirits as well.
  • Use fireworks galore - In the old days, bamboo was set on fire, the crackling flames are meant to frighten the evil spirits. Modern day fireworks have taken the place of bamboo but are still thought to do the same thing.

Let's first review some Past Pig Years:

2007 Fire Pig Year

  • Apple introduces IPhone
  • Tesla, world most efficient electric car, introduced at car shows...full production in 2008
  • Nancy Pelosi elected as first female Speaker of US Congress
  • Murdock buys Dow Jones & Company, which includes Wall St. Journal
  • Housing bubbles burst...causing increasing number of foreclosures and then great recession
  • Dow Jones Average peaked Oct 9, 2007 at 14,164.5 and S&P at 1565.15...not to fully recover until 2013.
  • US Inflation - 2.85%
  • Average Cost of gas - $2.80/gal
  • Postage stamp 41 cents
  • Price of gold $836.5/ounce

1995 Wood Pig Year

  • Ebay started the online auction and shopping website, where people buy and sell goods and services worldwide.
  • World Trade Organization (WTO) begins and replaces GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade).
  • Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated
  • OJ Simpson found innocent
  • Car bomb devastates Oklahoma City Federal Building.
  • A magnitude 7.3 earthquake occurs near Kobe, Japan, killing 6433 people
  • US inflation rate 2.81%
  • Dow Jones Average ends year 5117
  • Average Cost of gas $1.09/gal
  • Postage stamps 32 cents
  • Gold closes at $386.70 / ounce

1983 Water Pig Year

  • First mobile phones introduced to public by Motorola
  • Introduction of Microsoft Word, most popular word processing software
  • Introduction of Apple Mac Computer
  • Opening of Tokyo Disneyland
  • Space Shuttle Challenger launched with Sally Ride, first US woman in space. Roger and I were at the launch!
  • US invades Grenada
  • Margaret Thatcher wins landslide victory in UK
  • US Inflation rate 3.22%
  • Dow Jones Average closed year at 1258
  • US interest rates 11%
  • Average Cost of gas - $1.25/gal
  • Postage stamp 20 cents
  • Gold closes at $381.5/ounce

1971 Metal Pig Year

  • Intel releases the world's first microprocessor
  • Henry Kissinger secretly visits China
  • 200,000 anti-Vietnam war protesters march in Washington, DC
  • Nixon removes US dollar off gold standard in August...Gold $38/ounce
  • Aswan Dam completed
  • Charles Manson receives death penalty
  • NPR broadcasts for first time
  • Walt Disney World resort opens in Florida
  • Voting age in US lowered to 18 with 26th Amendment US Inflation rate - 4.3%
  • Dow Jones Average closed year at 890
  • Average Cost of gas - 40 cents/gal
  • Postage stamp 8 cents

Now for 2019 Earth Pig Year

People born with the Pig sign are pure of heart. Pigs are considerate, responsible, independent, and optimistic. They always show generosity, mercy, and willingness to endure other people's mistakes; which help them gain harmonious interpersonal relationships. Unfortunately, these pure hearts also mean that sometimes Pigs are easily cheated in daily life. Also, Pigs are sometimes known to be lazy and unwilling to take action to improve their lives.

What to Expect in this Earth Pig Year

  • In Chinese culture, the Pig is the symbol of the prosperity and good fortune of the family. The chubby faces and big ears are signs of fortune as well
  • According to the Chinese astrology, "2019 is a great year to make money, and a good year to invest! 2019 is going to be full of joy; a year of friendship and love for all the zodiac signs; an auspicious year because the Pig attracts success in all the spheres of life."
  • This is the time when family and friends come together to support each other and to look back on experiences...good and bad of the past 12 years. Celebrate with food, drink, and laughter.
  • Pig Years are festive...so don't snooze too much after all the partying. Those who party until they fall asleep could potentially lose out.
  • The Earth Pig years are also the more spiritual years - you'll be more connected to the universe.
  • People will tend to over-indulge this year...likely to overspend, overeat, play too much - not good for your health.
  • Given the over-indulgence, the Earth Pig year is a good time to learn meditation, i.e. yoga, tai-chi, painting. Through these activities, we learn more about ourselves and remove blocks to achieving personal goals.
  • 2019 is a good year to "declutter" the house, complete projects, get business off the ground and write that book.
  • This is a time to take prudent, well thought out actions rather than high-risk action. Plan for the long term...what is your vision for next 12 years.

Summary - Don't be too Piggy -Have fun, celebrate life with an eye on your bigger goals and where you want to be.

Suggestion: Consult with the Starner Group!

A Sneak Peek of What Year 2019 Will be Like for You

Rat - A year full of happiness and prosperity!

Ox - A good year for Ox. A time with good opportunities to make money.

Tiger - Born in a strong and independent zodiac sign, as a general rule, you do what you please. This year through, you will need to learn how to come to terms with others.

Rabbit - An excellent year is waiting for you! A bit less wary than usual, you will easily get close to others and make new friends.

Dragon - For you, the impact of the Pig's calmness will mean a year of reconsiderations.

Snake - This year you'll have to be combative and persuasive

Horse - The year of the Pig 2019 is going to be more auspicious than the Dog Year 2018!

Goat/Sheep - A 2019 year under the mark of chance, when all your ambitions will be fulfilled.

Monkey - A year under the influence of chance!

Rooster - This year you need to actually pay attention to the quality of your relationships with others, if you want to succeed.

Dog - This year count only on your own efforts in order to succeed.

Pig - The year 2019 is yours, right? Start by setting your priorities and then get to work: once you start moving, you will start seeing results.

For more details on your fortune in Earth Pig Year check out :

Chinese Horoscope 2019 - Year of the Earth Pig

Zodiac Chart

Zodiac Chart

2 Other Points of Interest:

Architecture of Chinatown in USA are not really Chinese architecture ....read how San Francisco Chinatown was designed.

Gateway to San Francisco

An interesting fact: this gateway to SF Chinatown was designed by Clayton Lee, my brother-in-law

There are no fortune cookies in China...read why they were created for American restaurants.

Fortune Cookies

Wishing you good health (Gong Hay) and Prosperity (fat choy) in the Year of the Pig!!!

| January 2019 – Happy New Year and Welcome 2019! |

Welcome 2019

For many of us, the beginning of a new year is also the perfect time to make new resolutions to improve our lives and our looks….especially after over-eating, over-celebrating, and overspending during the holiday season.In fact, the survey below illustrates this fact – as eating and exercising are tied with saving more as the three top New Year’s resolutions for Americans!

Most Common New Year's Resolutions for 2018

Personally, I would add an additional resolution that I think should be on everyone’s lists – Cybersecurity!Digital Scams and online asset theft are growing by leaps and bounds and the perpetrators are getting better and better at defrauding the unsuspecting.Hence, all of us need to be better at protecting our assets and personal information in the digital age. After all, we wouldn’t leave our front doors unlocked when we leave home, so why would we leave our digital doors unlocked?

Also for our New Year’s gift to our clients, we are offering tutorials or support in learning new Apps that will make your life easier.Just call and make an appointment with Daniel or Adrian in our office.

Speaking of technology, I thought this article about Apple slowing sales was fascinating.

“Apple’s Biggest Problem? My Mom”

I for one, am a mom, who still owns and am happy with my iPhone 6!

Market Volatility

The Grinch who stole Xmas this year was “volatility” to the downside ….which resulted in net declines in virtually every sector of financial markets.

So what can we expect...

Despite last year’s volatility, the Market is modestly positive for 2019 to date…however geopolitical uncertainty and the potential for a long-term shut-down of the US Government are still risks for a positive Market... but today’s environment reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

“Volatility is the price we pay emotionally to create wealth over the long run”

The market generally responds positively to growth expectations…earnings growth…profit growth. America has always driven earnings growth through innovation. The article “Losing the Edge of Innovation” by Walter Isaacson, is an instructive history of why the US has commanded such an economic lead…and why we need to return to our history of focusing on basic research.

In closing, we hope you all had a wonderful New Year and we look forward to catching up with you soon.Good luck with your resolutions!

Any opinions are those of Margaret Starner and not necessarily those of RJA or Raymond James. The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. There is no assurance any of the trends mentioned will continue or forecasts will occur. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected.