Mark joined WHAM in January of 1998 when his weekly call in financial show "Money and More" first aired. The show ran for eleven years and became one of the stations highest rated programs. Recently Mark has returned to provide daily commentary and analysis on the WHAM afternoon news. His segment can be heard at 4:26pm Monday through Friday, with an extended appearance with Randy Gorbman on Thursdays.
Mark started his financial services career in 1986 with IDS/American Express. He is a Certified Fund Specialist and Certified Long Term Care Specialist with a Bachelor's Degree in Economics and Management from SUNY Geneseo. He has designed, authored, and presented retirement and long term care workshops for clients, corporations, and non-profit organizations such as Xerox, Kodak, Agway, and the United Way.
In 2007, Registered Rep magazine listed Mark among the Top 100 Independent Advisors in the country. He lives in Geneseo with his wife Susan and has four children. Mark is an avid fisherman and enjoys spending time at his family cottage in the Thousand Islands. Mark also collects Civil War and Underground Railroad memorabilia for a museum he keeps in the basement of the historic Henrietta office.
As professionals skilled in retirement planning, the partners of The Horizon Group have helped hundreds of people in the Rochester area since our founding in 1993. We specialize in helping clients invest and protect their retirement assets with a straightforward and down-to-earth approach through open and honest communication.
We are proud of being able to help clients make difficult decisions necessary for a successful retirement. We are dedicated to the highest level of professionalism and ethical standards in our practice, and we honor the individual circumstances facing each client.
When faced with providing income and security for a lifetime, retirees are comforted by our "Bucket Approach" and half-century of combined experience. Our formalized review process and frequent communication through newsletters, e-mail, and seminars provide our clients with peace of mind and keeps them focused on what is truly important.
Working with The Horizon Group affords our clients a level of service and unbiased advice that can be delivered only by a small independent practice. At the same time, our client accounts are offered the same FINRA and SIPC protections through our broker-dealer, Cadaret, Grant & Co., Inc., as they would be at a large brokerage house.
We take the time to understand all the questions and concerns our clients have about the future. Aiding them in dealing with these concerns often means going above and beyond the duties of the average financial planner, something we are always willing to do. Helping a child, buying a second home, or dealing with long term care are all issues we assist clients with regularly. At The Horizon Group, we know it's about the quality of your life, not just your portfolio.
The views expressed in Mark's commentaries are to be considered for informational and entertainment purposes only. Before making decisions based on any content in Mark's commentaries you should always consult your financial or tax professional.
The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of this station or of Clear Channel Communications, Inc.
Mark Congdon is a registered representative of Cadaret, Grant & Co., Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC.
A couple of weeks ago at the Republican National Convention, there was a whisper campaign that followers of Ron Paul were going to make a hard push for moving the United States back to the gold standard for our monetary policy. While I’m sympathetic to some of their logic, it’s simply a bad idea.
In 1971, President Nixon removed all ties between the U.S. dollar and gold. For decades before that, the rest of the world promised to fix their exchange rate relative to the U.S. dollar. In return, the U.S. promised to fix the price of gold at $35/ounce. In a way, that implied that all currencies were fixed to gold at $35/ounce.
Why did he do it? Historians argue to this day. Some say he did it because French President Charles De Gaulle forced our hand by trading their currency directly for gold. Others say the high cost of the Vietnam War and the new “Great Society” programs were forcing the U.S. shell out many more dollars than we had gold to back it. There are many more reasons possible still, but I don’t have time in this commentary to outline them all. The question is, does it make sense to go back to the gold standard now?
There are a number of positives that make the idea seem attractive. It would be an immediate guard against inflation. It would also lessen the Federal Reserve’s ability to tinker with the country’s wealth by printing money in any quantity it wants. And finally, it would level the currency playing field, so countries like China can’t just make their own rules.
So why shouldn’t we do all of these positive things? Because if we did, it would be so disruptive to the global financial system, it would make us long for the good old days of 2008. It would do this because the gold standard forces deflation, and that’s the one thing that every economist agrees we don’t want. Deflation crushes debtors. Think about it. If every dollar you pay your bank for your mortgage is worth MORE than the dollar you originally took out, you lose in a big way! And that’s not just for home mortgages, it’s for every business that takes out a loan, or our $16 trillion of national debt. We can’t afford to magnify how much more we owe by deflating our currency.
Also, if we tie ourselves to the gold standard, government would have almost no ability to maneuver in an emergency. Now I at times I think our leaders don’t deserve much flexibility, but at the same time, I don’t want their hands tied during a crisis. How much worse would the aftermath of 9/11 been? How much worse would it have been in 2008 without TARP? QE I, II, and III wouldn’t have been possible on the gold standard.
As a nation, we’re frustrated and scared because of what we’ve been through for the last 12 years. But cooler heads need to prevail and we need to remember there’s no easy solution. The gold standard sounds good, but only time and discipline will fix our current problems.