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Surviving Unemployment
For those who have never done a budget before, now is the time
By Sharon Smith
Sunday December 21, 2008

…Many people who are laid off might get a severance package. They could get cashed out of their 401(k) or have some choices concerning their guaranteed pension. They also might be tempted to dip into their 401(k) to make ends meet.

Bradley R. Newman, a certified financial planner with Roof Advisory Group Inc. in Harrisburg, advised against tapping into 401(k) money. "Those really should be viewed as funds of last resort," Newman said. The Internal Revenue Service will make people pay a tax on the money and, if they are under the age of 591/2, a 10 percent penalty also will be attached, he said.

Most people's 401(k) accounts have declined substantially in the last year. People who tap into those funds will miss the chance to recover some of their losses when the market rebounds. Money coming from a 401(k) or a 403(b) should be rolled over into an Individual Retirement Account, he said.

Should someone get a lump sum severance package, the best thing they can do with that money is put it into a high-interest bearing account that allows them access to the money. Some examples: savings accounts, money market accounts and very, very short-term certificates of deposits.

Money that will be needed in the next five years should not be in the stock market, Newman said. "The purpose of the severance package is to keep you financially afloat until you are gainfully employed," he said. When it comes to deciding whether to cash out of a guaranteed pension immediately or wait until retirement age, it depends on many individual-specific circumstances. People should really consider talking to a professional financial adviser to tackle that question.

However, one thing that everybody might want to consider is whether they think the company will be around in the future. For example, the Pension Guaranty Corp. offers some level of protection when it comes to those benefits. "If a company goes bankrupt, they will step in and guarantee some portion," Newman said. "Fifty percent is the most you can count on. ... You really have to factor that into your decision."

A little less holiday cheer - Some companies cut back on parties
By Diane McCormick
Monday December 8, 2008

…Roof Advisory Group, a financial planning firm, isn't changing anything because it usually recognizes clients instead of holding year-end office parties, said Jeff Roof, the group's president.

From his perch in the middle of the economic maelstrom, Roof said he is heartened that businesses are still dispensing holiday cheer, "even if it's with a bit of an eye on what they're spending."

"I think that's apropos," he said.

Higher CD rates can payoff for consumers
By Sharon Smith
Sunday November 23, 2008

…"In the current marketplace, there's a flight to safety," said Jeffrey Roof, president of Roof Advisory Group. "It's not a bad place for a portion of one's dollars now." …

… Roof can't say how long the higher interest rates will last either. But he understands the banks' motivation for offering attractive rates at about 4 percent. "Banks need capital right now," he said. "Paying an investor a 4 percent interest rate is a lot less expensive for banks than going out and getting it elsewhere."

Diversification is still a good idea, he added. For example, some consumers might want to keep some of their money in regular savings or interest-bearing checking accounts or stagger their CDs' maturity dates.

Jump in or back off? Investment pros disagree
By David Dagan
Friday October 17, 2008

…Others have gone further. Roof Advisory Group Inc. in Harrisburg moved its clients 40 percent below their minimum stock allocation recently. That means a client whose plan normally calls for having a minimum of 35 percent of funds in stocks is now at 20 percent stocks

Roof Advisory Group already was below minimum allocation by Oct. 1 and had gone to 40 percent below by the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 8. That week saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average drop 18.2 percent. "Roof Advisory clients have lost significantly less than the overall market in this downturn", said President E. Jeffrey Roof.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime event that is what we would consider the equivalent of a … financial perfect storm," Roof said. "So to sit there and do nothing, we think, would be very imprudent."

For a person investing in a 401(k) who is 20 years from retirement, these disruptions are a speed bump, Roof said. But people with portfolios reaching into the millions can lose hundreds of thousands in a single day during this volatile period, he said. …

What analysts are saying
By Staff Writers Chris Courogen, Maggie Ryan, and Dan Victor
Thursday October 9, 2008

…and Bradley R. Newman of Roof Advisory Group -- fielded calls from more than 60 readers seeking help managing their money.

Q:I recently sold a house in California and relocated to the area. Should I buy a house here, and if so, how much should I spend on it?
A:The real issue is not how much you should be willing to pay, but how much of your disposable income should your mortgage payment be. That's the real problem. You don't want to have more than 20 percent of your monthly income allocated toward housing.

Q:I have some money in a 401(k) from a prior employer. Is there a stable option where I can stop the bleeding?
A:By law, every 401(k) has to have the option of a money market or a stable value fund. You won't see the volatility compared with what you invested it in.

Q:The vast majority of my assets are in a single stock. What should I be doing?
A:It's just not appropriate to have all your investments in one stock, no matter what it is or how well it's doing. Mutual funds would be a good course, because you'll be able to provide the diversification you need. Do some research to find a mutual fund that is well-rated.

Q:I'm not sure if I can handle the volatility and uncertainty.
A:Eventually, it will get better. Can you comfortably, without being a nervous wreck, feel like you can hang in there until it does? If you're too nervous, err on the conservative side. A lot of it comes back to your comfort level.

By and large, at the root of it, people's gut reactions are to do exactly the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time. It's wise to buy low and sell high, but it's also counterintuitive.

The bottom line is you've got to feel comfortable with what's going on on an ongoing basis. And all things being equal, giving up a bit of the upside to feel comfortable going to sleep at night is what most people will choose. Q: I just came into some money, and don't have short-term needs for it. What's the best place to put it? A: For now, consider a three- or six-month CD. Catch your breath, take some time to figure things out. Think like a physician: Do no harm. ...

What analysts are saying
Compiled by Jerry Gleason
Tuesday October 7, 2008

…"We aren't seeing any signs of economic stabilization in the next six to nine months." Jeffrey Roof of Roof Advisory Group…

Ease debt, boost savings, know goals, experts say
Pay down debt, boost savings, know your goals

By Dan Miller
Sunday October 5, 2008

… It is critical that any investor know his or her long-term goals, Roof said. "It's really matching the strategy with the purpose of the dollars," he said.

Roof: Don't rely on the stock market for money you expect to need for big purchases during the next five to seven years, such as a house. Money-market funds and bank certificates of deposit are better choices. The money you invest in the stock market now is to meet your long-term needs and goals, looking at least 20 years down the road.

If you are close to retirement and have a large amount of your portfolio in stocks, talk to a financial adviser about reallocating some of this money to act as an insurance policy to protect you when the market tanks. Roof: Know now how much income you will need to live on during retirement. An investment strategy that just gets you to retirement isn't enough. You need to get through retirement. "If you retire at age 62, with a life expectancy of 85 and up, you can't put it on autopilot for 20 years. It needs to be managed very carefully" throughout your retirement, he said.

Don't have all your investment eggs in the stock market or in any one basket. Diversification is an important investment tool at any stage of life, and it becomes "paramount" as you near retirement, Roof said.

You should know exactly what you are investing in. "People assume bonds are a safe investment. They are only as safe as the companies backing them up," Roof said. "This whole credit crisis has put a strain on many financial service companies, and they are big issuers of bonds."

The FDIC insures most bank accounts up to $100,000. (Under the bailout legislation signed by President Bush Friday, the insured amount temporarily rises to $250,000.) Roof: Business and personal assets end up being closely aligned. Don't have all your investments tied up in your business, especially as you near retirement. Small-business owners should explore ways to increase the percentage of their investments that are outside their personal business umbrellas.

"Having too much of a concentration in a single business ends up being a very risky strategy," Roof said. "Talk to the employees of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns who had significant dollars tied up in their own company stock....

Q & A with Financial Experts
By Patti Bocassini
October 2008

Given the recent volatility of the stock market and uncertainty in the economy, should I be making significant changes to my portfolio?

…"With the instability in the stock market, fluctuation of oil and other commodity prices, and the precarious position of several major financial institutions, it is an understatement that significant changes should have been made to your portfolio over the past 15 months," said Bradley R. Newman, CFP® of Roof Advisory Group, a Harrisburg based investment management firm. He noted that these dramatic daily stock market swings could well continue into 2009.

E. Jeffrey Roof, principal of the firm, concurred and added that modifications need to made and monitored on at least two different levels within any individual's portfolio. At the macro level, it is critical to assess and adjust the relative weighting of equities versus fixed income. While at the micro level, it is important to modify the specific holdings within both the equity and fixed income portions of your portfolio.

Roof observed, "The investment market of the past eighteen months has been very challenging for investors. Success in these conditions has required nimble action within a defined set of portfolio parameters." He shared that in uncertain times like these the biggest upside advantage can often come from avoiding large downside moves.

As an example, he shared that by the time concerns about fallout from sub-prime credit problems fully hit the markets in July 2007; his firm had already eliminated the holdings in their clients' portfolios that were deemed most at risk. This proactive move helped protect client portfolio value as the market decline accelerated through year end and into 2008. "These are not favorable times for passive investing and it is essential investors remain both diligent and disciplined", Roof concluded.

Newman accentuated the importance of a disciplined investment approach in this type of market environment. "All equity versus fixed income allocation changes should be made within the context of a pre-established investment policy that sets maximum and minimum levels of exposure. Investment policy parameters should be based on quantifiable financial objectives and client risk tolerance. Ultimately, this assures investment decisions are driven by a grounded long-term strategy, not the emotions moving the markets on any given day."

Blueprint: Riverside Treasures Architectural gems line Front Street
By CPBJ Staff
September 25, 2008

…Front Street vistas were among the attractions for Jeff Roof. In 2003, he bought a former home in the 500 block of North Front and moved his investment firm there from Camp Hill.

The location is accessible to clients on both sides of the Susquehanna River and has parking, said Roof, president of Roof Advisory Group.

But city taxes and the occasional disruption caused by Front Street festivals sometimes overshadow the benefits.

"It's been a mixed experience," Roof said. "We enjoy the location. We love the view. For the dollars spent, we could get a better bang for our buck elsewhere, quite frankly."

Focus long-term, area advisers say
By M. Diane McCormack
Sunday September 21, 2008

Q: Should I be considering changes in my 401(k)?

The 401(k) is meant to diversify investments and protect against risk. Investors shouldn't let the market's current unpredictability "drive them to distraction", Jeffrey Roof of Roof Advisory Group Inc. Harrisburg, said. "If they are participating in equities through a 401(k) or mutual fund and making sure that they are sticking with their fundamentals, remaining diversified and not putting all their eggs in one basket, this situation - though disconcerting - will at some point be a bump in the road."

…Q: I have plenty of stock in my employer. I'm fine, right?

"People still continue to operate with the mistaken assumption that the company they work for is safe, and that they'll see trouble coming," Roof said. "The people at Bear Stearns did not know that. The people at Lehman Brothers did no know that."…

…Q: Is this a good time to buy stocks?

Roof said his firm tries not to "jump into equities and jump out, but within a set defined range, we do migrate toward higher equities when the market is solid and performing well. We rebalance to a set target range. When the market becomes squirrelly, we move down to the lower equity range."…

 WITF 89.5FM
Action by the Government for the Financial Crisis
Friday September 19, 2008

(Harrisburg) -- A midstate-based financial expert says selling off stocks isn't the way to address the financial crisis that unsettled Wall Street this week. Jeff Roof, the president of Harrisburg's Roof Advisory Group, says he's been calmed by the steps the federal government is taking.

"I think they finally got it right at the end of the week, whenever they, instead of reacting to the crisis of the day, took a step back and proactively looked at what type of long term solution can we potentially create to add some stability back into the marketplace."

Roof says the government needs to take a look at whether regulatory agencies failed, and should consider readdressing the regulations themselves. He notes while he's seen the market fluctuate like this before, the circumstances causing this week's turmoil were unique and unprecedented. Roof adds that history has shown that irrational selling is the wrong thing for an individual to do when the Market takes a roller coaster ride like it did over the last few days.

Finance experts see both sides in parking garage lease dispute
By John Luciew
Friday September 19, 2008

…"I don't know the specifics, but credit offers at all levels have a beginning and an end," said Jeff Roof, president of Roof Advisory Group, a Harrisburg-based investment firm.

"These things don't remain open-ended forever," Roof said. "On the other hand, many [projects] are pressed through based on the [fear of] loss of financing."…

…"I'd want to be thoroughly sure all the ins and outs are understood," Roof said. "There's a financial reality and a political reality. I don't know where one stops and the other starts."…

Wall Street Woes - Credit Likely to be tougher to come by
By Sharon Smith & Tom Dochat
Tuesday September 16, 2008

…Q: Should investors be spooked?

A: "If they are not spooked by now, they are not paying attention," said Jeffrey Roof, president of Roof Advisory Group Inc. in Harrisburg.

Investors have witnessed the collapse of Bear Sterns and its subsequent purchase by JP Morgan. They have seen the government bailout of mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. This single event isn't likely to be the thing that scares investors, he said.

Although things are frothy at the moment, for those with a strong disposition, it could be a buying opportunity, Roof said…

Wachovia Woes - Customers shouldn't notice cuts, CEO says
By Sharon Smith
Tuesday, July 23, 2008

…Jeffrey Roof, of Harrisburg's Roof Advisory Group, wasn't overly concerned about the safety of deposits at Wachovia. However, he said it's always prudent to cap deposits at any one bank at $100,000 -- the FDIC-insured level...

…Investors could be rewarding Wachovia for the steps it took Tuesday or it could be that investors are not being selective, Roof said. "Sometimes the markets can be a very emotional place," Roof said…

Stocks of region's top banks close lower
By Sharon Smith
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

…The reason for the decline in the regional bank's stock prices boils down to concern by investors as to whether the banks can continue to capitalize the loans they have and their future exposure to the softness in the economy, said Jeffrey Roof of Roof Advisory Group Inc.

"What happens if and when the other shoe drops on these regional banks?" Roof asked. "The market, as a whole, is being a bit nervous, and just the concern alone could be enough to move the market." Even banks that have been disciplined in their lending have been punished, Roof said…

…Roof cautioned would-be investors to shy away from the financial sector for now. "We don't recommend bottom-fishing at the present time because we may not be there yet," Roof said…

Pro-Hershey passions have cooled over six years
By Daniel Victor
Sunday, May 4, 2008

…Jeffrey Roof, the president of the Roof Advisory Group in Harrisburg, said The Hershey Co. finds itself in a difficult position.

He said he didn’t agree with the trust’s opinion in 2002 that it needed to sell to diversify its portfolio.

In retrospect, “it would have worked out,” he said.

Now, The Hershey Co. isn’t dealing from a position of strength and isn’t focused in the right direction, Roof said.

“What Hershey needs to do is take a step back as a company, assess their strengths and re-establish some of the momentum that their business has lost over the past couple of years,” he said. “There’s been so many distractions and several missteps.”…

Lenders brace for more federal oversight
By Joel Berg


…The challenge will be writing laws that fix problems rather than create new ones, local executives said.

“There’s a difference between coming up with a solution that works and coming up with a solution that’s politically expedient,” said Jeff Roof, president of Roof Advisory Group Inc., an investment firm in Harrisburg…

Midstate banks buck national trend

By Sharon Smith
Sunday, April 20, 2008

"It should make you feel comfortable that indeed most of the retail and commercial banks represented here do not have the risks that you are reading so much about," said E. Jeffrey Roof, president and founder of Roof Advisory Group in Harrisburg.

Consumers at Wachovia and Sovereign need not worry too much.

"The suspension of a dividend is not necessarily indicative of a major catastrophe in the making," Roof said. "It's often a temporary phenomenon."

Health Care is common issue

By Tom Dochat
Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Patriot-News asked a sampling of business leaders to list the top three issues they would like the candidates to address in this year's campaign.

These are their responses:

E. Jeffrey Roof of Roof Advisory Group Inc:

  1. Social Security/Medicare. No one has fully addressed how they propose to deal with the current behemoth government entitlement programs. Overshadowed by all of the recent campaign trail rhetoric was the fact that the trustees for these programs released their annual analysis and warned of a "looming fiscal train wreck."
  2. Federal government spending and resulting increases in taxes. The candidates appear to be practically tripping over themselves proposing new federally funded programs, benefits and incentives all while cutting taxes for America's middle and working class citizens. ...How do the candidates intend to fund all these proposed initiatives and address Congress' seemingly insatiable need to spend?
  3. The Iraq war. Greater clarity regarding specific objectives, strategies and tactics, regardless of their positions taken, is warranted.

Plan Now
By Shawn Ledington


Many business leaders spend most of their time thinking about how to keep their company growing and successful. Planning for retirement is not something they spend a lot of time on.

But financial planners said retirement has to be as carefully planned as any other part of the business. And planners and executives said the sooner the planning starts, the better. This includes the growing number of baby boomers who consider the traditional retirement age a thing of the past.

As a first step, business owners should diversify their investments as early as possible, said Bradley R. Newman, a financial planner with Roof Advisory Group in Harrisburg.

"We'll see an executive coming to us with significant stock options - company stock bought at discounts or 401 (k)s invested in company stocks," he said.

Too many bad outcomes, such as "the Enrons, Tycos and RiteAids," have proven that it's not a good idea to put everything into your company, Newman said. There's a belief that top managers feel they know what's happening at their company so it's a sound investment, he said.

The same is true for business owners, Newman said.

"We see business owners putting most of their money back into the business; they feel they have more control that way," he said, adding that the owners feel investing in the business is a safer bet than putting money elsewhere.

Regardless of the situation, all executives and business owners need to consider high-level planning for their transition out of the business and into retirement - or something else.

Newman suggested going through and exercise that answers questions such as:
What do I want to accomplish?
Do I have enough for that?

The key, he said, is to use a certain amount of your assets each month and figure out how to turn that into a consistent income stream.

"Smart Talk"
Hosted by Nell McCormack Abom
March 27, 2008

Jeffrey Roof was part of a timely panel discussion. The panel, assembled by Smart Talk's award winning host Nell McCormack Abom, focused on the economy and more specifically the how the mid-state is coping with the sluggish economy. Questions from area viewers were of the program.

A New Gold Rush?
Metal's Value Rises Feverishly in Shaky Times

By Joel Berg
Sunday, March 23, 2008

...The future of gold prices is anybody's guess, said Jeff Roof, president of Roof Advisory Group, a Harrisburg-based investment firm.

But he warned against thinking it had nowhere to go but up, which is how many people felt about real estate a few years ago.

Investors interested in gold should keep it as only a small portion of their portfolio, Roof said. Nonetheless, he could appreciate the metal's attraction.

A stock certificate might have value. But, he said, "It doesn't quite carry the same excitement as holding a bar of gold."

Savings for Life - The Big Picture
By M. Diane McCormick
February 2008

E. Jeffrey Roof of Roof Advisory Group, Inc., investment advisory and financial planning services, of Harrisburg outlines his financial observations and insights for savers/investors in the 20s, 30s and 40s:

  • 20s: Key financial concerns are often basic - where to live, where to work, establishing a career, establishing credit. Life-related flux during this period can add significant cost on top of an existing burden of college/graduate/professional school loans. Properly managing and controlling debt and spending is essential because it establishes the basis for future financial stability and credit-worthiness. Personal cash flow is often lowest compared to other decades, so there may be limited ability dig out from under the pile of bils and loan payments. However, it is crucial to beign regularyl investing a portion of current earnings, even if small, toward future needs. It establishes a very important discipline and optimizes the advantage of compounding by having your investment work longer on your behalf.
  • 30s: Financial stability often blends with dynamic change. Where to live and where to work may be estabilshed for some, but it may involve the purchase of a first home or, for those who started earlier, an upgraded home. The addition of children may involve not only additional current expense, but also a change in ongoing income if either spouse decides to modify his/her career, hence earning capacity. It also introduces the common financial planning prioritization dilemma: "How do I balance setting aside dollars for my children's education with the very real need for investing for my oown future and possible retirement?" Future financial commitments typically out-weigh existing assets, so it's important to ensure these commetments cna be met if existing earnings are interrupted due to death or disability.
  • 40s: Investing for retirement becomes a higher priority. Investing in a tax-deferred retirement plan or IRA should begin in earnest, if it hasn't already. Portfolios and/or assests now warrant serious attention. First, the size, complexity and variety of investments/assets often require ongoing management to optimize returen and control risk. Second, higher earned income from successful career/professional/business growth will create tax consequences that also impact investments - thus requiring proper investment planning to assure tax efficiency. Finally, the period of time for a portfolio to recover from a major market downturn before funds are needed for retirement has dramatically shortened. Portfolio auotpilot or apathy can have disastrous results. This is also a period when some individuals find themselves "sandwiched" between the competing needs of providing for growing childre's expenses, such as college education, and providing financial support for aging parents or family members. Higher expenses are also the norm: bigger home, mortgage, debt. Planning often requires looking past the question of, "Can I afford it now?" to questions of, "Do I want to be paying for it then?" and "What else might this cost me?"

Roof's recommendations for those in their 50s and 60s may be found at:

Prepare for downturn by watching expenses
Compiled By Jerry L. Gleason
Sunday, January 27, 2008

...and E. Jeffery Roof of the investment and financial services firm Roof Advisory Group Inc. in Harrisburg, offer these tips for getting the most out of your money...

E. Jeffrey Roof:

  • Diversify your investments. Diversification will protect you from major swings in the stock market.
  • Put the maximum monthly payment into your 401(k) or other retirement plan.
  • Seek the advice of a professional financial planner. It is almost impossible for the average person to time the market, knowing when to sell and when to buy back in.
  • Take control of your investments. Talk to your financial adviser to make sure your investments are meeting your financial objectives.
  • If you are investing for long-term gains, stay the course.
  • If you are age 60 and nearing retirement, pare back on equity exposure and put some of your money in less-volatile investments such as bonds and annuities.

"Smart Talk"
Hosted by Nell McCormack Abom
January 24, 2008

Jeffrey Roof was part of a timely panel discussion. The panel, assembled by Smart Talk's award winning host Nell McCormack Abom, focused on the economy and more specifically what a slowdown in the economy means to you and your family. Questions from area viewers were of the program.

 WITF-FM 89.5
Some investors see economic downturn as time to buy
Tim Lambert
Wednesday January 23, 2008 5:30 pm News

(Harrisburg) - - The head of a midstate investment advisory firm expects the stock market to continue behaving in a spastic fashion. Jeff Roof, president of Harrisburg-based Roof Advisory Group, sees volatility for the next couple of months as the marketplace searches for direction. He says it's a situation where investors should continue to position themselves defensively to protect their assets. But, Roof adds, those investors utilizing continuous contributions, like a 401-K plan or on a month-to-month basis, can actually benefit.

Our recommendation would be if you're doing that type of ongoing investing to continue as you have always have been because at the present time you are buying some things on sale.

Roof says with the dramatic drops in the market, his firm sees an opportunity to start "nibbling around the edges" at some of the stocks it considers attractive over the long-term. He notes caution, selectivity and patience are appropriate until the dust settles somewhat.

UPDATE: Business leaders urge steady course in stock turmoil
By David Dagan


..."It was ugly initially, but then it hit a bottom and then has rebounded," said Jeff Roof, who leads the Harrisburg money-management firm Roof Advisory Group Inc.

Business should not let stock-market volatility determine their decision-making, Roof said. "The economy and the not move in lockstep, " he said.

Companies shoudl focus on macroeconomic trends and on factors particular to their businesses, he said...



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