The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Letters to Editor

"Once Upon A Town: the North Platte Canteen" is Book Club's Pick

Dear Editor:

Henderson County Reads One Book, a participant in the One Book/One Community-a nationwide reading program created to develop a community around the shared experience of people reading and talking about the same book, has chosen Bob Greene's Once Upon A Town: the North Platte Canteen as its 2007 selection.

During World War II the town of North Platte, Nebraska, and the surrounding communities used the vacant dining room of the Union Pacific Railroad depot to serve food, encouragement and offer hospitality to military personnel on train stopping briefly for fuel and water.

Hundreds of volunteers and organizations served sandwiches, cakes, coffee, candy bars and magazines to more than six million members of the armed forces.

The Canteen was open day and night for 51 months straight serving as many as 23 trains and up to 8,000 service men in a twenty-four hour period.

In conjunction with the 2007activities celebrating the book, the Henderson County Reads One Book would like to find a serviceman or woman who actually experienced the North Platte canteen themselves.

We need your views!

If you went through North Platte and stopped at the canteen, please contact either Virginia Ross (309-924-1879) or Judy Roessler (309-924-1724) Co-Chairmen.

Events centered around the book are being scheduled throughout the year.

Virginia Ross,

Dear Editor:

One Retiree's View of Investing-

It is always fun (at least most years) to do financial planning and to look at Money magazine to see exactly how well investments did the previous year.

Not to gloat of course, but our investments returned between 9.5% and 32.8% during 2006, and this is pretty typical of most years (at least those in a bull market). Thankfully, there are more bull years than bear years.

In my opinion, mutual funds are the only way to go.

We had a small dab (more like a tiny speck compared to many portfolios) of eight mutual funds last year.

Mutual funds allow for the most important rule of investing-diversification.

A cornerstone of an investment plan should be an index fund of the entire stock market.

Index funds not only out perform most mutual funds but their cost (about one tenth of one percent) is very low.

A total market index fund returned 14.6 % last year. (Average stock fund)

Many financial planners tell retirees they should have approximately a 50-50 mix of stocks and bonds, in order to have growth (stocks) and a steady source of income (bonds).

This is hard to agree with because the average bond fund only returned 4.6% in 2006. (Much like CD's and money market funds).

We had a real estate mutual fund and a utilities mutual fund which also provided a flow of income and their returns were 32.8% and 30.6% respectively.

Bonds do not make a lot of sense, although occasionally bonds do out perform stocks for a year or so.

If you go back before the great depression, in the last 80 years, stocks averaged roughly a 10% return while bonds only averaged roughly a 5% return

The only 2006 investment we had that averaged under double digit returns (9.5%) was a mutual fund consisting of half stocks and half bonds.

Many people say that junk bonds are too risky. If you only have one it would be, but if you have a mutual fund of hundreds of junk bonds the risk is considerably lessened.

We had a junk bond fund that returned 12.7% last year and averaged 13.1% return for the last five years.

Of course higher rated bonds are much safer, but there you risk inflation over taking returns.

Convertibles (stocks and bonds interchangeable) are generally good investments-about 15% return last year.

The second main rule of investing is buy low and sell high, which is the hard part. The hot sections of last year-emerging markets (up 29% on average) or real estate funds (up 33%) could very well cool off considerably this year.

We had a diversified international fund which returned 22.5% in 2006. This year the domestic stock market could very well surpass the foreign market.

One factor that we should always keep in mind is that stocks never continue to go straight up.

The stock market has had solid returns for four years in a row of a bull market and we are about due for a correction (decline of at least 10%), especially since most so called experts are forecasting a continued bull market and it is not an election year.

Best withes with your financial planning.
Weyman George

Concern Over A

Past Loved One

Dear Editor:

Five months ago a man I dearly loved passed away. He was a man that lived his life the way he wanted.

He was one of the most stubborn and opinionated people I knew, but no one ever made him do anything he did not want to do.

He was almost 80 years old yet still lived alone, helped coach a football team that he loved, always did what he wanted when he wanted.

There are people that want to forget who he was and what he did for them and make his life and death all about them and not him. How sad that is for everyone.

Dixie Long