Personal Finance

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    1. William
      Jan 28 2009, 09:30:27 am

      Have subscribed to Personal Finance (PF), a bi-monthly publication from KCI Communications for a little over a year and so far am very pleased with my subscription. Subscribers receive a printed version as well as web access to the current and all previous ones.

      For the past several years, Neil George was the editor. Neil had extensive experience as a banker and as a bond trader, so his emphasis was on receiving current income as well as the potential for capital appreciation. Following his advice has indeed resulted in significant interest and dividend income, but because of developing market conditions, capital appreciation has not been forthcoming. In fact his recommendations have encountered significant losses along with the rest of the market, but to date, interest and dividends have been largely
      unaffected. Only time will tell if the prices recover to their previous levels.

      In November Elliott Gue, editor of The Energy Strategist, another KCI publication, became the new PF editor. His emphasis seems to be addressing the current economic environment, trying to anticipate which sectors and securities
      will perform best in the near term and achieve diversification. Only time will tell how his recommendations will fare.

      Each issue includes three portfolios: Growth, Income and Funds with “buy under” prices, when the each security was first recommended for the portfolio and current “buy” “hold” or “sell” suggestions. Considerable discussion on the rationale forms the basis for additional investors research.

      The annual price of $39.95 for new subscribers is reasonable considering the depth of the data provided. I plan to renew my subscription.

    2. Dusty
      Jan 30 2009, 12:37:51 am

      My ‘Star’ ratings are always conservative. I have not had need of ‘customer service.’ I have been reading “PF” for almost two years. The subscription rate doubles after the initial (one year or two years together) subscription. When this subscription expires I will either renew or move to another similarly priced KCI newsletter written by the same group of individuals. KCI publishes a group of substantive free letters that cover in some detail most of what the small investor might like or need to know generally about the markets, especially when taken in concert with one or more of the paid efforts. ‘Consistency’ is downgraded because of the recent change in editors and a consequent small change in focus of the publication. The new editor seems to be very sharp and probably all will be well. If there is any interest in Canada and the securities based there, “PF” and KCI is also the best source of information I know about. “Personal Finance” covers a broad spectrum of stocks and evaluates them thoroughly. My portfolio holdings from “Personal Finance” seemed to have suffered less in the recent disaster. I also have more confidence that these “PF” suggested securities will continue to generate acceptable yields and survive and recover than I do about holdings picked from other sources.

    3. Gigabyte
      Feb 14 2009, 08:05:16 pm

      I’ve subscribed to PF for over 10 years. The investments that have done best for me are those contributed by Roger Conrad in the section called The Income Report.

      If one had followed the bond-heavy and other fixed income investment picks touted by the previous editor, one could have easily destroyed a portfolio in excess of the market’s decline.

      Roger Conrad, to his credit, cut losses short in some Closed End funds, something the deposed Editor did not seem to be willing to do.. always hoping for the “value to be recognized”. For many investments, it never happened, and he kept readers in too long.

      A lot of information is provided by PF for the price, but based on my recent experience, the recommendations here really need the benefit of either a second opinion, technical analysis, or both.

    4. Carl
      Feb 23 2009, 04:59:20 pm

      I’ve been a subscriber for over 7 years and have unfortunately lost some money under the guidance of the previous editor. However, I expect that the new editor, Elliott Gue, will turn that around.

    5. L.L
      Feb 25 2009, 08:07:35 pm

      A balanced view and sensible approach. Performance has been mixed, but not as bad as others. My portfolio is down about 25 %, but I should have gotten out earlier.

    6. Mary Ann
      May 4 2009, 11:36:40 am

      I’ve subscribed to Personal Finance for about three years, primarily because it’s cheap. You get what you pay for.

      I also subscribe to Utility Forecaster, also published by KCI; Roger Conrad is the editor. It’s also inexpensive, but far more useful than PF.

      I always consider the recommendations in these newsletters to be ideas for my own due diligence.

    7. j.t.
      Jun 21 2009, 03:13:14 pm

      Have subscribed for several years and I LIKE this newsletter. Consider it essential research information for the energy sector. Amazingly detailed writeups dished in a lively style. The website is a gold mine too. Gue’s free ezine “PF Weekly” is excellent, and there are others to choose from. Roger Conrad is superb too. Even their solicitation brochures are fun to read. A real talented crew at PF. Only one small gripe to vent. They had FRO in their growth portfolio since June07 when at$45. It hit $72 by June08. From then on it was downhill until April09 when at $18 Gue said sell it. Isn’t the idea to buy low and sell high? Not a biggie with me as when to sell is OUR lookout. Final verdict: “PF” is worth every dollar it costs.

    8. JTF
      Jul 26 2009, 03:19:55 pm

      I’ve been with them for about 4 years. Pros = 1) I like their “reviews” of market sectors. They give you bacground of particular sectors and industries and include material not just about specific stocks – like most writers do, but about the industries themseves. Examples: Reviews of the mechanics behind deep sea drilling, In depth review of the production of gasoline from crude oild through refining to shipping (pipelines, tankers etc). 2)They have growth, income & fund portfolios plus a small traders portfolio (shorts and hish risk longs). 3) twice a month issues, 4) easy to navigate web site, 5) for the price, lots of value. CONS = 1) like most, they fill your inbox with sales pitches, 2) since 2003 they’ve changed editors 2 times with three different editors. Notes above describe the most recent change with Neil George, but – they did a poor job of notifying customers of this – happened asfter midnite so to speak, 3)like just about everyone else, it is based primarily on fundamentals which might work for long term investing but IMHO, buy and hold is dead. To make money you have to preserve profits which means buy low and sell high, not the reverse. My stars ratings were based on these pros & cons. Overall, I’d recommend it but just realize it’s not the Bible and won’t get you to heaven by itself.

    9. Bill
      Jul 31 2009, 07:45:33 pm

      I have subscribed to PF for several years, and have found it very good. After some selection of their picks, they have led me to some good money makers. My two biggest complaints are (1) they cover many stocks in their write ups, but do not track them in their portfolios, leaving the reader on his own; and (2) they are far too slow to cut losers. I have disciplined myself to track stop prices and sell when those numbers are reached. When I do that, I find that I get out well ahead of PF, which eventually sells the same losers. It’s a great bargain for the price, although they seem to be bumping the price up lately.

    10. bracketman
      Aug 27 2009, 10:13:34 am

      I have suscribed to this publication for 12 yrs. and find it extremely helpful. It is conservative BUT very timely. I agree that it does NOT follow all recommnendations in each issue BUT if you are an investor you should be tracking your investments and determining if the suggestions are for you. You have to make the decision when to buy and sell. You must do the research concerning the recommendations before acting. Remember that this publication(as with all newsletters are behind the very latest news) and you must ultimately make the final decisions. I only wish thru the years that I had followed more of the recommendations.

    11. johnnyfinancialguy
      Sep 14 2010, 03:40:09 pm

      By far, the best dollar for dollar value financial newsletter I take and read cover to cover is Personal Finance. The editor is Elliott H. Gue, but he has other contributing editors who write their own pieces, such as “Growing Income” by Mr. Gue and Roger S. Conrad and “Playing the UPs and Downs” by Benjamin Shepherd. They (Personal Finance) provide a lot of information and research on who,why and how they’ve done in the past to help me make a decision on stocks, bonds, muni’s, etc. And over the years, I’ve made a lot more money than what I lost. Its an excellent read. Comes out about every two weeks and has been on target most of the time.

    12. Charles
      Nov 27 2010, 09:33:56 am

      I have subscribed to PF (and some sister publications and e-services) for 5 years or so. I very much enjoyed Personal Finance under its previous editor, Neil George. However, while Mr. George was a “scholar and a gentleman,” he kept readers in a number of even his most “conservative” investments way-y-y too long, resulting in losses of many tens of thousands of dollars to me. The current editor, Elliot Gue, seems knowledgeable about energy-related topics (although many of his recommendations from his e-pub, “The Energy Strategist,” are currently well underwater). However, some ignorant political comments and lame Obama-bashing (I guess he feels that anyone who is an investor and wants to make money must be Republican, and that Obama-bashing is a sure subscription winner) make me wonder if his judgments are more colored by political biases than by pure financial considerations. With so many other newsletters of this kind available, I’d look elsewhere.

    13. Bill F
      Dec 7 2010, 05:33:02 pm

      Ask them about Thornburg Mortgage, rural telecoms,closed end bond-funds- all supposedly conservative, high yielding investments they were touting in 2005-6 before the crash. They got killed worse than anything. No wonder Neil George exited quickly.

    14. Hoss
      May 28 2011, 11:24:13 am

      I first subscribed to Personal Finance probably over twenty years ago, back when Richard Band was editor. Over the years, Personal FInance has made a few bad calls, but overall for the small price of a subscription it is worth the price. Personal Finance has made a lot of people a lot of money for calling it right years ago about gold and oil.

      It is too early for me to give an accurate judgement about Elliot Gue as the current editor, but in the past, Richard Band, Stephen Leeb, and Neil George all gave good advice. KCI has been adept at picking editors who are knowledgeable compared to many newsletters.

    15. Greg Duval
      Feb 27 2013, 10:19:27 pm

      This newsletter is reasonably priced, considering the quality of information. Roger Conrad is a champion of small investors, and with a few exceptions has made my modest porfolio grow quite nicely. His current colleagues seem to know their stuff, but for now I’ll just stick with Roger.

    16. John Nierengarten
      Mar 8 2013, 03:00:16 pm

      This award winning newsletter reprsents high quality financial journalism. Picks are for the most part sound and I’ve done well on some of them and I’ve missed the boat on others I didn’t invest in. Some, of course, were flops and I’ve lost money as, I’m sure, others did. It is generally free of political rants, which I believe is essential to high quality financial journalism. When I see, I suspect bias… Concentrate on investments and propective results. True, there has been turnover in staff, but the replacements have generally been as good or better. The changeover from Neil George to Elliot Gue, resulted in a reshaping of the newsletter and a better overall focus for the times. I believe Elliot Gue basically did a very good job, but the reshaping since Roger Conrad took over I think has been very positive. A very good buy, considering the quality of information and the fact that you get two issues per month.

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