The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 12 No. 36 - June 20, 2012


Jewelry that's fun and fabulous

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Lois Manza, standing, teaches beading classes in the afternoon.

The oldest known jewelry dates back 100,000 years and was made from nassarius shells. Mostly jewelry is used for person adornment, but throughout history, it has also been used as currency and kept as an investment.

On Anna Maria as in most casual beach communities jewelry made from beads are popular, but in Holmes Beach there’s a shop where beaded jewelry crosses the threshold from a simple strand of beads to the look of fine jewelry.

Lois Manza, the owner of Creations By L, opened her bead shop five years ago and has been redefining beaded jewelry ever since. What Manza creates in her fresh beachy shop is actually intricate beading with the finished look of fine jewelry, setting her apart from the average bead shop.

You’ll find everything from simple corded pieces made with beads to jewelry with semi-precious stones like Swarovski crystals, fresh water pearls, jasper and other natural stones, a cross between fun beach and fabulous one of a kind jewelry.

Manza carries bracelets, necklaces, ankle bracelets and pieces suitable for little girls and specializes in custom made designs. Bring in your outfits, and she will work with you to create one of a kind jewelry to go with each one. Brides and wedding parties are frequent customers looking for the perfect unique piece for their beach wedding.

The store has branched out, and you’ll find some of the gift shops on the Island, as well as a few places in Sarasota, carrying its jewelry. In fact, a satisfied customer encouraged Manza to ship some of her pieces to an art gallery in Ohio, where they are on display for sale. She also is carrying more sterling silver because of the demand as well as stainless steel for the men.

And if purchasing jewelry isn’t enough, you can also attend one of Manza’s beading classes, the only beading class on the west side of Manatee County.She has afternoon classes usually twice a week for two hours. The cost is $20 plus supplies, and you can also arrange private classes or beading parties. It’s a great way to meet new people, create a piece of art and add to your jewelry collection.

To celebrate five years in business, Manza is having a Guess the Number of Beads contest. It will run from June 13 through 27, with the winner being announced in the July 4 edition of The Sun.

First prize-is a two night stay at the Harrington House Bed & Breakfast plus a $50 gift certificate for Creations By L; second prize is a Kindle Fire plus a $50 gift certificate for Creations By L; and the third prize is a $50 gift certificate for Island Gourmet and a $25 gift certificate for Creations By L.

The best way to describe the jewelry you’ll find at Creations By L is it has the look of fine jewelry at the affordable pricing of beads. Stop by to buy one of Mnaza's fabulous designs or sign up for a beading class and congratulate her on her five years in the business of turning beads into so much more

Creations By L

5500 Marina Dr.
Holmes Beach


10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Visa, MasterCard, Discover


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

The 5 percent rule revisited

Investment Corner

OK. I'm taking some liberty with the rounding when I refer to the 5 percent rule. The father of the rule, California financial advisor William Bengen, began looking at the topic of safe withdrawal rates from diversified investment portfolios about 20 years ago. His early work revealed that for most retirees, the safe withdrawal rate, which references the portion of the beginning of year principal value they could withdraw and have their portfolio last for about 30 years or more, was 4.5 percent. The 4.5 percent rate also was calculated to increase each year for the prevailing inflation rate. After all, the ravages of inflation affect retirees as much or more than those still working.

I anticipate this being a two or three part article over the next few weeks here in The Sun as I attempt to share some updated thoughts from Bengen from a recent update to his study prompted by the relatively poor performance period we have been through for equities and other asset classes in the last 12 years. A primary source for this information is an article in Financial Advisor Magazine in May.

For background, Bengen analyzed 38 rolling 30 year periods in his original study in 1993 and 19 more in the recent update. The purpose of the study was to find the maximum safe withdrawal rate that a retiree could take from his/her portfolio and not run out of money for about 30 years. The use of the 30-year period means that the vast majority will not outlive their money if they retire in their 60s.

The portfolio examined was about half equities and half intermediate-term government bonds, a typical retirement allocation used for many years. Today, individual investors can include other asset classes, which may enhance performance and reduce risk. Access to these is now easier than ever through specialty funds and exchange traded funds.

Bengen found that the big loser in the entire period analyzed was the person who retired in 1969. The Dow peaked that year at a then record high and did not surpass that high again until the early 1980s. Obviously, the return achieved by the stock component in a portfolio is important to the overall rate rate of return generated on the traditional portfolio where somewhere between 40 to 60 percent of the portfolio is invested in this asset class.

The flat performance of equities during the first 14 years or so this retiree's golden days turned out to be the worst 30-year period since the one beginning in 1926, and which coincided with the Great Depression.

Sounds strange, but there are other important factors to consider when calculating safe withdrawal rates. We'll be exploring these other factors in the subsequent articles in this short series. Can you guess what they might be?

Ironically, the portfolio used in the study, while fluctuating in value dramatically in the 1970s, managed to get to 1989 with the value about the same as the beginning value at retirement in 1969. What would cause this portfolio to fail after only 28 years after holding it's own for the first 20? You have to read more in the Sun's June 20 edition.

Tom Breiter is president of Breiter Capital Management, Inc., an Anna Maria based investment advisor. He can be reached at 778-1900. Some of the investment concepts highlighted in this column may carry the risk of loss of principal, and investors should determine appropriateness for their personal situation before investing. Visit


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