Biz Bits |

Biz Bits

It has been said that money can’t buy happiness, but there is a growing group of financial planners who say they can show people how to use money to achieve personal fulfillment.

The planners embrace the discipline of financial life planning, a concept first articulated by financial guru George Kinder a decade ago. The concept is now used by more than 450 financial planners, including Ray Arata of Grass Valley.

Traditional financial planning puts money and investment first and lets the client figure out what to do with the money. Financial life planning puts fulfillment first, then designs a financial plan to get there.

“The process of the life planner is to assist the client in articulating the life worth living and to put a plan together to assist the client,” said Arata, who spends three days a week in San Francisco as a senior vice president of RBC Dain Rauscher.

“Wall Street has for a long time … advocated saving one’s money for retirement,” he said. “I simply ask my clients, ‘Why wait 20 years? What’s important right now? What is it you truly love to do?'”

Once that question is answered, Arata designs a financial plan to achieve that goal – a process that may take five, 10 or more years. “The idea is to achieve a distinct and positive correlation between what you are doing with the money and what it’s going to be used for.”

Arata can be reached at (800) 204-1717 or by e-mail at


Existing single-family home sales in the United States set a new record in 2004, a trend that was also evident in western Nevada County.

Home sales in the west county totaled 1,983 in 2004, a 13 percent increase over 2003 and the highest total since at least 1989, according to figures released by the Nevada County Board of Realtors. (The total includes 90 new houses.)

The record was set despite a 17 percent increase in the median price of a house, from $305,000 to $357,000, according to the board.


Thomson Broadcast and Media Solutions has sold video transmission equipment and other gear manufactured in Nevada City to two European broadcast operations for almost $11 million.

NTL Broadcast of England has purchased more than 150 Grass Valley ViBE digital encoders, along with routing switchers and channel controllers in a deal worth approximately $6.5 million.

Telecom Media Italia, the broadcast delivery subsidiary of Telecom Italia, has placed an order for ViBE encoders and other gear worth about $4.5 million.


Nextel of California has signed a five-year lease with Nevada County to build and operate a communications tower at the county airport.

The tower, located in the southwest corner of Lot 5A, is expected to be operational this spring, according to Joe Christoffel, deputy county executive. He said the tower will be 50 to 70 feet tall.

Nextel will absorb the cost of building and operating the tower and will pay the county $1,350 a month in rent. The deal includes four lease renewal options with a 10 percent increase in rent each time the lease is renewed for another 5 years.


Westamerica Bancorporation, which operates branches in Grass Valley and Penn Valley, has increased its quarterly dividend from 28 cents a share to 30 cents a share to shareholders of record Feb. 7. The dividend is payable Feb. 18.


Investment adviser Mike McDaniel has left Edward Jones Co. in Grass Valley to open McDaniel Wealth Management at 202 Providence Mine Road, suite 202, in Nevada City.

An open house for clients and friends will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. on Feb. 17. Reservations can be made by phoning 478-0326.


The Penn Valley Area Chamber of Commerce is getting new software to manage its member database so the organization is looking for a computer to replace its 6-year-old model. Any business willing to donate a computer it doesn’t need anymore can call the Chamber at 432-1802.


Got local business news? Contact George Boardman at or 477-4236.

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