Academy Finance Expert Makes the ‘WSJ’

Eileen Sharkey is teaching “Financial Literacy: 21st Century Survival Skills” on Thursdays at 1 p.m., starting March 31.
She was featured in the Wall Street Journal. Read full text below, or click on the link here, Sharkey in Wall Street Journal

Europe Might Be No Investing Vacation

European Markets Won’t Benefit From Stimulus Right Away, She Says


Shefali Anand

Feb. 8, 2015 11:01 p.m. ET

With a rebound in Europe’s economies looking unlikely this year, Denver financial adviser Eileen Sharkey has this to say about international investments: Proceed with caution.

The European Central Bank in late January announced plans to pump more than $1 trillion in new money into eurozone economies to help spur growth, similar to what the U.S. Federal Reserve did in the U.S. amid the financial crisis. But it could take years for the flood of money to help some economies and their stock markets, Ms. Sharkey says.

Eileen Sharkey.
Eileen Sharkey. Photo: Edward DeCroce
Joel Javer.
Joel Javer. Photo: Edward DeCroce

“Things that are in trouble are generally cheap and attractive, but it may take a while for the dust to settle,” says Ms. Sharkey, co-founder of financial advisers Sharkey, Howes & Javer Inc.

The firm’s investment team is closely monitoring investments in the region, and if there are signs of declines, it would look to cut its international stock allocation by as much as half. Last year, the advisers bought an international fund that hedges against foreign-currency risk and thus loses less value as the U.S. dollar strengthens. “We believe the dollar will continue to get stronger” this year, says Joel Javer, co-founder of the firm.

In this column we feature model portfolios from prominent investment advisers. Ms. Sharkey co-founded the firm in 1990 with Lawrence Howes, as well as Mr. Javer. The firm currently manages around $750 million.

For clients who can handle moderate risk, the firm allocates 12% to developed foreign stocks, which include investments outside Europe such as Japan. If technical trends indicate that their international fund is poised to lose value, they would look to trim it, says Mr. Javer.

Here, the advisers share a model portfolio suitable for clients who can handle moderate risk.

The portfolio’s weighted average expense ratio is 0.56%, and the portfolio was up 12% annually for the five years endedDec. 31, according to Mr. Javer. That was before the firm’s investment-management fee, which is 1% or less of assets under management.

Ms. Anand is markets and finance editor for The Wall Street Journal in India. Email her at

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The publishing editor of Coloradan BK Loren’s first book, The Way of the River, marveled that BK “wrote like she was raised by wolves.” “I try to live up to that daily,” BK says. And you instantly feel life’s wildness in both her writing and when she speaks–as she will on April 9th, during this spring’s Experts & Entertainers series.

Her first novel Theft captures that animal energy and spirit so masterfully that it won two coveted prizes this past year, the 2013 WILLA award for fiction and the 2012 Reading the West award from independent booksellers in the West.

“I find that my writing is richer when I’m out in nature,” she says. But as a “writer trying to survive,” sh

e has tackled a host of challenging, unlikely and urban jobs—ranging from cook for a gourmet catering service in New York to college writing professor, an aide in a locked psych ward, as well as a hired hand on a small Taos cattle ranch. Her one criterion for any job: it had
to give her the “psychological space” essential for her writing. You can hear the triumph and delight in her voice when she notes, “But I’m just writing now.”

Currently she is working on two books simultaneously, a daunting task for any author. She devotes each morning to her new novel, “while I’m closer to the dream world.” She turns to her book of nonfiction in the afternoons. Occasionally she’ll offer a workshop, do a reading or speak to a lucky group like The Academy. To find out more about her appearances and writing, check out

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2-Gavel-LawIt’s definitely an Academy first: TWO Colorado State Appeals Court judges will debate and discuss some of the most pivotal U.S. Supreme Court decisions that shaped American society, in this spring’s Great Debates course. Veteran Academy course leader Judge Steve Bernard will spar with Judge John Daniel Dailey, as they argue the opposing sides of landmark cases:

  • Marbury v. Madison, which discussed the seminal concept of judicial review;
  • Miranda v. Arizona, which gave rise to the now-familiar Miranda warning;
  • New York Times v. Sullivan, which examined the balance of government and the media in a libel case;
  • Mapp v. Ohio, which applied the so-called “exclusionary rule” to suppress evidence seized by the police;
  • Dred Scott v. Sanford, Plessy v. Ferguson, and Brown v. Board of Education, which dealt with slavery and the rise and fall of the concept of “separate but equal;”
  • Romer v. Evans, a case that analyzed Colorado’s “Amendment 2,” which precluded government action designed to protect the status of persons based on their “homosexual, lesbian or bisexual orientation, conduct, practices or relationships.”

Along with the specifics of each decision, the judges will examine the historical context in which it occurred and the effect it had on the evolution of the law and society as we know it today.

And you can get a ringside seat, if you hurry . . .

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China/US Experts star in “China Rising”

2-Chinese-DragonWhere is China headed? A highly impressive array of experts in the China Rising course will help illuminate the complex issues at stake. Among the nationally recognized guest speakers will be:

  • Dr. Suisheng Zhao, DU, on foreign relations
  • CEO Karen Gerwitz, World Trade Center/Denver, on trade
  • Dr. Stephen Thomas, UCD, on Chinese development
  • Dr. Douglas Allen, DU, on economics.

Historically, the United States and China have been allies, outright enemies, or cautious partners.  What will relations look like in the future?  As our nations evolve from their schizophrenic “friend/foe” relationship, it is important for citizens on both sides of the Pacific to learn more about each other in order to share our countries’ assets peacefully and benefit from mutual respect. To this end, we will examine the domestic as well as foreign policies of this big, bold and busy player in international affairs.

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Are you perhaps a little TOO awed when you visit the Denver Art Museum? Then the perfect Academy course for you this spring is DAM Great Art: European and Modern Masters—the eighth in the perennially popular series offered by two of The Academy’s most respected course leaders, Joanne Mendes and Marty Corren.

While this series has often focused largely on a current special exhibition or art collection from a single culture or period, this spring’s upcoming course will range widely across time, continents and genres, to unveil the unexpected connections and overarching themes in paintings from the 15th to 20th centuries, from Europe to the Americas.

2-Bouguereau-Childhood-IdyllHow are families—sacred and secular—portrayed in the early Renaissance, during the 18th century and in DAM’s most popular painting, Bouguereau’s Childhood Idyll from 1900? (The painting from the DAM’s collection is on the right.)  What links Mexico’s Frida Kahlo to such modern iconoclasts as Picasso, Dali and Warhol? And what, if anything, do Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings owe to the impressionist landscapes of Monet, Pissarro and Sisley?

Museum staff and expert DAM docents will guide you expertly through these and many more art mysteries and discoveries. Tour highlights will include iconic paintings in DAM’s special exhibit Modern Masters from the Albright Knox Art Gallery, furniture and decorative arts in DAM’s Moore Gallery, and the recently rediscovered Venetian harbor scene by Canaletto, from 1724—among many other gems.

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2-Mitch-MorrisseyAmazing! Television crime shows have the ability to construct solid evidence and to produce DNA results all in one day! But in the real world, such possibilities are more science fiction than fact. While not the quick turnaround that we’ve been led to believe, DNA technology is steadily perfecting the use of DNA evidence to exonerate the innocent, while putting the right criminals behind bars.

In a free lecture for Academy fall participants, Mitch Morrissey, the elected District Attorney of Denver since 2005, separated fact from fiction in the use of DNA evidence in crime investigations.

Mr. Morrissey is internationally recognized for his expertise in DNA technology. He has applied that technology in criminal prosecutions, working to ensure that DNA science is admissible in court and using DNA in investigating and prosecuting serial murderers and sex offenders.

In 1999, he was sworn in as a Boulder District Attorney to work on the thirteen-month-long grand jury investigation into the death of Jon Benet Ramsey, and he continued as an advisor to the ongoing investigation until 2003. In addition, Mr. Morrissey has trained law enforcement officers and prosecutors in DNA technology throughout the United States, in Canada, and in the Middle East.

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Financial Literacy…No, Really!

A brief testimonial from Eileen’s former class assistant about how this class teaches and empowers people about their investments. An

Submitted by Donna Svendsen, CFP®

Eileen SharkeyAs an observer of the Financial Literacy class taught by Eileen Sharkey, CFP®, I had a first-hand view of how students reacted to the course content and to the instructor. Selecting investments can put most people to sleep, yet Eileen makes it easy to understand and almost amusing when she uses the analogy of shopping for groceries: “We don’t buy broccoli if we don’t know how to cook it or if we don’t like it – even if it is on sale and looks pretty! Why do we buy a financial product that we don’t understand, or don’t like – even if it is well represented with a glossy brochure and a handsome salesman?”

There is much more in this class than selecting investments, too. This introductory class helps students understand the current market and why it’s where it’s at. Eileen, a witty Brit, was educated in London and then in Kansas which gives her a practical and global view of finance. Students appreciate the handouts and worksheets that help them organize their personal financial world and get focused on their own goals.

Session topics also include evaluating insurance needs and risk management, record keeping, financial professionals and how to find who and what you need. One guest speaker presented an ethical discussion about medical care and dying with dignity and Eileen wrapped up the course with information about preserving your wealth and your decisions when you approach the end of life.

The class was well received by students. Comments included:

  • motivating
  • practical
  • exceeded my expectations
  • I’ll bring my spouse next time  

One female student revealed, “I now have more confidence to speak with my own financial advisor!” – a big step for her.

I work with Eileen Sharkey and admit my bias towards her; however, Eileen has me observe her classes to assist and to give her honest feedback and that’s exactly what I do.

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Short Fiction Under the Microscope

WassersteinPauletteEver since Dr. Paulette Wasserstein began offering her Contemporary American Short Stories course five years ago, it has filled quickly every term. It’s easy to see why.

Participants examine one or two memorable stories every week, teasing out each story’s meanings and enriching their understanding of the short story as an art form. The stories—selected from the annual editions of the Best American Short Stories series—are all masterpieces of the latest short fiction. But it is Paulette’s insightful analysis, interactive approach and keen eye for short fiction’s unique appeal that keep longtime enthusiasts returning for her latest installment and newcomers racing to enroll.

Put aside that novel you’re devouring and take a few minutes to register for her course starting in September. You’ll open your next novel—or short story–with new eyes.

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Tech Training Course Challenged by Demand

Scott Henke and Maria Arapaikis’ Tech Training course has proved so popular that it was expanded this past spring from a series of one-hour, drop-in sessions to a full two-hour course running nine weeks. And, shortly after it was offered, that 9-week spring course filled, with late-enrolling participants even agreeing to sit on the floor or stand.

2-Tech-TipsWhether seated or not, virtually everyone arrives at Scott and Maria’s classes frustrated with their tech gadgets–from iPads to Skype and every other software program that can be installed on a PC—and worried about how to protect them. But our participants invariably leave class with enhanced skills and transferable tech savvy.

Scott’s company, Onsite Consulting, offers PC training, PC and network troubleshooting, repair, virus and spyware solutions, free offsite backup, remote emergency help and many other computer services. The company received the 2008 Business of the Year Award. Check it out at

Maria offers tutoring in “All Things Mac” plus iphones and ipads.  Contact her through

During his 27 years as a computer consultant, Scott taught classes for 11 years at Denver Community Schools, as well as serving for 13 years as a technology coordinator at Hamilton Middle School, where he helped students learn about computers and the Internet.

The Academy feels extremely fortunate to have Scott Henke and Maria Arapakis–longtime professionals who are also seasoned teachers—heading up our technology instruction.

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