The 30A Songwriters Festival kicked off a week ago … at least for me.

Only a few hardy souls showed up for Stinkys’ Old Bull, Young Bull but they were rewarded when Fiddlin’ Bull, a.k.a. Kurt Storey, joined the party. When Kyle asked about a JJ Cale song, Kurt replied modestly, “I played with him.” 

After touring last year with Reba McIntire and Vince Gill, Kurt helped John Prine update “Paradise” — a tune eerily haunting South Walton treasures. If you arrive on Thursday, the Bulls will be at Stinkys at 9 and The Forrest Williams Band starts around 6 at La Playa.

Try your own kickoff party, food’s good, too. 

Last year we hit the trifecta; for Labor Day, Memorial Day and July 4th we bid our tourist friends adieu. The Songwriters Festival gives us a unique festival/tourist attraction locals can enjoy.  At our house it’s a communal birthday present.

You can go for The Truman Show strategy and never leave Seaside. Regarding venues, the Seaside Rep can’t be beat. Alternatively, hop the shuttles up and down 30A to find someone special. Parking will be a problem, trust me. Be prepared to be surprised. 

Three years ago, Nicole Witt was a mystery to me but when she nailed the final chord I knew what a hit sounded like. Then Mike Whitty had to follow her.

Have fun, be safe and tip your servers well — festival attendees have reputations to uphold. 

Culture, the arts and South Walton’s natural beauty separate us from Destin and Panama City Beach but a little Hill Country wouldn’t hurt. Ray Wylie Hubbard would be my only, albeit gentle, suggestion for next year.

Markets go up and markets go down, make sure your investments have a degree of safety but beware of fool’s gold.

Seeking safety, a SoWal guitar picker (not a client) invested solely in the Thrift Savings Plan’s (TSP) “G” Fund. The TSP is a 401(k) plan for federal employees and light-years ahead of most private sector plans. The “G” Fund owns only short-term government bonds but stashing all your money there or in a money market fund merely gives a mirage of safety. You still face inflation risk and time in the market beats timing the market. Saving in an IRA or 401(k)-type plan won’t guarantee reaching your goals but it helps. Never move money from the TSP until age 70 ½. A TSP rollover to an IRA prior to age 70 ½ is more foolish than Nick Saban trying a 56-yard field goal. 

Last week I hammered big banks and was shocked to see noted libertarian and Ayn Rand devotee Alan Greenspan offering a mea culpa. When wrong, some people yell louder but intelligent folks change their minds.

Renouncing his earlier delusion that markets magically self-regulated, he agrees with me that large U.S. banks should have higher liquidity ratios or, in plain-speak, keep more money in reserve. Of course large banking conglomerates can have lower cash on hand but dividends would be limited as would salaries and bonuses for royalty, err, upper management.

For the 30A Songwriters Festival this column has a Fleetwood Mac musical allusion. The first person to identify it wins a copy of “Investing in an Uncertain Economy.” 

Hint: Pre Stevie Nicks. 

Buz Livingston, CFP has a Blue Mountain Beach based fee-only, hourly financial planning and investment management firm.  For more information, visit or come by our new office at 2050 Scenic 30A, M1-Unit 230, Redfish Village.