The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 12 No. 39 - July 11, 2012


Retreat to eco-elegant Aluna

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Louise Bolger | sun
Dr. Tricia Graziano, seated, with Becky Hopps,
left, and Tiffany Fradley, offer acupuncture,
massage and more.

Sometimes we all just need a time out and I don’t mean a too much sugar five-year-old time out, I mean a spiritual time out that keeps you isolated from the world if only for a little while. Aluna Wellness Holistic Wellness Center and Spa in Bradenton Beach offers healthy and soothing services designed to transform a moment in time.

Dr. Tricia Graziano is a Board Certified Acupuncture Physician who has been practicing on Anna Maria Island for almost six years and currently has the only acupuncture practice on the Island. Her dream has always been to combine her acupuncture skills and holistic principles to create a wellness center focused on an individual’s needs and health.

In March her dream came true when Aluna Wellness opened the doors of their eco-friendly building. The space has the feel of a high end spa touched with an eastern influence. One of the walls in the reception area contains shelving made from salvaged wood to display Aluna’s Bella Lucce organic product line. Even the floors are eco-friendly, made from Acaci wood installed with non-toxic glue. A decidedly eastern influence is reflected in the furniture, sculpture and wall decorations. There are four treatment rooms, private lounge chairs to relax after treatment, herbal tea bar and a meditation garden with misters. The overall effect is one of communing with nature and quieting your mind.

Dr. Graziano performs the acupuncture treatments and also discusses a well-rounded approach to health and wellness with her patients designed to focus in on their specific needs.

Tiffany Fradley is the spa manager as well as massage therapist. She also is a specialist in Ayurveda which is a system of holistic health care from ancient India focusing on self-healthcare based on an individual’s metabolic body type.

Becky Hopps is also a licensed massage therapist and esthetician. Her area of expertise is deep tissue and pain relief massage and organic skin care.

Aluna Wellness has a variety of wellness therapies starting with acupuncture and including herbal consultations, nutritional consultations, cold laser therapy, cupping therapy, Ayurveda, Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, body detox massage, pain management massage and healing hot stone therapy. They also offer several facial treatments, body scrubs and purifying and antioxidant therapies.

There are wellness packages available and in the future they will be offering massage memberships. Also planned are health and wellness workshops, meditation classes, beach yoga and private yoga therapy.

Dr. Graziano has designed her wellness center to encompass healing treatments from around the world utilizing healthy and organic products. She is especially proud of her staff whose mission is to listen to people and find the exact mix of treatments to help them whether it’s to relieve pain, lose weight or experience a much needed indulgence.

The name that Dr. Graziano chose for her spa comes from the Kogi Indians of Columbia who saw themselves as the guardians of life on Earth. Aluna was central to the Kogi Indians’ spiritual philosophy and their belief that we can be anything we desire. Take a time out at Aluna Wellness in their eco-elegant spa and allow yourself some spiritual and healing time.


2219 Gulf Drive N.
Bradenton Beach

9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

All major credit cards accepted and many


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Safe withdrawal rates: Part II

Investment Corner

In the first two parts of this series we reviewed William Bengen’s research into the safe withdrawal rate from a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds, which turned out to be about 4.5 percent of the principal value – adjusted for inflation each year. In all but one case, someone retiring in 1969, the portfolio tested would have lasted at least 30 years. Meaning that for the vast majority of people retiring in their 60s they would not run out of money during their lifetime.

We also reviewed the fact that the 1969 retiree, whose plan would have lasted about 28 years, was limited by variables such as the high inflation rate of the 1970s and 1980s, as well as a poorly performing stock market for the first 13 years of the retirement period.

Our goal for this last article in the series is to review methods which may increase the longevity of a retirement income plan using the inflation adjusted 4.5 percent withdrawal rate. The first thing to realize is that Bengen used a very simple portfolio composed of 50 percent U.S. Equities and 50 percent High Quality U.S. bonds to perform his study. Data for other asset classes was largely unavailable for time periods pre-dating the 1970s, and to examine over 80 years of data required limiting the study to these two main asset groups.

Obviously today, additional asset classes are available and easy to invest in through the use of mutual funds or exchange traded funds (ETFs) that target additional asset types like international equities, commodities real estate, etc. Use of additional asset classes applied in a disciplined asset allocation with periodic rebalancing to keep the portfolio on target has been shown to reduce volatility and enhance return by one half to one full percentage point over periods of several years or more.

So, one of the first steps to take to attempt to enhance the longevity of your retirement portfolio is to consider diversifying into additional asset classes beyond stocks and bonds. Many books are available to learn more about this concept, but one of the easiest to read and start to employ is the 7Twelve Portfolio by Dr. Craig Israelsen, a professor at Brigham Young University. This curious title refers to Professor Israelsen’s belief that seven asset classes provides the optimum diversification across asset types and that 12 funds are necessary to maximize the benefits of these asset classes.

The 7Twelve Portfolio concept is designed to be a “passive” strategy, meaning that you don’t attempt to buy and sell asset classes to avoid risk, other than the periodic rebalancing trades to keep the portfolio in line with the targeted asset allocation. Bengen, who was the first to study the “safe withdrawal rate” concept, recently updated his study and in his comments wrote that although perfection in market timing is not possible, it may be worthwhile to attempt to avoid larger corrections in certain asset classes that are more volatile. I agree with this opinion and while perfection is not possible, there are formula based methods which can help reduce risk as market cycles occur, and these methods may also enhance returns over time, although no guarantees can be made.

The more volatile asset classes which may benefit from some level of risk control are domestic and international equities, real estate and commodities. These are the most volatile assets and avoiding even half of a major decline can be comforting as we can all relate to after the last several years of trying investment times.

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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