Category: Investing

Putting Things Into Proper Perspective

One of the most spectacular birds I’ve ever seen is the Snowy Owl, a large white bird with a wingspan of almost five feet.  With a worldwide population estimated at only 200,000, some of these owls reside all year in their breeding grounds high in the Arctic tundra.  Others, however, migrate south in the winter to Canada and the northern continental U.S., where they can be found in open fields and shorelines.[1]

Poker, Probabilities and Brinksmanship

ome of us will remember the date: October 14, 1962.  It’s been 57 years since the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis, an event which put the world on the brink of nuclear war.  It happened in the middle of the Cold War, when school children were routinely taught to hide under their desks in the event of an attack.  At that time, the U.S. discovered that the Soviet Union was deploying medium range ballistic missiles on Cuban soil.  This would become the biggest test of John F. Kennedy’s presidency.  Seeing this as an obvious threat to national security, Kennedy’s advisors prepared several options to consider, including an invasion of Cuba.  The President, however, feared that too aggressive a military response could trigger a military escalation from the Soviets, possibly starting a nuclear war.  Kennedy put the U.S. military on “maximum alert” and weighed all of his options, knowing that delaying his decision meant that more Cuban missiles would become operational.

The Shepard Tone of Financial Media

You may be old enough to remember when television stations signed off the airwaves for the night. Some stations ended the day’s broadcasts by playing the National Anthem. After that, you saw nothing but a test pattern until the morning programming sign-on.

Financial Trust

Many times each day, you and I are asked to put our trust in something or someone, implicitly or explicitly.  For example, we assume that all of the gadgets we rely on will work flawlessly, such as the alarm clock, stove, microwave oven, coffee pot, toaster, TV set, automobile, air-conditioning, refrigerator, smart phone, lap top.  Every ad we see on TV, hear on the radio or see on billboards asks us to

What to Listen to on the Beach

Summertime.  For some of us, that means vacation: long road trips, spending time at the beach, camping or at a cabin in the woods.  In addition to packing sunscreen or tick repellant, we also think about what to read or listen to during those leisure hours.

Investing When We Don’t Know the Future

We humans hate uncertainty.  Deep down, we want to know how things are going to turn out.   We day-dream about winning the lottery, having the perfect job, enjoying the perfect vacation (with selfies to prove it), buying the perfect house, getting the perfect exam score.  But, because we really can’t control the future, we also worry:  will I ever meet the perfect spouse?  Will the exam results be negative?  Will my children live happy lives?  Will there ever be world peace?  Once and for all, is drinking coffee (or eating eggs) truly good for us?

Some Thoughts About Pain

Pain is one of the universal facts of our existence.  We’ve all experienced it.  And pain is not just physical; it includes psychological and emotional pain as well.  Reflect for a moment on your most painful experiences.  Vivid scenes often come to mind, as do the sights and sounds in great detail (thankfully, our recollection of the actual pain is greatly diminished over time).  Is it any wonder that we go to such great lengths to avoid it or to get relief from it?

Declining Stock Valuations: Four Things to Consider

In the aftermath of the recent stock market volatility, market observers and financial media pundits were quick to attribute causes: fear of the Federal Reserve raising short-term interest rates too high, computerized trends following trading algorithms, an economic slowdown in China, the U.S. economy heading into a recession, Brexit, a slowdown in corporate earnings (just to name a few).

Keep Calm and Carry On

As of November 20th, the U.S. stock market is flat year-to-date, having given up all gains for the year.  The story for foreign stock markets is worse, down double-digits for the year. After one of the calmest years on record in 2017, this year has seen volatility return with a vengeance with two market declines greater than 10% from a previous market high.

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