The Flinchum File

Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions
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Welcome to The Flinchum File

I am an Accredited Investment Fiduciary at Bay Capital Advisors, an investment firm headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA. After retiring from Truist Bank, I started this firm to work more closely with a smaller number of clients, and it has been great! Our client load is about 25% of the national average.

Writing is not for the shy or the meek. It exposes a person’s mind and character. I hope you enjoy the view.

The Fixed in Fixed Income

When people think of fixed income, they usually think of bonds.  They also think of bonds as “safe” investments.  Bonds are NOT safe investments!  The market value or worth of those bonds is NOT fixed. Only the interest payments from the bonds are fixed.  The value of the bond is fixed only on the date of maturity. Here’s the math:  If you buy a bond…

Seasonal Fall

Did I mention that September is historically one of the two worst months for Wall Street? In addition to history working against us this year, there is now greatly increased violence in the Middle East, and bombardment of Syria is certain.  Right after that, we have a budget battle and a dangerous debt ceiling battle in the U.S.  And, who can forget the Greek debt…

God Bless The Average Bear

Most people suspect that a financial advisor should be smarter than the average bear.  Everybody believes a financial advisor certainly should not be dumber than the average bear.  But, I ask you — would an average bear be dumb enough to have done this 8-mile obstacle course in Wintergreen on Sunday, August 25th?  www.spartanrace.com . . . unless he won first place in his elderly…

Worry . . . Worry . . . Worry . . . Why?

Insurance giant Nationwide Financial just completed a survey of adults with $100 thousand or more in investible assets.  Not surprisingly, 58% of the respondents were afraid of death.  However, 83% are afraid of another financial crisis.  In other words, more people are afraid of another financial crisis than they are of dying. There are so many ways to digest this nugget.  The philosopher queen of…

A Potpourri of Advice

Obviously, I study the thoughts of many.  In no particular order, here are a few from today alone: 1.  Best Long-Term Thinking:  Roger Altman is Chairman of Evercore Partners and wrote in the current issue of “Time:”  The U.S continues to enjoy built-in advantages that other nations lack:  a growing population and the prospect of further immigration, big and flexible housing and stock markets, the…

The Dog That Didn’t Bark

The federal government could be shut down within six weeks!  While the stock market is obviously pricing in the increasing uncertainty, where are the politicians?  The Continuing Resolution that is currently funding the government expires September 30th.  Shouldn’t somebody be hitting the panic button by now? It could be a false sense of security because the deficit has fallen so much this year already, from…

“Psst, Mister . . . Want A Hot Stock Tip”

Most Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) have a low regard for stockbrokers.  RIAs understand Nobel-Prize-Winning Modern Portfolio Theory, which demonstrates higher returns can come from portfolios with lower risk, which is the “Holy Grail” of investing,.  This happens when you invest a portfolio in different asset classes appropriately.  By comparison, a stockbroker has a “hot stock” for you. Importantly, RIAs have a fiduciary responsibility to do…

Too-Big-To-Think . . Out-Of-The-Box

My view of Wells Fargo is that, unlike Goldman Sachs, they have a large number of good and decent people trapped in a hopelessly hidebound giant, that is more focused on yesterday’s ideas than tomorrow’s.  Still, because they are so giant and publish to so many readers, I do follow their thinking.  In no particular order, here is the latest: 1.  GDP will continue to…

Laborare Est Orare

Recently, I blogged about the Calvinistic roots of the Presbyterian Church and explained why that church is often considered “pro-business.”  To my surprise, I received some criticism for that generalization and also learned that “pro-business” is not necessarily a compliment. Full Disclosure Time:  The family church of the Flinchums was the venerable, old Indian Valley Presbyterian Church, so deep in the backwoods of rural Virginia…

In Search Of . . . Women

Women make up over half of the population.  They are almost two-thirds of the total labor force.  But, only one-third of financial advisors are female . . . why? I went to Indianapolis recently to hear a lecture by Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, author of How to Give Financial Advice to Women.  It was primarily geared to help male advisors deal with female clients.  She had…

“Expect The Bull Market In Equities To Continue”

My favorite professor at Wharton was undoubtedly Dr. Jeremy Siegel.  Although he has the demeanor of the stereotypical absent-minded professor, he has a laser-sharp mind, capable of piercing tall mountains of data.  However, he has never seen a glass as half-empty . . . only half-full.  His landmark book, Stocks For The Long Run, is required reading. In addition to the headline above, he reminds…

Going Out-Of-Style ?

One of the longest-running debates among investment strategists is whether “growth” stocks or “value” stocks are best.  This is called “style” investing.  Which style is best?  While there are long detailed definitions of the different styles, a shorthand distinction is that value stocks usually pay dividends while growth stocks usually do not.  Importantly, there is a common misconception that growth stocks will grow faster than…

A “Technical” Ceiling ?

When enough people believe something will happen, that is often enough reason to make it happen.  That is called a “self-fulfilling prophecy.” I am not a fan of technical analysis (using graphs and charts to find meaning) in the stock market.  Comparing technical analysis to fundamental analysis is like comparing voodoo economics with classical economics.  But, I know a great many investment strategists use technical…