The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Beach Season . . . again!


Every year, we wrestle with this same issue — the old Wall Street adage to “sell in May and walk away.”  It goes back to the days before air-conditioning when Wall Street literally moved to the Hamptons for the summer, reducing trading volume which limits price action. But, is there any truth to old adage … Continue reading Beach Season . . . again!

Day of Reckoning ?


A friend and client alerted me to an article in The Washington Post by Pulitizer-prize winning Steven Pearlstein, which cautions that we face another financial crisis in the short term.  As warning signs, he cites (1) corporate mergers & acquisitions are strong, almost all with borrrowed money, (2) private equity deals are closing at nine times … Continue reading Day of Reckoning ?

An Aging Adage


Originally traced back to the Napoleonic wars, one piece of investment advice was to “sell when you hear rumors of war and buy when you hear cannons.”  The thinking was that the market will lose value as uncertainty rises, and market prices are usually lowest when the war actually begins.  Of course, this presumes you … Continue reading An Aging Adage

No Distant Thunder . . .


Despite the seemingly-never-ending debt crisis in Europe, despite an impotent Congress, and despite a slowdown in China as the world’s economic engine, the American economy has been growing for 58 months now.  That’s the good news!  The bad news is that it has been growing at the puny rate of only 1.8% annually. Most people … Continue reading No Distant Thunder . . .

24/7 Inflation Watch


Although he looks to be a stereotypical absent-minded professor, Dr. Jeremy Siegel of Wharton remains my favorite absent-minded-looking-but-nonetheless-brilliant professor. His latest commentary raises an eyebrow about the return of inflation.  The Producer Price Index for March was greater than expected.  Gas prices have risen to almost a 12-month high.  Factory usage as measured by the … Continue reading 24/7 Inflation Watch

Invisible Muscles


Most people argue that the President of the United States is the most powerful person in the world.  After all, who else can drop more nuclear bombs at the same time?  But, what is the most powerful group of people in the world?  Could it be the U.S. Senate or the House of Representatives or … Continue reading Invisible Muscles

Asset Protection Trusts


There are many good reasons to transfer assets into an asset protection trust, such as protection from creditors, from ex-wives/husbands, and from personal-injury lawyers.  My only observation until now has been there are more crooks selling asset protection trusts than anywhere in the arena of personal financial planning.  For those clients who need asset protection, … Continue reading Asset Protection Trusts

Risen From The Dead ?


There are those who believe the global financial market is just as precarious now as it was five years ago.  They are wrong!  As proof, it was little noticed last week when Greece returned to the market after four years of misery and was able to actually sell $4 billion of government bonds. Their GNP … Continue reading Risen From The Dead ?

Is Enough Fair ?


Occupy Wall Street revived the discussion about income inequality, i.e., that the top 1% have an unfairly large share of the income.  While there are very few numbers quantifying the issue, it is generally assumed that a person needed $500,000 in adjusted gross income to be included in that top 1%. However, there is some new … Continue reading Is Enough Fair ?

Name of Nation


Yesterday, I asked readers to guess the name of which nation has a very popular leader despite having a very bad economy.  The answer is Russia. $63 billion of capital left the country in the twelve months of 2013 but $70 billion has already fled the country in the first three months of this year. … Continue reading Name of Nation

Name The Nation


The leader of this nation has an 80% approval rate, something any U.S. president would envy.  Yet, the economy is not doing well.  In fact, it is doing very poorly. GDP growth has slowed for four straight years.  They are hoping for zero growth this year but may well slip into recession. Capital is leaving … Continue reading Name The Nation

Quarterly Column


I have been writing a quarterly column for Inside Business, the regional business journal, for some years now, and the latest column can be found at: 

Bring It On !!


The Dow dropped 266 points yesterday.  The “Fear Index” or VIX is up.  Is the sky falling yet?  No!   Of course, after surviving the near-collapse of the world financial system only 5 years ago, it is a fair question. Let us remember that almost every year has a 5-10% correction, and we are overdue. … Continue reading Bring It On !!

Class Condolence


I have been blessed over the past week with many moving condolences on the loss of my mother and have appreciated every one of them.  However, there was one that seemed particularly insightful, from a good friend and gentleman-farmer.  Here it is: Two nights ago the farmer put some of his herd in the field … Continue reading Class Condolence

MPC + MPS = 100%


A new survey shows that food prices are expected to rise about 3.5% this year, about twice as much as the Fed wants . . . Who Cares? Without discussing with my wife, I expect we don’t spend 5% of our income on food.  So, a 3.5% increase increases that 5% to only 5.175% of … Continue reading MPC + MPS = 100%

The Need For Speed Is Greed


There is a firestorm on Wall Street, ignited by author Michael Lewis, with the release of his new book Flash Boys.  It is an explanation of how “high-frequency traders” (HFT) have rigged the stock market by getting buy-and-sell information literally nanoseconds before the stock exchanges, where trades actually take place.   Knowing a good number of … Continue reading The Need For Speed Is Greed

On Eulogies


A chore is something mildly unpleasant that needs to be done.  A burden is something quite unpleasant that must be done.  A chore is going to a funeral.  A burden is delivering the eulogy. People who knew the decedent want a pleasant insight into the decedent’s life.  People who loved the decedent want to feel … Continue reading On Eulogies

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