The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

So Much Noise !


As we know, stocks don’t always move up, nor always move down.  Often, they bounce along sideways in a range.  For the last two months, the U.S. stock market has traded in a range.  This is not unusual.  What is unusual is the violence of the moves within the range.  We keep slamming into the … Continue reading So Much Noise !

Justice Defined ?


You may remember some years ago when a Chinese toy maker allegedly used a toxic red paint on toys that infants were prone to put into their mouths.  I happened to be in China shortly afterwards and read the English translation of the Shanghai newspaper about the incident.  It said the CEO was arrested and … Continue reading Justice Defined ?

Patience Will Be Rewarded


The current turbulence in the stock market has not been following the conventional script.  Does that mean we are facing a potential market collapse?  No!  There is no financial crisis on the horizon.  If anything, U.S. banks have TOO MUCH capital, not too little. But, the current turbulence is slightly different from the normal garden-variety … Continue reading Patience Will Be Rewarded

Pandering Season


If Greece is the birthplace of democracy, they failed to teach the U.S. one important lesson – short campaign seasons are a blessing.  Yesterday, Greece held a national election for President.  The people of Greece were able to make a decision in a mere five weeks.  (The recent campaigning for British election was also five … Continue reading Pandering Season

Good Custodian !


Like most everything in life, technology is a double-edged sword.  It can open new worlds for you or trap you in a circular hell.  That is especially true for financial advisors. Since TDAmeritrade is custodian for the funds of my clients, I was pleased to see their technology offerings are the top-rated in the country. … Continue reading Good Custodian !

Let Him Pray !


We were in Philadelphia most of last week and were quite impressed with all the preparations the City is making before the Pope’s arrival this week.  I’m expecting it will be a first-class spectacle and well worth watching. However, I remember working in D.C. when foreign heads-of-state would visit and the preparations for those visits. … Continue reading Let Him Pray !

Take It From The Top


When I was a boy, I aggressively pursued learning.When I was a teenager, I aggressively pursued “wine, women, & song.”When I was a young man in my twenties, I pursued my career goals.When I was a man in my thirties, I pursued “ostentatious consumption.”When I was a man in my forties, I pursued wisdom.When I … Continue reading Take It From The Top



Most economists are delighted when their prediction comes true.  While I predicted the Fed would not raise interest rates this year, I was secretly hoping they would – not because inflation was out of control, not because unemployment was too high – but because it would reduce uncertainty and be good for the stock market. … Continue reading Fed-Punting



Wall Street believes the Fed will raise interest rates modestly this Thursday but rallied in the face of the expected increase anyway.  This is a good sign.  We may witness the market bulls running after the increase is announced, which is the opposite of earlier expectations. I’m confident the Fed does not want to raise … Continue reading Showtime!

Obsession du Jour


Everybody knows that “Wall Street is always climbing a Wall of Worry.”  We sometimes forget that it is a series of Walls.  For most of this year, Wall Street worried about a Greek default.  This summer, Wall Street fretted about slowing growth in China.  Now, we are fixated on the Fed raising interest rates this … Continue reading Obsession du Jour

Refugee Tsunami


You would be less than human if you didn’t feel some sorrow for the refugees flooding into Europe.  They are mere “collateral damage,” which is not an uncommon result of war.  But, that doesn’t make them less than human, does it?  That is the moral dimension of this refugee tsunami. I read an op-ed piece … Continue reading Refugee Tsunami

Fourteen Years Later


We still vividly remember 9/11.  We had a normal 30-40 minute drive into work, dropping off Renee at her office, before going into my underground parking garage.  Later that morning, a young man who worked for me came into my Alexandria office, saying a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York.  … Continue reading Fourteen Years Later

Bouncing Along


Generally speaking, rules-of-thumb shouldn’t be rules-of-thumb.  They often turn something overly-complex into something overly-simplistic.  Nonetheless, they have a purpose when they explain how other people are thinking. One rule-of-thumb is that stock market corrections (down at least 10%) and bear markets (down 20%) don’t bounce off the bottom and then go up.  They have to … Continue reading Bouncing Along



A few years ago, a dear aunt got the “death sentence” from her doctor, giving her only 3-6 months to live.  She promptly got into her car and started driving all over the eastern United States to say good-bye to her friends and relatives.  She was not remorseful, but she did feel it was important … Continue reading Equanimity

Jobs Report — Labor Day Edition


The U.S. Department of Labor publishes the “Jobs Report” on the first Friday of each month.  It is the most closely watched economic report on Wall Street and often moves the stock market.  The report closest to Labor Day, which was last Friday, usually gets the most scrutiny. Analysts were expecting 205 thousand jobs were … Continue reading Jobs Report — Labor Day Edition

Goldman “Good”


My late mother taught me to never say anything bad about somebody, because everybody has some good in them.  I have found the “good” in Goldman Sachs.  It is their excellent research department!  Here are a few of their latest observations: 1.  The S&P will rise 8.1% to 2150 over the next twelve months.  Asian … Continue reading Goldman “Good”



Existentialists emphasize self-determination and self-reliance as individuals.  It is consistent with that most popular image of the philosophy as a lone person adrift on an ice floe.  You are on-your-own!  It is all about the individual, not the family, not the village, not part of any identity politics — just the lonely individual. The documentary Race … Continue reading Adrift

Here We Go Again . . .


It gets old, watching the same movie over and over again.  There is a problem, the stock market over-reacts and then goes on to new record highs.  Remember the scary days of 2008 and 2009? Now the stock market is over-reacting to the slowdown in the Chinese economy, reducing worldwide growth somewhat.  Remember a few … Continue reading Here We Go Again . . .

We are a fee-only advisor providing best interest fiduciary services to clients
in Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, and the surrounding areas of Hampton Roads.


Contact Us Bottom