One of the few Wall Street firms I respect is McKinsey & Company, which is part think-tank and part strategic consultants. They have recently published a new strategic study, identifying four “super” trends, which will shape our civilization over the long-term. They expect these trends are so powerful that “we are in the midst of … Continue reading Snapshots of Deep Thoughts
The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions
There has never been a day in my life that some intelligent person was not predicting the “sky is falling” — the economy is crashing and you should buy gold. For many years, I just assumed a given percentage of any society is allocated to quacks. Now, I’m starting to see a common denominator between … Continue reading The Perpetual Life of Alarmists
Some years ago, a friend said to me: “My stockbroker says I have a 92.4% probability of achieving my financial goals, so what can you do for me? He was referring to a favorite sales tool of stockbrokers, i.e., a Monte Carlo Analysis. I told him: ” Absolutely nothing, if you really believe that some … Continue reading Salesmen & Sales Tools
Colin Kaepernick was a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers football team last year when he decided to remain seated or “take a knee” during the national anthem. I condemned that action by a wealthy player, whose only experience with uniforms was the sports-type. However, at no point have I questioned his right to free … Continue reading Clash of Rights
I have settled estates and administered many trusts, as well as doing the estate planning for maybe a thousand people, but I will now add a new rule to estate planning – the Duty to Discard. It is indeed a duty of each person. No parent wants their children to fight among themselves, much less … Continue reading The Duty to Discard
I have a wonderful client who lives in a very high-end retirement facility. During our last meeting, she told me about her many friends who don’t have a financial advisor and try to manage their nest egg with certificates of deposit. They are just trying to reduce their expenses, as any financial advisor would recommend … Continue reading Who Needs A Financial Advisor Anyway?
In 2009, the economy was plummeting into another economic depression. At a time when we needed a government hand, Congress achieved perfect impotence and could do nothing. The only remaining defense was the Fed, which rose to meet the challenge, thankfully. Libertarians became unhinged at the new “activism” of the Fed. Of course, nobody was … Continue reading Amortizing the Cost
Recently, I found myself in a class that was primarily stockbrokers. One of the speakers told the attendees that they had to be more than mere financial advisors. They must also become financial coaches, he told them. That jarred me slightly, thinking “doesn’t everybody know that?” Of course, I’m used to the world of … Continue reading Wrong Class
A well-trained investment advisor has been taught concepts like asset allocation, Modern Portfolio Theory, re-balancing, etc. Younger advisors tend to view these tools are revealed secrets of the investment gods. While older advisors respect these tools, especially the time-worn wisdom of the tools, some have become suspicious that these tools work better during the accumulation … Continue reading Not Accumulating
The past is prologue to the future . . . except when it isn’t! What goes up must come down . . . except when it doesn’t! It has been 14 months since the stock market had a 5% drop, compared to an average of 6-9 months. It has been 20 months since it had … Continue reading Suspended Econimation
Freakonomics author, Stephen Dubner, has an excellent podcast, coincidently named Freakomonics, that is quite enjoyable when I exercise. A recent podcast interviewed an economics professor from GWU in Washington. She was a native of Italy, whose accent made it difficult for me to understand her. She discussed how the economic behavior of different generations reflects the … Continue reading Experience Matters!
Houston’s economy is huge. The GDP of its SMSA is $550 billion. That is about 3% of our national GDP but accounts for a disproportionate 6.6% of our growth. It is booming. Population increased by 824 thousand since 2010. That increase is bigger than the entire city of Charleston, South Carolina. Things have changed. The … Continue reading Measuring Costs
Older people are usually surprised that the right to privacy was not in the Declaration of Independence nor the Bill of Rights — but millennials don’t care. That “right” was an outgrowth of a 1958 Supreme Court decision, NAACP vs Alabama. In that case, the state wanted the membership list of the NAACP, including home … Continue reading Mourning Dinosaurs
So, there was a 26-year-old refugee from Bangladesh living outside London with his parents. Problem #1 is that he is a 26-year-old man without a girlfriend and living with his parents. On the morning of August 25th, he suddenly decides he will attack the guards at Windsor Castle, because they work for the Queen.Problem #2 … Continue reading Loser-Of-The-Week Award
France is such a wonderful country. Unfortunately, their economy is not as wonderful. Unemployment in the U.S. is only 4.4%. Germany’s unemployment is about the same, but unemployment in France is a staggering 9.5%. GDP growth is slower in France than Greece right now. What is retarding the economy of such a wonderful country? One … Continue reading Viva La Macron
Let’s see . . . personal income rose more that expected at 0.4% in July, and spending rose a healthy 0.3%. Inflation rose only 0.1% in July, well below anything worrisome. Estimates of GDP growth in the second quarter (Q2) was revised higher from 2.6% to a whopping 3%. There has never been so many … Continue reading Out, Out . . . Damn Spot!