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.

Snapshots of Deep Thoughts

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 change 300 times more powerful and 10 times faster than…

Salesmen & Sales Tools

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 canned program on a stockbroker’s laptop can analyse all the…

Clash of Rights

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 speech  — but is no place safe from serious subjects? …

The Duty to Discard

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 over minor possessions.  However, some of the kids will become…

Who Needs A Financial Advisor Anyway?

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 they do. They see investment management as the sole function…

Amortizing the Cost

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 more upset about this than the Fed itself.  How would…

Wrong Class

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 Certified Financial Planner (R) professionals — not stockbrokers.   In…

Not Accumulating

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 phase of a person’s life than the “decumulation” phase or…

Experience Matters!

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 experience of each generation.  The older generation worked at one…

Measuring Costs

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 economic damage of Hurricane Harvey is staggering.  The damage to…

Mourning Dinosaurs

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 addresses.  Visions of men wearing white sheets on the front…

Loser-Of-The-Week Award

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 is that he never heard of the “5-P Rule” of…

Viva La Macron

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 new statistic illustrates the problem.  The percentage of workers with…

Out, Out . . . Damn Spot!

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 jobs available – 6,160,000.  Now, what are you so worried…