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.

A Long Night of Doubt

I love this country.  I love the people who occupy it.  I love the dirt they walk on.  I love the ideal that America represents.  And, I still love the Reaganite view that America is a shiny city on the hill, offering hope for a better world. There was only time my love of country trembled.  That was October 20th of 1973.  It was a…

Investing Fashion

In his 1958 book titled The Affluent Society, economist John Kenneth Galbraith popularized the expression “conventional wisdom,” which describes the consensus opinion of the day.  He wrote extensively about how “wisdom” becomes “conventional” but not as much about how that consensus changes over time. In the investing world, Benjamin Graham’s classic Security Analysis in 19344 gave birth to the notion that only an extensive analysis of…

Econo-saurs

When I took my first course in economics, I was lucky to sit between old high school buddies.  On my left was Bobby Brontosaur, while Ty Rannosaur sat on my right side.  We were taught that money was (1) a medium of exchange, (2) unit of account, and (3) a store of value. Our professor never said that bitcoin was a medium of exchange, but…

Tree-Huggers Legacy

Back in the 1970’s, “pointy-head tree-huggers” began insisting that their investment dollars not fund “unethical” companies, e.g., defense firms or those who did business with South Africa.  They insisted on SRI or socially responsible investing.  Mutual funds were developed just for SRI investors. That has now morphed into ESG investing, which stands for environmental, social, and governance.  Polluters are obviously unacceptable, but the target is…

No To Robo ?

“Robo-advisors” refers to canned software programs that claim to do your financial planning at a nominal cost.  That software does a decent job of retirement planning but a lousy job with the rest of the planning issues.  It has been especially popular among Millennials, who argue a real financial planners just takes your data and uses the same software anyway. There is considerable consternation among…

Party On, Mohamed

Mohamed El-Erian was born in New York City in 1958, to an Egyptian father and French mother.  Educated at Cambridge and Oxford, he went on to manage the Harvard endowment fund, to be co-CEO of bond giant PIMCO, along with the legendary Bill Gross.  Today, he is Chief Economic Advisor the PIMCO parent company of Allianz.  He is also one of my favorite thinkers! Yesterday,…

A No-Confidence Vote? Nope!

The November report on international capital transfers was interesting.  Both foreign governments and foreign citizens decreased their holdings of Treasuries by $18.8 billion.  Some think that represents a no-confidence vote in the Trump Administration.  What do you think?  It tells me that foreigners believe the dollar will continue to weaken, and they don’t want a low-yielding investment that will lose value (when the cheaper dollar…

2018 — Good or Great ?

Bob Doll is the chief equity strategist at the giant investment firm of Nuveen.  He is generally bullish and has a good track record on his predictions, which I have studied for years.  Generally speaking, he expects the economy to be stronger than the stock market in 2018.  His ten predictions are: 1.  For the first time in a decade, real GDP in the U.S.…

Getting Tiresome

It takes very little to convince Democrats that the President is racist. It takes even less for the Republicans to blame it all on the media. The President’s recent comment on which immigrants should be allowed was, in the words of Speaker Ryan, unfortunate and unhelpful.  My first thought is that Trump’s alleged comment has given license to the media to grovel for viewers by repeating…

Joyous

Tradition links the past with the present and hints about the future, plus there is a certain serenity that comes with respecting tradition. Like most people, I’ve attended countless Protestant and Catholic weddings, along with a good number of Jewish weddings, but I had never attended an Orthodox Jewish wedding until recently.  It was a large affair, with an estimated 350 people attending.  The actual…

Hail To The (Bond) King

Jeff Gundlach is the founder of DoubleLine Capital in Los Angeles and is often called the Bond King.  He has just released his predictions for 2018.  In no particular order, they are: 1.  No recession on the one-year horizon.2.  Unemployment will drop another 75 basis points, lower than 3.5% (hard to believe)3.  The S&P will rise the first half of 2018 but end the year…

Hidden Nuggets

Each month, the Department of Labor issues their “Jobs Report” on the first Friday.  Most people just look at the number of jobs created and the rate of unemployment.  In the latest, for example, it was 148 thousand and 4.1% respectively. Buried inside, there were other numbers of note.  First, there was the U-6 level of unemployment, which measures the people “only marginally attached to…

Take This Job And Shove It

There was a minor earthquake yesterday in San Francisco.  It is NOT true that the earthquake was caused by the millions and millions of Millenials, who were rolling their eyes when they heard that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had given license to the U.S. Attorneys across the country to begin prosecuting marijuana cases again.  Generally speaking, Millenials have as little respect for pot laws, as…

Marathon Bulls

The bulls have been running on Wall Street for nine years.  They should be tired, but they apparently are not.  Generally speaking, as long as profits continue to increase, the stock market should continue to increase.  Decreasing tax expense means increased profit (unless the money is allocated to other expenses like labor).  In addition, the global economic recovery continues, further increasing profit. You’ll recall that…

Fake People, Not Fake News

Most Federal agencies are required to solicit feedback from the public before making any significant change in regulation.  When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was preparing to eliminate net-neutrality, they first solicited public opinion.  Afterwards, it was discovered that about a tenth of the opinions expressed were bogus.  Many people were surprised to learn they had written a letter.  Even dead people wrote letters to…