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.

Giving Thanks

If humility was a muscle, it would be withered away and shriveled-up for most of us.  Thanksgiving is the annual workout for that weak muscle.  It is a day to be humble, a day to remember how other people have helped us.  Nobody does it alone, without the help of others.  So, go exercise your humility muscle like this . . . Thank you for…

Schwabing the Deck?

In 2004, I had a good job with a bank, which was acquired by another bank, which was then acquired by yet another bank.  It is disconcerting and confusing for the staff, of course.  Employees of an acquired company invariably expect a “housecleaning.” Yesterday, Schwab announced it was acquiring TD Ameritrade (TD), subject to various approvals.  Since TD acts as custodian of the assets of…

Leading the Way

Over the Summer and Fall, our economic data slowly got weaker and weaker.  For the last few months, the data has been looking a little brighter .  But the Index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) is still flashing bright red.  It has dropped for three straight months, primarily due to the recession in manufacturing.  The last time the LEI dropped three straight months was in…

Who cares where I go, or what I do, or what I see?

The three great mysteries are (1) why does it take so long to build a road, (2) why are window curtains so expensive, and (3) why doesn’t everyone value their privacy? Earlier this month, Google announced that it was buying Fitbit, whose devices record exercise data on wearers.  Quickly and quietly, thousands of Fitbit users threw their devices in the trash, because they simply don’t…

Paging A Mystic . . . Stat!

The best book on financial planning to hit bookstores in 2007 was undoubtedly The Number by Lee Eisenberg.  For those willing to study the possibilities, it was a great resource.  While I would always encourage a person to read this excellent book, I suspect the mere title of the book has created an interesting, continuing problem. A perception has developed that there was one magic number…

The Tyranny of Dreams

Dreams are born in experience and can consume the mind. My late mother’s father died young, and she was raised by her mother in a tiny white clapboard house.  It was slightly below grade and close to a relatively busy road, as busy as roads get in the boondocks.  She was sensitive to her standard of living and suspected people passing by their house judged…

Old Story

I was a thirteen-year-old paperboy, riding my heavy-duty bicycle with a huge basket on my front handlebars, where I carried the newspapers.  One cool morning, I had delivered all the papers and was returning home, when an pickup truck slowly passed me.  The back of the truck was full of walnuts and four young blacks, who began pelting me with the walnuts.  I tipped over…

A Crack In The Dam ?

Normal or “retail” investors are not permitted to invest in some of the most profitable/risky opportunities.  Those opportunities are normally referred to as private placements and were limited to investors with a net worth (excluding home value) of $1 million or annual income above $200 thousand ($300K for couples).  These investors are called Accredited Investors.  With the current bull run in the stock market, more…

Gold Advice

Goldman Sachs has been a legendary investment firm since 1869. There is no firm on Wall Street that I respect more and trust less. The quality of their research definitely deserves respect! Last week, they announced that market conditions were too similar to 2007 and recommended investors rotate out of stocks.  In other words, dump your stocks! Conversely, I do respect AND do trust Warren…

Penalizing Charity

The current economy is doing great, and the stock market keeps setting new record highs.  So, why are charitable contribution by individuals down by 3.8%? The Trump Tax Cut doubled the standard deduction to $24,400 for married couples.  Unless regular itemized deductions plus charitable deductions exceed that amount, a taxpayer is better off taking the standard deduction and saving the money normally given to charity. …

A Crack in the Dam?

Normal or “retail” investors are not permitted to invest in some of the most profitable/risky opportunities.  Those opportunities are normally referred to as private placements and were limited to investors with a net worth (excluding home value) of $1 million or annual income above $200 thousand ($300K for couples).  These investors are called Accredited Investors.  With the current bull run in the stock market, more…

Advertising Death

How does an economist entertain himself, when his wife is travelling?  They study weird stuff, of course. I noticed the Obituary section of our local newspaper was larger than normal and deserved a little analysis.  There were 44 deaths to report.  Of those, only 31 reported their age or year of birth.  Their average age was 73.4 years.  Of the total of 44 deaths, 23…

The times, they’re a’changing . . .

In 1972, $98 was a lot of money to me, but I bought a handheld Texas Instruments calculator anyway.  It was amazing, because it could add, subtract, multiply and divide so much quicker than I could.  Today, a short walk through Best Buy seems like a different planet.  Not just the acceleration in technology change, but the variety of technology products has increased enormously. When…

Fake Argument

The President has been arguing that China needs a trade deal more than the U.S. needs a deal.  He correctly pointed that that China’s external debt has increased dramatically from $1.3 trillion to $2.0 trillion in only three years.  That is not a “fake fact” but can be misinterpreted.  However, because most financial crises begin with external national debt, we must first evaluate if risk…

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas . . . is an end to all this impeachment coverage on the news.  Of course, it is important, but it is not the only important news.  Whatever happened to the Kurds?  Why did the French president call NATO “brain-dead”?  Why has the Russian economy NOT collapsed?  Is there life after BREXIT?  Did you hear they discovered a new strain…

109 Straight Months

Like a hot shower at the end of a long day, Friday’s monthly report on the labor market was simply refreshing.  Following the slow drain of a lingering trade war, declining GDP growth, a badly weakened manufacturing sector, a major strike at GM, falling consumer confidence, and slowing job creation, our country still produced 128 thousand jobs in the month of October.  Economists expected only…