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.

Just Another Useful Tool – corrected

For reasons best understood by your neighborhood nerd, yesterday’s blog dropped the most important paragraph!?!  With apologies, the corrected blog appears below: While I have been a long-time advocate for exchange-traded-funds (ETFs), I never thought they could bake bread nor cure the common cold.  Yesterday, I attended a lecture entitled “Combating Fake News:  Why Exchange-Traded-Funds Won’t Cause the Next Market Sell-off.”  I saw a great…

Just Another Useful Tool

While I have been a long-time advocate for exchange-traded-funds (ETFs), I never thought they could bake bread nor cure the common cold.  Yesterday, I attended a lecture entitled “Combating Fake News:  Why Exchange-Traded-Funds Won’t Cause the Next Market Sell-off.”  I saw a great many graphs documenting that ETFs continue to grow during both bear and bull markets.  Frankly, I didn’t realize that ETFs were under…

What’s The Point?

In 1988, I completed my financial planning studies and proudly earned a CFP certificate.  Over all those years, I have enjoyed the prestige of being certified, even as the costs increased, the red tape mounted and the continuing education droned on.  Last summer, I was asked by Old Dominion University to teach the capstone course to students preparing to take the two onerous 3-hour exams. …

Lukewarm IPOs is Good News

I hate long-term bond funds.  I hate annuities.  And, I really hate IPOs (initial public offerings). IPOs happen when a private company wants to sell part of its ownership on a public stock exchange, like the NYSE.  (Of course, it begs the question of why would I want to sell part of my company when its value is going up?) The popular perception of IPOs…

A Plea for Healing

Bernice King once said “In my view, it was no accident that Nelson Mandela was chosen by God to lead the people of South Africa. There are very few people who could be imprisoned, kept away from their family and loved ones, and exit that same prison with such a powerful spirit of love and a desire for reconciliation.” When Speaker Pelosi authorized an inquiry…

Praying for Inflation

Imagine you make $100 thousand a year and then imagine carrying $322 thousand in debt.  You would probably be in trouble.  Fortunately, the interest rate on your debt is artificially low.  Now, think globally, where worldwide debt has reached $257 TRILLION, which is 322% of worldwide GDP. Some people see that as proof of profligate spending worldwide, which is partially true.  I see it as…

The Wizard of Wharton

One of my favorite analysts is the affable Dr. Jeremy Siegel of Wharton.  In his last commentary, he doesn’t foresee any recession but thinks the stock market has gotten ahead of itself.  It is just going up too fast, and “trees never reach the sky.”  He recalls January of 2018 when the same thing happened, only to experience a scary sell-off the next month.  This…

The Danger of A Clever Thought

Logic is not always the same thing as truth.  Sometimes, logic is absurd. I have voted for numerous Libertarian candidates over the years.  Recently, I was talking with a long-time Libertarian friend.  He saw nothing wrong with arming school kids.  Anybody should be able to buy as many guns as they like and take them wherever they like and whenever they want to carry them. …

Consistent With History?

The Bank of America has an interesting forecast.  The current bull run in the stock market resulted from the relatively-sudden easing of geopolitical tensions, a decision on Brexit finally, and confidence in the November election, as well as highly supportive central banks (Fed & ECB).  The Bank believes these problems are not over, but merely “on hiatus.”  They believe the S&P will hit 3,333 by…

In Praise of Ho-Hum

I enjoyed listening to pundits talking this morning about how boring the monthly “Jobs Report” was.  Compared to expectations of 160 thousand new jobs, only 145 thousand were created last month.  Big Deal!  The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.5% — a 50 year low.  The U-6 level of under-employment dropped to 6.7% — a new record low.  Ho-Hum! This is welcome boredom — remembering…

Affable Predictions

Bob Doll is the chief equity officer for investment giant Nuveen.  For an investment strategist, he is remarkably humble and affable.  Each year, he makes 10 predictions and has a good track record.  With my comments in parenthesis, here are his 2020 predictions: The world avoids recession in 2020 as U.S. GDP grows over 2% and global GDP grows over 3%.  (Fingers crossed) Inflation and…

The Ultimate Weapon

During my first year in the Army, I learned infantry tactics and saw the military world from a top-down perspective, as in brigade-battalion-company-platoon-squad.  However, on the very first day of Special Forces training, I was taught to take a bottom-up perspective and that the atomic bomb was NOT the ultimate weapon.   The ultimate weapon is the guerilla — a few well-trained, highly-motivated and resourceful men,…

Budget InSECURE

Wouldn’t it be great if you could buy a nice present for your friend and then send the bill to THEIR children?  Congress just did that and did it on a bipartisan basis! It has the pleasant name of Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act or SECURE.  It reduces the tax burden on certain Boomers and increases the future tax burden on Millennials.…

New Year’s Resolution

When I was a boy, my mother would remind me to write down my New Year’s Resolution each year and tape it to my door.  Like most kids, my resolutions were usually (1) to do ALL my homework or (2) keep my room clean or (3) feed my dog – “Pal” – before leaving for school or (4) even to show respect to the dentist…