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 Deficit To Ignore

With a $3 trillion national deficit this year and trillion dollar deficits expected to continue for years-to-come, there is an increasing anxiety about an economic collapse.  Today, the release of the Net International Investment Position (NIIP) heightened that anxiety . . . but unnecessarily. The NIIP is focused on the amount of income we receive from our ownership of foreign assets, compared to the money…

Perception Request

Most of us see of a slippery slope from forgetfulness to dementia to Alheimer’s, but one does not necessarily lead to another.  Forgetfulness is normal and even has the fancy name of “mild cognitive linguistic deficit”. I have been fortunate to work with senior citizens for most of my life.  At least a thousand times, I have reassured a person that forgetting names or losing…

Force-Feeding Vinegar

The joke among investment analysts is . . . if you want to have a small fortune in airline stocks, you just need to invest a large fortune! The aviation industry is a huge business, employing many thousands of people and consuming huge quantities of capital – both debt capital and equity capital.  Whenever there is an economic crisis, they also consume large quantities of…

The End Is Near . . . ?

Some people believe that “those who refuse to learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.”  Some pundits amuse themselves by saying “history may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”  My view is that history is the best flashlight we have to find a pathway in the dark. Here are some lessons I’ve learned about the history of the stock market. I…

Peeking Outside

Like most people, we have been cloistered the last seven months, with trips to the grocery store for excitement and an occasional meal at a local open-air restaurant.   Recently, I needed to visit a client in Greenville, South Carolina.  So, it was with some trepidation that we temporarily re-entered the normal world, because it was important. There was more traffic than expected.  At stops, most…

Just Do It!

We tend to think of life in three phases:  childhood years, working years, and retirement years.  This reflects the lifecycle model of a time when jobs were secure and lifespans were short.  This has all changed, and we should update our perspective. In the past, we’ve noted that some work (either for money or for charity) helps a person negotiate the change from worker-to-non-worker identity,…

Not Two-Dimensional Chess

When the Fed meets and especially when the FOMC meets, they issue a written report, which is the most finely perused government report.  Analysts scrutinize every word for any tiny minute change, even the placement of commas (seriously). It’s latest release promised to keep interest rates low for a longer period than predicted earlier.  Now, it looks like no interest rate increases before 2023 or…

Marginalize Extremists?

A new analysis from Brown University estimates the cost of the war in Iraq and in Afghanistan has been $6.4 trillion.  Ignoring the necessity of those wars, focus on paying for the wars.  Looking at www.usdebtclock.org, our national debt is about $26.8 trillion.  That means the cost of those never-ending wars explains about 24% of our national debt. Due to the pandemic, our budget deficit…

What’s Different This Time?

Normally, we talk about economies in terms of separate countries, as in this country has a strong economy, while that country has a weak economy.  Often, we slice economies by industries, as in this industry is doing well, while that industry is doing poorly.  Since the 1970s, we have also sliced it by region, as in the northeastern U.S. is growing, while the southern U.S.…

The Golden Age of Conspiracies

Conspiracy theories are fashionable these days.  Most psychologists suggest that some people are more susceptible to conspiracy theories than other people.  That may be, but I suspect existentialists are the least susceptible. One of the few things I remember from high school physics is that atoms are in constant motion, colliding randomly with other atoms.  The atoms don’t go into a back room and decide…

Disgust

Having watched our RINO President refer to the late Senator McCain as a loser, and calling the late President Bush a loser for going down in his plane during World War II, and later disrespecting a Gold Star family, I don’t have any difficulty believing he also called our fallen soldiers losers and suckers.  He even asked a grieving father why his fallen son fought…

Did you know . . . ?

Households making less than $300 thousand annually give about 2.3% to charity each year, while households making more than $300 thousand donate 4.4%. Households identifying as religious give twice as much as those who do not. Volunteers to charitable organizations give 2.5% of their income to charity each year, compared to 1.2% who don’t volunteer. Charitable giving tends to increase with age until age 65,…