The Flinchum File

Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions
Subscribe to the Flinchum File
View Archives

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.

Silly Old Fool

When you lose a loved one, it is normal to grieve and mourn the loss.  In fact, it is both normal and healthy. The lead editorial in the local newspaper yesterday was titled “Privacy compromised in VA” and raises awareness of the new surveillance capability of police — collecting license plate photos with time and location – 1,600 per minute.  Hey, if it leads to…

Falling Into The Election

Normally, the stock market loses value slowly as the presidential election approaches, because uncertainty is increasing.  Of course, 2020 is predictably worse, as the market is now losing value more rapidly than normal as the election approaches.  This can be understandable, because (1) the election is so ugly and contentious, (2) more race-riots and election-related violence are expected soon, (3) the coronavirus is spiking again,…

What Matters?

My late mother voted a straight Republican ticket, beginning with General Eisenhower in 1952.  Over the years, she frequently told me that “a good man is better than a rich man.”  I thought of that on July 18th, 2015, when I watched Donald Trump trash our beloved war-hero, the late Senator John McCain – gratuitously – for no reason – just for fun.  That told…

Clues

As a Cub Scout, I learned that lichens only grow on the north side of trees, so I could orient my map.  As a soldier, I learned to aim slightly lower when aiming uphill, as the reducing air pressure gave a slight lift to the bullet.  As an investment analyst, I learned that stock prices have a propensity to weaken on Friday afternoons, as traders…

The Rights of Europeans

Oh, those silly Europeans . . . they’re just so fussy . . . and cute! Earlier this year, Congress held hearings on the future of Big Tech companies, like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft.  Congress is worried they have become too big and too powerful.  Historically, Democrats have always been distrustful of Big Business.  The Republicans are simply worried that Big Tech doesn’t like…

In Defense of . . .

 I rise in defense of Donald J. Trump. Somehow, it was leaked that Mr. Trump has over $400 million of debt, which he has not denied.  Pundits immediately went to the bankruptcy angle, whereby he could theoretically be begging in the Oval Office.  Those pundits are unfamiliar with Real Estate Finance 101. Typically, a real estate entrepreneur uses OPM – other people’s money – as…

Ten Lessons

Fareed Zakaria is a native of Mumbai, India who earned his doctorate from Harvard and now hosts a highly-rated weekly show on foreign affairs for CNN, called GPS.  He has already written several best-selling books, including his latest, which is entitled Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World. I didn’t see his “Lessons” as something to learn from — but more as things that will govern…

The Cost of Good Luck

It is no surprise that white middle-aged men have economic and social advantages in life.  Of course, these blessed Americans also have 69.97% of all suicides.  One usual reason is the guilt of having squandered their “white-male” advantages by accomplishing so little.  It is the curse of “the American Dream.”    Another reason is that white males are encouraged to become white ALPHA males.  To…

Enough Drama ?

If President Trump is reelected, my Democratic friends will find that as proof of our continuing systemic racism.  If President Trump is defeated, my Republican friends will blame it on the media. Niall Ferguson is a brilliant, widely-respected, Scottish-born conservative, who is a professor of history at Stanford and has authored numerous excellent books.  Personally, I find him less than affable, and I suspect he…

Free ?

For years, I have recommended that everyone have a “news-free” day.  That is especially important as the never-ending pandemic stretches on, as our political establishment continues to embarrass us, as neighbors gravitate into Red or Blue tribes, as domestic strife breeds domestic terror, and so on. Saturday is my day to be free of news.  It is easy to change channels on television, and I’ve…

A Good Error

I’m concerned that many mail-in ballots will be disqualified, because zero errors are permitted.  You might mail in a ballot with an error unknowingly, only to have your ballot disqualified and not know it. Unfortunately, I did make an error completing my ballot.  Since I could no longer vote-by-mail, I went to the Courthouse and stood in line for a while, but I got to…

China Rebounding

Since signing the agreement to a ceasefire in the trade war with China, that trade war has been crowded off the front page by the election, but interesting things are still happening. Despite a long-established reputation as a currency manipulator (in order to make their exports cheaper for foreigners to buy), they have actually allowed their currency (Yuan) to appreciate or go up by 3.9%…

Planning Time . . . Now!

Nobody wants to pay higher taxes and have less money to take home to their families.  Some taxpayers say taxes alone drive all their decisions, which I don’t understand.  I know one man in Texas who actually sold his house and moved to another state, away from his grandchildren, just to avoid increased real estate taxes.  Guess his mother never told him:  “Moderation in all…

A Little Thing

It is a trivial thing, I know, but the way a President returns salutes has always been interesting to me.  Both President Bushes saluted properly, which I appreciated.  President Clinton (a non-veteran) never did figure it out.  Bless his heart, but President Obama did try the hardest.  However, President Trump always had a excellent salute, especially for a non-veteran. Sadly, as he boarded Marine One…

Get Well Soon

Readers know the low regard I’ve had for the Presidency of Donald J. Trump.  Despite all that, I pray that he, his family, and his staff enjoy a quick, complete recovery from the coronavirus!  Nobody deserves that awful disease. Be well, Mr. President!

More Good Datapoints

Consumer Confidence is a key indicator of the economy, especially future retail sales.  In February, it was 132.6 – a record high.  Then, the pandemic hit and Consumer Confidence dropped to 85.7 in April.  Monday, we learned it has risen nicely to 101.8.  This was better than expected. We have spoken before about the two-speed economy, composed of those who floated above the pandemic-recession –…