13 May 2019

Trade Troubles

As noted above, the big story last week was about the on-again-off-again trade deal between the US and China. It’s impossible to know where the deal goes from here, but the options are basically as follows: Talks Continue.  The negotiation deadline could be extended as it was before with tariffs frozen and additional sanctions possible.  The status quo should be stabilizing for markets for a while, despite the policy uncertainty…. Read More

29 Apr 2019

Is Warren Buffett Worried?

You know the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting is coming up when every financial media outlet has a story on the company or its leader, businessman and investor extraordinaire, Warren Buffett. My favorite from the weekend was an article in The Financial Times that draws extensively from an interview with Buffett.  You can find the article here, but it may be behind a paywall. One of the points made in the… Read More

22 Apr 2019

The Secret to Yale’s Success

I’ve written about David Swensen and the Yale Endowment several times over the years (here and here, for example) because i find both fascinating. I first learned about Swensen in 2005, when he was heralded ‘Yale’s $8 Billion Man’ upon the 20th anniversary of taking over the endowment.  The performance during that period was remarkable: 16.1 percent versus the S&P 500, which earned 11.9 percent during the same time frame. … Read More

15 Apr 2019

Why Hire a Financial Advisor?

Over the years, most of the Daily Insights that I’ve written are about investing, financial planning or, less frequently, economics. I don’t think I’ve ever written about the people hire financial advisors – mostly, because I can’t come up with much of an answer other than a generic statement about ‘peace of mind’ or describe why my most recent client hired me. Now, though, I’ll have a better answer, thanks… Read More

8 Apr 2019

The Most Powerful Man in the World?

Last week, Ryan Craft wrote at terrific article, titled ‘The Most Powerful Man in the World,’ which you can read here about the power of Jerome Powell, the current Chair of the Federal Reserve.  It even included a superimposed image of Powell’s face on Superman’s body. I agree with everything that Ryan said, but I couldn’t help but wonder what the leader of the free world might say if he saw that… Read More

1 Apr 2019

The Most Powerful Man in the World

For the stock market, the first quarter of 2019 turned out to be the mirror image of the last quarter of 2018. Since hitting a low on Christmas Eve, there has been no looking back for the S&P 500 as it rebounded over 13% thus far in 2019, nearly erasing the bear market losses from the end of 2018. Clearly, this renewed optimism in the markets is a result of booming economic… Read More

18 Mar 2019

Risk & Volatility

Using the words ‘risk’ and ‘volatility’ interchangeably is one of the bad habits of many financial professionals, myself included.  When pressed, we know better, but we make this mistake all of the time nonetheless. Merriam-Webster has four definitions of risk as a noun, two of which are applicable here: ‘the possibility of loss or injury,’ and ‘the chance that an investment (such as a stock or commodity) will lose value.’ Volatility, according to Merriam-Webster,… Read More

11 Mar 2019

Calling Dr. Draghi, Dr. Mario Draghi

Investors have been hyper-focused on every word that comes out of every Federal Reserve official since October, but when the European Central Bank (ECB) made a major policy reversal last week, the markets yawned. Ten years ago, Warren Buffett described the 2008 financial crisis as akin to a heart attack.  The Fed, acting as a physician, prescribed zero interest rates and when that wasn’t enough, they tried an experimental strategy known as quantitative… Read More

4 Mar 2019

Stretching Your Dollars, Here and Abroad

Many years ago, I somehow discovered a newsletter called International Living that showed how you could retire overseas and live well without a ton of money. The basic idea was that your Social Security check would go a lot further in Prague than in Philadelphia. The magazine (and now website www.internationalliving.com) always featured beautiful photographs of unspoiled beaches in Costa Rica, wandering streets of old Italian villages and had the feeling of a travel brochure… Read More