20 Dec 2021

Alternatives are Tough

I wrote a lot about inflation in 2021 for pretty obvious reasons. I also wrote that bonds are difficult investments to own right now because the expected inflation rate over the coming decade is more than the current interest rates. After receiving a lot of inquiries about bond alternatives like REITs, utilities, and the like, I wrote an article shooting down those too. This article is a variant on that… Read More

6 Dec 2021

Illustrating Inflation

For years now, inflation has been an afterthought in the investing conversation because it’s been so dormant. In fact, for a few years, the worry was centered around deflation. And yet, here we are, somewhere in a pandemic (I’d like to think near the end, but omicron is a good reminder that we just don’t know what’s around the corner), and we’re talking about supply-chain bottlenecks and looking at government… Read More

29 Nov 2021

Omicron Variant Strikes Markets

Friday was yet another reminder of how quickly things can change in life and in markets. The Omicron news is concerning, so it’s natural for markets to react sharply as investors take in new information. Stock markets were down sharply on Friday with the Dow down 2.5% and the S&P 500 down 2.3%. The price of a barrel of oil also fell more than 10% on the day. It’s also… Read More

15 Nov 2021

Inflation Runs Hot

This past Wednesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for October, which showed inflation on consumer goods growing at a rate not seen in thirty years. This concerning trend is illustrated in the chart below. The orange line tracks the annual growth rate of the CPI since the 1960’s. This line includes all prices and categories. The white line tracks the same index, but… Read More

8 Nov 2021

Finally: Dow 36,000

Although I wasn’t yet in the wealth management business, I vividly recall the tech bubble in the late 1990s. I graduated from college in 1995, and remember the Investments professor saying that markets were overvalued. In my first few years on the job, I witnessed the Dow cross 5,000 and then 10,000 within just five years. I was working in foreign exchange and was going through a terrible bear market… Read More

1 Nov 2021

The Trouble with Tesla

Over the years, I’ve missed some wonderful returns on stocks that I thought were too expensive. I was an Amazon customer starting in 1999 (you can find your ENTIRE purchase history on the site), two years after they went public. I might have missed ‘the ground floor,’ but I was worried about their valuation. Tesla is another company. I know several people who bought them when they came out, and… Read More

25 Oct 2021

I Finally Bought Bitcoin

Several years ago, I went to the movies and noticed a machine selling Bitcoin in the lobby. I’d read about Bitcoin and thought about buying one just to keep an eye on it. Then, I thought that $3,500 was an expensive night at the movies and just enjoyed the show. A year later, I went back, and the price had risen to $16,500 per coin, and I realized that night… Read More

14 Oct 2021

Portfolio Insights

We are pleased to provide a digital copy of Portfolio Insights, our quarterly newsletter. Table of Contents: Stock Market Summary Bond Market Review Emerging Unease Inflation Expectations Today The Big Picture Click here to read the issue: Q3 2021 Portfolio Insights

11 Oct 2021

Before You Invest in Alternatives

Over the past few years, one of the more popular categories of mutual funds has been so-called ‘alternative’ funds. Alternative investments, broadly defined, are strategies that seek returns that are uncorrelated from traditional investments like stocks and bonds. While alternative investments were once largely confined to private partnerships, they are now popular in mutual funds, or what the industry refers to as ’40 Act Funds. Following the 2008 financial crisis, alternative mutual funds… Read More

27 Sep 2021

Is China’s Evergrande Our Lehman Brothers?

The big selloff last week centered around a massive Chinese real estate developer, Evergrande, which is almost certainly insolvent. Although not many folks around here (including me) had ever heard of Evergrande, the company is the second-largest developer in China and ranks 122nd on Fortune’s Global 500. According to Wikipedia, in 2020, Evergrande reported revenues of $78.4 billion and profits of $1.25 billion, which is a fairly slim profit margin… Read More