15 Aug 2022

Fed Tightening and Stocks

While inflation may or may not have peaked, Federal Reserve officials are still talking about raising interest rates. Several Fed officials called for rate hikes through 2023, and St. Louis Fed President said that the overnight rate should be four percent by the end of this calendar year (it’s currently between 2.25 and 2.50 percent). Although the Fed is already raising rates, a process also known as tightening, I wondered… Read More

8 Aug 2022

Warren Buffet

I heard an amazing statistic a few weeks ago: Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett’s investment vehicle, could lose 99 percent of its value and still enjoy a track record that beats the S&P 500. Over the weekend, Berkshire released their second-quarter earnings, which reminded me of my newfound fact, so I pulled up the data. Sure enough, it’s true. And perhaps even more remarkably, it’s been consistently true since the year… Read More

1 Aug 2022

Patriots for a Weaker Dollar

I sometimes include changes in the dollar in the market summary that precedes the data table above. I cover the dollar less and less, though, because it’s so abstract. That said, the dollar has been immensely strong recently, and it’s impacting our portfolios. Any patriot likes the sound of a strong currency – after all, a strong currency should reflect a strong country. And a weak or debased currency is… Read More

25 Jul 2022

Looking at Inflation, Backwards and Forwards

Inflation is hard to measure, which is why there are many ways to measure it. In addition to the Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) indexes that I’ve discussed in recent months, there are also Producer Price Indexes (PPI), the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) indexes, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) purchased price index, the GDP price index, and the GDP Price Deflator index. Oh my! While I don’t intend for this letter… Read More

18 Jul 2022

Looking at Inflation, Backwards and Forwards

After quietly lying dormant for several decades, inflation is today’s big story in economics and markets. We all feel it at the grocery and pump, not to mention airline tickets, which are up more than a third from a year ago. It’s also dictating central bank policy, here and abroad, and everyone is rightly wondering whether that central bank policy will push global economies into a recession if it hasn’t… Read More

5 Jul 2022

Visualizing the Supply Chain

Growing up, I’d never heard of the supply chain. Toys were either on the shelves or there weren’t. Today, I hear relatively young kids talking about how the supply chain is preventing them from getting the toys they see online in less than three days. It’s amazing actually. Last week, I was looking at the New York Federal Reserve website trying to find their model that predicts recessions. I didn’t… Read More

27 Jun 2022

The Chance of Recession

Last week, I promised to discuss the odds of entering a recession in more depth and suggested that a financial crisis is less likely this time (but you never know). If you missed it, you can read it here. I also referenced a talk I saw by local Fed official Bill Emmons, who highlighted the possibility of a recession in 2018. He wasn’t right about that (well, he only said… Read More

21 Jun 2022

And Now: Some Good News

The most salient question today is whether or not the US and the rest of the world will enter a recession. The answer, of course, is that, at some point, we will enter a recession. I think that a much harder question is when we enter a recession. I’ve heard a few people say that we’re in one now because the first quarter’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was negative, and… Read More

13 Jun 2022

Inflation: A Deep Dive

I like to say that this newsletter is a mix of information on investing, financial planning, and economics. Regular readers know that I tend to focus most on investing, then financial planning, and economics is a distant third place. The current inflation environment, however, is forcing me to cover more economics, although the reality is that inflation materially impacts investing and planning. Today, I will look at inflation in isolation,… Read More

6 Jun 2022

The Second-Most Important Element of Retirement Planning

I’ve focused on bear markets for the last two weeks because the stock market briefly dipped into bear market territory a few weeks ago. Since then, markets have recovered some of what was lost, although there is still a way to go to get back to even. One of my colleagues pointed out that as long as your portfolio could reliably provide the cash flow that you need to live… Read More