shir-kay

I Blame SportsCenter

The market was down 3% yesterday although you’re more likely to see this as DOW PLUMMETS OVER 800 POINTS.  I don’t know why it’s down, but neither does anyone else.  No one knows what it will do from here, either.  However, I do know how things will play out on CNBC as every perma-bear in New York City is wetting their pants waiting for their booking agent to tell them what time to arrive on set.  I expect doom n’ gloomers making victory laps and appealing to our baser instincts. It’s All SportsCenter’s Fault The golden age of ESPN was wall to wall SportsCenter and actual sporting events.  Today it’s talk shows and even SportsCenter is less focused on actual sport and more story-driven.  Why?  Drama sells.  The WWE is basically soap operas for rednecks and you’re smarter than a redneck, right?  ESPN is the WWE of sports.  What’s really…

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No Picture

Your Bad Taste in Music Isn’t Helping You Invest

Spotify’s algorithm recently uncovered a gem (to me, anyway) from my youth, adding Gilby Clarke’s “Cure Me Or Kill Me” to one of my playlists.  I admit that this is not a great song, but seeing as how our musical tastes are developed in our teenage years, this track scratches an itch for me.  It brings me back to laying in bed, headphones cranked too high, listening to 106.9’s Top Ten at Ten.  Tremor Christ, Volcano Girls, Counting Blue Cars, Loser, Andres – all on ROCK ONE OH SEVEN WRQK, CANTON’S ROCK STATION!!! Like our taste in music, our perspective on risk can be overly influenced by our early investing experiences.  Vanguard found that Millennials who started investing with them after the global financial crisis were more than twice as likely to hold zero-equity portfolios as those who started investing before.  They also found that older investors held more equities…

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Can’t Trust’em

It pays to be skeptical of financial product pitches.  Investments that are sold rather than bought are often inferior and loaded with fees.  Marketing (even for good funds) is filled with cherry-picked data, but that’s the job of the marketing folks – make the product look good.  However, sometimes a pitch comes across my desk that goes beyond marketing and makes me wonder whether the money manager is dishonest or just incompetent.  Either way, they get filed under ‘Can’t Trust’em’. The latest entry into my ‘Can’t Trust’em’ file is a manager that absolutely crushed the S&P 500 over the last 10 years.  They lost a ton less than the index during the crisis and were up over 60% in 2009.  Returns for other years were pretty middling, but they shined when it counted the most, right?  I looked around on their website a bit and found a document called ‘BACKTEST’. …

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No Picture

Rising Rate Pitch

Rising interest rates have been a market bogeyman for almost a decade.  During that time we’ve gotten pitched all sorts of products that claimed to protect against this.  They never seemed to do well, mostly because rates never went up!  A couple of years ago that changed.  The Federal Reserve has finally moved toward rate normalization and we’re getting the rising rate pitch all over again. Rates are still very low Interest rates here in the United States are still very low.  Raising interest rates can be a bad thing, but I’m in favor of a modest campaign of slow rate hikes to get back to more normal levels.  That is what the Federal Reserve has been doing recently.  I like that the movements have been telegraphed well in advance and that the Fed is reducing its balance sheet.  When the next recession hits, the United States will be better…

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Random Task

The Thing to Keep in Mind About Knife Fights

Years ago, I had the opportunity to attend some self-defense workshops put on by military and law enforcement.  One class that changed my outlook on life was a knife course.  We were going to learn how law enforcement treats knives and how to work with a knife ourselves.  “The thing to keep in mind about knife fights is that YOU ARE GOING TO GET CUT.”  Wait, what?  This guy was supposed to show us how not to get hurt!  It turns out that it is just incredibly difficult to wrestle around with someone that has a knife and avoid the blade.  You can train all the disarming techniques you want, but in real life blood is drawn almost 100% of the time.  I’ve found that this is a useful way to view conflict in general.  In any conflict, expect pushback whether it’s in sports, telling your 8 year old to…

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