2020

The SPAC Fad

SPACs are having (another) moment.  SPAC stands for Special Purpose Acquisition Company.  Often referred to as “blank-check” companies, a SPAC is initially just a management team.  The team raises funds via IPO.  Investors bet that the team will buy a private business and make it more valuable.  Usually, the team specializes in a particular area.  The last time SPACs were popular, management teams with experience in the energy sector were buying shale assets.  Today, SPAC activity covers a wider range of ground.  From gambling (Draft Kings) to space travel (Virgin Galactic), money is being raised to sidestep the traditional IPO in favor of SPACs. Not All Good Electric truck maker Nikola was an early darling of the SPAC movement.  Nikola was supposed to be the Tesla (get it?) of the truck world.  Truck orders poured in from Anheuser-Busch.  Large investment firms across the world scrambled to buy in.  General Motors…


How it Started – How it’s Going

Thank you for supporting our Northeast Ohio Walk for PKD!  The picture accompanying this post shows William’s setup in the NICU shortly after he was born.  On the right is today’s typical set up: bus stop, kid brother tagging along, and you can practically hear him sighing as Mom takes ANOTHER picture.  It’s been a goofy year, but we are happy to report that the Northeast Ohio Walk for PKD raised over $4,000 for PKD research.  Team William raised over $3,000 of that!  Wow!  Thank you! The best part of the Walk for PKD is knowing that the money goes to researching polycycstic kidney disease.  Our journey with PKD has not been a picnic, but we were very fortunate that so much research had already begun.  My hope is that PKD becomes more manageable every year for families like ours until there is finally a cure.  The PKD foundation already…


Walk for PKD

It’s Fall in Cleveland.  By now we’ve usually got two sports teams to be disappointed in and we turn our eyes to college football.  This year, however, the Browns are the bright spot while the Indians and Buckeyes are testing our patience.  The other fixture for Clevelanders in fall is the Northeast Ohio Walk for PKD!  I post about it every year.  This year is different in that it will be a virtual walk, but we are hoping that doesn’t mean people are socially distanced from their pocketbooks.  Please check out Team William (we’ve already raised $690!!!) and my personal fundraising page.  I’ll also be tweeting and LinkedIn-ing (?) … uh … posting on social media tidbits about PKD throughout the week so if it feels like I’m louder than usual, I am!  This is an important cause to my family and to me.  Below is our story: William was…


Election Season

Election season can be difficult for investors of all political stripes.  Uncertainty abounds.  It’s easy to tie a piece of one’s identity to a candidate or party.  If they win, we feel like winners.  If they lose, we feel diminished.  As far as investing goes, however, our candidates’ fates have about as much impact on our fortunes as our favorite sports teams. Election Season There is speculation every election season about who’s going to be in control.  The color-coding of red vs blue that was supposed to be temporary has been branded into the country’s psyche, a Terrible Towel for your tribe to twirl.  Proposals that are labeled anti-business are soon adopted and re-packaged as protecting American jobs.  Negotiations between parties begin with the numbers.  One side wants $1 trillion.  The other wants $3 trillion.  Only when the parties come close to agreeing on the amount of spending do they…


Where are the Bees?

“Where are the bees?” I saw this question asked on a local social media group recently.  Several replies expressed the same sentiment.  It seems like the neighborhood has a bee shortage, likely due to the overwhelming collapse of the world’s insect population.  Surely the only insects left standing in a few years will be murder hornets.  Or maybe my neighbors have never noticed their insects until after reading a scary article.  To rebut anecdote with anecdote, I’ve got more bees than usual this year.  Then again, I planted my garden with intention.  The bees are there, you just need to give them what they want.  Coneflowers and bee balm see high traffic.  If you plant the same generic garden as everyone else on the block, don’t be surprised if you don’t get colorful visitors. It’s like the old investment sales quote, “If the ducks are quacking, feed them.”  This is…


Fast Animals

My last post was on April 24th.  It’s safe to say a lot has happened since then.  I’ve been on radio silence here because: I was writing quite a bit for work and needed to rest my brain Writing updates as a market is recovering is met with a great deal more skepticism than telling people to stay calm during down markets I am lazy So what happened?  This:   It’s the fastest bear market ever followed by one of the fastest rebounds.  If you click to make it bigger, you’ll see the S&P 500 dropped 33.79% over 33 days.  It then ran up 31.59% over the following 37 days.  The numbers don’t really sound like much, but that’s years of market moves within the span of about 2 months.  There was a lot of hand-wringing about “is this the bottom” and “how much farther will stocks fall”. You didn’t…


Headlines, Mulch, and Evangelical Misery

  Toilet paper aisles may be sparse, but one thing we’re not lacking is opinions on the pandemic.  Everyone’s got their take and a pet conspiracy theory to go with it. Here’s mine: From a human standpoint, the United States has done a great job mobilizing (or immobilizing in this case) the populace into an emergency response stance.  300 million people united in confirming their pact with the rest of society and backing that bond with (in)action is a feat.  Economically, this thing is a mess.  The Fed’s solution has been to fire the bazookas and let God sort’em out.  That’s not my preferred option, but considering the government is what shuttered the economy (and now we KNOW they can do that – more frightening, the government KNOWS it can do that now, too), the government needs to provide some support.  What’s the future look like health-wise and for the…


9 Ways to Wait Out the Remainder of the Quarantine

Depending on how prepared you were, the early days might have been manic, establishing supply lines and hoarding toilet paper.  As churches and bars (trying to cover all bases here) stopped regular service it sank in that this was something that would last weeks, not days.  Now you’ve reached the end of the internet and you hold a strong opinion on Tiger King.  Here are 9 ways to wait out the remainder of the quarantine.  Some are productive while others are just stress relievers.  Regarding links: I don’t get anything from anyplace I’m linking to and I’m not endorsing anything, but hopefully they are a good place to start if something catches your eye.  In no particular order: Password Manager Now is the perfect time to set up a password manager.  You’re already cruising a ton of websites and logging in to buy groceries and rent Rise of Skywalker.  Stop…


This is Who You Are

Regarding the stock market, “If you don’t know who you are, this is an expensive place to find out.” wrote Adam Smith.  Everyone says they are investing for the long term.  The joke is that “long-term” means only until the next bear market for a lot of people.  Were you a long-term investor on 12/31/2019?  Are you still?  Did you rebalance your portfolio?  Panic sell?  Panic buy?  Just panic, but leave the portfolio untouched?  Or maybe you haven’t looked at the particulars because a three month time period doesn’t mean much to you?  Look at your actions this year.  This is who you are. This is Who I Am After the 4th quarter of 2018 when the market ALMOST dropped 20%, I tweaked my rebalancing approach.  That’s not entirely true.  While I rebalance quarterly if needed, I didn’t have a rebalancing approach for big market drawdowns.  Seat-of-the-pants may have been…


Long-Term

Long-Term There’s an old joke on Wall Street that investors like to say that they invest with a long-term mindset.  It’s just that long-term means only until the next bear market. Stock is a claim on a company’s assets and future earnings.  There are a bunch of different ways to estimate what a stock is worth, but part of the input is going to be an estimate of future earnings.  This sort of thing is fascinating because obviously we don’t know what the company’s future earnings will be.  We can only guess.  Looking at a company like Tesla, it seems that the market has been pricing in strong growth for several years.  A company like Apple might have a less volatile stock price because the earnings are more consistent and easier to model.  If the cost of a component in an iPhone goes up, analysts can adjust their expectations relatively…