The Undiscovered Country

By |2018-09-27T06:45:58-04:00September 27th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Do you remember your last adventure? Photo: Stocksnap. Source: Pixabay I grew up in house that bordered a small wood. It was a great place to ramble and explore, to see a family of racoons or hear a pheasant crow in the morning or find fox tracks. We never knew what we’d uncover next. It gave me a spirit of exploration and adventure that’s still valuable, whether I’m listening to one of my kids’ favorite hip-hop songs or trying to understand CRISPR technology and [...]

Investing by Ear

By |2018-09-27T09:35:05-04:00September 26th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Remember music lessons? Photo: Musikrat. Source: Pixabay I played the French Horn growing up. I started playing in the 4th grade, taking lessons from our band-director and an instructor, Mr. Klinger, who used to come to our home. My parents put up with the blats and brays and never complained – at least to me – although I’m pretty sure they knew musical entertainment was never going to be a reason for me to give up my day job. So why did they do [...]

Out on a Limb

By |2018-09-25T07:22:18-04:00September 25th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Has your cat ever been stuck up in a tree? Photo: Kessa. Source: Pixabay It’s a hassle. The cat goes up and up, lured by birds or squirrels or some other incentive. Their retractable claws and powerful hind legs are great for climbing. Getting down, not so much. The problem comes once they’re in the higher branches. Birds and squirrels are nimble and can flit from twig to twig, while a cat never looks so awkward as when it’s swaying on a branch that’s [...]

Investing Cats and Dogs

By |2018-09-24T13:06:35-04:00September 24th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Are you a cat investor or a dog investor? Photo: Anna Langova. Source: PublicDomainPictures We have both a cat and a dog at home, from a shelter and rescue service, respectively. They have very different philosophies of life. Our cat is playful and mischievous. When I get up, she rises to greet me as I come out of the bedroom, follows me to the coffee-maker, then sits on a chair next to me as I write. Whenever I need to take a break, I [...]

Brexit is Coming

By |2018-09-21T06:01:37-04:00September 21st, 2018|Global Market Update|

“Okay, so we’re doing this.” Illustration: Furfur. Source: Wikimedia.CC-BY-4.0 That’s the last comment someone says just before a dual in the hit Broadway show, “Hamilton.” A fateful action is about to take place, and key players will be hurt. The same can be said about Brexit. Over two years ago a majority of British voters chose to leave the European Union, and a few months later the UK government invoked Article 50 of the EU Treaty. At midnight on March 29, 2019 – just [...]

Thermal Runaway

By |2018-09-20T06:00:14-04:00September 20th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Contain, control, suppress, manage. Photo: Ben Thai. Source: Maxpixel That’s how fire professionals look at managing a blaze, whether it’s a building fire or a laptop on an airplane. The first priority is to make sure the fire doesn’t spread to other vulnerable places – places that could contribute more material and would increase the danger. Fires are especially dangerous in airplanes, where people are packed closely together, and the heat and fumes can quickly be overwhelming. We all use more and more portable [...]

Simple Money

By |2018-09-19T05:31:54-04:00September 19th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Is our financial system too complex? Photo: Ben Thai. Source: Pixabay In banking, there are four or five ways to measure capital and over a dozen ways to classify assets. In insurance there’s a complex web of reserve calculations and investment silos. And everyone in finance is subject to an alphabet soup of regulators: the SEC, FDIC, OCC, FINRA, FinCen, CFPB, NAIC, NFA, CFTC, and the list goes on. Will we improve our financial system by adding another layer of calculation and regulation? Having [...]

The Wisdom of Diversification

By |2018-09-18T06:00:15-04:00September 18th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Diversification works. Public Domain. Source: Wikimedia That’s the secret to the success of many major consumer products. Coca-Cola was created when someone accidentally added carbonation to medicinal syrup. Play-Doh was supposed to be a wallpaper cleaner. Toothpaste started as a homemade powder made from salt and burnt bread, but then someone noticed Parisian artists squeezing their pigments out of lead tubes, and so they put the toothpaste into the tube. In his famous commencement address at Stanford, Steve Jobs tells how the idea for [...]

Flowing with Florence

By |2018-09-13T08:01:16-04:00September 13th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Are we ready? Public Domain. Source: Pxhere Florence is bearing down. And folks are worried about the flooding and other damage that will come from the rain and storm surge. In the ‘80s, the average annual cost of natural disasters worldwide was $50 billion per year. Last year, Harvey alone cost over $30 billion. There’s no question that the cost of natural disasters is going up around the world. In the US alone, where we have good insurance data, the losses to our homes [...]

Balancing the Books

By |2018-09-12T06:07:26-04:00September 12th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Is inflation headed higher? Public Domain. Source: Pxhere One of the most challenging financial pressures on all of us is inflation. It’s hard enough to balance our household budgets without prices going up all the time. When I was growing up in the ‘70s, our family was roiled by rising prices for groceries, clothing, and just about everything else. It was hard for businesses to plan, too, as managers couldn’t tell if what they could charge for their goods could keep up with the [...]