Simple Money

By |2018-09-19T05:31:54+00:00September 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+00:00September 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+00:00September 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+00:00September 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 [...]

Healthy, Wealthy, Wise

By |2018-09-11T22:39:31+00:00September 11th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What are you doing to stay healthy? Photo: JD Maidens. Source: US Air Force Our bodies and our finances are linked, and not just because of how much we spend on prescriptions. Health is integral to our lives, the same way money is. And studying finance is similar to studying medicine: there are technical issues that require specialized training, but most of the principles are pretty basic. Stay active, eat well, and get enough rest. Financially, spend less than we earn, have clear goals, [...]

Turing In

By |2018-09-11T05:59:43+00:00September 11th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What is a Turing Test? Photo: Mike MacKenzie. Source: Flikr. CC-BY-2.0 A Turing Test is a way for people to examine how intelligent a machine seems to be. It evaluates the question, “Can machines think?” by redefining thinking. Instead, Turing asked if a computer could converse so naturally that speaking with the machine would be indistinguishable from conversing with a human. The classic Turing Test has an evaluator holding a typewritten conversation with two unseen partners, one a person and the other a computer [...]

Of Nations and Nationalism

By |2018-09-07T06:40:51+00:00September 7th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Can Europe hold itself together? Recent YouGov Poll. Source: YouGov. In 1848, revolution swept across Europe. Governments fell in Italy, France, Germany, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, and elsewhere. In all, over 50 countries were affected. The uprisings were led by shaky ad hoc coalitions of reformers, intellectuals, and workers, which weren’t competent at governing They were often violently put down, but the 1848 revolutions frightened the ruling class into making significant social changes, even if they were only temporarily overturned. This history was all-but-forgotten during [...]

Reflections on Tolstoy

By |2018-09-06T11:30:11+00:00September 6th, 2018|Global Market Update|

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Source: Pixabay. That’s how Leo Tolstoy begins his epic novel “Anna Karenina.” The line has been quoted over and over again, in movies and articles and other books. It even has its own Wikipedia entry: the Anna Karenina Principle. The idea is that to be happy, a family must be successful in a broad range of arenas: romantic attraction, child raising, religious conviction, money issues, extended family relationships, and so [...]

On the Job / Off the Job

By |2018-09-05T06:07:15+00:00September 5th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What is the “gig economy”? Photo: Peter Griffin. Source: A “gig” is the world sometimes used for temporary contract for a musician or other performer. I once heard a short-term Music Studies professor complain that he’d never find another gig as good as the one he had in Hanover. The gig economy refers to our economy today where more and more people are independent contractors – about 10% of the workforce. Apps like Uber and Airbnb make it even easier to work for [...]

Crazy Rich Asians

By |2018-09-04T08:21:12+00:00September 4th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Is Asia the future for wealth management? Photo: Erwin Soo. Source: Wikimedia One of the most popular movies this summer has been “Crazy Rich Asians,” a charming romantic comedy set in the city-state of Singapore with echoes of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” Asia has certainly seen dramatic growth in its wealth management business, with over China having over 1.2 million individuals who have more than $1 million in investments. For comparison, the US has about 5.3 million individuals who are millionaires. Singapore, the [...]