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Burton Malkiel on the world today

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

One of the perks of our job is we get invited to great conferences. Jessica was able to attend a special conference Vanguard held for independent financial advisors like ourselves. The keynote speaker was Burt Malkiel (author of “A Random Walk Down Wall Street” and someone who has gotten the big picture right consistently over […]

Dinner with Axel Merk

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

I attended a dinner last night sponsored by the Financial Planning Forum, a Palo Alto based group of attorneys, accountants and people like us. The speaker was Axel Merk, an economist and founder of Merk Investments. Merk has two public mutual funds – one of which focuses on “hard” currencies and the other offers access […]

Australia, on the cheap

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Australia, until recently, had very high interest rates. Japan had very low interest rates. Recipe for easy money:  borrow money in Japanese Yen, convert it into Australian Dollars and then invest it in Australia. This was called the “carry trade”. This was done by all self-respecting hedge funds who wanted to make a quick buck. […]

Foreclosure: What it looks like

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Foreclosure on a mass scale is really stupid. Some obvious questions: Can’t we figure out some way to transition buyers back to being renters that saves the cost of foreclosure to the banks and the pain to the homeowner? Can’t the cities, state governments and non-profits work with the banks to keep perfectly good furniture […]

Worse Before Better – An Update

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Our financial markets update to clients (September 17, 2008): The usual caveats apply. Everyone’s financial situation differs. Consult your own advisor or do your own research. We have been wrong before. [Formatting problems at the bottom are known issue. Webmaster on the case.] ———————————————————————— Lehman is toast, Merrill’s in a shotgun wedding and AIG is […]

Worse Before Better

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Our financial markets update to clients (September 10, 2008): The usual caveats apply. Everyone’s financial situation differs. Consult your own advisor or do your own research. We have been wrong before. ———————————————————————— Shocking VP picks, Russian invasions and now a government takeover of Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FHLMC)… the news just won’t stop […]

US Budget Deficit: How bad is it?

Monday, July 28th, 2008

It’s bad, really bad. The worst part is that we don’t even know how bad it is. The 2009 unified budget deficit is estimated now at $490 billion. Some of that number is expected and fine – during a recession taxes fall and certain expenses like unemployment benefits rise. It’s still a really big number […]

Economic Update

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

We recently sent this out to clients : Alexis and Palmer Financial Market Update January 2008 (PDF). For further reading: An explanation of why it is a problem if the bond insurers blow up Barron’s article by Vitaliy Katsenelson that explains why we should value stocks assuming profit margins are lower in future New York […]

Tax rebate plan: Good idea?

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

It looks like Congress will give the green light to mailing out rebate checks to most Americans this summer in an attempt to avoid a pre-election recession. The idea is for everyone to go do their patriotic duty and shop, shop, shop. The more we buy, the more we stuff we need to make. There […]

Housing inventory graph

Friday, December 28th, 2007

The demand for homes is fairly fixed. It is simply the number of households which is based on demographics. In the US, the number of households slowly increases because of immigration and more people getting married and having kids than people dying and not needing a house any more. That is why the statistics about […]

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