cheekos

I recently retired after 39 years in Financial Services. Along the way, I believe that I learned a lot, not only about Economics and Financial Markets; but, about a number of other topics. In today's World, everything is connected--Foreign Affairs, Politics, Medicine, Education, Technology, etc. Also, with today's ever-changing World, it is important for everyone to keep up with what is going on--both at home and abroad. We have to be very curious.

Homepage: https://thetruthoncommonsense.wordpress.com

TODAY, BITCOINS SEEM TO BE ALL THE RAGE TO SOME “INVESTORS” WHO THINK THAT THEY ARE ON TO SOMETHING NEW. INSTEAD, PERHAPS THEY ARE REALLY ON TO SOMETHING OLD…VERY, VERY OLD!

Tulips were first introduced to the Dutch, when they were brought from Turkey in 1593.  The varied colors and heartiness truly appealed to the people as they became somewhat ubiquitous throughout the land.

During the 1630s, Dutch citizens, even those who did not normally invest, began trading Tulip Bulbs.  It was difficult to price the bulbs, however, as there was no exchange from which to price them.  Accordingly, the price was set at whatever the buyer was willing to pay.  That meant, however, that the market “value” moved in one direction only…UP, and the value only changed when the next bulbs were sold.

What is Money anyway? According to the traditional definitions of money, there are three:  1. A store of value;  2. A means of exchange; or  3. A standard of value.

Tulip bulbs fail on all three definitions:

1. Although tulips are supposedly perennials, most of the flower
lovers just assumed them to be annuals, and planted new ones each year.
2. I doubt that tulip bulbs were used for anything other than trading.  It would be difficult to expect a general store or local hunter to accept tulip bulbs in exchange for supplies or game for the dinner table.
3. How can anything become a standard of value if it is unvalued until it is traded, and then, only to the people involved in that particular trade.

So, how does the Dutch Tulip Bulb Bubble of the 1630s—call it what it was—differ from the Bitcoin Craze of today?  Not a bit, at all! Now, let’s consider, once again, the three traditional definitions of money:
1.   At what value do you regard an “asset” that hit a new all-time value of $14,000 one day last week, $16,000 the next, and $18,000 the following? But, what if some sellers decided to withdraw their money a few days later, and the price dropped to $11,000?  Then, what’s the market value?
2.   There have been a few Bitcoin traders who have accepted them as a means of paying rent; however, that has been very, very limited.  Mall retail stores, restaurants, your CPA, hair dresser, etc. an airplane vacation trip to London?  Better bring cash!
3.   Lastly, if the market value is ambiguous, there is no possible way to considering it as a lasting standard value.  Also, bubbles can be quite volatile; but, especially on the downside if many traders all wish to sell at the same time, and that can attract even more investors not to be left behind–as the market value plummets.

Bitcoins, like the Dutch Tulip Bulbs of four hundred years ago, are a Market Bubble, plain and simple!  Only other traders of the Bitcoins or Tulip Bubbles might wish to argue the point, and only those other participants in the bubble might even wish to join-in the discussion.

As the old saying goes: Caveat emptor!

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HOW DID THE HORRIBLE MISTAKE, WHICH WAS VIETNAM, HAPPEN?

NOTE:  Following France’s devastating loss at Dien Bien Phu, in July 1954, Viet Nam was partitioned at the 17th parallel. When the Geneva Agreements were signed, many Roman Catholics fled south, and elections were supposed to be held within two years, unifying all of Vietnam. South Vietnamese President Bo Diem’ however, never agreed to hold them

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In 2044 B. C., Chinese People began building dikes, roads and engaged in primitive farming in the Red River Valley of Vietnam.  Throughout history, Vietnam embodied much of Chinese culture, including Buddhism.  The country has always ben an agricultural nation.

During the 20th Century, Vietnam was ruled by China for 1,000 years.  Whenever there was a change in Dynasty, however, the Vietnamese fought for their freedom, but China always re-gained its control. And then, the French colonials ran Vietnam for two hundred years.

Unlike the Chinese rule, which was mostly territorial expansion, the French plundered the agricultural resources by making the locals work for them, and treated the Vietnamese People awfully.  The British and the Dutch were equally harsh in how they plundered the natural resources, and treated the locals in other parts of Asia.

During World War II, the American O. S. S. (Office of Strategic Services), which later became the C. I. A., was involved in sorting out the instigators from prisoners in the various Prisoner of War Camps.  Most OSS agents sent dispatches back to Washington, stressing that the Colonials should not return.

Mao Zedung, in China, Ho Chi Minh, in Vietnam, Sukarno, in Indonesia, etc., were all beloved by their citizenry, and they wanted them to lead.  As one Vietnamese man said:  We hated the Japanese; however, we knew that they would leave.  But, if we allowed the French to return, they would never leave.  Those sentiments were how the other Western Colonials behaved, as well.

President Dwight Eisenhower felt compelled to stand with the Western nations, who had been our Allies throughout WWII.  From then on, America was regarded as just another of the various Colonials, who were expecting to return to their plundering ways.

You might recall the “Domino Theory”, which was a key part of the basic rationale as to why America engaged in the Vietnam War, to begin with.  President Eisenhower gave a press conference in early 1954, just about the time that the Viet Minh, fighting for Vietnamese independence, were about to conquer the French at Dien Bien Phu.

“Ike” suggested that the four countries of Indochina—Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam were like dominoes, lined-up in a row.  And, once once fell to Communism, the rest would also fall, in turn.  After the Paris Peace talks for Vietnam, one of the Vietnamese representatives shot that theory down, however, when he pointed-out that Vietnam fought China for a thousand years.  Would we allow them in now?

With the 1954 Partition of Vietnam, most of the Roman Catholic minority fled south, from the North and the Central portions of the country.  This was a major problem for the Saigon government gaining the support of the People, 90% of whom were Bhuddist.  President Diem only admitted Catholics into his government, as well as the upper levels of his military.

To make matters worse, Diem had ordered his military not to fight; because, he said casualties made him “lose face.” Actually, he wanted the full force to be available, at all times, to rush back and defend him, in case of an attempted coup.  The Vietnamese Army preferred to just call in air and artillery strikes; however, they often killed more civilians, than than Viet Cong, the local guerrillas.

When the SeniorAmerican Advisors told the generals in Saigon that the Vietnamese Military refused to fight, regardless of how much they coerced them, they were ignored. And American junior Generals and Colonels, who tried to report what Washington didn’t want to hear, they were sometimes sent back to the Pentagon and forced to retire.

Washington and the American Saigon Command knew what news they wanted to hear: America and its Vietnamese allies would turn the corner:  with another 100,000 of our combat troops or another $10 billion would help; perhaps an additional six months; etc. And the Diem government was only too happy to tell it.  When I was there, in 1967 and ’68, there were more than 500,000 American GIs in the country.

Around that time, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, specially Air Force Chief of Staff Curtis LaMay, kept recommending that we bomb the North back to the Stone Age by targeting railroads; bridges; industrial plants, etc.  Common sense, however, would have suggested that agricultural nations would have very little industrial infrastructure to bomb.  The industrious North Vietnamese People had a solution for the bombs that were raining down on them—make bomb shelters out of the craters.

Perhaps the best example of what America failing to understand Vietnam was the ”Protective Hamlets” strategy.  Whole villages were destroyed, and the farmers were re-located to small hamlets, generally miles away rom their land.  The peasants were let out in the morning so they could work their farms, and return to the hamlets in the evening.  There were two major problems, however, with that solution.

Some of the farms were so far from their land, that the farmers had to walk as far as ten miles, each way, carrying their tools to and from work.  Also, a major part of Buddhism is ancestor worship; but, with the burial mounds are back at the farm, the ancestors are left behind each day.  That’s why we were not “Winning the Hearts and Minds” of the majority Buddhists, and this idea, in effect, was sending them over fight for the Viet Cong.

Additionally, as with most non-industrial countries, the government of South Vietnam was rife with corruption. America financed the Saigon Government; but, Diem and his key associates made sure to send sizable portions those funds to their offshore bank accounts.

We were in Vietnam under false pretenses, and the troops seemed to have been kept their for political reasons.  Previously, the VC or the North Vietnamese always attacked in small hit-and-run ambushes.  Over Tet, the Lunar New Year holiday, of late January 1968, Secretary of Defense Robert Mc Namara was convinced that the attacks would be limited to the  Khe Sanh Marine base and the large city of Da Nang, both of which were in the north of South Vietnam.  As it turned out, the local VC and the North Vietnamese Army attacked the South at many locations, and with sizable force. From that day forward, the war in Vietnam was recognized as being not winnable.

Newly-elected President Richard Nixon, however, decided to keep the war going until January 1973, in case he needed the extra push. How many innocent soldiers, marines, airmen or sailors were killed during those additional five years—just in case Nixon needed the extra political push.

NOTE:   It truly breaks my heart when I think of the more than 58,000 (mostly) young Americans who died in that senseless war, which we had no reason to be in, in the first place.  I have a few friends that I know were killed; but, how many did I know in Naval ROTC that died; boot camp, language school at Monterrey, CA and Infantry OCS, where some young Lieutenants lead from the front, but left their minds behind. But, the total of 58,000+ killed in a senseless war, even 50 years later is still just too difficult to fathom.

If you are in Washington, near the Mall, visit the Vietnam Memorial, either at sun-up or at dusk.  I believe that you will find it a very emotional experience.  Perhaps it is the only war memorial that can be truly viewed as an anti-war memorial. Also, the names of those killed, which are listed on it, have grown over time.

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KEN BURNS LINK:   The following link, about the showing of select clips a The Kennedy Center from Ken Burns’ series, followed by a panel discussion–with a number of present and former Congressional and Administration members–from The Washington Post, is a great introduction to the topic of Vietnam:

 The Daily 202: McCain and Kerry outline lessons from Vietnam after watching new Ken Burns documentary
  September 13

With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve

THE BIG IDEA: Hundreds of Washington insiders gathered last night in the Kennedy Center Opera House for an advance screening of Ken Burns’s new documentary on Vietnam.

Before he showed half a dozen choice clips from his 10-part, 18-hour film, which premieres Sunday, the director asked everyone who served in the military during the war to stand so they could be recognized.

John McCain and John Kerry were among those who rose, along with other famous veterans like Bob Kerrey and Mike Mullen.

Burns then asked anyone who protested Vietnam to also stand. Dozens did.

“I couldn’t tell the difference,” the director said, referring to the two groups.

The veterans, including McCain, joined the audience in applauding the antiwar demonstrators.

That moment set a tone of reconciliation and harmony for a discussion about one of the darkest and most divisive chapters in American history.

— Forty-two years after the fall of Saigon, McCain believes “it is the right time to take notes.” “There has to be a period of time after a conflict where the passion cools,” he said during a panel that followed the screening. “Maybe we can look back at the Vietnam conflict and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes that we did before.”

“Their leaders didn’t lead, whether they were military or civilian,” said the Arizona Republican, who spent 5½ years as a prisoner of war after getting shot down on a bombing mission over Hanoi in 1967. “By telling the American people one thing, which was not true, about the progress in the war and the body counts, it caused a wave of pessimism to go across this country, which bolstered the antiwar movement. We can learn lessons today because the world is in such turmoil: Tell the American people the truth!

McCain said he visits the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as often as he can to take in the names of the more than 58,000 Americans who died. “Depends on the weather,” he said. “Sometimes once a week. Sometimes once every couple of weeks. I try to go very early in the morning or when it’s near sunset. … It’s really an incredibly emotional experience. … These young men died because of inadequate or corrupt leadership.”

As chairman of the Armed Services Committee, McCain is managing the defense reauthorization bill on the Senate floor this week. Whenever troops go into combat, he explained, it is essential that the country decides “what victory means” and, then, “do not forget it!”

“We need to be able to have leaders who will lead and who will be able to give (the troops) a path to victory so that we will not sacrifice them ever again in a lost cause,” McCain said.

Kerry, who captained a swift boat in Vietnam before returning home to protest the war, echoed similar themes and alluded to the Trump administration’s credibility gap.

“Vietnam has always stood out to me a stunning failure of leadership,” said the former secretary of state. “We were operating without facts back then. In today’s world, it’s (also) really hard to figure out what the facts are. And people won’t honor facts. You know what they are, but you have your ‘alternative facts.’”

The 73-year-old spoke of feeling betrayed by “the best and the brightest” who he had looked up to in the American government. He singled out Robert McNamara, who was secretary of defense under John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.

“I thought I had felt all the anger I could feel about the war, but I hadn’t until I read ‘A Bright Shining Lie’ by Neil Sheehan,” Kerry said, referring to the classic book that came out in 1988. “All the way up the chain of command, people were just putting in gobbledygook information, and lives were being lost based on those lies and those distortions.”

Martha Raddatz of ABC News, who moderated the discussion, asked Kerry how society can learn “the right lessons” from Vietnam. “A lot of people don’t,” he replied. “It’s that simple.”

The five-term Massachusetts senator said that war should always be “a choice of last resort” after diplomatic options have been exhausted. He spoke of the need to have an endgame before going in. “So many missed opportunities,” Kerry said, shaking his head. “I hope never again will any generation have to face a moment like we did.”

Kerry explained that his combat experience as a young man has been “tricky” at times, and that he tried to not let it overly color his approach to the world during his tenure at Foggy Bottom. “I wanted to make sure I wasn’t a captive of Vietnam,” he said. “Not everything is Vietnam!”

— By sparking new conversations, Burns and his co-director, Lynn Novick, hope to heal old wounds. Famous for his in-depth explorations of the Civil War and World War II, the director highlighted additional parallels between Vietnam and the present moment: “Mass demonstrations taking place all across the country against the administration … A president certain the news media is lying … Asymmetrical warfare that taxes the might of the United States military … A country divided in half … Huge document drops of stolen, classified material into the public sphere … Accusations that a political campaign reached out to a foreign power during a national election to affect the outcome.”

“So much of the division that we experience today, the hyper-partisanship that besets us, we think the seeds of that were sown in Vietnam,” Burns said.

— Kerry recounted his work with McCain in the 1990s to normalize relations with Vietnam, which grew out a conversation they had during an all-night flight on a CODEL to the Middle East. “We decided consciously to work on this because we felt very, very deeply that the country was still at war with itself, and that we needed to move forward in the relationship with Vietnam in order to be able to move forward with the relationship here at home,” Kerry said. “We wanted to be able to talk about Vietnam as a country, not as a war.”

As the 2004 Democratic nominee for president spoke, the 2008 Republican nominee interjected to say that Bill Clinton deserves credit for backing them up at a time (before he got reelected) when it was not politically easy.

— Former defense secretary Chuck Hagel, who enlisted to fight in Vietnam and received two Purple Hearts as an infantryman, praised the documentary for humanizing the war. “We too often don’t humanize the mechanics of war,” the former Nebraska Republican senator lamented. “We say, ‘Well, we’re going to send six or seven divisions or three battalions or squadrons of planes.’ But what does that mean to the men and women who are fighting and dying? … As secretary of defense, I saw that from many years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The same was true for Vietnam.”

NOTE:  Two books, which I have on my Recommended Public Affairs Tab, which are arguably the two best on Vietnam, are as follows:

The Brightest and the Best, by David Halbersham.

Perhaps the most widely acclaimed book on Vietnam, I believe, along with Bright and Shining Lie, by Neil Sheehan, tell two sides of what until then, was our longest war.  The two books, however, relate it from different perspectives.  While Sheehan recounts the war mostly as related to him by subordinate officers in Vietnam, Halberstram portrays it mostly from the political perspective, back on Washington.  

Both reported that America was losing the war, and the generals only wanted to receive good news from the field.  Many lies and omissions were also bandied about in Washington, as President Lyndon B. Johnson placed more emphasis on his Great Society, and running for President in his own right.  Read both, if you can!

A Bright Shining Lie, by Neil Sheehan.
This is the most exquisite, well-written and comprehensive (790 pages) book that I have read about Vietnam, or any war! It won the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction in 1989.

Sheehan made numerous trips to South Vietnam, oftentimes going out with combat troops on missions; because that is where wars or fought! Our War was mismanaged at the highest civilian and military levels; because, no one understood the culture, nor was flexible enough to consider more relevant ideas and strategies. Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon used the War for their own political purposes.

Additionally, America didn’t understand the Saigon Elite, and the string of unpopular puppet governments that we helped establish. Each of those South Vietnamese governments had two primary concerns: use the Army to prevent an overthrow; and manage both the civilian and military bureaucracy for their own corrupt enrichment.

 

 

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JOE BIDEN’S BOOK, “PROMISE ME, DAD” IS A TREMENDOUS READ, ESPECIALLY FOR ANYONE GOING THROUGH SERIOUS HEALTH ISSUES THEMSELVES.

As many people know, former Vice President Joe Biden lost his first wife and infant daughter in a traffic auto accident, many years ago, while out Christmas shopping.  Their two young sons, Beau and Hunter, ages four snd three survived, but after many weeks in the hospital.  Over time, as the two boys became successful, grown men, they were Joe’s closest personal advisors.

Promise Me Dad, a quote from Beau, that after he is gone, Joe would run for President, if at all possible.  Biden, in fact, formed a uniquely personal relationship with President Barack Obama,  Even more importantly, that Joe Biden promised Beau that he would be OK.  Some might see this book about a Vice President; but, it is really a story of a Great American Family!

The thoughts in this book were interspersed as Biden fulfilled his duties as Vice President; however, there were many remembrances, both of Joe’s first tragedy, and having to raise two young boys as a single Congressman; and then, what the growing family went through in trying to save Beau’s life.  And throughout it all, the doctors were heroic in doing all they could.  Joe Biden supported civil rights, defended the Police, and exhibited respect and empathy to all.

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BIG MAY BE BEAUTIFUL, DONALD; BUT NOT IN WARFARE!

As usual, Donald Trump just barges in and disregards the the advice of his Joint Chiefs of staff, and the generals in his Cabinet, regarding any build-up of the Military.  For instance, the recently-commissioned USS Titan of the Seas carrier cost $11.4 billion.  Also on the drawing board is another carrier, the JFK. One can only assume, however, that the Kennedy, scheduled to be commissioned in the another five or six years, will have a somewhat larger price tag.

When a carrier sails out of port, it also requires a support fleet of cruisers, destroyers, submarines, re-supply ships and tankers for re-fueling. Earlier this year, the newest destroyer, the USS Zumwalt was commissioned.  It had a price tag of $4.6 billion; however, the ship’s compliment required only 143 sailors to man it, or just less than half the size crew of the previous most-recently commissioned, and much smaller, destroyer.

Given theses numbers, it is difficult to fathom what the total expense of just one carrier is, when the protective and support cast is included.                

The range of the jets, which take-off from a carrier is only a few hundred miles, and then they must return to the carrier, half way through their fright before they run out of fuel.  Both China and Russia, on the other hand, each have land-based missiles—with a range of over 1,000 miles—that can shoot-down any jets or missiles.

So the question is: are there any rational reasons to invest such vast sums on one carrier group, when they may serve little purpose? Over the past decades, the Navy has been reducing the “silhouette”, or target size of such large ships.  In fact, a guided missile in most cases, fired from a smaller ship, especially a submerged submarine, can serve the same purpose, more effectively, at a considerably lower cost and with little risk.

In fact, ground troops can also benefit from also when they are deployed in smaller, more disciplined groups, and with well-defined missions. Massive armies with super firepower just tend to get in the way, and are not necessarily a match for primitive combatants, who can easily blend in with the local populace.

Lastly, as I have mentioned previously, the unnecessary troops have been known to get into trouble, and even commit deadly atrocities.  The best thing that could happen, even before engaging in what might be deemed an unnecessary war is to question, terribly, terribly hard, why we should enter it.

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MANY RETAIL SECURITIES BROKERS MIGHT BE AUTOMATING THEMSELVES OUT OF THEIR CURRENT JOBS!

About ten years ago, Wall Street laid-off 100,000 highly compensated securities professionals; because, their jobs were being performed by computer-based algorithm-reading machines.  (An algorithm is just a complex set of mathematical rules and formulas.) Eventually, many local retail brokers might very well suffer the same fate, especially as brokers voluntarily send accounts to be similarly managed by computers.

When I retired as a financial advisor six years ago, there were three basic types of brokerage accounts.  The securities firms, however, were encouraging their brokers to use mostly one type, rather than the other two.

Our Regional Manager suggested that the brokers could work more efficiently—and earn greater commissions—by just packaging the paperwork, and shipping the accounts off to the home office.  The various investment portfolios would supposedly be managed by a team of analysts at that point.

Personally, I wonder if that “team” really meant the same type of algorithm-reading machines.  Perhaps, I could be wrong; however, why couldn’t a similar computer program be managing retail client portfolios, just as it has been managing institutional accounts on Wall Street?  With such accounts, the clients have no no one-to-one contact with any person who is involved with the management of their accounts.

Also, the securities brokers have no chance to add personal value to the situation, which is an important quality for individuals to establish in order for them to prevent the automation of their jobs.  The firms suggest that the brokers can generate greater commissions; because, they spend less time on each account, as they pass them up-the line. But, there is little chance to add anything to the relationships as the brokers act somewhat like a worker on an assembly line.

The old traditional commission-based accounts have long since fallen by the wayside as they are felt to offer few chances to generate commissions.  Additionally, once the accounts are initially invested, many lie unchanged for years to come–earning nothing for the brokers.

The third type of account is a fee-based one, like the first; however, with these, the broker manages the various portfolios in consultation with the clients.  Sure, they consumed more time, and reduce potential revenues; however, these accounts enabled brokers to work with their clients and their portfolios.  Additionally, why would a securities professional want to get involved in the securities markets if it were not to spend their time helping clients understand and invest in those very same markets?

In essence, brokers who just send the accounts to the “home office” become a paper-pushers, and they remove themselves from the real business at hand?  And at some point, the firms will begin to reduce commissions, and eliminate some brokers, since fewer can push more paper than before.

I’ll take dealing with clients and stocks, bonds and mutual funds, any old day.  Lastly, my value-added will protect me somewhat from such computer-generated automation!

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WHY I ANCHORED OUR INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO WITH JUST ONE GLOBAL FUND!

When I began this blog, in February of 2012, I had expected it to focus mostly on financial topics, following my 39 year career in the securities markets.  For a secondary theme; however, some of life’s journeys—describing my retirement, the need for young new parents to have a will and life insurance so they could choose suitable custodians for the infant, in the event they cannot, etc.—should also be included.

I have personally encountered some health issues recently, which is why I have only written a few posts over the past several months; but, this one is really one for my family who might ask “Why not an American bond fund?” Michael Haasenstab, of Franklin Templeton, is a Fixed Income Manager whom I had been placing clients with his several mutual funds, when I was working, for two different reasons.

Now, why am I describing the great qualities of who I believe is the absolute BEST?  Eight months before I retired, I invested 25% of our total portfolio in the Templeton Global Reserve Fund, one of several he manages.  During that six years, however, it now represents 23%.  That’s not bad in the current low interest rate environment, specially when stocks are charging ahead!

Dr. Haasenstan can trade any bonds, and had even owned U. S. Tax-free municipals when that market had been nearly frozen shut-in 2008.  That lack of restrictions allows him to invest in any country, and in any type of bond that he chooses.  Currently, he believes that U. S. Bond rates will rise, which would cause market values to drop proportionately.  I certainly agree, especial with the Republican Pray in charge of both Congress and the White House.  Bond prices and yields, incidentally, usually move in opposite directions.

Lately, he wishes to buy an attractive bond, but he doesn’t like the underlying currency, such as the Euro, Haasenstab can buy the bond, but “short” the currency. (Shorting a currency simply means borrowing something you doubt the value (or merit) of, and which you intend to sell later, when you wish.)

I am an aggressive investor, had remained fully invested during The Great Recession, and we came out in quite good shape.  In a recent post, I described how I came to realize that most securities firms were too focused on keeping client portfolios quite close to the current industrial breakdown of the Standard and Poor’s. In essence, maintaining the status quo.

So, I broke away, focusing more on Technology, and increasing the weighting in Health Care slightly.  Since early in the year, this strategy has worked really, really well.  Obviously, no one knows what the future holds. Those two related posts are linked, as follows: Part One and Part Two.

As I mentioned at the beginning, this post is mostly intended to explain to my family why I have used just one bond fund—a global one—to anchor our joint portfolio. Initially, it accounted for 25% of the portfolio and, frankly, I never worried about it’s performance, as long as I didn’t invest it in stocks. During that six years, however, it now represents 23%. That’s not bad in the current low interest rate environment, specially when stocks are charging ahead!

I do have a couple more posts in mind; however, I am currently preparing an investment plan—a few Tech stocks, ETFs and the one bond fund for when my wife and daughter will have when they have to take over the management of our investment portfolio.  Obviously, I surely will never know if they did, in fact, follow the plan or, perhaps, contact the financial advisor that my brother uses.  As I wrote earlier, this is just another one of life’s adventures.

NOTE:  Two topics that I hope to write posts about when, and if, possible are:

!. How many financial advisors are automating themselves out of their current jobs.
2. The horrible MISTAKE that was Vietnam actually began over a millennia ago.

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LAST WEEK WAS A REALLY DOWN ONE FOR THE STOCK MARKET, ESPECIALLY TECHNOLOGY. TIME TO SELL? PANIC? NO WAY!

The market doesn’t ever go straight up, nor does it go straight down!  Besides, investing should always be considered a long-term vehicle for building you resources to fund education, the new house, retirement, etc.  And certainly, it should not be engaged in for a mere one-to-three years.

The current upward climb in stocks is just a continuation of the sustained economic rally that started during President Obama’s Firm Term.  If the numbers look bigger, keep in mind that, let’s say, a one percent rally, or decline, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average at today’s 23,000, will be significantly more than the Dow declining toward 6,500, which George W. Bush let for Barack Obama.

Lately however, many investors’ euphoria has been based on the assumption that the GOP Tax Scam would jumpstart the market run-up even more.  That sort of thinking should have been quickly dismissed by anyone who looked back at the Republican Party’s recent inability to “Repeal and Replace” Obamacare.  In essence, after ten months, the Trump Regime has produced no meaningful legislation: just photo-ops!

When you see a market decline, there are several key points to consider:  Does it effect the overall stock market?  Just one industrial sector (health care, financials, tech, etc.)?  Or, is it limited to just a few stocks?  And then, try to find out what happened, and does it look temporary, or might the problem(s) be permanent in nature?

Those who jump, either to buy or to sell, without knowing what is going on, and why, often find themselves regretting their quick trigger soon afterward.  And many astute investors often find value when particular stocks or sectors have become oversold!

Over the past decade, several economists have won Nobel Prizes for their research, proving that the markets are irrational.  Before you consider making any changes in your investment portfolio, just think: are acting rationally—or irrationally?

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