Saturday, August 18, 2018

Portfolio “Update”

I sold my NWL.....I just want great, iconic companies in my portfolio, as I am now in a total hold mode, now with stocks, as I see there is too much worldwide debt. So, I won’t be buying more stock until the next big market drop.

My portfolio, from largest to smallest holdings....

PEP (PepsiCo)
PG (Procter & Gamble)
WBA (Walgreen Boots Alliance)
GPC (Genuine Parts Company)
IBM (International Business Machines)
MMM (3M)
VZ (Verizon)
T (AT&T)
ADP (Automatic Data Processing)
GIS (General Mills)
KO (Coca Cola)
KMB (Kimberly Clark)
HAS (Hasbro)
M (Macy’s)
SYY (Sysco)
HPQ (Hewlett-Packard)
K (Kellogg)
GNMA (6% Bonds)



This portfolio represents about 30% of my assets, about 15% is a home mortgage, about 2% precious metals and collectibles, and the rest are CDs.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

My Review of “Necessary Evil”

3 out of 5 stars....

First off, I have a problem with the author David Kinley, calling finance an evil. Sure, as the author describes, human rights are too often the casualty, but, as have been said by many others, the arrow of history points forward. Specifically, world poverty has been minimized coincidental with finance, so, likely because of finance; human beings run finance and are neurologically wired overwhelmingly for justice.

That being said, I agree with the author that more can be done to further human rights, like with better regulation and redistribution, and the book does offer many ways to do this.

Throughout history, the wealthy always have had advantages, however excessive wealth doesn’t always bring happiness. There, the author seems to ignore.

Anyway, I do recommend the book because finance is an important topic, especially since the Great Recession, and income inequality is perhaps the biggest casualty of the recovery.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

My Review of “It’s Better Than It Looks”

4 out of 5 stars....

What first attracted me to this book by Gregg Easterbrook, is the testimonial by Walter Isaacson, since I respect his journalism.

The book is a persuasive look at how, despite the dystopian look at America as presented by the 2016 campaign of the new president, things are actually not just pretty good, but are quite an advancement from the past for most, as the author states the arrow of history always points up. And as with all societal advancements, come disruptions to many who either can’t or won’t adapt to the changes, and government is slow to provide help to those disadvantaged by the progress.

Though the progress might be hard to see by many in the US or Europe, the middle class is shrinking because most leaving are moving up, and since 1990, extreme world poverty has declined from 37% to 10%.. Sure, reform is needed along with the changes, and the author addresses the possible reforms needed while also pointing out how the disadvantaged can currently adapt. The author goes into tackling the following.

Are we starving? No, high yield farming has not only solved that, but the world’s population growth rate peaked around 1960, dropping from about 2.3% to 1.4% per year now. Yet popular films like The Hunger Games portray a future of starvation.

Why, despite all our bad habits, are we living longer? Better healthcare, better disability handling like telecommuting, plus there is a strong correlation between better education and longer life expectancy.

Will nature collapse? Mt. St. Helens’ 1980 eruption was equal to about the power of 1,500 Hiroshima nuclear bomb explosions. Some predicted that needed farmland would destroy our forests, yet since 1980 our forest cover has increased about 15%. Plus, replacements for CFC refrigerants have improved the atmosphere, as have smog controls. 3D seismology, fracking and better car efficiency standards have erased dire warnings of peak oil,

Will the economy collapse? No, basically market economics, with its distributed decision making, eliminated the situation of one leader causing a collapse. There never was a time when all jobs were secure, but there never were more US manufacturing jobs than in 2017. Despite claims that our workforce participation is down, it is about 63% compared to the low of 60% in 1966. Plus, those who complain that GDP growth is slowing, ignore that measurements of GDP are less accurate, like surgeries produce better results. The author does suggest GDP growth could improve with less regulation and public financing of political campaigns. Government efficiency and less debt can be achieved by replacing many social programs with a universal basic income or expanded earned income tax credits. And since a person’s intelligence is pretty much developed by age 6, extending paid work leave to parents of young children would improve population achievements.

Why is violence in decline? Murder and war deaths per capita don’t even appear in the top ten causes of death. The greatest deterrent to crime is the more likely chance of being caught, thus just the cellphone has reduced crime. Less colonialism, more treaties and trade have reduced war. And as devices improve, so does morality.

Why does technology become safer instead of more dangerous? Cars, ships, locomotives, etc become not only safer, but cleaner. Smaller and more accurate weapons reduce war deaths.

Why don’t dictators win? Liberated people are more ingenious, democracies spread.

How declinism has become chic. Research centers, government agencies and political interest groups seek funding. The media looks to grab attention with negative events, often overusing the term, crisis. As demographics age, there is the human tendency to glamorize youthful times. Human bodies are good at producing adrenaline and cortisol, thus a human tendency towards anxiety over future uncertainty, recently in the US and Europe when the white majority feels threatened by immigration. New, social media leads to more opinionization, clustering of ideas called the Big Sort, people only having relationships with people who think similarly, thus more susceptible to the Big Lie.

The “impossible” challenge of climate change. Basically, see the above for clues to the future.......the Big Lie works, but there is reason for hope since not everyone believes the Big Lie.

The “impossible” challenge of inequality. Progress does breed income inequality. Moving helps, like rust belt Midwest victims moving south and to the coasts. Again, a universal basic income might help.

We’ll never run out of challenges. The author mentions future challenges like more robots, artificial intelligence and quantum computing

I do recommend the book.

#Amazon

Monday, January 29, 2018

Portfolio “Update”

I just sold my DPS and replaced it with NWL. Ordered by largest position to smallest.....

WBA (Walgreen Boots Alliance)
PEP (PepsiCo)
PG (Procter & Gamble)
GPC (Genuine Parts Company)
MMM (3M)
IBM (International Business Machines)
VZ (Verizon)
T (AT&T)
KO (Coca Cola)
ADP (Automatic Data Processing)
GIS (General Mills)
KMB (Kimberly Clark)
HAS (Hasbro)
HPQ (Hewlett-Packard)
SYY (Sysco)
K (Kellogg)
NWL (Newell Brands)
M (Macy’s)
GNMA (6% Bonds)


This portfolio represents about 30% of my assets, about 15% is a home mortgage, about 2% precious metals and collectibles, and the rest are CDs.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Portfolio “Update”

I sold all of my MAT (Mattel) and took a small position in M (Macy’s). Ordered by largest position to smallest.....

PG (Procter & Gamble)
PEP (PepsiCo)
WBA (Walgreen Boots Alliance)
MMM (3M)
GPC (Genuine Parts Company)
VZ (Verizon)
IBM (International Business Machines)
T (AT&T)
KO (Coca Cola)
ADP (Automatic Data Processing)
HAS (Hasbro)
KMB (Kimberly Clark)
GIS (General Mills)
HPQ (Hewlett-Packard)
SYY (Sysco)
K (Kellogg)
DPS (Dr. Pepper Snapple)
M (Macy’s)
GNMA (6% Bonds)

This portfolio represents about 25% of my assets, about 15% is a home mortgage, about 2% precious metals and collectibles, and the rest are CDs.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

The Next Economic Collapse

Since the Great Recession ended about 8 years ago and the US is near full employment, odds are that we are due for at least a recession in the not too distant future. And since US financial markets are at or near all time highs, even a mild recession could hit our financial system pretty hard, depending on the triggering event or events.

Anyway, I'll list some potential triggering events which I see could happen.

1. China's debt situation begins unraveling. Debt over 2x GDP, ghost cities and China's apparent policy of buying up commodities for future use.
2. Climate Change. Hurricanes and wildfires are already stretching resources.
3. War. Recent vitriol makes war with North Korea or Iran a real possibility.
4. Rising US interest rates. Rates are already rising.
5. US debt. Not just national debt, but stock and bond margin debt, auto debt, student loan debt, pay day loans and mortgage debt. And derivatives, especially ETF’s and leveraged ETF’s. All this with massive deregulation.
6. Underfunded pensions. State, municipal and corporate.


Tuesday, July 04, 2017

My Review of "Prosperity Without Growth:Foundations For The Economy Of Tomorrow"

5 out of 5 stars

What struck me as very consequential in the book, by Tim Jackson, is that in the two decades in Japan of low growth following good growth during the previous decades, life expectancy grew nicely.

Thus, the question the book explores, is GDP growth necessary for prosperity? It all depends on how one measures prosperity. Jackson says there should be a Subjective Well-Being measurement, kind of a middle ground measurement between a totally consumer material goods and totally socially oriented economy. Poorer societies do need more consumption to achieve basic human needs of hunger, shelter, etc, but having achieved those basic needs for most of its people, societies need less consumer goods consumption and more services - all together maybe of lesser monetary economic value.

The book does look at the 2008 financial crash and how it brought the world closer together, as needed, since one of the causes of the crash had been less economic coordination.

Bottom line, the book is excellent in showing GDP growth numbers, alone, can be very misleading in measuring prosperity. I recommend the book......
#Amazon