If you’re anything like me you probably don’t understand much of what stock brokers or brokerage firms tell you, what the stock prospectuses say, or the incomprehensible gibberish spouted by securities analysts and so-called market experts quoted in financial publications.
Here’s a quote I plucked from a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal. If you can tell me in one simple sentence what the hell it means the beers are on me: “Illiquidity can then spread to the ETFs, which are passive vehicles that can’t remove problematic issues from their baskets. As investors rush to sell their ETF shares, the pain could infect even resilient bonds.”
The following is from a woman named Abigail Johnson, who is Chairman and CEO of Fidelity Investments. What makes this one so scary is that I own shares of stock purchased through Fidelity. Here it is: “Investors face long odds in trying to time the ups and downs of the markets. Staying fully invested according to your asset-allocation plan can give investors an opportunity to participate in the market’s long-term upward trend. Investors need to be patient and disciplined and have a plan. Your plan can help guide you through periods like this. It can help to use what we call the investor mindset, which means staying focused on the long term and using a decision process that is analytical, logical, and grounded in empirical data.”
Can’t you just see prospective Fidelity investors dozing off as her corporate minions grin and grunt their approval while giving her a thumbs up signal. What the lady actually said is: “The plan we have for you is not to buy or sell anything unless we tell you, or we won’t make commissions.”
Maybe I’m dimmer than most, but most of the double talk brokers spew at me and the claptrap I read on the financial pages makes my eyes glaze over.
There are exceptions to this gobbledygook. One is local investor, developer, entrepreneur, attorney, and now author, Pat Keogh. The other is nationally renowned pundit, businessman, and investor Joel Ross. They’re straight talkers and writers who strip every sentence to its cleanest components. When they write or speak there’s no misunderstanding what they’re communicating.
Pat is the author of a recently published book whose title gets right to the point: “Make Your Family Rich.” The writing in Pat’s book is conversational, easy to follow, instructive, entertaining, and witty. He doesn’t write anything he wouldn’t be comfortable saying. Even if readers have no interest in investment strategies, they’ll enjoy this book because of its simple free-flowing style. There are no bloated sentence monsters lying in wait to confuse the reader like the gibberish mentioned earlier. Pat tackles a complicated topic but doesn’t make the reader work hard trying to understand what he’s saying. Even if you don’t have money to invest in the markets, or have no interest in financial investments, invest 20 bucks in this book. It’s fascinating, fun, and easy to read.
Pick it up and you’ll want to dive in the middle, at the end or anywhere else in the book. No need to start at the beginning because there is no plot to worry about, just pure common sense and clever clear crisp writing. What reader won’t want to read a chapter titled: “Move to the Rich Neighborhood” or DRIP, DRIP, DRIP – Compound Interest on Steroids”? Or how about “Not All Debt Is Bad All the Time” and “Go Long on America and Only America”?
In his introduction Pat says the poorer you were at the beginning of your life the more successful you’ll be getting rich. He says: “I believe that coming into this world poor, particularly in the U.S. can be an advantage because the poor person has an incentive to work harder and save. In my view, if you weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth, count the blessings.”
He also addresses social issues including the value of the nuclear family. “…. children must also be trained to function, perform, produce, and prosper. That usually means teaching them delayed gratification, doing things they may not want to do at the moment in order to achieve a goal in the future. Think of the U.S. military. They train some of the world’s most productive and virtuous people, but there’s not a lot of unconditional love in their training manuals.” That sentence made me instantly think of the Navy Seals, possibly the world’s most elite and effective fighting force! Wouldn’t it be incredible to be as rich as they are skilled?
Much to the chagrin of brokerage firms Pat tells folks they can manage their own assets without outside managers by using the advice in his book. “Professional advisers,” he says, “will never support the investment approach in this book.” Why? Because their lawyers won’t allow them to. Read Chapter 3 to find out why.
You’ve probably seen those ads on TV where some stern looking guy says: “The worst thing that can happen is you run out of money in retirement”? Pat says that isn’t the worst thing that can happen and lists many more, much worse. He also tells you what you can do if you do run out of cash in retirement and how to refill your bank account. All in simple, easy to understand language. And without paying commissions to a bunch of mealy-mouthed brokerage firm sales guys who don’t have a clue and are only interested in how much money they can earn, not your financial well-being.
This is not a self-help book. It is a straightforward blueprint for obtaining wealth and passing it on to future generations or the family cat, or spending it all before you croak, all up to you. Pat tells you how.
I consider Pat a good friend and one of the smartest people I know. I realize now that he is also one of the best writers I’ve ever met. Who knew I’d pick up a book on personal finances and have trouble putting it back down.
Pat’s book can be ordered on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’ll be the best $20 you’ve ever invested.
Like Pat, analyst, pundit, author, and CEO Joel Ross is one of those rare financial experts who talks like the guy on the barstool next to you. His crisp clear fiscal writing is easy to read and understandable. Back on March 25 Ross said, “You will be sorry in May if you are not all in equities now. To me some things are pretty obvious. When the Fed and Treasury went all in, that was the sign the market would recover.” He says that other than selling some shares of poor performing Bank of America… “I did nothing at all.” He explains: “Which just goes to prove you sometimes just need to be patient, not smart. Makes life easy. Just do nothing, and over time you make a lot of profit. Doesn’t take smarts to make money this way.”
Like Pat Keogh, Ross says: “Stay all in US equities, ignore the pundits on CNBC and Fox Business, and be patient. I never own bonds. They make money when we have a big downturn, but then you lose as things improve and rates rise, which is about to happen.” Earlier this week Ross was even more bullish on American equities echoing Keogh’s advice saying: “For the moment I remain 100% in US equities. My portfolio is up 14.8% year to date, on top of up 33% in 2019. How is your money manager doing for you with his “balanced portfolio”, or target date strategy, or annuities? And I pay nobody any fees – I use Schwab, and almost never trade. I just play tennis while I make money. Pick good solid US equities, like APPL, AMZN, HD, MSFT, TMO, ROP, ADBE, and go have fun doing something other than trading stocks, and pay no fees to anyone for bad advice. There is no magic or special smarts to this.”
Mr. Ross and Mr. Keogh are on to something. Look at the markets today compared to when he made those comments. A few weeks ago the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Zweig, who writes that paper’s “Intelligent Investor” column, said putting $100,000 into an S&P index fund on the day the bull market began on March 9, 2009, and selling at last month’s peak would have seen that turn into $630,000 including dividends.
Speaking for myself we haven’t taken a dime out of our holdings since this virus business started. I’m not sure that would be called a strategy but so far it has paid off, big time. And I didn’t need to pay anyone to advise me what to do. I simply refer to Pat’s book and heed Ross’s advice.
Things I Wish I’d Said: “I would imagine that if you understood Morse code, a tap dancer would drive you crazy.” — Mitch Hedberg.
Meanwhile Back At The Ranch: Fernandina Beach City Manager Dale Martin and his three City Commissioners (Chip Ross, Johnny Miller, Phil Chapman) of the Spending Apocalypse are going full speed ahead on spending and raising taxes.
The Fernandina Beach City Manager Dale Martin and his three amigos of financially irresponsible government are oblivious to the fact that its citizens and businesses are facing financial hardships due to the pandemic, and it is only getting worse. Yet City Manager Dale Martin and his lacky free spending commissioners have yet to put the brakes on buying more stagnant swampland to convert to mosquito sanctuaries to appease the handful of local environmentalist extremists and just signed a $350,000 contract to build an unnecessary park on the county line on Simmons Road. They’re also going full speed ahead with all their other spending plans including hiring additional staff, buying more cars and equipment, seeking a new city hall, etc.
They are intent on raising taxes of local citizens despite any economic difficulties they may be facing. They flat out don’t care. Shouldn’t Commissioner Johnny Miller, who was a bartender at the now virus-shuttered Palace Saloon, have some empathy with the financially suffering populace?
Commissioners Mike Lednovich and Len Kreger support going back to the rollback rate for the 2020-2021 budget. They made their commitment very clear this past Tuesday evening. Good for them.
Miller, Chapman, and Ross all waffled on any commitment and will likely vote for an increase. Chapman and Miller are not on the November ballot but Ross is. Want to toss more of your cash to this group of scoundrels? Then vote for Ross.
Why are thy doing this?
- Don’t they care about financial challenges faced by city residents?
- Don’t they understand budgets and what Dale Martin and Chip Ross are doing is to constantly grow city government?
- Don’t they sense any accountability from city residents?
- Do they have pet projects they are refusing to remove from the budget?
- Do they have any concept of how to manage a large budget?
- Or simply because they can!
Frank Quigley, one of the founders of Common Sense, the rapidly growing local movement that is monitoring the city’s activities and urging citizens to speak out, sent the following letter to the City Manager and City Commissioners following the Tuesday session:
“I have seen many ‘reasons’ for the increasing taxes, as a home-owning Fernandina Beach citizen. That the island community we live in is pristine, that the city’s downtown charm is maintained, the beaches are kept clean and services are at a high level. This is all true, and services are good.
The question you must answer is – why have my taxes gone up so much? The rate of City income from taxes and fees has outgrown the growth of the City’s population and of household formation. Why is this? Can you show me how my City services are quantifiably improved? Can you go beyond saying “it’s a bargain” to live here – and justify (a) why I pay taxes anyway and what do I get, that I wouldn’t if the City didn’t exist, and (b) since I do live here and pay taxes why are they going up – yet again?
Is the rate of response among our safety departments measurably improved? Is the rate and quality of response by the zoning department or building department measurably improved? Is the level of sanitation service measurably improved? What metrics do you use, to justify increased taxes and spending? Or do you just take what the City Manager tells you at face value? If you cannot measure what the improved tax intake will provide your citizens, you have no right to raise taxes for the coming year.
The COVID recession and long-term prospects for the regional economy are not clear and possibly extremely negative. How can you justify having already-stressed working-class families’ burdens added to?
Roll back the millage and live within your means. Don’t allow increases. Time to put this “just raise taxes” to fill financial gaps practice to an end.”
Well put Mr. Quigley. I’m sure I speak for many others who would like to see the City Manager’s and Commissioner’s response to your letter.
Supporting The Police: A new batch of “Support The Police” signs have arrived and are available for folks that want to plant one in their yard or at their place of business. Signs can be picked up at PJD’s Beer and Wine Garden, 12 South 2nd Street, between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Other pick up locations will be named later.
Another Thing I wish I’d Said: “I have washed my hands so many times, I found the answers to my 8th grade Social Studies test.” – Steve Mann, the Lodi News Sentinel.
Democrat Party Dishonesty Hits New Low: Florida Democrat Party officials said in a statement this week that at least $780,000 in business loans would be returned to the Paycheck Protection Program. The program, intended to keep small businesses and nonprofit organizations afloat without laying off staff because of the coronavirus pandemic, specifically excluded political parties from eligibility. How the heck did these crooks get the money in the first place.
Unrest On The Plantation: Amelia Island isn’t immune to the senseless desecration of American culture, values, ideals, and the Constitution that’s taking place on U.S. streets and, increasingly, in the halls of local governments and Congress.
It’s not just mindless college students with their heads full of Marxist mush that are making outrageous demands, rampaging, burning, and looting. A handful of those living in affluent neighborhoods – terrified of the rioting and alarmed by a demoralized, defunded, and intimidated police force – are pandering to the mob for fear of offending the student storm troopers hoping they won’t be next.
The Amelia Island Plantation is an example. Its name may soon be as gone as “Gone With the Wind” that was recently banned by the cancel culture crowd. It was never a plantation, far from it. The swells living on the south end of the island do so on property that was once a collection of small farms that newly freed slaves had gotten after the Civil War. In 1972, the farms were sold for the development of the Amelia Island Plantation resort.”
So, what the heck is going on at the Plantation?
In a June 19 letter to residents Tom Sutton, president of the Amelia Island Plantation Community Association, addressed three “challenges” he said were important – COVID-19’s impact on the property, security forces, and a name change.
Mr. Sutton said a name change was a recommendation to eliminate the word “Plantation” from the site’s name. He didn’t say it outright but admitted that he’s concerned (e.g. frightened and intimidated) because he says the Republican Convention in Jacksonville next month will “put Amelia Island in the cross hairs of national news.” Even before residents voiced their opinion he as much as admitted a name change is inevitable adding: “We likely will not have a new name fully vetted and in place by then, but we could be a fair way down that road.” Political correctness is running amok on the Plantation spearheaded by management.
A small handful of spittle-spewing inhabitants of this almost 50-year-old gated community tucked inside walls protected by more than 30 private security guards went online to moralize, telling residents how to live and how to think. They’re terrified, pandering to, and placating the mob. When you pander to the mob for fear of offending it you lose all respect. Look no further than the NLF which is proposing two national anthems, one that appeals to BLM and is threatening name changes for teams it says offend certain segments of society. And then there are the mayors of Seattle, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Chicago, Portland, etc. Or the panicked, spineless executives of companies like PepsiCo, Nike, Disney, FedEx, etc. that throw money at the violent Marxist Black Lives Matter in hopes they won’t burn or loot their buildings. Talk about cowardly incompetent fools! Corporations have always been easy to extort, as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton discovered to their financial benefit, because such outfits live in fear of a boycott, especially a racial one, because white pinheads are so likely to lend their support.
The feedback from the Omni community on social media got heated. Based on what I’ve read a tiny but loud group of left-wing, anti-American screechers say the name has to go, saying it’s the equivalent of the “N” word in real estate. One resident unable to contain his anti-plantation fury angrily hammered away at his keyboard screaming out in all caps: “I FOR ONE WOULD LIKE TO FORGET THE TRAITORS WHO WANTED TO DESTROY OUR COUNTRY AND LEAVE MILLIONS IN SLAVERY.” I’m sure many residents are happy they don’t live next door to this guy, who favors imposing his intolerant liberal views on everyone else.
More sane and calmer residents, which appear to be the majority, are logically and intelligently questioning a name change and the “cancel culture” movement that inspired it. One of the most cogent was this resident’s response: “Where are the facts proving that people of color do not feel welcome moving to, live at, or visiting Amelia Island Plantation because of its name? We need to put emotion aside, be logical and stop conforming to whatever removes the slightest implication that we exclude anyone from our community and what that does to our image. No one is waiting to hand our community a medal for taking a stand to change our name because it gives the appearance that we are more welcoming and less racist. I am not in favor of a name change for optics, current political climate, or so some of you can sleep better at night telling people where you live. If you are offended, you are welcome to exercise your First Amendment rights. But being offended is a choice. And catering to the offended is not my choice based on zero market research and substantive argument.”
Another sane responder said, “I did not buy my villa at the plantation to be subject to the cancel culture. It is white people in this group that have a problem with word ‘plantation.’ No one is oppressed by the name ‘plantation.’ People here seem to think they are oppressed in some elitist way, and to continue this projected thought onto others. Stop cancelling history.”
This passionate resident articulately sums up the feelings of the majority displaying once again that immigrants to the U.S. are often the ones that appreciate our country the most. She says: “As an immigrant of over 50 years, and a US Citizen, I will not bend to this action. I watched my home country be destroyed and take a 50-year leap into the past by extremists and fundamentalists who did many of the same things that we are witnessing now with this movement in the USA. Please don’t preach to me about pain, and how we can exercise more kindness through changing the name of our community for African Americans. As an immigrant, it is terribly sad to see what we are allowing to happen to our country. The more we conform to this sort of thing, matters won’t get better, they will continue to get worse. If you don’t believe me, go read the history that this movement is trying to erase.”
What we’re seeing take place at the Amelia Island Omni Plantation is a microcosm of what’s taking place in Democrat run U.S. cities, a small group of nihilists from the upper class, telling others how to think. They are extremely idealistic and irrational and see themselves as agents of change and clarity. They are part of a passionate and absolutely insane mob that’s campaigning against America’s and Amelia Island’s history.
In the social media posts I’ve been reading the sane majority of Amelia Island Plantation residents are not cowering, but opposing this absurd assault. They are demonstrating that when you speak honestly and don’t back away from taking a stand on controversial issues, such as race, people will listen to you. They understand that the way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence, screaming or wishing them away. However, for these Plantation good guys it may be too late, as based on Mr. Sutton’s letter, the decision has already been made for them. The Plantation’s cowardly management has caved to the mob and they’re cowering under their desks.