June 15, 2022

Cure for Higher Prices is Higher Prices

Today the Fed took another shot at inflation, raising interest rates by 75 basis points.  During the pandemic in 2020-21, and also the Great Recession of 2008-09, the playbook was to throw money at the problem by either keeping interest rates at zero percent or by literally giving people money to spend our way out of a jam.  The result of all the free money (trillions with a T) is the aggressive inflation which now needs to be addressed.  The multi-trillion dollar question then is…can the Fed raise rates enough to slow the economy without throwing us into a recession and/or a much steeper downward spiral in stocks.  The better question may be…are we fighting yesterday’s war and should we be putting our efforts towards freeing up the supply chains, loosening the grip of government controls on US businesses, and letting post-pandemic demand play itself out over a period of time.  The only thing that is transitory is any Talking Head taking responsibility for their economic calls.
June 9, 2022

It’s Happening

Friday’s upcoming CPI report will unfortunately tell us the same story that we are living, that prices are higher and they are sticky at these levels.  Inflation can be an insidious threat to our economy, acting like a silent tax on our day to day life.  From our friends at 10-K Diver here are some pointers on dealing with inflation.  Be a consistent earner, meaning now is the time to be valued in order to maintain and increase your income streams.  Continue saving by being even more aware of what and how you are spending your money.  Finally, inflation proof your portfolio by investing in companies that have pricing power, very manageable debt loads, and are capital light.  Inflation is happening and will be working its way through the system for some time.
May 9, 2022

Yesterday, the White House again touted the fact that they have cut federal deficits by historic amounts the past two years.  Just keep in mind that the deduction is only in the predicted yearly deficit, in other words the national debt is still going up in historic fashion, but just not quite as fast.  In classic political double-speak, the Biden administration would have you believe that they were able to cut the deficit by $350 billion last year, but due to pandemic emergency spending running out, if they had done nothing, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the deficit growth would have slowed by $1 trillion, much more than what they are hanging their hat on.  Whether Republican or Democrat, unfortunately our elected leaders do not appear to have the resolve to tackle governmental spending and now we get to deal with the  effects of higher interest rates begotten from higher inflation.  The more you repeat something the more likely you are to believe it.
April 4, 2022

Climb That Wall

Markets are known to climb a “wall of worry” or go higher even though headlines and investor sentiment are logically negative.  The current bull market that we have been enjoying has been exceptional at climbing that wall.  From divisive political turmoil, including two impeachments, to a world-wide pandemic, the bull continued to scale the wall.  Now sadly comes Ukraine, and while stocks are lower for the year, and there is plenty of trepidation out there, the market continues to hang in there.  There is a man whose name begins with a P, who has put fear into stocks, and that is Fed Chairman Powell.  Higher interest rates could ultimately be worse for equites than other world events, at least we can hope for that in a way.  As for Russia, it is important to remember that they have fallen to become the 11th largest world economy and Russian stock exposure is very limited in most investments, excluding commodities like oil.  We profoundly hope that cooler heads prevail and that our main concern is designing portfolios to withstand and benefit from higher rates and/or higher inflation.
April 4, 2022

It’s that Time of Year Again

The 2021 tax deadline is Monday, April 18th, thanks to the Good Friday holiday.  While tax planning is a year-long exercise, many of us fall into the procrastinator camp.  The key is to plan around the things that you can control, think retirement plan contributions, keeping good records, tax-loss harvesting,  and being informed.  It is hard sometimes, but paying a big tax is better than not paying a big tax bill…Now here are our top five favorite tax scofflaws…5) Wesley Snipes, from Blade to the Big House on about $23 million in unpaid taxes. 4) Willie Nelson,  crooned his way to a $16.7 million dollar tax bill.  3) Mike Tyson, $23 million in tax debt after earning over $300 million in his career. 2) Mike Sorrentino, “The Situation” on Jersey Shore got himself into a jam on about $9 million in back taxes.  And 1) Al Capone, the notorious Chicago gangster was finally sent to prison after declaring “they can’t collect legal taxes from illegal money”.  But yes they can.  Honorable mention…Leona Helmsley, Pete Rose, and Heidi Fleiss.
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