Outcomes and Probabilities

German, Brazilian, English, Argentine, and Spanish football fans, take heart.  Football (or in American vernacular - soccer) is quantifiably the least predictable major sport.  In no other sport is luck such a critical determinant of the outcome.  So you have that going for you the next time you sit down with a Frenchman to discuss [...]

Your Brokerage Statement is Terrible

Brokerage statements are almost universally uninformative, misleading, and confusing.  They are largely a means for custodians to fulfill their legal reporting requirements as well as a legacy of yesteryear when we didn't have access to real-time data.  They often neglect important information that would be helpful for investors.  In many ways, these statements do far [...]

The Stock Market Sits Down for a Job Review

"Describe your perfect day." Such a simple interview directive rarely fails to provide the most telling of replies.  Responses are almost never scripted in advance and usually provide productive insight into what motivates the interviewee, what passions she has, her creativity, or how she organizes her day.  Responses from previous experience posing this question (even [...]

Turbulence Forecasting for Pilots and Financial Advisors

I'm learning to fly, but I ain't got wings I recently spoke with a pilot about how he obtains and handles the forecasts for in-flight turbulence in advance of a flight.  Before each flight, he gets a fairly precise report of weather along the route and something called a turbulence plot, which is based on [...]

4 Things You’ll Wish You Did Before the Bull Market Becomes a Bear Market

"We all must suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret." Entrepreneur Jim Rohn was not specifically describing the practice of investing with this quote but it fits perfectly.  The harsh reality of investing is that there will be good times and there will be bad times.  Getting greedy [...]

Q1 2017 Investment Commentary Part II: Forecasting the Future

Let’s start with a debatable, but widely held fundamental concept of investing: the best predictor of future returns for stocks is the current valuation.  This is generally true of a single stock, a sector, or an entire country’s stock market.  Academics and practitioners debate whether important factors like gross profitability, price momentum, earnings momentum, yield, [...]

The Harsh Realities of Individual Bond Investing

Spend any time working in the kitchen of a restaurant and you will think of restaurants very differently going forward.  Following a short experience in a restaurant kitchen during college, I’ve never once sent a meal back for being undercooked, overcooked, or even the entirely wrong order.  Use your imagination and we can just leave [...]

Guaranteed Income and No Risk of Principal – Too Good to be True?

It is difficult to go more than a week without seeing or hearing advertisements for an investment that guarantees zero risk of principal loss, promises an attractive return (5-10% per year), and ensurers lifetime income that never expires.  Admittedly, these promises can sound very attractive on the surface, especially for risk averse investors.  But are they too [...]

Q4 2016 Investment Commentary: Planning vs. Prognosticating

Last Friday here in Atlanta, local businesses closed, restaurants shut their doors by late afternoon, school activities were cancelled, and the Atlanta metro region went under a State of Emergency in anticipation of a debilitating storm.  Meteorologists unanimously predicted 2-5 inches of snowfall later that evening – an obviously dire amount of snowfall by southern [...]

Luck and Skill in Baseball and Investing

The following is our quarterly investment letter that was recently sent to clients. 75 years ago this month, a thrilling World Series concluded what many baseball historians decidedly describe as the best baseball season ever.  That season is notably remembered for two historic accomplishments: Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak and Ted Williams finishing the season with [...]