Avoid Undue Complexity

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I recently attended an investor conference in NYC hosted by a large money center/investment bank.  While I rarely attend such events, I was particularly interested in the topic of “alternative investments” and how they may be used to either increase the return and/or reduce the volatility in a portfolio. At the risk of over-simplification, equity … Continued

Germany’s Problem With Greece’s Debts

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J. Paul Getty (1892-1976) provided an excellent summary of Germany’s problem with Greece’s debts.  “If you owe the bank $100, that’s your problem.  If you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem.” With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how this issue plays out over time. All comments and suggestions … Continued

Walmart, Wages and The Fed

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Walmart, the largest private employer in the country, recently announced that all its U. S. workers would earn at least $9 per hour by April and at least $10 per hour by next February. In the opinion of the author, this is the right thing to do.  “The workman is worthy of his hire”. This … Continued

The Outlook for the oil patch. Or, wanna’ buy a house in North Dakota?

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A combination of softened global demand and increased marginal production — principally in North America — has precipitated the collapse in crude oil prices over the past six months.  An analyst being interviewed on CNBC today suggested that oil prices would rebound sometime in 2016. It was also disclosed yesterday that Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway recently … Continued

Greece is Stuck

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A great deal of speculation surrounds the financial and political crisis gripping Greece.  The country’s politicians have mismanaged government finances for years and while a brief reprieve was given by the European Union a few years ago, the problems continue to crop up.  In simple terms, the country has been spending more than it takes … Continued

Don’t Bet the Farm

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Two recent articles suggest that we may be seeing a return to riskier home financing.  Friday’s Wall Street Journal carried an article by Anya Martin asking “Tempted to Put Home Equity to Work?”  Sunday’s Detroit Free Press included a commentary by JC Reindl highlighting the return of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac insured mortgages featuring … Continued

The Automobile of the Future

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Falling gasoline prices, mandated fuel economy standards, media coverage of low volume, innovative vehicle power trains and concern over the environmental impact of fossil fuels, has raised questions regarding the future of gasoline powered motor vehicles. Most car buying decisions are probably based on the purchaser’s requirements relating to affordability (both initial cost and continuing … Continued

Personal Succession Planning – Part IV – You Can’t Take It With You

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Having worked as a financial professional since the mid 1980’s, I have worked with many families with a vast assortment of dynamics: “normal” families, “dysfunctional” families, and everything in between.  There is nothing that will drive a family to dysfunction quicker than money or transitioning the responsibility of financial decisions.  In this, the final installment … Continued

Dave Bergman Tribute

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The Detroit area baseball and business community lost a man of true grace and grit yesterday with the passing of Dave “Bergie” Bergman.  Best known for his exploits as a first sacker with the 1984 Major League Baseball World Champion Detroit Tigers, Dave was a regular fixture in the investment and philanthropic communities following his … Continued