France’s Equity Markets Cast Their Own Vote

On Monday, following Sunday’s first-round of presidential elections in France, the CAC 40 index (which is largely representative of the French equity markets) fell nearly 3%.  The presidential incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy, who has been on board with Germany’s austerity plans to tackle the European financial crisis, came in second place in the first-round vote to … Continued

I have a confession. I was once a democrat.

I have a confession. I was once a democrat.   The first presidential election I was eligible to vote in, I voted for Jimmy Carter.  I never told anyone this before because frankly, I was embarrassed.  But, today, 30 years later, I have learned much, and I have many intelligent, successful friends who are democrats and I … Continued

Almost Even

The emotional desire to “get even and get out” does not translate into a wise investment strategy.  Rather, it is a recipe for disaster over the long term. The equity markets continued their march upwards throughout the first quarter of 2012 with many indices and individual stocks approaching their previous all-time highs.  Since then, the … Continued

Risks of ”Curbing Speculation”

President Obama announced today that his administration is interested in “curbing speculation” in the oil markets.  Is this a laudable goal?  We have to remember how speculation fits into the overall transactional marketplace.  Many businesses rely on speculators speculating to reduce their risk.  For example, a farmer has to commit to purchasing seeds, fertilizer, equipment … Continued

Modern Day Robinhood?

In a Knox College Commencement Address in June, 2005 Mr. Obama stated, “Our economic independence depended on individual initiative.  It depended on a belief in the free market; but it has also depended on our sense of mutual regard for each other, the idea that everybody has a stake in the country, that we’re all in … Continued

FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out

A good friend of mine was recently complaining about being tired.  He had to be at work at 6 AM that morning and had stayed out way too late at a party the evening before.  I said the party must have been a good one, and he replied that it really wasn’t that much fun … Continued

What would you do with the $540 million?

The multistate Mega Millions lottery jackpot stands at a world record high of $540 million for tonight’s drawing.  Mathematicians will say you have a better chance of being struck by lightning 100 times than of hitting the jackpot.  But spending $1 to fantasize about what you would do with the winnings can be a cheap … Continued

Well-deserved Award and Recognition

So often we take for granted our good fortune. Working with colleagues and clients at Sigma is truly my good fortune. It has also been my good fortune to have known Bob and Shari Bilkie for almost twenty years. Not only do they take their commitment to Sigma seriously, but that commitment carries through to … Continued

What is Compassion?

On the plane ride home from my recent spring training baseball trip, and while discussing the prospective presidential candidacy of Republican contender Mitt Romney, my baseball loving, left-leaning travel companion noted wryly, “I am concerned about his compassion.” As he said it, I recalled that just a few weeks earlier, another friend who is also … Continued

Help Finding an Advisor

Full disclosure disclaimer: This blog may seem self-serving, but it is the objective of our blogs to try to impart to our readers useful information pertaining to investing and this fits the bill. The February-March 2012 issue of Worth magazine carried an article titled “The Search for Great Advice”. The byline read, “When picking a … Continued

Throw Them in Jail!

Jailed for selling an annuity! The number of times I have seen annuities inappropriately used in investment portfolios for clients who subsequently hire me is mind boggling. This is not to say that all annuities are poor investment vehicles, nor that all who sell them are criminals, but there has been a fair amount of … Continued