Baseball and Business

What do you get when you trap four middle-aged, baseball-loving friends (three liberals/progressives – a real estate lawyer from Michigan, a general practice lawyer from Washington DC, and a pediatrician from Chicago, and one conservative – that would be me, an investment advisor from Michigan) in a car for a several hours, traipsing across Florida … Continued

Thoughts on the Detroit Tigers

Every year, about this time, I am asked about my thoughts on the Tigers going into the new season. I typically say they are going to win the World Series because I am the ultimate optimist and I have Tiger blood running through my veins! Well this year is a little different because I now … Continued

The Upside of Foreclosure

The upside of foreclosure; an unintended temporary stimulus to the economy? An article in this weekend’s Barron’s magazine highlighted several interesting foreclosure statistics. At the end of 2011 nearly 1.9 million homes had some sort of foreclosure filing activity. In addition to the sheer number of foreclosures, legal issues with regard to robo-signing have slowed the … Continued

Sound Familiar?

While I follow several economic and financial related publications, this week John Mauldin’s e-letter, titled ‘Unconsidered Consequences’, contemplated intriguing and timely observations regarding the proposed debt resolution issue facing the Greek government and the role of the European Central Bank (ECB). Below are a couple excerpts that caught my eye. “As noted above, ECB financing, … Continued

One Size Does Not Fit All

A recent article released by the Associated Press has led to some interesting discussions among Sigma colleagues and clients. The article, which can be referenced here, was a Q&A done with David Stockman, a former Michigan congressman, Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan, and successful private equity investor discussing his … Continued

Do You Really Need an Investment Advisor?

That is a decision that each individual needs to consider and it is not the purpose of this blog to make that decision for you. Perhaps an analogy might be helpful. Modern commercial aviation has been described as seemingly endless periods of utter boredom, punctuated by moments of total panic. It is easy to believe … Continued

Inflation and Peanut Butter

We at Sigma believe that understanding inflation is an important element in effectively managing our client portfolios. In the that regard, we note that according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report, consumer prices in January increased 2.9% over the past 12 months. At approximately the same time, J. M. Smucker Co. announced that … Continued

Why the Focus on Government Policy in My Blogs?

Many (most) of my blogs during the past few years have centered on government policy. For each, my colleague Marisa Lenhard, CFA, CFP® (who is incredibly bright and well informed) will ask me, “How does that relate to our clients’ investments?” While it seems intuitively obvious to me, just the fact that she asks the … Continued

A Reasonable Price to Pay?

2008 Democratic primary debate in Philadelphia, April 16, 2008: on Tax Reform Barack Obama: Raise capital gains tax for fairness, not for revenue Q: You favor an increase in the capital gains tax, saying, “I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was 28%.” It’s now 15%. That’s almost a doubling … Continued

Thinking Out Loud

Below is a recent internal email conversation that took place amongst a few of our investment professionals. This thread may prove interesting to those who are also pondering possible ‘fixes’ for the Eurozone’s current money woes. If you have any further thoughts or comments, please feel free to share! From: Robert Bilkie, Jr. Thinking out … Continued

How Safe Is Your Cash?

At the onset of the Great Depression, a loss of confidence among bank depositors would often lead to bank runs. Because banks only held a fraction of their overall deposits in reserves (with the majority having been lent out), even the slightest rumor of a bank’s potential insolvency became a self-fulfilling prophecy. As a result, … Continued

”You’ve Got To Find What You Love”

By now, you have most likely heard the news that Apple chairman and co-founder Steve Jobs died Wednesday at the age of 56. In August of this year, Jobs stepped down as CEO of Apple giving the title to longtime collaborator Tim Cook. Jobs’ battle over the past seven years with pancreatic cancer has been … Continued