Posts

Showing posts from 2020

Attendance

Image
Our monitoring of attendance has never been more important.Recently major sporting events have made the decision to have no fans at their events.What impact will this have on the financial services industry?Our blog this week will examine how we are social distancing and measuring attendance at the same time. Status QuoThe methods we used to track our progress have been neutered by COVID.It is no longer a good practice to look at the bottom of a box score to see the attendance. We know that the attendance is zero and time will tell if fans meant more than the trophy acceptance speech.Early on, LeBron even questioned not having fans, but realized that attendance matters but has a larger impact on his compensation. Businesses and Universities have drunk this medicine too.Acceptance rates, monthly production and asset growth are correlated to tuition and revenue.COVID does not care if you are an elite school or a top producer.Finally, our fancy office does not matter as much as it used to…

Safety Nets

Image
As we approach the deadlines for our government “assistance”. We need to start building our own safety nets. Our blog this week will examine the support and also discuss what our improved business and personal life will look like after we have a vaccine. We don’t have the answers, but we do have some wishes. GovernmentOur government stepped up and created a bi-partisan CaresAct.  The trillions of dollars allowed most of us to pay our bills and buy essential items through Amazon.  This support runs out this month and several politicians want to give us more.  Unfortunately,  there are others who believe that their support is enough and we should take it on our own from here.  I always wanted a larger allowance and pushed back on the question of what I spent it on.  Truth be told it is was no bodies business, I am an adult now and an Amazon Prime member.   Family and FriendsIn troubled times we can always turn to our family for safety and support.   Recently a NY Times article confirmed …

Defunded

Image
When huge events take place in our country our reaction is to demand change.This week we read about how many people want to defund our police.The power of our checks and balances system is alive and well!Our blog this week will summarize other times in our past that our citizens demanded change.Many demands die, but the ones who do not die create lasting change.Occupy Wall StreetIn 2011 a group decided to camp out in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street to protest many historic issues starting with Income Inequality.  The issues were real, but the movement wasn’t well organized, and the issues didn’t resonate with enough people.  Unfortunately, most of the issues remain.  As Malcolm Gladwell writes in his book Tipping Point the tipping point must be exceeded to promote change.  Occupy didn’t reach a tipping point. Police The Police killing of George Floyd reached a Tipping Point.  History, racial misunderstandings and cell phone video have caused us to seek change.  De-funding and policy chan…

Depression 2.0

Image
What will we tell our grandchildren about the 2020 economic slowdown?  Many of our living relatives have some spotty memories of The Great Depression.  Time plays tricks on our memory and it is normal to exaggerate.  Before our memory starts to wane, we hope you will write down your experiences.  Our blog this week hopefully will be a good reference for us and our grandchildren. 
Social Media

We use social media like we use cable news.  We read social media that agrees with our opinions.  That is limiting and we are trying to expand our social media perspectives to include opinions that are different.  We start with a YouTube channel from a black man, famous football player and a smart student from St. Mark’s Schoolof Texas.  We also are educated and had our perspective expanded by two people on twitter, Peter Henry and Masha Gessen.  We hope you learn something new and that makes you feel uncomfortable. 

Diversity
Our country has a serious diversity problem.  Our industry shares man…

Next Stop

Image
We will need a map if we “return” to work. Our monthly summary of podcasts should help now that we are all tech experts. We can build our map home using two categories. Education and Entertainment.


Education 
The Long View by Morning Star

The Professor G Show

Master Class

Entertainment
Cutthroat Inc

Someone Knows Something 

It Was Simple



We hope your new map has an app that tells us when to get off the bus 🚌  I need help finding where the office is located.

Virtual Meetings

Image
Last week we decided to provide only positive blog posts during The Pandemic. The popular press publishes plenty of negative stories that we need to decide if they are fake or real. Bill Gates warned us in 2015 of the risks of a Pandemic in his Ted Talk. We listened and gave him a “standing O“, but we didn’t do anything. Seems like Mr Gates was not the only one to warm us.  This week we will examine several pandemic events we hope will continue.

Facebook Live Events

There is a reason Facebook’s stock is making all-time highs. They are offering us solutions we need during The Pandemic. Our favorites are religious events. This week I went to my church In Dallas and after it was finished I attended my old San Francisco church. Both have adapted to our new virtual meeting world. The good news is their music and message is the same. The other good news is I can attend wearing by pajama bottoms.

Virtual Conferences 
A good thing that the Pandemic has taught us is that we still need to be e…

Pandemic Jackpot

Image
I have reached my breaking point of reading anxiety laced stories about the Pandemic so this week we will focus on the positives. The Pandemic has been a great stress test for our personal and professional lives. We aren’t personal coaches but we will examine what we have learned professionally. When we take this perspective we hope you feel like you can hit the jackpot too.

NewInvestment 


The industry and Burford Brothers have accepted that active management was not the best approach.The new solution to this reality were Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) or funds that replicated the major indexes passively, but didn’t charge high fees. This approach was adopted by most investors. The pandemic scared ETF investors who wanted out. The impact was similar to a person yelling fire in a crowed theater. Hopefully we didn’t loose too much money and we will examine the risks beyond lower fees. Seems like a jackpot for most aware investors.
COVID
While no one predicted the Pandemic, not even The Chine…

Weekend

Image
COVID has changed our lives. Our monthly review of podcasts needs to change to address this reality. Our review will rank podcasts for adults AND their stay at home children. Both groups are important to keep the peace as we transition from our shelter-in-place order to our post COVID life. Until our state sounds the “all clear” we will continue to share our bandwidth with our kids. The CEO of Spotify observed that the current weekday data trends look more like a weekend than a normal weekday. Our rankings will be in two categories  - Kids and Parents.

Kids
Trolls World Tour is our one and only choice as most of our kids want to watch this show more than once. The fact is it helps both of us pass the quarantine time. It is great for the kids but it also works for the entertainment starved parents. Both miss The Weekend and Trolls helps pass the time.


Parents
While parents are teaching their kids they also need to teach themselves. Our podcasts are educational so that when we return to w…

Immune

Image
Shelter-in-place is causing numerous emotions. Some are thinking they feel fine and are willing to take the risk to go back to work. Many don’t feel safe to return now. This week we will look at what safety and immunity means. My wife, our youngest daughter and I have compromised immune systems. We feel fine but we will stay home. It is a difficult decision.


Company 
The established rules of business are being tested by The Virus. Businesses were either realistically engaged or have skinny cash budgets that are being exposed. Unfortunately the solutions are not government or The Fed bailouts, they are cutting costs and embracing technology. We don’t need to spend money on fancy offices, we can meet on Zoom like we have been during the lockdown. The money saved can be used for our Furlougheed professionals. New roles and responsibilities will be required, we don’t need to wait until we receive an “All Clear”.  We can make the changes now with the input from our clients and teammates. O…

Measurements

Image
We are fixated on data. How many cases are there of COVID-19 or should we be tracking deaths?  Is the Dow or the S&P a better gage of investment success?  As we prepare to end our quarantine we will examine areas to measure. It is challenging but necessary for our sanity. Jack Welch built his career helping and requiring his employees meet the measurements of Six Sigma. This week’s blog will identify areas we have monitored in our past and how they worked and end with items to measure in the future.

John Liscio
One of the first people I followed for information on the bond market was John. He was a writer for Barron’s Current Yield column and I was impressed by his accuracy in predicting unemployment realeases. I called him and asked him about his secret sauce. After he vetted my needs - we began a conversation that was mutually beneficial. His secret was to monitor weekly unemployment claims and ADP data. Both items are now monitored by all of us. If John was still living I’m con…

Post COVID

Image
We have all been sheltering in place for the last few weeks and we have a lot of questions for Dr. Fauci and our political leaders.  While we don’t have any medical answers we have been thinking about what our industry will look like after the quarantine. Our blog this week will share our ideas and also give us someone to talk to without risking your health. The three areas we have been thinking about are: 1. What can we keep? 2. What we should change ? 3. What can we improve?  Put on your mask and scrabble players choose a word that starts with a “V”. Thanks for listening.

Keep
We have kept many things over our history because they work. We have improved the items using new technology but at the end of the day we retain most of the idea infrastructure. In our business we need to retain Financial Planning. Our clients need help creating a plan and most importantly sticking to the plan. We have failed teaching this important concept to our children which might explain why we are not eq…

What’re You Watching?

Image
We are ALL spending more time at home. While many of us watched some Movies covertly at work now we are the boss and streaming content is our refuge. This month we will furlough  our monthly podcast list and replace it with what we are watching. Our hope is to return soon once our government tells us it is safe.

Amazon Prime
Now that we realize that even Amazon is out of Purell and TP we will start to watch their streaming content that is available. Our favorites are:

1. Goliath
2. The Maverous Mrs. Maisel
3. Fleabag

Netflix 
This service seems to know me better than I know myself. The daily emails are starting to bother me, but several shows they recommend are worth checking out.

My favorites are:

1. Ozark
2. Kim’s Convenience
3. The Crown

I promise you won’t get any SPAM emails from me when you watch these shows.



Apple TV +
They hooked me with The Morning Show and then they went dark. The new programs have  roped me back in.   My new favorites are:

1. Home Before Dark
2. Oprah Tal…

Don’t Waste This Crisis

Image
During the Financial Crisis Rahm Emanuel shared his opinion that is now legend. We are in another crisis that our blog this week will chronicle how we can draft off of Mr. Emanuel’s statement. We know that every crisis is different but as Mark Twain said it often rhymes. Let’s look at ways we can use our time to not waste this unfortunate crisis. 
Social Media
Social Media is this generation’s cocktail party. While we never want to miss a party we know who to avoid. Successful Social Media accepts that most of the opinions are fake, BUT just like a cocktail party there are people who you need to seek out. This exercise starts with what platform we want to visit and who is going to be at “The Party” ?  Your partner doesn’t need to answer who will be at the party. A good platform lists their guests. Since we have time to look, look!  Bill Gurley shares that he uses Twitter to evaluate potential firms he is considering. Our recommendation is to create a Social Media account for your fir…

Shelter in Place

Image
Today marks  the one week anniversary that our mayors, governors and self aware bosses asked us to shelter in place. The week seems like it took longer than my college grades took to arrive in the mail. After we accepted the boredom we began to identify people and  technology that can help us survive the next few weeks. Our blog will summarize our favorites.  
Business Apps
Many of our service providers have scheduled conference calls to continue our training or to teach us new skills that will be helpful after we received an all clear. Most  group call technology didn’t make the grade. The only lesson I learned is that bandwidth matters and the time  you start the call matters. Starting the call at the the top of an hour is “me too” and will create a bandwidth issue. Starting the call at at 15 after or before works best. We all need to accept that we will have to wait. What else will you do rather than check the death toll.  Our favorite conference call programs are listed below. A g…

Wind Changed Updated 3-18-2020

Image
We have had a great run in the capital markets and in the wealth advisory business.  Unfortunately, the recent market action signals that the wind is no longer at our back.  This week we will look back and discuss what we can expect going forward.


History

The wind has been at our back longer than the recently ended 11 year bull market.  It helped the Trust Banks attract clients and manage their money investing in lists of well known blue chip stocks.  The wind changed and accounts lost value causing angry clients to look for new firms to invest their money.  Professional money mangers emerged and over the next cycle they thrived until the wind changed.  The next business that picked up the investment torch was the lower cost funds who passively replicated the major market indices.  Now that the wind has changed we should start to look for the firm that has washed their hands and found an improved investment strategy.


Unknowns
Donald Rumsfeld introduced us to an idea that that there are

The Cure

COVID-19 has dominated our news and impacted our markets.  There are numerous qualified organizations who are looking for a cure to this disease and we ALL hope they find it soon.  Our monthly examination of Podcasts can hopefully cure our souls.  We will look for our cure in the familiar places of True Crime, Education and Morning Messages.


True Crime
Our favorite is a podcast that summarizes the HBO documentary on the group that stole McDonalds monopoly game pieces.  A shocking story.

Education
We learn a lot from history.  Our favorite podcast is regarding the history of conflicts between businesses that were fighting for market share.   

Morning Message
While most read a paper or visit a website, I listen to a Podcast.  My favorite is Business Casual hosted by a brilliant millennial. 

While none of these Podcasts will cure COVID-19 I hope they cure your soul ....

Judgmental

Image
Twenty-Five years ago, our oldest daughter, Page, was born in Dallas! The next day my wife and I “decided” to move to San Francisco.The area’s beauty was breath-taking, but I had a lot to learn.The first items were the cost of living and the dinner party topics regarding the internet and Stanford.The other major item I needed to address was my judgmental opinions of people who had a different opinion.It wasn’t long before I met ArmisteaMaupin.He cured my shallow opinion on gay people because of his heart, intellect  and our common Southern roots.Recently our country fears the outbreak of COVID-19.Our advice is to seek the advice of a knowledgeable Dr. instead of social media self-proclaimed experts.Our blog this week is about how we can address our judgmental opinions to personally and professional grow.I’ll begin with an inspirational TED Talk with the disclaimer that I’m not Black and I’m not gay.Neither are a valid excuse to not expand our personal or professional scope.


Horowitz…

Bankruptcy

Image
The Democratic Presidential race has brought two major issues to the voters.Medicare for ALL and higher taxes on the wealthy.While they “trend” on social media ultimately it is our vote that counts.In addition to the election we read many announcements about bankruptcies this week.We will look at the failures and see if there are similarities that can benefit our business.Our capitalist system works and making knee jerk conclusions can be dangerous.Let’s look.

Old Gen
The capitalist business model doesn’t play favorites.This week several old school firms filed for bankruptcy protection.We will examine two that failed for different reason.The Boy Scouts filed because of the harassment charges against them were adding up.The scouts oath to do the right thing seems to mean different things to different people.The other firm that filed was Pier One.Low prices drive traffic but don’t equate to profits.We can learn from both!


Next Gen
The VC funding craze that was looking for Unicorns seems …

Relationships

Image
Relationships are the life blood of our personal and professional lives.We are constantly reminded of this fact by our “friends” at Hallmark and recently at Tender.Relationships are on our minds as we recently celebrated Galentine’s or Valentine’s day.  Heck, we spent a record amount on Valentine's this year.  Our blog this week discusses the importance of relationships for Wealth Advisory firms and more importantly their clients.


First Date

We put too much pressure on our first date.“Can you set me up?” makes some major assumptions that you like the same type of person that I like and more importantly they will like me!Referrals are a major source of growth for most wealth management firms.The assumptions here are even greater and potentially serious.A diversified portfolio that works for me might not work for you and your family.What can we do?Our experience is to spend time with the advisory firm and to read any thought pieces that the firm produces.Hopefully this will help you…