Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Positioning To Win...Big-Time
The Darwinian battle for survival has a lot to do with EXCEEDING the Jones, rather than just keeping up with them. Traditionally what has been a pillar of the American Dream is the belief that one's children will have a better life; better education, access to opportunities, health, etc. Indeed, it was John Quincy Adams who remarked that "I am a soldier so my son can be an engineer and his a poet." How does that translate in today's society?
Reality dictates that to achieve this goal of a progressively better life for ourselves, our children, and their children one major accomplishment MUST be achieved: growth. By definition, the Earth has limited natural resources, and as humans our time is probably the most valuable resource. Along those lines, maximizing time (surviving) is paramount to achieving growth. And there is a very specific definition of growth I like to use fellow financial farmers: making sure your portfolio is growing consistently in EXCESS of true inflation...which I estimate is easily in the double digits.
Double digits? How could this be? The Federal Reserve is HOPING that their metrics indicate "inflation" rises to 2%. Please take a look at the chart above illustrating historic real wage growth and notice something really, really nasty occurred around the year 2000. That's essentially when the internet really began to take off, and was quickly followed by major world events including a massive recession and multiple global wars. The global economy's PRODUCTION has more than recovered in the nearly two decades since, but the real wages haven't....and neither have the jobs.
Real wages have remained stagnate and U.S. manufacturing jobs are at 1941 levels. Explosive growth in productivity hasn't benefited the typical line worker at all. The number of jobs has collapsed and compensation long associated with those jobs has vaporized...it has been replace largely with the rise of a massive service sector dubbed The Gig Economy. The problems with The Gig Economy are legion; no pension, limited healthcare options, and low wages. Where is all that "productivity" i.e. prosperity going? To the owners of said businesses, who are typically either private equity concerns or publicly traded companies both of which have founders with stratospheric wealth.
So how you do position to win? First, throw out the 2% inflation dictum championed by the Federal Reserve. Second, put a personal growth plan together that targets a sustainable, LARGE growth rate in excess of your true inflation (cost of housing, healthcare, education, etc.) Third, implement said plan. There are multiple industries with stratospheric growth...I know where they live, and so will you after some research. Give me a call if you need help finding them. Look at those industries and professions intensely from both an employment perspective and ownership mentality. The future remains very bright for those pursuing ownership interests that are laser-focused on generating cash flow...and there's nothing to say you can't love what you do and benefit the world while you do it. If you want to position yourself to win big-time, formalizing a growth plan and executing it are essential...Invest Like A Farmer.
Monday, November 27, 2017
Middle Class Squeeze
It is often said a picture is worth a thousand words, so financial farmers I encourage you to click and expand the above picture depicting the "Middle Class Squeeze."
If you feel like you've been working harder than ever just to pay for basic life needs like rent, medical care, child care, or higher education well...you have. Over the past twenty years real family income has fallen nearly 10% while costs of essential services have skyrocketed.
Much of the plunge in real income is due to the complete and utter destruction of the traditional manufacturing base. Productivity remains at an all-time high, but the jobs have disappeared. It is analogous to a cluster of neutron bombs going off in multiple cities across the United States, particularly in areas succinctly defined as NOT coastal America.
Technology is great...until it gobbles up all the manufacturing jobs and essentially hobbles an entire class of people. Probably the greatest article I've ever read about this ongoing phenomenon is entitled "Why Software is Eating the World" originally published in the Wall Street Journal on August 20th, 2011. If you do one thing today (besides read my blog of course!) please take a moment to read that article. It is brilliant.
Wealth creation, and concentration, has largely come at the expense of higher-paying middle class jobs. What I term the "technorati" (or in stock market parlance FAANG...Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) have swelled in market capitalization to ENORMOUS levels. But it's not just FAANG...the list can easily include any number of their peers: Adobe, Microsoft, etc. Even "new" startups like Uber and Airbnb largely leverage existing infrastructure (cars and homes) to derive profits as a software company. They manufacture nothing, except benjis.
Obviously shareholders, and in particularly founders, have made tremendous profits. But at what cost? It is going to be nearly impossible to to rebuild the middle class base in my opinion. If anything, there will be further wealth stratification into binary classes; the "Alphas" and the "Betas." Upward mobility has basically stalled for an entire generation, save for those smart and lucky enough to latch on like Velcro to the runaway tech horse.
A potential solution is tricky in a democratic republic that values, indeed prizes capitalism, and loves a Horatio Alger story in every successful person. The reality, however, is starkly different. Dynastic wealth is alive and well...and growing across the political spectrums...and that is the true enemy of meritocracy in the world.
The middle class has the votes and needs to elect pragmatic politicians willing to broach traditionally taboo subjects like true inflation (the Federal Reserve calculates inflation in tons of soybeans rather than legit metrics like housing, education, healthcare), tax avoidance (via "non-profit" foundations which collectively have avoided billions in taxation), and monopolies which clearly violate the Sherman Antitrust Act. Unless the middle class acts, the shenanigans will continue; wealth will concentrate amongst the top Alphas leaving a proverbial ocean of Betas to fuel them.
Thursday, November 23, 2017
Monday, November 13, 2017
Rumors swirl of a potential deal uniting Rhode Island-based Hasbro with West Coast Mattel, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. If indeed Barbie does say "Yes" to G.I. Joe it would create a toy monopoly having nearly every major toy brand or franchise under one roof: Star Wars, Marvel Comics, DC, Transformers, Disney, etc.
As traditional mom-and-pop retail stores shutter, and even old stalwarts like Toys R Us declare bankruptcy the toy majors (of which there are really just 3 left: Lego, Hasbro, and Mattel) are increasing relying on the direct-to-consumer sales path. (Read as "Amazon.com") This isn't good for traditional retailers...and it probably isn't going to be good for consumers either down the road.
Jamie Dimon released a chart on this subject several months ago visually detailing the consolidation in the number of publicly traded companies. I have included it here for your review fellow farmers:
Over the past 20 years there has been a nearly 50% decline in the number of public companies. The strong are getting stronger...and the weak either are acquired or go out of business. What we SHOULD be seeing in a healthy economy is the steady growth of NEW public companies coming to market which enrich and employ an increasing number of people. We are witnessing just the opposite; fewer companies employ fewer people with fewer products and higher prices. Textbook monopolies are forming all over again. What might be good for the stock market and corporate America might not be good for the American social order.
Sunday, November 12, 2017
Some believe the economic bifurcation of America is well under way; billionaire investor Ray Dalio recently was interviewed on CNBC about this pressing issue. As the head of Bridgewater Associates, one of the largest hedge funds in the world, Dalio has a unique investment process championing "radical transparency," an approach that analyzes facts with stand-alone openess. It has provided him over the years with unique insights that have resulted in an enviable track record for his hedge fund. Bottom line, Dalio is right...a lot.
Economic bifurcation is a deeply troubling, even embarrassing, issue for many billionaires to address because it cuts to the very core of their social standing, success, and political leanings. Make no doubt, there is a growing and potentially violent Civil War 2.0 brewing in this country, although it is concealed in large part via faux political unrest...and something even worse. Let me explain.
Don Henley's song "Dirty Laundry" bemoans the intrusiveness of "journalism" into people's lives, and more importantly the exploitation of "news" for profit.
Fast forward from the 1980s and what Henley's song translates to is clicks, pure and simple divisive clicks. The money is made on Facebook and Google, indeed all advertising, on user engagement from advertising. And those dollars don't roll in unless the product is purchased, and in Facebook and Google's monopolies that means clicks. And lots of them. Billions of dollars resulting from clicks.
The economic bifurcation of America is in large part due to POLITICAL bifurcation which has pitted American against American while the oligarchs have consolidated wealth and political power. It has been said the "greatest" minds of our generation have been singularly dedicated to optimizing clicks. And optimizing clicks means feeding targeted content to users' mobile devices. Period. That content has been sliced and diced into an irresible curated feed specific to each, allegedly, non-idenfiable user.
What does all of this have to do with Investing Like A Farmer? A lot. Much of the bifurcation in our country has resulted in the loss, or perceived loss depending on your economic situation, of the availability of upward economic mobility...read opportunity. Opportunity in America has traditionally meant blue color manufacturing jobs with quality wages, health care, and a retirement pension. The loss of these manufacturing jobs, and the swell in the opioid epidemic, I believe, is no accident. The timeframes sadly overlap; over the past 15 years we have seen the utter collapse in blue color manufacturing jobs coupled with an unparalleled spike in opioid deaths.
What does big tech (Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple) have to do with the loss of manufacturing jobs and the rise of the opioid epidemic? Consolidation in tech into niche monopolies of scale has eliminated many traditional manufacturing jobs, which has lead to a spike in slack human labor capital which no longer has access to quality wages, health care, or retirement pensions. This in turn has lead to a cultural shift into alternative sources of pleasure...or pain relief. Hence, a strong argument can be made that the rise of the opioid epidemic is a direct result of the loss in blue collar manufacturing jobs.
I believe there is a distinct relationship amongst opioids, tech, and manufacturing jobs. I suspect tech continues to prosper with further monopolization and consolidation. The tech titans will not willingly release their incessant drive towards full automation, ownership control, and elimination of human jobs. You can bet on further cannibalization of margins across retail and manufacturing...and any other industry with high are margins is susceptible to tech compression. Big Tech's cost of capital is virtually nil and their monopolistic scale is unprecedented in the annuals of human history.
Sadly, the most "promising" sector might just be in the inevitable misery that the loss of blue collar manufacturing jobs will cause, namely the rise of the Vice sector; tobacco, alcohol, gambling, etc. The Vice sector is poised to continue its recent trend of strong growth as the Caesars implore the masses to vote for them via appeasement with "bread and circuses."
So what's the trade? How can you survive this economic bifurcation? Buy assets early and often, hold for the long-term, and leverage the power of compounding. Ownership interest is paramount to deriving economic benefit.
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
By 2020 the United States population is estimated to reach 340 million, but of that total some 300 million people will effectively be serfs; low-income, low-wealth members of a caste with limited social mobility. It will be nearly impossible to escape serfdom as wealth permanently consolidates amongst the richest ~10% of the population.
How do you avoid becoming a serf? Landowners from medieval times to now have fared well; the "lord of the manor" typically doesn't wind up becoming a serf, although it can happen if land ownership rights are abolished (think Soviet Union or China during their respective communist purges of the 20th century.) Education is key. Owning assets (cashflow positive) is vital.
Recently hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio has identified this disturbing trend as being the result of two distinct economies in the United States; he is 100% right, but miserably late to identifying something that this blog pinpointed years ago. Mr. Dalio, however, is the lone billionaire voice this author has read even remotely advocating for a wealth transfer to protect the social order. Don't bet on it though, as hearty readers of this blog know, the Forbes 400 control vast amounts of global wealth disproportionate to their net value to the world...and along with that they control the politicians and media outlets. Make no doubt, the game is stacked.
The simple solution is to retroactively establish equity accounts for USA citizens composed of common stock transferred from ultra high net-worth individuals (say net worths of $500M+ are getting a hair cut.) Think of this as TRUE Social Security: shares in Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Berkshire Hathaway, etc. are transferred into a retirement savings account for every USA citizen. The very companies that have been allowed to establish monopolistic businesses in the United States (and often globally) help restore the Middle Class. I think voters would be a lot more excited about $100,000 appearing in a bona fide personal retirement account than a measly $1300 tax savings proposal.
Under the guise of philanthropy many billionaires are stashing their stock in non-profits, which allow them to maintain control (or their heirs) with beneficial tax treatment (read: no taxes). This does little to benefit the Middle Class from which these billions are siphoned. A strong Middle Class is good for everyone, even the ultra rich.
But real farmers don't complain, and that's not what this blog is all about...so discard the idea of wealth transfer and instead think about wealth creation and protection. Wealth creation is the product of owning assets that are cash flow positive, beneficial tax treatment, and protection of said ownership interests. The future isn't going to belong only to those who can code, but also those who can secure a solid asset base composed of real estate, equities, and education. Seek these out for yourself and the ones you love, because the monopolies grow stronger by the day.
Monday, August 7, 2017
Is there any more fitting graphic for this blog than the price per acre of USA Farmland? A special "Thank You" to one of my blog readers for tipping this image out to me. Superb. And very revealing. As many of you know "Chinatown" is one of my favorite movies of all time. It deals with water theft in California to enrich a handful of greedy speculators. Fiction? Well dear readers read on.
As a California resident I find it odd that the highest cost per acre can be found in CA, despite the tremendous "drought conditions." How could that be? Indeed, probably no other state has had such massive disruption to its natural environment (the Hoover Dam does come to mind NV readers) as California. Aptly termed "Water & Power: A California Heist," this documentary by National Geographic is the true-to-life theft of water which makes California agricultural land just so valuable. Worth watching if you enjoy blatant political graft exposed.
The true value of the farmland is the underlying value of the water that services not only the land above it, but also the population surrounding it. Mineral rights in the United States have long been a contentious issue, and probably water has become the greatest concern.
When you take a look at this map consider two factors; what is the crop which grows and who controls the water? The answers to those two questions directly impacts the underlying value of the land. And as a Financial Farmer...what are the brands and who controls the cash flow?
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Money Is Made In The Holding
What a bountiful harvest we are enjoying this year fellow farmers! I wanted to take a moment away from the fields and share with you a favorite quote of mine from my favorite book on investing.
Edwin Lefevre's masterwork "Reminiscences of a Stock Operator" has stood the test of time well and tells the story of Jesse Livermore, dubbed the "Boy Plunger," who turned his smarts, energy, and grubstake into an extremely successful career on Wall Street (up until his untimely death in the coat closet of the Sherry-Netherland.)
The primary take-away is this: "Money is made in the holding." And by that Livermore explains that the largest fortunes he made in his career were the result of buying and HOLDING the position.
Do some positions flop? Yes, many. Do some seeds fail? Yes, many. But the potential for an outsized return via an exponential winner dwarfed them all. The proverbial bumper crop that keeps a harvest going for years, generations in fact. There are many ne'er-do-wells reaping the success from seed planted generations before them. And why? They have held.
This ties in well with the Invest Like A Farmer philosophy of buying monopolistic dividend paying stocks with a steadily increasing left to right chart. Day-to-day a position may lose money. Over months it may as well, but over an increasing time period the confluence of inflation, consumption, and (hopefully) brand management those holding a position can harvest a bountiful crop.
So the is my mid-summer wisdom passed along from Jesse Livermore: "Money is made in the holding."
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
High Returns from Low Risk
Well fellow financial farmers an investor after my own heart has finally codified what we have intrinsically know for years; that it is possible to achieve high returns from low risk. How? Frequent readers of this blog (thanks Mom & Nana!) know that the effects of compounding create a virtuous anomaly in investment returns. This alpha anomaly is the result of exponential returns from consistently adding shares via dividends, buybacks, and other shareholder-friendly actions which are natural occurrences when consistent strong cash flows are administered by prudent corporate management.
Pim Van Vliet goes back many decades and crunches the numbers for us to prove this point in his new book "High Returns from Low Risk." He compares high volatility stocks with low volatility stocks (referred to as "beta" in the Wall Street world.) From this he backtests multiple scenarios which pictorially reveal what happens to "boring" investors over time...although even those dice-throwing, card-counting, wheel-spinning risky investors do well too IF they have the ability to HOLD positions over long periods of time.
What's the take-away? Invest for the REAL long time and don't be afraid to put money in your financial farm in positions which have traditionally been labeled "boring." This book is a great read for those who wish to Invest Like A Farmer.
Monday, February 27, 2017
On the surface it might not seem likely given the significant divergence in their public personas, but Donald Trump might just be Ronald Reagan 2.0
Behind the media's candelabra, there is a distinct similarity for the love of America and laser-focus on defense, infrastructure, and big deals between Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan. Obviously both are Republicans, but both weren't scions of the GOP establishment. Rather, both Presidents started off in that other party...the Democratic one, which left them and millions of other moderate Americans behind.
If history is any indicator, Reagan 2.0 should continue to be a boon for stock market investors as the government will ramp up spending on defense and infrastructure, while reducing regulation, lowering taxes, and putting America First (read as smart trade negotiation.) On the proverbial back of the envelop is the calculation of Dow 25,000 by the end of President Trump's 1st Term; there are estimates of Dow 30,000 too, but those make some really difficult assumptions.
It is going to be nearly impossible for President Trump to accomplish everything he sets out to do in his first term. Nevertheless, if President Trump can navigate the tricky deal of providing health care coverage for millions of Americans while simultaneously lowering taxes, reducing regulation, and securing our borders he'll have succeed in the bulk of his goals. Even on the belief that he will accomplish just some of these monumental tasks, the stock market has risen some 3,000 points in the past 4 months.
Investing in America has never seemed brighter; companies are regularly beating their earnings expectations and a pipeline of new incentives are on the horizon. Corporate tax reduction coupled with the ability to repatriate trillions from overseas is likely to bolster the corporate bottom line immediately, while the effects of ongoing, material reduction in regulations will provide intrinsic value which will materialize over time.
Financial farmers are in essence buying into the American Dream at a ripe time. Further prosperity via innovation and growth in the underlying fields of business should provide a bumper crop for years to come. How do I like them apples? I love 'em!
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Wall Street might just be the most vilified business, right after politics of course. Warren Buffett said as much today in his eagerly awaited annual letter to shareholders, calling members of the financial world "monkeys." Lest we forget dear readers, the 1956 Buffett Partnership Ltd. pioneered one of the highest fee structures in existence; a flat 2% for assets under management PLUS an additional 50% performance fee of any profits above a 4% return.
Warren contributed $100 (one hundred) dollars of his own money from his savings of $174,000 in 1956 to the total partnership capital of $105,100. Over the next 14 years the Buffett Partnership did very well, but Warren Buffett did EXTREMELY well. Although it is impossible to determine exactly what his take-down was, according to multiple sources his personal profit was along the lines of $25,000,000. This grub stake would be leveraged into the on-going fusion of Berkshire Hathaway and GEICO into the modern day holding company. There was just one problem, his partners.
May 29th, 1969...A Day That Will Live In Infamy
In 1969 the partnership was shut down, which coincidently coincided with the the consolidation and formation of the present day holding company of Berkshire Hathaway. Please note fellow financial farmers, at this critical juncture Warren advised his partners that there weren't any viable investment opportunities in the future and disbanded the partnership. His money, however, went into the holding company. This is probably one of the most important facts glossed over by the sycophant business media; Warren Buffett "advised" all of his limited partners to a magnitude almost incalculable, but I'll give you a back of the envelope number: $420 Billion in missed opportunity. It probably ranks as one of the greatest swindles of all time.
Today Warren Buffett is depicted as a grandfatherly investing sage championing index funds, although he has nearly his entire net worth in Berkshire Hathaway stock. Berkshire has the ability and desire to negotiate sweetheart deals (aka shareholder extraction) the likes of which could never be accomplished by ordinary mom and pop investors. 2008 was a seminal extraction year for Berkshire, it was able to succor dozens of deals; Goldman Sachs, General Electric, Dow Chemical, Bank of America, etc. all paid homage (on the backs of their shareholders) to secure funding from Warren.
History, in its purest form a trade blotter, reveals all; Warren Buffett changed career paths in the early 1950s from a stockbroker to partnership not to benefit clients, but rather to harness his "unique" investing ability as the son of a sitting Congressman, which coincidently paid one of the highest fees in the financial industry. At the juncture when his partnership provided an adequate stepping stone to leapfrog into total control of assets in which he could use the float from GEICO and simultaneously extract value out of those glorious old spinning mills Berkshire and Hathaway he didn't hesitate.
Without a doubt, Warren Buffett is one of the greatest investors of all time; his ruthless pursuit of profits is virtually without equal. Berkshire Hathaway has a market cap of some $420 Billion and generates billion in yearly profits. It is the the 4th largest company in the world. Buffett has extracted vast value from many, many companies via their existing infrastructure, brands, and workers; surely he is the leader of the monkey troop.
The irony in Warren's investing words and actual behavior is summed up simply by the residents of Fall River, Rhode Island and New Bedford, MA...the respective headquarters of Warren's launching pad for holding company Berkshire Hathaway...there are no bronze statues to this man, just crumbling factories and lost American jobs.
Friday, February 17, 2017
Mergers & Acquisitions
Today's proposed merger of KraftHeinz (a product itself of the recent mega-merger of Kraft and Heinz) with Unilever begs the question of truly how many companies really control most of the consumer brands we use? Shockingly few is the answer, and looking like even fewer in the future as jobs and workers are replaced with autonomous factories, warehouses, and shipping. The drive in recent deals has been to laser focus on logistics, remove any friction to seamless inventory control, and vertically integrate operations.
After squeezing every nickel out of manufacturing efficiencies, the next logical step is to squeeze the workers out of their jobs. This has been the hallmark the M&A world for decades, and has become an art form amongst some of the biggest private equity firms. Much of the cost savings of vertically and horizontally integration comes from reducing headcount, traditionally the most expensive cost in a manufacturing operation.
As the above graphic illustrates, only about a dozen global conglomerates control nearly every major food & beverage brand in the world; the economies of scale in terms of their ability to manufacture, market, and distribute are undoubtedly the purest definition of a monopoly. The big winners are the direct owners, the losers are phased out workers and ultimately consumers that become price-takers.
Friday, January 20, 2017
Donald J. Trump Inauguration Speech
January 20th, 2017
We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people. Together we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come.
We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done. Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power. And we are grateful to President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent. Thank you.
Today's ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another. But we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.
For too long, a small group in our nation's capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left. And the factories closed. The establishment protected itself but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes starting right here and right now. Because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you. It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.
The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before. At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction -- that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves.
These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public. But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists. Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation, an education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge. And the crime, and the gangs, and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
We are one nation, and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams, and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home and one glorious destiny.
The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans. For many decades, we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. We defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own. And spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.
We've made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon. One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind. The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world. But that is the past and now we are looking only to the future.
We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it's going to be only America first -- America first.
Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body. And I will never, ever let you down. America will start winning again, winning like never before.
We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams. We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor. We will follow two simple rules -- buy American and hire American.
We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world. But we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow.We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones. And unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.
The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.
There should be no fear. We are protected, and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement. And most importantly, we will be protected by God.
Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.
The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action. Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again. We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the earth from the miseries of disease and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.
A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions. It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget -- that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.
We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American flag. And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams and they are infused with the breath of life by the same Almighty Creator.
So to all Americans in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words -- you will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.
Together, we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And yes, together, we will make America great again. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you. God bless America.
Monday, January 2, 2017
2017 Dogs of the Dow*
*Honorable Mention: Altria (MO): 3.61% Yield (But Not A Member of the 30 Stock Dow Jones Industrial Average.) "Dogs of the Dow" is an investment strategy that picks the highest yielding 10 Dow components from the previous year-end to comprise next year's investment portfolio. It is theorized that the Dogs of the Dow, via their high yields, are by definition under-valued as an asset class to their peer group and may offer superior returns over the coming year.
Above is the per share dividend growth for Procter & Gamble over the past 60 years. As financial farmers, it is imperative we consider the impact of dividends on a financial farm; indeed, dividends have historically accounted for 42% of a portfolio's return!
Much of Wall Street is laser-focused on obtaining Alpha (positive returns), yet you rarely hear the "fast money" discussing boring dividends. Or Yield on Cost. Or the Dogs of the Dow. Boring doesn't make for flashy news, but it sure does make for a fat stack of benjis on your farm! Don't underestimate the true goal of investing: cash flow.
Sunday, January 1, 2017
Tools of Titans
A fitting start to the New Year would be picking up a copy of "Tools of Titans" by Tim Ferriss for about the price of a mimosa. It is thick and rich with examples, strategies, tactics, habits, procedures, and systems from the most successful people you've ever and never heard of! Tools of Titans is an overflowing resource of process-driven philosophy and execution methodology, superb.