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You Have to Follow the Money

John Del Vecchio really is a nice guy, I promise. But he doesn’t smile a lot. Maybe it’s because he grew up in upstate New York, where you can go weeks in winter without seeing the sun… or maybe it comes from the years he spent working as a forensic accountant and as a professional short seller. But John definitely has a serious, no-nonsense demeanor about him. And let me tell you from experience, you don’t want to be on the opposite side of a trade as him. This seems almost ridiculous now, given the company’s dismal performance, but many […]

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Happy (Belated) Guy Fawkes Day

Remember, remember the Fifth of November, The Gunpowder Treason and Plot, I know of no reason Why the Gunpowder Treason. Should ever be forgot. Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent To blow up the King and Parli’ment. Three-score barrels of powder below To prove old England’s overthrow; By God’s mercy he was catch’d With a dark lantern and burning match. Hulloa boys, Hulloa boys, let the bells ring. Hulloa boys, hulloa boys, God save the King! –Traditional English nursery rhyme  Yesterday, November 5, was Guy Fawkes Day. While it doesn’t get a lot of press on this side of […]

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How to Keep Your Retirement Years Golden

I got a nice reminder of why I do what I do a few weeks ago when I met my dad for dinner. As we sat down to eat, I could tell there was something he wanted to tell me, but he didn’t want to just blurt it out. But, after a few minutes, he couldn’t wait any longer. “I spoke to your sister earlier today, so she’s already gotten the news. I’ve decided it’s finally time,” he said. “I’m going to retire at the end of this year.” This news didn’t come as a total surprise. He’s talked about […]

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The Market is Irrational, and I’m OK With That

John Maynard Keynes is widely considered one of the most influential economists of the 20th century and the founder of modern macroeconomics theory – but I don’t agree with a lot of his body of work. After all, virtually every government in the world uses Keynes’ theories to justify perpetual budget deficits in the name of fiscal stimulus. (I suppose in Keynes’ defense, he also advocated that governments run budget surpluses when the economy is strong so as to balance the budget over a full economic cycle. Someone might need to remind Congress of that…) But while I have my […]

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What If It’s the 1990s All Over Again?

The 1990s were fun. The internet was new, as was high-end coffee for most Americans. You can say what you want about Starbucks, but do you even remember what pre-1990s canned Folgers tasted like? They wouldn’t serve that to prisoners on death row today. It would be inhumane! The Cold War had just ended, gasoline was dirt cheap, and rock music was in the midst of its most creative decade since the 1960s. The federal budget was balanced for the first (and last) time in decades. And, best of all, we had the turn of the millennium to look forward […]

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Why It’s Time to Think Like a Roman

Years ago, when I was earning my master’s degree from the London School of Economics, I was known to skip out of lectures a little early on Fridays, throw on a backpack, and do some exploring on the weekends. With just about anywhere in the U.K. or Europe accessible within a few hours, my decision on where to go was usually made by price. (I was, after all, on a grad student’s budget.) Train tickets to northern England were cheap, so one September weekend I decided to hike along Hadrian’s Wall, the ancient boundary between Roman Britain and the barbarian […]

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The Right Value for an Overheated Market

“Private equity” can conjure entertaining mental images. I’ve often asked friends to describe what comes to mind for them when I mention the phrase. Here’s a sampling of what they’ve said: An older man in a fancy suit enjoying a single-malt scotch in a private New England club… who takes perverse pleasure in looting a company of its assets before firing all the employees and selling whatever’s left for spare parts. (It’s the old “buy, strip, and flip” routine.) Or, perhaps that same guy is enjoying a Churchill cigar while playing a round of golf and casually plotting the same […]

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The Simple Reasons Why Amazon is Not a Monopoly

There’s a Much Bigger Problem for Retail I recently Google searched the term “Amazon monopoly.” It returned over 4 million results. Now, a couple of those hits were links to the Amazon.com product page for the Monopoly board game we all grew up playing as kids. (I was delighted to see there’s a Game of Thrones edition, complete with a direwolf token and King’s Landing as Boardwalk.) But the majority of the search results were articles about Amazon’s growing dominance of retail, and its potential threat to competition as a monopoly. Amazon is big, and it’s getting bigger every day. […]

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Income Starved Investors are Flocking to These “Private Income Funds”

Among the bleak retirement landscape, investors are finding lucrative opportunities Time after time, I hear stories of people “cutting back” to stretch a meager income or make a small nest egg last. Most retirees (or people planning for retirement) are pinching pennies, fearing their nest eggs will run out soon. Or they’re scratching out “a living” on meager Social Security benefits of $ 1,300 a month. Folks just aren’t making enough off of their investments PRIOR to retirement, to live out their golden years comfortably. I go into further detail in my latest video presentation. While we absolutely have a retirement crisis in […]

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The Boomers Are Aging Fast… Time to Make Money Now

If you’ve followed my writing for any length of time, you know how much respect I have for Harry and his demographic work. Believe it or not, Harry, and his approach to forecasting, gave me the confidence to help launch Peak Income – an income newsletter – at a time when most investors were terrified of yield-focused investments. The consensus two years ago was that inflation and higher bond yields were just around the corner, which would’ve meant a rough ride for the kind of investments I recommend. In retrospect, that claim seems almost absurd. Inflation is still dead on […]

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