Monday, April 20, 2015

What Poor People Want

Fiscal Forum: “The Political Economy of High Debt” IMF, April
19, 2015. L to R: David Wessel, Maria Luís Albuquerque,
Christine Lagarde, Helen Clark, Joaquim Levy.
I was at the IMF yesterday with a bunch of rich white people (@Lagarde @HelenClarkUNDP  ) when the subject of poor people came up.

Of course, as they do with Black people, rich white people claim to know everything there is to know about the poor. I think their main fear is that poor people will want the same deal that Goldman Sachs got, or the deal JP Morgan got, or the deal the "London Whale" or the LIBOR manipulators got. This fear is borne of a certain selfishness and greed.

It is, also, completely wrong, so I took the time to tell them what I think.

Here is what we want:

1. Water. Not privatized water systems. Access to clean water.
2. Food. Not GMO degraded, just clean food.
3. Shelter. Not subprime loans, but shelter.
4. Peace. Not the opportunity to be shot in the back by a racist cop, or a racist Israeli soldier or a Muslim extremist.

If you think about it, these are the same things that rich white people want.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Effective Investing: How to minimize fees and maximize potential return

We coined the term "Effective Investing" to reflect a style of investing that does several things. First, it minimizes fees and costs. Your money should go toward your future, not to a broker or mutual fund company. There are only two ways to accomplish this, one in stock investing and the other in bond investing. Your money should be safe and effective investing means being able to sleep at night.

This means managing and minimizing risk. There are a limited number of ways to accomplish this, too. Risk is a feature of investing. It is how you get to return. Still, you can rationally minimize risk by taking a few constructive steps. 
In the bond or fixed income world, investing in US Government securities is the only way to accomplish this. 
In the stock market, the strategy is the polar opposite and can be summarized as "don't put all of your eggs in one basket," in fact, put them in the biggest basket you can find. This means investing in an Index Fund comprised of shares of stock in 500 or more companies. The S&P 500 Index is the tool we suggest (although we have had issues with S&P, their Index is solid.)
Finally, effective investing means being at peace with your conscience. This means not investing in companies that are, or may do bad things with your money. (Now, we understand that this may be difficult for some investing in US Government securities or investing in an Index, but we show you a way around this, in fact the ONLY way around this...) This means looking for and investing in responsible companies. In summary, Effective Investing:
  1. Minimizes fees.
  2. Minimizes risk.
  3. Maximizes potential financial AND social return.

We tell you how to do this online in: Stock, Bond and Mutual Fund Investing We cover the following topics:
  • What is Investing?
  • Why Invest?
  • How to minimize fees and maximize potential returns.
  • Risk and Reward
  • What Is a Stock?
  • What Is a Bond?
  • What Is a Mutual Fund?
  • What is a return?
  • What is Ethical/Socially Responsible/Environmental Social and Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility Investing?
  • What is screening? exclusion? shareholder activism? positive investing?
  • How can you invest effectively, meaning with minimum fees and maximum potential for return?
  • For a preview, see:

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Stock, Bond and Mutual Fund Investing Class on Udemy

We quickly and completely cover the basics of investing in only about 40 minutes. If you want honest, objective information about investing, this is your course. It's also geared to people who want to start investing now! We define what stocks, bonds and mutual funds are. In addition, we cover risk and return, two key investing concepts. We cover ethical/social/environmental investing, providing expert-level instruction on these topics. We show returns generated by various types of investments from 1801 to 2011. We show you how to use various techniques to invest in stocks and bonds at low or no cost. Finally, we describe some of the best mutual funds in the marketplace. Our lecture provides the rationale for both investing and for social investing.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Norwegian Government investments in coal and petroleum companies

Recently, "the Norwegian Ministry of Finance circulated (a) report from the Expert Group on the Government Pension Fund Global investments in coal and petroleum companies for a public hearing amongst Norwegian stakeholders. The Expert Group has evaluated whether the exclusion of coal and petroleum companies is a more effective strategy for addressing climate issues than the exercise of ownership and exertion of influence."  While not a citizen of Norway, in my comments, I respectfully reminded the Ministry that "All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." 

Our research strongly suggests that investors and publicly traded companies must recognize the impact environmental incidents and issues have on a given firm's ability to use company assets and therefore generate revenue and profits.



Saturday, April 4, 2015

Gentrification and Black People in DC

Our economic research reveals the following:  there is not a single city in the United States of America where the majority of Black people resident before gentrification have been better off post-gentrification. Not one.
In every single case, Black income and wealth are lower, significantly so.

I mention this because of a comment I made to DC Mayor Bowser at a Forum on Development in Anacostia, Washington, DC.

Here is my original comment before the DC City Council:

The Mayor appears to believe that this is simply not an issue.

My comment and the Mayor's response can be heard at minute 42:00 here:

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Our Fully Adjusted Return (TM) Model Predicts Unemployment will be 5.4%

The U.S.Employment Situation report will be released on Friday at 8:30 am. According to the Department of Labor, "Based on the Household Survey, the unemployment rate measures the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labor force." Our Fully Adjusted Return (TM) Model, combining social and financial data, predicts a 5.4% rate for March.

Unemployment has been trending down since the beginning of 2009. The long term trend is declining, as the chart below shows. We see no reason for this to change. The only risk is that we may be a little early.

On November 2, 2012, we noted that "As is often the case, the Fully Adjusted Return (TM) methodology is early. (On December 22, 2003 and February 6, 2006, we warned the S.E.C. and other regulators that statistical models created by the firm using the Fully Adjusted Return (TM) Methodology signaled the probability of system-wide economic and market failure)."