How to create wealth which lasts generations

One of my fascinations is how to pass on wealth between generations. It amazes me how people can succeed magnificently at wealth transfers, and can even prepare the following generations for wealth which they themselves never enjoyed. Or sometimes they can blow things to shreds. Life is a lot harder than we would like to realize, and providing for future generations in terms of education and actual wealth is a profound blessing. There’s a lot to learn from the European and Asian families who have managed this successfully for centuries. Read here what billionaires do.

Flash Crash in the British pound currency!

I’m guessing this is a good time to plan a visit to England. Today’s frenzy over the British pound is a good thing for British exporters too. It also illustrates why we tend to avoid ETF’s: too many technology-driven flash crashes.At some point soon I expect to go bargain hunting. Read more about why you should plan a trip to London here.

Why the economy isn’t thriving: more insight

Last week we were in San Francisco listening to a presentation by Schwab’s chief economist, Liz Ann Saunders. My takeaway was that the economy is not thriving because of

a. excessive debt in the system.
b. complexity.

The excessive debt may or may not have prevented a depression but its legacy is gargantuan payments to keep from defaulting. These will only become larger as interest rates rise.

The complexity is due to technological change and off-the-charts over-regulation. Distractions have grown and regulatory uncertainty is rife.

What will happen? We don’t know. Here’s bond guru Bill Gross’ latest comment.

It’s a Fed, Fed, Fed, Fed World

With apologies to the 1963 movie, “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” starring Spencer Tracy and Milton Berle, we are currently in the midst of something new: the Federal Reserve is in control of our stock markets. Their quantitative easing and low interest rates have not boosted the economy as much as intended, but they have certainly been wonderful for stocks, bonds, and real estate.

In today’s Wall Street Journal, page A-13, in the article “Trump Tees Up A Necessary Debate On The Fed”, economist Ruchir Sharma of the investment bank Morgan Stanley writes:

“Since the Fed began aggressive monetary easing in 2008, my calculations show that nearly 60% of stock market gains have come on those days, once every six weeks, that the Federal Open Market Committee announces its policy decisions.Put another way, the S&P 500 index has gained 699 points since January 2008, and 422 of those points came on the 70 Fed announcement days. The average gain on announcement days was 0.49%, or roughly 50 times higher than the average gain of 0.01% on other days.

This is a sign of dysfunction. The stock market should be a barometer of the economy, but in practice it has become a barometer of Fed policy.”

Yep, you weren’t just imagining it. How this all unwinds is unknown. Meanwhile, we should be very cautious, and enjoy the gains. This will probably end nicely. Perhaps not.

The debate doesn’t matter.

Whoever is elected president is likely to be a weak leader, beset on all sides by extremely unhappy factions. The debate tonight is likely to feature bluster and storming. Meanwhile we’re on Fantasy Island when it comes to economic issues.

Read more here. 

The Bank of Japan thinks nothing will happen, and the stock markets of the world love it.

The Bank of Japan issued its plans for future economic stimulus last night.  Consider the rather stunning implications of the Japanese 10 year bond having a 0% yield. That means they expect the economy to grow…0%. Another thought to be derived from all this is that the giant increase in debt in Japan over recent decades and the vast complexification of Japanese society hasn’t worked, yet the Bank of Japan is doubling down on the same policies. Individual stocks may do quite well, though. Most importantly, the same phenomenons are playing out all over the world. Stock markets are going up globally because cheap money means that there’s more to support current values. I’m wondering when the electorate will truly realize the meaning of this.

Read the details here.

The (possible) future of interest rates

Few people are considering that regardless of which candidate we elect in November, she or he may possibly be a weak president because an iron wall of hatred has been nourished into existence in our society. As a result, the central banks may run the global economy by default. Then you get guessing games like today. Note that this was originally written in 2015 and has been updated.

Read the exciting Forbes article which was originally written in 2015 here. 

Hangin’ out at the Federal Reserve Soup Kitchen

Where we are all dependent upon a handout. They’re in charge of what happens next, since the investment markets are dysfunctionally addicted to low interest rates. Meanwhile, Andresen & Associates is now AGGRESSIVELY rebalancing our portfolios in anticipation of…something. Today’s downturn is an indication of restless spirits, but whether it turns into anything meaningful is dependent upon news…and especially interest rates.