Category: Blog Posts

Footnotes – March 2024

Today we are going to discuss the 3 themes we believe have a better than 50% chance of influencing our capital markets during 2024. 

You might ask – why this is important? 

In a market environment with abundant uncertainty, it is important to be prepared for any number of shifting environments.   And with current U.S. and global debt levels, at some point, the shifting environments will be more disruptive and surprising.

Footnotes – January 2024

In January’s “Footnotes” publication, we want to focus on the Signals – ignore the noise – and encourage each Family Office member to make intelligent decisions based on facts and data offering information about the likely future to come.  As we move forward through 2024, it will become as important to tune out the noise as it will be to focus on the signals.  Why? Because debt leverages outcomes.  Debt makes good outcomes great.  Debt makes bad outcomes disastrous.  As this publication goes to press, the U.S. has a record $34 trillion in debt at the national level, a record amount of debt in corporate America, AND a record amount of debt on the balance sheet of our U.S. citizens. 

Footnotes – December 2023

If you will remember, we started these “First Friday” meetings in October 2022, because we saw storm clouds on the horizon. 

The U.S. Federal Reserve was fighting a bought of inflation which turned out to be stickier than originally thought by increasing interest rates and decreasing the liquidity in our economy.  

History tells us there is an 80% probability of the Fed over-tightening, and eventually sending us into a recession. 

While recessions are events intelligent investors would like to avoid, current conditions have heightened our concerns.  Here is why:  Our U.S. debt has increased by over 30 trillion over the last 40 years.  That’s 30X the debt it took our country over 200 years to amass, and most of it accumulated in the last 15 years.

Sex Drugs and No Control: The Wild Ways of Banks Continues

Dear Banking Industry,

Scandalous, illegal, or immoral Wall Street activities can happen anytime, anywhere. Take heart! Not one of you is alone. We took a look at some of Wall Street’s dirty laundry ourselves. It seems these days it is not shocking. Yet, the brand messaging of some of our “most trusted institutions” seems to be directly at odds with your actual practices–and that should not be.

How to Prepare Heirs to Handle a Family Inheritance

When wealth is passed down through generations in a family, the long-term prognosis generally isn’t very good. Research shows that in most families, 70% of inherited wealth is lost by the second generation and 90% by the third.

Does Obama’s Endorsement of a Fiduciary Standard Change the Wall St. Status Quo?

“There are a lot of very fine financial advisors out there, but there are also financial advisors who receive backdoor payments or hidden fees for steering people into bad retirement investments that have high fees and low returns. So what happens is these payments, these inducements incentivize the broker to make recommendations that generate the best returns for them, but not necessarily the best returns for you… the truth is most people don’t even realize that’s happening.”

How Do Intelligent Investors Hire Wealth Managers?

Since publishing our Huffington blog which mentioned only a small fraction of what occurred at banks and Wall Street firms last year, not much has changed. Why do perpetrators of financial crimes choose to commit them?

Decisions, Decisions… Are Yours Good Ones?

Why do smart people make bad financial decisions? More importantly, why do they keep making them? Perhaps they study stocks, market fluctuations, or market indicators. Only a fractional percentage of investors, both professional and amateur, manage to “beat” the market.

Banking on the Family

What exactly is a family bank and what are its applications? Mainly used to pay for education, buy a home, or start a business, (though it certainly can have other applications, depending on its rules) the Family Bank is not a brick-and-mortar lending institution, partnership, nor is it a corporation. It does, however, operate as an entity formally independent of the family.

Keep Wealth in the Family

Nearly every country on the planet has its own aphorism to reflect the all-too-common trend of rags to riches and back to rags again. In our culture, this phenomenon is described as “from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.” And it affects many affluent, intelligent families. So when fortunes are built by industrious, bright, innovative individuals, why is their wealth often destroyed in just a few generations?