All Posts By

Sam Bass Jr.

Do You Have a Success-Type Personality?

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

“Just as a doctor learns to diagnose disease from certain symptoms, failure and success can also be diagnosed. . . A person does not simply find success or come to failure. He or she carries their seeds around in his personality and character.” Dr. Maxwell Maltz In his 1960 groundbreaking book, Psycho Cybernetics, Dr. Maltz largely started the self-improvement movement, but his work was so much more than that. Writing in the early days of the computer age, he showed us how science and psychology were coming to understand how much like computers and servo-mechanisms the human brain and sub-conscious

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How To Make Your Financial Information More Secure

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

If you can remember the passwords you use to secure your most sensitive financial information, if you use the same ones for multiple sites, or if you’ve written them down and stored them somewhere ‘safe’ (like the key under the mat), your data is at risk. According to Centrify, a leader in cyber-security, 81% of computer data breaches come through hacked passwords. “Cyber criminals find the path of least resistance to their target, and today that path leads straight from users with self-managed ‘simple factor’ passwords. Simple passwords used to be acceptable security in the early days of the Internet,

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Good Comes from Market Corrections

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

We are nearing the 10-year anniversary of the stock market’s incredible recovery following the Great Recession which saw stocks lose 50% or more of their value. Since March 9th, the S&P and Dow are up nearly 300% while the US Total Market index is up 400%, not counting dividends. During this time, there have been six corrections in which markets have fallen more than 10% from earlier peaks.    While no one who owns stocks particularly enjoys market corrections, they are not only inevitable, they are valuable for free markets in that they ‘correct’ abuses and excesses. Continually rising stock

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Market Volatility Down For Now

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

Remember that awful market drop starting in mid-September of last year? A strong market rally in January, the strongest in 30 years, is two thirds the way toward erasing it. The Fed pausing their rate increases for a while, China coming to the bargaining table in earnest, thousands of new private sector jobs created suggesting businesses largely ignored the government shutdown and bad weather, and 71% of S&P 500 companies reporting positive earnings surprises have all combined to restore confidence in the US economy among investors. The Federal Reserve likely deserves a large share of the credit for both the

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The Success Mechanism Within You

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

“It may seem strange, but it is nevertheless true, that up until [1950], scientists had no idea of just how the human brain and nervous system worked ‘purposely’ to achieve a goal”  Dr. Maxwell Maltz Through his phenomenally successful 1960 book Psycho Cybernetics, Dr. Maxwell Maltz changed the way psychologists, self-help authorities, athletic trainers, behavioral experts and the rest of us understand how the Success Mechanism in each of us works to achieve goals, large and small. As the computer took center stage in the late 50’s as mankind’s latest marvel of human invention, Dr. Maltz asked the question: “Could it

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How to Navigate Volatile Markets

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

Since October, large swings in the stock market have become commonplace, driven by a ceaseless stream of extraordinary economic and political news events. Apple hardly ever downgrades their earnings guidance. The Chinese economy hardly ever declines. Britain may be forced to leave the European Union without a trade/border deal adding significant economic, diplomatic, and political uncertainty to the region. The US dominance in space hasn’t been challenged since 1969, but China, Iran and others are now saber rattling in this new arena. The Federal Reserve hasn’t raised interest rates four times in a year since 2006. Along those lines, good

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Too Much Bah Humbug

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

During the past few weeks, markets have been batted around like a pinball, flipped by the Federal Reserve on the one side and government shut-down on the other. The active bumpers of China, BREXIT, oil prices, regulating big tech, global economic slowing, TWEETS, and a host of other recent news events have bounced our pinball market all over the table with more noise than points. Stocks, as measured by the Dow Jones Industrial Index are down 5.4% year to date, while the larger market, as measured by the S&P 500 and the CRSP Total US market are down more than

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What Are the Markets Telling Us?

By | The Friday Brief | One Comment

Markets are in a tizzy (a state of nervous excitement or agitation). Investors are asking, is the party over, is the bull market ending or are we just taking a pause? The latest volatility has been set off by ‘tariff-tweets,’ Fed talk, economic data, and the arrest of a Chinese CEO during trade talks. As global markets are mind-numbingly complex, the answer is definitely all of the above, and a lot more. But market catalysts pop and fizzle with short lives, the more important questions are what do the signs tell us will happen in the mid-term and the long-term

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Investment Efficiency

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Efficiency measures what is produced against the inputs required to produce it. Efficiency is generally reduced by some form of drag, such as friction, cost, energy, or time, but there can be great reward in improving efficiency. An investment portfolio produces greater wealth as the friction of expenses, taxes, and under-performance relative to markets are reduced. While the most efficient way to achieve the returns of a particular market is to own that market. The most practical way of doing that is through the use of an Exchange Traded Fund or ETF. We use the VTI offered by Vanguard to efficiently

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Hurricanes and Market Turbulence

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

The last ten years of fair-weather markets have spoiled us a bit, but storms do come, and they can be ferocious. Just as Hurricane Michael came out of nowhere, so did a stock-selling spree that shaved more than 5% from the S&P 500. We are once again reminded that stock markets do not move in straight lines, and that emotions often get the better of investors. The US economy is strong. Corporate earnings have grown more than 20% for the past two quarters and are on pace to do the same for the third quarter of this year. Unemployment at

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