About Me

I have been investing since 1986. Generally, far more successfully than most professional and institutional investors. Whether that is due to luck or a smaller portfolio or skill or some strange galactic alignment, I don’t know.  Nor do I much care. The outperformance has lasted for long enough to be meaningful for me. As long as it continues I will continue to invest on my own rather than to hand management of my money over to “professionals” and “experts”.

Fortunately, I also have a documentable track record – better than all but 20 or so mutual funds – to ensure that the above statements are based on fact rather than just ego or delusion. Visually, here’s my main portfolio performance since 2003.

Tracking Portfolio

As for my background. I have a degree in economics with a strong emphasis on math, statistics, and quantitative analysis. I have worked at the managerial level in a variety of medium/large companies  putting together pay programs, executive compensation plans, incentive plans, and employee benefits programs — domestically and globally. That has given me valuable experience in assessing what is the largest cost component and often a large future liability for most companies. It has also given me an edge in determining whether those reinforce, align with, or detract from broader financial measures of corporate performance. Sadly, it has also provided me with a lot of cynicism about how often the interests of shareholders/principals are at odds with the interests of executives/insiders/agents.

I have also started a couple of companies. Not successfully, but the experience has been valuable in understanding financial statements, developing business plans, and understanding the implementation/risk problems in getting from here to there. Overall, this experience is not unusual for nonprofessional investors but is quite different from the background of most professional money managers.

My biases are towards a generally small-l libertarian view of macro-level influences. Big ossified companies are bad enough when it comes to responding to market demand and “cooperating” to screw smaller competitors and consumers. Big government is even worse. The “cooperative” collusive combination of the two is truly the worst of all possible worlds and I find it near obscene that such a combination is often called “capitalism” or “free markets” today.

About This Blog

I created this blog for one reason. To improve my own investing discipline. While I avoided most of the market downturn of 2008, I also missed much of the bounce of 2009. I let my overall long-term views play too much of an influence on my particular specific investing decisions. In doing so, I missed opportunities. My biases affected my vision and that is not a good thing when one is a minnow among sharks.

So this blog will force me to regularly track a set of market indicators I have developed, force me to assess the validity of them regularly, and provide an audit trail for things I learn, strategies I pursue, and individual investment ideas. Most of which are not available to you if you are just surfing this site. In other words, it is long past time for me to stop winging it and to start being more formal and disciplined about investing.

In starting this blog, I also suspect that it might be useful to others. Far too many minnows have been eaten by the sharks over the last decade. It is quite understandable why many small investors view today’s financial markets as a rigged game for insiders and big money with guarantees to them by government. The markets are rigged and collusive and they will continue to be and nothing will change. Heads they win, tails they win. But the moment one decides to save and/or invest rather than  simply spend, consume, and go into debt; then one must enter the water. What is perceived as “safe” may not be so. What is perceived as “risky” may not be so. The minnow has no chance of changing the shark. The only chance the minnow has is of knowing where the sharks are right now and what they are busy feeding on right now so that the minnow can reduce the chances of being blindsided. Not a great set of options but it is still better than refusing to save and going into debt and pretending that that is a way to secure a future for yourself and your family.

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