Substack Library


Real Yields & A Synthetic Pension

My father, who worked his whole life for the US Federal government as a scientist, had something wonderful—a pension. Since I worked for the private sector, I have savings and, if it’s still there, at some point Social Security, but no pension. The US has a pretty primitive pension system, certainly compared to places like Canada and Australia that force people to think long-term via forced savings.

Health Is Wealth

News flash…Master, Minion just won an award. I can’t reveal what award until later this year, but I am surprised and delighted. So…if you want an enjoyable read that gets into the psychological dimensions of a financial war, a good read awaits.

A Stock, An Index, and a Twinkie

“Even if parallel lines do meet and I see it myself, I shall see it and say that they’ve met, but I still won’t accept it.” Ivan, The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoyevsky, 1879.

Investing Amid Climate Change

“The Prince of Darkness is a gentleman.”

Oil Market Action

­­­“In the late 1970s, the average American adult male weighed 173 pounds. Now the average American man tips the scale at nearly 200 pounds…’average’ is not necessarily optimal.

European Bonds

German bonds look like Japanese and American bonds—vulnerable, though for slightly different reasons.

Japanese Bonds

I switched from journalism to finance in September 1998. My first job was at a bank on the “currency desk,” meaning we traded global currencies and interest rates for corporate clients. My boss believed the dollar would rise against the Japanese yen.

Never Look Away

“If you will take my advice you will tell us everything…” -Mr. Skinner.

The Bond Market

Markets are a kaleidoscope that keeps changing shape. It’s easy to over-focus on the details and lose perspective. So in the coming weeks, I want to go through the markets one by one, stare at the numbers, and ask a lot of questions. I start with the US bond market, not because it is the most interesting, but because this is where money is priced for the world’s reserve currency and everything else derives from that pricing. The price one pays for stocks, for instance, is directly related to the cost of money.

Thinking in Pictures

Edwin Lefevre’s 1923 Reminiscences of a Stock Operator is a cult classic and testimony to the perils of “watching the tape,” which is to say reading anything predictive into charts of financial markets. In truth, prices are determined by supply and demand, not pictures. And figuring out supply and demand takes a lot of work. That said, I still stare at charts before making investment decisions and below I share what the pictures look like to me today.