I was sitting with three smart friends this afternoon at a coffee shop by the Marina discussing the US economy. I have a section in my book on investing called Americanism. Of the three I was the only one that was 100% sold on the American economy. They asked me why I was so sure, after all there are many economists and commentators who believe the US economy is heading toward a 2015 recession (possibly every 7 years), depression (never again because of legislation) or China economy leaving us behind. The year I wrote about Americanism Obama became president and the DJ was at 9000. Today the market is at 18000 and I made enough money to dance. How do I have the 100% confidence where to put my money that my friends don’t have? It’s simple, there are 2 underestimated documents written in human history that I studied to the hilt, almost at the level of understanding required by a PhD. One is the US Constitution because I was an immigrant (the second document I won’t tell you unless you give me a good reason you want to know). That American Constitution is so goddamn secure and permanent that any investor in the world knows that his money is 100% safe only in New York! My friends didn’t realize that China sells its products and services in the US to the tune of five trillion dollars! The Chinese take about 20% of the money to build infrastructure in China that employ Chinese workers and improves their standard of living and sent the rest of the money to buy stocks in American companies listed in NYSE. The companies can now use the extra cash to hire Americans to build great infrastructures! Furthermore, Americans are smart because they don’t save. They go to Chinese banks for the rest of the money that wasn’t sent to NYSE. They borrow that money for interest payments the Chinese can’t refuse and use the money to visit Shanghai and Paris and Hawaii and have a good time for peanuts. Now you know why Americans always have more money than other people. They borrow, invest, buy goods and services and in the process raise a great standard of living, while helping the Chinese do better too. Now, this wonderful process started happening in india and other countries but not in Japan! The poor Japanese, they can’t shake off their fear of taking risk. In Japan this great economic process of consumerism (spend all your savings) failed. Why? Because the Japanese, either by culture or pessimism, love to save and hate to spend. In fact, in Japan you get punished by the government if you save too much! They know that growth means spending in general and exponential growth means spending on schools and infrastructure, but they can’t do it. They try to copy the Americans who never save, but they can’t. Why? Oh well, it is human nature that what is simple to do is the hardest to do – to be simple!
I am back from Vacation. Your patience is rewarded. This analysis is simple, good and true. you will understand the dummies in Europe! Since I spoke in Rome on behavioral economics, I was invited to present my study at a few more Universities. I refused. I decided to write my third book instead. Let will tell you the essence of my behavioral economics study here on my blog because after speaking at UCLA and at the university of Valencia where no gentle professor dared to challenge my views! I came to the realization that Spain (and now Greece) are stuck on scarcity thinking and austerity planning and I can’t shake them off!
Greece had 4 years of austerity imposed by the EU whose economists are experts on scarcity thinking and austerity programming. The poor Greeks just elected a government that is even more hot on austerity and scarcity! Here is why? The Universities in the EU graduate PhD’s in economists today (I didn’t find one that isn’t!) who believe that the economic problem of Greece and Span (and Ireland) stem from government spending too much borrowed and tax money!! What I said 2 years ago at the University of Valencia, Spain was, “Your unemployment is high because you spend too little of the EU loans and your tax revenues on the right programs and too much on the wrong programs! No professor in any room at any University that I spoke asked me to explain, no one did! That means only one thing…that the economists in the lecture halls knew that their entitlements and paternalistic programs would be attacked by me! They glance at my outline and saw, “Dr. Kinarthy wants the Spanish government to take a loan and open 50 community colleges like the ones in California where I come from! Bingo! No paternalism, no entitlements, just great training in needed occupations for 10 million folks!
2014 in review: I poster years of experience as a psychologist and investor. My sole purpose in 2014 will continue in 2015 – to make your lives a little easier!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 360 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.
God is not just the best insurance broker, God is the best broker of everything under the sun since the big bang. I know it because I asked Him and He said, “Elior, I am happy you talk to me directly, everyone else talk to me through a middleman, a spiritual broker who tells them what to say. I hate that.” I just saw a TV commercial by the Association of Insurance Brokers. The commercial did not explain how important is the CONCEPT of brokerage (that is my job). These folks that paid for the commercial are the professionals who for a small fee will find for you the best insurance plan for the money based on your protection needs. Not bad, ah? They plug your data into their computer and the bot finds for you the program they think you need. Simple? Then why am I making the fuss over brokerage services, all the way to God!
Here are the rules you need to get sophisticated and improve your life tremendously:
1. Everything in your life can be obtained directly by you or indirectly though a broker (middleman). I was a college professor of psychology, not an investor, when my dad passed away in 1991 and left me a small mutual fund account at Morgan Stanley brokerage. A broker handled my money-making at about 5% per year profit (minus a fee). I had to untill I learned to buy and sell shares myself and pocket about 25% per year (without a fee) every year! Conceptually, I moved from indirect behavior to direct behavior . 65% of the investors in the US and 75% of the investors in Canada use a middleman to invest and never move to direct investing behavior. Like with purchasing insurance or anything else they either don’t have the time to study the market, are bored by the topic, or they are not smart enough to do as well as a broker does.
2. Everything in your life can be obtained directly by you or indirectly though a broker (middleman). I mean everything, get it? Everything! There is no stigma to it except that most people who do everything in life indirectly through a broker would think you are nuts.. “What do you mean God talks to you directly without a middleman? Don’t you need a rabbi, priest or minister to get through to Jesus or Moses?” What do you mean you cured your cancer? What does your oncologist say?” (“He said I was lucky.”). My friend said, “I know your wife, she is beautiful, how did you find her directly without any help? No problem, I administered a compatibility test called the EPPS to 500 women and she came 96% compatible with my personality” You are serious, aren’t you? Jesus, can anyone “dial a life” for himself without a middle man to broker things?
Yes, you can, but my advice to you is don’t! Don’t even try direct living unless you have a passion to be 100% independent, you believe in yourself 100%, you have all the time, you are self actualized, a maverick dude and you get a big kick out of carving your own path while people are looking. I hear my friends and family say repeatedly, “Elior, her is the luckiest crazy son of a gun.”
There are 2 kinds of investors; professional and amateur. There are more amateur investors than professionals. The total money invested by the amateurs exceeds the total money invested by the professionals, although the amount invested by each amateur investor is much smaller than the amount invested by each professional. The amateurs usually make less money in a Bull market than the professionals and when the market is Bear usually lose more money. BLASH (Buy Low And Sell High) is my goal, a term I invented and use in my 2 books on investing for amateurs. My job as an amateur investor who makes as much money as a professional investor is to help my co investors make money or at least not lose money to the professionals, which is usually the case.
Let’s look at Alibaba, the new heavy-set kid on the American block. I bought shares of BABA near IPO and I am making inflated dollars. I am not under the illusion that BABA’s first quarter’s earning after the IPO is really the reported 45 cents per share. It is more like 25 cents per share when you consider the unreported expenses for the quarter as true expenses, which they are! It is legal to inflate earnings by not including as expenses employee compensation, paying salary with stock options, inflating share price with buybacks that raise the value of existing shares (supply and demand). What it does, it sells extra shares by these artificial means in the short run untill the market catches the gimmick in the long run and prices go down. By then the professionals have already cashed in their profits and the amateurs are struck with low price shares they brought at the short-term high price. The fact that the analysts were fooled too by the first quarter estimates is no consolation to the amateur investors who were fascinated by P/E more than cash flow before they bought. The solution is what I did with BABA. I bought the shares for the long run because the short run has in it the hidden inflated price(HIP) on any new stock! It is not hip at all to buy high in the short run and sell low in the short run because companies play shenanigans with how they define their calculated defined expenses.
1. Sales companies that pretend by name to be affiliated with the government: I remember being drafted into the army as a medic a year after landing in the U.S. as an immigrant in 1960. I was at Fort Dix and then at Fort Hood. A pretty girl sales person representative of a company called Federal Encyclopedia was standing next to my company commander telling us the virtue of American life, selling us as set of poor quality 24 book encyclopedia Americana. I bought the set, thinking it was required by the Federal government in Washington. My friend Michael Lewis, born in New Jersey, didn’t buy. Later, he told me that many private companies sell products on army bases. They are allowed to sell products on army basis as long as they get permission from the captain. In 1961 I was a high school dropout from Israel, not a psychologist (yet) so I couldn’t see the mimic or gimic in naming a company Federal Books, Bank of America, American Express, Union Bank, U.S. Surplus Uniforms or any other name that could fool immigrants who are afraid of deception in the new land and think the U.S. Government is protective. I paid $10.00 per month for 36 months for poor quality paper that had the pages “aging” with brown spots and discolored edges before I finished paying for the set. My English in 1961 was so poor that I didn’t even open the first encyclopedia book until I was at UCLA in 1965 and took English remedial. Caveat Emptor, sweet immigrants, a “book by any other name is still a book” and a company with a name that smacks of being government is still just a private company that is hacking its products to yet-to-get-sophisticated new Americans.
2. Companies that contract with demographic business organizations. Roll time forward to 2014, 54 years later! I am a U.S. citizen for half a century! I shop at Costco using its affiliated American Express card. I am a VISA customer (I like the company’s service). I use AE only for Costco purchases. I grew to like American Express but not enough to continue with that credit company when their contract with Costco ends in December 31, 2014! This week I signed up with Costco next credit card partner, Master Card. reluctantly, remember I am a VISA man. The last time a company I didn’t like signed a contract with a demographic business organization was an insurance company that signed up with American Association of retired People (AARP). The insurance policy was almost attached automatic to my membership card but I declined and terminated my membership with AARP – although I was a retired gentleman. Army time was over. at 62, retired, no company I like could “impose” on me a to belong to a company I don’t like – untill now! On January 1, 2015 I will start using Master card with my Costco picture on it and see what happens. I will test Master Card, a company I don’t like, that contracted Costco, a company I like, and see what happens.
The above are 2 business deceptions immigrants to the U.S. have to watch for. The reason I am not concerned with it that much anymore is that I am not an immigrant anymore. I am a sophisticated U.S. citizen now for half a century! I can simply change to an executive Costco card and drop the Master Card altogether if I don’t like their credit approval process, billing services or customer relations.
Immigrants, remember, your goal is to become a sophisticated American!
A bombsell may be hidden in my psychological analysis of Twitter today. Why? Because of Twitter’s new Application Programming Interface (API). CEO Costolo’s decision-making process did it wrong again. His decided to introduce this major business changing model to Twitter appearing to me as a desperate Kahneman System 1 heuristic decision in a complicated psychological area of information processing where there is not enough research data to show what the public will do to a company that makes it more difficult rather than easier to connect. Introducing a restrictive Application Programming Interface that will require tweets to be all Twitter’s or forcing you to go through an app that may or may not allow you to add data in your tweet from other sources (Imagine being unable to readily tweet because you added a picture of your kid from Instagram).
The world of electronic communication is cluttered with too many new rules, umpteen mini commercials on social media sites, ID requirements, passwords needed around every computer corner, and more and more minds that are becoming less and less curious about even personal messages. Piaget is losing the battle of enticing people to seek information by giving out a “teaser” sentence, e.g., “Your wife left an important message… You can find out by joining this retail website.” Dr. Daniel Kahneman in his book Thinking fast and slow says about people, “They tend to be lazy.” Do you think Twitter’s API will streamline tweeting or restrict the flow? If 50% of tweeters quit, you’ll see it in your next quarter’s earning’s loss. People won’t tweet because they can’t effortlessly attach external data to the tweet, that is my psychological analysis. They will quit tweeting, what will Twitter do then? Go back to R&D for something else to beat the market? There are 2 type of CEO attitudes, the one that makes naturally System 2 decisions to grow and the one that bullies itself into the market with System 1 decisions. Guess who is who?
Monday, October 27 is the day you will know that Twitter shares gained a penny or two more than analysts expected. The fourth quarter will be a bit better than the third that was a bit better than the second. This is a snail parade for the eternal optimists that catapulted Twitter to $50 per share on loses of $2.40 per quarter. This is not my first blogging on Twitter. I don’t like to say it but the internet is getting less free. You can’t read anything today without a requirement to joining something.
Interesting that I just received an email from a friend. The email said, “You have to join the website free to get your friend’s message.” Needless to say I deleted the message from my friend without opening it. My curiosity level has reached zero. How about you? I know that most of my friends still will join something to get the picture of the kid on a tweet or to find out what a friend wrote in an email. Not me, I am happy with Facebook and Google that keep my social life easy.