In researching financial markets, investment trends and investor behavior, we leave no stone unturned to bring you a thoughtful, well-informed point of view.

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THE SUM


Knowledge + care + discipline bring you peace of mind


Click the links below to read more—and please let us know what you think.

The World According to TARP… and Jack London

In 1978, John Irving published The World According to Garp, a novel about anxiety.  In a scene from the 1982 movie adaptation of the novel (screenplay by Steve Teisch), Garp is house hunting with his wife and a realtor.  As they view one house, a small plane crashes into it and Garp exclaims, “We’ll take the house.  Honey, the chances of another plane hitting this house are astronomical.  It’s been pre-disastered.  We’re going to be safe here.”

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Investment Lessons from Fast Food II (and Frozen Yogurt, too)

Stand at the counter at enough burger chains and you are struck by the variety of names for essentially the same meal – the Big Mac, the Whopper, the Quarter Pounder, the Big Carl or, for you Pulp Fiction fans, the Royale with Cheese.

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Investment Lessons From Fast Food — Pizza

It has happened to all of us – you are with a group of friends who decide to order pizza.  Everyone peruses the menu, and the first people to speak up invariably suggest a typical choice (pepperoni, cheese or Hawaiian).  The others in the group dilly-dally over the menu and, after extensive discussion, make an exotic choice – Thai mango chutney (the “TMC”), for example.

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Cry For Us, Evita?

Total credit market debt in the United States is now almost $53 trillion, more than 375 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), up from about 150 percent of GDP in the 1970s. The chart on the back page gives us the same feeling that it should give you, dismay that something is amiss.

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Cider in Our Ears

“One of these days in your travels, a guy is going to show you a brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken. Then this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of this brand-new deck of cards and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not accept this bet, because as sure as you stand there, you’re going to wind up with an ear full of cider.”            — Sky Masterson, Guys and Dolls

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What Game Are You Playing?

You are in a water fight.  Three members of your team, armed with small cups of water, charge off.  They return, absolutely drenched, laughing and crowing, “Boy, did we get them!”  Your opinion of the teammates depends upon your understanding of the nature of a water fight.

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Burke’s Law – Why We Study History

Humans seem to suffer from a chronic case of chronological snobbery.  With the advance of science and rapidity of calculation, we always seem sure that now we know it all, unlike all those poor, benighted people throughout history.

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A-Rod and Financial Fraud

The New York Yankees are paying Alex Rodriguez more than $275 million over ten years to play third base, making Rodriguez the highest paid player in baseball history.

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Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Invest In Stocks?

For reasons that should be self-evident, the recent bear market led us to reread Dante’s Inferno.  We paused when we reached the portrayal of the famous “abandon all hope” inscription at the gates; it seems an apt description of investor sentiment after the renewed stock market decline in early 2009.

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Auntie Em, It’s a Twister!

In our complex world, filled with “experts” babbling abstruse jargon, we can find true wisdom in stories we learn as children.  For example, at the start of The Wizard of Oz, a tornado carries away Dorothy Gale’s farmhouse with her inside.  Such is the power of this tale that we need go no further to apply two key lessons to mistakes made in the recent crisis in the financial markets.

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The Man Who Saw Tomorrow

People want to believe successful investing depends upon prediction, despite abundant evidence that most predictions are worthless.

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