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THE DISTILLERY

7 Facts That Will Free You From the Fear of Stock Market Crashes

This week’s The Distillery is brought to you by a combination of Visual Capitalist and Tony Robbins, leveraging data and talking points from his #1 Best Selling book Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook. I’m not certain these 7 Facts will actually “free you from the fear of stock market crashes,” but I have to admit, even I felt better after reviewing them! It’s only human to focus on our most recent experiences (Availability Bias: The Great Recession), but pausing to reflect on a broader data set of stock market experiences throughout history has a way of humbling us.     Enjoy!     The current bull market in stocks is closing in on an astounding 10 years in length, making it the longest bull market run in all of modern history. Understandably, this makes many people very nervous. Everyone remembers the mayhem of 2008 – and with stock prices at all-time highs, the fear of a market meltdown is a valid concern for many investors... Read More >

Gold, What is it Good For?

Ohhhh Gold, our elusive chameleon of a friend. At times, we create a mania around it, while at other times we wonder why we would ever own it! This week’s The Distillery takes a look just this dilemma.   Enjoy, and please remember that we’re here for you every day to answer questions such as these.     It has been 2,555 days since gold peaked in September 2011. The S&P 500 meanwhile is within half a percent of its all-time high. Gold investors have good reason to be frustrated, as the precious metal currently sits 40% below those highs..… Read More >

The Origins of Labor Day

This week’s The Distillery reflects on the origins of this weekend’s upcoming holiday, as interpreted by Geopolitical Futures’ George Friedman. As always, I learn something new every day.   Enjoy!     Labor Day became an American Federal Holiday in 1894.  Most other countries celebrate Labor on May 1st. That date had been a pagan celebration, but in the late 19th century, European socialists adopted May 1st as the annual holiday devoted to labor with marches and riots.   Industrialization brought labor problems to the United States with some nasty consequences. American workers wanted more money, better working conditions, and recognition.  Money and better conditions were hard to give. So labor suggested a holiday, and management and Congress was enthused. A holiday not built around an armed uprising was just the thing. But May 1st was a reminder of everything they wanted the workers not to think about.   So, the first Monday in September was chosen. Being the last weekend before children returned to school, this created a.… Read More >

The Promise and Pitfalls of Genetic Testing and Long-term Care Insurance

This week’s The Distillery expands into long-term care insurance by straying around the peripheral of the subject. By now I’m sure we’ve all heard about easy-to-use genetic testing kits, such as 23AndMe, and have either used them already, or thought how interesting it’d be to know “where we came from.” Beyond revealing where your ancestors may have roamed in the past, the kits also make available to you genetic information that forecast probabilities of your future health risks, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. That’s great information, assuming you don’t live in fear, but rather engage in healthier habits and participate in preventative practices. However, have you considered how that data might be used against you in the future, specifically when applying for long-term care insurance? I sure hadn’t!   Enjoy!     There seems to be an ever-expanding number of companies looking to help you understand your genes. Members of my family have had their genes tested to try to find out ‘where they come from’ and learned they’re part Sicilian, part Arab and part Viking. You could learn what health risks might lie waiting for you in the future so you can prepare yourself through diet, exercise or more focused medical tests. Medical ethicists worry about the potential for designer babies even as we begin to imagine the elimination of some birth defects. And who wouldn’t want super powers like Superman’s strength or heat vision.   But there is a very significant (and much more mundane) risk regarding long-term care insurance that you need to understand before you send away for your personal DNA test... Read More >

Why diagnosing Alzheimer’s today is so difficult – and how we can do better

This week’s The Distillery is brought to you by Bill Gates of gatesnotes. If you’ve never read his blog posts, they’re worth following. As you likely know, since retiring, Gates focuses most of his attention and dollars towards attempting to better current and future life on this planet. Lately, he’s made a significant investment in Alzheimer’s research. The topic doesn’t specifically call to attention thoughts of financial planning, however, when you consider that Alzheimer’s is still largely undetectable until its effects are felt by surrounding family members, long-term care policies can help alleviate the financial stress that often accompanies this emotionally taxing disease.   We hope you find this article interesting.     When I announced that I was investing in Alzheimer’s research for the first time last fall, I thought I knew what to expect. I knew I would get to engage more deeply with the brilliant scientists and advocates working to stop Alzheimer’s—and I haven’t been disappointed. The things I’ve seen over the last seven months make me more hopeful than ever. What I didn’t see coming was the amazing response I got from the Alzheimer’s community at large… Read More >

World’s Largest Megacities by 2100

This week’s The Distillery continues with our demographics theme, but looks out to future generations opposed to past and present. Jeff Desjardins of Visual Capitalist presents us with an interesting representation of the world’s potential largest megacities by 2100. Much to my surprise, not one American city was represented in his depiction. Instead, the list is represented mostly by African and Middle Eastern countries. Perhaps it’s time to start introducing French and Arabic into our children and grandchildren’s vocabularies.   Enjoy!     Throughout the course of human history, the biggest cities have always seemed impossibly large. For many millennia, it was almost unfathomable for a city to sustain more than 1 million residents. In fact, it wasn’t until the 19th century that the largest cities globally, such as London and Beijing, were able to consistently hold populations beyond that impressive mark. Despite this, in the modern era, we’ve quickly discovered that a city of 1 million people isn’t remarkable at all...   Read More >

Being 30 Then and Now

You’ve heard, and likely are tired of hearing about, how Millennials are different from previous generations. However, this is the first piece I’ve seen that aims to compare their life experience in their 30’s to past generation’s life experience in their 30’s. It’s an interesting perspective focusing on the economic environments in which each generation started their careers in having the most impact on their current lifestyles.   Enjoy!     In the mid-to-late-20th century, the American economy and culture were ripe for 30-year-old men, who — more than European and Japanese — typically landed well-paid careers, bought homes, and supported large families. But since then, getting ahead has become much harder.   What's going on: Today, 30-year-old millennials are more likely to be still living with their parents and, while earning about the same or less than boomers, are typically saddled with... Read More >

The Advocates Quarterly Letter – Where’s the Value?

This quarter’s Investment Letter focuses on a theme in today’s market environment that we find interesting and have the potential to build a strategy around. Additionally, we recap last quarter’s themes and preview what to watch for next quarter.   Please enjoy, and know that we’re here to answer any questions you may have.   Growth vs. Value Mini cycles and trends exist in every Bull Market. Most of them not recognizable until after the fact. As we continue up what is now the 2nd longest Bull Market in post-WWII history, we’re able to see (with hindsight) that one major trend has played a crucial role in distorting US... Read More >

Downsizing, 5 Years Later: Any Regrets?

This week’s Distillery offers a firsthand account of a couple in Tennessee who made the decision to sell their current home, place their possessions in storage, and hit the road in an RV for 6 months before ultimately settling in a smaller home for less money. One of the quickest ways to beef up your retirement portfolio and increase the probability of your money outlasting financial plan. The guest writer does an excellent job of walking us through both the logistics and emotional impact of their decision.   Enjoy!     Five years ago this month we downsized for early retirement. With a series of yard sales, charity pickups, and gifts to friends, we reduced the volume of our possessions by about one-half. We then carefully staged our 4-bedroom family home where we’d lived for 17 years and put it on the market with a trusted realtor. The house sold within 24 hours. Before we knew it, and long before expected, we had placed our remaining possessions in storage and launched on a 6-month road trip in our small RV. That trip concluded with settling in our ideal retirement location, a medium-sized mountain town in the American southwest, where we still find ourselves today. So how is it going for us now, five years later? ... Read More >

The Revolutionary War

This week’s The Distillery takes a moment to reflect on why we celebrate July 4th in America. Yes, it’s a great excuse to eat watermelon and grill meat with friends, but America stands for so much more than that, and George Friedman of Geopolitical Futures does a great job succinctly stating why.   Have a wonderful Independence Day!   July 4th is about geopolitics. Many of us don’t remember why we celebrate it, others focus on it as the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted, a critical moment to be sure. But that event initiated a war that lasted for years. It was a war in which 5 percent of able-bodied, white American males died. The deaths of women and African American slaves were not counted. But even without them, this was the costliest war in American history. The United States did not capitulate because it couldn’t. All Americans were immigrants, and... Read More >