NY resolutions about money

David MoonBlog

According to a Harris poll, this year’s most common New Year’s resolution is the same as it is every year: to lose weight. For this goal to keep topping the annual list, people must generally be failing at accomplishing this goal. Having lost a little more than 2,000 pounds in my life, I am uniquely qualified in advising people how to lose weight. I am also an expert at gaining it. This week millions of people will go through a half-hearted 2020 resolution exercise. For most, the exercise will result in little more than a wish list, without any of … Read More

Last minute gift ideas for David Moon

David MoonBlog

With only a few shopping days remaining before the big day, here are a few gift ideas for me. One or two items from the list are fine; don’t feel obligated to buy everything. I need a really comfortable pair of dress shoes, size 14E. An extra-long tie that will actually make a nice knot. Some nice, no-iron dress shirts. A full-sized iPad that will fold and fit in my pocket. I don’t need a car that goes from zero to 60 in five seconds. I want one that goes from 85 to 65 in less than one second. I … Read More

Jon Gruden Syndrome and your 401k

David MoonBlog

If it seems that you too often buy high and sell low, there is a good chance you suffer from Jon Gruden Syndrome. The condition was initially discovered in the Tennessee football fan base, and has subsequently been identified in other populations, including teenagers, voters and 401(k) investors. Every time the University of Tennessee seeks a new head football coach, legions of Tennessee fans and big-time financial supporters become infatuated with the idea of hiring (now) Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. It isn’t his 51% winning percentage that excites fans. People are swayed by the articulate and charming presentation … Read More

Explaining the Trump stock market

David MoonBlog

Since Donald Trump’s election on November 8, 2016, the S&P 500, a broad measure of the U.S. stock market, increased 50 percent. Why? If you despise Trump, you likely credit “the continued Obama economic recovery” or “Wall Street billionaires’ love of Trump.” If you like Trump, you likely believe that the stock market is doing well because “we finally have a businessman in the White House” or that investors were relieved that Hillary Clinton wasn’t elected. Both sides are wrong. The explanation is simple math. The price of a stock (or group of them) is algebraically determined by two broad … Read More

BB&T, SunTrust, First Tennessee merger news

David MoonBlog

Charles Schwab recently announced it will acquire rival TD Ameritrade in a transaction worth approximately $26 billion. If approved by regulators, the new Schwab would become one of the country’s largest brokerage firms, with $5 trillion in assets. In more local merger/acquisition news, BB&T and SunTrust are combining to create the sixth largest bank in the country. The companies always refer to the transaction as “a merger of equals,” but by practical observations and most financial metrics, it appears that BB&T is acquiring SunTrust. The companies expect the merger to be complete on December 6. Within the next two years, … Read More

A Thanksgiving airing of grievances

David MoonBlog

Rather than bore you with a syrupy, Thanksgiving week list of things for which I’m grateful (family, friends, blah, blah, blah), I renew my holiday tradition of sharing a very abbreviated list of things that irritate me. Local morning radio. If the CIA really wants to torture people, it should pipe AM drive-time into Gitmo. Teachers with obviously substandard grammar. (As a UT alum, I grudgingly accept an exclusion for college football coaches.) My own grammar errors. Sean Hannity, Joy Behar, Don Lemon, Kellyanne Conway, Steve Harvey, Joel Osteen and any TV judge except Judge Judy. Local politicians who grandstand … Read More

A WWJD 401(k)?

David MoonBlog

A California investment firm is betting there are plenty of investors who believe Jesus wants them to buy its new mutual fund, the Inspire International ESG fund. (“ESG” is a new business buzz-acronym for “environmental, social and corporate governance.”) The fund (ticker symbol WWJD, of course) claims to invest in international companies screened for biblical and ESG values. What would Jesus do? Invest with Inspire! Mutual funds swaddled in a socially conscious wrapper have been around for years, usually known by what they avoid, not what they seek. (Think “thou shalt not” funds.) Buying these funds may make some personal … Read More

Climate change, college and capitalism

David MoonBlog

My college sophomore son called me last week to tell me about his literature professor who spent almost an hour ranting and raving about the cause of the California wildfires: capitalism. At the center of the blazing wildfires, both literally and figuratively, is troubled PG&E, a regulated gas and electric company operating in central and northern California. Most, if not all the fires, resulted from sparks produced by outdated PG&E transmission equipment. And, as any literature professor knows, capitalism is also responsible for climate change – and thus the California drought conditions that served to compound the problem. PG&E, overburdened … Read More

Millennials and socialism

Harold Black, PhDBlog

Every generation looks aghast at the next generation. Socrates lamented that “children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.” My father was mortified at my generation with its race riots, Vietnam protests, civil rights upheaval, lax morals, dope smoking and free love. I chastised my children for handing out participation trophies, dumbing down of school curricula, and creating the entitlement generation. That generation is now called millennials and should be called the know-hardly-anything generation with almost a total absence of curiosity. This is a generation … Read More

Record stock prices not predictive

David MoonBlog

Depending on the measure used, the U.S. stock market either flirted with or set a new high last week. The broad market S&P 500 reached a new peak, while the 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average verged on a record. What are the future investment implications, if any, of setting a new high? Short answer: none. By itself, simply knowing that the stock market is at an all-time high gives you no information that is useful in making a decision. Knowing that the DJIA is at 27000 tells us nothing about where the DJIA ought to be or what the stocks … Read More