July 28, 2014

A Basic Overview of Corporate Inversions

US Corporate Tax Form

There has been a lot of talk over the past few days of corporate inversion.  Corporate inversion happens when an American company changes its domicile to another country by merging with a foreign entity.  Inversions have been occurring at a rapidly accelerating rate.  Pfizer attempted one of the largest inversions in history with the AstraZeneca merger that ultimately fell through.  AbbVie, one of our biggest medical companies is about to defect to Ireland through an inversion.  Walgreens is seri … [Read more...]

I Just Looked Up the Cost of an Education At My Alma Mater

Alma Mater

This May will be 10 years since Aaron and I graduated from university.  I just looked up the cost for the upcoming academic year, which includes tuition, room, board, fees, and books, and it's running at a rate of around $53,000 per annum.  Assuming even modest annual increases, a 4-year degree would cost just shy of $252,000 per person before scholarships.  That means to get the same two degrees before financial assistance, Aaron and I would have had to spend almost $504,000.  It's madness.  Tot … [Read more...]

Wednesday Wrap-Up – July 23, 2014

Black Butler Tea

I realize this is being published a few days late but I'm running a bit behind schedule.  Here are some of the interesting things I came across recently during the ordinary course of my work ... Online Convert - Convert anything from anything using this online tool. Menu List from Kuroshitsuji - He may be an evil, loveless, soul-sucking demon masquerading as a human butler in Victorian England, but Sebastian's desserts are heavenly.  Those of you who are fans of both Japanese anime and … [Read more...]

Baking Pain de mie Bread in Pullman Pans

Finished Pain de mie sandwich bread from Pullman pan

I normally like richer, specialty breads - the heavy kind you find in some European bread shop, each for its own purpose and recipe - but a recent trip to the grocery store made me curious about the type of ordinary bread most Americans are eating.  After looking at the nutrition label of several major baking companies, I was disgusted.  They read like something out of a chemistry class; high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, calcium sulfate, mono and diglycerides, ethoxylated mono and d … [Read more...]

Mail Bag: Shorting Stocks

Mail Bag Joshua Kennon Pen

A question about shorting stocks ... Hi Joshua,As always, thanks for creating articles on your thoughts, investigations, and financial wisdom. I was hoping you might be so kind as to share your thoughts on short positions as an inherently speculative proposition. Have you ever shorted an equity? Are there any case studies you might recommend I take a deeper look at?I recall that there have been situations in which both Graham and Buffett have held short positions in their portfolios against … [Read more...]

Dealing with Business Rejection, the McDonald’s Franchise Disclosure Document, and a $114 Million Coffee Fortune

McDonald's Counter In New Store Copyright Joshua Kennon

From time to time, I get messages from business owners or entrepreneurs who are discouraged and upset.  Their family, friends, colleagues, bank officers, or suppliers don't believe in what they are trying to do and they take it personally.  This afternoon, as I sat in a McDonald's restaurant having coffee and revisiting an excellent book called McDonald's Behind the Arches that details the historical rise of one of the world's largest real estate portfolio masquerading as a hamburger chain, I was … [Read more...]

Skillet Lasagna Is Not My Thing

Pan Lasagna

We have been trying new recipes, again.  One of the dishes that was on the list was a skillet lasagna.  It's popular because you can take ingredients you have at home and quickly put together a home cooked meal without a lot of effort.  I was hesitant because, in my opinion, the entire appeal of a lasagna dish is the layer of cheese, golden brown from slowly roasting in the oven.  However, I was game.  It was delicious, and I see why people like it, but, nope.  I am a baked lasagna guy.  On to th … [Read more...]

Economic Reality Isn’t Always Reflected on Your Account Statements

Wal-Mart Dividend Reinvestment Example

There is an account I handle for someone I know that has a very unique mandate.  It holds a handful of stocks, has practically zero turnover, and once a new position is acquired, the dividends must be automatically reinvested into that business, cost-free, until disposition.  The entire portfolio is held within a Roth IRA and this person is still more than 40 years away from retirement.  Even if he or she never contributes another penny, the account balance at present, with average rates of retu … [Read more...]

The Anniversary, Annotating Annual Reports, and Trying to Make Myself Be Productive …

Studying McDonald's annual report

I was hoping to respond back to a few dozen comments to which I have been meaning to reply, as well as post some mail bag questions, but I think I'm going to put that off until this afternoon and, instead, go out to lunch or go see a movie or something.  Today's our 13th anniversary, which hearing out loud makes me feel kinda old.  Of course, we're not - both of us are only 31 - it's just that we were fortunate enough to find each other as teenagers; an occurrence I highly recommend if you are lu … [Read more...]

Listen to the Customer Service Phone Call from Hell

Customer Service

For several years, I've been firmly convinced that the Internet providers need to be shattered like the old Ma Bell system.  They have a near complete monopoly that encourages them to avoid capital expenditures while providing sub-par service, making Internet here in the United States a joke compared to most other major developed countries which, in some cases, are a decade ahead of us. I know it's been all over the Internet all morning after becoming a viral hit on Reddit, but take the time … [Read more...]