October 20, 2014

Case Study: Read a Group of Stockholders Realize In Real Time They’ve Lost Their Entire Life Savings When GT Advanced Technologies Declares Bankruptcy

GT Advanced Technologies

Are you in the mood for a case study resource for your own investment policy manual?  If so, brace yourself because this one is heartbreaking.  You can learn a lot from it, and save your own family a great deal of tragedy, but it's going to involve surveying the ruins of the lives of others so you might want to steel yourself. I found it courtesy of one of you - thanks Andrew! - who sent this to me in the contact form.  I happened to see it while following up on a promise I made to a few of yo … [Read more...]

The Standard Life Insurance Demutualization (Or How 72,000 Former Policyholders in the United Kingdom Are About to Forfeit £113,000,000 in Unclaimed Stock and Cash)

Standard Life Demutualization

Imagine you have a policy with an insurance company.  This insurance company is mutually run, which means there are no stockholders.  Instead, the policyholders own the business and the enterprise is managed to give policyholders the best service, at the lowest possible price, as a cooperative undertaking.  Now, imagine that one day, the policyholders' representatives decide they want the business to become a for-profit corporation.  The representatives convert the company and send the polic … [Read more...]

Consumer Delinquencies on Bank Debt Fall to Record Low

Bank Delinquency Ratio

You already know from the tri-annual Federal Reserve report released last month that median household debt in the United States has declined by an incredible 20% over the past three years.  Some Americans might be struggling but they are taking their spare cash and paying off their liabilities in record amounts. That reality is starting to show up in one of the most important financial ratios used to analyze the banking industry.  The American Bankers Association, the lobbying group tasked wit … [Read more...]

A Korean Spicy Pork Stir Fry Recipe for the Brave

Maangchi Spicy Pork Dwaejigogi-bokkeum

Being a cold, rainy, October Sunday, we stayed at home, wrapped up in a sweater and blanket, working on our respective projects.  Aaron wanted to give Maangchi's Spicy Stir-Fry Pork, or Dwaejigogi-bokkeum 돼지고기볶음, a try, and I'm always up for a new Korean recipe, especially one from her since the Dakgangjeong we made for my mom's birthday was so delicious.  The spicy stir-fry pork not only looked tasty, it gave me a chance to casually suggest we start a new Korean drama, which I haven't been able … [Read more...]

A Personal Message of Thanks (and a Throwback Thursday Gift to Those of You Who Were Unaware We Are Married)

Aaron 18 Years Old

I've tried to keep some semblance of privacy around my life since the blog audience has grown but, for a brief moment in time, I'm going to suspend that rule and write to you like I would have circa 2009 when it was mostly just Aunt Donna and a few other readers.  Being so exposed makes me uncomfortable but I feel like you deserve it.  I'm not sure how long I'll leave this publicly accessible.  For tonight, I'll lift the veil, even if only a tiny bit. Both of us are just now getting a chance t … [Read more...]

Cooking with Lard and the Carnation Cafe at Disneyland

Disneyland Carnation Cafe Baked Potato Soup

My earliest memories in life are in the early 1980's.  At that time, the older generation who cooked the food at family gatherings, church dinners, and social events in small town America that made up the fabric of my childhood was born between the late 1800's and the mid 1920's.  There was a certain common thread that ran through the food, arising out of preparation techniques unique to the farmhouse and the list of ingredients that were available at the time.  It's hard to describe unless you'v … [Read more...]

We Were Putting Our House on the Market Following the Supreme Court Decision This Morning

Missouri Marriage Equality

In a matter of a few hours, we've gone from putting our house on the market and leaving our home state back to square one.  When I woke up, this is not how I anticipated spending my day. This morning, the Supreme Court effectively struck down the marriage bans in 11 states, five of which were involved in appellate decisions and the rest of which are now bound by the precedent of their respective circuit and must fall in line in short ord … [Read more...]

Blog Demographics 2014 Edition: You Are Richer, Better Educated, and Have More Kids

Joshua Kennon Age

Like the residents of Lake Wobegon, another year of better data analytics and audience growth has cemented what we've already known: As a group, you're way above average.  You are considerably richer and better educated the average person in the United States, more likely to identify as politically independent, more likely to have children, and skew male with far higher than normal interests in science, books, technology, news, fashion, food, gardening, sports, cars, investing, music, video ga … [Read more...]

The Good and Bad of Social Capital

Social Capital

As I've grown older, I find myself fascinated by the power of social capital; specifically, how it encircles the person who possesses it with a halo that sets them apart from society even when they are far from the only snowflake.  People often mistake fame with competency or ability.  This tendency is part of human nature so it shows up in every field and across every discipline. Take social capital in investing.  While Warren Buffett is constantly called the greatest investor alive by the ma … [Read more...]

Most Dividends Now Come in the Form of Stock Buy Backs

Share Repurchases More Popular Than Cash Dividends

The Economist has a piece called Share Buy-Backs: The Repurchase Revolution.  To help you understand how popular stock repurchase programs have become over the past few decades, and how they have elbowed out traditional dividends as the preferred mechanism to return cash to owners, consider: The companies in the S&P 500 index bought $500 billion of their own shares in 2013, close to the high reached in the bubble year of 2007, and eating up 33 cents of every dollar of cashflow. The greatest … [Read more...]

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