This is a stock market blog about portfolio management,foreign stocks, exchange traded funds and the occasional musing about my firefighting experiences. The point here is to share process

Bitcoin, To Infinity & Beyond!

The weekly Market Update is posted and includes the following;

A couple of days ago, Bespoke reported that the tech sector had grown to 24.7% of the S&P 500. Sector weightings can be very constructive for warning of trouble ahead. In 2000 of course tech grew to more than 30% of the index which preceded a 50% decline. Then in 2007 the financial sector grew to about 20% of the S&P 500 which preceded a 50% decline. Twenty-25% in tech might not be problematic the way 20% in some other sectors might be but growing to 30% would be very concerning as an expression of some form of excess in the market that is likely to be corrected. Last week we mentioned a reformulating of the telecom sector to take in media and entertainment companies which could easily result the tech sector dropping from 25% of the S&P 500 to as low as less than 20%as some of the largest names in the sector are due to be reclassified. This creates something of a dilemma for watchers of sector weightings…unless a bear market starts before the change happens. An excess, to the extent there is one, wouldn’t simply be erased by reshuffling the deck.

Please click through to read the entire update.

I have some very exciting news. In addition to my blogging with AdvisorShares I have also started blogging at This link is my first post and explains in more detail what I will be doing but the short version is it will be more like how Random Roger first started out. This link is to my “channel” at themaven, I put up several posts over the weekend to get things started. I hope you can check it all out.

Hiking in Sedona


Devil’s Bridge


The trail to Devil’s Bridge


A Financial Advisor Has Got To Know His Limitations

Lots to cover today with a hat tip to Abnormal Returns for these links.

First is an admonition to financial advisors to stay in their lane and not get into life coaching. After reading the article I concluded the article isn’t completely right, but it isn’t completely wrong either. What this really is about is knowing your own limitations and understanding when appropriately generic encouragement crosses the line to something that requires proper training and probably some form of licensure. The article looks at a couple of empty platitudes as being potentially harmful like “be the best you can be.” I would consider some more specific examples of veering out of your lane.


An easy example is something dietary. “It’s usually a good idea to cut back on sugar” is one thing, having no medical training but advising someone start a ketogenic diet and creating a meal plan for them is something else. Another good example is with exercising. I have been on enough medical calls as an EMT to know that everyone has some sort of medical issue(s) and giving bad exercise advice for ot knowing someone’s medical history is very easy to do. Financial advisors aren’t necessarily CPAs, they are certainly two different disciplines. My work as an advisor means I often have a good sense of what question to ask as I imagine would many advisors but getting in too deep risks hurting the client. Sorry about that doesn’t cut it where taxes are concerned.

The Wall Street Journal gave a checklist of things to consider when choosing where to live in retirement. It is a pretty good list but the one that most resonated with me was “What’s wrong with where I live now?” The idea that the grass isn’t always greener is a very important concept for life in general not just retirement. This ties in with a concept crucial to yoga and other things which is being in the moment or phrased differently, life is about the journey, not the destination.


The nature of how under saved Americans are will force some hands in this regard. In this context I have talked about moving at least temporarily as a young retiree to a foreign country. Young and relatively healthy retirees could rent out a paid-off house, take that income and live as expats for their 60’s allowing their portfolio to grow and then come back in their 70’s much better off financially (here’s more from Seeking Alpha). There are plenty of other similar scenarios including being a caretaker of an estate or the like. My former neighbor with a backhoe and his wife did this in their late 50’s and there are websites that offer these opportunities. A more permanent idea would be downsizing into a tiny or small house netting out some capital to increase an investment portfolio.

Finally, a link about withdrawal strategies in retirement; which account to take from in what order for the most efficient tax strategy. The basic building block for this is to take from taxable accounts first, then tax deferred (like traditional IRAs) and finally tax-free accounts (Roth IRAs). Once you understand that building block it becomes easier to explore possible alternatives like the one discussed in the link from CFA. The authors posit that the best strategy, after studying 12 different combinations, is taking from the tax deferred account first but only up to the level of your tax deductions, then take from your taxable accounts, then tax free and finally tax deferred again if necessary.


With nod to staying in my lane, check with a CPA but the bane of many well-funded retirement plans is of course the required minimum distribution, the government’s way of getting their cut. Also woven in to the discussion is trying to defer paying taxes as long as possible so a strategy that accesses tax deferred assets without paying taxes is worth exploring.

A Lot of Market Stuff & the Maui Invitational!

This week’s Market Update is posted and includes the following;

The spread between two year and ten year treasuries narrowed to 63 basis points last week (61 basis points this morning), keeping fears alive that we are on the way to an inversion. T. Rowe Price made some noise last week calling for the spread to zero out in 2018 with most of the narrowing coming from increases in Fed policy. The FOMC obviously understands the implication of an inverted curve (it’s recessionary because lending is no longer profitable) so something may have to give in terms of the FOMC stopping short or allowing the curve to invert if the market doesn’t bail them out with higher long rates.

Please click through to read the entire update.

In honor of the Maui Invitational, a couple of pictures from when I went in 2008 and 2009.




Shiller Is Wrong

My latest post for Alpha Baskets is published and includes the following;

According to there are 58 ETFs focused on technology totaling about $70 billion. They all appear to be index funds or smart beta funds, but any use of these funds would clearly be part of an active strategy. Ditto any other sector funds or funds that are narrower than sectors. While someone might pushback on me that there is no passive strategy that uses tech sectors funds, what would be the passive use of a Chinese internet stock ETF be?

Please click through to read the entire post.

The Baja 1000 just ran and while I didn’t go, here are some the trucks that participated (my pictures are from the Mint 400 in March).




Very Odd And Unfamiliar Crimson Hue On My Screens

The title for the weekly Market Update comes from a Tweet from Todd Harrison. The update also includes the following;

Gold hit an air pocket on Friday after a widely reported sale of futures that had a notional value of $4 billion. This equates to about 10% of average daily volume in one trade. Although we found nothing to support this, our first inclination is to think we might subsequently hear it was a fat finger situation, a trade error. Bitcoin also hit an air pocket on Friday dropping more than 7% at its low, continue to fall over the weekend. Zerohedge blamed comments from Dennis Gartman as being the catalyst for the drop. Maybe the 25% increase the week before might have contributed to some over exuberance leaving it ripe for some sort of decline or correction. The Wall Street Journal posited that Bitcoin might be the Most Dramatic Bubble Ever. Take it easy everyone. As we said a couple of weeks ago, at $200 billion for all the cryptocurrencies it is still just a tiny fraction of the size of the internet bubble. For some perspective, here’s a link from November 2000 headlining a $1.7 trillion decline in market cap for the dot coms and that was only a few months after the peak, there was still a long way to go.

Please click through to read the entire update.

Lone buffalo in Yellowstone National Park


Badlands National Park


Prescott Fire Engine 731 with a fisheye app