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Most Of What You Probably Think About Investing Is Wrong

by: Lawrence Hamtil  on Wednesday, October 26, 2016

With interest rates close to all-time lows, and major stock indices hovering just below all-time highs, the hesitancy of many people to invest in either stocks or bonds is easily understood.  After all, it seems axiomatic that if stocks are at all-time highs, investing now most likely sets you up as the last sucker to get in just before the bottom falls out.  Similarly, if bond prices and interest rates move inversely, buying bonds when rates are depressed means that if rates move up in a sustained fashion, one's money in bonds will likely take a beating.  Faced with those perceived likelihoods, can anyone be blamed for not wanting to invest his or her hard-earned cash? Read More

Common Misperceptions About Basic Investing

by: Lawrence Hamtil  on Monday, October 17, 2016

Over the course of my career, I've encountered many questions from friends and clients about financial matters that to professionals in the industry would seem relatively simple.  It occurred to me, however, that this actually should be expected as so often financial affairs can be counter-intuitive, or at least not so obvious as we might think.  Here are just a few examples of common investment misperceptions I've seen again and again over the years: Read More

You Should Pay Attention to More Than Just Celebrity Stocks

by: Lawrence Hamtil  on Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Perhaps it is just a natural extension of our celebrity culture, but I find it amazing that most of the financial commentariat focus on what have been called 'celebrity stocks,' - the Amazons, Apples, and Alphabets (previously Google) of the world.  There are good reasons, of course, why companies such as these command our attention; after all, in terms of market capitalization they are among the largest companies in the world, and movements in their share prices can sway the markets in ways smaller stocks cannot.  The downside to this narrow focus, however, is that oftentimes less prominent companies get overlooked, and this despite that many have been proven to be worthier investments than their more celebrated peers. Read More

The Paradox of Imagination

by: Lawrence Hamtil  on Saturday, October 08, 2016

I have written several times before on the historical pattern of new technologies and innovations generally turning out to be poor investments.  But describing something is not the same as explaining it, and while I do not think this phenomenon is entirely understood, I think there is an insight to be gained by considering the limits of human intelligence when it comes into conflict with human imagination. Read More

Comparing the Meteoric Rise of Amazon With Wal-Mart's

by: Lawrence Hamtil  on Wednesday, October 05, 2016

There have been numerous articles written about how Amazon.com is killing the businesses of many traditional retailers.  The Wall Street Journal has written about brick-and-mortar companies they suggest might be 'Amazon-proof,' while Barron's and TheStreet.com have done the same.  One could say that next to opining on the Federal Reserve's interest rate policy, considering the impact of Amazon.com on various businesses has been Wall Street's biggest obsession. Read More

How the Renaissance Paved the Way for Modern Finance

by: Lawrence Hamtil  on Tuesday, October 04, 2016

The Renaissance is largely remembered for the larger-than-life personalities such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci who defined it, as well as for their immortal works in painting, sculpture, architecture, which stand as monuments to man's innate creative forces.  However, the Renaissance was equally as important, if not more so, to modern ideas of education, science, and finance.  During the Renaissance, modern ideas such as growth-oriented tax policy, data-based commercial and fiscal policy, and the welfare state all took seed, and laid the foundation for modern society. Read More