June 1, 2023

By David Snowball

Dear friends,

Welcome to summer.

Had I mentioned that I have the coolest job in the world? I love a challenge. Augustana offers them to me at the rate of sixty a week, approximately the number of students I work with. They often leave me stunned.

(See how important punctuation is? “They often leave me stunned” and “they often leave me, stunned” are two very different observations. Hmmm … both might be accurate, now that I think of it.)

My college started in 1860 with a very humble mission: it wanted to help the children of immigrants build a good Continue reading →

Modest protection from runaway inflation

By Devesh Shah


Warren Buffet has a long history of sharing sharp, colorful reflections on inflation and its role in controlling your profits.

Before we drown in a sea of self-congratulation, a further – and crucial – observation must be made. A few years ago, a business whose per-share net worth compounded at 20% annually would have guaranteed its owners a highly successful real investment return. Now such an outcome seems less certain. For the inflation rate, coupled with individual tax rates, will be the ultimate determinant as to whether our internal operating performance produces successful investment results – i.e., a reasonable gain in purchasing power from funds committed – for you as shareholders.

That combination – the inflation rate plus Continue reading →

Helping a Friend Get Started with Financial Planning

By Charles Lynn Bolin

A close friend, who I will call Carol for this article, wanted to meet to discuss whether she should get a Financial Planner. Here is her situation and what she is interested in learning:

Carol and her husband were good savers and earned pensions and Social Security. He passed away a couple of years ago after a prolonged illness. Their focus had been on healthcare needs and not on financial planning. She also received an inheritance from her parents. Carol explained that she had savings scattered at multiple banks in savings accounts, Inherited IRAs, Traditional IRAs, and Roth IRAs. She had questions about why she should invest when her living expenses were met Continue reading →

A Dinner and Walk with David Sherman, fund manager of Crossing Bridge Funds.

By Devesh Shah

Last week I had the opportunity to sit down for dinner with one of our own, the legendary David Sherman. He is no stranger to regular readers of MFO. His funds, public and private funds through Cohanzick and CrossingBridge and the RiverPark Short Term High Yield Fund, for which he’s the sub-adviser, are uniformly first rate. He’s articulated four investing principles that are embodied in each of his portfolios: Continue reading →

Recession Watch

By Charles Lynn Bolin

The Chronology of the Economic Cycle provided by Joseph Ellis in Ahead of the Curve is an interesting chart that shows the ripple effect from left to right of inflation and interest rate increases across the economy over the next six to twenty-seven months. In Figure #1, I added my subjective assessment of whether the indicator level is currently positive (blue +) or negative (red -) for the Investment Environment and the direction of change, whether it is improving (red up arrow) or softening (red down arrow). Most of the indicators are softening, but not at a level to be considered negative (contracting) for the Continue reading →

Taylor the Investor: You belong with me!

By David Snowball

Taylor Swift might be the swiftest young investor of her generation. Ms. Swift, 33, saw her net worth creep up over the past year, from $570 million at the beginning of 2022 to $740 million now. Most of that wealth is driven by the feverish desire of her fans, the 120,000,000 or so Swifties, to transfer their money to her. At the same time, she’s done prudent and profitable things with her wealth. Other young investors can learn from her reasoning and parallel her strategy.

(Well, give or take the “multi-platinum pop Continue reading →

The Young Investor’s Secret Weapon: The HSA

By Mark Freeland

Many things in life suck. High on anyone’s list would be:

  1. Health insurance costs
  2. Taxes
  3. Being poor
  4. Ketchup-flavored Doritos. (And you know some mad scientist will have, like, mayo-flavored ice cream in the pipeline next.)

When it comes to Frankenfood, you’re on your own, but there’s major good news about the other three. It’s called a Continue reading →

great horned owl

Leuthold Core Investment (LCORX/LCRIX), June 2023

By David Snowball

Objective and strategy

Leuthold Core pursues capital appreciation and income through the use of tactical asset allocation. The objective is to avoid significant loss of capital and deliver positive absolute returns while assuming lower risk exposure and lower relative volatility than the S&P 500. Assets are allocated among stocks and ADRs, corporate and government bonds, REITs, commodities, an equity hedge, and cash. Portfolio asset class weightings change as conditions do; exposure is driven by models that determine each asset class’s relative and absolute attractiveness. Equity and fixed-income exposure each range Continue reading →

fountain pen writing a note

Briefly Noted . . .

By TheShadow

Jamie Cuellar, CFA, passed away unexpectedly and tragically on May 8. He was the co-portfolio manager of the Buffalo Small Cap Fund from 2015 and of the Buffalo Discovery Fund from April 2020. Our condolences to his family, friends, and co-workers.

Capital Group, parent of the American Funds and, with $2.6 trillion AUM, one of the world’s largest investment managers, has registered two exchange-traded funds, Capital Group Core Bond ETF and Capital Group Short Duration Municipal Income ETF. Management and operating expenses have not Continue reading →