When You Open up Your December Statements, Don't Panic!

I was ... painfully ... reviewing the market gyrations of the last few weeks and commented to someone more experienced (and better looking) than I that I felt bad for any "relatively new" investor who hasn't witnessed something like this before. I made special mention that such an investor will open up their December statement and ... hopefully ...won't panic. I then compared this to the 2000/2001 timeframe ... but was told that it is not at all the same.

Thinking back, I can see my mentor is correct.

Back in those "old days" we had individual stocks that went to great heights and then tremendous depths ...while others hardly moved at all. Recently it seems the entire market is moving in tandem. A comment was made to me that it might be because so many investors are "indexing" and computer algorithms have been set up to sell (or buy) tremendously large blocks - quite rapidly - whenever certain levels are reached. And this means a very good stock might get unfairly punished ... which seems to present an opportunity for those able to recognize this flower which might eventually bloom amid the weeds.

Okay, enough of that. I am quite early this morning as I leave for the airport on the way to the Consumer Electronic Show ("CES"). Over 180,000 people are expected to swarm Las Vegas to view ... well ... all sorts of electronics, with special focus on what we will be experiencing in the future. Self-driving cars, robots, drones and so much more will be there ... and, frankly, there is not enough time to take it all in.

So my writing this week will be pretty chaotic ... as I'll be busy as all get-out.

With electronics in mind, many parents are facing the question on screen time for our kids. What is the limit? Should there be limits? It might be unfair, as we find ourselves often comparing kids today to the time when we were kids as we lived in the "stay outside until the street lights come on" era. Those days are long gone and, alas, we just have to adjust.

I will mention that I live in a town (Villanova, PA) in which every driveway seems to have a basketball hoop on some metal pole with a large base. I've lived here around ten years. And how many kids have I seen playing basketball in their driveway ...or playing a pick-up game of football in the yard? Zero, squat, nada, zilch. But they look nice.

Technology has taken over.

But not all technology is positive. Personal information is being swiped from the database of major stores. Our phones are increasingly filled with annoying calls ... and email is being infiltrated with virus.

Speaking of which.

If you get an email from me with a subject line of "Tinned Meat," please don't open it.

It's spam!


... as of 5:45 AM today ...

Apple recently ran into some issues, as a slowdown in the Chinese economy hurt sales . It might not be limited to Apple as other U.S. firms could meet the same fate (CNBC)

... but our economy should be doing fine. How? Growth by borrowing and if you need more growth ... then borrow some more. All is wonderful ... until the music stops playing (Fortune)

What diet are you on? If you are like most Americans, you try one for a while ... revert to your old habits ... then look again for some magic way to lose pounds (USAToday)

... yet there is a problem. With all the information and gadgets at our disposal our longevity has actually declined ... and we are dying younger (CNBC)

Yes, change is hard ... but sometimes a vision of things being better helps to stay on course. Germany decided to shift out of coal and now more power is produced there by wind than coal (Arstechnica)

As we see more of us become addicted to our iPhones and such ... eSports has captured the imagination of many . Is this bad? The Army (yes, our Army) is using it as a recruiting tool (NPR)

... but you will probably eSports are a millennial's world ... yet you should pay attention. Some elderly patrons are now playing ... which certainly beats the heck out of bingo (CNN)

And, yes, you are probably wondering just how "damaged" you kids will be by too much screen time ... yet some studies actually tell us to chill out ... it is not a big problem at all (Fortune.