Every year since 2002, I have closed out the year with my satirical look at the world through the eyes of a professional investor/writer poking fun at what has transpired in our global society during the year about to end. The year 2019 has brought forth its own unique series of unexpected news, celebration, joy, disappointment, tragedy, and political intrigue. For me personally, I just returned from an ankle replacement surgery, which went well. Yet, I did not miss one day of market action; which anyone who knows me well would expect nothing else. I hope that 2020 will be a year of health, happiness, and prosperity to my family, friends, clientele, former students, former co-workers, and readers. So, without further ado, here is my List of 10 Things I Won’t Miss About 2019 (and never want to see or hear about ever again), in no order:
- GENDER REVEAL CEREMONIES – My grandparents all patiently waited until their four children were born to find out the sexes of my parents and their siblings. My wife and I had six children and though we might have known the likely sex of one of more of our children, with the aid of modern medical techniques, we kept it to ourselves until the child was born. Why do people think that a big splashy multi-media event to announce the sex of their child is necessary? Use the money you spent on the gender reveal event to save for college – $1,000 saved at birth invested in the stock market will on average grow to $4,000 in 18 years – because trust me, you will need it. Plus, some of these gender reveal ceremonies have gone tragically wrong. This just proves that Forrest Gump was right saying that “Stupid is as stupid does,”
- LIMU EMU – Liberty Mutual has some entertaining television ads using the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop. However, their advertising experts decided to try to one-up the Geico Gecko commercials with their series of Limu Emu commercials. Those commercials make Mr. Magoo appear to be intellectual. What’s next? The Allstate Armadillo? The State Farm Sloth? Enough is enough
- SHEETS – How many sheet companies do we really need? My mother would buy sheets from Macy’s (M) or Bed Bath and Beyond (BBBY). Ditto for my wife. Now however we are inundated with more sheet brands to choose from than bottled water – Giza Dream Sheets (from our friend at My Pillow – see 10 things for 2018), Boll and Branch Sheets, Sheex Sheets, and Holy Sheets, to name a few. Look, Wamsutta Sheets are just as good and can be bought for a reasonable price at BBBY and Amazon (AMZN). Trust me, it’s only a matter of time till Tommy John Underwear makes sheets.
- NBA – I have not watched an NBA game since I went to Madison Square Garden (MSG) to see the Knicks (thanks to cousins Susan and Ken) during the height of Linsanity in early 2012. The NBA game is unexciting. Defense is no longer played. Shot blocking is a lost art. 3-point shots are the equivalent of the old lay-up. Rumor has it that the NBA is toying with the idea of a 4-point play. The league is dominated by a few players who use free agency to better their wallets while they diminish the quality of the league. Now the league is embroiled in a controversy with respect to kowtowing to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Shut your mouths and play basketball. I question as to whether players like Walt Frazier, John Stockton, Clyde Drexler, George Gervin, or Alonzo Mourning would make it in today’s league. That being said, MSG is a good investment.
- NATIONAL DAYS AND MONTHS – Is there a reason that we need to have a National Hot Dog Day? Or a National Frozen Custard Day? National Soup Month? There are twelve months in a year; who gets to choose which twelve foods make the cut? This is stupid, which, in case you have not yet caught on, is the theme of this year’s 10 Things – “Stupid is as Stupid Does”
- JUSSIE SMOLETT – Am I to believe that at 2:40AM, Smollett had a hankering for a Subway Sandwich and left his house on a freezing Chicago January night; to get himself a ham and cheese (or whatever) hero? Did he not have any food or munchies at home? Then, am I to believe that on this random jaunt to Subway he was attached by two individuals carrying some unknown liquid and a noose? Of course, I can believe that in Chicago, any criminal charges against him were dropped by a normally corrupt system. Stupid is as Stupid Does.
- INVERTED YIELD CURVE – Panic after panic in the financial markets were sparked in 2019 over concerns of an Inverted Yield Curve. As I have written, an inverted yield curve has significance but is only one of many factors that portend a recession and stock market decline. However, to have meaning, the inversion must be sustained. In 2019 the inversions were momentary. The issue in 2019 is that too many people missed the boat with the stock market. That is to say; they did not participate in the market’s fantastic rise by over 20% this year. When you are under performing the market; your only savior is to sit on cash while praying for a market downturn. Alternatively, you could double up and lever the market on the long side. That is a far riskier endeavor. So, the strategy was to scare people out of the market over an inverted yield curve which was short term and insignificant. Stupid is as stupid does.
- STUPID CAR NAMES – When you drop $30,000 – $50,000 on a new car, you primarily pay for performance, safety, comfort and reliability. There are some other factors one considers such as style, color and name. Many car names have meanings or send a message such as Chevy Suburban, Ford Edge or Porsche Cayenne (a real hot car). Number and letter combination are nice and safe to name a car. So, who were the geniuses who came up with the name Tiguan at Volkswagen or Velostor at Hyundai? Tiguan sounds like something that my dermatologist removed from the back of my leg. Veloster must be a dinosaur from Jurassic Park. Do you think that my son could get a date asking a young lady out for a drive in his Tiguan? No way no how. He could in my Mercedes SLK230, even though it is a classic from 1998.
- SAN FRANCISCO– I traveled to San Francisco quite often when I was with Merrill Lynch (BAC). On some occasions my wife would accompany me. When I started up LakeViewAsset Management, my attorneys were former clients from San Francisco. They even entertained us for a marvelous day at one of their homes in Sonoma. Several times, I would walk from our offices on California Street to Fisherman’s Wharf and then over to Ghirardelli Square. It was a long but pleasant walk which helped work up an appetite for fish at McCormick and Kuleto’s and then dessert at Ghirardelli’s. Unfortunately, San Francisco is no longer the beautiful city it once was. The city is dangerous, filled with homeless, and littered with trash, feces and hypodermic needles. A rational person dare not long make that walk that I did two decades ago. I have friends who yearn to leave the city and none who desire to move there. The Bay City may never return to it prominence of old and that is a shame.
- ELON MUSK – Elon Musk is in no way stupid. Musk is one of the finest modern-day engineers on Earth. He has great ideas and produces some great things, though I am not impressed with his cars. He just does stupid things. Smoking a blunt (marijuana cigarette) during an interview was stupid. Throwing a rock at an unbreakable window which then shattered was stupid, He proposed dropping nuclear bombs on Mars to make it warmer allowing for human habitation.
I hope you enjoyed this year’s 10 Things and thank you for reading My Gut Feeling throughout the year. Please forward this year’s “10 Things” around to friends and family and invite them to sign up for My Gut Feeling. It is a Christmas staple at one friend/former colleague’s home. LakeView Asset Management is always available to help you with your investment needs, so don’t be shy to reach out to me. I am available to sign up new accounts all the time. You can contact me by phone 888-9-LAKEVIEW / 702-749-9343 or email email@example.com .
PRIOR YEARS’ 10 THINGS I WON’T MISS ABOUT….
Disclosure: At the time of this commentary Scott Rothbort, his family and/or clients of LakeView AssetManagement, LLC was long AMZN & MSG although positions can change at any time.
Scott Rothbort is the President & Founder of LakeView Asset Management, LLC, a registered investment advisor specializing in high net worth private wealth management. For more information on investing with LakeView Asset Management, LLC call us at 888-9LAKEVIEW or request more information by clicking on the contact button on the top right-hand corner of the website. LakeView Management, LLC is a Nevada LLC, with its principal office located in Henderson, NV and branch office located in Millburn, NJ
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