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. 2020 was the year of COVID-19 which brought forth its own unique series of unexpected news, celebration, joy, disappointment, tragedy, and political intrigue. For me personally, I had yet another minor surgery and endured some major renovations to our home here in Nevada, including our new elegant high tech master shower (pictures available on request) and a redesigned Master Bedroom (all designed by my wonderful wife, who will be happy to privately consult on your future project(s)). Add to that my office, which I designed on my own but still awaits delivery of some furniture and decorations. Trust me when I say that renovations can be more physically and mentally draining than some forms of surgery. In fact, my wife and I have not been in New York or New Jersey since last December but also managed to renovate our kitchen and powder room in Bolton Landing, NY, via modern technology such as Blink, an Amazon (AMZN) product and Apple’s (AAPL) FaceTime video. Kudos again to my better half. As always, I did not miss one day of market action, not only having survived the winter market meltdown due to the COVID shutdown but, as I write, managing my best annual performance ever for LakeView Asset Management’s main Growth Strategy (actual results will be official and available for release by private request in early January). I hope and pray that 2021 will be a year of health, happiness, and prosperity to my family, friends, clientele, and readers. So, without further ado, here is my List of 10 Things I Won’t Miss About 2020 (and never want to see or hear about ever again), in no specific order:
- INFLUENCERS– I do not understand why people will allow their decisions to be influenced by some little pisher influencer, most of who as it turns out has little intellect or poor judgement. The same goes for one’s vote. I could care less who some actor, actress or musician is going to vote for. People ask me about what you learn in business school. I ask them first what do they think? The response is always “learn how to make money.” I always explain that is the wrong answer. In business school – undergraduate or MBA – we learn how to make decisions. I don’t need anyone to make a decision for me.
- TIAA-CREF – I have been on Wall Street since 1984, when I started out at Morgan Stanley (MS). I have seen investment companies come and go. For some reason, the worst investment management firm, TIAA-CREF still exists. I do not know of a single individual who is pleased with TIAA-CREF. I do not know anyone who would voluntarily select TIAA-CREF to manage their investments. The company’s customer service is lousy, and they have no incentive to outperform market benchmarks all because they have a captive customer base. All of that is not so at LakeView Asset Management. I work hard to perform and provide clients with the best customer service.
- INSIDER BOOK WRITERS – For some reason, it has become a cottage industry to work in an insider position in government or industry, do a lousy job and then write a tell-all book. Part of such a business plan is to sell the piece of fiction (yes it is fiction) to a desperate publisher, and try to juice up sales by getting a publicist to get a positive review by The New York Times (NYT) and get interviews on CNN (owned by AT&T (T) ) and maybe pay a few influencers to push the book. Need I say more than those wonderful treatises by Omarosa Manigault and John Bolton.
- SKI HATS AND BRIGHT RED LIPSTICK – Please understand that I put myself through college working in Manhattan in the garment industry. I even sold and cut the fabric used by the designers for Saturday Night Live (when it was good) , the movie version of the Wiz (specifically Diana Ross’ gown) and Paul McCartney and Wings (OK, so I named dropped, I am entitled). Let’s agree that I have a background in fashion and design. I understand that fashion trends come and go. Some I like and others I do not. There are two recent trends that just do not meet with my approval – one male and one female. On the female side, the bright red circus clown lipstick craze is just plain ugly. I think this was started by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and / or Moira Rose(of Schitt’s Creek). On the male side, I just don’t get wearing woolen ski hats all year round, and especially inside. Most of them are just plain old ugly as it is.
- CANCEL CULTURE– Who the f*$k does anybody think they have an unalienable right to destroy a person or group’s lives because they do not agree with them. Hey idiots please read our Declaration of Independence. These Cancel Culture Communists take insensitivity to a whole new level. I hereby declare 2021 as the year of Cancel Cancel Culture. So, please cancel any individual or group which seeks to or has cancelled someone else.
- WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER – That mantra is a bunch of horse excrement. Yes, COVID was a pandemic which impacted people of all walks of life. That is except for the ruling class and elitists who talk one thing and do another. Is Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) really in it together with the rest of us while he eats $400 meals at The French Laundry restaurant. Who would eat at a place with that name; though its better than The Dirty Sock, I suppose? Would Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) send his mother Matilda to a nursing home in the middle of a pandemic? How about those social justice warrior protestors who marched and gathered without masks in public? Not to be outdone, is Dr. Anthony Fauci, who; and this is well documented, was inconsistent and changed his opinions constantly during the pandemic. But that’s alright because an unknown government bureaucrat got to enjoy celebrity status while the world was in a pandemic. Sure WE are in it together but THEY are in it for themselves.
- BAD GOVERNMENT STATISTICS – Anyone who knows me, knows that I am quantitative. The reason that I chose not to go to school to earn a PhD in mathematics is because I noticed that walking through a mall that there were no math stores. Plus, I was always interested in the stock market. I recall giving my 6th grade teacher stock tips at the time (one was Tandy back in 1972). 2020 was the year of bad statistics, especially when it came to COVID-19. For example, it is being reported that in my home state of Nevada there were 200,000 cases of COVID-19. It is estimated that Nevada is home to just under 3.1 million people. This implies that nearly one in every 15 people had COVID-19. I only knew of three such people and two of them acquired it in Canada. I don’t believe government statistics. Never have and never will. As Judge Judy says, “Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me Its Raining”
- DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS– My Uncle Morty (he’s technically my Grandfather’s first cousin, or my first cousin twice removed) was a remarkable gentleman. Besides being a well-known psychologist, he was an avid painter. Many years ago, he had an art show in Philadelphia (which I attended with my mother, of blessed memory). Proceeds of the paintings were donated to Doctors Without Borders (DWB), a seemingly worthy cause. As such my wife and I made donations to DWB for Morty’s birthdays and in his memory after he passed away. That is until 2020. This year I received a call from a DWB fundraiser. They gave me a whole shpiel about DWB and then hit me with their request. They were raising money to help people afflicted by corona virus in – now get this – Wuhan China. That was the definition of chutzpah. I went ballistic without using four letter words (I tempered my language for some unknown reason); read them the riot act, telling them the nerve that DWB had to fund raise money in the USA from an American to support COVID efforts in Wuhan China. I said if DWB were raising money to help children in Africa or India or people in another impoverished nation, then OK. I ended by saying never to call or solicit me every again (though I still get mail from them).
- AOC – That’s right she makes the list twice this year. She received the Stupid is as Stupid does award for 2020. For her first year or so in office she was great comic relief. Now the joke is over, and she is just overbearing and droll in a court jester sort of way with red clown lipstick. I was so hopeful that Michelle Caruso-Cabrera formerly of CNBC, who I had the pleasure of being interviewed by several times, and is the intellectual antithesis of AOC, would have beaten AOC in the Democratic primary. I was so disappointed.
- COVID-19 – may this curse upon society be eradicated once and for all. It seems like the products of Operation Warp Speed such as vaccines and some other therapeutics may be a step in the right direction. And please, governors, let’s not close down this nation again as we now know it did no good in the first place.
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 always available by phone 888-9-LAKEVIEW / 702-749-9343 or email email@example.com or even via Zoom (ZM). Forget Skype, owned by Microsoft (MSFT), its so 2017.
Disclosure: At the time of this commentary Scott Rothbort, his family and/or clients of LakeView Asset Management, LLC was long MPC - although positions can change at any time.
Scott Rothbort is the President & Founder of LakeView Asset Management, LLC, (LVAM) an investment advisor representative, specializing in high net worth private wealth management. LVAM is affiliated with Kingswood Wealth Advisors Services, a registered investment advisor. 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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