Author: Wall Street Vibes

Welcome to the “Tariff Man” Correction

This post was originally published on this siteLook, up in the sky! It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s… Tariff Man? Tariff Man is not faster than a speeding bullet, stronger than a locomotive or able to leap tall buildings – including Trump Tower – with a single bound. What Tariff Man can do – and it’s no small feat – is send our $30 trillion stock market into a tailspin, as President Trump did Wednesday when the Dow plunged nearly 800 points and the Nasdaq fell into correction territory in reaction to his now famous tweet that he is “a Tariff Man.” This is hardly something to brag about. On June 17, 1930, the U.S. government enacted the infamous Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. It raised U.S. tariffs to record levels on more than 20,000 imported goods. This populist legislation sounded appealing at the time – America First, right? – but it helped create and worsen the Great Depression. Foreign governments retaliated by shutting out U.S. exports. International trade ground to a halt. The world economy contracted 25%. And a quarter of Americans were thrown out of work – and into bread lines. This is something we want to emulate? Earlier this year, President Trump said trade wars are “great and easy to win.” Not so. Politicians everywhere want to benefit their constituents – and would prefer not to look...

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History Is Likely to Repeat for This Dividend Cutter

This post was originally published on this siteIncome investors in Nokia (NYSE: NOK) should remind themselves of that saying about history repeating itself. Despite an expected jump in free cash flow next year, it is likely that sometime in the near to intermediate future the company will lower its dividend like it has done many times before. Nokia is a model of inconsistency. It routinely vacillates between making money and unprofitability. And its free cash flow, like an eager teenager in their first make out session, is all over the place. In 2016, free cash flow was negative 1.9...

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The “Early to Rise” Virtue

This post was originally published on this siteGetting to work early is such a common virtue of successful people that I’m tempted to call it the single most important thing you can do to change your life. I wasn’t always an early riser. For most of my twenties, if I saw the sun rise, it was before going to bed. And in my thirties, I’d struggle to get into the office by 9 a.m. I wasn’t afraid of the work. Most days, I’d put in 12 to 14 hours. But since I had gotten accustomed to late hours in college and graduate school, I saw no reason to change my waking and sleeping habits. “I do my best work after midnight,” I used to say. And for a while, I even believed it. My conversion happened in my early forties, after I’d already become financially independent. That being the case, I can’t argue that it’s impossible to become successful unless you get up early. I did it. And plenty of others did it, too. But I can say that the success I’ve had since then has been more dramatic… and has come a lot easier. At the time of my conversion, I was working about 65 hours per week, beginning each workday at 9 a.m., working until about 8 p.m., and working at least half a day on Saturday...

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Watch Out for This Unexpected Expense

This post was originally published on this siteIt isn’t a nice topic this week: I’m talking about why you should plan your own funeral. The average funeral costs between $6,000 and $10,000. And the worst possible time for your family and heirs to try to make sense of what constitutes a reasonable cost for your final services is immediately after losing you. No one is likely to drive around town shopping for the best price. And few ever question the bill, no matter how high it is. Many funeral homes are anything but upfront about costs and services. Most don’t post their costs online. Prices vary widely. The largest provider of funeral services, Service Corporation International (SCI), was found to charge, on average, 72% higher for cremations, 50% higher for simple burials and 47% higher for full-service funerals than their competitors. And none of SCI’s costs are listed on any of its websites. When my father passed in 2000, we were lucky to have had a multigenerational relationship with a local funeral home. It was only a few blocks from my father’s home, and it was more like old home week than planning his last service. I have known the owner, who took over the business from his father, since high school. He pointed to a reasonable casket, made a list of what we had to do and what...

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Report From The Oxford Club’s Austrian Wealth Retreat

This post was originally published on this siteI’ve just returned from The Oxford Club’s Austrian Wealth Retreat in Vienna. Oxford Club Event Director Steven King did his usual terrific job in organizing the event, and longtime Oxford Club friend and lifestyle expert Fritz Satran made sure our group remained well-fed. We stayed in the historic Hotel Bristol opposite the world-famous State Opera in the heart of Vienna. The Bristol’s previous guests include kings, presidents, artists and celebrities. And as it was an Oxford Club Wealth Retreat, we also talked investing. Steve McDonald, The Oxford Club’s Bond Strategist, peppered his outstanding presentation with his usual wit and always entertaining anecdotes. As the Club’s ETF Strategist, I focused on exchange-traded funds (ETFs) – but with a distinctly local flavor. I began by telling the audience a bit about our host city, Vienna. Over the past 20 years, Austria’s capital has developed a reputation as one of the world’s top cities. Most recently, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Vienna the most livable city in the world. As I walked around Vienna last week, I was struck by both its regal architecture and its prosperity. Vienna’s impressive collection of royal parks and museums seems out of place in the capital of a small country of only 8.8 million people. But as I reminded attendees, Vienna was once the capital of the vast Austro-Hungarian...

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