Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"525,600 Minutes" - Happy New Year!

“525,600 Minutes – How do you measure, measure a year?” I woke up early this morning with that song in my head. It is New Years Eve, a big day for me. A day I sit down and write a letter to myself about the year gone by and set some goals for the one to come. What a year it has been. It has been a historic one. For me? Yes. But more importantly for the world.

For the world?

”525,600 Minutes – How do you measure, measure a year?” In homes prices, in bankruptcies, in rate cuts and weekend rescues. In soldiers, in civilians, in guns and surges. In stock prices, in credit spreads, in default swaps and leveraged loans. “How do you measure, measure a year?” In hedge fund failures, in ponzi schemes, in letters to investors. In election results, in new leadership and promises of a better future. In children, in education, in health care and fiscal stimulus. “How do you measure, measure a year?”

For me?

“525,600 Minutes – How do you measure, measure a year?” In new friendships, in workouts, in walks with my dog Sunnie. In games of risk, movies, batches of cupcakes and trips to Canada. In blog entries, in headlines, in stories of the financial meltdown. In CFG meetings, in girls nights out, in trips to the grocery store. How do you measure, measure a year? In board meetings, in business ideas, and in checks for charities. In emails, in sermons, in speeches and trips to Starbucks. In school drop offs, in community and in dreams for a better future. “525,600 minutes, how do you measure a year? How about Love? How about Love? Measure in Love… Seasons of Love.”

Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Markets, Printing Money and Ben Stein

Last week was a quiet one for the equity markets in general, down slightly on continued bad news regarding the global economy. Retail sales were bad ( down 8% yr over yr in dec) , as expected, witht the luxery goods sector getting hammered ( down 21%). If my visit to the mall yesterday was any indication of what to expect in Jan and Feb... expect a lot of store closures, bankruptcies, and more. What struck me driving in to Stamford was that EVERY building was advertising space available. This was simply not true a year ago.

I am gathering my thoughts and material to both do a 2008 review and a 2009 outlook, but here are a few pieces to get you thinking.

Printing Money and It's Price - This feature in the NYT Week in Review speaks to one of the biggest themes of the year: America's credit addiction. Back on January 22nd of this year I wrote this:

For an entry back in NOV on a similar topic - Too Much Debt! Click here.

The second piece worth a read is one my Ben Stein - "They Told Me He Never Lost Money." Yes he is talking about Madoff but his real point is this. "We are more than our investments. We are more than the year-to-year or day-to-day changes inour net worth. We Are what we do for charity. We are how we treat our family and friends. We are what we do for our community and our nation." I like that!

This is a glimpse of what is to come in my year end newsletter - sign up on the right if you have not already. Yes it has been a horrible year but there is HOPE. Hope comes from realizing what is important and taking action. Have a great day.

Friday, December 26, 2008

"Walk With Me" and Transcending

First and foremost I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Mine was spent here with my husbands family, all 18 of us, eating and being Merry! Coming soon will be some end of year market related posts... but one more piece that is in the spirit of the season.

"Walk With Me" - Jacki Zehner, 2002

I am walking outside, alone
Then suddenly - I begin to shake.
I stop a sec to look around
Am I dreaming or awake?

The air it seems way too cool
For what seems this time of year.
I begin to get the sense
That the cool is my own fear.

I keep on walking straight ahead
Knowing not which way to turn.
Thinking of all left behind
And all that I have learned.

I see something ahead of me
A bench is on the road,
As if put there just for me
To help relieve my load.

I drop down to rest and think
For I can no longer stand.
Suddenly I’m scared and turn
For there is someone holding my hand.

Do not be afraid she/he says
I’m here to show you the way.
I wake up, get out of bed
And get down on my knees to pray.

I also wanted to share this video clip By Kelly Corrigan. It has had over 1.5 mm hits on Youtube and is a speech everyone should hear. This is the reality of women's lives so beautifully stated... Thank you Kelly.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wonder Woman, Kindness, and Changing the World

The days that lead up to Christmas are often some the most stressful ones of the year for me. The list of ‘to dos’ is so long that I generally feel like my head is going to explode. The cards, the gifts, the baking, the the the….. As much as a try to stay organized and plan ahead, every year it is the same. The 23rd is generally my freak out day when my husband tries to sit me down and say “Jacki, you really do not need to do all of it.” Need. Need versus want. That has been a theme this year. Why is it I feel like I NEED to do all this at Christmas? Give presents and cards to dozens of teachers, doctors, the dentist, even the local post office staff? Heck…. why do I feel like I NEED to do all that I do in general? Serve on boards? Write? Give Speeches? And so forth……… Why?

Yesterday I was making my usual Christmas rounds around town dropping off baked goods and Christmas candy when I was stopped in my tracks. With my son waiting in the car I dashed in to the post office and with a quick "Merry Christmas" and thank you to the wonderful staff handed over a tray full of cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies. Mike told me to hold on a minute saying he had something for me. For me. He went to the back and came back with a limited edition, signed, Wonder Woman comic book. The Title of the Comic is “Beginning a BOLD NEW ERA! Wonder Woman.” Hand written on the cover beside the writer's, John Byrne’s, signature it says ‘WW in ’12 !! (She was not born here but…..) I started to cry…………. Mike knew I collected Wonder Woman memorabilia because I once bought some superhero stamps from him, but he did not know the extent of it. Mike, this person I only know from visits to the post office, gave me what will go down in history as one of the best gifts ever. Ever.

Six years ago I left Goldman Sachs. Six years ago I had an idea for a screenplay, a Wonder Woman screenplay, where WW comes to this world to help a woman become President of the United States. The candidate had been derailed. Why? Because there were doubts whether she was born in the United States which you have to be to become President. WW came to help her get back on track. There is much, much, much more to this story but I will save that for another time.....

So why did I cry? Not only because it was an incredibly thoughtful gift but because NOW, at his moment, at this second, I believe we are on the verge of something big… something bold…. something new. In my heart I believe that 2009 will go down in history as a year when WOMEN move to claim their space and stake their claim. A year when woman rise up and join with good men to mend this world. This will be the year of Wonder Women and I hope Wonder Men! More then that .. we can all be SUPERHEROs! SUPER SHE ROS ! We all can be the force that saves the world if we use our time, our treasure, our talent thoughtfully and passionately.

So thank you Mike. Thank you staff of the New Canaan Post Office. Thank you for this message from God, from the Universe, that I am suppose to keep on doing what I feel like I NEED to do.

I am heading off to do our Christmas shopping at Stew Leonard’s before the lines get CRAZY. Have a great Christmas Eve.

For more on Superheros and WONDER WOMAN (note the tshirt)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wants, Needs, and A Great GIFT Idea

My husband keeps asking me what I would like for Christmas this year and I keep telling him I do not NEED anything. Needs. Wants. Needs. Wants. Do you keep asking yourself this question? “Do I need this or do I want it?” I do. Not only am I feeling an overwhelming sense of having enough, well too much, but my credit card bills are way down to boot!

So here is an idea for on how to celebrate Christmas. Give yourself a gift and ask your family members to do the same. Sit down, whip out some paper, and write the names of NEW friends you made this year and write why they now seem so important in your life. Write down their names, write down what makes them so special, then keep a copy for yourself and send the original to that person. Break out the crayolas and stickers and fill it with images that speak to who that person is. If by chance no ‘new’ person comes to mind, then do it for the person that has made this year such a special one for you. Is it something they taught you? Some way they inspired you? Or maybe they were just there in a moment you really needed them to be. Do it!

It is not a coincidence that this book arrived in my mailbox yesterday – “One Can Make A Difference: How Simple Actions Can Change the World.,”( Thank YOU L.D.) I is a “collection of wisdom, stories, and insight of fifty activists and world-changers who have proven that one person a movement can make.” I know what I will be reading this holiday season. This I NEED!!!!

I am going to work on a year end newsletter that shares lessons learned this year, resources that matter, ideas that matter, so if you have not signed up yet - do - and ask others to as well.

Bless you all and may your spirits leap in to a joyful place this holiday season.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Fed, Confidence, Trust and More.....

The FED cut rates to basically zero this week in a bold move with bold language that basically says we are going to do EVERYTHING we can to get money flowing through the system again. EVERYTHING. The big worry remains deflation as it should be. I have written on this topic at length before but the short of it is deflation is bad because if people think prices are going down, they do not buy today. It also increases ones debt burden because the nominal value does not go down while the value of the underlying assets do.

By cutting rates so dramatically in the short end, and forcing rates down on the long end through bond purchases, they are hoping to stimulate the economy by making it cheaper for people to buy stuff – especially homes. They are also forcing people, like me, who have a lot in treasuries at the moment to get worried. Though I enjoyed being there while the poop was hitting the fan in everything else, now I am left with an asset earning, well, nothing. Treasury money market funds are not going to be yielding enough to cover fees. They are trying to FORCE us to invest in higher yielding assets.

Are they right to do this? I am going to bring you back to the very first piece I wrote this year on January 18th. On that day I wrote a story called “The Confidence Man” - here is a piece of the last paragraph.

“Now is the time for innovative thinking that aligns short-term fixes with long-term ethical direction. The promise that quick-fix maneuvers aimed at stimulating more spending will rescue the economy is yet another example of the current administration's wishful and delusional thinking. "

These policies will only work IF IF IF people have the CONFIDENCE to start spending and investing again. One should only have confidence if there is TRUST. But come on, with stories like MADOFF breaking every week, how can we? The powers that be tell us to spend and invest but every time we do we are side-swiped with some disaster that they clearly had no idea was coming. This recovery will take a while as trust is not something that should come back overnight.
So yes they are right to boldly cut rates to encourage borrowing and lending BUT they must also fully acknowledge just how much the system has FAILED and is BROKEN. They must boldly say they will hold these slime dogs accountable to the full extent of the law and work to create the right regulatory framework to stop this from happening again. They need to work to build trust.
For now YOU, as an investor, have to get involved. YOU have to know who is managing your money and demand transparency and disclosure. YOU must ask questions and say NO to investments that you do not understand. I have made my fair share of investment mistakes but this much I now know – try to invest with people you know, you trust, where you have transparency and can where you can do your own due diligence. If possible stick to simple products with established providers. It is back to basics times in more ways than one.

The end result of this will be SERIOUS change in the wealth management business. SERIOUS. I have so many ideas on how this should happen I feel like my head is going to pop off.
If you are a regular reader you know I am all about REVOLUTIONS at the moment and an INVESTOR REVOLUTION is one of the many I am a part of.

A NYT piece on the FED cuts and more.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Broken. We live in a broken world. 2008 will go down in history for me as the year I both fully acknowledged it and I fully embraced the fact that I can be, will be, part of the fix it team. Oct 28th, 2008, will be THE DAY that I started wearing my Wonder Woman suit - all the time - not just on Halloween.

Tuesday I delivered another speech. One week following claiming my space as a revolutionist in front of a group of 200 women at an 85 Broads event, I shared MY Generosity Plan with a group of 50 here in New Canaan. What is a Generosity Plan? According to Kathy LeMay, my giving coach and good friend, it is how you are using YOUr time, YOUr treasure, YOUr talent to make a difference in the world. YOU. It is about creating a personal plan around how YOU are going to make a difference. We all can. We so can. We have to, have to, believe this and help our children believe this as well. They need to witness this in the lives of their parents and others around them. As my great friend Kathy said to me at our first meeting together – “See the change you want in the world and work to be that change.”

Let this be the gift you give to the world this Christmas Season. First, spend some time with yourself. Ask yourself this question then ask others to ask themselves - “if I had a magic wand and could change anything in the world what I change?” End poverty? Create access to clean water? End violence? Stop kids from dying from curable diseases? There is no one right answer there is only your answer. The world is so broken. Fix it. Figure out how YOU are going to use YOUr time, YOUr treasure, YOUr talent to make a difference. YOU.

Last night my husband preached on this very topic. He was a partner at Goldman Sachs as well and left to go to Yale Divinity school and is now a Pastor. He preached on how the world is both broken and has always been broken. In fact at the time of Jesus's birth - the world was a complete mess. In Israel taxes were around 40% ( to pay for King Herod's massive infrastructure building projects), the Romans ruled, and their was a lot of civil unrest. Yet what was God's solution? Did he wave a magic wand and make everything ok? NO... he gave the world a person. He gave the world a perfect person to inspire us. To teach us. To guide us to live a life of service and of possibility. To GIVE GIVE GIVE and ask not what you get in return.

If the significance of Jesus's birth is not something you can hear, believe or embrace then please just hear, believe, embrace the message of it. That YOUr life has meaning. That YOUr life has a purpose. That we all have infinite possiblity and it is giving and serving others that we will find our joy and peace.

Tell me your story. Tell me what makes your heart scream out! Tell me or tell others as it is by putting it out there that you will commit yourself to be part of the solution. Hold yourself accountable and ask others to hold you accountable. By doing so you will inspire others. Be an example.

WATCH this video to be inspired. WATCH this video if to hear the message of CHRISTmas. It is a Christian message but as my friend Deborah Siegel said when she watched it …. “I am a Jew… and I loved it!” This is a message of hope and possibility. With all of us helping we can make 2009 a landmark year, a year when countless people stood up and claimed their place to be part of the solution.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008


This is a must see video!! Brilliant, inspriring and true - major goosebumps!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Markets, Madoff, Money and HOPE.......

A look at market performance for last week might suggest that we had a least some good news. The S & P rose over 4% and is well off it’s lows from late November. Benchmark SPY ( index) hit a low tic of 75.45 on the close and Friday closed the day at 88.99. Not bad considering the fact that on the economic front news has been getting worse and not better. I continue to think we are in a bear market as so does my friend over at BARRONS, Alan Abelson.

I just cannot stop reading about this Madoff scandal…. How could this have possibly have happened? How do you keep a scam going that long? How is it possible so many ‘smart’ people got pulled in? It is mind blowing and I am sorry for the people who lost money and I think this has BIG implications for the (diminishing) wealth management business as a whole.

Six years ago I started to invest a significant amount of my time learning about this business. Although I would have called myself financially sophisticated, when I embarked on the journey to manage our own money I realized I had a lot to learn. And learn I did. With my partners at Circle Financial Group we have talked to hundreds of managers, advisors, lawyers, accountants you name it. My biggest take away is this: you have to be actively involved. Have to. Sad to say but it is hard to find people who care as much about you and your family as much as you do. Those people are out there, but they are hard to find. The industry is built to sell product and the more complicated it is the higher the fees. Right at this moment it is clear that the general model is BROKEN. Why do I say that? Because the bond of trust has been broken. People have lost way too much money and I am not talking just hedge funds, but everything. I am going to dedicate an upcoming newsletter to this topic so stay tuned.

A friend sent me this detailed view on what is going on in our economy right now and it is a very thoughtful read. Written by Jim Quinn it is on a site I have not visited before but I found it very useful, especially the chart that highlights how much our administration has committed so far to the various bailouts. Take a look and let me know what YOU think.

On a positive note - I have so much HOPE. Yes so much has failed and is broken but we have an opportunity to reshape the world we live in in to a better world. Let's all do more, right now, and ask others to do more as well. This weekend I spent two hours with my children serving patients at an elder care facility, most of which have severe memory loss. I left there so full, so fed. Giving, serving, helping others, living a life based on a premise of abundancy is the what can and will heal the world. Blessings...........

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Diary - Brokenness, Hope, Prophecy, Women and More

Yesterday was another one of those days. I day so filled with great people, innovative ideas, memorable moments, inspiration, prophecy fulfilled, that I thought at the end of it, my head and heart were going to explode.

On train ride in to the city I of course, had to digest the WSJ and the FT, as it my ritual. Though the now normal stories of corporate lay-offs, retail companies imploding, and fed balance sheet usage was depressing enough, it was the Maddoff story that was scary beyond belief. How could that have happened, how?

The CONSTANT themes in this blog all year have been these – People deserve to hear the TRUTH, we need to live in a country built on TRUST and INTEGRITY, leadership has FAILED us, corporate models are in general BROKEN, we need INVEST in WOMEN now, it is all about GENEROSITY in a time of SCARCITY, each of needs to make a DIFFERENCE and we have to have HOPE. This story was about the opposite of all of that. What we need NOW, are stories of HOPE.

HOPE. I hopped off the train, ran uptown where I had a two hour meeting with a senior exec of a major retailer and the ladies from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation on how we could partner. How to do something so cool, and fun, that when people walk in to their stores to buy something they NEED not just WANT we can offer them a way to CONNECT with a CAUSE in the process.

HOPE. I then went to a meeting with a book publisher to talk about my story and the stories of women I know that need to be told. We spent most of the time however talking about why women generally do not buy non-fiction books written by women about women, why male authors dominate the non-fiction list, why MONEY is such an important topic right now, and what is the book the world NEEDS right NOW.

HOPE. I have been overwhelmed of late by the generosity of some people. A few weeks ago I met this amazing woman who is all about FINANCIAL LITERACY. Stacey Tisdale. She wrote a book about it called “The Real Story Behind Managing Your Money.” (buy it) Needless to say we were best friends within about 1 minute. A few days later she connects me to this woman, Loreen Arbus, who I had met briefly as she, like me, is a member of Golden Seeds, but I now would be HONORED to call a friend. Out of a place of purse generosity she invited 24 of the most amazing women on the planet ( and me ) to come to lunch and share their WISDOM on problems the world is now facing. She asked provocative questions and requested we share SOLUTIONS that through our network we could deliver to the people in power. WOW. Not surprisingly I knew a number of the women there: Helen LaKelly Hunt, one of the visionaries behind Women Moving Millions, Julie Gilbert, Senior Vice-President at Best Buy and the creator of their award winning WOLF Program that is absolutely and completely proving the model of grass roots women’s leadership in corporate America, Janet Hanson, founder of 85 Broads, Carol Jenkins, President of the Women’s Media Center… and I just have to say it – Barbara Walters!!!!!!! Also there was a women who my dear friend in Vancouver has been trying to connect me with for two years!! This was not a lunch where we were all just hanging out and admiring each other, no, thanks to Loreen we were WORKING!!!! There was so much passion in that room if you lit a match it the roof would have been blown off the place. This is what needs to happen. Women, good men, need to gather, have an agenda, ask questions, collect solutions and BOTH send them off to the decision makers and do them yourself. This is how change happens. Loreen, you ROCK!

HOPE. I dashed out to run across town for a small group brainstorming session with a handful of brilliant people on creating a NEW company. We see the power of this moment. So much has been destroyed and we want to be part of the clean-up crew.

HOPE. I could not find a cab and I was going to miss the train home which would mean no dinner out with the kids on Friday night which generally speaking, was our tradition. The meeting had been on WEST 42nd Street and I had to get to Grand Central fast. No cabs. I saw one up ahead dropping people off and I ran to get it. I thought I guy was just getting out when in fact he was loading his suitcases in. In panted breath I told him my story and asked, if he was going that way, could I share the cab? He said he was actually headed downtown, but in an adorable British accent he said, “no worries, I will drop you off.” With no time to waste I hopped in the cab, thanked him profusely and offered to pay the whole fare. We had a few minutes to share our stories and he said he was a musician and was heading to downtown to see a friend before he took off for Tokyo for a gig. Of course I had to share my foray as an owner of a recording studio which led to an in depth, two minute, conversation about how the music industry is BROKEN. As we arrived in grand central he reached in to his bag, gave me a copy of his CD, and would not take a dime for the ride. Instead he said – “You can just do something nice for someone else today.” I responded “Pay it FORWARD.” He had not seen the movie so I explained it and jumped out of the cab to catch the train with not a minute to space.

HOPE – On the train home I had the chance to read the NEW issue of World Pulse Magazine. You HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE TO get involved, read these articles, forward them to your friends, and SUPPORT this organization. I know the founder, Jensine Larson, very well as I have been a supporter of PULSE WIRE for some time. I was an angel investor! Jensine, congrats, you nailed it! This is the best issue of a magazine I have EVER, EVER read..... The magazine’s tag line – “Global Issues Through the Eyes of Women.” This is the MOMENT for this PRODUCT!!!!!!!!! All you Media people who are reading this, if you want a meeting with Jensine, email me.....

The magazine is filled with amazing articles and two are about women I adore. Julie Gilbert ( yes she was at the lunch) in “Running with Wolves” is featured in a brave story about how she SURIVED to build what she built at Best Buy. Kathy LeMay, my philanthropy coach wrote a piece called “Revolutionary Philanthropy”, a story about her claiming her space as a philanthropist. Although there are many more brilliant articles I have to mention just one more. The article is called the “Power of Prophecy” and is about 13 ancient indigenous grandmothers who gather to fulfill an ancient prophecy for the world.

“Collectively, they knew the Grandmothers from the Spirit World were calling them to action. They knew that now they must reveal their most secret and sacred ways to the very people who have been their oppressors. They also shared the belief that the world is being prepared for the spirit of the feminine and this energy must awaken in men and women as well. According to Grandmother Flordemayo of Central America, “Prophecy stares that is will be the women who walk with the power.””

If you KNOW me, if you have read this blog all year and in particular the 10 OPEDS that I have written for the HUFFINGTON POST this year ( to the right), if you were present at my coming out keynote speech this past Tuesday for 85 Broads, you KNOW how much I believe this to be true. I am part of this prophecy. We as women, and good men, can ALL be part of this prophecy.

Ok….. major goose bumps. Enough said. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Money Manager Madoff loses $50 BILLION!!!!!!

"Madoff, 70, the founder of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, maintained a separate and secretive investment-advising business that served between 11 and 25 clients and had a total of about $17.1 billion in assets under management, prosecutors said.
They said he told employees Wednesday that it had been insolvent for years, losing at least $50 billion. Madoff told employees he was "finished," that he had "absolutely nothing," that "it's all just one big lie" and it was "basically, a giant Ponzi scheme," according to a criminal complaint in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. " read it.

Jim Kramers take. More here.

Yesterday I wrote about how much brokenness there is the world.. and now this!!!! I am truly sick to my stomach. The reason that the credit markets are frozen are because no one trusts eachother... now this!!!!!! The whole financial world is broken, BROKEN, BROKEN!!!!!!! Who can you trust? Who is telling the truth? Who is marking thier books correctly? It goes on and on and on..... I have been in finance for 20 years and I truly remember when I integrity was all that mattered. Those days are gone..... What will it take to bring it back? Read yesterdays post.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Brokenness, Hope and Women!!! A New Huffpo Piece!

As you can tell I have been a busy girl the past 24 hours! I came down off the high of my speech yesterday and wrote this piece!!!! Of course I am excited about it and could it be the best one yet? You decide.

It is about Investing in Women - this is a message I am going to get out there again and again and again. Hey, I should get that phrase on T-shirts!!! And YES - I will post the website I bought my Wonder Woman T - but they may be sold out, by last order was for 30 of them!!!

The Lastest Huffington Post - CLICK HERE - INVEST IN WOMEN!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Are YOU Ready for a Revol- YOU - tion?

Today I had the complete honor to be keynote speaker for the monthly 85 Broads Women’s Power Breakfast in New York City. Thank you Janet Hanson for giving me such an incredible opportunity. Over 200 women, and two good men, (or should I say smart men) paid hard earned dollars to be there and I hope you found it, me, a good investment! Please leave a comment here if you are so inclined!

The speech was called “Are YOU ready for a revol – YOU – tion?”It was a call to action! I asked everyone in the room to take their commitment to make this world a more just and equitable place to the next level. I asked everyone in the room to hold tight to a core belief that the world would in fact be a better place if women and girls had both access and opportunity to places and spaces where they currently do not. I asked everyone in the room to claim THIS MOMENT as THE MOMENT to renew and enlarge their commitment to invest in women.

Invest in women. INVEST in women. INVEST IN WOMEN.

The podcast will be soon available as will be speech in hard copy. Stay tuned. I invite you to sign up for upcoming newsletters by adding your name to my subscriber list. AND if you are not already a member of 85 Broads, join now!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Job Losses, Bill Gross, Boggle, and Bond Basics

Despite a jobs report the worst since 1974, the equity market managed to fight well in to positive territory for the day on Friday, and based on the overseas markets it is looking to be a good day. The US economy was reported to have lost 533,000 jobs in the month of November, and shedded 1.3 million jobs since September, leaving the unemployment rate up to 6.7%. Alan Abelson notes that the report would have been a lot worse “had not over 400,000 left the force because they likely couldn’t find work.” Sadly this weekend’s TV news seem filled with stories, with real people, that have either lost of their job or are giving up hope about finding one. This is going to continue. I do not want to imagine what is going to happen to the retail sector come January... stimulus package or no stimulus package. America, Americans who simply cannot afford it, just have to stop buying stuff we do not need and that is going to be a painful adjustment process. The addiction to credit has to stop. It has stopped. Let the recovery process begin.

Earlier the year I wrote an OPED about our addiction to credit. Read it here.

It is still going to get worse before it gets better for the economy and 2009 will definitely prove to be one of change, transition, and I hope, HOPE.

Bill Gross' DEC commentary is a must read. A new investment paradigm has arrived. Too many people I believe are not letting recent history reframe their thinking, and that is going to get one in big investment do do. I am not saying I have all the answers, I do not, but I do know that how I think about where to invest has been completely shaken up. It is like the game of BOGGLE. You shake up all the letters, then let them settle in to their spaces, and try to make as many words as you can from connecting letters as fast as you can. The problem right now, as the letters just keep on getting shaken up. But hey, that is the world of investing.

I also found this GREAT SECTION ont he Pimco site that explains all about bonds! I am adding this to my investing 101 section. Bookmark it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire - Must See !

This is, in my opinion, the first must see movie of the year! It was date night last night and it was my husband Greg's turn, and wow did he pick a good one.

"Directed by Danny Boyle, "Slumdog Millionaire" is based on a book "Q and A" by Indian writer Vikas Swarup. It traces the journey of a poor young man from the slums of Mumbai, who ends up winning one crore rupees in game show "Kaun Banega Karorpati", the Indian version of American TV show "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire." "

Why did I love it? Because it is about destiny. Because it is about every life, even the most unlikely one, having a purpose. Because it is about seemingly disconnected, somtimes horrible events, giving you a gift that will only reveal itself much later. Because it is about a moment when everything in your past has it's place in your history that brings you to a place of opportunity and perfectness. Because it is about love, about family, about loyalty, about trust, abour good winning over evil. This is a must see movie.......... leave your reviews here afterward!!!!!

To watch the trailer. More, but plot spoiler, IMDB.
Yes it is 4 am and I am going to work on my 85 Broads speech for Tuesday - the event is sold out, over 150 people, and I am psyched! The title, " Are YOU ready for a revolution?" You know my answer, what is yours?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Global Imbalances, Stag-delfation, FDIC debt, the BUBBLE, and Tax Planning

For today's post I just have to link to a handful of good articles in the FT, but first, a few words about private equity. It is a big mess!!!!! I believe many of the funds, especially the ones doing the mega cap deals, are basically toast. They did deals that on a marked to market basis are worth nothing, yet I am sure they are marked a lot higher. Basic assumptions about how private equity works are out the window. There is going to be huge failures in terms of capital calls, big liquidty problems, and litigation up the ying yang. A mess....

A few must read articles from the FT
- On Global Imbalances and trade.
- On the rush to issue debt guaranteed by the FDIC. ( remember a few days ago when I said GS was the first and there would be much to follow)
- On GURU Nouriel Roubini's latest thinking - not good.
- On Sliding bond yields spur bubble talk.

And one from yesterdays WALL STREET JOURNAL - on year end tax planning. The only good news in a bad market - tax lost harvesting!

And one I just happened upon about Goldman and what has changed.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Obama Team!

I could not have said it better myself.... pulled from the White House Project Newsletter!

"As President-elect Obama announced key members of his national security and foreign policy team today yesterday, accompanying his words was a stunning visual: Of the six appointees joining Obama on stage, three were women. All of us at The White House Project were thrilled to finally see, as Al Kamen called it in his Washington Post Column, "a national security team that looks like the nation."

The White House Project congratulates these women--Senator Hillary Clinton, Obama's choice for Secretary of State, longtime White House Project advocate Governor Janet Napolitano for Secretary of Homeland Security, and Susan Rice for US Ambassador to the United Nations--on their remarkable achievement, particularly as it comes in a field overwhelmingly dominated by men.We are happy not only for this group of women as individuals, but also for what their selections signify: the public's growing acceptance of women in non traditional roles, and a long overdue shift in the understanding of what makes for a secure world. In this age of globalization and nontraditional international threats, it is increasingly apparent that the conventional approaches of military and national defense are not enough to ensure the safety of the people and the state. Women have traditionally accepted that security is all-encompassing, involving economic, diplomatic and social solutions, and although a recent Pew Study shows that foreign policy is one of only two issues that the public still feels are better held by males, the same study reveals that Americans put much greater stock in women leaders when it comes to working out compromises, employing honesty and creativity, representing the public's interest, and standing up for what they believe. These skills, essential for effective policy making and relationship building, need only be coupled with the right tools to ensure that women can be more effective participants in the security dialogue. Long advocating the inclusion of women's voices in this conversation, The White House Project is more committed than ever to train women to more ably and expertly lead on issues of national security. With your help, we can continue to fill the leadership pipeline with more knowledgeable women who will add new and important perspectives to the conversation about security."
Support the White House Project ! To Marie Wilson, their fearless leader, thanks for all the work you do!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Markets and Deflation

Last week proved to be en encouraging for the global equity markets, but today’s performance took back a good percentage of those gains. I see the news only getting worse and not better. Our economy is in deep do do. Yes some stocks are cheap, but overall I think buying credit is still a lot cheaper. The challenge is figuring out how to do it.

There has been much news about the cumulative size ($6.3 trillion ??) of all the government and treasury programs that have been implemented to help stabilize the market. As I have written about before I am very concerned about what this ultimately means for both the US dollar and US interest rates, but for now it seems they have little choice. As many people smarter than I have pointed out, severe deflation is NOT an option. For a good piece explaining why check out this OPED by Clive Crook in today’s FT. They are injecting massive amounts of liquidity in to the system hoping to keep inflationary expectations alive.

Of note from last week is that Goldman was able to raise $5 billion at an effective rate of 3.36%. A great deal considering their non-guaranteed paper was trading at close to a 9% yield. No wonder their stock rallied. Not surprising that they were the first to do this. Talk about a great deal. Under this "temporary liquidity guarantee program" expect up to $300 billion in issuance. Will some one please explain to me why all the debt that government is now guaranteeing is not trading at somewhat close to the same yield? Is there some pecking order that I am not aware of. Either the gov't makes good on all of it, or none of it, right? Treasuries, agencies, home loan bank paper, and all the other stuff they have back stopped should be viewed to have similar credit risk??? Even mortages, absent the optionality, should be trading on top of treasuries. I don't get it.......