Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The financial news continues to be so bad that I am hearing many say they cannot even watch it anymore. Last week nasty news continued to pour out of the financial services sector – State Street, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch… The sector lead the overall market lower for the week, with the major indexes down 7 to 10% on the year. We are firmly in bear market territory. Long dates US treasuries also bit the dust, likely over concerns regarding the $2 trillion plus in borrowing that the US government will need this year.
The good news of course is that we have a brand new President and he promises to try to make everything better. A shockingly high stimulus package sparks dreams of jump starting the economy, but the experts I listen to are not that hopeful. Sadly we are experiencing a “debilitating combination of economic stagnation and deflation,” that will take a while to reverse. We are facing a triple whammy of a liquidity trap (nominal rates cannot go below zero), a deflation trap (falling prices choking off consumption and investment) and debt deflation (the real value of nominal debts rises as prices fall). ( RGE Monitor)
So what do you do? Financially I would suggest buttoning down the hatches and prepare for the storm to get worse. Maintain ample liquidity if you can and cut spending. Stocks may go up, down, sideways, but by guess is we test the lows as the economy worsens. In case this makes you feel just a little better, it is a lot worse in the UK.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
“Let’s Renew American Together”
“Next week marks a fresh start for our nation. Whatever one's political leanings, each presidential inauguration is an opportunity for Americans to renew the energy required to deal with the challenges we face -- never more so than when the challenges we face are without precedent.
Over the course of their transition, President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden have spoken with confidence and acted with competence. They've unveiled their plans for governing -- plans that recognize it will require federal money to solve our economic problems at home, and diplomatic and military skill to meet our obligations abroad.
But they also realize an equally important truth. While government has a role to play in restoring the American dream at home and rekindling the dream that is America abroad, there are limits to its ability to restore our sense of purpose as a nation. That task falls to us. Particularly in hard times like these, we are charged with living up to our shared responsibility to one another.
My experience is that in times of need, the American people recognize that when one of our fellow citizens is suffering, those of us with the power to ease or eliminate that suffering should come forward. This is not a time to retreat to our homes and wait until it's safe to emerge. It is the time to give more, to step forward and serve our fellow citizens, and to reach into the reservoir of this nation's unrivaled capacity for good.
That's why, at this moment of great purpose, Mr. Obama has chosen the eve of his inauguration to launch "Renew America Together," his call for all Americans to make an ongoing commitment to better the lives of others in their communities and their country. It's fitting that he will do this on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day when we honor the legacy of a man who lived his life in service to others and believed that "everybody can be great, because anybody can serve."That's the beautiful simplicity of service. When I was a young man, I chose to devote my life to serving my country. I spent decades under her flag as a soldier, and later as a diplomat. In my time as a private citizen, my wife, Alma, and I have made service a part of our lives by founding "America's Promise," an alliance that connects our young people to mentors who teach them the skills they need to grow.
Each of these mentors proves that King was right. You don't have to wear the uniform of this country to serve others. You don't have to work in government. And you don't have to start a foundation. At a time when so many of our countrymen are in need, everyone has the power to help.
Pause for a moment, and ask yourself what you can contribute to the life of this nation. Perhaps you can find an hour each week to volunteer in a soup kitchen or help a child learn to read. Maybe you and your friends can spare an afternoon a month to clean up your local park or prepare care packages for our soldiers stationed in far-flung corners of the globe.
With our hectic lives, it might seem daunting to find convenient means of serving others in a way that matters to you. That's why Mr. Obama's team has unveiled an exciting new tool to facilitate that connection.
Usaservice.org is an online community that makes service easy and accessible. Even amidst the busiest of schedules, there is always a moment to log on and find a cause you care about in your own community. It's also easy for organizers to post and publicize projects. Already, Americans have used USAservice.org to create more than 5,000 events across the country.
What these participants will discover, if they haven't already, is that service is a two-way street of mutual benefit. By enriching the lives of others, you get back more than you give.
Barack Obama is asking us to join him on Monday in making a renewed and enduring commitment to enriching the lives of others. If we answer that call, I have every confidence that we as a people will ignite a new national sense of purpose necessary to meet the great need of this hour.”
Mr. Powell was secretary of state (2001-2005) under President George W. Bush.
Reprinted as it appeared in the Wall Street Journal. – Jan 17th 2009 – LINK HERE
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
As excerpt - “Witness the rebirth: the start of the fourth wave of the women’s rights movement, a big tent movement that invites women and like-minded men of all political parties and views on reproductive rights. A women’s movement that stands up and speaks out for the women of this country when other groups will not. A women’s movement that keeps a watchful eye on its constituency and their needs. It is time that we take back the term “feminism” and restore its dignity and honor. It is time that we, our daughters, and granddaughters discover our inner Wonder Woman.And, for those of us who dream, maybe Ms. and the former national women’s movement will return in the sequel as Superwomen once again.”
Fourth Wave? I am there. I am so there……………… With an army of women in their WW t-shirts. I have already bought 60 and if you want to get yours here is the link. I already called them about ordering in lots of 100 and we could get a 35% discount of the $28 face value! Get yours before they sell out and tell them Jacki sent you.
WW History on PursePundit.....
My WW entries - Dec. 24. Dec. 9 - note the tshirt. On being a Superhero - Nov. 25. And there are more................
The Day that for ME - when I got really intentional about all this.....Oct. 28.
If you liked that one - read this one - more on the topic. - Dec. 13
Monday, January 12, 2009
Last night my husband and I saw Frost/Nixon and it is another must see. What an amazing adaptation of a story, and one with little dramatic arc and a known outcome. The screenwriter Peter Morgan did an outstanding job and I am glad to see he is being acknowledged for it. The story was in many ways the opposite of Slumdog which was all about hope and possibility. Frost was a story of celebrity, power, desperation and brokenness and I found it chilling, especially against the backdrop of what is going on right now in our country.
Though I was not planning on it I turned on the TV this morning just as President Bush was saying his final good-byes. Needless to say I have not been a big fan. I do however lift him up with what he chose to be some of his final words… he asked that people show the Office of President respect. That we treat one another, as human beings, with more respect. I like that. Yes we might not deserve it, but it is still the right way to treat people.
As he walked off the stage President Bush had the look that Frank Langella, as Nixon, so brilliantly displayed last night on the big screen at the end of the movie. A look that no longer screamed “I am the most powerful person on the planet”, but rather, the opposite. A look that said “I am defeated and have to go on living the rest of my life with that knowledge.” Both images were very powerful and I will not forget either one for a while to come.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
From Suze - "I want to be very clear about something that is central to my Action Plan: You must commit to actually taking action. This is not a book to be read and pondered. Or fi led away under “Nice to know; I’ll get to it.” If you care about financial security for yourself and your family, if you want to do everything in your power to protect yourself and your future, you will not get there with wishful thinking or procrastination. You cannot sit this one out, hoping that the storm will pass and everything will be just fine. If you do nothing, I am sorry to say you may be in even deeper trouble in 2010. The fact is, the new reality requires new strategies. They will not necessarily be wholesale changes in every aspect of your fi nancial life, but tactical actions to make sure you do not let the credit crisis knock you off course.Some of the most crucial actions require pushing yourself to stay committ ed to all the smart moves you have already made but may now be questioning. I know many of you are thinking there is no point in continuing to invest for retirement as long as the markets are down. Big, big mistake. "
There is to be no curling up in a fetal position on the couch in 2009 hoping that when you emerge the crisis will have passed. No assuming that there is a government bailout or Wall Street rally right around the corner that will fix everything for you without any eff ort on your part. You will have to get off the couch and take control of your financial life in 2009. Make that commitment this year and you will build a solid financial foundation that you can stand on when everything around you is crumbling and that you can build on when the good times return. We Will Survive.
As we continue to claw our way out of the credit crisis while contending with an economic recession, I need you to be able to see the big picture: Though these are rocky times, our economy will be fine. Our markets will recover. We will all survive."
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I said in the letter I wrote that I know Hank Paulson to be a good man. When I worked for him I found him honest and hard-working. At the time he was chosen to be secretary I thought ?? for four reasons. One, he has always HATED public speaking and is not good at it. This was very common knowledge. It was something he worked very hard at and I commend him for trying. Second, his background was in banking and not in capital markets and economics. That was not his strength. Clearly he was smart enough to learn but oh my gosh.... not a time to be learning on the job. Third, I found that Hank had a tendency to surround himself with people who looked and thought liked him. Most leaders, sadly, do this. I did not find him to INVITE people to the table that were different, meaning had different views. Then comes the speaking Truth to Power question. Was he a leader who wanted to hear the bad news? Wanted to hear the threats, the problems, the things that would keep him awake at night? Did he ask people to give it to him straight, always, all the time? Not in my experience, but again, few leaders in my opinion do. Is this not in part what the whole MADOFF thing is about too? At the end of the day where does the buck stop? Where are the people who say, and say loudly, enough is enough! What the heck is going on here?
THIS is part of what has been driving me to act, to write, to speak out. I hope I have been and will continue to be the type of person that speaks TRUTH to POWER. At Goldman it was the senior leadership, now it is to anyone who will listen and to YOU the public. You are Power. You, acting individually and collectively, can make the difference. But I ask you this.... please try to do it respectfully. Yes strongly and with passion, but not in a way that shuts people down do they cannot hear you. I have to work at this, daily, myself. You, we, have to try to talk to people not in ways that sends people running for cover. There are times when fine, let it rip, but know that there are consquences to that. You might feel better, but other then that, did you really accomplish anything? Letting it rip damages relationships not preserves and builds them. Let it rip if you don't care...
Funny enough that lesson was taught to me by the current GS CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Many. many years ago Lloyd told me that the "trouble with me" was that people knew what I was going to say before I even opened my mouth.' Ouch. The context for this is that I fought for women at the firm. I fought for them behind closed doors and on podiums. I fought for them and their success because I believed that Goldman would be a better place if the senior leadership was more diverse. Though I thought I was picking my spots he suggested that I was coming to be seen/heard as being only about one thing. Not good. Not effective. Yet the trouble with me was that I felt passionately that if senior leadership was not almost solely White, American Males, the firm would be much better off. The trouble with me was that I felt passionately that if everyone around the table looks and thinks like the leader, then that is a recipe for disaster. Lloyd felt that I was pushing too hard on this and I risked losing credibility. I heard him and tried to modify my approach but not my purpose and intent. I tried to change people and not just run them over with my views.
At the end of the day this is about LEADERSHIP. I continue to believe the best model out there is servant leadership. There are times to claim your authority and stand on mountain tops and tell people the plan and the mission, and there are as many times when you walk with the everyday folk and ask them what they think and how they would do things differently. If you are only at the top of the mountain how is anyone 'down there' every going to reach you? In this model you KNOW that you are where you are only by the grace of God and you act like it. You ask questions and don't pretend to have all the answers. You know you are not better then any one else and that every life has equal value. You know that at the end of the day you will be held accountable for your actions but their is also such a thing as forgivenes. You try, everyday, to be a better person, a better leader, than the one you were the day before.
Was Hank Paulson this type of leader? Was George Bush?
Will President elect Obama be? Will Tim Geithner? ..... time will tell and I pray the answer is yes.
Have a great day!
Monday, January 5, 2009
I have spent hours and hours the past few days reading, reading, reading..... putting together ideas and thoughts for some speeches I will be doing over the next couple of weeks and I am diiscovering some AMAZING sources of information. I will be doing another newsletter with a lot of them in the next month or so so sign up. Until then check out the following:
- Naked Capitalism - It delivers some of the best financial and economic pieces to your inbox. Sign up!
- BaselineScenerio - This Site contains a WEALTH of information including a primer on all issues related to the financial crisis. I big WOW. Great fundamental reading for anyone who wants to build their financial literacy. GREAT link to section as well.
- EconBrowser - Another great site that summarizes many leading economists views on what is going on in the world.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
When I wrote this piece on them I had no idea of the history that Bethany outlined. I did not realize that Paulson was such an early supporter. I wrote this piece the day they were taken over. I know it took Bethany months to put together the history she so vividly pieced together for our reading... thank you Bethany. I am left with this question - where do we go from here? They need to bring in some brilliant people that are not 'insiders'. People that are brave and willing to speak truth to power. Their balance sheets need to be thoughtfully brought down and their mandate reviewed in a very public and accountable way. My gosh my gosh...........
Friday, January 2, 2009
If you are not yet signed up for my newsletter you missed a HUGE mailing today. I sent around a letter with dozens of my fav articles and resources that should help you navigate what is sure to be a rough road ahead.. though today was a good one for stocks. It seems like the reallocation trade to balance portfolios happened in size today. (Stocks up and bonds down)
A couple of articles that that I failed to include in my newsletter but worth reading!
"How to Fix Your Life in 2009" - full of fun tips!
"How the White House Philosophy Stoked Mortgage Bonfire " - NYT
- a very detailed piece worth reading
On Women in Movies this Year from Women and Hollywood