Astute Investor

Has college enrollment peaked?

By Nick Massey | June 7, 2024

Growing up in Sioux City, Iowa I worked part-time at a local Rexall drug store during high school. I enjoyed it a lot and stocked the shelves, rung up sales and helped the pharmacist count pills for prescription orders. I even earned the incredible wage of $1.50 an hour. This was in the early to mid-1960s.

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Are you a hedgehog or a fox?

By Nick Massey | May 9, 2024

Here’s a simple question for you: “Are you a hedgehog or a fox?” The answer has profound implications for you. If the question rings a bell, maybe you’re familiar with the 1953 essay by philosopher Sir Isaiah Berlin, “The Hedgehog and the Fox.” Many different essays have been written about this topic. There is a line from the Greek poet Archilochus that says: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”

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5 lessons from Charlie Munger

By Nick Massey | April 16, 2024

The investing world lost a legend on Tuesday, November 28, 2023. Charlie Munger, who was Warren Buffett’s right-hand man, passed away at 99. He was just 33 days short of 100.

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Invest based on financials, not politics

By Nick Massey | February 22, 2024

If you believe that a trade will make you virtuous, you will be more willing to accept losses. About 30 years ago, a few mutual fund companies came up with an idea called “socially responsible investing.” The appeal to some investors was that they did not invest in the stocks of companies involved in alcohol, tobacco, guns, or other businesses that some people objected to. They were sometimes referred to as the “sin stocks.” While not having these kind of companies in their investment portfolio made some people feel better or morally superior, it didn’t necessarily improve their investment performance. But isn’t investing for the best performance relative to risk the whole point of investing in the first place?

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Budgets matter

By Nick Massey | January 19, 2024

As I have often said, something that is unsustainable will, by definition, stop at some point. Trends continue until they can’t anymore. Deficits don’t matter until they do. It would then appear that the larger trend of a dysfunctional Congress and executive branch essentially depending on the Fed to clean up their collective mess is reaching the end of the road. Let’s look at those numbers.

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Is the UAW right?

By Nick Massey | December 14, 2023

In August 2023 the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) presented their list of demands for the upcoming contract negotiations. Top on the list is a 40 percent bump in pay, with 20 percent due upon ratification and the rest spread over the four-year contract.

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Mass destruction 2.0

By Nick Massey | November 7, 2023

Here’s a friendly little quote from our friends at the United Nations. UN Chief Antonio Guterres said, “Extreme weather is becoming the new normal. All countries must respond and protect their people from the searing heat, fatal floods, storms, drought and raging fires that result.”

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The trend is your friend

By Nick Massey | October 6, 2023

In the early days of my investment career, a senior trader told me something I never forgot. “How we think impacts our investment returns.” Some investors are rather surprised by this. They believe profits result from buying low and selling high. But it’s actually their thinking that determines whether prices are low or high. As the old trader told me: “Prices are numbers on a screen. They aren’t high or low. We trade trends, not price.”

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Opportunities in oil

By Nick Massey | September 7, 2023

You may not have heard of Edwin Drake, also known as Colonel Drake, but he was an American businessman in Pennsylvania and the first American to drill for oil successfully. He lived from 1819 to 1880, but his legacy has much to do with the high standard of living we all enjoy today.

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Is artificial intelligence like the internet boom?

By Nick Massey | August 8, 2023

It seems you can’t read an investment column or watch a business news story lately without hearing about AI (Artificial Intelligence). I’m certainly no expert on this topic, so I can write from the viewpoint of someone who knows little about this technology. But I do know a lot about the cycle that new life-changing technology goes through. Some people say AI is the greatest investment opportunity since the internet. That may well be true, but caution is warranted here.

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