4/19/13 – More About Jobs, Gratitude, and Apple/Gold

Posted by Brad McMillan, CFA, CAIA, MAI

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This entry was posted on Apr 19, 2013 10:17:43 AM

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I am in Virginia today and tomorrow, speaking to groups of clients. With no major economic stories going on, I thought I would do a couple of quick hits on various topics.

Jobs. I have been talking for some time about how the strong weekly hours worked figure will have to translate into stronger hiring at some point, and there is a very good article in the Wall Street Journal today that makes exactly that point for the manufacturing sector.

In the short term, more hours worked means that we are getting more worker income, which supports the economy; in the longer term, we will get more jobs, which will further support the economy. This post also plays to the reshoring story, whereby manufacturing is returning to the U.S. from abroad. Overall, a very positive development that supports many of the points I have made in recent months.

Gratitude. I received a very nice e-mail from one of Commonwealth’s advisors this morning. Unlike most of the e-mails I get (which are also very nice), this one was not about financial or economic matters; instead, it talked about how he and many of his friends had started taking the daily gratitudes practice to heart. This is something I wrote about a while ago (and it wasn’t my idea—I got it from Shawn Acher), but I continue to believe this is one of the best things you can do to lead a happier, more engaged, and more productive life. I am certainly grateful to the advisor for sharing both the thought and his stories. Commonwealth is filled with wonderful people, and it is nice to be reminded of that once again. Thank you, Earl.

Apple and Gold. What do they have in common? Not much, other than the fact that both proved once again that investments can move both ways—and can drop even faster than they rise. I do not own Apple, per a previous post, but I do own gold, and you know what? I am not worried.

Which is not to say I am pleased. The reason I am not worried is that I have gold in my portfolio for a reason, which does not change with its value. My comments are not intended to be a recommendation for or against investing in gold, but are designed as a means to illustrate that by planning ahead, and knowing why I own what I do, I can ride out drops like the recent one. Yes, I lost money, and no, I am not happy about it, but within the broader context, I am okay with it. If I had not planned for a potential decline like this, I might be in trouble. As it is, I still have a plan, which is still being executed. My plan might still fail, but not because I failed to plan.

As I write this, the manhunt in Massachusetts is still going on. My wife and son are at home because Tufts University has shut down, and I am very pleased about it, as I would rather have them there. I wish I were there with them, but where we live is far enough away from the Watertown area that they should be fine. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone, especially everyone from Commonwealth who is being affected by this terrible series of events.

May we all come through safely.

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