Week of 2/18/2020
This week’s edition brings a few helpful items on the current investment climate, as well as some non-financial topics. We hope you enjoy it!
  • We learned: that the number of bathrooms in American homes has DOUBLED in the past 50 years, while the average family size has shrunk. Convenience in this area is certainly valued by many.

  • We enjoyed: this tweet from modern stoic Ryan Holiday. His recommendation for 10 things to do daily.
  • Go for a walk
  • Do the deep work
  • Do a kindness
  • Read
  • Find some quiet
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Think about death
  • Say thanks
  • Get 8 hours sleep
  • Review the day

  • We read: good information about the “10,000 step rule.” While walking is a beneficial activity, 10,000 steps is not a magic number based on research. It has its roots in marketing. Variation in the intensity of your activity is more correlated with good fitness outcomes.

  • We've been: rehabbing our back from a recent bit of over-enthusiasm at the gym. As a result, this report from The Economist is especially interesting. This article alleges that we treat back pain wrong. $88 billion per year is spent on back pain treatment, not far off from $115 billion spent on cancer treatments. Yet only 5%-15% of MRI’s reveal a definitive physical cause for the pain. Additionally, disc degeneration and bulging is detected in 50% of the people that experience zero pain. 87% of people that have spinal fusion were still in enough pain to need medication 2 years later. The article suggests that daily exercise and accepting flare-ups as temporary setbacks often have better results for many than surgery and medication. Of course, not being physicians, we encourage you to make decisions in consultation with the experts.

Q: You’ve talked about trying to identify recession risk. What should an investor pay attention to?

A: Once again we turn to our friends at the Independent Market Observer for a great look at a few of the most commonly mentioned indicators. Portfolio Manager Andrew Kitchings explains that business sentiment, such as the opinions expressed in the Duke CFO Global Business Outlook , may be a more helpful tool than looking at consumer sentiment. The reason is that consumer confidence is often a lagging indicator of change in the economy, and not very a good measure of near-term weakness in the economy.