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Doctor's Orders

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Posted in  Checklists

I am not sure where I learned to use checklists, nor do I recall when I first realized the importance of checklists. I vividly remember as a child my father and mother making lists for the many trips they took me on. We visited Mexico, Canada, and nearly every state in the nation during the 60s, and that was a time when you did not have 24/7 anything. Those AAA trip kits were something else, and another something from days long gone.

Checklist Continue

The complexity of the world that we live in has gotten to the point that it exceeds our ability to wing it. Many scientific studies and medical advancements have added to the health and longevity of mankind; however, when it comes to surgical procedures, consistent use of basic and complex checklists before, during, and after a procedure saves countless lives. If you want to reduce the number of deaths in a surgery, follow a checklist. Stress and chaos will always happen when the unexpected occurs, and so accept a reasonable level of pause, shock, and awe. But then, get back to work by finding and following the procedure manual.

Focus points should be for focusing, not for figuring out what to do next. The time saved by not having one’s mouth open out of confusion is enormously important and critical to the patient on the table. Engineering, construction, criminal justice, medicine, and investment advisory services are all run on checklists. And traveling is far safer when one is focused on movement rather than this, that, or the other thing that comes to a distracted mind. A moment of prevention would save much money, time, effort, and lives.

Life is a Checklist

The phrase “bucket list” is a checklist. What one does when one wakes and starts the day is based on a checklist. And while one does not need to get crazy about it, there is something that every one of us must know and realize. Checklist work and those who do not use them will never reach their full potential.

Chaos is a waste of time. Anarchy is a waste of time. Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result is a waste of time. Making mountains out of molehills is a waste of time. But creating, refining, adjusting, and following checklists is not a waste of time. Building and following checklist is the start of what is called: project management. Checklist are not a waste of time, but instead, they are liberating.

Routines develop from repetitive use of checklists and routines provide the freedom to think, do, and enjoy the people, places, and things in life that would otherwise be missed.

Think About It

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Bitesize Bites is a public daily mini-podcast covering one item for those who want it fast. Bitesize Bites are designed to be "Think About It" items that should prompt immediate thought and action by many.

Connecting Dots is a public daily podcast that takes one or more topics and ties them together with logical and organized thought. Connecting Dots explains history, current events, and forecasts in a way that will make most nod their head with the realizations often not seen or thought of previously.

The Blog is a public daily posting of a few items being discussed among the asset management team, changes, updates, and news about the firm, as well as a brief opinion or forecast.

TrueStar YouTube covers business, insurance, investments, technology, economics, and security issues at a quick pace with a mix of humor, graphs, charts, pictures, audios, and video inserts. This is not your typical Ferris Bueller’s Day-Off Attendance scene where boring is the norm for most advisors, agents, bankers, brokers, dealers, or financial planners. It is also not a Cramer scream fest or young jock selling hyper success. Watch and you’ll see the difference.

The TrueStar Podcast is a weekly public podcast by Paul and Paul, Paul Grant Truesdell the Chief Executive Officer and Paul Grant Truesdell, II the Chief Technology Officer. Paul and Paul's conversations are amazing, entertaining, and will open a lot of eyes.

Deep Dive is a weekly client only podcast where each episode is focused on a single topic and challenges the listener to actively participate in Connecting Dots for their individual benefit.

Current is a daily client only listing of items being discussed among the asset management team at TrueStar Advisors. Brief ideas and comments as to what is "current" and a focus of attention provides a bit of insight as to what is going on with your management team.

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Hogwash Whiskey

Article headline image. Paul Truesdell on

After the imposition of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum from the EU, the economic bloc has wants to introduce retaliatory tariffs on products from America as of July 1, 2018. Among the goods that the EU wants to penalize is bourbon whiskey.

CNBC reported:

The new whiskey tariffs are hitting states like Tennessee and Kentucky, solid red states, the hardest. Trump carried Kentucky by 62.5 percent and Tennessee by 60.7 percent in 2016. For whiskey giants like public Brown Forman, which owns Woodford Reserve, Jack Daniels and Old Forester, China is important to future growth. American spirits exported to China grew by almost 1,200 percent between 2001 and 2017, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.

Look at the attached PDF and do the calculations yourself.

Who are the biggest consumers of American whiskey outside the states:

Bourbon Whiskey

Spain

Japan

Australia

Canada

UK

Germany

Other Whiskey

UK

France

Germany

Australia

Japan

Netherlands

Nations that import more than China include:

Latvia

Mexico

New Zeland

Singapore

Saint Martin

Sensational journalism has no place in the world of professionlism, and sensational business journalism is pure trash.

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Extreme Minimalism

Editorial Staff on

Extreme minimalism is an incredibly self-centered approach to life. That may sound unusual and be unexpected from one who believes that one should own everything they use, but use everything one owns. Now let’s open the book and force those who are extreme minimalist to do the same.

A person is always either dependent, independent or, to varying degrees a combination of each. From childhood to adulthood, we become more independent of mommy and daddy, at least that is the way it should work for those who are not suffering from physical, emotional, or intellectual impairments. We grow and prosper into full adulthood and begin to procreate; again, many but not all. When earning more than we need, we spend it all and live life to the fullest without a care in the world. Then we die.

But for those who understand the need to make bank, saving and investing for that time when one becomes dependent upon others because of the natural aging process makes sense. And so, the extreme minimalist, single, without children, or assets other than the barest of bare bones is just as selfish as those who spend it all, all the time.

Extreme lifestyles are complicated to maintain on a long-term basis individually and extremely damaging to the fabric and core of a nation, state, community, and family.

An expanded discussion on this topic can be found on YouTube.

Bitesize Bites is a public daily mini-podcast covering one item for those who want it fast. Bitesize Bites are designed to be "Think About It" items that should prompt immediate thought and action by many.

Connecting Dots is a public daily podcast that takes one or more topics and ties them together with logical and organized thought. Connecting Dots explains history, current events, and forecasts in a way that will make most nod their head with the realizations often not seen or thought of previously.

The Blog is a public daily posting of a few items being discussed among the asset management team, changes, updates, and news about the firm, as well as a brief opinion or forecast.

TrueStar YouTube covers business, insurance, investments, technology, economics, and security issues at a quick pace with a mix of humor, graphs, charts, pictures, audios, and video inserts. This is not your typical Ferris Bueller’s Day-Off Attendance scene where boring is the norm for most advisors, agents, bankers, brokers, dealers, or financial planners. It is also not a Cramer scream fest or young jock selling hyper success. Watch and you’ll see the difference.

The TrueStar Podcast is a weekly public podcast by Paul and Paul, Paul Grant Truesdell the Chief Executive Officer and Paul Grant Truesdell, II the Chief Technology Officer. Paul and Paul's conversations are amazing, entertaining, and will open a lot of eyes.

Deep Dive is a weekly client only podcast where each episode is focused on a single topic and challenges the listener to actively participate in Connecting Dots for their individual benefit.

Current is a daily client only listing of items being discussed among the asset management team at TrueStar Advisors. Brief ideas and comments as to what is "current" and a focus of attention provides a bit of insight as to what is going on with your management team.

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YouTube

Article headline image. Paul Truesdell on

After a lot of discussion, we decided to lauch a YouTube page for TrueStar Advisors.

We did not do this right away for a number of reasons. First, YouTube is used by all of us to figure something out or for entertainment. Those who teach are often boring and we've all seen the horrible "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" morning attendance videos by goofy financial advisors, agents, bankers, brokers, and planners. As a result, talking money isn't something most people want to read about, listen to, or think about when there's so much high quality PewDiePie material out there and so little time to watch it. Second, YouTube shows the number of views and that stinks because ours will be low, low, low. Naturally it's low because we want you to go to our website like all of our clients. We really don't care about any social media site, we care about our site and our clients.

And so the gig is this. We are going to engage in social media for promotion purposes. We do not, have not, and never will social media as a way to communicate with prospective or active clients. Let's talk, but it has to be through our communications portals.

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Paul Grant Truesdell, J.D., AIF, RFC, CLU, ChFC - Chief Executive Officer

212-433-2525

Batman, Rats, Sam's

Article headline image. Paul Truesdell on

Posted in  Sam's, Coffee, Cost Cutting, Customer Loyalty, PC

This morning I went to Sam’s, the discount retailer that is a subsidiary of Walmart. This is a store that unquestionably will save you money if you do not overbuy things that you do not need. Our firm has a corporate membership. This allows anyone of us to get into the store at 7 a.m. to avoid the herd that comes in during regular hours. There are other advantages as well, but the ability to get in and out is a big deal to me when it comes to time management.

I have generally been impressed with Sam's. There have been several occasions when I have been thoroughly disgusted with the failure of management to tell those who obviously do not have membership cards, legitimate identification, and a third party check and which they are trying to buy groceries with. Obviously does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that these are people who are overtly stealing. If Sam's wants to be a victim that's up to them but it is the time that one wastes standing in line for these morons to check out that burns me up. But it is what it is, and it's nothing that I can control.

The other thing that burns me up are those individuals who go into the self-checkout lines and act as if this is their first time they arrived on earth. What I find most annoying is the failure to identify where the barcode is when one picks up the object and puts it into a basket. As one pushes their cart around the store anyone with intelligence would plan a little bit for the checkout by making sure that all of the barcodes are face up. Well, maybe not.

Several years ago a woman of mature years was monitoring the self-checkout. And as everyone knows the technology in the self-checkout lines have gotten better over the years, and therefore they really don't need to have somebody there anymore monitoring and assisting shoppers. And so it was approximately 7:10 in the morning I had acquired everything I needed my walking briskly and knowing ahead of time what was on my shopping list. And so with all of the barcodes facing up, it quite literally took more time for the payment to process than it did for me to scan the two or three dozen items that I was buying.

The woman monitoring was looking at me with her mouth open and finally said: “I've never seen that.”

I looked at her and smiled and replied, “What do you mean?”

“I’ve never seen anyone check out so fast? Did you scan all of your items?”

I responded: “Yes, they’re all scanned. It’s easy to get in-and-out if one simply has all of the barcodes facing upward.” I continued, “Have you worked here long?” I anticipated she would reply a week or two, but no.

“Oh, I’ve been here since the store opened.”

All I could think of was the Blue-Collar Comedy Tour and the phrase, there’s your sign.

Okay, I get it, I make better use of my time than most; however, that exchange is something I shared with others until I realized: “Holy Cow Batman, people are not like us!” By the way, I grew up watching Adam West playing Batman; the only real Batman there ever was. But I digress, let’s get back on track.

And so today, I entered Sam’s and was actually looking forward to a cup of lousy coffee as it’s chilly in Florida. But no, not today. No coffee, fruit, or packaged pastries. Okay, I’ll ask on the way out. As usual, I’m in and out, checking myself out in a flash.

“Somebody’s in trouble,” I say to the lady who reviews my receipt as I approach the exit. “No coffee.”

“Oh, they got rid of that a month or so ago.” she replies?

“You’re kidding.”

“No, another cost-cutting measure. And I could sure use a cup of coffee right now.”

For the rest of the story, listen to our Connecting Dot’s podcast titled: Rats at Sam’s.

Bitesize Bites is a public daily mini-podcast covering one item for those who want it fast. Bitesize Bites are designed to be "Think About It" items that should prompt immediate thought and action by many.

Connecting Dots is a public daily podcast that takes one or more topics and ties them together with logical and organized thought. Connecting Dots explains history, current events, and forecasts in a way that will make most nod their head with the realizations often not seen or thought of previously.

The TrueStar Podcast is a weekly public podcast by Paul and Paul, Paul Grant Truesdell the Chief Executive Officer and Paul Grant Truesdell, II the Chief Technology Officer. Paul and Paul's conversations are amazing, entertaining, and will open a lot of eyes.

The Blog is a public daily posting of a few items being discussed among the asset management team, changes, updates, and news about the firm, as well as a brief opinion or forecast.

Deep Dive is a weekly client only podcast where each episode is focused on a single topic and challenges the listener to actively participate in Connecting Dots for their individual benefit.

Current is a daily client only listing of items being discussed among the asset management team at TrueStar Advisors. Brief ideas and comments as to what is "current" and a focus of attention provides a bit of insight as to what is going on with your management team.

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China

Right Click Here While Reading To Open In a New Page - Enjoy

China continues to grow its economy at around a 6% annual pace. China is the second-largest economy in the world in terms of total gross domestic product (GDP); however, on a GDP per capita basis, the nation remains a fraction of the size of the United States. While this is a fact, China continues to make a run at being the big dog on the block.

At TrueStar Advisors, we are forecasting continued growth in the 5 to 7 percent rage for the near-term future of five to seven years. With that said, we forecast the growth to be different from the prior decades; as it should be. China invested heavily in its domestic infrastructures such as dams, roads, airports, rail systems, and cities. Thinking forward, we believe the government will focus on lifestyle issues and the standard of living for its 1.4 billion people. For those following China, one must never forget to consider a large number of citizens living in rural poverty. For those in urban areas, lengthening life expectancy and reducing health care costs by cleaning the air initiatives is critical. Pollution has unquestionably affected China as a result of rapid industrialization. The result is widespread environmental and health issues which are compounded by an aging population. China’s average age is now equivalent to the U.S. and within 10 years of Japan. The long-term impact of China’s one-child policy through the abortion of female fetuses and infanticide continues to be a humanitarian issue ignored by the influential U.S. manufactures, such as those based in Silicon Valley. Infanticide is the unlawful killing of very young children. For those in northern China, air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels, principally coal, is causing residents to die on average 5.5 years sooner than they otherwise might according to various global watch groups.

Future growth will favor business and consumer services, as well as financial services and healthcare. This is something we are not losing track of and will continue to forecast on an internal basis. China is on track to overtake the U.S. in terms of the overall size of the economy within the next two decades. It will take more than a generation, though, for China to approach the U.S. in terms of GDP per capita. At the same time, we are keeping a close eye on the emerging nations of Nigeria and India for new infrastructure growth opportunities if for no other reason that the explosive population growth. This growth will favor business and consumer services, as well as financial services and healthcare.

The wildcards continue to be at play, and these cards are potent jokers. It takes only a clown, joker or two in a deck to change the course of history, and rest assured, there are jokers in China, Nigeria, India, and elsewhere that requires heightened awareness.

Now stand up and replay the YouTube video and dance. In the alternative, sit back and think about it while listening to Joe Walsh. sing about the lifestyle that has changed the U.S. There's some deep economic thinking that can be done while listening to Joe if simply Connect Dots.

Think About It.

Bitesize Bites is a public daily mini-podcast covering one item for those who want it fast. Bitesize Bites are designed to be "Think About It" items that should prompt immediate thought and action by many.

Connecting Dots is a public daily podcast that takes one or more topics and ties them together with logical and organized thought. Connecting Dots explains history, current events, and forecasts in a way that will make most nod their head with the realizations often not seen or thought of previously.

The TrueStar Podcast is a weekly public podcast by Paul and Paul, Paul Grant Truesdell the Chief Executive Officer and Paul Grant Truesdell, II the Chief Technology Officer. Paul and Paul's conversations are amazing, entertaining, and will open a lot of eyes.

The Blog is a public daily posting of a few items being discussed among the asset management team, changes, updates, and news about the firm, as well as a brief opinion or forecast.

Deep Dive is a weekly client only podcast where each episode is focused on a single topic and challenges the listener to actively participate in Connecting Dots for their individual benefit.

Current is a daily client only listing of items being discussed among the asset management team at TrueStar Advisors. Brief ideas and comments as to what is "current" and a focus of attention provides a bit of insight as to what is going on with your management team.

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Gross or Not? We Say: Gross Header Image

Gross or Not? We Say: Gross

Editorial Staff on

Posted in  PIMCO, Janus, Bill Gross, Under Performance

Investors, both individual and institutional, have lost faith in Bill Gross. Bill Gross was the darling of bond fund managers when he was with PIMCO. An ugly divorce from PIMCO, as well as a nasty spousal divorce, and with time, it’s gotten really ugly (this includes the marital divorce). Gross now runs the Janus Henderson Global Unconstrained Bond Fund. The fund has suffered approximately $60 million of redemptions in December alone, as per reporting from journalists at Morningstar, the Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg. The total outflow, by our best estimation, appears to be approximately $1 billion.

Twenty or so years ago, I met Bill Gross at an event at the headquarters for PIMCO in California. I found him obnoxious and full of himself. To be polite, he rubbed me and many others in the small gathering the wrong way with “I’m too busy to be here, but they said I needed to show face to keep you boys happy.” Well isn’t that rather brash?

At the firm, we do not use mutual funds, and we want nothing to do with Bill Gross. Long before TrueStar Advisors, the same held true for my personal asset allocation preference. That is not to say that he didn’t do well by his investors, because he did. But my gripe has always been with those who grandstand and think an awful lot of themselves. Investors have pulled money for 10 consecutive months since the February peak, in part amid misplaced bets by the Janus fund that rates on U.S. Treasuries and German bunds in 2017, underperforming more than 80% of his peers.

That’s not good.

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MISOPs

Asset Management Staff on

I believe there is a high probability that you will encounter what I am about to describe to you, today or in a day or two if you engage in any way, shape, or form with another human. I place the probability as high because you are reading this blog, and the intended focus of the blog is for those who have a higher level of maturity, intelligence, and critical thinking skills than the ordinary and lowest members of society. And so, what is it that you are likely to encounter?

Meanness or Stupidity

Synchronic, Episodic, and Diachronic

When you come across someone with a distinctive trait for being mean or stupid, it is always best to be aware and prepared, but do not let them annoy you. To let MISOPs (Mean, Idiotic, Stupid, and/or Obnoxious People) distress you is to allow them to control you. Observe, note, and remember what they do that is unacceptable and merely add it to your body of knowledge. Share as you deem appropriate, but avoid doing so with those who are synchronic or episodic if you expect a give-and-take conversation.

Throughout our lives, we will inevitably have to deal with the garden variety of MISOPs, as well as the blue ribbon winners. These specimens are often a waste of human tissue who live to stir up trouble and make our lives difficult and unpleasant.

In an episode of Connecting Dots, we explore MISOPs, and the theories around synchronic, episodic, and diachronic memory, problem-solving capabilities, and time horizons.

The Home of Fixed Cost Investing

Bitesize Bites is a public daily mini-podcast covering one item for those who want it fast. Bitesize Bites are designed to be "Think About It" items that should prompt immediate thought and action by many.

Connecting Dots is a public daily podcast that takes one or more topics and ties them together with logical and organized thought. Connecting Dots explains history, current events, and forecasts in a way that will make most nod their head with the realizations often not seen or thought of previously.

The TrueStar Podcast is a weekly public podcast by Paul and Paul, Paul Grant Truesdell the Chief Executive Officer and Paul Grant Truesdell, II the Chief Technology Officer. Paul and Paul's conversations are amazing, entertaining, and will open a lot of eyes.

The Blog is a public daily posting of a few items being discussed among the asset management team, changes, updates, and news about the firm, as well as a brief opinion or forecast.

Deep Dive is a weekly client only podcast where each episode is focused on a single topic and challenges the listener to actively participate in Connecting Dots for their individual benefit.

Current is a daily client only listing of items being discussed among the asset management team at TrueStar Advisors. Brief ideas and comments as to what is "current" and a focus of attention provides a bit of insight as to what is going on with your management team.

Get Started

SALT

Article headline image. Paul Truesdell on

SALT - Simple Active Lifestyle Technology. How do you like that? I came up with the acronym SALT this morning while reading me latest book on technology. I paused, went into the gym (the one at my home), and worked out for thirty minutes; a light day for strength and endurance, but today’s the big stretching day. Then it was time to take a shower. While getting ready to seize the day (and yes, I actually think like that), I continued pondering SALT.

Back to interval reading, which is a morning routine of 15 minutes of reading, then 30 pushups, light stretching, and back to reading. After 90 minutes, it’s time for shoes, keys, and being driven to the office. This was when I had one of those eureka moments.

Here’s what I am going to do. Yesterday I instructed the team reconfigure Studio B, which is our primary audio recording studio. As a result, I've had audio operations on my mind for a few days. Next, SALT will be a component of our public and client only podcasts. I am not sure as to the details, but I do know that everyone needs a bit of SALT in their life.

Simple. Everything in life has gotten far too complex, so let’s keep it simple.

Active. I like being active rather than sedentary. There’s a time and place for everything, but as Nike says: Just Do It.

Lifestyle. For me, I am Paul Truesdell and I am a lifestyle where business is a lifestyle. The more I can simplify things to be more active in the things I like, am good and profitable at, and can control, well, all the better.

Technology. I want the technology I use to be efficient and effective without being too close to the cutting edge where its practicality has yet to be determined.

There are a lot of apps, tricks, tools, and processes that will fall into SALT, as well as many that will not.

Check back, and I’ll keep you updated; however, it will be the podcasts listeners and our clients who will be the salty ones.

Think About It

  • I did not have the opportunity to edit this like I normally do, so bear with typos as a phone and voice to text software can be a bit trying.
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Numbers

Asset Management Staff on

The Labor Department reported that its Consumer Price Index fell 0.1% in December, the first decline since March, after a flat reading in November. The year-over-year increase was 1.9%, down from November's 2.2% gain. The core CPI, excluding volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.2% from the prior month and 2.2% from the prior year.

As tallied by the American Association of Individual Investors, bullishness is up by 5 points to 38%. Bearishness declined by 14 points to 29% and now sits one percent below its average of 30% since 1987. The New York Stock Exchange Bullish Percent tracks the percentage of NYSE stocks on point-and-figure buy signals. Readings above 70% (on a 0%-to-100% scale) suggest an overbought market; readings below 30% point to an oversold market. The BP has rebounded to 28% from 18% last week. This increase in the number of buy signals is an indication that the new uptrend is capable of being sustained. Exchange Traded Funds have become a popular vehicle for individual investors, but their low fees and liquidity often make them a tool for speculators.