So I’m sitting at a Starbucks in SOMA, San Francisco.
Just less than a mile to my south is AT&T Park, where the Giants play baseball. They’re not enjoying a particularly good season, unlike the last one, when they had won the World Series against some other American team.
Across the street is the Moscone Convention Center, where there’s a high profile exhibition or conference every week. Today, there are construction crews scurrying about, setting up, building the exhibition stages for the Oracle OpenWorld 2013 (#OOW13) conference and exhibition.
I haven’t Googled #OOW13 yet, so I don’t know what it’s about, but I will. And I’m long $ORCL, so happy to see them take over the convention center, north and south of Howard St., along with closing off the actual street itself. They are building a Gadhafi-sized marquee to host and entertain visitors and dignitaries on Howard St, closing it off to traffic.
Just a few blocks to my right are Market St., and the financial district of San Francisco. Market is the main downtown thoroughfare that features BART subway stops every few street blocks, along with – seemingly – the entire homeless population of the United States.
So much money… interspersed by so much poverty!
A San Francisco Giants player – at the bottom of the sucking pile of underperforming men in tights who play a game with little, hard balls – earns about $500,000. A top guy, around $20 million.
Across the street, the Moscone Center includes more than 2 million square feet of building area, with about 700,000 square feet of exhibit space, 106 meeting rooms and nearly 123,000 square feet of pre-function lobbies, whatever the latter means. The center was developed and is owned by the City and County of San Francisco. A proverbial goldmine!
Last time I looked, Oracle was valued at about $160 billion. As I type this, the Oracle-sponsored America’s Cup Grand Prix boat, valued at around $10 million, is about to lose the final to New Zealand.
My investment in Oracle is in the money, so I’m happy to celebrate our shared successes! Theirs allows them to take over the entire Moscone Convention Center and adjoining real estate… mine buys two tall Americano coffees at Starbucks, paid for in hard cash.
This morning on Twitter, one of my favorite posters said we should sell all our equity holdings and move our investments into cash instead. He said he converted the equities in the hedge fund he manages for clients into 45% cash last week. The primary reasons he offered were that the Fed keeps printing money, can’t decide when or whether to taper their monthly bond buying or not, and the upcoming Congressional fight about the debt ceiling.
Remember the debt ceiling? That’s the same ceiling our fearless leader, Obama, accused George W. Bush of mismanaging when he wanted it increased. In fact, just for good measure, Obama added that Bush was mucking up our children’s future by "funding his out of control spending with a Chinese government credit card!"
As I write this I’m blessed to be okay, financially speaking. This, as a result of a combination of ongoing frugality, careful/conservative saving & investing, hard work and most of all... because we carry no debt. I’m even more blessed to be siting next to my delightful wife and best friend, enjoying another day of some 30 years of togetherness (and an Americano).
Our investment portfolio is about 20% cash, with the rest in some fixed property, and most of it in blue chip, dividend-paying equity investments.
Our equities have trailing stops plugged in, preventing us from losing more than 3% of the market value. All of these investments are >3% in the money, meaning that we’ve mitigated the possibility of market losses, because all we can lose is max 3% of other people’s money (aka market investment gains).
I don’t know what the right mix is in terms of liquid/illiquid/equity/fixed/term investments right now. The market is too volatile to be absolutely certain.
What I do know with absolute certainty is that I cannot allow myself to be exposed to the risk of having bad political managers affect my personal investments. In much the same manner that you cannot rely on them to help secure your future, you cannot possibly trust them with the present.
Hedge to protect your investments accordingly, as if your financial wellbeing and future depends entirely on your own actions… because it does! If you don't know how, feel free to ask.
Oh yeah, before I forget, my Americano only has 10 calories, whereas the Nonfat Caffè Mocha without the whip has 150 calories. That’s primarily why we chose the Americano. In addition to saving $1 per drink!
Long: $BA $BP $GE $MSFT $NKE $ORCL $WFC