Comments for Palisades Hudson Financial Group Comprehensive, Objective, Fee-Only Advice and Solutions Tue, 11 Sep 2018 16:12:02 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on News Masquerading As Opinion by Jonathan Krim Tue, 11 Sep 2018 16:12:02 +0000 Larry, thanks for this well-crafted piece. And “Sore Throat” made me chuckle out loud.

I am conflicted about what the NYT did here, though I would wager that they got this submission under condition that it not be pursued for reporting purposes. Given the insistence on anonymity, I am not sure whether I would have published it; it’s a decision on the horn of a dilemma wrapped inside a Hobson’s choice.

But I must take issue with a key section of your piece, to wit:

“The most likely scenario is that a narcissistic functionary who comes under the Times’ elastic definition of “a senior official in the Trump administration” thinks that anything good that has happened in the last two years has nothing to do with the president and that American voters did not know what they were getting on Nov. 8, 2016, despite all evidence to the contrary. Both points are debatable.”

Why is this the most likely scenario? Ascribing those motives would suggest someone inside the White House who has opposed the president’s agenda from day one, and who believes that those who were responsible for him or her having a job are fools. I find that to be the *least* likely scenario. Instead, why is it not likely that this is what it purports to be: A treatise from someone (or group of someones), who have been surprised and disillusioned by what they see as this president’s lack of intellectual and temperamental fitness for the office, and who has impulses that could be dangerous.

We can play the parlor games all day about who did this and why. The substance is what matters, and the Times’ decision to publish is a legitimate question, rather than leaning on vague references to, and talking points about, the paper’s reputation.

Comment on Yesterday’s Tech Can Help Restore Supersonic Travel by Dwight Looi Sat, 21 Jul 2018 00:07:25 +0000 The idea that supersonic air travel is uneconomical is exactly the same as saying that business class air travel is uneconomical. Cost per seat-trip of a Mach 2 supercruising aircraft is around 3 times that of a subsonic aircraft of a similar range and capacity. Business Class seats are priced today at about 4 times that of discount economy fares — largely because each business class seat occupies about 3 times the space of a economy class seat, with the rest being better service, food, perks and profits.

A supersonic air transport will put those business class passengers in an economy class seat and charge the same business class fare. Instead of a comfy, lie flat, experience, you get to reach your destination in half to a third the time. It is as viable as the current business class product which fills up just fine.

The difficulty is getting the planes and the engines up and running. The former is the easy part since current materials have no problems with 100 deg C skin temperatures and video cameras eliminate the need for complications like a dropping nose. The later is not too difficult if you don’t care about the last few bits of noise or fuel economy. Just dusting off the J93 will give you a 22,000 lbs thrust engine certified for up to Mach 3. A JT8 will do just fine too, as will something called the PW5000 (aka F119). It is not going to be 787 quiet, but with chevrons and a forced mixer it’ll be quiet enough to be on the higher end of what is legal for new designs. In fact, an exhaust trough — ala YF-23 and the B-2 will reflect most of the noise upwards where no one is listening.

Comment on Another Shot At A Lyme Vaccine by Lou Overman Thu, 19 Jul 2018 02:11:23 +0000 An earlier polio vaccine did not include enough variation, and people still got polio. This resulted in an apology and hard work to produce a better vaccine. No one accused the victims of polio of being anti vaccine. The fact is that there were published papers showing why some people who got the lyme vaccine had adverse consequences. If this had been admitted, and the flaws fixed, you would not now have people with lyme being scared of a new vaccine.

Do you really think that people will be forgiving about getting a flawed vaccine without enough coverage of variation? Will they say, oh so what I got lyme but I still think this is a good vaccine? Unlikely. And what is likely is that the vaccine will give people a false sense of security. Ticks can carry more than a dozen diseases. You are vaccinated against some strains of lyme bacteria, and against no other diseases. This is a pretty small step toward having protection in that walk in the woods.

Lyme patients do not have power. They do not have health. Frequently they cannot work, cannot get adequate treatment, are assumed to be cured when given treatment that might work for an early case, but not for late stage cases. The power is in the medical establishment, the government health agencies, the pharmaceutical industry, and the insurance industry. Let’s not pretend that it is an equal match.

Comment on A Conservative Case For Roe v. Wade by Felipe Quezada Tue, 17 Jul 2018 18:01:07 +0000 As you stated, the fact that abortions will still be performed, by those with more means, is what makes us progressive thinkers worry. The effects of one court decision can be devastating, for generations. I appreciate the information, and I’m thrilled that you wrote this blog. An informed investor, socially and fiscally, is a good investor.

Comment on A Conservative Case For Roe v. Wade by Larry Elkin Mon, 16 Jul 2018 14:52:10 +0000 Thank you for writing, and also for reading the blog. Sorry if this is a long reply, but I want to respond thoroughly and thoughtfully.

We address topics beyond financial investing because investing is just a small part of our work and the subject matter that informs it. Our clients are concerned about their personal welfare and that of those close to them, and about accomplishing goals that they find most meaningful. We try to help them reach those goals in all sorts of ways – through investing, through business decisions, through personal choices such as in estate and marital planning, and in many other areas. Our views about current events, which we follow closely, give us perspective and inform our advice. We don’t try to impose our opinions on anyone. Even within our own firm, we have diverse opinions. We exchange those views among ourselves respectfully and find that we all would give essentially the same advice to a client notwithstanding our differences — because it is the client’s priorities that drive our advice, not our own.

To use one example, during the 11 years when same-sex marriage went from being legal in one state to being recognized nationally, we wrote (and advised affected clients) that while they needed to deal with a short-term situation that was in flux, in the long run it seemed inevitable that such marriages would be at least recognized if not performed across the country. This helped shape estate and other highly personal plans. The landscape we anticipated came to fruition with the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Particularly in situations where discourse is reduced to a conventional wisdom, as with the assumption that a conservative Supreme Court necessarily means the reversal of Roe v. Wade, it is useful to describe potential alternate scenarios. It may bring more or less peace of mind to the reader depending on the reader’s preferences, but at least it allows consideration of a different perspective. I don’t think it is possible to have “hijacked” a blog that was created for this purpose. Nor do I insist that mine are the only perspectives presented in the blog. Increasingly, my colleagues express their views with my encouragement, even when I might have said something quite different. We also publish contrary comments when they are respectful, on topic, and identified. Our blog is not a place where flame wars happen.

We don’t seek to give offense for its own sake, but neither should we shy from saying things that might trigger a negative response just to win or keep somebody’s business. Being honest, frank and thoughtful about the world around us has served our audience (clients and others) well, and our firm at the same time. If it adds something to the public discussion of an issue, so much the better.

As long as you are our client or are otherwise interested in knowing what we think, we’ll tell you. I believe you are entitled to no less. Best regards.

Comment on A Conservative Case For Roe v. Wade by Larry Weiner Sun, 15 Jul 2018 19:55:07 +0000 As one of your clients I do not understand why you use your company’s blog to discuss politics and views that have nothing to do with financial investing. By “hijacking” the company blog with political discourse you do a disservice to your clients.
It troubles me.

Comment on AmEx Is Free To Terrorize Shopkeepers by Larry Elkin Fri, 06 Jul 2018 13:54:05 +0000 Thank you for taking the time to comment. You’re right that it may be worth clarifying my point above. In the section you mention, I was referring to the net rates that small merchants pay on all cards from all vendors, including businesses that take orders by phone or internet (“card not present” transactions, which generally incur additional charges). For smaller vendors, total costs include the interchange fees you mention, but also the payment processor’s markup and a variety of other potential fees.

Of course no one solution is right for everyone, and merchants should shop around for pricing and plans that make the most sense for them.

Comment on AmEx Is Free To Terrorize Shopkeepers by Ellen Cunningham Thu, 05 Jul 2018 21:38:49 +0000 It seems like there’s some misinformation in this piece. There are no Visa interchange categories that come with a “penalty” rate up to 4%.

Here’s Visa’s interchange table:

The most expensive possible Visa interchange is 2.95% + 10 cents, which is a “downgrade” category indicating the merchant didn’t provide enough data, didn’t batch out correctly, or some other action that caused the transaction to miss target interchange.

If there are penalties being assessed, it’s from the individual processor and the merchant would do well to look for a more competitive one.

Incidentally, flat rate (like PayPal) is typically more expensive than a competitive interchange plus processor except in very specific circumstances. (Average transaction of ~$10 or less or monthly volume under a few thousand.) Flat rate is not particularly competitive for most businesses.

Comment on New York Tries A SALT Workaround by Martin Samson Fri, 11 May 2018 18:44:28 +0000 I think your article misses a crucial point. For those who do not have children in public school, any payment that goes to funding the education of others’ children is charity – whether with a moniker of real estate tax or charitable contribution. Those without school age children do not receive a direct benefit from these payments. As such, making such charitable payments to a charity that will aid the school system is no different from the Georgia scholarship program to which you contribute – both help the public good, and produce a tax deduction.

Comment on No More Repeats With MoviePass by Rob Christianson Tue, 08 May 2018 18:36:06 +0000 The drawback of the gift subscription (as you may have found out) is that you can not convert it to a subscription in your name and extend it beyond the initial term. Mine was 3 months, a Christmas gift from my wife. Once it expired, I had to sign up again. Not cool.

When I did, the unlimited movies deal was gone. I am limited to 4 movies per months with no repeat viewings, and a worthless 3-month trial to IHeartRadio.

A few days after I signed up again for the only deal available, they began offering the unlimited program again for 9.99 per month. I contacted them via their online form to be contacted about converting my new membership to the 9.99 deal again but have yet to receive a reply and it’s been 5 days now. I just got my new card a few days ago.

It’s a great deal, even if it’s only 4 movies a month, but the user experience has been HORRIBLE.