When I served in the Navy on a guided missile cruiser, I learned about ballast. It's a simple concept. When heading into rough seas, you flood some compartments of the ship to add tonage, or to weigh down the ship for stability. It seemed so contradictory to that 18 year old boy! I thought to myself, "So we intentionally start sinking our own ship so the crew can eat dinner in 20 foot seas without dishes flying everywhere?" When I explained it my kids they said the same thing. The answer is technically yes. But we aren't actually sinking it, just adding enough of tons to bring us lower and stabilize the ship for a short time. The water is pumped right back out when the sun shines and we turn to blue skies. Cargo vessels also replace the weight of cargo with much more ballast than our little cruiser used. I tell this story because just because something seems contrary to immediate success, does not mean that it is. For instance, if every asset you own has gone up in the past year+, you should be very nervous. Where's your ballast? As volatility has returned this year, clients are realizing that there are and will be storms. How we behave during those storms usually determines our long term outcome. Strategy rules, emotion destroys...don't let the white noise disrupt an intelligent strategy.
Shifting gears-Medicare update from Brian: Medicare will start issuing the new IDs WITHOUT your Social Security number in April 2018. The new Identifier is a quirky number, unique to the retiree, but protects your SSN from being out there if you lose your card. And it only took 3 years from when the law was passed in 2015. (If I had a tongue in cheek image I would add it here to illustrate my mild sarcasm.) If you are 64 get a hold of Brian so he can navigate that storm for you.
Last but not least....Buffet's annual letter to shareholders is out. Let me know if you need a copy. I have mine in my "treadmill" pile and it's almost reached it's turn in the queue.
Thanks for listening. John