S&P 500 Annual Nominal Returns from 1928-2019.

Majority of the years have positive returns.

Over a 10-year investing period 94% of the returns in the S&P 500 were positive.

Over a 20-year and 30-year investing period 100% of the returns in the S&P 500 were positive.

This is despite the Great Depression, World War II, Vietnam War, Terrorist Attacks, Assassination of JFK, and many others.

Source: Charlie Bilello Twitter (9/23/19)




















16,242 new condos have been built in New York City since the beginning of 2013.

More than 25% of these new condos haven't been sold.

New condos are still being built which will add to this inventory glut. 

There are also more than 5,617 total units that have listings on StreetEasy but haven't finished construction yet.

The majority of these condos are high-priced and out of reach for the average buyer.


Source: StreetEasy


Robots have been increasingly replacing humans in the workforce.

The graph on the left shows the annual supply of industrial robots worldwide.

In 2008 there was an annual supply of a little bit more than 100,000 industrial robots.

In 2016 there were 300,000 and that number was estimated to increase the annual supply in 2008 by 5 times in 2020.

Source: ARPInvestments, Pictet Asset Management, IFR





Most divide the world in to two categories: developing and developed. In Han’s view the world has progressed a lot from when these two categories were first drawn up. Hans separates the world into 4 categories based on 4 different levels of income. 

They are as follows:

Level 1: $0–2 a day

Level 2: $3–8 a day

Level 3: $9 to $32 a day

Level 4: More than $32 a day


Level 1: No shoes to walk with so they travel everywhere by foot. People on this income level have to walk about an hour just to get water because the well is a far walk away. They are mostly farmers and only have a small amount of food each day to eat.

Level 2: People on this level have a bike so it takes them only 30 minutes to get water from the water well. They have shoes and a small amount of electricity.

Level 3: Have a motorcycle and have enough income to have savings which can provide healthcare if they get income a motorcycle accident. The problem is that this money is mostly saved up for kids education and if they get into a motorcycle accident then they will have no money left for the kid’s education.

Level 4: People on level 4 have access to a car and have clean water in their homes. They also have reliable electricity which allows the kids to do their homework at night with a lightbulb. They also have a stove.



Source: Factfulness by Hans Rosling and Gapminder (2018)







The image on the left shows real returns by decade for various asset classes.

It also shows economic activity, interest rates, nominal debt growth, and real debt growth all divided up into decade.


Source: Paradigm Shifts by Ray Dalio


























There has been a steep drop in the effective corporate tax rate in the USA since the 1940's to the present.

The highest the effective corporate tax rate was in the mid 50's percent during the 1940's. 

Today that rate is close to 10%.

Source: Paradigm Shifts by Ray Dalio


In the business cycle leading up to 2000 we were in a tech bubble, in the cycle from 2002-2008 we were in a housing bubble, are we now in a bond bubble?

It looks like it to me as negative yielding debt has reached a record high of $13 Trillion.

Negative yielding means that investors have to pay the issuer to have their money stored.

85% of government bonds in Germany are negative yielding

Negative yielding debt has caused investors to reach for yield in more risky assets.

Source: Bloomberg 










This is an image of how the United States uses its land.

The majority of the land is used in the Midwest for cow pasture and ranges. 

Other notable big areas are land used for timberland which is divided up into private family, federal/state, and corporate.

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2018-us-land-use/














Total debt not including financial institutions has soared since 2002 and since the financial crisis in 2008.

Since 2008, non-financial debt has risen by $59 trillion

The largest increase came from China with an increase of $27 trillion since 2nd quarter 2008 and the U.S. was second with an increase of $15.9 trillion.

Source: Haver Analytics


Housing starts for privately owned homes are down and haven't fully recovered.

Shane Phillips made an interesting observation regarding this chart, "The country’s worst homebuilding year from 1993 to 2007 (1.292 million homes) was better than the best homebuilding year from 2008 to 2018 (1.250 million homes). There are nearly 70 million more people living in the U.S. today than there were in 1993."


Source: U.S. Census Bureau





The United States has seen a large drop in the number of publicly listed companies.


At the peak in the United States there were 7,322 publicly-listed companies but at the end of 2017 there were only 3,439.

This is a decline of 53%.

Meanwhile the number of private companies has increased a large amount.

And this isn't just in the United States. The largest decline based on percentage was the Netherlands with a 74% decline from its peak.

Some of the reasons for these declines could be due to managers deciding to not want to deal with the pressure of public markets, more regulatory requirements, and the heavy focus of the markets to spend too much focus on the short term aspects of a business instead of long term.


Source: Thinking Beyond the Cycle by Jason M. Thomas 





Guy Spier has been a very influential investment manager for numerous investors including myself.

In his most recent investment partnership letter from 2018 he discusses more than just his fund's performance but also his principles and what he is trying to accomplish as an investor.

I've reread his investment principles a couple of times now in order to try and understand them.

In his 2018 annual report, Guy discusses each principle in more depth.


Source: 2018 Aquamarine Fund 2018 Report 




A country's monetary base is the total amount of bank notes and coins circulating in the economy. This includes: the total currency circulating in the public, plus the currency that is physically held in the vaults of commercial banks, plus the commercial banks' reserves held in the central bank. (Wikipedia)


From Feb 1986 the monetary base grew from a little more than $182 billion to a little more than $850 billion in August of 2008.

From August 2008 to September 2014 it went to $4 trillion which is an increase of 3.2 trillion in just 6 years.

It stayed at $4 trillion for most of 2014 until it started to decrease in 2015.

The monetary base is now at a little more than $3.2 trillion as of May 22, 2019.

This expansion of the monetary base was due to the weakening economy during the Great recession of 2008 and was necessary to restore the economy.

This extraordinary expansion of the money supply has still been considered by some as the biggest experiment in financial history.

Source: Fred.stlouisfed.org












Monaco had the highest wealth per person measured in US dollars in 2018 with $2,114,000.

This is mostly due to Monaco's good tax structures, location, popular spot for yacht owners, and high real estate prices.


Following Monaco is Lichtenstein at #2, then Switzerland, Luxembourg and Australia.


Source: New World Health






























Debt and credit are different sides of the same coin. 

When someone lends you $100, that $100 is your debt and the other person's credit.


The United States economy has been very dependent on debt (credit) to grow.

In 1964, there was $1 trillion in debt and from 1964 to 2018 it went up 72x to $72 trillion in 2018.

The economy wouldn't be the same today if debt hadn't grown so much.

What caused debt to grow so much?

The US dollar used to be backed by gold which put a limit on how much debt and credit that could exist in the economy.

When Richard Nixon closed the gold window on August 15, 1971 that allowed the US government to create as many dollars as they could. 

The printing of dollars means more debt.


Source: Richard Duncan         https://twitter.com/PaperMoneyEcon/status/1128257424836710400




Peak oil? Doesn't look that way.

On the left is a picture showing US crude oil exports over the last 95 years.

The shale oil boom as allowed the US to export 2 million barrels of oil per day.

On the right, is monthly crude oil production for three of the biggest producers.

In 2018 the US passed Russia and Saudi Arabia for the most monthly crude oil produced.


Source: https://www.arpinvestments.com/arl/addicted-to-oil; US Energy Information Administration; EIA




In 1804, there were 1 billion people in the world.

In 1927, there were 2 billion people in the world. 

In 1999 (less than 100 years later), there were 6 billion people in the world.

This graph is the most amazing one I've seen because it illustrates to me a lot more than just a large increase in the amount of humans on Earth.

I think it tells a deeper story. It illustrates the enormous increases we have experienced in technology, agriculture, medicine, education, and nutrition.

Source: United Nations World Population Prospects, Deutsche

In 2000, 2 billion gigabytes of information existed.

In 2001, 6 billion gigabytes of information existed.


Then in 2002, 12 billion gigabytes of information existed.

"More information was generated in 2001 than in all the previous existence of our species on earth."

Source: Revolt of the Public

The damaging effects of climate change:

The number of floods has increased 15 times when measured over 4 different time periods (1950-1966, 1967-1983, 1984-2000, and 2001-2017).

The number of deaths in droughts has increased 10 times when measured between 1996-2005 and 2006-2015.

The number of wildfires has increased 7 times when measured between 1950-1983 and 1984-2017.

The number of extreme temperature events has increased 20 times when measured over three different time periods (1950-1972, 1973-1995, and 1996-2017).

Source: EM-DAT database; www.GMO.com

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