Musings & Insights

Some Common Cents for August 26th, 2016

August 29, 2016, by John Norris

Gambling is a word with a lot with a lot of connotations, but only one real meaning: taking some measure of risk in order to achieve some sort of return. You can define risk and return any number of different ways, and at many different levels. Obviously, you want to make sure the risk you take is less than the reward you expect. This is called playing the odds, and we do just that in...

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Some Common Cents for August 19th, 2016

August 19, 2016, by John Norris

I have watched the Olympics with some regularity over the last two weeks, and will be sorry when they are over this weekend. It has been a nice break from what passes as prime time entertainment these days, even if NBC makes it a nightly habit of serving up heaping helpings of schmaltz. However, you can’t please everyone. One of the things that fascinates me is the individual economic impact of winning a medal. For...

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Column: Cost of blanket policies

August 16, 2016, by John Norris

I am on the board of directors of an organization that promotes adult literacy in the Birmingham area. We are blessed to have an energetic executive director and a wonderful staff. However, it is unfortunate we have to be in the business of educating adults, but that is a discussion for another time. At a recent board meeting, the director brought up the upcoming changes to the overtime rules, which will take effect in December....

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Column: In land of blind, one-eyed man is king

August 8, 2016, by John Norris

The other night, I broke a bottle of soy sauce unloading the groceries. No, this wasn’t me being a clumsy old man. I had removed another item from the same bag, and it simply tipped over and shattered like a stage prop on the counter. Loose leaf paper is thicker than that glass. If you have ever cleaned up such a mess, you know a few ounces of liquid in a container magically translates into...

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Some Common Cents for March 11th 2016

March 14, 2016, by John Norris

Now that cooler heads have prevailed in the markets, the news, if you want to call it that, has shifted decidedly towards the Presidential campaigns. Although Bernie Sanders has performed better than most people would have dared imagine this time last year, he is poised for a brutal beating on March 15. So much so, he will likely throw in the proverbial towel the next day. Things on the Republican side are a little different....

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This from GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt’s annual letter to shareholders…really good stuff:

February 29, 2016, by John Norris

To sustain this performance, we will have to win in challenging global markets. Some say we are in an “,” but I don’t really know what that means. I learn more from what I see in individual markets and hear from customers. Commodity prices are down significantly, primarily driven by oversupply. Resource industries and regions are restructuring. The dollar has strengthened, probably for an extended period of time. This puts pressure on American exporters. At...

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Some Common Cents for February 19th 2016

February 19, 2016, by John Norris

I got a number of emails in response to last week’s newsletter, and let me say one thing: I am not advocating the US Treasury blithely print a bunch of additional money. No; the point was the quickest cure for deflation and a cripplingly strong currency is to simply make more of it, and pronto. Quantitative easing and deficit spending are as slow as molasses by comparison. Then, I would like to add: what a...

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Some Common Cents for November 20th 2015

November 21, 2015, by John Norris

This week the Pew Research Center (Pew) released a study which claimed more Mexicans returned to Mexico during 2009-2014 than came to the United States, a difference of 140,000. Its data came straight from US Census Bureau estimates for Mexican arrivals and the 2014 Mexican National Survey for Demographic Dynamics. Of course, it would be just about impossible to accurately count every individual traveling around North America under the proverbial radar, but it is an...

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Oakworth Announces New Team In Mobile, Alabama

September 21, 2015, by John Norris

Oakworth Capital Bank is pleased to announce that the following team of professionals has joined our company to serve the South Alabama market: Mr. John Hensley -              Managing Director Mr. Bud Doyle -                   Senior Client Advisor Mr. Tom Roberts -               Senior Client Advisor Ms. Katie Smith -                 Assoc. Managing Dir. Mr. Wade Gordon -             Client Advisor Ms. Michele Stewart -         Client Support Ms. DeEdra Pugh -             Client Support While this team will initially implement...

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How much do you need to retire?

July 27, 2015, by John Norris

What is a good rule of thumb about retirement? How much should I have to not worry about outliving my money? There are too many rules of thumb in the investment industry. You should have this much invested in bonds, or you should be doing this, that or the other thing. Since everyone is different, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all recommendation, so I don’t pay much attention to the old saws. (Read the full article as previously...

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