Why Flat Is The New Up

In This Issue:

An Update on Our Performance
A Revealing Voice from 1938
Paying the Presumptuous Piper
Misery Loves Company
Pertinent Facts
Government-Induced Portfolio Pain
Les (Tax) Miserables
The Bad Dreams of Our Forefathers
Portfolio Performance Analysis
4.6 Pounds and Counting


Most everyone has read or watched movies about the Roaring Twenties in America.  In hindsight, it looked much like the 90s.  If you could go back in time and interview a few people, what do you think their opinions would have been about the future?  If you conducted the same interviews in 1935, their opinions would have certainly changed, but their points of historical reference would have still been based on the Roaring Twenties and this point of reference would have positively skewed their forecast about the future.

Even in today's housing environment, most people's point of reference on real estate would be the housing boom-skewing their perceptions about the future.  Opinions on the stock market are similar, but a little more tarnished after 10 years of negative returns.   

Over the next 10 plus years, the US economy is facing numerous headwinds that should be factored into your equitation of economic reality.  Here is a short list to consider:

  1. Much higher taxes
  2. Crippling deficits
  3. Construction spending that is 1/3 of normal
  4. Burdensome regulation
  5. Failed Medicare
  6. Failed Social Security
  7. Higher interest rates
  8. Access to equity and debt capital that will be ½ of normal
  9. Consumer savings rates that will average 7%
  10. Baby boomers (80 million strong) that are in the non-consuming phase of their lives

Since America's glass is always half full, we will push through these challenges over time, but the new normal is not going to look anything like the past 20 years.  In the business world of today, flat is now considered the new up because if your business revenues are somehow managing to remain flat over the past 18 months, then you are gaining serious market share from your competitors.  Because of the headwinds facing the US economy for the foreseeable future, we will be lucky to achieve Nominal GDP that will average 2% over the next 10 years. 

Over the next 12 months or so, we will revisit several of the economic anchors listed above in this letter.  Since President Obama appears set on having the largest tax increase in American history, we are going to start with taxes.  Higher taxes negatively effect economic growth.  There are clear, objective and undeniable data points on this fact.  Whether you are a capitalist, a socialist or a communist, higher taxes strangle the growth of your economy.  In the case that you have doubts about this, this issue of the ProfitScore IQ should eradicate those doubts. 

An Update on Our Performance

April was a rewarding month for our clients and a break-through month for our fixed-income investment strategies.  There have been many opportunities to capitalize on the market's volatility in the first four months of 2009 and, fortunately, we have been able to take advantage of these opportunities.            

Below are recent performance returns on the four portfolios we currently offer:


Past 12

YTD

April

Name

Months

2009

2009

Income Builder  (IB)

-6.82%

-1.26%

5.49%

The Guardian  (GRD)

2.92%

4.65%

5.09%

Harmony Plus  (HMY)

13.50%

9.04%

5.46%

The Expedition  (EXP)

23.78%

14.39%

6.22%

S&P 500  (SP500)

-35.31%

-2.49%

9.57%

Important Performance Disclosure


 



ProfitScore provides separately-managed accounts for individuals, advisors and institutions.  If you would like to hire us to help you navigate this difficult bear market, below are three ways to contact us:

  1. Complete our Private Client Group request form by clicking here http://profitscore.com/clientgroup.aspx and submitting your contact information. (This is the most preferred method.)
  2. Call us directly at (800) 731-5690.
  3. Simply send us an email to info @ profitscore.com.

Someone will contact you within 24 hours of receiving your information.

A Revealing Voice From 1938

I completed this letter last night and when I got up this morning, I received an email from my good friend and incredibly bright market analyst Gary Anderson http://equitypm.com/.  I can only hope to have Gary's acumen of the market some day.  After reading the content of Gary's email, I felt compelled to share this information with you as well.  Below is the email I received:

Over the years I have collected a few old books by market writers, and this afternoon, for no particular reason, I picked one I had not touched for years from the shelf and began to read.  Immediately I was struck by the currency of the subject the author addressed in his forward.  Below is an excerpt from the forward.  The book is "Timing: When to Buy and Sell in Today's Markets", by John Durand, copyright 1938, published by The Magazine of Wall Street.

"There are only two kinds of economic systems.  In one, private initiative, however circumscribed, is the dominant force.  In the other the State is master.  In the year 1929 the American capitalist system seemed secure.  Capping a long record of high achievement, it had produced our greatest era of prosperity.  It appeared to be a ‘sound' prosperity-until the dream suddenly blew up before our startled eyes.  Then came nearly three years of grinding deflation and rising unrest, out of which was born the political overturn of 1932.  A frightened and despairing people turned to the Federal Government for economic guidance.

The New Deal Government had no coherent plan at hand for remaking our economic and social order.  Its instinctive leanings were to the Left, but  the election had given no mandate on a clear-cut issue between capitalism and collectivism.  The people wanted economic improvement and security against a repetition of disaster.  They had no composite opinion as to methods.

The Government turned promptly to inflationary measures, threw the full force of its credit into the breach and began launching a series of hastily improvised reforms.  For more than three years it pumped deficit-financed purchasing power into the economic system at a rate of some $4,000,000,000 a year.  Throughout that period it was the assumption of the New Dealers and of a majority of the American people that the measures taken were guiding us toward some kind of a modified, reformed and regulated capitalist system-neither the pre-1929 capitalist system nor full collectivism, but a democratic compromise between the two.  It was further assumed that this modified system would take over and carry on economic expansion when the time came for tapering off Federal ‘reflation.'

That time came late in 1936.  The Government turned its emphasis from stimulation to control.  It believed we were on the verge of a private credit boom, although up to that time the Government itself had been the sole expander of bank credit and private loans had actually declined.  Nevertheless, the brakes were set against potential private credit expansion, and the President took public issue with the validity of prevailing price levels.

What followed is painful history now familiar to all.  By the fourth quarter of 1937 we were skidding down in the fasted depression of all time.  The prestige of political "monetary management" and "economic planning" had suffered a major blow.  It became clear that the 1933-1937 recovery cycle was the temporary creation of New Deal spending; that our modified and reformed capitalism was not prepared to carry on when the oxygen of Federal pump-priming was cut off; and that in reality the New Deal had succeeded in paralyzing our former capitalist system without at the same time establishing any effective substitute for it.  This brief record is of vital significance to the investor, for the trends therein sketched inevitably imply that 1938 and 1939 will be years."

Paying the Presumptuous Piper
President Obama wants to increase tax revenues 40 percent by 2013.  Guess who'll be picking up the tab?

"Let me tell you how it will be,
There's one for you, nineteen for me,
Cuz I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman
 
Should five percent appear too small?
Be thankful I don't take it all,
Cuz I'm the taxman, yeah I'm the taxman!"1

Baby-boomers from Boston to Bombay should recognize these lyrics. They are from the first verse of the opening song on the Beatles 1966 album Revolver. Taxman was one of the first songs written for the group by guitarist George Harrison. His depiction of the taxman as a malicious parasite looking for ways to rob people of their hard-earned money was purely intentional.

"George wrote it in anger at finding out what the taxman did. He had never known before that what he'll do with your money," said fellow band member Paul McCartney in a 1984 interview. 

But little did George, the other Beatles or the tax-paying British know at the time that things would only get worse. By 1974, the top marginal rate on earnings had ballooned to 83% and the highest rate on investment income meant that the Beatles, or anyone else unfortunate enough to hit this tax bracket, paid an incredible 98% on unearned income. Is it any wonder that many of the Britain's wealthy, including John Lennon and the Rolling Stones (who departed the UK in 1971) left the country? Once started, it is a difficult exodus to stop and one that continues to this day (see "Brain Drain" article in suggested reading).

This insane bureaucratic rich-bashing finally came to an end when Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister of Britain. She took control of a country that had been economically and morally brought to a post-World War II low through appalling government mismanagement and obtuse tax policy.

Misery Loves Company

Many of you have no doubt sent in your tax returns and have put the unpleasantness behind you-unpleasant that is, unless you're getting a healthy refund.

The good news is that April was also the month when Forbes Magazine released its much awaited Tax Misery Index, where the taxed multitudes can compare their lot to that of their bureaucratically-burdened brethren around the world. Although it may serve as cold comfort now that you've been bled dry, there are actually people out there who are worse off than you-unless you live in the unwitting top contenders of the tax misery/tax burden indexes, like France, any of the Scandinavian countries, China, Belgium, the Netherlands or Austria.
  
Here is a list of the top ten nations ranking highest in the tax misery department (see Table 1). New York City took the dubious position of most painful US tax jurisdiction with a score of 115.4 (21st) compared to 48th place for the US with a misery score of 85.3 in the field of 65 countries.

NYC also took most painful jurisdiction in the world title for corporate income taxes, with an outrageous maximum marginal rate of 46.2%. Illinois took second spot with a rate of 42.3% with India (42%), Japan (41%) and Texas (36%), rounding out the list of most expensive tax jurisdiction in which to do business. 

Country
2009 Misery Ranking
Change from 2008
Corp tax%
Per tax%
France
167.9
1.1
34.4
52.1
China
159
7
25
45
Belgium
156.4
0
34
53.5
Sweden
150.7
-2.7
26.3
61
Netherlands
146.5
-10.5
25.5
52
Austria
144.5
0
25
50
Italy
139.4
-4.1
31.4
42.3
Argentina
136.3
0
35
35
Finland
136.1
1.2
26
53.5
Greece
127.1
-1
24
40
USA - NYC
115.4
0
46.2
45.5
USA
85.3
0
35
35

   Source - Forbes Magazine   
Sweden was rated worst tax hell for an individual with a top marginal tax rate of 61%. Belgium and Finland were tied for second at 53.5% with France and the Netherlands rounding out the top five at 52.1% and 52% respectively.

On the flipside, nations scoring the lowest tax misery from least to most pain were Qatar (12), the UAE (18), Hong Kong (41.5), Georgia, the former Soviet Union state (52) and Macedonia (70).  UAE and Qatar took best personal tax jurisdictions with 0% tax and Bulgaria, Cyprus and Macedonia tied for top honors as the least expensive places to run a business with corporate tax rates of 10% each.

Before we examine the mounting dilemma and cost-associated tax risks of the current global collapse, Britain may have been a high-tax pioneer of sorts, but it isn't the only country to answer economic challenges with punishing tax rates. They got the idea from a socialistic experiment now referred to as the Swedish model.

Tracing its roots back to the 1930s, while other countries took a free market path after World War II, Sweden took the socialist road in an attempt to control its economic woes. How successful has in been? 

It hasn't if a 2004 report by Swedish think-tank Timbro is any indication.  Entitled EU versus USA, Dr. Fredrik Bergström, President of the Swedish Research Institute of Trade, and Mr. Robert Gidehag, formerly the Chief Economist of the same institute, painted a disturbing picture of the cumulative effects that high taxes, burgeoning government size and escalating regulations have had on the economic well-being of Swedish citizens, as well those of a number of other EU nations in the last three decades. 


Figure 1 - Graph comparing relative GDP/capita in an index where the EU-15 has a value of 100. As we see, countries like France, Sweden and Germany that have continually scored high in Forbes Tax Misery Index have experienced lower levels of prosperity.

According to the study, citizens in the fifteen nations that at the time of the study comprised the European Union, had an average GDP per capita - an important measure of economic well-being - that placed them slightly above the four poorest states in the US, just ahead of Arkansas (see Figure 1).  France, Germany, Italy and the UK were found to have lower GDP per capita rates than all but four of the poorest US states and below that of Oklahoma.

As the Timbro study highlighted, the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line declined from 22% in 1959 to 12% by 2004. In 1999, 25% of American households earned an annual income of less than $25,000 compared to 40% of Swedish households. This translated to various aspects of lifestyle. For example, the average living space for poor American households was 1,200 square feet, compared to an average 1,000 square feet for all households in Sweden.

What did the authors of the Timbro study identify as Europe's problem? "The expansion of the public sector into overripe welfare states in large parts of Europe is and remains the best guess as to why our continent cannot measure up to our neighbors in the west."

The report dispelled the myth that, thanks to the "social safety net" provided through high tax rates on the rich and even middle class, the poor in Europe were better off.  In fact, the reverse was true. For example, 40% of Swedish households (where overall tax rates have consistently been among the highest in Europe) would be below the poverty line if they lived in the US, versus 12% of the US population in 2000.

Pertinent Facts

Here are some more pertinent facts to consider:

  1. Overall taxes as a percentage of GDP and productivity are inversely proportional - the higher the tax burden, the lower the productivity. The Timbro study revealed the strength of this relationship, exposing how significantly prosperity has diverged between EU nation states and the US since the 1960s.
  2. According to the OECD, taxes as a percentage of GDP in the US increased from 28.4 to 34.6 percent between 1960 and 1996. The Tax/GDP ratio in the EU-15 was slightly lower than the US in 1960 at 28.2%, but by 1996 had grown to a 52.4% of GDP, an 85% increase. 
  3. Ten new countries gained EU membership in 2004, all with GDP/capitas well below the EU-15 average. Compared to the EU-15 GDP/capita index value of 100, the ten new members average GDP/capita was less than 53 compared to a score of 141 for the US in 2001. As has become painfully clear, this is now putting further strain on all member nations currently experiencing rapidly increasing unemployment exacerbated by falling home prices and weakening economies.
  4. And probably even more troubling for the future, the EU-15 spent 1.95% of GDP on research & development in 2001 compared to an expenditure of 2.7% in the US. As well, the overall EU economy was less than 90% of the size of the US economy that year - a gap that has continued to widen.  

Government-Induced Portfolio Pain

And how do tax rates impact investments? Although there is not always a direct linear relationship between taxes and investment returns, history and logic tells us that there is a strong correlation. Like the economy, it should be no surprise that high taxes, regulation and red tape negatively impact investment returns. 

Let's first take a look at our neighbor to the north, Canada. In 1960 tax rates in US and Canada were nearly identical. By 1990 however, the overall tax burden in Canada had increased by 70% to 47.8% of GDP, while the US increase was a more manageable 22.5%. Both Canada's corporate tax rate and personal income tax rate were also significantly higher.


Figure 2 - Comparison of index returns to tax rates showing the strong inverse correlation between the two. Returns in red from left to right are as follows: the French CAC40, the German SE XTRA DAX, U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average, Canadian TSX Index (Formerly TSE Index) and the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index. 

On the other side of the coin, we see that investment returns in Hong Kong, which has been a perennial bottom dweller on the Forbes Tax Misery Index, has outperformed its higher taxed counterparts. As we see, a Hong Kong investor would have seen his investment triple over that of his British counterpart in the twenty year period, thanks in large part to the more friendly tax environment.


Figure 3 - Over the twenty years from 1984 to 2004, the Hong Kong Hang Seng has performed significantly better.

Les (Tax) Miserables

France has been a perennial, if unwitting, leader in Forbes Tax Misery Index for a number of years running.  But the return of the country's CAC40 Index would seem to suggest that taxes are not impacting investment returns as strongly as they should. As we see from Figure 2, France has the highest tax burden to GDP of the nations in the chart, yet investment returns are third. There are two possible explanations for this.

First, the French stock market was opened to foreign investment in the 1970s, helping propel the CAC Index to higher than normal levels as foreign direct investment temporarily spiked. But there is another, more interesting factor at work, demonstrated by the following story.

A friend of mine lived in St Martin in the Caribbean, which is half French and half Dutch.  He tells the story of a shop keeper on the French side who received notice from French tax authorities that an auditor would be arriving on the island from France to examine his books. When the auditor arrived, he was met by an angry mob of about 300 sympathetic Frenchmen armed with baseball bats standing in front of the shop.

To make matters even more challenging for the auditor, the shop itself was not visible from the street. Unknown persons had constructed a brick wall 20 feet high blocking the front door. The auditor took a quick look at the situation, then wisely turned around and returned home, no doubt explaining the situation to his superiors with that famous French catch-all expression of resignation, "C'est la vie!"  

As this story demonstrates, avoiding taxes is a game in France. Citizens have adopted the attitude that as long as the French government tries to tax them at exorbitant rates, it is only fair that taxpayers take similar extreme measures to avoid them. After all, who in their right mind would pay a corporate tax rate of 34.4%, a personal rate of 52.1%, a 1.8% wealth tax, 45% in employer social security, 15% in employee social security, plus a 19.6% value added tax?2  

Entrepreneurs face even steeper hurdles. If you tried to start a company in 2000, take it public and use stock options as an incentive to attract talent, you paid a 120% tax on a gain of 1 million French francs plus 200,000 francs for good measure. What happened if the companies tried to leave? The French Socialist government at the time charged a 40% exit tax on the unrealized gains in a desperate attempt to stem the flow. It is no surprise that the government was ousted in the next election, but the story demonstrates the tip of an ominous economic iceberg clearly visible in France-one that has slowly spread across much of Europe, cooling prosperity, job growth and incomes in its wake.

Investors may have found ways around these impediments to earn higher returns. But as the economic prosperity of the average French citizen demonstrates, the price of this continuous tax war has been costly. As Figure 1 (above) shows, GDP/capita is an anemic 105, below that of Sweden, which places French prosperity amongst that of the poorest US states. In other words, if France were a US state, it would be the fifth poorest. It is a clear example of how punitive tax policy can put a significant crimp in national prosperity and the standard of living. As this and other studies show, the poor are usually the biggest victims.

Bad Dreams of Our Forefathers
"The best way to help the poor is to not become one of them." George Hancock (1985), Australian mining industrialist.

Economic history is littered with examples of rulers and politicians who have done their surreptitious best to raise taxes as much as possible and continued to do so until there was a public revolt or they were kicked out of office. Like the parasite relying on the host for nourishment, the amount the parasite extracts is inversely proportional to the health and vibrancy of the victim. Take a little blood and the host can still function. Take a lot and the host eventually dies. 

President Obama has a mandate to increase tax revenues by 40% by 2013, and this includes letting the Bush tax cuts expire in 2011. He needs to raise more money to finance the plethora of new spending initiatives he has planned and sees higher taxes as the best method to accomplish his goal.

All in, his policies add $6.5 trillion to an already staggering government debt. It will cost the average taxpaying family an additional $200,000 over the next ten years, according to Stanford economics professor Michael Boskin (see article "Obama's $163,000 Tax Bomb"). That's $26,000 per year in additional taxes with interest factored in.

Here is how Boskin described the situation in the April 3, 2009 WSJ article.

"But what is not just worrisome but dangerous are the growing trillion dollar deficits in the latter years of the Obama budget. These deficits are so large for a prosperous nation in peacetime -- three times safe levels -- that they would cause the debt burden to soar toward banana republic levels. That's a recipe for a permanent drag on growth and serious pressure on the Federal Reserve to inflate, not the new era of rising prosperity that Mr. Obama and his advisers foresee."

How wise is this approach, especially in a weakened global economy?


Figure 4 - Chart from the Timbro EU versus USA study showing the change in tax burden as a percentage of GDP over the 30 years from 1970 through 1999.

As we see from the above chart, the US has kept tax growth as a percentage of GDP well below that of its European counterparts. It is clear from the foregoing discussion that any increase in taxes will have a negative affect - the question is how much do we want to curtail our productivity and standard of living?  Put another way, how much do we want to become like the Swedes or the French?

Marginal tax rates have steadily declined for the most part between 1982 and 2007 and that has been accompanied by unparalleled economic prosperity. There was a reason why the economy grew so dramatically. But now, the tables have turned and the government is again increasing the amount it takes as a percentage of the economy. Turning the screws on taxpayers and with it our economy will not only have a detrimental impact on our standard of living but our ability to compete globally.  Do we want our productivity levels and standard of living to decline to levels that have become the norm in Europe thanks to high taxes and welfare state policies?

There is no doubt that increasing taxes in the US will have a negative impact on the economy, but rising taxes will also negatively impact investment returns as corporate, capital gains and interest income taxes climb - this at a time when the largest demographic in our history, more than 80 million baby-boomers, is getting set to retire.

Using the wealthy and business class as tax scapegoats is counterproductive. It is this group that is responsible for starting businesses and employing workers when economic growth returns. Make their road more challenging and we'll all pay the price, all that is, except that taxman and the politicians whose salary he pays.

"Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
Cuz I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman
 
And you're working for no one but me
Taxman!"1

Footnotes
1 - Taxman lyrics by George Harrison
2 - Figures from 2009 Forbes Tax Misery article

SUGGESTED READING

EU Versus USA - Timbro study
http://www.timbro.se/bokhandel/pdf/9175665646.pdf

Forbes 2009 International Tax Misery Index
http://www.forbes.com/global/2009/0413/034-tax-misery-reform-index.html

Forbes Tax Burden and Spending Index
http://www.forbes.com/global/2009/0413/034-tax-burden-spending.html

Obama's $163,000 Tax Bomb
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123871911466984927.html

More on OECD nation tax rates in OECD http://www.oecd.org/document/60/0,2340,en_2649_37427_1942460_1_1_1_37427,00.html  

Biggest Brain Drain from UK in 50 Years
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1579345/Biggest-brain-drain-from-UK-in-50-years.html

Trouble in Euroland - SFO Magazine
http://sfomag.com/article.aspx?ID=563

For Good and Evil - The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization
Adams, Charles, Published by Madison Books (1993)

Portfolio Performance Analysis

Risk & Reward
Each of our portfolios is strategically allocated across one or more of the Investment Pillars of Strength discussed below.  Each Pillar is managed by multiple, uncorrelated, absolute-return investment managers to produce a return stream that is consistent, negatively correlated with the major market averages in down markets and non-correlated with each of our core Pillars of Strength. 

Managing risk is our most important consideration and it is reflected in the way our portfolios are built and managed each and every day.

Sell in May and go away!  The market appears to be getting tired over the last couple of weeks.  I suspect that we have hit this rally's high and expect a messy slop and chop market until the market temporarily bottoms sometime this fall.  One key give-a-way to this rally's weakness is its leadership.  As my good friend Gary Anderson would say, "Contrarian rallies with no relative strength in leadership rarely turn into bull markets."  Historically, new bull markets are lead by underperforming stocks in the last bull market and not the most beaten up stocks from the current bear market.  In the bull market of the late 90s, commodity related issues significantly lagged the broader market but lead during the recovery starting in 2002.       

Below is a performance summary for the indices we track and benchmark our portfolios to:    


Cumulative Return

  

Average Annual Return

Indexes

Mth.

YTD

1 yr

  

3 yr

5 yr

10 yr

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

CSFB L/S *

3.69

4.02

-14.84


-0.27

5.31

7.37

CSFB Multi-St. *

3.14

6.90

-15.58


-1.35

2.99

6.09

Barclay F-of-F *

0.53

0.97

-18.61


-4.28

0.83

5.06

S&P 500

9.57

-2.49

-35.31


-10.76

-2.70

-2.48

Barclay HY

12.10

18.80

-13.29


-1.15

2.35

3.57

Barclay Agg.

0.48

0.60

3.84


6.01

4.78

5.71









* Note:

Estimated monthly performance



Volatility has finally decreased from the nose bleed levels reached over the preceding six months.  To adjust to these lower levels, we have increased our investment allocation in our attempt to normalize the market's volatility across our portfolios.  If our assumptions are correct about the market topping out and decreasing into the summer months, then expect volatility to once again expand as fear comes back into the markets.  Our portfolios will of course be adjusted accordingly.           

Index Advantage:

The S&P 500 index was a tough bogie to beat for the month increasing 9.57%, but our incredibly nimble long/short traders managed to keep pace.  This might not seem that impressive until you learn that over half of our profits for the month we made on the short side of the market in a month that had very few down days.   

For the month, this pillar gained 9.46%. 

Strategic Balance:

Our overall exposure for the month in this allocation was less than 20% as these incredibly talented traders risk capital only when risks are low and rewards are high.  Most of the profits for the month were earned from tactical investments in internal markets and precious metals.                           

For the month, this pillar earned 2.03%.      

Dynamic Income:

For many months, you have heard me express my frustration with trading these highly manipulated assets.  With all our problems and issues over the past several months, we still significantly outperformed our benchmark indexes, but I just expected more from this important asset class.  In April, we enjoyed our best month since our launch and I am hopeful we are on the downhill side of our trading problems.         

For the month, this pillar earned 5.74%.

Our portfolios are built using varying distributions to the strategic allocations discussed above.  To view detailed performance and risk statistics information about our investment portfolios for the month, please click on the links below: 


If You Are a Client, Don't Be Confused.
Actual management and performance fees are incurred monthly but are deducted from client accounts in the first month of every quarter (January, April, July, and October).  For performance reporting purposes, we deduct fees monthly as they incur and not quarterly, as they are reflected in client statements.  It all washes out in the end, but this may cause your account performance to deviate from our published performance reports on a month-to-month basis.  To be conservative, we also deduct the maximum fees we charge from our performance reports and your actual overall fees paid may be less than our maximum. 

4.6 Pounds and Counting

Approximately one month ago I entered into a weight loss competition with two other friends.  To accurately get our measurements and begin our contest, we weighed in at the Boise State Department of Kinesiology and got all of our measurements, including the Hydrostat test to precisely determine our body fat percentage.  My measurements were:  Weight 225.8, Height 6.1, body fat 24%, lean body mass 76%.  Given my age of 42, that gives me the equivalent of a C+. 

The competition will be based on quarterly and annual improvements in lean body mass.  I won a similar contest about 3 years ago and it is harder than you think because if you lose X pounds of body fat and also lose X pounds of muscle, your lean body mass index will remain the same.  Losing fat is relatively easy to do and gaining muscle is also not to difficult.  However, doing them both at the same time, is down right frustrating. 

The quarterly losers have to pay $50 to the winner and take the winner out to dinner.  Each quarter stands on its own, but the 12 month or annual winner is based on cumulative results.  The annual winner gets $250 from his friends.  The competition is more about bragging rights and staying healthy than the financial reward, but the money gives you bragging rights.    

I have to admit that I have an unfair advantage because of a device I wear on my arm called a bodybugg-- http://www.bodybugg.com/.  I used it with great success in the past.  It works amazingly well.  It makes keeping track of the calories you burn and the calories you consume a cinch.  I told my competitors about this device, but they think they can do it on their own.  Weigh in is in two more months, so I guess we shall see.  In the first month, I lost 4.6 pounds so I am .6 pounds ahead of my 1 pound/week goal. 

I hope everyone is making big plans for this summer.  The kids will be going back to my parent's farm for a few weeks and we have a couple of back country camping trips planned.  Time permitting or not, I will do more fishing this year than last year.  Talk to you next month.


Working to grow your wealth,


John M. McClure
President & CEO
ProfitScore Capital Management, Inc.

P.S. If you would like to hire us to help you navigate this difficult bear market, below are three ways to contact us:

  • Complete our Private Client Group request form by clicking here http://profitscore.com/clientgroup.aspx and submitting your contact information. (This is the most preferred method.)
  • Call us directly at (800) 731-5690.
  • Simply send us an email to info @ profitscore.com.

 
Someone will contact you within 24 hours of receiving your information.





Posted 05-15-2009 7:12 AM by John M. McClure

Comments

EquiTrend Market Watch wrote Leaders languish...
on 05-18-2009 11:01 AM

In This Issue: Rally backs off... Leaders languish Earnings continue to weaken Trade deficit rises, Treasury sales inch higher Market Yin and Yang Elliott Wave SPX Perspective Quote of the week "Even though economics is a very old subject, it has