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The Independent Investor: Will Our Country's Military Win the Next War?
By Bill Schmick,
10:51AM / Friday, December 07, 2018
There was a time, not long ago, when most Americans would answer that question in the affirmative without much thought. It was one of those "truisms" that we didn't give much thought. But today, many experts are debating that answer.   Back in the day, after World War II, our military prowess, (aided by the development of the atomic bomb) was unquestioned throughout the world. Growing up, it was never a question of spending on defense for me, it was simply how much. Republicans wanted more, Democrats wanted less. Today, not only is the amount of spending crucial but also its predictability and even more importantly, what those billions are spent

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The Independent Investor: Sustainability Investing and Millennials
By Bill Schmick,
05:10PM / Thursday, November 29, 2018
The demand for sustainability investments is growing. Companies that offer measurable social and environmental impacts that address issues like world hunger, climate risk, poverty and access to health care, seem like a good investment for those socially-minded. Finding companies that also provide a good financial return at the same time is not so easy.   Sustainability investing is different from the decades-old trend called "social investing." Generally, social investments are those that bet on solar power, clean water, or the avoidance of "sin stocks" such as tobacco, guns or liquor companies. Most of these areas were not viable investments without a

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The Independent Investor: The Origin of Black Friday
By Bill Schmick,
05:58PM / Thursday, November 22, 2018
As you finish your turkey and prepare to get an early start on Black Friday shopping, you might wonder how shopping became such an integral part of your Thanksgiving holiday. The term has followed a circuitous route through our financial history.   Although the term "Black Friday" is a new phenomenon, its origins date back to the late 19th century. The term was first associated with a stock market crash on Sept. 24, 1869.   Two speculators, Jay Gould and James Fisk, tried to corner the gold market. This created a boom-and-bust atmosphere in gold prices. That volatility spilled over into stocks. Before it was all said and done, stocks lost 20 percent of

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The Independent Investor: The Apple of Our Eyes
By Bill Schmick,
12:44PM / Friday, November 16, 2018
Go into just about any supermarket right now and what do you see? Bins and bins of gorgeous red, green, and golden apples. The harvest is overwhelming, but some apples are worth more than others.   If you are like me, an average consumer, it takes about 23 minutes to do my grocery shopping, according to Proctor and Gamble. During that spate of time, I buy an average of 18 items out of maybe 30,000 to 40,000 choices. I have little time to browse and, most of the time, I don't even check the prices, which brings me back to the apple cart.   You see, I value my fruits and vegetables. The more local, the better, because to me, the taste is everything. Until

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The Independent Investor: Mid-Term Results Take Investor Focus Off Washington
By Bill Schmick,
04:33PM / Thursday, November 08, 2018
True to form, the opposition party regained control of the House, while the ruling party, in this case the GOP, retained control of the Senate. If history is any guide, this means that little in the way of legislation will be coming out of Congress for the next two years.   In the past, investors and the stock market alike did better than you might expect under this kind of political paralysis. That's because financial markets abhor the unknown. Given the unpredictability of politics and legislation, investors are far more content with inaction than action, unless of course, those actions are favorable to the markets or the economy.   Take for example, the

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