What’s “conscious action?” Full disclosure: I made it up. But the idea behind it is certainly not mine, nor is it uniquely limited to use in my life or towards my values. In my mind, conscious action means doing what we know to be right, even if our efforts seem to do little to move the needle toward solving a problem.
Long View thinking is invaluable at Singer Burke as tax and financial planners, portfolio managers, and investors in private companies. We are constantly considering worst, best and middle-case scenarios for the economy, assets classes, business plans, and our clients’ income. We then try to prepare for all of the above.
I would suggest Scott Pruitt, the US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, needs to change course. Despite his agency’s tens of thousands employees and multi-billion dollar budget, it is clear to me that he is not utilizing sufficient resources to consider the Long View, and I fear we will pay dearly for his short-sighted approach.
Given the massive polarization between Republicans and Democrats, I have been thinking a lot about how our personal views on the environment, social issues, economics and therefore politics can affect our world-views and possibly derail a rational and disciplined long-term investment strategy.
Generally one has two choices when responding to the question, “How are you?” The conventional option is to simply respond, “Fine. How are you?” and move on with life. The other choice is to respond honestly in some long, drawn-out monologue for which nobody really has the time or interest to hear. Often honest to a fault, I sometimes take the less conventional route and bore my friends to death.
Last week my wife, Mia, went on a reunion binge, traveling to the East Coast for her reunions for undergrad and graduate schools. Accordingly, I got the kids for Memorial Day Weekend and the week thereafter.
Earlier this month, political and business leaders joined scientists from over 190 countries in Paris to address climate change. The resulting agreement (essentially to do whatever it takes to avoid global warming exceeding 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels) is almost certainly insufficient to effect a solution to climate change. First of all, there are no mechanisms to make the agreement binding. Moreover, the initiatives and mechanisms proposed seem disconnected from the 2-degree goal. But even though this conservationist considers the agreement weak, I was ecstatic with the outcome rather than disillusioned. Here’s why.
My coffee affliction started after we had our first child, Renzo (now 3.8 years old), and I visited with a friend to experience his newly arrived espresso machine from Italy. I was always a green tea guy until I had his meticulously concocted 18 grams of freshly roasted Vivace pulled through the machine at exactly 199 degrees Fahrenheit to produce exactly 22 grams of ristretto espresso. After six trips to Italy and two years in Seattle, I thought that I knew what espresso should taste like, but at that moment I tasted something completely foreign.
We at Singer Burke practice wealth and business management, which of course includes managing investments and developing plans to optimize the taxes, retirements and estates of our dear clients. These are all very important, tangible services with financial benefits easily quantified through performance reports and balance sheets.
Every year, I am surprised how suddenly summer switches to The Holiday Season here in L.A. And with The Holiday Season comes shopping and shopping fads. This year it’s all about Frozen (if you have toddlers). For Halloween, even my forklift-obsessed 3-year-old son wanted to be Frozen‘s star, Queen Elsa. Then he changed his mind to Anna, then Elsa again, then Anna again, and so on and so on. He eventually settled on being an astronaut after seeing a video on YouTube of Neil Armstrong’s lunar landing. Go figure. But the Frozen fandom remains alive and well at our house.
To those whose morning breakfast ritual involves reading or watching the news: my condolences. The usual sleepy, summertime news cycle has seen a rash of explosive incidents that have unsettled our digestion and cast a shadow over this supposedly sunny season.