May 21st, 2013 by Douglas Tengdin, CFA
So how do you stay safe in the mountains?
One way to stay safe is not to go–to conclude that the risk is too great, that the weather is too poor and the opportunities too scanty. So it’s just more rational to stay home and water the garden. Read the rest of this entry »
May 20th, 2013 by Douglas Tengdin, CFA
In spite of all you do, stuff happens.
In spite of all your preparation, all your planning, all your experience, mountains and markets can and will surprise you. Mountains are chaotic systems: they disrupt the airflow around them, and so they can create extreme situations, where the turbulent winds and a lack of cover transform a beautiful clear day into a massive maelstrom where there’s no shelter. Read the rest of this entry »
May 17th, 2013 by Douglas Tengdin, CFA
It’s been said that the difference between danger and disaster is preparation.
“Be prepared” is the motto of the Boy Scouts, and it’s good advice when you’re headed into the mountains. You need to be physically ready for challenge of the peaks—core body strength, cardio-vascular endurance, and mental energy. You need to have adequate clothing and emergency supplies, like a headlamp and compass. And you need to know the mountain and trails you’re going to. Maps, guides, and experienced friends help you understand where you are and what surprises might be around the next bend in the trail. Read the rest of this entry »
May 16th, 2013 by Douglas Tengdin, CFA
What are your limitations?
It’s tempting to disparage limits, to say that they stop people from doing what they want to do when they want to do it. But setting limits is just a way of acknowledging our humanity—that we live in a real world, not a projection of our own imaginations. Read the rest of this entry »
May 15th, 2013 by Douglas Tengdin, CFA
How does respect fit into risk management?
When you’re in the mountains, the first thing you learn is respect for the mountain. No one ever “conquers” a peak. Hillary didn’t “conquer” Everest; Whymper didn’t “conquer” the Matterhorn. The men and women who made first ascents did something unprecedented, but the mountains are still there. Read the rest of this entry »
May 14th, 2013 by Douglas Tengdin, CFA
In the spring, skiers from around the world come to Mount Washington for its celebrated backcountry snow. Tuckerman’s Ravine is legendary—its 50-degree pitches and rugged beauty combine to give mountaineers some of the best spring skiing anywhere. And the only cost is the challenge of carrying your own equipment into the bowl and up its pitches. Read the rest of this entry »
May 13th, 2013 by Douglas Tengdin, CFA
This is the way the Fed ends its easing. Not with a bang but with a whimper.
With apologies to T.S. Eliot, the Fed doesn’t have to end its innovative asset-purchase program with grand announcements and immense bond sales. It could, of course. It could declare the end of quantitative easing tomorrow, and begin selling tens of billions of Treasuries every day to reduce rapidly its $3 trillion balance sheet. Read the rest of this entry »
May 10th, 2013 by Douglas Tengdin, CFA
Why are pensions always underfunded?
It’s easy to understand the underfunding of public pensions. Why tax today what you can put off until tomorrow? In New Hampshire the Concord politicians had a unique fix for the State’s underfunding problem: make the Towns pay. Property tax rates are going up to help fund the State pension system. Read the rest of this entry »
May 9th, 2013 by Douglas Tengdin, CFA
What can we learn from college graduations?
Around the country millions of students will finish college this year, and they and their families will endure interminable lectures by commencement speakers that are variations on the theme, “To thine own self be true.” (Of course, these Honorary Doctors don’t seem to realize that when Shakespeare coined that phrase, in Hamlet, he was mocking the old windbag who mouthed this truism. Hamlet’s quest to be true to himself resulted in his own death and the deaths of almost everyone around him.) Read the rest of this entry »
May 8th, 2013 by Douglas Tengdin, CFA
The market is hitting record levels. Should we be worried?
Record levels on the S&P 500 remind people of October 2007 and August 2000. Folks get a gut-clenching sense of déjà vu that they’ve seen this movie before, and it isn’t a feel-good flic, it’s more like Halloween Part 3. They keep waiting for Jason to jump out from behind that tree in his hockey mask. Read the rest of this entry »