How Bad Are Things? Corporate Profitability?

Worst recession since the Great Depression? Not really, although it’s not pleasant.

Unemployment is down. Good news? Yes, but not the whole picture.

Corporations profitable? You bet. They have lots of cash on their balance sheets, ready to expand and redeploy at the appropriate time.

These are just a few of the things I talk about in this week’s video. I include some nice graphs too, so be sure to click on the video to hear more!!!


Hi there, Mike Brady with Generosity Wealth Management, here in Boulder, Colorado. And today I’m thinking a little bit about corporate profitability. I’m thinking of some statistics as it relates to the recession and some unemployment ex cetera. So let me just get started here.

Warren Buffet is famous for saying, “be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” And consumer sentiment has been down for quite some time but Warren Buffet, he has been very bullish, he’s been very optimistic on things going forward. And I just want to put things in perspective. Right now the unemployment rate is about 8.6 per cent but I think we probably all know someone who is either unemployed, been unemployed for a long time or is underemployed. And that means someone who would really like a full time job but really is only working either part time or they would like a full time job but they are at the age where they just decide to retire a little bit early. So they leave the labor force. And so the way those numbers work is if you are part-time or you’re discouraged and leave, go back to school, get more education or you retire, you come out of the available work force. And so, I think unemployment is something that really is a problem. It’s probably going to be a problem going forward but I want to provide some context as it relates to recessions and expansions. You’ve probably heard that this is the worst recession, the great recession, the worst since the great depression, and that is true. As a percentage, but I want to put some context on it just as a magnitude.

Hopefully, there’s a chart that’s up on your video there, if it’s not there, that means that my compliance department wouldn’t let me put up any of my charts here, so I’m doing two versions of this video- one with chart overlays and one without. But that being said, if it’s not there, let me talk to you about it.

The Great Depression had a twenty-six, almost twenty seven per cent decline in real GDP. GDP is the gross domestic product, kind of the national income. And most recently, we’ve had a five per cent decline, not twenty-six or twenty-seven, but five. And as a matter of fact, if you add up all the recessions we’ve had since the great depression, they’re about what we had in the Great Depression itself. So just to provide some context, it’s actually relatively small even though the negative five per cent is the biggest one since that huge number in the ‘30s. But the average length of an expansion is forty-four months, and the average length of a recession is fifteen months. And technically we are not in a recession right now. Although it doesn’t feel that way- I know that!

Corporate cash: corporations are holding on to a lot of cash at this point. They had, as all of their kind of short term assets, their current assets, back in 2000, about fourteen per cent of their current assets were held in cash. Today that’s about twenty-eight per cent. As a matter of fact, just since ’08, it’s gone from twenty to twenty-eight per cent. (See chart inlay.) Apple’s got over 70 billion dollars in cash. And so the corporations themselves are getting stronger, it’s that simple. Their after tax, corporate profits are over ten per cent at this point. And so that was negative just a couple of years ago and right before the huge crisis of 2008, 2009, it was not even nine per cent. So this is really at a high for corporate profits, after tax corporate profits. And so we just have to keep that into consideration.

They’ve got this cash, kind of on the sidelines, waiting to redeploy it into research and development and to purchase other companies and expand their businesses when the opportunities are ripe. When they also know that the demand is going to be there for their products. So it’s a kind of a wait-and-see, they don’t want to do it too quick because then people can’t buy their products or services. But they can’t be too late because they want to be there, sort of “just-in-time” when the right ingredients are there.

That’s what I’m thinking about this week. There’s just a few more things I want to talk about that are actually a little off-topic.

The Consumer Price Index, the CPI, is …, a lot of people talk about it being three per cent, 3.2 per cent, for the last fifty years, it’s actually averaged 4.1 per cent. I mean, it’s been hugely high, you know, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen per cent. Right now it’s very low at about two percent on the core. But the average is about 4.1 per cent, which is higher that a lot of people talk about when they are doing their retirement plans.

The end of the year is coming up as well, so the last thing I want to leave you with is: you can do IRA distributions to a charity this year, all the way up to 100,000 dollars. And it’s hopeful that the law will be renewed for next year, 2012, but it’s not guaranteed. So if you have an itching, you know, to do some IRA contributions directly from the IRA right into a charity without it counting as taxable income then give me a call and I can talk to you about that. I really would love to help you out in that regard.

Sorry it’s a little disjointed today but I just had some stuff I really wanted to talk about so I really, really hope you enjoyed the video.

Mike Brady, Generosity Wealth Management; I believe that money can and should do good things for you, your family and the causes you believe in. My phone number is 303.747.6455. I am comprehensive, a full service wealth management service for my clients and I’d love to talk to you if; I love my clients, if you’re looking for something like that or if you’re my client it’s getting to the end of the year, beginning of next year, I know we’re going to be talking, kind of structured as we do our annual review, here very soon. We talk throughout the year but this is a time where we really get together so I know we’ll have lots of conversations going forward. Mike Brady, Generosity Wealth Management and I will talk to you next week. Thank you. Bye bye.

Employment-Population Ratio

While the official unemployment rate is decreasing, the “participation” ratio is decreasing. This means less people as a percentage of the total population are actively searching for full time work.

Some of those leaving the workforce are retirees, but the graph to the right is interesting because it shows the decrease from those in prime working ages. This shows how bad the employment is, even beyond the unemployment figures.

The graph below shows the huge gains women have made in the past 60 years.


3rd Quarter Review / 4th Quarter Review

The 3rd Quarter 2011 is over and I have a slightly longer video this week because I want to address the current environment and how things may shape up going forward.

A big theme is my advice to assess your overall plan and risk tolerance, and also to ensure you’re looking at both positive and negative points of view on the markets instead of just one view over the other.

I send my newsletter and videos on a weekly basis, so if you watch only a few througout the year, at least watch my more comprehensive quarterly videos.

Click to watch

Job Interviewees’ Most Common Mistakes

With 14 million Americans unemployed, you probably know someone who is interviewing for a job.

What are some of the common mistakes to avoid? Late arrival, limited enthusiasm, lack of eye contact, and others.

Here’s a good article that talks about thsese things to avoid and more.


5 Mistakes on Executive Resumes

The U6 (unemployment rate including people who are part time but would like to be full time) is around 16%.

So, there are a lot of people with resumes out there. Perhaps you are one of those people, or at least know someone like that.

Here are some tips on resumes, including tips like “don’t start with an objective statement” and “don’t use language too vague”.


Quarter End Review / Preview

This week’s video is my 1st Quarter Review and my 2nd Quarter Preview.

The first quarter was good (yeah!), and I list the items I’ll be watching and thinking about for the 2nd quarter.

A must see video (if I do say so myself).


Hi Clients and Friends, Mike Brady here. This is the first quarter review and second quarter pre-view for 2011.

Now, in general, the first quarter was a little bouncy in February, but overall a positive quarter; actually, a very strong and nice quarter. The indexes, which of course you can’t invest in indexes, but they’re something that you see in newspapers and TV, etc., that we refer to all the time, the stock market indexes in general were all positive sort of in the middle numbers, four, five, six, something like that. The big winner was the sector that is small cap around nine or ten percent for the first quarter, depending on which slice you look at. Corporate bonds were positive for the year, for the first quarter I should say. And that is good for them, two to three percent. Government bonds were pretty flat either zero or actually negative, between zero and one percent, once again depending on which slice and what duration you want to look at.

So for this second quarter, what’s going to happen? Oh, boy, that’s always a tricky one. We have to look at it, I think, week and month by month. Some of the things I will be paying attention to will be quantitative easing, ending in June. Quantitative easing, (QE2 is what we call it) has been an influx of capital into the markets and that is going to end in June. Also Bernanke is going to give his first ever press conference at the end of April and boy, I think if you’ve been watching my videos and reading my newsletters you know I’m not a big fan of Ben Bernanke, so I’m kind of curious what he’s going to say and well you know kind of what the reaction is to him.

I’m going to continue to watch for the real numbers. I’m becoming more and more of a proponent that what you read and what gets put out there is not really telling the full story. A great example would be unemployment. The unemployment rate is 8.8 percent right now which is supposed to be good news. But the U6, which is the unemployment number including people who have given up looking, is quite high, sixteen or seventeen percent. So, I’m going to continue to look at what the real numbers are, telling us the real data. Just one more example while I’m thinking of it is inflation. Inflation, the CPI, does not include food and oil, as if we don’t drive or eat. I mean that’s a goofy number. So what are the true numbers so that we can understand what the recovery is saying.

I’m going to continue to watch oil. Oil has really increased in the last three or four months or so. And as I mentioned at the beginning of the year oil can be a real sidetrack, a good de-railer for the economy if it increases. And it has increased quite a lot since the beginning of the year. I don’t have the number right in front of me but as I recall it was around $88, and now it is right around $113, or $114. So it has started to increase and that is of concern to me.

These are some of the things that I’m going to really watch very closely this second quarter. And of course, I encourage you to give me a call as we go through the quarter if there are any concerns or questions you might have about the impact of this or that on the markets and on your portfolio, etc.

My name is Mike Brady. My company is Generosity Wealth Management, The phone number is 303.747.6455. I am a registered representative with Cambridge Investment Research. And we’ll talk to you next week. Thank you bye bye.