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Allocation, Diversification and Industries not to touch

There are two steps to investing: Pick the stocks you want. Figure out how much to put into each of them.

On the right of my web site, I list STOCKS, ETFS AND FUNDS WE LIKE & OWN.

But it’s a list. It doesn’t say how much you should put into each one. So, last night (after a very good day yesterday), I thought I’d publish my own 15 biggest holdings in order. Amazon is the largest. It didn’t start that way. Amazon has risen a lot recently. Hence it’s ascended my list, by value. Here’s my list:

AMZN
BRKA
SQ
NFLX
UNH
NVDA
BABA
AAPL
SPY
CRM
GOOGLE
CENT
MSFT
ADBE
HD

Here’s Ed’s top 15, in order:

FB
GOOGLE
AMZN
MSFT
NVIDIA
NETFLIX
MA (Mastercard)
UNH
SQ
DELTA Airines
Northrup
LMT
BOEING
TENCENT
Priceline now called Booking Holdings BKNG
ADBE
CRM
Workday WDAY

Ed, who’s a very good investor, loves FB. He’s owned it for eons. It’s skyrocketed in price. Hence it’s now at the top of his list.

You’ll notice that Ed and I are diversified in different ways. But we’re both heavily into tech.

Is this all useful? My full list is the right hand column. Pick your own poison. Click here.

Industries not to touch, for now.

When I first came to the U.S. — exactly fifty years ago — my boss said “You’ll love the Americans. Just like you, they substitute enthusiasm for intelligence.” At that time there were more opportunities than capital to finance them. Now we have more money and fewer decent opportunities. But still the same enthusiasm.

Hence we’re always looking for the latest, greatest “quick hit.” What they call a ten-bagger.

Ten-baggers exist, but they’re increasingly rare. Generally, returns on everything — from hedge funds to venture funds — have dropped. BubbleVision (CNBC, etc.) is always plugging hot opportunities. If you had 24 hours a day to fill with financial news, you would too. Here are the latest “opportunities” that I’d be leery of.

+ Marijuana, in any form. I just returned from a part of California where they’re building 100,000 square foot marijuana growing factories like there was no tomorrow. I know of one place they’re planning a million square foot factory. That one factory will be enough to keep everyone in California high forever. Predictably, the price of marijuana and all its byproducts is dropping like a stone. Pot companies are already going broke.

+ Gold, in any form. Miners and bullion are “hot.” But they’re not going anywhere long-term. I don’t play this for short-term. Too hard on my soul.

+ Crypto-currencies like bitcoin. A flash in the pan. A desperate play.

+ GE, 3M, Chubb. IBM and lots of old-line companies that have grown far too big. Nothing they can do — apart from splitting up — can move their profit needle.

Useful Tips

+ Backup generators are good IF you remember to keep their fuel tanks full. If you remember to start them every two weeks. And — most importantly, IF you replace their car battery every year. Their batteries blow up regularly. Trust me on this one. I’ve had two blow up in the last three years.

+ Best airline tip: Get a Known Traveler Number. Lets you get into the PreCheck line. Saves huge time boarding a plane in the U.S.

+ Never buy a laptop without first checking its screen and how your favorite software runs on it.

For only $100,000 you can be 100% off the grid

You can become every electric utility’s nightmare.

OffTheGrid

Upstairs are two bedroom lofts. It’s light and airy. Susan says we have “too much stuff.” Should we buy one of these and a pickup truck to drag it around to beautiful places?

OfftheGrid2

For more click here. 

Update on Airline Travel Tips.

From Anywhere Travel, an excellent travel agency in Australia run by my sister, Barbara Whitten.

+ Fly Tuesday or Wednesday. It’s usually cheaper.

+ Websites often do not offer the best connections – sometimes milk runs with very long layovers

+ Website fares have to be booked and paid at the same time. Travel agents can hold seats for a few days.

+ When you go to an aggregator like Kayak etc the fares are not guaranteed. It’s only when you get to the last lines that you see the conditions and extras charged.

+ Complicated flight itineraries cannot be booked via a website or even with the airline’s own site. Agents break down the fares and look at different options .

+ Agents often get special fares, being part of buying groups — often cheaper than on the airlines’ own sites.

+ Once booked via a website, there is no assistance after you’ve started your trip.

+ Travel agents are a one-stop shop as they can coordinate flights/transfers/cars/trains etc

+ Redemption bookings — hard to co-ordinate and use points to the best advantage. My sister offers this service and suggests the best frequent flyer programs.

+ Always ask about buying upgrades — when you check-in online or at the airport.

+ Early fares are generally cheaper than fares bought later.

+ Take copies of your tickets. You won’t need them most places but my sister had to show them in India and Vietnam.

+ International tickets are better booked as returns rather than one-ways.

+ Currency differences may make it cheaper to buy tickets ex London rather than ex Paris.

+ Travel agents often have more pull with airlines than you do as a solitary traveler.

+ If your flattery at the check-in counter doesn’t get you an upgrade, ask the head staff member of the cabin crew. That can work.

+ If you’re unhappy with your assigned seat, move immediately they close the plane’s door.

The original list of Harry’s Best Airline Tips airline tips was here.

The Wedding

A police officer in a small town stopped a motorist who was speeding down Main Street.

“But officer,” the man began, “I can explain.”

“Just be quiet,” snapped the officer. “I’m going to let you cool your heels in jail until the chief gets back…”

“But officer, I just wanted to say….”

“And I said to keep quiet! You’re going to jail!”

A few hours later the officer looked in on his prisoner and said, “Lucky for you that the chief is at his daughter’s wedding. He’ll be in a good mood when he gets back.”

“Don’t count on it,” answered the fellow in the cell. “I’m the groom.”

Effective Suicide Counseling

A desperate looking woman stood poised on the edge of a high cliff about to jump off.

A filthy tramp stopped by.

Bum

He said, “Look, since you’ll be dead in a few minutes, how about a little sex before you go?”

She screamed, “NO way. Get lost you filthy old bastard!”

He shrugged, turned away and said, “Okay, I’ll just go and wait at the bottom.”

She didn’t jump.

Don’t do stupid

Stupid3

Stupid2

Stupid1

They live among us. And they vote.

HarryNewton
Harry Newton, who is turned off Comey. Don’t waste your time watching his book tour interviews. He’s totally insufferable. He has poor judgment. His book tour is destroying is credibility, or what little remains of it.