The Year Coming and Past

This is the time of year where everyone is looking forward and looking back and looking sideways. I am sure you have seen the many, many lists of the best and worst. I thought I would give my thoughts on some big themes in business and society:

  • Stock Market – There seems to be a lot of happiness about the strength of the financial markets. I think it is being a little overplayed. Looking over my portfolio, I simply see us returning to 2001 market levels. Look at a two year chart of either the S&P 500 or Nasdaq. You can see the ride down last year and the ride back up this year. My guess is we are flat to up slightly next year.
  • Health Care – This is a growing issue and that is going to get bigger. Costs keep going up. My family’s health insurance premiums quadruapled this year. 4X!!!

    I worry about the quality of care. Our little guy decided to take a dive from his high chair. It took three hours in the emergency room to find out he knocked one tooth out and he would be OK. THREE HOURS!

    The Wall Street Journal has been doing a great job of covering different aspects of this issue. They just completed a series on the rationing of healthcare. This link will show you the last article and list the prior articles in the series. The Informed Patient column has been giving great advice on getting more involved in your personal health care. You’ll need a WSJ subscription to access the content.

  • Ethics – I am concerned about a lack of moral conscious in business leaders. Parmalat illustrates a continuing problem. Truth and honesty are essential components of capitalism.
  • Opportunity – I think there is as much opportunity as ever for those who have the guts to go after it.
    Rob is going after it.
    Jeremy is heading a new direction.
    And we are going to do some new things here at the Penny.

I think it is going to be a great year!