When we watch the news, we hear how every day events are "drastically shaping" the market, and on a day-to-day scale, the market seems volatile. How does anyone invest for the long-term? Mike uses several big ideas to shape the way he puts his portfolios together. While not every investment is right for you, Mike thinks that arming yourself with knowledge and perspective can help you make the right choices.

We invite you to take a look at some of our blogs on Mile High Investing for some big ideas, long term investments, and a new perspective on creating a portfolio that is "ahead of the curve."

New Manufacturing Jobs State-Side

By Adams Financial Concepts | January 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

Do you constantly hear United States’ manufacturers are laying off American workers and sending jobs overseas? I hear about it a lot. But, not all manufacturers are rushing to China for cheaper labor. Some are coming back. A local company called Taphandles is opening two United States factories. In 1999, Taphandles’ President Paul Fichter began making tap handles for home brewers. The company quickly transitioned to meet the needs of commercial breweries after Paul crafted a whale handle for the Alaskan Brewery. “They started with a small order of 100 tap handles. As soon as that handle hit the market they called for more,” Paul said. Today, Taphandles helps breweries brand their beer with personalized tap handles, signs, displays, and glassware. For Paul, manufacturing in China was the logical choice. He was able to start his company without any capital investment. And, in just a few e-mails, he connected with a factory in China which already had the equipment he needed for a very attractive price. Why then is Paul opening two additional facilities here? Paul said: I see a trend towards highly customized products with short lead times. Customers don’t want to wait a couple weeks for their product to come from China. That’s something in which Chinese factories can’t compete with us. They have at least a 2-week penalty on time. In the United States we can be very responsive and customized, so long as we have the skills to do it cost effectively. Taphandles’ new facilities are in Chicago, Illinois and Woodinville, Washington. The Chicago factory prints glassware. Here in Woodinville, they make customized beer signs and displays. Both United States facilities are highly automated and technology driven, requiring a higher skilled employee.   For more information on all of these topics, I encourage you to listen to About Money, a weekly podcast and radio show. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for blog updates, podcast news, and more! I want to hear your opinions; please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.    

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Making the Most of a War of Words

By Adams Financial Concepts | January 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

The presidential race has begun. If you have listened to the debates, you know the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) is a hot button issue. The question: Is the health care issue just a political scheme or is there a real problem? I believe health care is a real problem, one that will grow the longer it is unaddressed. I also believe this crisis is becoming a war of words where facts are forsaken in the pursuit of a successful election. For both Republicans and Democrats, discussing health care is about winning a debate. Inflammatory words are used. There is talk of a government takeover of our medical system. Threats of socialized and cookbook medicine are dangled in front of the public like a nightmare on the horizon. You hear how Obama Care will add jobs and destroy them. How it will increase and decrease the United States deficit. No matter what is said in the press, the issue remains the same. Health care is nearly 20 percent of the United States Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As the largest piece of GDP, it continues to grow at nearly six percent a year causing the staggeringly high cost of health care to keep climbing. While I would like to see a proposed solution based on facts, I’m hard pressed to believe the government will ask for my opinion. Nor are they likely to ask yours. What then are we left to do? For me, I want to benefit the most I can from the current situation. This means investing in the public securities of cutting edge health care companies which have a clear cost-benefit.   For more information on all of these topics, I encourage you to listen to About Money, a weekly podcast and radio show. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for blog updates, podcast news, and more! I want to hear your opinions; please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.    

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Investing In Disruptive Technology

By Adams Financial Concepts | January 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

Investing has become more and more complicated. It used to be you could buy stock in a blue chip company, stick it in a drawer, and wait until it grew. Times they are a changing. Blue chip companies are quickly becoming has-beens. Disruptive technology rules the day. What are blue chip companies? They are nationally recognized, well-established, and financially sound businesses. Generally, they sell high-quality, widely accepted products and services. It’s believed their size and financial backing allows them to weather economic downturns and display stable, reliable growth. For example, General Motors (GM) used to be a blue chip company. In the 50s and 60s their sales surpassed the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of every country but one – the United States. The, buying stock in GM was a no brainer. Would you make that same purchase today? Disruptive technology is the result of innovation. It transforms industries and makes current products obsolete. Business which are satisfied with operating at today’s standards won’t see many tomorrows. Coming out of the Great Recession, it’s companies like Audio Control which succeed. “Changes are almost month to month. We have to be making our products obsolete ourselves. Not letting our competitors make them obsolete,” said Tom Walker, CEO of Audio Control on About Money.   For more information on all of these topics, I encourage you to listen to About Money, a weekly podcast and radio show. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for blog updates, podcast news, and more! I want to hear your opinions; please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.  

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Investing In Companies Which Fill Needs

By Adams Financial Concepts | January 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

On About Money and here on the blog we have discussed sitting down with your financial advisor and looking over your portfolio. Often when doing so, people’s vision is too small. Many of us only look at the short term – the immediate returns. I believe we need to focus on long term, well thought out investing. Successful portfolios, like successful businesses, are managed with a firm understanding of the past and a thoughtful eye towards the future. Beating the market is not a guessing game. It involves looking at where there are needs, finding cutting edge companies which serve these needs, and investing in those companies. Likewise, successful businesses see a need in the market and find a cost efficient way to fill it. For example, nanoICE is revolutionizing how our fresh food is processed and brought to market. Craig Rominger, CEO of nanoICE, recently joined me for the second time on About Money to explore how nanoICE is extending the shelf life of our fresh food. What is nanoICE? “The best way describe it is tiny ice cubes. You can fit 300 of them on the tip of a human hair. This is important because when it comes to direct contact cooling, surface area is one of the biggest effectiveness factors of ice,” said Craig. As a company, nanoICE can be used in several different applications including poultry, livestock, seafood, and fruits and vegetables. To ensure they don’t stretch their resources too thinly, they have chosen, for the moment, to focus on seafood and fruits and vegetables. (This is a great example of a company making a thoughtful decision as they look and plan for future success. By focusing on a just a few applications, they can ensure high quality results.) How effective is nanoICE? In a recent test preformed in Eastern Washington, nanoICE was used to cool cherries during harvest. By adding this one step to the harvesting process, there was a 35 percent shelf life extension.   For more information on all of these topics, I encourage you to listen to About Money, a weekly podcast and radio show. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for blog updates, podcast news, and more! I want to hear your opinions; please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.  

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International Investing Risks

By Adams Financial Concepts | January 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

At almost every investment conference I attend, the literature and speakers discuss the advantages of investing internationally. In theory, it looks like a good diversification and potentially an improvement to a portfolio’s performance. However, I believe there are some significant risks involved beyond the scope of analysis. In 2001, Jim O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM), identified the exceptional growth prospects of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. This term was coined BRIC. He believed the economic growth of BRIC countries would be greater than in the United States and other developing nations. By taking advantage of investment opportunities in BRIC nations, O’Neill believed you would receive a higher return. The problem with this thesis is it’s based on limited information. O’Neill had just 10 years of data from Brazil and Mexico. In reality, studies using longer periods of time in other countries has shown there does not seem to be a strong correlation between stock market returns and GDP. Furthermore, when investing internationally, there are cultural differences which consistently go unrecognized and cannot be numerically qualified. For instance, I started my professional life working for an aluminum smelter. It was a dual owned company (half owned by an American company, American Metal Climax, and a French company, Pechiney Aluminum). When I began, both companies were privately owned. In 1980, the French government decided to nationalize Pechiney Aluminum. Can you imagine if this happened in the United States? People would be up in arms. In France, there was essentially no opposition. Why? The French educational system is extremely different than in the United States. Children start school at roughly the same age they do here. However beginning at age 12, they take tests which determine if they continue a scholastic education or begin a trade apprenticeship. With only a few top colleges, those in power, both in the government and private sector, all socialized together. They’d gone to school together or were alums of the same alma mater. So, there was no press back against nationalizing a private company. Who lost when Pechiney was nationalized? The investors. As an American investor, the cultural differences wouldn’t have been apparent to you. Nor would you have been able to qualify them numerically. This is one of the major advantages to investing in an American based company.   For more information on all of these topics, I encourage you to listen to About Money, a weekly podcast and radio show. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for blog updates, podcast news, and more! I want to hear your opinions; please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.  

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Innovation

By Adams Financial Concepts | January 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

From the top of Mount Washington in Pittsburgh, you can see three rivers intersect. While I was completing my Master of Science in Industrial Administration (now called a Master of Business Administration) at Carnegie Mellon University, I would drive to the top. Along one of the riverbanks there was a steel company, J and L STEEL. The furnaces shot flames 100 feet high. Like a campfire log, the steel mill danced and flickered with oranges and yellows. Never before had I seen anything like it, nor since. The American steel industry dominated world steel production from the end of World War II through the 1970’s. With the rebuilding of Europe and Japan plants began to open in other countries. The new plants innovated and revolutionized the way steel was produced. For example, they took the American’s two-step process into one-step called continuous casting. Unable to compete with foreign prices, American steel mills sought protection in Washington through importation tariffs. By the 1990’s, American steel was dying. Protection, rather than innovation, led to the demise of the American steel industry. The same innovation principle will be vital for companies in the coming years.   For more information on all of these topics, I encourage you to listen to About Money, a weekly podcast and radio show. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for blog updates, podcast news, and more! I want to hear your opinions; please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.  

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Identifying the Value of a Company

By Adams Financial Concepts | January 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

If you and Alice Canlis were side by side in a small hatchback driving across North Dakota, would she kick you out or would you become best friends by the time you reached Chicago? Mark Canlis, co-owner of Seattle’s renowned Canlis restaurant, believes none of the 90-plus person staff at Canlis would find themselves hitch hiking in his mom’s dust. What does this have to do with financial investing? I’ve talked a lot about the qualities of successful businesses. Through interviews and evaluations, I’ve broken down what I believe are the top two qualities: people and inventiveness. As an investor, you need to look at how a business owner obtains these qualities. Let’s consider Canlis and people – While you could make the argument Canlis’ value is derived from its high-end cuisine and exceptional wine pairings, Mark distinguishes the real value of a restaurant as: “How your time was…treasured.” He attributes the exceptional experience to his staff, a group of people whom he believes are trustworthy, generous, and others centered – just like his parents. How does he pick such an amazing staff? Mark said: My first interview question for anyone is, “How will you become more of who you want to become while you are working for our company.” If they don’t have a good answer, I can’t honestly recommend they work with us. Canlis’ value is maintained through their personnel. As an investor, it’s important to recognize companies which take the time to hire a valuable staff.   For more information on all of these topics, I encourage you to listen to About Money, a weekly podcast and radio show. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for blog updates, podcast news, and more! I want to hear your opinions; please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.  

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Identify Spending Trends

By Adams Financial Concepts | January 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

Identifying where money is going is vital to your success as an investor. For example, take military spending: In 1985, global military spending was $1.5 trillion (this number and all subsequent numbers are based on the worth of the 2011 United States dollar). Meaning in 1985, the world was spending $312 per person on military expenses. By 2008, the world cut this cost to $194, spending only $1.3 trillion. Are you inclined to think investing in military expenditures isn’t wise? Perhaps. But, look more closely at where military defense is headed. Cyber warfare has become one of the most serious threats a country can encounter. For example, Russia invaded Georgia in August of 2008. While Russia rolled tanks through the streets and bombed buildings, what really destroyed any hope Georgia had of defending itself was Russia’s attack on their computers. Russia effectively disabled Georgia’s communications. Cyber warfare is a serious threat for any nation. And, it’s an investment opportunity for you. Just as public corporations, or some private corporations, may be an investment opportunity if you understand how and why they are spending their capital. As an investor, how a business spends its capital is as important to you as how a government does, perhaps even more so. Businesses are working with much more finite resources. Their ability to allocate and utilize each resource to its full potential determines their success or failure. Chuck Pepka, President of Renton Coil Spring, a privately owned and operated business, joined me on About Money last Friday. His unique business survived the Great Recession. They are now thriving because of their ability to increase productivity and profitability by maximizing their capital.   For more information on all of these topics, I encourage you to listen to About Money, a weekly podcast and radio show. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for blog updates, podcast news, and more! I want to hear your opinions; please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.  

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High Quality

By Adams Financial Concepts | January 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

What do the sockeye salmon of Redfish Lake in Idaho and CFM Consolidated have in common? Survival. In 2006, only four of this rare species completed the 900-mile trek back to Redfish Lake. Utilizing a MariSource Incubation System, scientists have helped the population grow to over 120 as of last year. MariSource is one of CFM Consolidated’s three divisions. Despite being hit hard during the Great Recession by both their own declined revenues and a couple of customers filing for Chapter 11, CFM Consolidated had the planning in place to survive. As with nearly every company at which I have looked following the Great Recession, CFM Consolidated maintained their commitment to providing high quality goods. When outsourcing might have saved money, they kept their manufacturing in the United States. Rather than putting product development on hold, they continued to maintain their cutting edge advantage.   For more information on all of these topics, I encourage you to listen to About Money, a weekly podcast and radio show. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for blog updates, podcast news, and more! I want to hear your opinions; please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.  

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Flash Crash

By Adams Financial Concepts | January 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

A Flash Crash can be described as a quick drop and recovery in stock or security prices. Over the years, numerous companies have witnessed shared views of plunges and spikes. “Flash crashes will occur and it will happen again,” said Todd Schoenberger, managing director at LandColt Capital. “If you are a retail investor, you’re always going to look at the market with a cautious eye because you’re going to be nervous over whether Wall Street has your best interests in mind.” Three years ago, in 20 breathtaking minutes, the stock market saw the DOW Jones Industrial Average lose nearly 1,000 points, only to rebound just as quickly. “You have 60 percent of America invested in the market either directly or through 401(k) or pension plans. That means six out of every 10 are vulnerable to a flash crash, and the only way to reduce or eliminate that risk is just not to be invested at all,” Schoenberger said. “And that’s not an option, either.” For more information on all of these topics, I encourage you to listen to About Money, a weekly podcast and radio show. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for blog updates, podcast news, and more! I want to hear your opinions; please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.  

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