MarketBOB ebook on Personal Finance

Hi, I’ve just written a new ebook on personal finance based on the lessons learned from the WWII story, The Great Escape.

Learn  how watching The Great Escape can set you on your way to Financial Freedom!

Check out my book on personal financial freedom: Dig Three Tunnels: Your Great Escape to Personal Financial Freedom. It’s only $2.99, available as an ebook at Amazon. Learn from these brave WWII soldiers how to break out of your own situation and head for the trees and freedom!

The Great Escape had three tunnels: Tom, Dick and Harry.  Experience had taught the officers that tunnels are risky and once discovered, hard to start over.  You have to think the same.  If your escape plan relies on one tunnel, you could be in danger of exposure.  You have to diversify, manage risk and keep several options open for your escape.

So, if you’re a POW (Prisoner Of Whatever holds you back), don’t keep bouncing the ball against the wall.  Decide to escape and get planning to dig those three tunnels. //

Dig Three Tunnels book cover

Escape to a happier life, with the greatest escape artists of WW II.

My ebook on escaping to personal financial freedom


It's Customers, Stupid! The 1% Do Not Create Jobs!

Nick Hanauer, a venture capitalist from Seattle and billionaire many times over has just written an editorial on Bloomberg that sums up the consumer-driven economy from the point of view of the 1%:

“That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is the feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion a virtuous cycle that allows companies to survive and thrive and business owners to hire. An ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than I ever have been or ever will be.”

It is the same with the Hollywood system and our infatuation with star power.  The box office rules, as CUSTOMERS choose what movie to watch and spend their own money.  The result is the creation of “hits” and “movie stars”, but these are impossible to predict in advance and quickly fall out of favor if people become turned off by a bad performance or a rip-off sequel.  And the money we channel to the rich and famous never gets circulated back to us from the top with the same economic drive to our economy if it remained in our pockets to spend.

Buy a Ticket, Buy a Star

Again, from Hanauer’s editorial:

“The annual earnings of people like me are hundreds, if not thousands, of times greater than those of the average American, but we don’t buy hundreds or thousands of times more stuff. My family owns three cars, not 3,000. I buy a few pairs of pants and a few shirts a year, just like most American men. Like everyone else, I go out to eat with friends and family only occasionally.”

So the great concentration of wealth in the top 1% is a sad fact of life today, but the more we lose to them the less we have to spend on their enterprises and Wall Street’s collective “Giant Vampire Squid” clamped onto the face of consumer America.

Consider the power you have when you but a ticket to watch a movie.  You are the real star-maker and thus, choose wisely.

Top ten Box Office Bombs from the Hollywood Reporter

Read the full Bloomberg editorial by Nick Hanauer Here. 



Greece Offers Haircuts at 50% Off!

Last week’s market action was all about containing Greece as Europe’s leaders hammered out a deal to “solve” their sovereign debt issues. Greece is just the worst case, as Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy and probably France (down the road a bit) all wait for their trips to the barbershop. The Dow Jones rose over 3.5% for the week on the good news out of Europe and some improvement in domestic economic numbers. These events triggered the traders to boost the market (for more on the complex trading action last week, read John Mauldin’s column)

For movie lovers, this weekend was not about Greece but an escape from fear (Paranormal Activity 3) and back to family fare with Puss In Boots (see the MarketBOB Review in a previous post) topping the box office with a new Halloween record of $34 million. With an increase in both the consumer confidence index and consumer spending, the positive movie mood we’ve seen for over a month continued (the Paranormal Activity at the box office resulted in Normal Activity in the financial markets). The MarketBOB Long Wave continues to recover from the earlier correction:

Marketbob Long Wave October

Is the correction coming to a close?

Movies coming soon appear to be an lackluster group until November 18 and the release of the third Twilight saga, Breaking Dawn Part 1, or Bella’s Having a Baby. Is there anyone out there pumped up to see another Harold and Kumar movie, this time in 3D? Or maybe Eddie Murphy in Tower Heist? We do have Immortals coming up (set in Ancient Greece), but it is not discounted 50%.

Puss In Boots lays golden eggs for family viewing

Humpty Dumpty sat on a Wall (Street) and dreamt of a goose that laid golden eggs. Add two cat burglars, three magic beans and then let everybody dance up the beanstalk! Gold eggs for everyone! Is this a fairytale or real life for the 1% living in the clouds high above us? Ah, they get egg on their greedy faces, that’s why this is a family fantasy movie, and a darn good one.

One Word Movie Review: Kittytastic

The Movie Mood for audiences is Positive. Puss In Boots is an intelligent, fun adventure in fairytale storyland. Even with the premium of 3D ticket prices, the value is on the screen for the whole family to see. You will get your money’s worth.

MarketBOB’s Movie Review Sentiment Indicators, the GQS (Genre, Quality, Story) rate Puss In Boots an emotional BULL. It will pick up your spirits and make you feel good about the world and the dangers of pursuing the goose that lays the golden eggs. It is a fairy tale with a sad ending, even if it is the passion of Wall Street these days. Golden eggs are big, heavy and they don’t bring happiness, just the fearsome Momma Goose who’s determined to stomp your house down.

Paranormal Activity 3 confirms Fear rules the Home

Paranormal Activity 3 scared away all the competition at the box office this weekend, recording the biggest debut of any film in October, topping all previous horror film records with $53 million in ticket sales. All this for a movie that costs only $5 million to make! This third installment of the home movie phenomenon about a shadowy possession scares the pants off people who like to feel safe in their own homes. Not any more. The Paranormal Activity series has hit a nerve with jaded horror fans who have abandoned the “traditional” stories, as evident by the disappointing box office performance of recent scary flicks like The Thing, Shark Night and Apollo 18.

Real Steel delivered as expected last week, with the Dow Jones rising 1.4%. Now we’re into scary territory and the record breaking performance of Paranormal Activity 3 confirms the herd is scared and even their homes are not safe havens any more. Expect the markets to be nervous and looking to sell at any signs of shadowy demons walking across their trading screens this week. The market has rebounded for the last four weeks but, with Europe meeting this week to decide how to fund their debt problems, expect their every progress statement to move markets up and down.

As for Paranormal Activity 3 as a bear indicator, the previous movies were both negative for movies. The original Paranormal Activity debuted on October 23, 2009 and the Dow Jones dropped -2.6% the following week. Paranormal Activity 2 topped the October 22-24, 2010 box office and the Dow fell -0.13%, after rising the previous three weeks in a row. We shall see if Paranormal Activity 3 continues the bear trend along with the box office dominance we’ve seen from this series.

The one Hollywood lesson here is that a cheap horror film pays off big time at the box office for producers. If you’re trying to break into the business, rent a house and video camera and shoot people sleeping in their beds and you’ve got a hit.

dow jones chart oct 23 2011

MarketBOB's Long Wave for Oct 23, 2011

Real Steel the Real Thing for Stock Markets

Real Steel is a bullish story of comebacks and bonds between fathers and sons.  It took a down-and-out boxer and a junkyard robot, added the heart and fearless optimism of youth and succeeded against tremendous odds.  It is a story that resonated with investors last week as the Dow Jones rose 4.88% and drove us back into positive territory for 2011.  The correction is bouncing back from the lows of a few weeks ago, despite no real solutions to the global debt crisis.

Reel Steel tops the box office again this week (barely) by beating out two retreads of old movies (Footloose and The Thing).  A dismal comedy bombed (perhaps The Big Year finally puts Steve Martin to bed for good?).

So, the question is how long will this rally last?  As you can see from the MarketBOB long wave, the last two recent peaks were marked by big action movies topping the box office.  This could be signals of confidence peaking in the investing herd:

Marketbob long wave chart

MarketBOB's Long Wave: the correction reversing to new highs?

What does the likely future hold for markets?  Big movies coming soon include The Three Musketeers, the Latest Twilight sequel, Immortals, Mission Impossible and Sherlock Holmes sequels and the dark mystery about the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

For now, we see a real rally with Real Steel and the Three Musketeers. After that, our heroes get much darker and full of mystery, much like our real economic options to solve our debt crisis around the globe.  Enjoy the movies!

Real Steel punches to the top of the box office

The plot of Real Steel may be mechanical but the robots really come to life!  You can bet your shiny metal ass this father and son tale will have a happy ending and at least one robot will be drinking an oily de-cappuccino as his head bites into a hydraulic-powered knuckle sandwich.

One Word Movie Review: Mechanical

Real Steel opens with everything you need to understand the theme of this movie: vast farmland, wind turbines, guitar-strumming folk song and a big, chunky International Harvester van driving along a deserted back country road.  This heartfelt father and son story is all about technology displacing our traditional jobs; thus the dirt farmer harvesting the wind as the robots box for our amusement.

Movie/Market Analysis

The Movie Mood for audiences is PositiveReal Steel is a fable about coming back from the depths and getting that second chance to mend your ways.  Charlie has been a horrible dad for the past eleven years yet somehow, he battles back to fulfill the Hollywood dream of success, happiness, love and wealth beyond his wildest dreams.

MarketBOB’s Movie Review Sentiment Indicators, the GQS (Genre, Quality, Story) rate Real Steel an emotional BULL. With all evidence to the contrary, we still hope for a bright future for ourselves and especially our children.  Any story that delivers this dream picks up our own hopes for a better tomorrow, even if we know this is really a fantasy.  That’s why we go to the movies, to escape our real world for a few hours.  In that context, Real Steel is an escape to a world of happy endings and dreams that come true and that’s a good thing.

Real Steel MarketBOB Movie Review