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3 Things 8-9

08/09/2021 Although MAS is a financial services company, not everything published herein will be about numbers or investing. But no matter the topic, we hope for three things: 1) That you find the time you spend engaged worthwhile. 2) That you’ll reach out to us for help in any of our areas of expertise if something we discuss creates an urging in you to do so. 3) That you’ll share this with somebody new each time you read it. Thing One Investing 101 Below is an excerpt of a blog post from 2016 written by a savvy investor and friend. Please note that the DIJA was 17,865 at the time and it is double that today: It's a scary time in the stock market. Or is it? Stock market prices are high, and the pundits are saying it's time for the market to fall. But then again, maybe prices will continue to rise for a while and then drop. Or they may fall today, next week, next month, or next year --- by a lot. And when that happens, it can be scary until fear subsides and calm returns --- which it always does --- but who knows when? Not I, that's for sure. As a result, many individuals are getting scared about falling share prices, and the so-called experts are adding to the FUD factor, aka Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Is it time to sell and head for the sidelines until the dust settles? Or should we stay the course and hang in there until the all-clear signal arrives? In other words, what's an individual investor in it for the long haul supposed to do? Well, this individual investor is doing nothing other than what he ordinarily does. If I decide to sell something, which I do from time to time, it will be so I am in position to buy something else that is deemed to be a better investment. But staying diversified is always important so I won't load up on any single stock or sector. I will play put and take, and let the short-term chips fall where they may. After all, one thing I know for sure is that nobody knows for sure what will happen to stock prices in the near term. I sure don't. And three other things I know are that (1) over time stock prices increase, (2) dividends received on blue-chip stocks now and for the foreseeable future will yield more than interest paid on bonds (or gold and CDs), and (3) that stock prices inevitably will fall from time to time, and sometimes hard. The simple fact is that people who sell during times like this tend to stay away from buying again until prices have increased to heights greater than current levels. That is the classic playbook definition of what not to do as a long-term oriented individual investor --- sell low and buy high.

Thing Two A Thoughtful Warning The following is from remarks by Cuban poet and human-rights activist Armando Valladares upon receiving the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty’s Canterbury Medal: "When I was 23 years old I did a very small thing. I refused to say a few words, “I’m with Fidel.” First I refused the sign on my desk that said as much, and after years of torture and watching so many fellow fighters die, either in body or in spirit, I persisted in my refusal to say the few words the regime demanded of me. My story is proof that a seemingly small act of defiance can mean everything to the enemies of freedom. They did not keep me in jail for 22 years because my refusal to say three words meant nothing. They kept me there that long because it meant everything. For me to say those words would have been spiritual suicide. And though my body was in prison and abused, my soul was free and flourished. My jailers took everything from me, but they could not hijack my conscience. Even when we have nothing, each person and only that person possesses the keys to his or her own conscience, his or her own sacred castle. In that respect, each of us, though we may not have an earthly castle or even a house, each of us is richer than a king or queen. For many of you, particularly the young people, it may seem I come from another time and from a remote place. Young friends, you may not be taken away at gunpoint, as I was for staying true to my conscience, but there are many other ways to take you away and to imprison your body and your mind. There are many ways you can be silenced. I warn you: Just as there is a short distance between the U.S. and Cuba, there is a very short distance between a democracy and a dictatorship where the government gets to decide what we believe and what we do. And sometimes this is not done at gunpoint but instead, it is done one piece of paper at a time, one seemingly meaningless rule at a time, one silencing at a time. Beware, young friends. Never compromise. Never allow the government—or anyone else—to tell you what you can or cannot believe or what you can and cannot say or what your conscience tells you to have to do."

Thing Three Just A Thought "The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is." - Winston Churchill


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