Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas Cookies!

A friend who is currently in Germany recently asked for christmas cookie recipes. This one is full of memories for me, so I shared it with him, and decided to share it with everyone!

First, story time: When Geraldine Ferraro was the Democratic VP candidate in 1984, she stopped at a blueberry farm in Mississippi on the campaign trail. She asked the farmer if he had any good blueberry muffin recipes. He looked her in the eye and said "ma'am, down here, men don't cook". This inspired my mom and dad to solicit recipes from Mississippi men and make a cookbook, titled "Down Here Men Don't Cook" of course. This recipe for "Southern Sand Tarts" comes from Charles Balch and Gus Liveakos in Tupelo. Dad made these every year around christmas time and my joy was getting to put them in a big bag with powdered sugar and shake them until coated. I probably got clouds of powdered sugar on everything, but I can still smell the sweet buttery cookies now...

Now, recipe:

Southern Sand Tarts. From Down Here Men Don't Cook. Recipe by Charles Balch and Gus Liveakos of Tupelo.

2 c (250g) plain flour
1 lb (450g) confectioners sugar
1.5 c (180g) pecans, chopped
1 TBSP (15mL) vanilla extract
2 sticks (220g) butter

Lay out butter to reach room tempo. Sift 2 cups flour with 7 tablespoons powdered sugar. Blend flour mixture with butter. Add vanilla, mix well. Add chopped pecans. Mix well. Place in covered bowl and refrigerate OVERNIGHT or longer.

Roll chilled dough into neat balls. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 325F (162C) for 20-35 minutes until slightly brown (DO NOT OVERCOOK)

Remove from oven. Leave to cook 7-10 minutes. Gently roll all cookies at once into remainder of powdered sugar which has been sifted into a heavy paper bag. Cookies will absorb most all of the surge. Store in a sealed container once completely cool.

Yields 110-118 cookies.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

bitcoin supply and demand

A couple of days ago I got quoted in an article about a strange phenomena in the Bitcoin world. An exchange traded trust that was supposed to track the price of bitcoin (all the trust contains is bitcoin) was trading at a very high premium to the underlying bitcoin.

Bitcoin is relatively difficult to buy and sell. It has a niche appeal and the pool of money available to buy and sell it is much much smaller than what is available to trade a publicly traded security like the Bitcoin Trust. This is how the price dislocations can happen so easily. This happens in more popular areas of traded securities as well, such as in close ended funds which can trade away from their Net Asset Value.

The issue is that these do not have a readily available mechanism for bringing their price back to the value of underlying investments. More modern securities like ETFs, however, do have a mechanism to bring their price back to the value and trade very close to NAV.

“Lack of liquidity, accessibility and transparency can all cause significant price dislocations. With the BTC Trust, it is far easier for people to access the trust than the underlying Bitcoin. With the pool of available money going into the trust faster than into Bitcoin, that price rises far off of its underlying value,” he told Finance Magnates.
As to why the premium is maintained even when considering the equally relative ease with which the shares can be sold off, this too is a matter of supply and demand. “The supply of money ready to go into exchange traded investments, like the trust, is just much much greater than the supply of money ready to go into bitcoin, which, for all of the attention it gets, is still a very niche thing,“ he argued.

Bitcoin is a weird place right now, and the slow creep out of the shadows will certainly have some rough patches like this. While I have no strong views on what to do with bitcoin or where it is going, it sure is interesting to watch!