The Importance Of A Firm Handshake

A round up of my weekend reads.

Barron's interviewed Barry Bannister from Stifel and he had some interesting things to say. This was most interesting to me;

Over the course of a very long-term period, such as 1960 to the present, the incremental nominal growth the U.S. derives from each $1 of additional debt has been going down in a linear fashion. By 2040, it looks like it will intersect at zero, which is when the median baby boomer turns about 80 years old.

We keep issuing more and more debt and it has been generating less and less growth (I would hope market participants would realize this). This was the first estimate I've seen about where more debt stops creating growth. The last 12 years has turned so much of what we learned about economics on it's ear that I am hard pressed to confidently draw a conclusion on when or if the debt load will ever matter but investors need to gameplan if this results in some sort of lost decade (or worse) for domestic equities along the lines of the 2000's. I don't really think some sort of default as the word is widely used is in the cards because we can print more money. That's not to express support for perpetual quantitative easing, just saying that a default is not the right outcome, it would be something else and I would think it would be bad but again, so much of what we were taught turned out to be wrong so who knows?

James Hamblin had a writeup in The Atlantic about some important health markers. The key takeaways are that pushups, grip strength and walking pace are important indicators for assessing some potentially harsh realities. The article starts out crapping on BMI which stands for body mass index. BMI definitely has it's drawbacks, the article points out that Dwayne Johnson would be considered obese, but I think it can be a decent indicator for a lot of people. I did not believe in it when I weighed 220, I thought I was muscular enough that it didn't pertain. I was wrong, it did. I lost 25 pounds I didn't know I needed to lose when I cut my sugar (carb) consumption. I'm not saying it's all that, but I wouldn't dismiss BMI out of hand either.

The idea of push-ups being a health marker drew a lot of attention earlier this year when a study of firefighters concluded those who could do 40 push-up were likely to live longer, push-up ability or lack thereof was a predictor of heart health. “The results show a strong association between push-up capacity and decreased risk of subsequent cardiovascular disease.” The Atlantic article notes "that the number of Americans who can do a single push-up is likely only about 20 or 30 percent." While I find that difficult to believe, the math is kind of consistent with what I've seen elsewhere that says 80% of the population is metabolically unhealthy. Again, difficult to believe but maybe it's true.

I was in high school when I got my lesson about the importance of having a firm handshake. It really stuck with me and I've always noticed when someone gives a weak handshake, and if they're below a certain age I try to pass the lesson along. At some point, people go from not knowing they should give a firm handshake to not being able to do so.

The last marker cited in the article was walking pace with the key over/under being 2.6 feet per second or a mile in 33 minutes. I have no idea about feet per second but a mile in 33 minutes seems pretty achievable. The reality is that all of these things can be improved upon with just a little bit of effort. No one is too old to make improvements on all of these fronts. The goals here don't revolve around lifting a certain weight, just improving. A vigorous 30 minute workout routine twice a week with a couple of walks thrown in can lead to dramatic improvements.

Lastly an article about simplifying life. The short version is a judge who admired his barber because the barber had figured out how to create a simple life for himself in a way the judge never could.

The picture in the header of this post is last night's sunset. We get some good ones here.

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