Friday, June 20, 2014

Tai Chi and the Jiu-Jitsu Chess Drill

I was looking online for how others do the Chen Style 18 Step Short Form.

(That is the form I learned from John Huang and still enjoy practicing.)

I also found silly videos about how to use Tai Chi in combat.

Of course, Tai Chi does have actual historic fighting applications.  Here is an video with some examples.  But most American practitioners do not study it in that manner.

I like doing some Chen-style Tai Chi because I like the feedback from slowly doing the movements to feel how I am making very slight but still noticeable improvements.

In Jiu-Jisu, an equivalent slow, attentive, and studious practice that focuses on one motion at a time requires a partner.  It is named the Chess Drill.

1-Handed Rener vs. Purple, Brown & Black Belt

Here is a fun video.

At the end of a seminar in Vancouver, Rener Gracie decided to roll with some of the participants.  But he was nursing a shoulder injury and tied his right arm under his belt.  A one-handed master spars thrice with a purple, brown, and black belt.

Three Exercise Milestones

Yesterday I could do six chin-ups, for the first time ever.

At the end of May I finally finished my web page about exercise and stretching (for beginners) entitled Meet Your Muscles.

And I have completed every Gracie Combatives class twice, making me eligible for the weekend Reflex Development practice.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Updated Sector Investment Web Page

Two days ago I mentioned re-balancing my sector investments.  I did not do enough research, but there were two reasons to get something done.

First, it was months overdue.  I can always re-balance (without fees) in a month, when I have more time to do better research.  Any June improvement to how well my IRA fits the current situation was worth doing.

Second, my father was visiting this week and he knows much more about the economy that I do.  My web page about sector investing is nearly two years old.  He helped me update it, mostly to be more readable but also with some new information.

Photos from Grandparents

My father and stepmother are visiting us this week, to see Smiley's kindergarten graduation.

They took some time last night to put three photo albums online.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sector Investing in Mid-June

In April I should have re-balanced my sector ETFs according to my usual plan.

But I was too busy, so it is happening mid-June.

Which sectors did I favor this time?

The graphs show that Energy and Consumer Staples have been doing the best during the past three months.  Since part of sector investment theory is that "chasing gains" is possible with sectors, since they wiggle less erratically than stocks, then those two are good picks.  (I just need to do better about monitoring my picks more frequently than every six months!)

There is also the Forward P/E difference tool.

Forward P/E Difference = ( Forward P/E − 15-year Avg. P/E ) ÷ 15-year Avg. P/E

It also likes the Energy and Consumer Staples sectors.  And it suggests Materials and especially Utilities are two other good picks.  But the Forward P/E difference is less reliable guidance, so I weight those less so far as how much to invest in them.

Since I am not comfortable investing in only four sectors, I also added Industrials, which has the next-best Forward P/E difference of the sectors that have been doing okay lately.  I weight it least.

The Fidelity ETFs I use have no cost to buy or sell as long as I hold them at least one month.  I only had two sectors that were good picks from both recent behavior and the Forward P/E difference.  So I should check in again a month and see how these choices are doing, and meanwhile try to do better about reading some financial news about the sectors.

UPDATE: If you read my web page about sector investing, you can see it describes seven tools to analyze the current status of the sectors.  I only used five, and only blogged about two.  Too busy to be more informative.  Sorry!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Federal Pensions, Interest, and Debt in 2014

I am not an alarmist, but do try to keep an eye on how the Entitlement Crisis and Federal debit is doing.

Federal civilian pensions are now at $1.8 trillion per year.  Military pensions are slightly less, at $1.5 trillion.  So the government spent $3.3 trillion last year on pensions.

But it only collected $2.5 trillion of tax revenue last year.

Our Federal pensions now exceed our Federal tax revenues by 32%!

No wonder the country is $16 trillion in debt.

Of course, Social Security is also in trouble.

(According to Larry Kotlikoff, the Federal government is spending forty percent too much.  I do not have the data to double-check his estimate. His math agrees with everyone that Social Security is spending about twenty-three percent too much.  That means there is no justified concern about Social Security disappearing--it might just need to shrink its payments by about 23% starting in 2033.)

Simon Black is an alarmist, but I was still curious when directed to some math from his recent blog post.
US interest payments in Fiscal Year 2013 were a whopping $415 billion...

The IRS collected $2.49 trillion in taxes last year (net of refunds). But of this amount, $891 billion was from payroll tax.

According to FICA and the Social Security Act of 1935, however, this amount is tied directly to funding Social Security and Medicare. It is not to be used for interest payments.

Based on this data, the amount of tax revenue that the US government had available to pay for its operations was $1.599 trillion in FY2013.

This means they actually spent approximately 26% of their available tax revenue just to pay interest last year.
Hm.  Let me look a bit more.

The 2013 interest expense was indeed $416 billion.

Federal debt is now about equal to the annual GDP.  The last time I blogged about this ratio was in 2009 and it was only 74% then.

This article explains more.  The Social Security trust funds are required to hold Treasury bills, bonds, and notes.  So it is not surprising that a lot of the Federal debt is held by the Social Security funds.  The interest "payments" on debt held by the Social Security funds are income for those funds.  It is not bad debt, just awkward accounting.

In fact, about one-third of our Federal debt is owed to the two Social Security trust funds and the Federal Reserve.  Only $223 billion of the $415 interest is paid as interest outside the Federal government itself.

That works out to 14% of the non-payroll-tax tax revenue, not the 26% that Simon Black calculated.

I have no idea how alarmed I should be at that 14%.

New Math Study Skills Page - Before the Term Begins

A long time has passed since I last added a new page to my online math notes.

Today I put up a new page, about what a student can do before the term begins to start the class with helpful momentum.

As always, constructive feedback is appreciated.

What other tips do you have for how to start a term well?