One week ago today, I was basking in the bosom of freedom.
And while it’s “back to reality” this week, I feel compelled to make this issue all about what just went down at the epic celebration that is FreedomFest. First of all, the event was an amazing success. There were over 2,700 attendees, a record high, along with several hundred speakers/exhibitors.
Now, I have been to many FreedomFests over the years, but this one had an intangible element of excitement, energy and sense of appreciation that I had not experienced before. I attribute this to the pandemic, as we had to forego FreedomFest last year due to COVID-19. You see, as humans, when we are deprived of something we love, our yearning for it becomes even greater.
This year, I think everyone just felt good to be around each other after a two-year pandemic drought. And with hardly a mask in sight, we were all able to see our fellow liberty warriors smiling, shaking hands and interacting the way humans were meant to.
And speaking of smiling, I must tell you that I had so many poignant moments at this FreedomFest that my smiles actually morphed into tears of joy on several occasions. One of those big moments occurred at Mt. Rushmore, and specifically at the monument’s lighting ceremony.
At the end of the ceremony, the park ranger invited military veterans to come down for the “retiring of the colors,” which is just what they call it when the American flag is taken down, folded and put away until the following sunrise. On this excursion with me was my good friend, Rich Checkan of Asset Strategies International. In addition to being my go-to precious metals dealer, Rich also is a West Point graduate and served as an officer in the U.S. Army for many years.
Your editor (dressed in all black) flanked on his right and to the rear by West Point graduate and gold dealer Rich Checkan of Assets Strategies International, at the Mt. Rushmore flag ceremony along with fellow veterans.
As we came down to the stage, the audience of Mt. Rushmore attendees applauded us in gratitude for our service. And as Rich and I discussed afterward, this was the first time in many, many years that we were honored with this show of gratitude. Hey, I must admit that turning to salute the flag and to be honored by other grateful Americans felt really good. And even recalling this moment makes me well up again.
Yet perhaps the greatest moments for me this FreedomFest came in the form of subscribers to my newsletters honoring me by offering their heartfelt thanks for what I do.
Literally dozens of you came up to me multiple times during the event to thank me for helping you make money in the markets via my stock and options advice. More importantly, many of you thanked me for helping you buy houses, take grand vacations and send your kids to college using the information garnered from my expertise.
For a writer/stock picker whose job it is to help others find the best exchange-traded funds (ETFs), individual stocks and stock options to own, hearing of the real-world success subscribers have had is perhaps the most gratifying feeling one can have.
So, for those of you who came up to me and offered me your thanks, eminently kind words, appreciation and gratitude for what me and my Eagle Financial Publications colleagues do each week, may I also now formally, in print, tell you that whatever appreciation you have for us, we have far more for you.
It is because of you, the subscriber to our publications, that we are allowed to do what we do. Without you, we couldn’t do what we love. And so, from the depths of my soul, and in the name of the very best within us, thank you for celebrating an epic week of freedom together.
May our hearts soar the skies of prosperity and liberty for all our days to come!
ETF Talk: Introducing a Genomic-Centered ETF
While the Delta variant of COVID-19 is getting all the headlines right now, the frontiers of biotechnology are not solely confined to treating the outbreak of this pathogen.
Indeed, a great deal of effort and money is being poured into developing treatments for genomic diseases like cystic fibrosis. As there are many genomic-related biotech companies out there, each claiming to have the next “big cure” for the disease du jour, some investors might want to turn to the Global X Genomics & Biotechnology Exchange-Traded Fund (NASDAQ: GNOM) as an alternative to owning possibly volatile individual biotechnology stocks.
The stocks in this exchange-traded fund’s (ETF) portfolio are selected from a list of companies that obtain more than 50% of their revenue from gene editing, genomic sequencing, the development and testing of genetic medicines, computational genomics or biotechnology. To calculate this figure, the fund uses a natural language processing algorithm that scans public documents, including filings and disclosures, and then makes the necessary selections.
Currently, the fund’s top holdings include Intellia Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTLA), Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALNY), Genscript Biotech Corporation (HKG: 1548), Agilent Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: A), QIAGEN NV (NYSE: QGEN), CareDx, Inc. (NASDAQ: CDNA), Natera, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTRA) and BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: BMRN).
This fund’s performance has been relatively mixed, even when including the damage done by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of July 27, GNOM was down 7.68% over the past month and down 6.03% for the past three months. It is currently down 6.31% year to date.
Chart courtesy of www.stockcharts.com
The fund has amassed $244.2 million in assets under management and has an expense ratio of 0.50%.
While GNOM does provide an investor with a way to profit from genomic technology, this kind of ETF may not be appropriate for all portfolios. Thus, interested investors always should conduct their due diligence and decide whether the fund is suitable for their investing goals.
As always, I am happy to answer any of your questions about ETFs, so do not hesitate to send me an email. You just may see your question answered in a future ETF Talk.
In case you missed it…
Introducing the Renaissance Man Ethos
A few years ago, a friend asked me to describe my personal “ethos” with just a few words.
Now, judging by that question, you can tell that I hang out with some pretty smart friends. And in this case, I knew my answer needed to be appropriately thought out in order to satisfy my friend’s curiosity. At first, I thought that this task would be difficult. Yet, after just a brief period of reflection, I answered with the following three words…
Focus. Integration. Celebration.
Naturally, my friend demanded I amplify this answer, and so I went about explaining the “three pillars” of my personal ethos, and what I now call the “Renaissance Man Ethos,” so that each concept would be simple and easy to understand. So, with your permission, I would like to do the same here.
Focus. The first pillar here is the most essential, as it also serves as a basis for all information processing, and for the application of the two other pillars of my ethos. The term focus here means much more than just concentration. By focus, I mean focus in the wider, philosophic sense. Perhaps a quote here from my favorite philosopher and my favorite novelist, Ayn Rand, will explain what I mean by philosophic focus:
“In any hour and issue of his life, man is free to think or to evade that effort. Thinking requires a state of full, focused awareness. The act of focusing one’s consciousness is volitional. Man can focus his mind to a full, active, purposefully directed awareness of reality — or he can unfocus it and let himself drift in a semiconscious daze, merely reacting to any chance stimulus of the immediate moment, at the mercy of his undirected sensory-perceptual mechanism and of any random, associational connections it might happen to make.”
So, when I say “focus” is the first pillar of my personal ethos, I mean it in this sense. I mean it in the sense that whatever it is I am doing, whether it is writing, speaking, analyzing companies, reading, composing and playing music, horseback riding, weight training, martial arts, combat marksmanship, driving a race car, walking a dog or just petting my cat, I do it in a state of full focus. I do it with the full, volitional and conscious awareness of reality — in the moment.
You’ve no doubt heard about the importance of “living in the moment,” as it has become somewhat of a cliché in the self-help movement. So, let’s avoid this cliché, and just say that living in the moment requires that you live each moment in full focus.
Integration. The second pillar of my ethos comes after you’ve focused your mind on the facts and sensations of reality. Through the process of mental integration, you can categorize the facts, sensations and feelings you’ve experienced in that state of full focus, and you can begin determining what they all mean and how they fit into your broader, and deeper, philosophic premises, such as the things you value.
For example, let’s say you focus your mind on something that is mostly a physical pursuit on the surface, such as weight training. Yet, is it mostly a physical thing? While the actual performance of the movements might be primarily physical, what you’ve likely already integrated before you even decide to begin weight training are the facts that challenging your muscles with progressive resistance loads is a good thing for your physical well-being.
Your editor hydrating himself with his favorite water, Alkaline88, after a demanding strength-training session.
Indeed, the integration of higher-order concepts of “well-being” requires a long chain of philosophic integration that has to do with the values you place on your existence, your health, your appearance, the maintenance of your functional ability, etc. The wider point here is that the ability to focus on facts and integrate those facts into your philosophic matrix is the necessary second pillar of a rational ethos, and it’s one you must be consciously aware of if you are going to engage in the third pillar of this ethos.
Celebration. Once you’ve focused on reality and integrated those facts with your personal worldview, i.e. your personal philosophic premises, then, and only then, can you rationally indulge in the most pleasurable pillar — celebration. For me, celebration is the result of the focused integration of the concrete parts of reality and what they represent in my life. Staying with the weight training example, I know that a focus on facts means I need to weight train to stay in good physical shape.
Staying in good physical shape is a value to me because I’ve integrated the virtue of good health and the absence of disease in my life as rational values for me to pursue. And despite being on the losing side of my fifties, I am, for the most part, in excellent physical condition, largely free of disease and strong, flexible and fully functional. It is this combination of focused integration that permits me to celebrate this circumstance.
You see, when you live a life in full focus, and one in which you integrate the ideas and values that really matter to you, then, and only then, can you rationally celebrate your existence. It is this celebration, in all its glorious forms, that makes life worth living.
Whether that celebration is the pleasure of watching your children grow up, or whether it’s staring into the eyes of the person you love most and feeling that love come right back to you, or whether it’s something as simple as performing a set of intense barbell curls — when you live a life of focused integration, you can justly celebrate life in all of its forms.
For me, the three pillars of focus, integration and celebration comprise the basis of my personal ethos. And thanks to my friend’s question some years ago, these three pillars also represent the consistent themes running through my lifestyle website and podcast, “Way of the Renaissance Man.”
If you want to hear more about the various ways I and others focus, integrate and celebrate life, I invite you to check out the articles, interviews and podcasts available right now at WayoftheRenaissanceman.com.
Dickens on Parting
“The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.”
— Charles Dickens, “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby”
Yes, it’s tough to part from your philosophic brothers-in-arms, but alas, all weeks cannot be as epic as FreedomFest. So, my advice is don’t miss out on next year’s event, as we are already set to go. It will be held in Las Vegas, at the Mirage Hotel, July 13-16. Plan to go now, because the earlier you plan, the more excited you’ll be — and excitement is the electric current that runs through a happy life.
Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote that you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.