Freedom Is the Best Reason for Celebration
The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.” I think that’s a very good definition, as it encompasses the essence of what a human being does.
You see, as humans, we are beings that act, speak and think. Thus, any social system that stymies these attributes is inherently anathema to human life. Now, realize this is no simple task, since the presence of freedom isn’t exactly ubiquitous in the history of civilization. In fact, it’s downright rare.
Yet in America during the 21st century, we are privileged to, for the most part, enjoy the greatest freedoms and the greatest fruits of economic prosperity the world has ever known. Today, we largely can act how we want, speak our minds and think basically whatever thoughts we want — and we can do so mostly free from coercive government, free from oppressive religious organizations and free from the violent forces of group-think.
Still, freedom, to borrow a cliché, isn’t free.
To preserve the power and right to act, speak, or think as one wants, we have to make sure we reinforce the good ideas that buttress and extol freedom, while also combating the bad ideas that suppress, stifle and retard freedom’s progress.
As I’ve said many times in this publication, the only solution to bad ideas are good ideas. And because there is perhaps no better idea than freedom, there also is no better idea worth defending, propagating and celebrating.
It is for this reason that I am privileged to be a part of what has been called “the world’s largest gathering of free minds”, the annual intellectual and social celebratory banquet of liberty known simply as FreedomFest.
As I write this e-letter, we are just one week away from this year’s FreedomFest conference, and its 2019 theme celebrating “The Wild West.”
This year, we are expecting nearly 2,000 attendees, and we will have some 250 speakers and workshops on all sorts of freedom-oriented themes. What I really like about FreedomFest is that you can explore all sorts of facets of the freedom movement, including politics, investing, economics, healthy living, education and parenting, technology and science, philosophy and history, the arts and literature, government regulation, taxation, social trends and much more.
Basically, there’s something for every liberty lover’s palate at FreedomFest.
Now, if you are planning on attending FreedomFest, I invite you to come and see me and my Eagle Publishing colleagues Dr. Mark Skousen, Hilary Kramer, Roger Michalski and Paul Dykewicz. On Wednesday, July 17, 2:00 p.m. PDT, I will be giving a presentation titled, “Beyond Belief: Who Is the Fastest Financial Gun in the West?”
Then on Friday, July 19, at 2:10 p.m., I will be part of a panel alongside Dr. Skousen, Hilary Kramer, and Roger Michalski titled, “Top 10 Stocks to Buy Now.” For the full agenda of all speakers at FreedomFest, click here.
In addition to my feature presentations, I also will be broadcasting live episodes of my podcast, Way of the Renaissance Man. Last year, I chose FreedomFest as the place to launch my related lifestyle and ideas website, and the reason why is because for a person to fully achieve in life, he or she must first respect and revere the fact that without freedom, no true achievement of values is possible. That means part of the obligation of a Renaissance Man (and a Renaissance Woman) is to preserve, protect and defend freedom with all his or her might.
I did so many years ago as a member of the U.S. Army, and I do so today in the pursuit of financial freedom through my Successful Investing, Intelligence Report, Bullseye Stock Trader and Fast Money Alert advisory services.
With the Way of the Renaissance Man website and podcast, I promulgate freedom by focusing on ideas, and learning how to integrate them into our daily lives. Once that integration has been achieved, we celebrate those ideas and their byproducts in our lives, because life is a pursuit that requires focus, integration and celebration.
So, if you have ever wanted to celebrate one of the most-beautiful concepts in human history, then come to Las Vegas next week and celebrate freedom with me, as well as some of the world’s most renowned and celebrated heroes of the liberty movement, including Penn Jillette, John Mackey, Kevin O’Leary, Congressman Justin Amash, Glenn Beck, Charles Murray, John Stossel, Grover Norquist, Michael Shermer, Senator Mike Lee, Dr. Joel Wade, Stephen Hicks, Edward Hudgins, Craig Huey, Rich Checkan, Jo Ann Skousen, Mike Turner, Heather Wagenhals and many, many more.
Come find out why freedom isn’t “just another word for nothing left to lose,” as the classic song “Bobby McGee” says, but rather a concept that requires protecting, preserving, integrating and celebrating.
P.S. Use the promo code “EAGLE100” for a special FreedomFest discount offer of $100 off the full price of $695 per person… So that’s just $595 per person/$895 per couple.
Come find out how those of us who love liberty and cherish freedom celebrate her virtue.
ETF Talk: Tap the Financials Sector with This Fund
The Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLF) tracks an index of S&P 500 financial stocks, weighted by market cap.
The exchange-traded fund (ETF) seeks to provide precise exposure to companies that are involved with diversified financial services such as the insurance, banks, capital markets, mortgage real estate investment trusts (REITs), consumer finance and thrifts and mortgage finance industries. XLF offers extremely liquid exposure to the heavyweights in the U.S. financials segment.
Its cap-weighted, S&P 500-only portfolio means that it concentrates on large banks and avoids small-caps. The fund is large and massively liquid, far outpacing its peers in trading volume. A low fee and tight tracking make for very low all-in costs.
For many investors and traders, XLF is the go-to exchange-traded fund for financials exposure, although there are more comprehensive funds out there for long-term exposure. It is important to note that XLF spun off its real estate exposure in September 2016, consistent with the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) reclassification that elevated real estate to sector-level status.
The change was material, since real estate comprised about 20% of the fund at the time. For each share held, XLF shareholders as of September 16, 2016, received 0.139146 shares of XLRE, State Street Global Advisors’ real estate ETF.
Among the fund’s top holdings are Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Class B (NYSE: BRK.B), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), Bank of America Corp (NYSE: BAC), Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) and Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C). Top sectors include Banking Services, 47.13%; Insurance, 32.11%; and Investment Banking, 17.02%.
Chart Courtesy of StockCharts.com
The ETF has a weighted average market cap of $165.43 billion, $24.92 billion assets under management and 69 holdings. The expense ratio is 0.13%, meaning it is relatively less expensive to hold in comparison to other ETFs. The fund pays a $0.14 dividend, giving it a 1.58% yield.
A wide array of diversified financial service firms, insurance, banks, capital markets, consumer finance and thrift companies are featured in this index. While XLF does provide an investor with the ability to profit from the world of financial services, this sector may not be appropriate for all portfolios. Thus, interested investors always should exercise their own due diligence to decide whether this fund is suitable for one’s own 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.
Wisdom in ‘Living Colour’
I sell the things you need to be
I’m the smiling face on your T.V.
I’m the cult of personality
I exploit you still you love me
I tell you one and one makes three…
Living Colour, “Cult of Personality”
In keeping with our celebration of the freedom theme this week, it’s important to remember that with great freedom comes great responsibility — and particularly the responsibility to think for yourself. This is especially true these days when we have all sorts of demagogues vying for our minds. So, don’t let anyone tell you that “one and one makes three” as the rock band Living Colour so brilliantly put it. You have the freedom to do the math yourself — so take responsibility and do it.
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.
In the name of the best within us,