Objects in Motion
Fed Pops Its Own Bubble
The Trump Effect
What Could Go Wrong?
What to Do
Black-Eyed Peas, Hong Kong, Sarasota, and Boston

In addition to popping champagne corks and black-eyed peas (at least in the South) on New Year’s Day, year-end brings something else for economists and portfolio managers: annual forecasts. People want to know what the coming year will bring. I would like to know, too. But since I’m on the other side of your monitor, I must give you my own forecast. Caveat emptor applies.

I don’t really think of myself as a forecaster. I talk about the future all the time, of course, and I tell you what I think is coming – but whether it will arrive next month, next year, or five years from now is a different question. Timing is hard.

So, when I write annual forecast letters like this one, I put some extra pressure on myself. In addition to identifying the macro forces in play, I try to anticipate when we will see their impact. That’s never been easy, and it seems to get tougher every year. But inquiring minds want to know, so here we go.

First, a brief message. If you missed my email on Thursday, I want to be sure you know that the Alpha Society is now accepting new members. The Alpha Society is one of my happiest achievements, and I’m excited to see it growing. When I started writing Thoughts from the Frontline almost two decades ago, little did I know that it would quickly garner a “tribe” of curious and thoughtful readers. Getting to know you has been an amazing honor.

The Alpha Society is really an extension of that relationship – it’s for those of you who simply want more. More intellectual stimulation, more communication with people who thoroughly enjoy debate and discussion, more opportunities to talk to me and the Mauldin Economics editors. The driving goal behind the Alpha Society is to enrich your world and the world at large.

Is that a lofty ambition? Yes. Is it achievable? Absolutely. If you have time today, please take a look at your invitation. It’s also worth mentioning that your membership fee may be tax deductible, so if you want to apply it to 2017’s return, now is your chance.