E The Punk Rock Of Stocks

My life changed when I heard the first Ramones album at the age of 14. The power of the stripped-down simplicity is what knocked me out. It still does.

Up until then, the popular music landscape littered with wretched '70s arena rock excess, disco, and cheesy AM hits. Inspired by their love of basic '50s and '60s rock-n-roll, the Ramones created a minimalist template that fueled what became known as Punk, which led to New Wave, Alternative and dozens of sub-genres. But the common thread was of straightforwardness, authenticity, and ease of execution.

As a professional investor and market commentator, I feel we're reaching a similar tipping point in the markets. Over the last quarter-century, investor choice is similar to trying to drink out of a fire hose while being constantly bombarded with financial media noise chasing a million different shiny objects.

Whatever happened to owning blue-chip stocks? Growing up, whenever parents or grandparents talked about stocks, they were typically names even an eight-year-old would recognize. My grandmother was a widowed school teacher who retired at an age I consider early: her early sixties. But by saving carefully and buying boring, familiar, easy to understand, dividend-paying stocks, she lived out her years in relative comfort. She didn't have a yacht or a summer home, but she could do what she wanted pretty much.

And when I say easy to understand, I'm not talking about indexing. Forget it. Let's do what everyone else does and get paid (dividends) the rate of inflation. Screw that.

How about twice the rate of inflation and predictable operating histories? Do they do blockchain? I have no idea. What the hell is blockchain anyway?

And frankly, I don't care.

What I care about is a time-tested business model with consistent results and a consistent, preferably growing dividend. It can be done. It's not hard to do but you're not going to hear people screaming about it on television or the interwebs. Why? Because talking about aftermarket auto parts distributor Genuine Parts (NYSE: GPC) is not going to get you laid.

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Disclosure: I hold GPC in client and family portfolios.

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