Live and Let Die

There’s no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery. You can’t do any business from there.
- Colonel Sanders

Some of you may have read my recent research paper on declining life expectancy, and may therefore be inclined to file this Absolute Return Letter without further ado. Before you do so, beware that I have made quite a few changes, following the feedback I received.

Kentucky Fried Chicken

Enjoying a KFC regularly? If you do, don’t eat too many of them. In 13 counties across the US, people can now expect to die younger than their parents did, and the eight counties with the biggest decline in life expectancy since 1980 are all in the state of Kentucky.

Before I get a lawsuit on my hands, let me point out that KFC is not to blame for this most unfortunate trend, but obesity certainly is – at least partially. Having said that, this month’s Absolute Return Letter is not about pointing fingers. I will, probably to the surprise of many and to the disgust of a few, look at various implications – mostly positive – of declining life expectancy.

Positive implications? Am I being serious now? I certainly am, but I am also being quite cynical. Hence, in the following, when I discuss the positive implications of falling life expectancy, I completely ignore the human angle. The following is entirely a macroeconomic discussion, and I hope you will forgive me for being so ‘non-humane’.

Before I start, I should thank Andy Lees of MacroStrategy Partnership, Paul Whiting of Securis and Jan Frøshaug of Trafalgar House Pension Trust for their help and advice on this rather complex topic. It is much appreciated.

‘My’ new book of investing rules

And now to a tiny bit of marketing – which I don’t do often, so please don’t yell at me. Back in May, as you may recall, I wrote an Absolute Return Letter called Investment Rules. That letter has formed a chapter in a new book called Harrriman’s New Book of Investing Rules which has just been published.

The first volume of that book came in 2001 and was a great success. The sequel, with hundreds of pages of compelling content, brings you the arguments of the very best investing minds around the globe in one unputdownable book (Harriman House’s words – not mine).

I am very pleased to be associated with all those great minds and would suggest you put it on your wish list for Christmas – here is the link:

As many of you already know, I also have my own book in the pipeline. The manuscript has now been handed over to the typesetter, and the book should be published in March of next year, but more about that in the months to come.