HEY BIG SPENDER

Published in Issue #5 | Summer 2016

By Ryan Toth

$38.6 millionNo that’s not Kayne’s latest debt relief fund, it was the official sales results of the RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, held annually at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, FL.

Described lovingly as the event for the 1% that Bernie Sanders complains about, the Amelia Island Concours is not your Friday night assembly at the local Wal-Mart. It is the top 1% of classical and modern collector cars and does truly bring out a crowd. Consisting of the main RM Sotheby’s auction, a number of other smaller unofficial auctions, and the grand event, the Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, the lush greens of The Golf Club of Amelia Island become a parking lot for some of the world’s most precious metals. 

Lucky for me, I was asked to attend the event by a friend. Arriving on Friday afternoon, I made my way to the pre-auction viewing event – basically an excuse to drink top-shelf liquors with a group of people who have to provide certified bank letters in order to attend - and quickly picked out some of my favorites. A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing expected to bring home a cool $1.5M (sold for just shy of $1.4M after fees), a 2014 Pagani Huayra (est. $2.2M), and what was arguably because the star of the show, a 1957 Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta ‘Tour de France’, whose price was withheld for all except for those truly special enough to be granted access. I say “arguably” as a recent 250GT TdF sale managed to net $13.2M – however it was the 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica LWB Coupe that was this year’s most coveted prize, netting $4.4M.

So why is this important and why would anyone in their right mind pay $4.4M for a car? Investments. Classic cars, especially those in original and unmodified condition, have long been used as a hedge for diversifying one’s portfolio. Described as “passion investing”, CNBC recently quoted classic car investors were seeing returns of up to 500 percent during the last decade, “outpacing art and wine by more than 100 percent” (see source below). Recently defined as ‘assets’, classic cars and even modern supercars are quickly garnering attention from strategic investors. So much so, that a number of classic car funds have popped up throughout the country and European Union. 

During the summer of 2015, Ferrari’s exclusive LaFerrari, which sold a total of 499 units worldwide, saw a jump from the original MSRP of $1.4M skyrocket to averages in the $3-4 million mark.

A good question is, “How do I get a piece of the action? I can’t afford to drop $4 million on a car.” There are two ways to get involved. One is the old fashioned way of sourcing a car that is experiencing or expected to experience greater than average demand over the next few years. For example, the Datsun 240Z has done relatively well as an investment and if you found one a few years back, you would have paid around $5,000 for a solid car. Fast-forward until today, and you could be sitting on a $40-50k investment. It’s all about timing. 

If you are anything like myself and don’t own the proverbial “car collector crystal ball”, you could get involved with one of the classic car funds mentioned earlier. The Ultimate Classic Car Fund (ultimateclassiccarfund.com) is an example. Each fund will have different entry requirements, however you will be able to participate in an investment with a far larger return, and substantially less risk than buying up all the brown 1992 Ford Taurus’ at your local used car dealer. 

Whether you are interested in an investment or simply enjoy cars, by catching one of the larger auctions such as the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, you’re bound to have a great time. Besides being a fantastic experience for the auto lover, there’s always a good bunch of people and really interesting events. For some local Charleston fun, check out Cars & Coffee on Saturday mornings in front of Atlantic Bread (Towne Center Mt. Pleasant). Rain or shine from about 8-10 am there’s always a crowd. Who knows? You might find the next $4M classic.

Cited: cnbc.com/2016/01/04/passion-investing-in-classic-cars-is-gaining-speed.html – Deborah Nason

MEN HAVE HORMONES TOO

Published in Issue #5 | Summer 2016

By Susan Wilson, MD

What is hypogonadism, AKA low testosterone, AKA andropause? Testosterone is a hormone produced by the testicles that has effects on many bodily functions. Production declines with age at variable rates. Low testosterone (low T) is a decline in testosterone levels from normal, most commonly age related and frequently accompanied by the following symptoms: Lack of energy and fatigue during the day, loss of motivation, sleep disturbances, depressed mood or agitation, difficulty concentrating, reduced sexual desire and performance, decreased muscle strength, inability to lose weight despite diet and exercise, and weight gain, particularly around the mid-section.

What reasons drive men to seek treatment for low T?

The motivations are many and varied based on severity of symptoms and personal attitudes about health and wellness. Many men primarily seek relief of symptoms and improved sexual health. Others use it in an overall plan for improved health and better aging. Newer scientific evidence suggesting improved insulin sensitivity and lower fasting blood sugar, reduced overall body fat and improvements in cholesterol levels have added additional motivators for treatment.

What does replacement entail and how do I get started?

Consult with a health care provider with experience in all methods of hormonal optimization for men and obtain baseline blood chemistries and hormone levels. Dosing regimens should be customized based on clinical factors. Delivery methods include topical gels, patches and creams, as well as injectable formulas and implantable hormone pellets. Topical therapies custom made by local compounding pharmacies offer high quality replacement doses for men at much lower costs than topical products offered by Big pharma and are a great first step.

 

LOCAL LOVE

Published in Issue #5 | Summer 2016

By Benjamin Perrone

Here in Charleston we’re settling into summer, and we also happen to be two months into shrimping season. I’ve spoken to quite a few people lately who didn’t realize that, and who can blame them? It isn’t as if hundreds of restaurants aren’t selling thousands of plates of iconic Charleston shrimp dishes year-round. Similarly, individual consumers can go to their local grocery store any day and expect to find multiple options both fresh and frozen. Meanwhile, hard-working men and women are getting out of bed at an obscenely early hour to go out and perform backbreaking work to chase shrimp through the ocean. And it’s not just shrimp. Clammers, crabbers, oystermen and women, commercial fishers and others are out doing the same thing. I could not possibly use the space here to do justice to the challenges that these people face. Very smart and conscientious people have poured incredible amounts of time and energy into documenting these issues, and their work is worth seeking out. In brief, cheap imports raised and harvested using questionable labor and safety practices have disrupted long-established marketplaces. Dock space is increasingly scarce and, therefore, valuable, and fuel prices have spiked unexpectedly several times just in the last several years. Add to that the unpredictability of the weather and an increase in extreme weather patterns and events, and it becomes clear that this is an industry of passionate, committed folks who earn their living. 

When I think about how a Man About Town conducts himself, I feel that there is a call to support this local industry. In my opinion, we are a critical component of the decision-making process. Yes, chefs and restaurant owners make the decision to put products on the plate, and I am not trying to be critical of them. I’ve never worked in a professional kitchen, but I have sold foodservice products in Charleston for several years. I hated selling imported shrimp and only did it when I had to, but I sold a lot of Gulf product, and when we had Georgetown shrimp available I sold a lot of that as well. Consistency is key for most restaurants. Consistency of product size, consistency of availability, and consistency of price are all understandably important. Frankly, it is easier to find that outside of the local market. These really are complicated decisions with far-reaching implications in how the business operates. However, one trip to pick up seafood straight from a boat captain who caught or harvested it a couple hours prior demonstrates the unsurpassed quality of flavor and freshness that is available. Where we as individuals come in is communicating to our favorite restaurants and grocery stores and markets that we want to support our local seafood industry, that we’re willing to accept that everything won’t be available every day, and that we’re willing to pay for it. Even an item or two being switched out makes a big difference if everybody did it. While they decide what to put on the menu, their goal is to offer what customers want. I’ve heard people talk about boycotts, forcing regulations to encourage certain supplier choices, and stuff like that, but I feel that open and regular communication between those on the supply and demand side of the equation is a much healthier and deeper way of accomplishing our goals. But please, if you take this idea and run with it, don’t spend 30 minutes questioning your server in the middle of a Friday dinner rush. A couple quick questions and some feedback will send a message, and bigger and better conversations will follow if we all commit to it. 

MANIFESTO: THE MAD FARMER LIBERATION FRONT

By Wendell Berry


Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion -- put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

“Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” from The Country of Marriage, copyright ® 1973 by Wendell Berry, reprinted by permission of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.