Why Nu Skin Enterprises Shares Tumbled

Is this meaningful? Or just another movement?

Jan 15, 2014 at 7:17PM

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Nu Skin Enterprises (NYSE:NUS) were taking it on the chin today, falling as much as 19% and finishing down 16% after its business practices in China were attacked in the People's Daily newspaper.

So what: The official paper of the Chinese Communist Party accused the seller of skin-care products of being a "suspected illegal pyramid scheme." The charge hurts not just because those allegations have come up before against the multilevel-marketing company, but because different laws apply in China where direct sellers are under strict regulations. Despite the claims, Nu Skin carries "direct selling licenses" in 19 of China's 32 provinces and municipalities, and the company also issued its own rebuke. In a press release, Nu Skin said the article contains inaccuracies and exaggerations and that the reporters did not verify any of their information with Nu Skin. It added that it has been doing in business in China in full compliance for 11 years.

Now what: The pyramid-scheme attack is nothing new for companies like Nu Skin and peer Herbalife, and both have bounced back repeatedly from such charges. Still, in its most recent quarter Nu Skin derived about half of its revenue from greater China where it saw a whopping growth rate of 240% so these charges warrant investor attention. Among other claims, the People's Daily said Nu Skin brainwashes its trainees. Doing business in China always carries a level of shadiness whether it be investing in Chinese stocks or through American companies selling in China. The People's Daily story typifies this kind of risk, but it's unclear if the charges bare any actual teeth. I'd expect shares to bounce back, but investors should be aware that this is a riskier stock than most.

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A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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