Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

The Industry Winner Games: Which Nations Prevail in the Olympics of Foolishness?

By Alison Southwick and Robert Brokamp, CFP(R) - Feb 27, 2018 at 5:20PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Can the U.S. take a gold? Have some countries been doping their economies? We’ll tell you the score.

The Winter Olympics are over, but in this episode of Motley Fool Answers, it's time for the second biennial Olympics of Foolishness, in which we award medals to various countries in business categories such as robotics, e-commerce, and start-up culture. Which nations are leading the way in these key sectors and arenas? To determine the winners, Alison Southwick and Robert Brokamp have recruited Motley Fool Asset Management's Bryan Hinmon and Tony Arsta.

But first, there's a "What's Up, Bro" segment on a personal finance question that many us of will face: How should we factor the value of our homes into our retirement calculations? Because, let's face it, it's probably your biggest single asset -- but you'll still need a roof over your head in your golden years.

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on Feb. 20, 2018.

Alison Southwick: This is Motley Fool Answers. I'm Alison Southwick and I'm joined, as always, by Robert Brokamp, personal finance expert here at The Motley Fool. This week we're getting into the Olympic spirit with our biennial competition, pitting nation against nation for economic supremacy. We're also going to talk about how your home can prop up your portfolio and pump up your retirement. All that and more on this week's episode of Motley Fool Answers.

So, Bro, what's up this week?

Robert Brokamp: Well, as you may know, or may not, how to factor your home into a retirement plan has long been a conundrum among retirement planning experts. On the one hand, for most Americans, their home is their biggest asset, so you'd think you should somehow factor that into your retirement plan.

On the other hand, it's also a roof over your head, and it hasn't always been easy to turn your house into cash, and you don't want to play it too crazy. You want to protect it, so a lot of folks have said to leave it completely out of your retirement plan.

People don't know exactly what to do with it, but a couple of articles I read, recently, provided what I thought were some interesting ideas of how to factor it into your overall financial plan. The first article was published on from Mark Hulbert. The title gives you a clue, and that is "Owning a home can give you a place to hide from a bear market for stocks." This was published in January. It's sort of an update of an article he has published, previously, and I mentioned it in a previous episode.

Hulbert looked at data from the Case-Shiller Home Price Index to basically look at how residential real estate performed during the 20 bear markets since 1952. And what he found was there's only two examples of when housing prices also went down along with stocks, and one of those was only 0.4% decline.

The other one was the one that happened during the Great Recession and it was a doozy, but on average, home prices go up when stocks go down. In fact, the Case-Shiller Index actually goes up a little more during bear markets in stocks than it does during bull markets in stocks.

Now, what about that most recent example? Does that mean that things have changed in the relationship between the stock market and the housing market? Hulbert asked Robert Shiller, who is the co-creator of the Case-Shiller Index. He said, "No, that was probably an anomaly and going forward, this relationship between housing prices holding up during bear markets and stocks is probably going to hold true."

Another interesting thing that Hulbert pointed out was that housing prices are pretty positively correlated to inflation. In other words, owning a house is an inflation hedge, as well. In his article he suggested the way to factor this into your portfolio would to be buy ETFs that focused on the construction industry, which is kind of an interesting idea.

But I think just owning a home and making it a goal to pay it off before you retire is another way to get these same benefits. By having it paid off or mostly paid off by the time you retire, you built up that equity so that you can access it in retirement by using either a home equity line of credit or, more commonly, a reverse mortgage to use it during a bear market in stocks, so you don't have to sell stocks when they're down, or if you have a big-ticket emergency like healthcare, or something like that.

Now, what most financial planners do recommend is that you don't rely on your home equity unless you absolutely need it, which brings us to the next article that I read. It was a study in the Journal of Financial Planning by three folks: Peter Neuwirth, Barry Sacks, and Stephen Sacks.

I won't go into all the details, but they essentially argue that retirees should consider tapping their home equity early in retirement, especially for the many Americans who are house rich but cash poor. By using their home equity, they rely less on their portfolios and that gives their investments more time to grow.

Perhaps the most interesting takeaway they offer is an alternative to the classic 4% rule. For those who know, that's how much you should be able to spend your first year of retirement. You look at just the value of your portfolio -- your IRAs, 401(k)s and things like that -- not your house -- take 4% of that, and that's how much you can spend in your first year of retirement. Then you adjust that dollar amount every year for inflation.

They suggest that what you should do is take the value of your portfolio, and the value of your home equity, and divide that by 30. From a percentage point, that's 3.3%, so it's a smaller percentage, but of a much bigger pie for most people, and they think that's actually a better guideline for how much you should be spending, and you should be incorporating that home equity into your regular spending and retirement.

It's an intriguing idea. It's slightly controversial. I'm sure many people in the financial planning community will be debating it, but I still think it's a very interesting way to incorporate home equity into your portfolio value when you think about how much you can spend in retirement.

The bottom line is this. Among three of the bigger events that can derail your retirement, one is a bear market in stocks, inflation, or unexpected big-ticket expenses, and as a hedge against all those three your house is a pretty good bet.

Southwick: Cue the triumphant music, Rick. It's our second biennial Olympics of Foolishness. Joining us to award medals to countries in categories such as robotics, e-commerce, and start-up businesses is Bryan Hinmon. He's the CIO and a portfolio manager, and Tony Arsta. He's also a portfolio manager and senior analyst. Both are with Motley Fool Asset Management, a sister company of The Motley Fool. Now, before we begin, Bryan, you get to offer up some disclosure.

Bryan Hinmon: Don't mind if I do. My appearance today reflects my personal beliefs, not those of my employer, Motley Fool Asset Management, and I'm pretty sure that goes for Tony, as well.

Southwick: Goes for Tony, too.

Tony Arsta: Me, too. Yay.

Southwick: Yay. All right, everyone loves a good disclosure. So, two years ago we had our own little awards ceremony where we gave out medals in different industries, and it was sort of forward-looking. Who's going to be the leader in energy? Who's going to be the leader in tech? The U.S. did very well in our Olympics of Foolishness, and so we wanted to invite you guys to do it all over again, but I let you pick the categories?

Hinmon: Well, were they accurate? Like, do we need to be accurate? Do we need to get these right?

Brokamp: That's a good question.

Arsta: I hope not.

Southwick: I'd like for you to have an educated opinion.

Hinmon: So, I'm now feeling the pressure.

Southwick: Yes, you should absolutely be feeling the pressure.

Arsta: My goal is to disagree with Bryan and argue with everything he says.

Southwick: You're awarding a medal in the category of cheese production, so I don't know whose opinion is going to have more weight.

Hinmon: Tony is from Wisconsin, so he's an authority.

Southwick: All right, we'll get to that later. That is our final medal that we'll be giving out, so stick around for that. But before we get started, Bryan, why don't you tell us a little about yourself and your history at the Fool.

Hinmon: Sure. I am coming up on my eighth anniversary in a matter of days which puts me in, I don't know, the longer half of Fool employees, which is pretty exciting.

Southwick: More than 10 years, yes.

Hinmon: It has gone quickly. I started in the publishing business on Motley Fool Pro and Motley Fool Options and three years ago, or so, joined the team at Motley Fool Asset Management, managing our mutual funds and Fool Money in our Separately Managed Account business.

Southwick: Cool. And Tony, how about you?

Arsta: I am just days beyond my 10-year anniversary, so I've been here a bit longer than Bryan. I've been on the fund business since we launched that in 2009, and before that I was in the first group of the Analyst Development Program. I don't know if they're still doing that, but several people at the company have gone through that, including Bryan.

Southwick: Who did you go through ADP with?

Arsta: It was Matt Argersinger, Bryan White, Ilan Moscovitz.

Brokamp: A pretty big crew.

Southwick: How about you, Bryan? Who did you go through ADP with?

Hinmon: The famous Jason Moser, and I think we're the only two that are left.

Southwick: Oh, you had more of a Hunger Games situation.

Hinmon: Yes, it was very Hunger Games out there.

Southwick: Let's get to the awards, shall we? The medals for these events in investing, and economics, and I don't know. The first category that you chose, Bryan, is robotics. Why did you pick this category?

Hinmon: This is a category that's really cool. People care about this: robots and artificial intelligence. It's all the rage.

Brokamp: I was going to say. It's all the rage. It most certainly is.

Hinmon: So, let's get this started off. Are we going bronze to gold?

Southwick: Yes, let's do bronze to gold.

Hinmon: Bronze to gold. Bronze we're going to start off patriotic and I'm going to give it to the United States.

Southwick: Oh, I'm glad we're getting the medal.

Brokamp: But not getting the gold. Interesting.

Hinmon: Hey, it is what it is. Let me get to the justification, here. Where we've seen robotics really take off, so far, is in manufacturing, and the leader is really in the automotive sector. The U.S. sells 15-18 million cars every year, and we've gotten pretty good at manufacturing them. And we use a lot of robots to manufacture them, so that's really where robotics got its start in the U.S. And because we love our cars, there's a lot of robots here.

Really, what the bronze medal comes down to is it's more and more manufacturing coming back to the U.S., and so we are buying a lot of robots and we have a ton of innovation, here, to make those robots better and get smarter through artificial intelligence. The reason that we didn't score higher than bronze is because the U.S. loves protecting our jobs.

Southwick: I was going to say. Robots put people out of business.

Hinmon: Exactly. I was just reading an article the other day that said nine robots did what 140 employees would do, and that was in auto-specific applications. So, you've got a ton of robots, here, in the U.S. but what keeps us from going higher is the fact that we're going to probably slow adoption because we love protecting our jobs.

Brokamp: Got it.

Southwick: Who gets the silver?

Hinmon: Silver goes to Japan.

Brokamp: I was thinking they'd be gold, so now I'm curious.

Southwick: I know!

Hinmon: If you think about some of the defining cultural characteristics of Japan, one of the first things that comes to my mind is just precision. They are a culture that prizes precision, and when you realize how these robots are used, you think of articulating arms that have a very specific function that has to be precise.

Arsta: Like playing Ping-Pong.

Brokamp: Exactly.

Hinmon: Among other things. Since the '70s, they've been a leader in the manufacturing of robots, and so they have been at it for the longest time. The largest robot manufacturers reside in Japan and sell throughout the world, and they use them, themselves, as well.

What's really interesting is you think about the demographics of Japan. They have an aging population, and so there's actually a need created to do more with fewer working people that has put them in the position that they're in to get the silver medal.

Southwick: So, who gets the gold?

Hinmon: Dun, dun, dun, dah! The gold goes to China.

Southwick: China!

Hinmon: Honestly, this is the result of brute force and resources.

Southwick: And a triumphant winning spirit. This is the Olympics. I'm trying to get some Olympics in here.

Hinmon: That was very feel good. It seems like every week the government in China is coming out with a new master plan. Well, they have a "Made in China 2025" plan, which is all about manufacturing in a smarter and more efficient way. Robot density. That's number of robots active per 10,000 manufacturing jobs.

Brokamp: If such a metric exists.

Hinmon: Yes, it's a real metric. Now, China doesn't score particularly well in this.

Southwick: Well, there's so many people, there.

Hinmon: But if you look at the trajectory, it's tripled over the last three years, so they are just adopting robotics and artificial intelligence at an astounding rate. Very recently they purchased one of the main robot producers, called Kuka, which was actually a German company. They are clearly trying to become a player in the production of robots, and not just the use of robots.

Brokamp: Due to their one-child policy, which they've relaxed a little bit, they have their own demographic issues as well, so they're similar to [Japan] in that they have a very aging population.

Hinmon: Indeed.

Southwick: Well, before we move on from this category, let's have a player profile, shall we? Let's talk about one particular player that you like in this industry.

Hinmon: This player is like the Olympian in their fourth Olympics.

Southwick: OK.

Hinmon: This is the aged veteran. I want to talk about a Japanese company called Fanuc. Fanuc was one of the earliest producers of robots in Japan starting in the '70s, and when you see pictures of robots in factories and you see yellow ones, those are the Fanuc robots.

Southwick: Oh, OK.

Hinmon: They have a very characteristic yellow. You see them all the time. I highly encourage you to go to YouTube and check out some videos on the Fanuc robots.

Southwick: How do you spell Fanuc?

Hinmon: F-A-N-U-C. You can see them playing Ping-Pong, like Tony was alluding to. Doing just some amazing things. The roots go far back. Their whole deal is they build cookie-cutter robots. They actually have robots to build robots, and then you program them to perform a specific task.

Southwick: That's how the robot revolution begins.

Hinmon: So, it's very meta. It's robots building robots.

Southwick: That's a tag line right there.

Hinmon: And then you give them a special tool, or you give them special software to do precisely what you want to do, so they're like a robot manufacturing line. It's really remarkable to see. Anyway, they're one of the Big Four robot manufacturers. A very well-run company located in Japan.

Southwick: Have you guys seen the video of the robot they tried to teach how to downhill ski?

Hinmon: Yes!

Brokamp: Is it successful or not? No.

Southwick: Sorry! Spoiler! No. But there's another thing to YouTube.

Hinmon: Better than me.

Southwick: It's going to make you feel a little bit better about the robot uprising. It's still a ways off if we can't get a robot to ski.

Rick Engdahl: Now we know how to get away from them.

Southwick: Right? You're right. It's all going to be James Bond skiing-down-the-mountain getaways and stuff. Our next category comes to us from Tony. Tony, the event we are going to talk about now is e-commerce. Why did you choose e-commerce?

Arsta: Well, everybody knows about Amazon (AMZN 3.58%). Amazon is one of the biggest companies in the world, and it seems to be gathering all the headlines. Anytime Amazon even thinks about going into a new industry, people freak out about it.

In the U.S., Amazon is very top of mind. Everyone is thinking about retail. In the U.S., though, only about 9% of retail sales are done online. Amazon is the biggest player, there, but there's still plenty of room to grow. I think this is a category where we are already seeing huge disruption in the world, and we will see more over time.

Globally, about 8% of all global retail sales are done online, so the U.S. really isn't far ahead of the global average.

Southwick: Oh, that's crazy.

Arsta: Before I get to the top three, I'll go with the honorable mention, which is the host country of the Olympics, South Korea.

Hinmon: That's sweet, Tony.

Arsta: Korea was one of the initial leaders in e-commerce. They have had high internet penetration for a long time, now, and about 16% of retail sales in Korea are done online. They always had a large home shopping culture through television, so moving to mobile was a natural transition for them. That's not quite in the medalists, but it's up there.

Southwick: Let's hear who the bronze medal goes to.

Arsta: The bronze I'm cheating a little bit and giving it to Argentina. Argentina is not really the bronze. It's more of Brazil, but it's really just an excuse to talk about MercadoLibre, which is headquartered in Argentina.

Brokamp: It's something we're always looking to do.

Southwick: So MercadoLibre is headquartered in Argentina, but it mostly serves Brazil.

Arsta: Right. More than 60% of MercadoLibre's sales are in Brazil, but they sell all over South America and Latin America. They've been called the eBay of Latin America, which I believe is a little bit short-sighted. They're doing so much more than that. They have a payment system. They're just taking over all the commerce in South America and that is an area where it is much lower penetration currently. It's closer to about 3% of sales but has many decades of growth ahead of it.

Southwick: And who's getting the silver?

Arsta: The silver has to go to the U.S., especially led by Amazon. I mentioned before that 9% of sales are online in the U.S. That makes it about a $300 billion industry. It's growing, I think, about 20% a year, so it's still high growth. That 9% is increasing by about 1% per year, so next year it will be closer to 10% and so on. The U.S., still a huge market. Still has a long way to go.

Southwick: And the gold goes to...

Arsta: China.

Southwick: China, again!

Brokamp: Oh, man! Racking up the gold.

Hinmon: Watch out for those guys.

Southwick: All right. Why China?

Arsta: Twenty-three percent of retail sales in China are online, and that's about $650 billion, so more than double the U.S. Alibaba (BABA 4.92%) is by far the largest player, there. They're about 60% of that market, I believe, so they're even bigger than Amazon in terms of merchandise sales.

The reason we're at 23% of retail is a term that I like to throw in there. I think it should be an Olympic sport called leapfrogging. We've had decades in the U.S. of malls being built and retail locations, and what we have in China is none of that. I didn't write down the square footage in the U.S., but the amount of mall space per person in the U.S. is, I believe, about five or six times as much as it is in China.

So, as an American, if you wanted to buy something, you'd just go down to the local mall. In China that never really existed, and now that people have money, the transition online is happening much faster. It's already much larger than the U.S. and it's growing more than 30% a year, so it's a huge market with a huge remaining opportunity.

Hinmon: To Tony's point about leapfrogging, China also doesn't have an incumbent credit card system like we do here in the U.S. People pay for everything, there, on their mobile phones. And so that link -- mobile phones to e-commerce -- is an easy one to draw and support that trend.

Arsta: And the largest mobile payment company is a company called Alipay, which is a partially owned subsidiary of Alibaba.

Southwick: Getting a piece everywhere through the process. Where does this trend end up, though, because we talked about MercadoLibre and Latin America, Alibaba and Asia, Amazon in America. Are they all three so massive that they will never buy the other one, or partner with the other one? Where do we go when the world is saturated?

Arsta: Amazon, I believe, has nearly as much retail sales outside of the U.S. as it has inside, but if you look at where that is composed, it's mostly developed Europe. Alibaba is trying to get into places like India, where they're actually competing head to head with investments made by Amazon. So, there is some head-to-head competition coming along. I don't believe Amazon's position in the U.S. is being competed against too hard, although Alibaba is trying to enter the U.S.

Southwick: Oh, really?

Arsta: Wal-Mart owns a piece of another Chinese company called, so there is a lot of competition coming on, but Amazon has a big lead. In China, there's also a big lead, already, with Alibaba controlling 60% of the market, controlling 20%, and the rest is up for grabs. So, it's in places like India where we will see the most competition.

Hinmon: And the other side of that equation is consumer habits. Just because Alibaba is coming to the U.S. doesn't really mean anything, because most people in the U.S. already have the Amazon app installed on their phone, they already know the keystrokes without thinking about it, and they already have a trusted provider of goods that can be delivered to them same day or two days. So, it's not just availability that would take the disrupt. It's also consumer habits.

Southwick: Let's move on to our third category, and that is start-ups. Why did you choose start-ups?

Hinmon: This is also exciting to talk about. Maybe I'm just a dork and this is being revealed right now.

Southwick: Our categories for the last Olympics were much more like energy and tech, whereas you guys took a much more creative approach to the event, which I appreciate. I just want to hear why.

Hinmon: I've listened to this show a couple of times...

Southwick: You have not. You have not listened to this show.

Hinmon: ... and it doesn't appear like there are many rules.

Brokamp: That is true. That is true.

Southwick: We have some rules.

Hinmon: I don't believe it.

Southwick: I appreciate what you guys have brought and again, I can't wait to get to cheese, so let's hurry and get through start-ups so we can get to cheese.

Arsta: Don't get your hopes up.

Hinmon: All right, well let's blitz through this. The bronze medal in start-up nation goes to Germany. I also chose this category because I thought it would be controversial. There's actually a lot of different countries, now, vying for the title of start-up capital of the world, or the best place to launch a start-up.

Anyway, Germany. I'm going to go to the heart of Europe, here, and say that there's great access, there, to investment, so dollars and accelerators to help businesses start. The German government provides funding support for start-ups every year to the tune of a couple of billion euros. Because Germany has a bunch of large, well-populated cities, not just one. There's plentiful, fairly inexpensive office space, so just a place for new businesses to get together and start up.

And then, you think about what Germany is really good at. They're good at manufacturing things. They're good at creating things. They're great at commercializing R&D. So, it's not that you might necessarily see the most innovative, crazy start-ups like a Tesla, SpaceX, or something like that coming out of Germany, but when it comes to starting a business that commercializes a product, they've got it on lockdown.

Southwick: In your notes, you included a pun. You're not going to include the pun on the show?

Hinmon: I don't even remember what I wrote.

Southwick: Germany edging out Sweden by a Wurst.

Hinmon: That's pretty good, isn't it? Sweden actually has the most start-ups per capita of any country, so a smaller country, but also a start-up hub. They're on the outside looking in, I think.

Southwick: And the silver goes to...

Hinmon: Silver -- I'm going small here -- Singapore. This is led by the fact that Singapore is a very advanced nation technologically. They have greater than 90% smartphone penetration. Technology is sort of core to that country as a whole. It's incredibly easy to do business there. Every year they are among the top of places where it's easy to do business. Naturally, when it comes to starting a business, the lower the hurdle there the higher you're going to score.

And then the other reason I chose Singapore for silver is because it's only a country of like five and a half million people. The start-up culture is so strong that it's very tightly packed, there, and when you think about what makes a good start-up environment, it's lots of creativity in one spot that can bounce off itself. That's why I put Singapore for the silver medal.

Southwick: And finally, who's getting the gold?

Hinmon: It might be home-country bias, here, but I'm going with the U.S. and Silicon Valley.

Southwick: Yay!

Hinmon: Silicon Valley is proven, but there are start-up hubs all over the U.S. and it seems to just be getting stronger. Record levels of venture capital funding here makes it an incredibly attractive place. And the bottom line is I think that the U.S. has, more than many other countries, a risk-taking culture. It is OK to try and fail, here. The penalties for doing so are fairly minimal, but I really think it's becoming part of our fabric. Being an entrepreneur, now, is a lauded thing and that seems to be strengthening.

Southwick: All right, the final event! Cheese production.

Hinmon: The main event.

Southwick: In case anyone thought I was joking, Tony really did pick cheese. Why did you pick cheese production?

Arsta: I couldn't think of anything important to talk about, so I thought I'd talk about cheese, because I like cheese and I like to talk about it.

Brokamp: Don't we all?

Southwick: So, who gets the bronze?

Arsta: The bronze is France. Everybody knows French wines, French cheeses. France produces about 1,700 tons of cheese per year, which puts them well in the top three.

Southwick: Do you have a favorite French cheese?

Arsta: No.

Southwick: Do you love them all?

Arsta: I'm not too picky. I'm from Wisconsin, so I like Wisconsin cheese.

Southwick: Then you're kind of spoiling who's going to get the gold, here, I think. If we have any French listeners, they're probably a little upset that they got the bronze in cheese, but we'll keep moving. Who gets the silver?

Arsta: Silver goes to Germany, which actually produces 2,300 tons.

Southwick: The Muenster? No, not Muenster. What's a German cheese?

Arsta: None of these countries really stick to one kind. You've got a good mix of everything.

Southwick: Really? You can't come up with one traditional German cheese? You think you're going to put up the category cheese and I'm just going to throw softball wedges at you? No!

Hinmon: I'm starting to question this whole experiment.

Southwick: Engdahl, name one German cheese.

Engdahl: I like how you used wedges, there. That was good.

Southwick: Name one German cheese, Rick.

Engdahl: What was the matter with Muenster? Isn't that German?

Southwick: I thought Muenster was German, but I'm not the cheese...

Engdahl: It's English, isn't it? I think it's English.

Southwick: I'm not the cheese expert.

Arsta: Did you expect me to do research on this?

Engdahl: I think there's a Dusseldorf cheese.

Southwick: A Dusseldorf cheese? All right.

Engdahl: I'm just making that up.

Southwick: OK, Germany.

Arsta: They produce 2,300 tons of cheese per year, which is enough to put them up there. No. 1, the gold, goes to the U.S., which produces 5,500 tons of cheese per year. More than half of that comes from two states. California produces about 1,200 tons a year. Wisconsin produces 1,600. Each of those two states, alone, is almost as large as France and would be the fourth largest country in the world if they were stand-alone. There's a lot of cheese being produced in the U.S.

Hinmon: So, when Wisconsin stages its secession argument, it centers on cheese.

Southwick: We're taking our sharp cheddar with us. Can you name a favorite American cheese?

Arsta: My favorite is just cheddar. You don't need to go too detailed into it. Just a nice sharp cheddar.

Engdahl: By the way, Muenster is French, it turns out. Alsace-Lorraine. A tiny little town called Muenster. And German cheese is unrecognizable, except for maybe Limburger.

Southwick: Limburger! Stinky cheese. But you have also a country to watch, which is very surprising.

Arsta: Yes. I think an up-and-comer, here, although they are very far down the list right now is Indonesia. There's a lot of countries making big investments in Indonesia, right now, and the president of Indonesia has said he wants foreign investment to support the dairy industry. Nestle, Mondelez, and Cargill have all made large investments or all own farms in Indonesia.

The consumption is growing by about 8% per year and we're talking about a country that is fourth in the world in terms of population. There's a lot of room for growth, there. The production of all dairy products, in general, is expected to triple between 2012 and 2020, so we're already well along the path of production growing there. It's far down the list right now, but when you look at the consumption of cheese and dairy products in general, worldwide, you're looking essentially at North America and Europe.

Southwick: It sounds like you're bullish on cheese. What percentage of one's portfolio should they allocate to cheese?

Arsta: A pretty good size.

Southwick: What wedge? All right, guys. Thank you for joining us today for our second biennial Olympics. Do you want to stick around and talk a little bit more about the Olympics?

Hinmon: This has been so much fun, let's do it.

Southwick: Now Bryan, you have something really exciting to talk about, but before you do, you need to read this awesome disclosure.

Hinmon: You know, we have the best lawyers.

Southwick: We have the best disclosures. Rick is going to make this sound so great.

Hinmon: I very much appreciate that they keep me out of jail. All right. "Motley Fool Asset Management is a separate sister company of The Motley Fool, LLC. Motley Fool Asset Management launched The Fool 100 Exchange Traded Fund and its inception date is January 30th, 2018. In addition to normal risks associated with investing in equity securities, investments in the fund are subject to those risks specific to ETFs. Unlike other funds managed by MFAM, the fund is not actively managed, and we do not attempt to take defensive positions in any market conditions, including adverse markets. Likewise, it would not sell shares due to current or projected underperformance of a security, industry, or sector unless that sector is removed from the index or the selling of shares of that security is otherwise required upon a reconstitution of the index. As with all index funds, the performance of the fund and its index may differ from each other for a variety of reasons, including the operating expenses and portfolio transaction costs not incurred by the index. In addition, the fund may not be fully invested in the securities of the index at all times or may hold securities not included in the index. Finally, fund shares may trade at a material discount to NAV, and this risk is heightened in times of market volatility or periods of steep market decline. To the extent the fund invests more heavily in particular sectors of the economy, for example technology, its performance will be especially sensitive to developments that significantly affect those sectors. Similarly, the fund is non-diversified, which means that it may invest a high percentage of its assets in a limited number of securities and, as a result, gains or losses on a single stock may have greater impact on the fund. For these and other reasons, there is no guarantee the fund will achieve its stated objective. For more information on The Fool 100 ETF, please visit"

Southwick: That's how you do a disclosure!

Hinmon: They don't get any easier.

Southwick: Thank you! Thank you!

Arsta: That was fun for me.

Southwick: Hey, Bryan, what is it that you wanted to tell our listeners all about now that that's out of the way?

Hinmon: As cited in that disclosure, Motley Fool Asset Management just launched our first exchange-traded fund. This is a really exciting development for us because Alison, as you know, the purpose of The Motley Fool, our parent company, and Motley Fool Asset Management is to help the world invest better and so we are constantly looking for ways to live that purpose.

The Motley Fool 100 ETF is now, I think, the easiest way for an individual investor to get instant diversification and a simple way to buy the hundred largest, most liquid U.S. stocks to have The Motley Fool seal of approval.

Southwick: And where can people go to learn more about this? I guess they can probably go to their brokerage account today and buy shares of it if they wanted to.

Hinmon: It is actively trading. You can look up trading on Yahoo! Finance or Google Finance or your brokerage site. The ticker symbol is TMFC, the "C" being the Roman numeral for 100.

Southwick: Oh, I wondered why that was the ticker.

Hinmon: You know, we're clever. We're clever. It's really just the next evolution in investing. It's a low-cost vehicle and instant access to the great research that the newsletter teams in our publishing business are doing on a daily basis.

Southwick: And as their research evolves and changes, and as the index that basically the ETF follows changes, then that will be reflected in the ETF automatically with always dynamically The Motley Fool's top 100 recommendations.

Hinmon: Yes, the index is rebalanced quarterly. It's really pretty interesting. Tony's and my job in managing the ETF is really pretty simple, because all we are trying to do is mimic what happens in the index, and the index is a reflection of, like you said, those top-recommended stocks in the published newsletters or in The Fool IQ database, which is where the newsletter analysts put all their ideas. So, Tony and I don't have to do much thinking, here. We just replicate the hard work that's done by the astute Motley Fool analysts.

Arsta: It's my favorite kind of work.

Southwick: I was going to say. It leaves you more time to eat choco pies. I don't know what you do, Bryan, for fun.

Hinmon: Supervise eating choco pies.

Southwick: Did you make a lot of crumbs? Awesome! Well, thank you for coming on the show and thank you for talking to us about the ETF. Am I allowed to say I'm excited about it?

Hinmon: You can be excited about whatever you'd like to be excited about.

Southwick: I'm excited about this ETF because, again, it's a low-cost way, the lowest-cost way, I imagine, to get exposure to Motley Fool's recommendations, and we love low cost here at The Motley Fool. Are you guys up for sticking around for a little bit of Olympics trivia?

Hinmon: Sure, you got it.

Southwick: Now it's time to test your Olympic knowledge with some trivia, and we're going to do this with whoever gets closest without going over. All the answers are going to be numbers. All right? Are we ready? The very best Olympic sport is curling -- I think we can all agree -- and it's actually one of the oldest team sports in the history of the world. It's dominated by countries like Norway, Canada, and Switzerland, but it was actually invented in what century in Scotland?

Brokamp: Scotland. Which century?

Southwick: Which century? What have you got, Bro?

Brokamp: Fifteenth.

Hinmon: Twelfth.

Arsta: Sixteenth.

Engdahl: Seventh.

Southwick: I'm sorry. Rick's doing it, too!

Engdahl: You bet!

Southwick: It's actually the sixteenth century, so you got it on the nose.

Brokamp: Whoa. Good job!

Engdahl: I'm pretty sure it was the seventh. It just wasn't documented.

Southwick: Right?

Brokamp: The internet was slower back then.

Southwick: Yes, it's one of the oldest team sports in the world and to all of our listeners, if you ever get a chance to do it, I highly recommend it. And you guys, too. We're going to have a Motley Fool curling trip next year. Not this year. We're going to do it.

Curling is the slowest sport in the Olympics, reaching a top speed of 1.74 miles per hour. The fastest sport is downhill skiing. What is the world record speed for downhill skiing? In miles per hour.

Hinmon: Without going over.

Southwick: Without going over.

Arsta: Skiing is faster than luge?

Southwick: You'll find out in a little bit.

Engdahl: I thought skeleton was the fastest.

Southwick: You'll find out. Are we good? Who wants to go first?

Brokamp: I'll go. 112 miles per hour.

Hinmon: 92.

Arsta: 95.

Engdahl: One mile per hour.

Brokamp: The Price Is Right strategy.

Southwick: Tony got it again. It's 100.6 miles per hour. Most skiers max out at around 80-90 miles per hour. The second-fastest sport is the luge at 95.69 miles per hour, and the bobsled comes in at 95. Note: There is a skiing sport where you just go straight down a mountain. As you know, with downhill skiing you have to ski around gates and stuff. It's called speed skiing, but the Olympics decided that it's stupid. The record is an Italian who went 158 miles per hour.

Hinmon: Holy cow!

Brokamp: Wow! So I sorta could have won. I had the highest number there. I had 112.

Hinmon: You went over.

Brokamp: I went over for that one, but if we were talking about that one...

Hinmon: You would have won the stupid skiing award.

Brokamp: Anything related to stupid, I've got it.

Arsta: I think that's called drunk skiing.

Southwick: How many countries participated in the first Winter Olympics held in Chamonix, France in 1924? Bro, you want to go?

Brokamp: 17.

Hinmon: 36.

Arsta: Seven.

Engdahl: 12.

Southwick: Rick got it! It's 16.

Brokamp: Wow!

Hinmon: I'm getting destroyed!

Southwick: Basically, it was a lot of Europe, Canada, and the U.S. Medals were awarded in 16 events, including curling, skiing, etc. One you don't see anymore is a precursor to the biathlon. It was called military patrol, and it was a team sport that combined cross-country skiing, mountaineering, and rifle shooting. There are 93 countries participating in PyeongChang this year, including one very oiled Tongan.

Brokamp: I've seen his picture.

Southwick: This year the gold medal is comprised of 580 grams of silver and just six grams of gold plating. How much is this worth in scrap metal?

Arsta: You said 580 and six?

Southwick: 580 in silver and six in gold. And I checked this, this morning.

Brokamp: I missed the unit.

Southwick: Grams.

Brokamp: Grams.

Southwick: Bro, what do you have?

Brokamp: 999.

Hinmon: 400.

Arsta: 1200.

Engdahl: 1201.

Southwick: We're saying dollars, right? Bryan got it.

Brokamp: Woo! Good job.

Southwick: $574.94. 24 carat gold is at $43.5 a gram and silver is at almost $17 a gram. If you were to auction off a medal, however, you're going to get a lot more. One of the "Miracle on Ice" 1980 ice hockey gold medals was awarded to Mark Wells. It sold for $310,000 in 2010.

Brokamp: Oof!

Southwick: One of the four Olympic gold medals won by Jesse Owens in 1936 was snapped up for a record $1.47 million by the billionaire investor Ron Burkle in 2013. Generally speaking, medals from the Summer Olympics bring in $5,000 for a bronze on up to $10,000 for a gold. Winter Olympic medals are more rare because of fewer sports and they bring in $10,000 to $30,000. Tony may know what this is, because Tony has been to Korea.

Arsta: Oh, my favorite! I buy boxes of those every time.

Southwick: Do you guys know what this is?

Brokamp: It's a Choco Pie.

Southwick: This is a Choco Pie. It is essentially a moon pie. We would know it more as a moon pie. It's like two cookies with marshmallow in the middle and it's all coated by chocolate. Are you ready? This treat, called a Choco Pie, will cost you $0.15 in South Korea. How much does it cost on the North Korean black market?

Hinmon: So, we're converting to dollars.

Southwick: U.S. dollars.

Brokamp: U.S. dollars. That's a tough one, because they don't have any money. How much could they afford to pay? I'm going to go with $99.

Southwick: Really?

Brokamp: Yeah. OK. Bryan?

Hinmon: That sounds absurd.

Arsta: Who could afford that?

Hinmon: $30.50.

Arsta: I have $2.

Engdahl: I'll go $7.

Southwick: Uh, Rick got it! 10 dollars.

Hinmon: Choco Pie inflation.

Southwick: This humble snack cake -- again it's made in South Korea -- became popular in North Korea when as many as 52,000 were employed in South Korea at factories near the border. They would wake up, they would walk a really long way, go work in a South Korean factory and go home. They weren't allowed to be paid in overtime, so instead they received choco pies, which they would take home to their family and sell on the black market. They were banned in 2014 because it was from South Korea and people in North Korea were loving it too much.

Again, they were banned in 2014. They would cost you about $10. This was compared to the average annual income in North Korea at the time, which was roughly $1,000 a year. Just this last December, a North Korean man was shot while trying to defect to South Korea. Did you hear about this? He underwent two major surgeries, barely survived, and when he woke up the first thing he wanted to eat was a choco pie, and the company has promised him a lifetime supply.

Arsta: They are delicious.

Southwick: Well, you get to find out. Do you want to try it?

Arsta: I've had so many of them.

Brokamp: I gave them up for Lent, so I'll let these fine gentlemen have one.

Southwick: You gave up what for Lent?

Brokamp: Not specifically chocolate pie.

Hinmon: Tony knows quite a bit about choco pies.

Arsta: The company that makes choco pies is a company called Orion. A couple of years ago they launched some banana-flavored choco pies. I had some shipped to me from Korea just so I could try it and call that research.

Brokamp: Did The Motley Fool pay for that?

Arsta: No.

Hinmon: That's feet-on-the-street research. That's the kind of stuff we do at Motley Fool Asset Management.

Southwick: So, this Choco Pie was actually a Valentine by a kid in Hanna's class. When I saw it I said, "I'm taking that in tomorrow!" I knew all about the Choco Pie stuff. Sorry, my voice is still really sick. Our listeners probably picked up on that.

Engdahl: Is Hanna still crying?

Southwick: No, she didn't mind. I was like, Hanna, can I take this to work, and she was like, "OK!" So, that is the choco pie.

Hinmon: For the win.

Southwick: For the win. Actually, do we have a clear winner?

Brokamp: Tony and Rick did pretty good.

Southwick: I think Rick got two and Tony got two. Bryan got one.

Brokamp: I got nothing. Big old goose egg.

Southwick: Big old zippy. All right. That's the show. Traveling Uncle 50 Billion Cents sent us our first card from New Jersey. I can't believe it took us that long to get one from New Jersey. Apparently, the Statue of Liberty is in the Garden State. Who knew? OK, Rick knew.

The show is edited perseveringly by Rick Engdahl. Our email is I think we have a mailbag episode coming up, so feel free to get your questions in. I think we're probably going to have an analyst, like maybe Jason Moser, join us to help tackle some of your investing questions as well. Anyway, again, email is For Robert Brokamp, I'm Alison Southwick. Stay Foolish everybody!

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned, Inc. Stock Quote, Inc.
$116.46 (3.58%) $4.02
Alibaba Group Holding Limited Stock Quote
Alibaba Group Holding Limited
$117.62 (4.92%) $5.51

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 06/25/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.