Category Archives: Daily Top Ten

Topley’s Top 10 – February 15, 2023

1. Biggest Tail Risk 2023 Poll

Marketwatch The chartAs JPM pointed out, the market is behaving as if a war is not happening. Of course, it is over there, and really in the bull’s-eye more for Europe than the U.S., which has China and balloons to worry about. But here’s a chart from that Bank of America survey of fund managers that offers some food for thought.

It shows that sticky, high inflation remains the biggest tail risk for investors, that is an event with a low probability of happening, but if it does, the damages could be outsize for markets. The second-biggest is geopolitics, and that’s as doubts grow of a peace accord between Ukraine and Russia in 2023 (expectations now down to 50% from 63% in January).

2. More Seasonality Data

Nasdaq Dorsey Wright-In the table below we looked at all January returns since 1928 where the S&P 500 (SPX) gained at least 5% and then looked at how the market performed the following month. Interestingly, February was positive 64% of the time, which is above the 57% original batting average, and posted an average (and median) return of about 1%, which is also well above the average February return of 0.17%. There are several notable outliers, like in 1946 when the market gained over 7% in January and then lost nearly 7% in February, or in 1934 when the market returned 11% in January and then fell about 3.5% the following month. However, in the aggregate, it appears that seasonality could still be acting as a tailwind here.

3. We are Coming Out of Long Period of Bearish Sentiment in AAII Bull/Bear Measure.

LPL Research

4. The U.S. Stock Market Outperformance Over Europe was Mostly FAANG


BCA Research – The Web 2.0 Bubble Is Bursting. Here’s What It Means

5. FAANG Employee Growth Since 2018 Massive…Layoffs Rounding Error.

Paayal Zaveri Business Insider

6. 10-Year Yield Trades to 200day then Bounces Higher.

7. Dow Industrials and Transports vs. 2021 Highs

8. America’s Priciest Neighborhoods Are Changing as the Ultra-Rich Move to Florida

ByAlexandre TanziFelipe MarquesMichael Sasso and Amanda Albright

9. More than 1 in 6 Americans now 65 or older as U.S. continues graying

Story by Linda Searing More than 1 in 6 Americans now 65 or older as U.S. continues graying© Elizabeth von Oehsen/The Washington Post; iStock

Some 17 percent of people living in the United States, or more than 1 in 6, were 65 or older in 2020, according to a report from the Administration on Aging.

That represents 55.7 million people, an increase of 15.2 million (38 percent) of people 65 and above since 2010, compared with just 2 percent growth in the under-65 population. It also reflects a consistent increase in the nation’s older population since 1900, when there were 3.1 million Americans 65 and older (4 percent of the population).

View on Watch

The report projects a climb to roughly 80.8 million residents 65 and older by 2040, more than double the number in 2000. It also predicts a doubling of the number of even older residents by 2040, with the count of those 85 and older expected to grow from 6.7 million in 2020 to 14.4 million by 2040. In 2020, there were nearly 105,000 residents 100 or older.

Much of the aging of the U.S. population stems from the post-World War II baby boom — the period from 1946 to 1964. The report says that nearly half (46 percent) of baby boomers are now 65 and older. Based primarily on data from the Census Bureau, the National Center for Health Statistics and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the report offers a statistical profile of the country’s aging population. For instance, arthritis is the most common chronic condition in the age group, affecting 47 percent of those 65 and older. About a fourth have some type of cancer, and a fifth have diabetes. Also, 9 percent of those 65 and older smoke, 30 percent are obese, 28 percent have cognitive issues, and 95 percent got at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. For this age group, 14 percent of expenditures are health-related (compared with 8 percent for all consumers).

The report also includes information on living arrangements, marital status, racial and ethnic composition, geographic distribution, education and more.

This article is part of The Post’s “Big Number” series, which takes a brief look at the statistical aspect of health issues. Additional information and relevant research are available through the hyperlinks.

10. Jalen Hurts-In Defeat, an Appreciation-WSJ

WSJ By Jason Gay

I’ll admit this isn’t the ordinary move—an appreciation of the losing quarterback on the morning after the Super Bowl. The usual drill is to rudely step over the losing team, and wrap our love and superlatives around the champions. Within minutes of the confetti drop, the loser is relegated to history. By sunrise, it’s like they didn’t exist.

But I want to write a bit about Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts, because he didn’t play like a loser at all Sunday in Arizona. He played like someone who very much deserved to win—until he and the Eagles didn’t.

In the somber postgame, Hurts made a comment that signaled what this 24-year-old leader is all about.

“You either win or you learn, that’s how I feel,” Hurts said.

It’s a remix of a famous Nelson Mandela quote—I never lose, I win or learn—and I think every coach in America just took out a pen and copied that down. You either win or learn. In how many locker rooms will that bit of healthy wisdom be deployed in over the coming month? I’m going to drop it on my own children after youth soccer losses.

This is the person Hurts is. By now we all know the basics of his story—the acclaimed quarterback from Texas who ascended to the heights of college football as a starter at Alabama, then painfully lost his job in real time in the biggest game of the year.

A season on the bench later, Hurts found his way to the University of Oklahoma, where he ascended to a starring role again. As an NFL prospect, however, Hurts was shortchanged, lacking in those goofy analyst intangibles like “arm talent.”

He went to the Eagles in the second round of the 2020 draft. He became the starter by the end of his rookie season. Of course he did. He is beloved in Philly, his underdog persistence a metaphor for a proud city.

Despite his track record, Hurts showed up at this Super Bowl as the game’s clear No. 2 star. On the other sideline was Patrick Mahomes, the reigning two-time NFL MVP, a thrill ride package of a quarterback who had already won a ring. Mahomes, too, had been shortchanged by some experts as a draft prospect, but so much greatness has happened since, it’s been forgotten.

Every other active quarterback on earth is second billing to Patrick Mahomes. But had I told you Sunday morning that one quarterback would throw for a glittering 304 yards and a touchdown, plus rush for 70 yards and three touchdowns—a spectacular, historic performance—would you have picked Hurts, or Mahomes?

It was Hurts’s night, almost the entire night. He made the long throws and the short throws; he dazzled with long runs and short plunges, those outrageous training camp squats and dead lifts proving their worth for every single inch. It was the type of performance that made you want to find every skeptical draft analyst and press their nose into the stat page:

Do you see this? Look at this! No quarterback in 57 Super Bowls has ever played a game like this. 

Even a nightmare fumble in the first half—the Philly quarterback dropped and booted the football straight into the mitts of a Chiefs defender, who scored—didn’t unravel Hurts’s composure. He remained steady and got Philadelphia settled. As Mahomes winced with a reinjured ankle, Hurts looked like he’d been here before, many times.

Had the Eagles prevailed, the MVP was a lock. Then what happened happened. Mahomes turned back into Mahomes, and the Chiefs surged furiously back to take a late lead. Hurts slipped on a last-second Hail Mary—that Super Bowl turf was an unmitigated disaster—and that was that.

Hurts apologized to his team after the game. It was utterly unnecessary—Philadelphia’s failures were almost entirely on the defensive end—but here’s his explanation:

“I don’t do this to be loved. I don’t do this to be hated. I don’t do this to seek anyone else’s approval. I do it for the guys in the locker room. I do it for all the time that we’ve invested into this.”

Jalen Hurts rushed for three touchdowns and passed for a touchdown in Super Bowl LVII.PHOTO: KIRBY LEE/USA TODAY SPORTS

The two quarterbacks bumped into each other late in the corridor outside the locker room—a triumphant Mahomes still in his Chiefs uniform; a defeated Hurts already in street clothes for the bus.

Mahomes knew: This scene could easily have been reversed.

“The way he stepped up on this stage, ran and threw the ball and did whatever his team needed to win, that was a special performance,” Mahomes said of Hurts. “I don’t want it to get lost in the loss.”

Hurts didn’t win. He will learn.

“The beautiful part about it is everyone experiences different pains, everyone experiences different agonies of life,” Hurts said. “You decide if you want to learn from it. You decide if you want that to be a teachable moment. I know I do.”

I’ve nothing more to add. Nothing in football can be promised, but I’m close to certain Jalen Hurts will be back.


Topley’s Top 10 – February 14, 2023

1. AFC Victory and Stock Market History

Nasdaq Dorsey Wright Were You Aware …?As longtime readers of this report are aware, there is an unofficial market indicator known as the Super Bowl Indicator, first introduced in 1978 by Leonard Koppett, a sportswriter for The New York Times. The indicator suggests that if a team from the American Football Conference (AFC) wins, then there is a gloomy outlook for the stock market, defined by the S&P 500 Index (SPX) for the rest of the year. Conversely, if a team that was in the NFL before the NFL/AFL merger OR a team from the National Football Conference (NFC) wins, it will be a positive year for the market.

On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs will represent the AFC for the third time in the past four years and the Philadelphia Eagles will represent the NFC for the first time since 2018. After the Eagles won that Super Bowl in 2018, the SPX ended the year with an annual decline of -6.24%, marking a false reading from the Super Bowl Indicator. The Chief’s last victory in 2020 also proved to be a false indicator, as the S&P 500 ended that year up over 16%. Over the last 20 years, this ‘Indicator’ has seen an equal split between right and wrong indications, with the last correct “signal” occurring with the Buccaneers’ win in 2021. However, going back to Super Bowl I, it has been correct about 70% of the time. Pure coincidence? Almost certainly. But if you don’t have an allegiance with either team playing Sunday, you may want to cheer for the Eagles to take home the Lombardi trophy in hopes this will lead to positive domestic equity returns throughout the rest of the year.

2. JP Morgan Handicaps CPI Print

3. Slowing Growth at FAANG +

@Charlie Bilello The trend of seemingly unrelenting growth has come to a screeching halt, as evidenced by the latest revenue numbers…
  • Tesla: slowest growth rate since 2020
  • Amazon: 3rd slowest growth rate in company history
  • Microsoft: slowest growth rate since 2017
  • Netflix: slowest growth rate in company history
  • Google: 3rd slowest growth rate in company history
  • Facebook: 2nd slowest growth rate in company history
  • Apple: slowest growth rate since 2016

4. February Seasonality

Dave Lutz Jones Trading…The second half of February historically can be troublesome for stocks – After the great start to this year, some typical seasonal weakness wouldn’t be all that surprising.

5. Short-Dated Options Holding at Record Levels (speculation)

Equities: Short-dated options volume is holding at record levels.

Source: Goldman Sachs; Simon White, Bloomberg Markets Live Blog

6. Another Stock Not Matching Up with Imminent Recession

Recession? BLDR Manufacturer and Supplier of Building Materials Approaching All-Time Highs

7. Natural Gas ETF Seeing Massive Inflows.

Advisor Perspectives Blog Gas ETF Gains $518 Million in Flows Despite Price at Record Low by Isabelle Lee, Vildana Hajric, 2/13/23

Investors continued to increase their bets on two exchange-traded funds tied to natural gas as prices for the heating fuel show signs of bottoming following a seven-week selloff that sent the commodity plunging more than 60%.

The $1.1 billion ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Natural Gas (ticker BOIL) saw $146 million in inflows in the latest session, which increased the fund’s assets by 15% to its highest level in at least a year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The fund has seen eight straight days of inflows, amounting to $517.8 million, even though its price is hovering at its record low.

Meanwhile, the $1 billion United States Natural Gas Fund LP (UNG) also saw investors pile in cash consistently during the month of January — barring one session — pushing the fund’s assets to above the billion-dollar mark, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its price, too, has dropped significantly since the start of the year.

Natural gas futures have nearly halved this year to the lowest levels since 2020 as abnormally mild winter temperatures have eroded US demand for heating. A prolonged shutdown at a major Texas export facility in Freeport has also weighed on prices, while signs that the terminal could resume shipments Feb. 11 have provided some support to the commodity this week. The Freeport LNG has the capacity to export roughly 2% of US daily gas production.\


UNG Natural Gas Fund Breaks Thru Lows

8. India has Found a Major Deposit of Lithium

BY Diego Lasarte-Quartz  The Indian government announced on Thursday, Feb. 10 that 5.9 million tons of lithium, a crucial mineral for the manufacturing of electric vehicles and solar panels, had been discovered in the provinces of Jammu and Kashmir.

It was the first major discovery of lithium in India, with the only other reserves being a small deposit of 1600 tons discovered in Karnataka two years ago. Up to this point, the country had depended on Australia, Chile, and Argentina for any imports of lithium needed for its manufacturing sector.

How much lithium does India have? (

9. Spirits Revenue Passes Beer

Chartr The Super Bowl’s commercials are almost as famous as the football itself, and beer brands have long been the dominant force when it comes to the big game’s advertising. However, new figures from the Distilled Spirits Council, a spirits-industry group, shows it is spirit-makers that have the latest bragging rights, as spirit supplier revenues surpassed beer for the first time last year.

High spirits  Indeed, liquor suppliers raked in $37.6bn in 2022, a 42% share of the total US alcohol market, helped by a 36% surge in sales for pre-mixed cocktails, along with rising demand for tequila and American whiskey. The sector has been on a 13-year growth spurt, gaining market share every year, taking it now past beer, which as recently as 2000 had 58% of the market.

America’s love for a cold one isn’t fading, but the latest data could be a sign of where things are heading as cocktail culture grows and bar-goers look for variety. Spirits may soon be a staple of those Super Bowl ads too.

10. The Neuroscience of Trust

Management behaviors that foster employee engagement by Paul J. Zak

Summary.   Managers have tried various strategies and perks to boost employee engagement—all with little impact on long-term retention and performance. But now, neuroscience offers some answers. Through his research on the brain chemical oxytocin—shown to facilitate…more

Companies are twisting themselves into knots to empower and challenge their employees. They’re anxious about the sad state of engagement, and rightly so, given the value they’re losing. Consider Gallup’s meta-analysis of decades’ worth of data: It shows that high engagement—defined largely as having a strong connection with one’s work and colleagues, feeling like a real contributor, and enjoying ample chances to learn—consistently leads to positive outcomes for both individuals and organizations. The rewards include higher productivity, better-quality products, and increased profitability.

So it’s clear that creating an employee-centric culture can be good for business. But how do you do that effectively? Culture is typically designed in an ad hoc way around random perks like gourmet meals or “karaoke Fridays,” often in thrall to some psychological fad. And despite the evidence that you can’t buy higher job satisfaction, organizations still use golden handcuffs to keep good employees in place. While such efforts might boost workplace happiness in the short term, they fail to have any lasting effect on talent retention or performance.

In my research I’ve found that building a culture of trust is what makes a meaningful difference. Employees in high-trust organizations are more productive, have more energy at work, collaborate better with their colleagues, and stay with their employers longer than people working at low-trust companies. They also suffer less chronic stress and are happier with their lives, and these factors fuel stronger performance.

Leaders understand the stakes—at least in principle. In its 2016 global CEO survey, PwC reported that 55% of CEOs think that a lack of trust is a threat to their organization’s growth. But most have done little to increase trust, mainly because they aren’t sure where to start. In this article I provide a science-based framework that will help them.

About a decade ago, in an effort to understand how company culture affects performance, I began measuring the brain activity of people while they worked. The neuroscience experiments I have run reveal eight ways that leaders can effectively create and manage a culture of trust. I’ll describe those strategies and explain how some organizations are using them to good effect. But first, let’s look at the science behind the framework.

What’s Happening in the Brain

Back in 2001 I derived a mathematical relationship between trust and economic performance. Though my paper on this research described the social, legal, and economic environments that cause differences in trust, I couldn’t answer the most basic question: Why do two people trust each other in the first place? Experiments around the world have shown that humans are naturally inclined to trust others—but don’t always. I hypothesized that there must be a neurologic signal that indicates when we should trust someone. So I started a long-term research program to see if that was true.

How Trust Creates Joy

Experiments show that having a sense of higher purpose stimulates oxytocin production, as does trust. Trust and …

I knew that in rodents a brain chemical called oxytocin had been shown to signal that another animal was safe to approach. I wondered if that was the case in humans, too. No one had looked into it, so I decided to investigate. To measure trust and its reciprocation (trustworthiness) objectively, my team used a strategic decision task developed by researchers in the lab of Vernon Smith, a Nobel laureate in economics. In our experiment, a participant chooses an amount of money to send to a stranger via computer, knowing that the money will triple in amount and understanding that the recipient may or may not share the spoils. Therein lies the conflict: The recipient can either keep all the cash or be trustworthy and share it with the sender.

To measure oxytocin levels during the exchange, my colleagues and I developed a protocol to draw blood from people’s arms before and immediately after they made decisions to trust others (if they were senders) or to be trustworthy (if they were receivers). Because we didn’t want to influence their behavior, we didn’t tell participants what the study was about, even though there was no way they could consciously control how much oxytocin they produced. We found that the more money people received (denoting greater trust on the part of senders), the more oxytocin their brains produced. And the amount of oxytocin recipients produced predicted how trustworthy—that is, how likely to share the money—they would be.

Since the brain generates messaging chemicals all the time, it was possible we had simply observed random changes in oxytocin. To prove that it causes trust, we safely administered doses of synthetic oxytocin into living human brains (through a nasal spray). Comparing participants who received a real dose with those who received a placebo, we found that giving people 24 IU of synthetic oxytocin more than doubled the amount of money they sent to a stranger. Using a variety of psychological tests, we showed that those receiving oxytocin remained cognitively intact. We also found that they did not take excessive risks in a gambling task, so the increase in trust was not due to neural disinhibition. Oxytocin appeared to do just one thing—reduce the fear of trusting a stranger.

Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 40% less burnout.

My group then spent the next 10 years running additional experiments to identify the promoters and inhibitors of oxytocin. This research told us why trust varies across individuals and situations. For example, high stress is a potent oxytocin inhibitor. (Most people intuitively know this: When they are stressed out, they do not interact with others effectively.) We also discovered that oxytocin increases a person’s empathy, a useful trait for social creatures trying to work together. We were starting to develop insights that could be used to design high-trust cultures, but to confirm them, we had to get out of the lab.

So we obtained permission to run experiments at numerous field sites where we measured oxytocin and stress hormones and then assessed employees’ productivity and ability to innovate. This research even took me to the rain forest of Papua New Guinea, where I measured oxytocin in indigenous people to see if the relationship between oxytocin and trust is universal. (It is.) Drawing on all these findings, I created a survey instrument that quantifies trust within organizations by measuring its constituent factors (described in the next section). That survey has allowed me to study several thousand companies and develop a framework for managers.

How to Manage for Trust

Through the experiments and the surveys, I identified eight management behaviors that foster trust. These behaviors are measurable and can be managed to improve performance.

Recognize excellence.

The neuroscience shows that recognition has the largest effect on trust when it occurs immediately after a goal has been met, when it comes from peers, and when it’s tangible, unexpected, personal, and public. Public recognition not only uses the power of the crowd to celebrate successes, but also inspires others to aim for excellence. And it gives top performers a forum for sharing best practices, so others can learn from them.

Barry-Wehmiller Companies, a supplier of manufacturing and technology services, is a high-trust organization that effectively recognizes top performers in the 80 production-automation manufacturers it owns. CEO Bob Chapman and his team started a program in which employees at each plant nominate an outstanding peer annually. The winner is kept secret until announced to everyone, and the facility is closed on the day of the celebration. The chosen employee’s family and close friends are invited to attend (without tipping off the winner), and the entire staff joins them. Plant leaders kick off the ceremony by reading the nominating letters about the winner’s contributions and bring it to a close with a favorite perk—the keys to a sports car the winner gets to drive for a week. Though the recognition isn’t immediate, it is tangible, unexpected, and both personal and public. And by having employees help pick the winners, Barry-Wehmiller gives everyone, not just the people at the top, a say in what constitutes excellence. All this seems to be working well for the company: It has grown from a single plant in 1987 to a conglomerate that brings in $2.4 billion in annual revenue today.

Induce “challenge stress.”

When a manager assigns a team a difficult but achievable job, the moderate stress of the task releases neurochemicals, including oxytocin and adrenocorticotropin, that intensify people’s focus and strengthen social connections. When team members need to work together to reach a goal, brain activity coordinates their behaviors efficiently. But this works only if challenges are attainable and have a concrete end point; vague or impossible goals cause people to give up before they even start. Leaders should check in frequently to assess progress and adjust goals that are too easy or out of reach.

The need for achievability is reinforced by Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile’s findings on the power of progress: When Amabile analyzed 12,000 diary entries of employees from a variety of industries, she found that 76% of people reported that their best days involved making progress toward goals.

Give people discretion in how they do their work.

Once employees have been trained, allow them, whenever possible, to manage people and execute projects in their own way. Being trusted to figure things out is a big motivator: A 2014 Citigroup and LinkedIn survey found that nearly half of employees would give up a 20% raise for greater control over how they work.

Autonomy also promotes innovation, because different people try different approaches. Oversight and risk management procedures can help minimize negative deviations while people experiment. And postproject debriefs allow teams to share how positive deviations came about so that others can build on their success.

Often, younger or less experienced employees will be your chief innovators, because they’re less constrained by what “usually” works. That’s how progress was made in self-driving cars. After five years and a significant investment by the U.S. government in the big three auto manufacturers, no autonomous military vehicles had been produced. Changing tack, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency offered all comers a large financial prize for a self-driving car that could complete a course in the Mojave Desert in less than 10 hours. Two years later a group of engineering students from Stanford University won the challenge—and $2 million.

Enable job crafting.

When companies trust employees to choose which projects they’ll work on, people focus their energies on what they care about most. As a result, organizations like the Morning Star Company—the largest producer of tomato products in the world—have highly productive colleagues who stay with the company year after year. At Morning Star (a company I’ve worked with), people don’t even have job titles; they self-organize into work groups. Gaming software company Valve gives employees desks on wheels and encourages them to join projects that seem “interesting” and “rewarding.” But they’re still held accountable. Clear expectations are set when employees join a new group, and 360-degree evaluations are done when projects wrap up, so that individual contributions can be measured.

Share information broadly.

Only 40% of employees report that they are well informed about their company’s goals, strategies, and tactics. This uncertainty about the company’s direction leads to chronic stress, which inhibits the release of oxytocin and undermines teamwork. Openness is the antidote. Organizations that share their “flight plans” with employees reduce uncertainty about where they are headed and why. Ongoing communication is key: A 2015 study of 2.5 million manager-led teams in 195 countries found that workforce engagement improved when supervisors had some form of daily communication with direct reports.

Social media optimization company Buffer goes further than most by posting its salary formula online for everyone to see. Want to know what CEO Joel Gascoigne makes? Just look it up. That’s openness.

Intentionally build relationships.

The brain network that oxytocin activates is evolutionarily old. This means that the trust and sociality that oxytocin enables are deeply embedded in our nature. Yet at work we often get the message that we should focus on completing tasks, not on making friends. Neuroscience experiments by my lab show that when people intentionally build social ties at work, their performance improves. A Google study similarly found that managers who “express interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being” outperform others in the quality and quantity of their work.

Yes, even engineers need to socialize. A study of software engineers in Silicon Valley found that those who connected with others and helped them with their projects not only earned the respect and trust of their peers but were also more productive themselves. You can help people build social connections by sponsoring lunches, after-work parties, and team-building activities. It may sound like forced fun, but when people care about one another, they perform better because they don’t want to let their teammates down. Adding a moderate challenge to the mix (white-water rafting counts) will speed up the social-bonding process.

Facilitate whole-person growth.

High-trust workplaces help people develop personally as well as professionally. Numerous studies show that acquiring new work skills isn’t enough; if you’re not growing as a human being, your performance will suffer. High-trust companies adopt a growth mindset when developing talent. Some even find that when managers set clear goals, give employees the autonomy to reach them, and provide consistent feedback, the backward-looking annual performance review is no longer necessary. Instead, managers and direct reports can meet more frequently to focus on professional and personal growth. This is the approach taken by Accenture and Adobe Systems. Managers can ask questions like, “Am I helping you get your next job?” to probe professional goals. Assessing personal growth includes discussions about work-life integration, family, and time for recreation and reflection. Investing in the whole person has a powerful effect on engagement and retention.

Show vulnerability.

Leaders in high-trust workplaces ask for help from colleagues instead of just telling them to do things. My research team has found that this stimulates oxytocin production in others, increasing their trust and cooperation. Asking for help is a sign of a secure leader—one who engages everyone to reach goals. Jim Whitehurst, CEO of open-source software maker Red Hat, has said, “I found that being very open about the things I did not know actually had the opposite effect than I would have thought. It helped me build credibility.” Asking for help is effective because it taps into the natural human impulse to cooperate with others.

The Return on Trust

After identifying and measuring the managerial behaviors that sustain trust in organizations, my team and I tested the impact of trust on business performance. We did this in several ways. First, we gathered evidence from a dozen companies that have launched policy changes to raise trust (most were motivated by a slump in their profits or market share). Second, we conducted the field experiments mentioned earlier: In two businesses where trust varies by department, my team gave groups of employees specific tasks, gauged their productivity and innovation in those tasks, and gathered very detailed data—including direct measures of brain activity—showing that trust improves performance. And third, with the help of an independent survey firm, we collected data in February 2016 from a nationally representative sample of 1,095 working adults in the U.S. The findings from all three sources were similar, but I will focus on what we learned from the national data since it’s generalizable.

By surveying the employees about the extent to which firms practiced the eight behaviors, we were able to calculate the level of trust for each organization. (To avoid priming respondents, we never used the word “trust” in surveys.) The U.S. average for organizational trust was 70% (out of a possible 100%). Fully 47% of respondents worked in organizations where trust was below the average, with one firm scoring an abysmally low 15%. Overall, companies scored lowest on recognizing excellence and sharing information (67% and 68%, respectively). So the data suggests that the average U.S. company could enhance trust by improving in these two areas—even if it didn’t improve in the other six.

The effect of trust on self-reported work performance was powerful. Respondents whose companies were in the top quartile indicated they had 106% more energy and were 76% more engaged at work than respondents whose firms were in the bottom quartile. They also reported being 50% more productive—which is consistent with our objective measures of productivity from studies we have done with employees at work. Trust had a major impact on employee loyalty as well: Compared with employees at low-trust companies, 50% more of those working at high-trust organizations planned to stay with their employer over the next year, and 88% more said they would recommend their company to family and friends as a place to work.

My team also found that those working in high-trust companies enjoyed their jobs 60% more, were 70% more aligned with their companies’ purpose, and felt 66% closer to their colleagues. And a high-trust culture improves how people treat one another and themselves. Compared with employees at low-trust organizations, the high-trust folks had 11% more empathy for their workmates, depersonalized them 41% less often, and experienced 40% less burnout from their work. They felt a greater sense of accomplishment, as well—41% more.

Again, this analysis supports the findings from our qualitative and scientific studies. But one new—and surprising—thing we learned is that high-trust companies pay more. Employees earn an additional $6,450 a year, or 17% more, at companies in the highest quartile of trust, compared with those in the lowest quartile. The only way this can occur in a competitive labor market is if employees in high-trust companies are more productive and innovative.


Former Herman Miller CEO Max De Pree once said, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant.”

The experiments I have run strongly support this view. Ultimately, you cultivate trust by setting a clear direction, giving people what they need to see it through, and getting out of their way.

It’s not about being easy on your employees or expecting less from them. High-trust companies hold people accountable but without micromanaging them. They treat people like responsible adults.

A version of this article appeared in the January–February 2017 issue (pp.84–90) of Harvard Business Review.

Read more on Employee engagement or related topics NeuroscienceTrustworthiness and Managerial behavior


Topley’s Top 10 – February 13, 2023

1. A Recession Indicator is Rising Inventories to Sales…See 2000, 2008 and Covid….Today We have a Low Number.

2. Another Recession Indicator is Rising Unemployment ….U.S. Unemployment Rate Record Lows


3. Margin Debt Update …Yearly Percentage Change Back to 2000 and 2008 Levels

4. Federal Debt as % of GDP Hits WW II Highs

JP Morgan Guide to the Markets

5. U.S. government borrowing costs are up 41% in the first four months of the fiscal year

According to Congressional Budget Office, the Treasury’s estimated interest spending in the first four months of this fiscal year is $198B — up 41% from last year’s $140B. The increase in spending is attributed to the interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.


  • The CBO figure is released just as Congress debates over raising U.S.’s ~$31.4T debt ceiling. 
  • Republicans and some economists are concerned about increased debt levels and say government spending needs to be reduced. 
  • On the other hand, Democrats and other economists believe the government’s borrowing costs are reasonable relative to the size of the economy and that raising taxes will help offset the deficit. 
  • Per CBO’s last year projections, net interest on the debt as a percentage of the U.S. GDP would roughly double from 1.6% in 2022 to 3.3% in 2032.

6. Inflation Expectations Turning Back Up

Torsten Slok, Ph.D.Chief Economist, Partner Apollo Global Management

7. Big Tech Layoffs vs. Pandemic Hiring

Scott Galloway Blog -No Mercy No Malice

8. Outsourcing Moving Away from China….Top Destinations for Redirection

Capital Group Research

9. USA Today 3.5 tons of cocaine worth over $300 million discovered floating in the Pacific Ocean

Orlando Mayorquin

Authorities in New Zealand announced that they had intercepted a 3½-ton shipment of cocaine afloat in a remote swath of the Pacific Ocean. 

“There is no doubt this discovery lands a major financial blow right from the South American producers through to the distributors of this product,” New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said in a news release Wednesday. “This is one of the single biggest seizures of illegal drugs by authorities in this country.” 

No arrests had been made, but customs officials pointed to the magnitude of the bust, estimating the cocaine’s value at more than $315 million. 

The drugs were left by smugglers at a floating drop point, officials said. The size of the shipment, split into 81 bales, suggested to authorities that it was headed to Australia. A Royal New Zealand Navy ship hauled the seized narcotics on a six-day trip to New Zealand, where the drugs will be destroyed, officials said. 

The seizure, authorities said, was part of an operation dubbed Operation Hydros that began in December.

New Zealand authorities said they would continue to investigate the case and monitoring “suspicious” vessels in collaboration with international law enforcement partners.

Contributing: The Associated Press

10. Doing Less Is Hard, Especially When We’re Overwhelmed

By Yael Schonbrun and Leidy Klotz

Article Found at Abnormal Returns Blog.

Bouncing on a medicine ball while loudly shushing, one of us (Leidy) was trying to get his newborn back to sleep. Keeping hold of his crying son, while maintaining the rhythm, Leidy heroically wriggled a hand free to his tablet nearby, where he searched for something, anything, that could help him prevent another sleepless night like this one. Behold! A contraption that could do the shushing and bouncing for him. Part crib and part amusement-park ride, this marvel of modern engineering even offered a figure-eight movement setting—in both directions!

Despite owning two basinets, four swaddling cloths, a custom rocking chair, and a white noise machine worthy of Wirecutter, Leidy didn’t reach for something he already owned that could address his infant’s middle-of-the-night distress. Instead, he decided to add.

If Leidy’s frantic wee hours addition sounds familiar, you are not alone. Solving problems by adding is an instinct in parenting, and in most everything else. Leidy’s research and book, Subtract, describe how when we try to improve things, our first thought is nearly always about what we can add, whether it’s an additional spice for your stew, a new folder for your junk mail, or a $250 sleep contraption. The problem is that jumping right to “more” means we fail to consider “less.” Even when less would be a far better choice.

Jumping right to “more” means we fail to consider “less.” Even when less would be a far better choice.

But shouldn’t parenting and other overwhelming situations naturally prompt us to consider subtracting? It sure would be nice, as well as highly logical, if subtraction got easier the more we felt overwhelmed. If that were the case, parents might be subtraction superstars. Sadly, it’s not. Parents’ tendency to add, and failure to subtract, brings even more stress and overwhelm to parenting, and has implications for child development.

Fortunately, as Yael explains in her recent book,Work, Parent, Thrive, there are ways parents can do less and feel better about it. But before jumping into how parents can get better at subtracting, we need to understand why we default to adding.

In research with colleagues, Leidy has asked people to improve things like recipes, golf course designs, travel itineraries, and bridges made of Legos. Across all these design challenges, participants tended to add, even in the scenarios that were set up with subtraction as the better choice.

The most logical explanation for why so many people failed to choose the correct subtractive answer is because they didn’t even think of it. They instinctively thought of adding, then they added, and then they moved on. This helps us understand why we find ourselves adding meetings to the calendar or extracurriculars to the spring season even though “more” may be the very last thing we, or our kids, need.

The tendency to add seems to grow stronger the more we have on our minds.

What’s key is that the tendency to add seems to grow stronger the more we have on our minds. In one of Leidy and his coauthors’ studies, participants played a laboratory game in which they were instructed to modify grid patterns to be symmetrical from left to right and top to bottom. Again, participants could add or subtract squares from the pattern, but all of the patterns were designed so that the best (fewest clicks) choice required subtracting squares. To add a bit of pressure to the task, some participants were also asked to click a button every time they saw a “5” scrolling by, while also figuring out how to make the grids symmetrical (see image below).

A symmetry puzzle

What’s the simplest way to make this design symmetrical from left to right and top to bottom?

Scrolling digits are less distracting than a screaming newborn, of course, but they effectively do the same thing: increase cognitive burden on whoever is tasked with paying attention to them. Compared to participants who weren’t tasked with looking for “5,” those who had to mentally juggle the pattern and the scrolling numbers were even more likely to add and miss the better choice of subtraction.

The scrolling 5s may be subtle, but the implications are not. If subtracting becomes harder while looking for 5s during an emotionally neutral task, it’s no wonder that we neglect the option when our minds are taxed with sleep deprivation, doctor’s appointments, developmental milestones, and achieving just the right candy-to-guest ratio for the birthday piñata. We succumb to our mental adding defaults. Without bandwidth to think, we add. And having added, we are left with even less bandwidth to think.

So what can parents do when subtractive changes don’t come naturally and things are more likely to pile up the busier we are?

The first step is recognizing our default mental setting to add for what it is—an instinct that doesn’t always lead to better outcomes. Understanding this removes a misconception that less is easy. Subtracting may promise a less effortful end state, but it takes more thinking to notice that subtracting is an option.

The recognition that we neglect subtraction, especially when we are feeling harried, can also motivate us deliberately cue it. Something as simple as a reminder can work. In one study, when Leidy and his colleagues reminded participants that they could “add or subtract,” participants became more likely to do the latter. In the day to day and week to week rush of life, when you start a new activity, use it as a cue to think of something to stop (a “stop doing” list). Developmental milestones can also serve as a reminder for parents to consider what the child should start doing more of—say, their own laundry—as well as what can be taken off the books—perhaps a club or team that they now find mundane.  

As Yael explains in her book, exclusively adding to our parental repertoires causes problems for our children, too. Often, a parent’s impulse to do things for their children continues well past the point at which the child might be able to do it for themselves, hampering their learning and independence. For instance, too much parental comforting can result in the child sleeping worse. Adding bouncing and shushing and a machine that can do figure-eights might do the trick temporarily, but the best chance for getting a baby to sleep is stripping away to a simple and consistent approach to bedtime. Even well-meaning actions like opening up toddlers’ juice bottles for them delay development of fine motor skills, not to mention confidence to access a bottled drink without needing to ask a frazzled parent. Research has found that elementary-school-aged children whose parents do all the problem-solving and decision-making end up with lower self-regulation, competence, adjustment, and school grades. And among young adults, overly involved parenting is associated with higher levels of depression and lower life satisfaction.

Subtracting may promise a less effortful end state, but it takes more thinking to notice that subtracting is an option.

There’s one more challenge when it comes to subtraction. As a parent everything might seem important—piano lesson, soccer practice, Russian math, and Pokémon club. So how can you and your children decide what to subtract? Here, a science-backed psychological treatment, acceptance and commitment therapy, offers a guide: clarify your values. Values are the qualities we most want to embody through our actions, and clarity can help us make choices consistent with the kinds of lives we want to be living—particularly when our choices might otherwise be hijacked by our adding impulses.

To get clear on your values, ask yourself what kind of life you want to be building for your family and your child. What do you want to stand for and what matters most (and least) to you? What kind of lifestyle design example do you want to be setting for your children? In phases of heightened overwhelm, it is especially helpful pause to get clarity on what is most important to you and for your family. With clearer values in hand, you can retain what matters most and get rid of what is less important—at least for the time being.

To realize our full parenting potential, and to help our kids realize theirs, we need to judiciously combine adding and subtracting. But to arrive at any kind of balance, parents have to deliberately practice the latter. Even if you agree that subtracting is worthwhile, it will not come naturally or effortlessly—particularly in highly stressful circumstances.

Topley’s Top 10 – February 09, 2023

1. 2022 Speculation Comeback…Retail Order Flow Higher than Covid.

Found at Irrelevant Investor Blog

2. FANG+ Stocks Update

FANG Plus Index Broke Above Summer 2022 Highs

50Day Turning Up But Still Below 200Day on Chart

3. $2.9 Trillion in Market Cap Added

Bespoke Investment Group After seeing the total market cap for the Russell 1,000 fall by $10.9 trillion in 2022, we’ve seen a rebound of $2.9 trillion in market cap so far in 2023.  Below is a look at the total change in market cap by sector across the Russell 1,000 so far in 2023 and for all of 2022.  The Tech sector saw its market cap fall $4.35 trillion last year, and it has seen its market cap rise by $1.176 trillion to start 2023.  Consumer Discretionary’s market cap has risen by $701 billion, followed by Communication Services at $516.9 billion and Financials at $373 billion.

Four sectors have actually seen their market caps fall this year.  Health Care’s market cap has fallen the most at -$141 billion, while Energy has fallen $57 billion, Consumer Staples has declined $32.2 billion, and Utilities has fallen $29.9 billion.

4. Probability of Recession Survey was Highest Ever

Torsten Slok Investors have been underperforming their benchmarks because they entered 2023 underweight equities, expecting a slowdown that still hasn’t happened, see chart below.

Torsten Slok, Ph.D.-Chief Economist, Partner

5. Junk Bond Spreads Well Below Highs

Dave Lutz at Jones Trading CREDIT LEADS– Prices of risky US companies’ debt have risen sharply this year as investors bet the Federal Reserve will bring inflation under control without triggering a damaging recession. Yields on US junk bonds — debt sold by businesses with low credit ratings — have fallen by more than one percentage point since the end of 2022, according to an Ice Data Services index, trading at an average of 7.97 per cent. The decline reflects a sharp increase in prices.  In turn, the gap between junk yields and those of US government bonds has narrowed by more than 0.8 percentage points to less than 4 percentage points — the first time it has sat below that level since last April. The shrinking “spread” implies waning expectations of debt defaults for the $1.8tn low-grade corporate bond market.

6. Inflation Related Stocks Still Outperforming.

Equities: Despite slowing inflation, companies that benefit form higher prices have been outperforming.

Source: The Daily Shot

7. Value ETFs/Funds Trading Over 20X P/E

What Is Value? Methodology Matters (

8. Starbucks Growth in Active Rewards Members

9. Electrification Targets for Carmakers

Paul Jacobs

10. A neuroscientist shares the 4 ‘highly coveted’ skills that set introverts apart: ‘Their brains work differently’

Cnbc Friederike Fabritius, Contributor@FRIEDERIKEFAB

Being the most talkative person in the room may be a good way to get people’s attention, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have the best ideas.

As a neuroscientist, I’ve worked with large companies like Google and Deloitte on how to attract and retain top talent, and I’ve found that employers tend to favor extroverts.

But there are some surprising strengths that introverts bring to the table, and they shouldn’t be overlooked.

As bestselling author Susan Cain points out in her book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”: “Extroverts are more likely to focus on what’s happening around them. It’s as if extroverts are seeing ‘what is,’ while their introverted peers are asking ‘what if.’” 

What sets introverts apart from extroverts

Don’t get me wrong: Both extroverts and introverts have wonderful qualities. But research shows that introverts may have the upper hand.

Here are four highly coveted skills that set introverts apart from everyone else:

1. Introverts think more.

Gray matter, which exists in the outer most layer of the brain, serves to process and release new information in the brain.

One Harvard study found that introverts’ brains work differently, and have thicker gray matter compared to extroverts. In people who are strongly extroverted, gray matter was consistently thinner. Introverts also showed more activity in the frontal lobes, where analysis and rational thought take place.

Another study that scanned brains of both introverts and extroverts found that, even in a relaxed state, the introverted brain was more active, with increased blood flow.

2. Introverts can focus longer.

When Albert Einstein — a known introvert — was a child, his teachers thought he was a quiet loner who seemed a million miles away, lost in his thoughts.

Einstein said: “It’s that I stay with problems longer.” This ability to focus intensely is a key characteristic of introverts, who often have more extended focus than extroverts.

Because they enjoy spending time alone, introverts tend to be more willing than extroverts to put in the hours alone necessary to master a skill.

3. Introverts are often “gifted” in a specific field.

On average, introverts and extroverts are the same in terms of intelligence. But statistics show that around 70% of gifted people are introverts.

People are considered “gifted” when they exhibit above-average intelligence or a superior talent for something, such as music, art or math.

If your workplace is dominated by extroverts who criticize those who prefer to work alone — or skip after-work cocktails — as “not team players,” it may inadvertently alienate gifted people.

4. Introverts do the right thing.

Introverts tend to be less swayed by external events and driven more by their inner moral compass.

2013 study on social conformity found that extroverts are more willing to go along with the opinion of the majority, even if it’s wrong. Extroverts are more likely than introverts to succumb to social pressure.

The researchers concluded: “The higher the pressure, a larger number of conforming responses are given by extroverts.” In contrast, “there is no difference in conforming responses given to high- and low-pressure levels by introverts.”

How to create a workplace where introverts thrive

Introverts are often exhausted in their workplace because many of their colleagues don’t know how to harness the power introversion.

Here’s how managers can create an introvert-friendly workplace:

·    Respect boundaries. It takes up to 23 minutes for a person to regain focus after they’ve been interrupted. Don’t expect people to answer every email or Slack message immediately.

·    Brainstorm alone. Letting people shout ideas at each other in a room sounds like fun. But research shows that if you want to maximize creativity, let people generate ideas by themselves before sharing them in a group. Bonus: Your introverts will be far more comfortable sharing.

·    Shorten meetings. Many introverts, as you can probably guess, are not fans of meetings. Let go of the idea that the entire office has to be invited to every meeting so that no one feels left out.

·    Don’t force a certain type of communication. The introverts in your office may prefer emails, while the extroverts might enjoy handling business on the phone. Encourage people decide how they want to communicate, like whether to turn their cameras on or off, even if it differs from yours.

·    Provide the option of privacy. Extroverts may love to see everybody all the time, but introverts tend to need privacy. The solution is a flexible work environment that provides silence and private space for introverts, and lively, interactive open space for extroverts.

As an introvert, my general message to employers is, “Let my people rest.” Like it or not, the future of work is all about more choices, autonomy, and a culture that embraces introversion.

Friederike Fabritius, MS, is a neuroscientist and trailblazer in the field of neuroleadership. She has given talks at large organizations including Google, Accenture, Deloitte, BMW and Audi, and serves on the prestigious German Academy of Science and Engineering. She is also the best-selling author of “The Leading Brain: Neuroscience Hacks to Work Smarter” and “The Brain-Friendly Workplace: Why Talented People Quit and How to Get Them to Stay.” Follow her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Topley’s Top 10 – February 08, 2023

1. Total Asset Class Returns 2000-2009

2. Unemployment and Recessions.

Liz Ann Sonders Schwab Regardless of your outlook, saying the economy is ‘nowhere near a recession because the unemployment is so low’ goes against history of unemployment rate always near (or at) its lowest right before recession starts

3. European Financials About to Break Above Levels Going Back to 2018

4. Euro and Yen Updates.

Foreign Currencies Hit Record Cheap Levels 2022….Now…Euro 50day thru 200day to upside 2023.

Yen 50 day thru 200 day to upside 2023

5. Japan’s Wages Jump by Biggest Margin in Almost 26 Years

Strength of wage growth a key factor for Bank of Japan policy

Household spending fell in December as inflation weighs

Erica Yokoyama and Toru Fujioka

6. UBER +70% From Low

7. Amazon Ran Right Up to 200day and Reversed Back Down …Finished Down Yesterday vs. Naz +1.9%

8. Small Cap Value Up Against New High Going Back to January 2021

9. Electric car batteries get a second life storing solar power

Axios Alex Fitzpatrick

B2U Storage Solutions’ Sierra facility in Lancaster, Calif. Photo courtesy of B2U Storage Solutions

A California energy startup has turned more than a thousand electric vehicle (EV) batteries into solar power storage capsules, in an intriguing effort to prove out an alternative to traditional recycling.

Why it matters: Electric cars are cleaner than their gas-guzzling counterparts, but their batteries extract a significant ecological toll in the form of mining and manufacturing.

  • Repurposing old EV batteries can maximize their lifetime use, thus squeezing more benefit out of each battery made.
  • Energy storage, meanwhile, can help alleviate solar energy’s intermittency problem — meaning, batteries can store solar power to be used when the sun isn’t shining.

Driving the news: B2U Storage Solutions’ Sierra facility has reached 25MWh of solar storage capacity using second-life EV batteries from Honda and Nissan, the company announced Tuesday.

  • During the day, the Lancaster, Calif. facility’s batteries are charged up by nearby solar panels. The company then sells power back to the grid at night, when the rates for solar power are higher.
  • The facility generated more than $1 million in revenue last year, the company says.

The intrigue: B2U’s big breakthrough is a proprietary plug-and-play technology that uses battery packs’ existing management systems.

  • That, says co-founder and president Freeman Hall, “virtually eliminates the repurposing costs” and makes the company’s tech “a very pragmatic operation as we go forward.”

What they’re saying: Repurposed EV batteries work well for solar storage, in part because the job is much less stressful compared to powering a car, says Hall.

  • “The current we’re applying isn’t even a tenth of what they’re rated for, and we don’t push them all the way to the top end or the bottom end in terms of their rated voltage levels.”
  • That should translate into a long second lifespan.

Reality check: 25MWh isn’t huge — the world’s biggest solar storage facilities advertise hundreds of MWh.

Yes, but: The point of B2U’s Sierra facility is simply to demonstrate that second-life EV batteries can be used as solar storage at worthwhile scale.

  • “As we have that track record laid out over time, get that cycle history, get that dataset, demonstrate effectiveness, then we’re in a better position to scale as the number of batteries going forward expands,” Hall says.

Meanwhile: Battery recycling firms, such as Redwood Materials and Lithion, are also gaining steam.

What we’re watching: Whether other use cases crop up.

  • Car manufacturers may explore similar technology to help decarbonize their production lines, while airports and airlines are also interested in small-scale onsite energy storage, as Axios’ Joann Muller has reported.

What’s next: As early EV owners upgrade to newer models, the available supply of used batteries is expected to skyrocket — and many could be turned into alternative energy storage solutions.

Go deeper: Energy storage is starting to rival new transmission

10. I treat people with gambling disorder – and I’m starting to see more and more young men who are betting on sports

Author Tori Horn

We believe in the free flow of information

As a therapist who treats people with gambling problems, I’ve noticed a shift over the past few years – not only in the profile of the typical clients I treat, but also in the way their gambling problems develop.

In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court made the landmark decision to allow states to legalize sports wagering. Tennessee, where I am studying clinical psychology, took advantage of this ruling, and in late 2020, the state legalized online and mobile sports betting.

With most sportsbooks offering betting apps, my clients are finding it more difficult to quit gambling than ever before. Unlike other forms of gambling, such as playing roulette or slots at a casino, these apps are on their phones and in their pockets, accompanying them wherever they go.

This availability makes it that much harder to resist any urges that might arise – and presents unique challenges for helping clients reduce their gambling.

Do experts have something to add to public debate?

We think so

A new type of client emerges

When I first started treating people for gambling disorder in 2019, my clients were usually older and gambled in casinos, with slot machines and card games among their favorite forms of gambling. They also tended to be poorer and often talked about how they began gambling to make some side money, viewing it as a second job. Many of them had retired and would say things like, “Going to the casino gets me out of the house” or “The casino is like my ‘Cheers’” – a nod to the popular watering hole in the eponymous sitcom.

That all changed when sports betting was legalized in Tennessee in November 2020.

Since then, I’ve noticed that my average client has started to look different. I’m now providing therapy to younger men, mostly in their 20s, who are seeking treatment for problems with sports betting. These clients tend to earn more money and be wealthier than my previous clients – a pattern that sports betting researchers have observed.

Several of them reported being avid sports fans or having a competitive streak. And they thought they could “beat the system” due to their extensive sports knowledge.

Many of them started betting on sports after hearing promotions for various betting companies. Even if you’re a casual sports fan with no interest in betting, you can’t miss these ads, which regularly air during televised sporting events. For example, some ads for FanDuel, one of the more popular sports betting apps, highlight a “No Sweat First Bet,” with new users eligible for a risk-free bet of up to $1,000.

There’s also a social element to sports betting. One client talked about betting on sports as a way to bond with relatives who also gambled. Similarly, a few college students I have treated told me that they started betting because they wanted to fit in with their fraternity brothers.

The apps don’t make it easy to set limits

But once gambling issues begin, it can be hard for these clients to stop. Most of them started by placing smaller bets on a single outcome. Over time, they start to bet more to recoup their losses. Before they knew it, their bets had increased, with many not realizing how this change even happened.

Betting apps are available on any smartphone and are connected to clients’ bank accounts, making it quick and easy to deposit more funds. This often leads clients to lose track of how much money they have lost. As one client told me, “It’s easier to spend money on these apps because you never really see it. The transactions are all done electronically.”

These apps do not make it easy for those with gambling problems to sign up for cool-off periods or self-exclusion. Cool-off periods allow the user to set a time frame – from a few hours to several months – where they will be unable to log into their betting account. Self-exclusion allows the user to ban themselves from the app for longer periods of time. Specific exclusion lengths differ by state. In Tennessee, there are one-year, five-year and lifetime ban options.

While many apps have these features, my clients often have to search online for this information, and even when they do find it, they can’t figure out how to put these guardrails in place. If they wish to set a cool-off period or ban themselves from all sports betting apps, they must do so from each app, one at a time, which can be tedious.

It’s impossible to avoid sports and smartphones

Sports betting presents unique challenges for treating gambling problems.

In addiction treatment, therapists, like me, often encourage clients to fill their time with activities that aren’t connected to gambling or to avoid situations where they may be likely to gamble. But when gambling is available at the touch of a button, it becomes harder to determine what situations may lead to gambling, which makes it harder to figure out what to avoid.

Before the apps, clients had to make plans for how and when to gamble. Now, all they have to do is pick up their phone and open an app. It is also incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to ask a client to stop using their smartphone or stop watching sports.

This is why I often tailor treatment to each client’s needs and circumstances. Some may wish to quit altogether, while others may simply want to cut back on their gambling. This has forced me to consider other possible alternatives, such as showing them how to set screen time limits for sportsbook apps or talking about strategies to watch less sports.

Most people who bet on sports don’t develop gambling problems. But with so few regulations in place – advertising or otherwise – those who are the most at risk are especially vulnerable to developing problems.


Found at Abnormal Returns Blog