Heroes Crying.

An institution that should always fight for progress and reform, never tolerate injustice or corrupton, always fight demagogues of all parties, never belong to any party, always oppose privileged classes and public plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare, never be satisfied with merely printing news, always be drastically independent, never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty.

–Joseph Pulitzer, May 10, 1883, in an editorial upon becoming publisher of the New York World (reproduced on a bronze plaque on the Times Tower, New York City)

Delving into my 3rd publication about Hunter S. Thompson, I continue to find shocking similarities, but more of whom I replicate on the inside than the outburst of pure insanity. I have not the courage nor the ability to articulate transparency of thoughts, like Mr. Thompson, a brilliant rogue, observing beatniks and blasting political servants.

And if I’m ever to be worth anything I honestly think it will have to be in the realm of fiction (which is) the only way I can live with my imagination, point of view, instincts, and all those other intangilbes that make people nervous in my journalism.–HS Thompson

Elders may relate more to the death of Elvis Presley (1935 – 1977), and some, more jagged in culture, Jimmy Hendrix (1942 – 1970.) I can relate, but only because of my deep roots, in Memphis, Tennessee, do I somewhat understand Elvis. And my home, in upper Fernwood, Topanga Canyon, viewed horizontally, across the gorge, framing Jimmy Hendrix home, on the ‘hot side’ of the Santa Monica Range. From the locals, I’d listen to, peers of Elvis and Hendrix, tell stories of their brilliance, blowing my mind.

But my generation, Gen X, the icon is Kurt Donald Cobain (1967 – 1994.) He defined our generation with legendary acoustic performances, sharing what many of us felt, on the inside, but didn’t know how to get it out. Only through music, his music.

Many of us are not sure exactly why, but when Phillip Seymour Hoffman died, a part of us died with him.

a part of me died

Relating to a multitude of his characters, intimacy reigned supreme, both light and dark.

So many of us affected by suicide, a climatic life event that’s not only disappointing but also humbling to the point of pondering why wasn’t I enough to live for.

travel (ck backpack spain)Charles Kochel writes. Sometimes found wandering the Ozark Mountain streams.

A novice mandolin rookie, but learning just the same. A terrible gardener continuing to try his best to grow healthy food for his family.

His moderate fly fishing skills he considers asana, but only he makes much sense of it, and this is ok.

Mindfulness is sanity.


Knee Deep

There is no place I’d rather be, than knee-deep, with a stick. A pastime, needing not the roar of a crowd, I do it for myself. No need to wet a line or feel tension on the end of my cane, just as content, with pen and pad, whilst leaning, next to the river.

ck fishing

Of contentment, I enjoy watching a good leaf travel downstream. Harvesting fish, with a blade creating Nigiri Sushi or fried crappie. Natural beauty, picturesque landscapes, pleasing aesthetics, the mind can rest, rejuvenate and be left only to wander.

Fishing the flats of the Ocean, chalk streams of foreign prairie lands and alpine snowmelt. These are my homes. A place where there is nowhere to go, because I’m already here.

Water, never judging, always accepting, the source of life. Covering seventy percent of Earth and Newborn Child, life and water are synonymous, like joy and fishing. This is where I belong.

God created water and Fish before man. Jesus and Hemingway fished and so does my tribe. There is no place I’d rather be, than standing knee-deep waving cane.

Images of me holding a tiny rod and a green 2.5 gallon bucket beside my grandfather and his old blue truck are my first memories. The only thing ever in the bucket was responsibility and I owned it. The bucket and I were pretty tight in those days and I continue to cherish responsibility.

I remember fishing with my father for the first time on a reservoir at the family farm in Southeast Arkansas. He, telling me stories about being my age, having to prime an old hand pump with water for it to work. He talked about the dead heat of summer, dripping sweat. He’d pour the water it in, pump and repeat until finally water started trickling out the spout. Then he’d do it again and again until it poured cold, fresh water to quench his thirst. What I learned that day is you get out of life what you put in.

I remember teaching my best friend to fly-fish in the Spring River. We’d ride backroads, and visit hours on end about life, listening to our favorite music, singing. Our third trip he started to get the hang of wading knee deep, waving cane in the swift, cold water. He’d load the tip of his fly-rod, patiently wait for the line to unravel and extend from a tight loop to a straight line, watching it behind him until he unloaded the tip and the fly changed direction across and up the stream. He stripped his line a few times straight towards his belly button and wham his first trout. He admired and respected the art. After releasing the fish, he retired to a shade tree with a Hemingway book, pad and dull pencil. We fished many times after this, never did he cast more than a few minutes before retiring to his shade tree, watching me, his book, his pad, nursing a smoke and iced wine. My friend died a few months after he landed his first and only fish, the most glorious rainbow, a scrawny little stocker fish, my favorite fish of all time. The rainbow taught me to appreciate the small things in life.

Six years ago was born my first daughter. When she was a week or two old we took a family trip to the lower Norfork tailwater in Northern Arkansas. She had become one with me. Often packing her on my front with a Baby Bjorn, cooking and such other fine chores I want her to learn at her spongy-brained age. This day, at three weeks old, we fished. Papa and his baby girl. Down the mountain to a floating dock, I dropped my fly into the cold, fast moving river and stripped line, watching my fly float naturally down the stream sliding beneath the fog gently lifted by the warmth of the early morning sun. Flicking my wrist, my fly finessed up and across the stream, I mended for a natural drift. We were shut out that morning, but I gained my favorite fishing partner on Earth. I learned unconditional love and what matters most to me. An hour I’ll never forget.

This past week I met my oldest sister after a long, hard week of work and personal strife for both of us, we met at The Rail in Rogers, AR. A beer, some shanks – skipping the small talk, we walked to the FLW event near the farmer’s market. No escaping the familiar aroma of fried crappie, a family favorite we’d shared together for over 41 years. We made our rounds to every vender, listened to blue grass, danced a bit and finally got around to the small talk. Checking out the massive rigs of boat, trailer and truck packages beaming the brand of their sponsors. At this moment, last week, I was reminded who loves me most and the fact much of this realization revolves around fishing. So, I vow today two things. Do more of what I love with whom I love most. It matters.

travel (ck backpack spain)

Charles Kochel is a fly fisherman currently exploring the natural streams of the Ozark Mountains.



13. Year 1999: The Glass-Steagall Act, repealed.

My financial advice practice started in February 1999 at Salomon Smith Barney. Soon after, I was the in the midst of the biggest financial fiasco since the great depression…the U.S. economy paid the price a decade later. Over the years, legislators and regulators chipped away at Glass-Steagall leading to its repeal in 1999. The law prevents Insurance, Investment Banking, Brokerages, and Banking from commingling their services. Soon after, my beloved Salamon Smith Barney, became Citigroup – A collaboration of Salamon Smith Barney (investments and investment banking), Citibank (banking) and Travelers (insurance) become the 1st giant, too big to fail, under the leadership of a wise man, Sandy Weil. This was the beginning of the end…

Lesson learned – Bigger is seldom Better. Greed is bad.


12. Year 2000: Bursting of the dot.com, or technology, bubble
The Internet was hip. Entrepreneurs’ potential in online business made millions and some made billions. However, online business was just an infant. Everyone was talking about a “new economy”, referring to Internet-driven economy. Most of the dot.com stocks listed on the NASDAQ. In January of 2000, the NASDAQ closed above 5000. The NASDAQ closed in October of 2002 at 1114. Many lost their entire fortune, more, on Main Street, lost everything they’d ever saved.

The Greed and Fear factor destroyed their life, speculating on what could not fail.Investors were getting rich off unprofitable stocks with high prices and higher price/earnings ratios – All things computer and Internet. For example, Cisco Systems, traded at more than 150 times earnings in March of 2000. In April of 2000, an inflation report caused the speculative bubble to burst and there were huge investment losses. The Munder Net Net fund returned a stunning 175% in 1999, followed by losses of 54% in 2000, 48% in 2001 and 45% in 2002.

Lesson learned – Fear is bad, Greed is worse.


11. Year 2001: September 11 Terrorist Attacks
The 9/11 terrorist attacks was the most tragic in US history. It was only the third time in history that the New York Stock Exchange shut down for a period of time. In this case, it closed from September 11 – 17. Besides the tragic human loss, the economic loss cannot be estimated.

Some speculate, there was over $60 billion in insurance losses alone. Approximately 18,000 small businesses were either displaced or destroyed in Lower Manhattan, after the Twin Towers fell. There was a buildup in homeland security on all levels. 9/11 caused a catastrophic financial loss for the U.S. For me, September 11, 2001 was a game changer in my life, and my career.

Lesson Learned – I am a counselor, there is more to  life than money.


10. Year 2001: Enron, the Emergence of Corporate Fraud, and Corporate Governance
Enron, one of the top energy companies at this time, and Arthur Andersen, one of the ‘Big Five’ public accounting firms, caught in a corporate fraud scandal that led to the bankruptcy of Enron and dissolution of Arthur Andersen.

Enron hid billions of dollars of debt from its shareholders in failed deals and projects. Further, it pressured its auditors, Arthur Andersen, to ignore the issues. Shareholders lost more than $60 billion.

This led to the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 which expanded penalties for accounting fraud and instructed accounting firms to remain independent of their clients. Other firms such as Tyco and WorldCom experienced similar scandals. These scandals shook the securities markets and investor confidence.

Lesson Learned, Do right – all the time.


9. Year 2002: Stock Market Crash of 2002
After a brief slide post 9/11, the stock market rallied, but began to slide again in March 2002. The market reached lows not seen since 1997 and 1998 by July and September of 2002. The corporate fraud scandals, such as Enron, along with 9/11, were contributors to this loss of investor confidence in the stock market.

Lesson Learned – Corporations are not human – they have no heart, soul or mind, but can sue and be sued. They can also do a lot of wrong, and never really pay the price.


8. Years 2001 and 2003 – present: War on Terror and Iraq War
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the War on Terror launched in Afghanistan and Iraq. The cost of these wars is ongoing. To date, the Congressional Research Service has approved about $950 billion for the operations overseas. This has been an incredible financial drain on our economy and it is impossible to know what the total cost will be.

Lesson Learned – Wars are never a good thing. I lost my best friend in the war. Game Changer – show up for the people you love most, all the time.

7. Year 2005: BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China.)The Growth of China and India as World Financial Powers – Brazil and Russia turned the corner and show signs of economic boom. The rise of China and India as world financial powers is nothing short of amazing. Economists estimate that both nations can grow at the rate of 7-8% for decades to come. China, alone, has grown at about 9.6% for the past two decades. Together, the two countries account for one-third of the world’s population.

Countries like the United States initially started outsourcing work to China and India because of cheap labor. This is no longer the case. They kept their work in the two countries because they found talent. Talent for innovation in high-tech fields. A million scientists and engineers are trained in India and China each year compared to a lower number in the U.S. The balance of power in technologies is likely to move West to East.

Lesson Learned – don’t bias and diversify, all the time. BRIC Brazil, Russia, India, China are the real – and no one saw it coming.


6. Year 2005: Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
On August 25, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of the U.S. as a strong Category 3 or low Category 4 storm. It quickly became the biggest natural disaster in U.S. history, almost destroying the great city, New Orléans.

Hurricane Rita quickly followed Katrina only to make matters worse. Between the two, more than $200 billion in damage. 400,000 jobs were lost and 275,000 homes destroyed. Many of the jobs and homes were never recovered. Hundreds of thousands of people displaced and over 1,000 killed and more are missing. The effect on oil and gasoline prices was long-lasting.

Lesson Learned – Mother Nature is much more power than I, prepare for the future. After the storm, any storm, assess the damage, prioritize what matters most, organize your priorities and simplify life.

housing bubble

5. Years 2007 and 2008: Sub-prime Housing Crisis and the Housing Bubble
In the early part of the 21st century, the U.S. housing market was booming. Housing values were high. Just about anyone who wanted to buy a home could buy a home. A phenomenon called sub-prime lending arose. Individuals and families, who, in the past, could not have qualified for a mortgage were able to qualify for adjustable-rate mortgages with low or no down payments and low first interest rates. Facts are now available, proving many corporate leaders knew families did not qualify, and forced the underwriters to push it through the safety net…Corporations and People, making profit at others cost, at our economic cost.

Banks made mortgage loans to these people for houses with inflated values. As the interest rates rose and their adjustable rate loans got more expensive, they couldn’t make their mortgage payments. Soon, large financial institutions were holding portfolios of loans that were worthless. The “credit crunch” ensued.

Lesson Learned – Do not trust corporate structure and Wall Street. I left the corporate finance world and decided to own a financial advice business built around what is right, what matters most to people and the theory of Invest and Do Good. Impact Investing becomes the core of everything I do.

bernie madoff

4. Year 2008: Bernard Madoff and the Biggest Ponzi Scheme in History
Bernard Madoff, who owned his own investment advisory firm, was a former chairman of the NASDAQ. In 2008, he admitted to running a huge Ponzi scheme where he paid his investors with proceeds from the investments of other clients. Finally, it all unraveled and he could not meet his obligations. In one of the largest investment fraud schemes in Wall Street history, he defrauded his investors of around $18 billion. He was later sentenced to 150 years in prison.

Lesson Learned – FINRA, the self-governing agency of Wall Street, does not work and the corporate scandals are wide-spread, regulation broken and investors and employees pay the price.


3. Years 2007 – 2009: The Global Recession and the Collapse of Wall Street
In September of 2008, a seemingly perfect storm of factors came together to create the deepest economic downturn, all across the globe, since the Great Depression. The investment banks that had stood on Wall Street began to collapse due to the sub-prime mortgage crisis and serious corporate fraud.

During the last months of the Bush Administration, the federal government stepped in to bail out some of these institutions in order to keep the U.S. financial system afloat.

Lesson Learned – Take control of your own actions. This is my time. I became a mentor and not a follower. I own what I do and who I am.


2. 2010 – 2013: Traveling the world changes everything.

Trying to learn and control dharma, I felt no better time to see the world. My wife, 3 month old daughter and I put on our backpacks, and hit the road, air and water. Starting in 3rd world Mexico and Belize, there could have been no better start to our journey. Reality of poverty quickly hit home. I changed our schedule and worked with locals to build and give away wheelchairs to poor handicap. The line to get a wheelchair was as far as the eye could see. I helped again the next day, putting everything else aside. We met an 8-year-old girl caring for 7 other children under the age of 5, far from home — she was a breath of fresh air, curious about apples … 1st world problems seemingly fading. The other continents were equally eye-opening. Everyday struggles whilst, at home, my own were complaining about matters of absolute no importance.

I soon joined a mindful wealth management company in Santa Monica. I’d never seen nor heard anything like it. My goal was to study, take away everything that was right and open my firm in 2014. After nearly 2 years later … Yield Wealth was born.

Lesson Learned: We are all a product of our own environment. If you want change, change your environment, all of it. There are people out there making a difference, and now, I am one of them.


1. 2014: Yield Wealth Management, Invest and Do Good.

Yield Wealth Management is born. I chose to focus on rural and agri-America, because that is what I know best. Moving to our farm, in rural Southeast Arkansas. We have partnered with the élite “mindful” wealth management and impact investment companies in the world. Our goal is to help foundations and families best align their financial resources to their mission, or what matters most to them.

Lesson Learned: The economies of the world are greatly affected by the information absorbed. Fact is, tragedy happens, markets react and people are emotional.

My job, as a counselor, is to help people, the decision makers, navigate the landscape of investment and financial planning, without succumbing to the pressures of the media, markets and social culture. Markets work, they always have and I believe they always will. Understanding the academia of markets, who you are, what you want and what you need, you’ll be able to accomplish dreams you never thought possible. Invest and Do Good.

cropped-ck-photo.jpgCharles Kochel founded Yield Wealth Management to help foundations and families align their financial resources to their mission and what matters most to them. Yield Wealth is one of the first benefit corporations in Arkansas, leveraging business as a force for good – helping solve social and environmental problems.

Our blog is for informational purposes only, do not use this as a guide or investment advice. Email info@yieldwealth.com to set a conversation to visit about how you will benefit from our resources.