Can You Beat the Market?

Posted on Posted in Market Commentary, Personal Financial Planning

Economist Justin Wolfers, who has a PhD from Harvard, published an article in the New York Times on September 30th called “Debate Night Message: The Markets are Afraid of Donald Trump”. I quote the article’s first two sentences: Political leaning aside, let’s breakdown this argument. The article proceeds to tell us that “decoding markets is no easy task”, the process used “close analysis of financial markets during Monday’s debate” and cited specific examples of what Trump said versus how the market on a whole reacted to it. Wolfers also cited his conjoined research with two other well-respected economists at venerated […]

5 Things to Remember Before the Holidays

Posted on Posted in Personal Financial Planning

Deck the halls with pressured gift giving, fa la la la la… *credit card interest* ‘Tis the season to break the budget, fa la la la la la… *overdraft fee* Don we now, no thought to savings, fa la la la la la… *opportunity cost* I hope I don’t sound like a broken record when I say: your long-term financial goals matter much more than your short-term gratification. I won’t spend the next 500+ words scolding you to become a minimalist monk who shuns all Christmas cheer. Please continue to be yourself, but in the spirit of the holidays, I […]

Creating a Healthy Relationship with Your Finances

Posted on Posted in Personal Financial Planning

Shop (verb): to visit places (or websites) where goods (or services) are sold to look at and buy things. Overshop (verb): to visit places (or websites) where goods (or services) are sold to look at and buy things in the face of adverse consequences (long term detriment of finances, relationships and self-esteem). We all overshop. Reflect on what you have purchased over the past month. I guarantee you can find something that you didn’t need and will rarely use. Classically, we think of the overshopper as a woman who frequently arrives home from the mall with 10-15 bags of frivolous items. Contrary […]

How to Create Your Own Whole Life Insurance Policy

Posted on Posted in Personal Financial Planning

You probably need life insurance if you: Are the primary breadwinner and need protection for your family against the loss of your income Have family members who would be responsible for your debts Have expenses that you need or would like for your estate to cover (examples: estate taxes, funeral costs, unique costs like children’s or grandchildren’s schooling, etc…) Have debts that would eat up assets you would like to pass on to family or loved ones The type of life insurance you buy is contingent on your particular circumstances and needs. That being said, most people only need a […]

The Power to Revoke Fear

Posted on Posted in Personal Financial Planning

“If you are not ready today, you will be even less so tomorrow.” -Ovid Do you ever lie awake at night worrying about the strangest things? Sometimes when that light goes off, I start thinking, “Did I turn on the alarm? Am I prepared for a meeting with XYZ? Did I write down that idea I had for a blog post? Did I review my credit card bill before I auto-paid?” Sometimes this can elevate my heart rate and makes it more difficult to relax (and ultimately sleep)! Fear*  sets in. Fear is the expectation or anticipation of possible harm. […]

“Discipline Equals [Financial] Freedom”

Posted on Posted in Personal Financial Planning

I admit it! I have a complete and utter obsession with Jocko Podcast, a series of audio lectures where former Navy Seal Officer Jocko Willink offers life and leadership lessons. He encourages leadership through taking ownership, being disciplined, and embracing continuous improvement. If you haven’t yet listened, do yourself a favor and “get after it”. These lessons apply directly to your financial life. “Discipline equals freedom” is a Jocko-ism. Here is the truth: financial freedom is not free. It takes painstaking efforts of self-restraint and self-motivation. What does financial freedom mean? To some it means retiring to the golf course; […]

The Secret to Success

Posted on Posted in Personal Financial Planning

I would like to start off this month’s commentary by encouraging you to live the highest quality of life you can.  Let’s take risks, face fears and make the most of every day. We need to take control of the things within our control, stop worrying about the things outside of our control, make purposeful choices and live a wonderful life. But let’s face it: some days are just plain ol’ bad. Other days are just average. Every day can’t be extraordinary and that is alright. Every minute can’t be about living life to the fullest, in fact that sounds […]

Hot Stock Tips from a Roman Emperor

Posted on Posted in Personal Financial Planning

Stoicism is a practical philosophy that aims to help us live well. As Stoics, we learn to focus on what is within our control. We ask ourselves, “What can we do to create a good life, no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in? What is required of us as human beings and what prevents us from living up to our full potential?” These questions could not be more pertinent to investing and meeting our financial goals. How to Meet the Markets We can reflect on the markets with a general reflection used by the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, a […]

Race to the Bottom: Financial Lessons from Antarctica

Posted on Posted in Personal Financial Planning

Matters of life or death. The decisions that matter most in life are often the ones we are least prepared to make. Life offers few opportunities to train for decisions where the consequences of a poor choice are meaningful and difficult to reverse. High-stakes decisions are fraught with high levels of uncertainty and complexity. Clear solutions appear due to the intensity of the situations. Because of this, it is important to study and learn from extreme examples. Such examples are as relevant, if not more so, in our daily lives, where the problems and solutions are sometimes opaque. The following […]

Retirement Planning: A First Look at Accumulation and Distribution of Wealth

Posted on Posted in Personal Financial Planning

Preface: Retirement planning is not something that can be feasibly fleshed out in one 2,500-word memo, therefore consider this part one of a multi-part series on retirement (the number of parts to be determined at a later date). In Book X of the Odyssey, the wind god Aiolos gave Odysseus a bag of wind, to use sparingly as he and his crew sailed home to Ithaca. With Odysseus dispensing small breaths of wind from the bag, ten days passed and the crew neared home. Ithaca was clearly in sight, but the job was not quite finished. Quoting Homer: “now on […]