How to Avoid Running an Illegal Casino in Your Home

College Admissions Counselor: “You don’t have enough money.” Father of incoming Freshman daughter, Alex: “It says right here we have $401,000. You missed it!” Mother of Alex: “Jackpot!” Counselor: “Uh, that says you have a 401k account.” Later at home Mother: “Alex thinks we can afford tuition and we can’t.  What are we going to do?” Father: “We’ve got to lie.  That’s what parents do.  Because otherwise the kids are going to realize that we don’t know what we’re doing!” These few exchanges give the basis for the plot of the soon to be… [read more]
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Rebuilding After Madoff

On Saturday, May 20th, HBO released its new film, The Wizard of Lies, which depicts the events leading up to and following the arrest of Bernie Madoff.  While it does a reasonable job explaining how Madoff ran the largest Ponzi scheme in history, its core storyline is about the type of person Madoff is and how he justified continually deceiving virtually everyone in his life.  It details the impact of his crimes on his investors, many of whom had no idea their investments were even associated with Madoff, and the impact to his… [read more]
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The Uncertainty Paradox

(from Dimensional Fund Advisors’  Issue Briefs blog dated May 1, 2017. Dimensional Fund Advisors is a global investment manager dedicated to implementing the great ideas in finance by applying academic research to practical investing.)    Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one. —Voltaire “The market hates uncertainty” has been a common enough saying in recent years, but how logical is it? There are many different aspects to uncertainty, some that can be measured and some that cannot. Uncertainty is an unchangeable condition of existence. As individuals, we can feel more or… [read more]
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Where Does It Go?

“I just can’t figure out where the money goes.  We should be doing well with our salaries, but we never seem to have anything left over at the end of the month.” My client’s frustration is shared by many other people I’ve worked with over the years, regardless of their age.   Knowing the amount we spend, and who and what we spend it on, is one of the key questions to unlocking financial security.  But it’s also the one we have the most trouble with, for many different reasons. One couple I worked with years… [read more]
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Wikipedia, Investing & Fake News

Last week I attended the Morningstar Investment Conference, a gathering of financial advisors, economists, fund managers and others from the world of financial services in Chicago, IL.  The two and a half days are full of breakout sessions around investing, practice management, etc.  I won’t bore you with those details which, while very exciting to us, can be a little dry to most. The keynote speakers, on the other hand, carried broader appeal.  We heard from Michael Lewis, best-selling author of Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, Flash Boys, The Big Short and his most… [read more]
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