Transparency

Our American system of capitalism isn’t perfect, but the competition it creates encourages innovation, inventions and drives solutions to economic and social problems. The dark side of capitalism creates Bernie Madoff, Enron and others who use the system to their advantage.  Capitalism requires a level of skepticism on the part of consumers to keep from being taken, and at the very least, an understanding that not everyone or everything is operating on the level you think they are. Flash Boys, Michael Lewis’s book about high frequency traders, provides a great illustration.  The conduct of… [read more]
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Make July 4th Your Financial Independence Day

(from CNBC’s July 1, 2016 Savings Column by Jessica Dinkler. See original post here.  Jessica is a award-winning financial journalist, contributing writer and editor covering personal finance for CNBC.com.  She is also a regular contributor and columnist for HGTV Magazine.)
There is a reason we celebrate the Fourth of July: Becoming independent more than 200 years ago was no small feat — and the same goes for millennials today who are just starting out. One in 4 young people between the ages of 21 and 34 still receive support from their parents,
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Bloom and Bust

Over Easter weekend, my family came into town from New Jersey.  I decided to take them to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, which is one of my favorite places any day of the year but especially right now during Zoo Blooms.  I thought Good Friday would be a nice quiet day to visit but as it turned out everyone in the tri-state had the same idea.  I’ve never seen it so crowded, but with a 75-degree sunny day, it makes sense that people were out in droves to see the animals and the zoo’s… [read more]
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Whose Interests are Served?

My hope this week was to take a break from the non-stop, often confusing news surrounding what’s going on with our new administration, Congress, various cabinet and judicial appointments, etc. and focus on a less divisive issue like the Super Bowl, Groundhog Day or Johnny Depp’s desperate need for good financial planning. That idea was squelched on Friday when I received the following e-mail (slightly paraphrased) from a client. I heard a story on the radio this morning about the new administration stopping a regulation that would force financial advisors to put the best [read more]
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Bonds Away!

Why would I ever want to hold bonds in my portfolio? I’ve been asked that question many times over the last 28 years.  Between June 2004 to December 2005, when the Federal Reserve raised the target rate 13 times in a row, resulting in lower bond prices.  From 1995 to 1999 and 2003 to 2006, when bonds appeared to serve no purpose in portfolios than to dampen the double-digit returns stocks delivered.  More times than not, bonds have been the underdog in investment allocations, and recent stock market returns followed by the Fed’s rate… [read more]
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Beware the Prognosticators

While pondering topics this week for my final post of 2016, I’ve been inundated with periodicals, industry publications and online headlines full of projections about hot stocks, interest rates and where the overall market is headed in 2017. I started linking stories above to make my point, but there are so many, it’s tough to choose just a few.  Linking to one headline suggesting that the Dow is heading to 40,000 would show preference over a claim that it’s headed to 2,000.  If you’re curious, search virtually any financial media site after you’re finished reading.… [read more]
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It Takes a Village

Once again, we’ve entered the special time of year when the days get shorter, temperatures get cooler and our calendars are full of holiday bashes and family get togethers.  The sparkling lights and long lines at the mall can mean only one thing…it’s FAFSA season? Recent changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid moved the opening of the filing window back to October 1st from its previous start date of January 1st.  Filers now have from October 1st, 2016 until June 30th, 2018 to file their… [read more]
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Trust but Verify

If you are seeing this – congratulations!  We made it through November 8th and can return to some semblance of normalcy in our news cycles, television ads and Twitter feeds.  Barring a truly horrifying outcome of an electoral college tie, we have a new President.  While I don’t know who that person is as I write this, I can say with some amount of certainty that a good number of you feel pleased, a bunch of you feel appalled and a small number are indifferent. That’s to be expected.  People are built to have… [read more]
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The Short Run & The Long Run

(from Seth Godin’s blog dated 5/182016. Click here for the original post.  Seth is the author of 18 books that have been bestsellers around the world. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. You might be familiar with his books LinchpinTribesThe Dip and Purple Cow.  Follow him on Twitter @thisissethsblog.)    It’s about scale. Pick a long enough one (or a short enough one) and you can see the edges.
In the short run, there’s
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How Much Money Does it Take to Quit Your Job?

I recently started reading a book called Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod. In it, Janice tells the story of how she came to get rid of almost all of her belongings, quit her copywriting job and leave California to explore the world and become an artist. Her journey began when she took up journaling at age 34. After a couple months of writing, she noticed that the majority of her entries were spent griping about her job where she created (in her words) “junk mail” such as the ads you get telling you how much… [read more]
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