Ice Cream Causes Drowning

(or, The Importance of Critical Thinking) There is no doubt that the age of big data is upon us.  While most agree we’re in the very early stages of realizing its potential, we are now able to capture and crunch vast amounts of information in order to learn all kinds of things about ourselves and our world. While listening to a recent episode of the TED Radio Hour podcast on the “Big Data Revolution,” I was reminded of the power of big data and the impact this will continue to have on the… [read more]
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We are Not Homo Economicus

I want to introduce you to a species of human you’ve probably never heard of before: Homo economicus. If there was a perfect investor, Homo economicus would be it. He knows everything there is to know about every company, country and market. He is motivated by self-interest and isn’t swayed by the needs of others. Best of all he always acts rationally. Choices are simple for Homo economicus. When faced with how best to achieve a goal, he would calculate the optimal path and follow it without deviation, hesitation or regret. The complete absence of… [read more]
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4 Ways To Prevent Boomerang Kids From Delaying Retirement

(from Kira Brecht‘s TDAmeritrade’s Ticker Tape blog posted August 15, 2016.  Find original post here.  Kira is a veteran, Chicago-based journalist specializing in personal finance, investor education, commodity markets and technical analysis.  Follow Kira @KiraBrecht.) Has your empty nest filled back up? You aren’t alone. A recent Pew study showed that for the first time in 130 years, young adults ages 18 to 34 were more likely to live in their parents’ home than with a spouse or partner in their own household. Blame it on the still-sluggish economy, stagnant wage growth,… [read more]
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Under the Influence

Every day we are deluged with messages and memes through cable and the internet.  These messages can influence us in ways we may not realize, and the source of the information may not be what we assume. If you are a Facebook user, the news feed content you’re being sent each day arrives through algorithmic adjustments, and according to Facebook is “designed to show you stories most relevant to you,” and ranks the stories “so that what’s most important to each person shows up highest in their news feeds.”  Many of these news feeds… [read more]
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Short Attention Span Theater

This week, New York Times columnist and political analyst on numerous TV networks, David Brooks wrote an op-ed piece on Why America’s Leadership Fails.  In it, he makes the case that the gridlock that persists in Washington is caused, at least in part by politicians arriving in Washington called to serve, only to be overcome by the short term calculations necessary for self-preservation.  Whether surviving the crisis du jour or getting in the right sound bite for the next election cycle, the incentive to fight for any long term calling or strategic goal is… [read more]
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It Could Happen to You

My grandmother and I have always been close.  When I was growing up, I spent many a Friday night having carpet picnics with her and my grandpa where we sat on the living room floor with a blanket and had dinner, usually fried chicken.  We would watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy and then play cards or board games until I fell asleep and they had to carry me to bed.  She still lives in the same house she’s lived in my whole life.  It holds a lot of memories for our family. Sadly, those… [read more]
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Falling Off Your Game

Last Sunday night’s 2016 Olympic Games delivered drama on the tennis courts.  Serena and Venus Williams lost in the first round of their doubles match – their first-ever loss in the Olympics, while Jamie and Andy Murray, Davis Cup winners and Wimbledon champions, were eliminated as well.  The upsets weren’t limited to US players, as Serbian Novak Djokovic, the world’s number one ranked male player, was defeated by Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina. Sometimes, when we’ve done all we can to prepare for something, and our success appears nearly certain, things happen that take… [read more]
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Which Hat Are You Wearing?

(from Dimensional Fund Advisors’ Outside the Flags blog by Jim Parker dated 10/16/2015. Jim is a Vice President with DFA, leading the communications and marketing team in the firms’ Australian office.)    Most of us have multiple roles—as business owners, professionals, workers, consumers, citizens, students, parents and investors. So our views of the world can differ according to whatever hat we’re wearing at any one time. This complexity of people and their range of motivations, depending on their circumstances, highlight the inadequacy of cookie-cutter or automated investment solutions. For instance, if you work for a taxi… [read more]
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Self Awareness Isn’t Enough

I’m just not into working out. I’m just not a saver. I’m just not someone that’s going to count every calorie. That’s me, take it or leave it. While maybe not always this obvious, there are times when we all make statements like this.  This can be attributed to a healthy dose of self-awareness, of knowing one’s self and accepting our respective strengths and weaknesses. It can also be a crutch.  Self-awareness should be step one in assessing how we interact with others, the world around us and set ourselves up for success in accomplishing… [read more]
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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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