Just Asking

Jonathan Clements

IT’S THE LABOR DAY weekend, which is hardly the time for a nerdy article on the finer points of personal finance. Instead, I’ll leave you to spend the weekend pondering 11 great unanswered financial questions:

  1. Who does more financial damage, stockbrokers or life insurance agents?
  2. Is taking Social Security early and then assuming you’ll make double-digit gains by investing the money a brilliant strategy—or utterly delusional?
  3. Is a home the best investment you’ll ever make or a money-sucking pile of bricks?
  4. Should you dump that wretched cash-value life insurance policy you were persuaded to buy seven years ago—or hang on in the hope you’ll die young, so you turn a profit?
  5. Does money buy happiness—or don’t you have time to answer, because you’re trying to figure out how to pay the credit card bill?
  6. Are those who try to beat the market ignorant of the evidence or absurdly overconfident about their own abilities?
  7. Are children priceless? Or is that the grandparents talking?
  8. Should you buy long-term-care insurance and trust that the insurance company won’t jack up the premiums on you—or is this another rerun of Charlie Brown, Lucy and the football?
  9. Are index funds truly a threat to the smooth-functioning of the financial markets, or is somebody trying to sell you an overpriced, underperforming actively managed fund?
  10. Is budgeting a sign of financial rectitude—or a last, desperate stab at respectability by those who are financially foolish?
  11. Are everyday investors as stupid as Wall Street claims—or are folks on Wall Street just rude and cravenly self-serving?

Follow Jonathan on Twitter @ClementsMoney and on Facebook. His most recent articles include No WorriesPay It Down and Saving Ourselves. Jonathan’s latest books: From Here to Financial Happiness and How to Think About Money.

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3 years ago

Love the newsletter and articles. This one is a great set of questions, but it seems like it went a bit dark/edgy relative to your books and commentary over the past decades. Hope it isn’t a trend. Your humor and wisdom are what set you apart. You can be hard hitting without going low. Just humble opinion of a loyal reader. Keep up the great work overall.

Langston Holland
Langston Holland
3 years ago

We have a huge advantage here – Jonathan can’t get fired. Thus he can choose from the full arsenal of rhetoric (persuasive communication) as he sees fit. I’d classify the above as rhetorical meiosis (abrasive humor intended to enlighten). I always thought a proper spanking was kind of fun and certainly instructive. 🙂

#7 Reminded me of the young man that asked his father “Dad, why in the world would you be so foolish as to buy a boat?” The father answered “It makes no sense, but neither does having children and you’re my greatest joy”.

3 years ago

These aren’t exactly unbiased questions you’re asking, ya’ know!

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