Whole New Game

Joe Kesler

Joe is the author of "Smart Money with Purpose." He spent 40 years in community banking, assisting small businesses and consumers. Joe served as chief executive of banks in Illinois and Montana. He currently lives with his wife in Missoula, Montana, spending his time writing on personal finance, serving on two bank boards and hiking in the Rocky Mountains.

Whole New Game

Joe Kesler  |  Jan 19, 2021

BASEBALL USED TO BE a game where managers would go with their “gut.” But Brad Pitt changed everything. In the movie Moneyball, Pitt played Billy Beane, the first baseball general manager to use data analytics to great success—and suddenly it was all the rage.
Today, from a typical game, seven terabytes of data are gathered, everything from the arm angle of every single pitch to the exit velocity of hit balls.

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Silver Lining

Joe Kesler  |  Jan 8, 2021

“IT WAS THE MOST stressful time of my career, but also the most rewarding.” I heard that comment, as well as variations on it, from many bankers over the past few months as they talked about PPP, or Paycheck Protection Program, the federal loan program launched to help ease the financial distress caused by the pandemic.
PPP has been criticized because not all the money has ended up with companies it was intended to help.

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About Tomorrow

Joe Kesler  |  Dec 2, 2020

I’M NOT MUCH of a bartender. But when my wife and I hosted an art show in Missoula for a friend, I got the chance to serve wine while meeting a whole new group of people. Bankers—my usual social circle—tend to be strait-laced analytical types, so it was entertaining to spend an evening meeting creative folks from our thriving arts community.
One young couple, who sported an array of tattoos and piercings, had a story that caught my attention.

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Prepare for Pain

Joe Kesler  |  Nov 19, 2020

WHEN I THINK ABOUT investment advisors selling high-fee products, it brings to mind the story of two politicians who were shouting at each other. One of them stands up and screams, “You’re lying!” The other one answers, “Yes, I am, but hear me out!”
In my 40 years of investing, I’ve bought into some questionable sales pitches. You’ve heard them: “The easy money’s been made. It’s going to be a stock picker’s market going forward.” Or: “Only losers are satisfied with just earning the market averages,

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Doing Good

Joe Kesler  |  Oct 27, 2020

DANIEL SUELO is one of the most interesting characters I’ve ever met. At dinner with him and some friends almost a decade ago, I spent the evening trying to understand his view of money—or, to be more accurate, his refusal to believe in money at all.
Suelo was in Montana to talk about a book that had been written about him, The Man Who Quit Money. As the title implies, Suelo—a well-educated and articulate man—made a decision in 2000 to stop using money.

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True Wealth

Joe Kesler  |  Sep 28, 2020

YOU NO DOUBT remember Peter Lynch, the celebrated manager of Fidelity Magellan Fund. He quit Magellan’s helm when he was just 46 years old. His comment at the time: “You remind yourself that nobody on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office’.”
Nothing brings more clarity to money’s limitations than consideration of our mortality. A few weeks ago, I thought about this truth as I lay awake all night,

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Life as a Loan Shark

Joe Kesler  |  Aug 18, 2020

THE SPEAKER was passionate. “You bankers need to understand our culture is not like your culture. In our community, we don’t expect bills to be paid on time. If you’re really interested in serving our community, you need to adjust your expectations and not be asking us to change our culture in order to qualify for your loans.”
Wow, did I get an education some years ago, when my bank attempted to reach out to the town’s minority community.

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