Why We Get Fooled

Patrick Brennan  |  Feb 8, 2023

IN JANUARY 1987, I was an unmarried junior Coast Guard officer just beginning the flight stage of U.S. Navy flying training. I decided to see a financial advisor who’d been recommended by friends.
This wasn’t just any advisor, but rather a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and fighter pilot. He worked for a firm whose advisors were comprised mostly of retired military officers, and they marketed their services primarily to military officers. If there was anyone I could trust,

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Saving Our Retirement

Bill Yount  |  Jan 31, 2023

I ONLY WOKE UP TO the notion of financial independence at age 50. I’d been asleep at the financial wheel and almost crashed. It had been a 20-year Rip Van Winkle slumber. I realized suddenly that I had an irresponsible, unconscious and unintentional money mindset.
I could offer plenty of excuses, but they don’t make me feel better. Shame, grief and disbelief overcame me initially. At times, regret still haunts me. We had lost so much time without taking care of our future.

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Pushing Myself

Mike Drak  |  Jan 29, 2023

I LIKE CHALLENGING myself to do hard things. I guess it’s just the way I’m wired.
Recently, I started thinking about the hardest things I’ve done. Convincing my wife to marry me was hard. She was a tough sell. But eventually I wore her down and got the deal done—one of my best deals, by the way.
Attempting Ironman Cozumel at age 68 was hard and, even though I failed, it’s one of my most cherished memories.

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Trading High

Steve Abramowitz  |  Jan 24, 2023

WHILE HANGING OUT at the local Charles Schwab office, you meet a high-octane trader named Hal. He paces up and down like the Energizer bunny and talks so fast you can’t get a word in. Incessantly checking his phone, he abruptly gestures to the door and insists you join him for lunch. Apparently, Apple is up three points, his options are in-the-money and he wants to celebrate.
Hal speeds to a nearby Subway, where he proceeds to order the Spicy Italian for both of you.

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Meant to Be Spent

Luke Smith  |  Jan 20, 2023

JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS, I had a call scheduled with a financial planning client to discuss investment and tax strategies, with an eye to making sure everything was squared away before year-end.
This client is a retired executive who was successful because of her attention to detail. Her retirement is no different. She’s savvy and loves to get into the weeds of financial planning. As a financial nerd, that’s fine with me.
Naturally, given her personality,

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Choosing Success

Kelechi Iwuaba  |  Jan 18, 2023

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA told Vanity Fair, “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”
He believed that spending mental energy to make an inconsequential decision about clothes early in the day might lead to a bad decision on a consequential matter for the country later in the day.

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Time’s A-Wasting

John Yeigh  |  Jan 16, 2023

WHAT DO BEN FRANKLIN, Charles Darwin and David Cassidy all have in common? All have advised us not to waste life’s precious time.
Almost everything about money translates into time. Money can buy us time—either more free time or more time spent on higher-value activities. Money can purchase a nicer house or car, a luxury vacation, greater financial support for our children, fun toys or experiences, reduced financial stress—and, eventually, a comfortable retirement. The financial independence-retire early,

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In a Heartbeat

Don Southworth  |  Jan 16, 2023

I’VE BEEN ENGAGING IN the same end-of-the-year ritual for decades. Right after Christmas, I take a day or two—preferably away from home—to reflect, pray, meditate and write in my journal about the past year and the year that lies ahead.

It’s a time for me to think about what I’ve done, what I haven’t done and what I hope to do in the new year. In this review, I include my financial, spiritual, emotional and physical lives.

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Service With a Smile

Kristine Hayes  |  Jan 12, 2023

MY MOM TOOK ME to a local credit union in 1981, when I was 14 years old, to open my first savings account. I don’t remember how much money I initially deposited. But back then, I had two sources of income. Each summer, I sold a pig at our 4-H fair livestock auction. That typically provided me with $200—funds I budgeted for school clothes and supplies.
I also earned money by showing livestock at our county fair.

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Moody Blues

Steve Abramowitz  |  Jan 6, 2023

DEPRESSION IS BAD not just for your health, but also for your wealth. In 2001, Prof. Robert Leahy touched on the corrosive influence of a person’s mood on his approach to the financial markets. Although intuitively plausible, his observation has never received the attention I think it deserves.
The notion of cognitive bias is a cornerstone of the burgeoning field of behavioral finance. Set in motion by the pioneering research of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky in 1974,

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Best-Laid Plans

James Kerr  |  Jan 6, 2023

I HAVE A RITUAL ON New Year’s Day—and it has nothing to do with making resolutions or watching college bowl games on TV.
Every Jan. 1, I pull up my handy financial planning spreadsheet on my laptop and input year-end numbers for my investment portfolio based on where the various funds closed out the year. I created the spreadsheet 20 years ago when I was in my early 40s, had just gone through a financially devastating divorce,

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How Much is Enough?

Dan McDermott  |  Dec 31, 2022

AT A PARTY GIVEN BY a billionaire on affluent Shelter Island, New York, author Kurt Vonnegut informs his friend, Joseph Heller, that their host had recently made more money in a single day than Heller had earned in total from his hugely popular novel, Catch-22.
To that, Heller replies, “But I have something he will never have.”
“And what is that?” asks Vonnegut.
“Enough,” says Heller. “Enough.”
The story may be apocryphal—I’ve read a similar version featuring J.D.

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Taking It Personally

Steve Abramowitz  |  Dec 29, 2022

DENNIS DEVOURED the computer screen with an intensity he usually reserved for his trading platform. He’d just arrived in Manhattan from St. Louis for an investment banking position he couldn’t refuse, and was hunting for a two-bedroom apartment.
“These rents look like down payments,” he muttered to himself. But this was no time for complaining. Dennis checked his watch and turned on CNBC. It was the first Friday of the month and the employment report was due out momentarily.

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Everyday Arbitrage

Richard Connor  |  Dec 27, 2022

SOME PROFESSIONAL investors make a living through arbitrage, exploiting small, short-term differences in the price of stocks, bonds, commodities and currencies. For the average investor, such trades can seem far too complicated. Still, I often look for opportunities for what I call “everyday arbitrage”—situations where I can take advantage of a difference in, say, tax rates or a product’s price.
Here’s an example: In a recent article, I wrote about how 2022’s higher interest rates will significantly reduce the payouts that some retirees will receive from the 2023 lump-sum option on their pension.

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Words to Live By

Don Southworth  |  Dec 25, 2022

ONE OF MY FAVORITE end-of-the-year rituals is watching Turner Classic Movies’ annual memorial to those in the film business who have died during the past year.

Each year, I’m reminded of people who have entertained and often strongly influenced me. It’s four bittersweet minutes of smiling, crying and reliving memories. Movies, and especially holiday movies, have been as important in inspiring and teaching me as any scripture I’ve ever read and any sermon I’ve heard or given.

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