THERE’S A FAMOUS quote that’s often attributed to Thomas Jefferson: “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
Making your own luck is a concept I’ve long believed in, and have written about before. Clearly, luck plays a role in all human endeavors—finances especially. I’m particularly intrigued by the intersection of luck and hard work. But how exactly can we add to our store of good luck?
REUBEN KLAMER, one of my greatest financial teachers, died last month. I never knew his name until I read his obituary. Klamer invented The Game of Life—the one that’s played with a spinner, a small plastic car full of blue and pink stick people, and lots of money.
I grew up in the 1960s, long before the internet or video games. Board games were what we played when it was rainy outside or when we had family gatherings.
IF I WERE STARTING my career all over again, I don’t know how well I’d fare in today’s economy. By contrast, if my dad were alive, he wouldn’t have any trouble finding work. He was good with his hands and could fix anything. He was a machinist by trade, but he could’ve easily been an electrician, plumber or carpenter.
All the disasters we’ve endured during the past few years have created an explosion in skilled,
IT’S A COMMONLY HELD belief that market risk is a function of time in the market. Simply put, risk falls as our holding period lengthens. This is the notion behind time diversification—the idea that more time allows us to diversify across different investment periods, resulting in reduced risk.
For example, the S&P 500 has historically generated positive returns in nearly every 20-year holding period, even after adjusting for inflation. Armed with this data, one of the first things financial advisors ask clients is about their time horizon.
WE’VE ALL SEEN the headlines: The tight U.S. labor market has prompted many businesses to increase starting salaries and offer hiring bonuses to new employees. But what about pay increases and bonuses for the workers who stick around, rather than jumping from one job to the next?
Like the employers who neglect loyal workers, many of us make the same mistake as we balance work and family. I’m certainly guilty. Every time I work late or take on a “side hustle,” there’s a tradeoff—less time with my family.
SIX YEARS AGO, when my grandmother was age 94, our family felt it was best for her to move from her home to a residential senior facility. She didn’t want to leave the house where she’d been living for more than 50 years. But with no close relatives nearby, we thought the time had arrived.
I’m not sure such a move would be necessary today.
Amazon just announced that its Alexa Together service will begin enrolling subscribers later this year.
I’M A FAN OF SUSPENSE novels. But the latest mystery keeping me awake at night isn’t a work of fiction.
On Monday, Oct. 4, Vanguard Group announced it was cancelling a long-promised benefit, a health insurance subsidy for its retirees, which includes me. The very next day, the investment management company abruptly reversed course. The benefit was extended through 2022. Vanguard said it would “take a step back and recalibrate” its decision.
What prompted the reversal?
THE LATEST BIG NEWS in the money management world: Vanguard Group said it had completed the acquisition of Just Invest, while Franklin Templeton announced it was buying O’Shaughnessy Asset Management. With these purchases, the two firms entered the direct indexing arena in a big way.
Direct indexing—or custom indexing—involves using quantitative tools to tailor a portfolio’s individual stock and bond holdings to each investor’s preferences. Say you don’t want to own tobacco stocks. No problem.
ONE OF MY DREAMS for retirement was to take four months and hike the Continental Divide Trail. It runs along the backbone of our country, from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. It’s 3,028 miles of beautiful scenery.
Alas, my wonderful wife worries about me hiking alone for months. What if I got hurt? What if I got sick? Our son uses a satellite phone on his treks to keep us up-to-date on his location.
FINANCIAL FIRMS spend heavily on marketing to create a friendly, customer-first impression. But these firms aren’t your friends, at least not in the ordinary sense of the word. They make their money, fairly and legally, by providing specific services to customers.
Friendliness at a retail level keeps your capital in place, where it works for the firm’s benefit. Every once in a while, I see language that clearly expresses what they want from our “relationship.” These communications help me review where I do business,
THE HOLIDAYS ARE almost here, but supply-chain bottlenecks and order backlogs continue to wreak havoc with the economy. Forget stocking up on Halloween candy. Instead, you might want to focus on buying the latest hot Christmas toys for your kids—right now.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management put out a research piece last week detailing the logistical nightmare gripping global markets. Its charts reveal a skyrocketing number of anchored containerships near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach waiting to unload.
LIVING PAYCHECK to paycheck is defined as spending “all of the money from one paycheck before receiving the next paycheck.” But living that way doesn’t have much to do with income level, even though the idea is often presented that way.
One study says 53% of those earning between $50,000 and $100,000 live paycheck to paycheck, including 70% of millennials. The popular claim is that 50% of Americans are just scraping by. To that,
SEPTEMBER WAS A BIG anniversary month for us. In addition to celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary, we celebrated our third Pelo-versary. In the words of my mother-in-law, we are Peloton addicts. Ask us about our favorite instructors at your own risk.
The general perception of Peloton—for which the entry price is now $1,495—is that it’s priced too high for most people. While I don’t believe that Peloton is “democratizing fitness,” as its CEO suggests,
ONE OF MY FAVORITE pastimes is listening to podcasts. I subscribe to about 20—half of them related to finance.
One series, produced by a large Wall Street investment house, features three-to-five-minute episodes. They’re usually about market trends or economic analysis. Truthfully, they aren’t among my favorite podcasts. But I like their short length when I don’t have time for a 30- or 60-minute episode.
On a recent podcast, listeners were told that the firm’s economists believe that U.S.
I NEED TO CONFESS: I’m obsessed with the financial markets. Most weekdays, I check up on U.S. stocks, emerging markets, the EAFE (Europe, Australasia and Far East) index, the 10-year Treasury yield, gold and even the U.S. dollar index, or DXY, as it’s known. Then, at the end of most days, I view my updated portfolio online.
I don’t know why I do this. Deep down, I know it’s irrational. At university, I was an electrical engineering major,