Avoiding Indigestion

Jonathan Clements  |  May 26, 2016

RESTAURANT MEALS are my biggest discretionary expense. Want me as one of your customers? Here are my seven rules for restaurants:

If I made a reservation, don’t make me wait 10 minutes for a table.
Dim the goddamn lights. I look better in the dark. So does your restaurant.
Never sell a wine I can find in the liquor store. It’s one thing to suspect you’ve marked up the bottle by 300%. It’s another thing to know with absolute certainty.

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Worse Than Greece

Jonathan Clements  |  May 14, 2016

HOW DO OUR financial habits stack up? Academics Cristian Badarinza, John Y. Campbell and Tarun Ramadorai compared U.S. households with those of 12 other developed nations. Here are nine highlights:

Almost 50% of U.S. households are invested in the stock market, versus 34% in Finland, 25% in Spain, 24% in Germany and 23% in France.
Defined contribution retirement plans—think 401(k) plans and their ilk—are widespread in Australia, the U.K. and U.S., but are far rarer in continental Europe.

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Control What You Can

Jonathan Clements  |  April 2, 2016

ASK NOT WHAT the markets can do for you. Ask what you can do for your portfolio.
After 15 turbulent months for stocks, many folks feel they’re at the mercy of the financial markets. But in truth, we’re far from powerless. We may not be able to control the direction of share prices. But here are seven crucial financial levers over which we have a lot of control:
1. We can figure out how much cash we’ll need from our portfolio over the next five years,

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Fistful of Trouble

Jonathan Clements  |  March 26, 2016

CONFRONTED BY a complicated financial world, the temptation is to fall back on rules of thumb. But are these rules any good? Here are five of the most popular:
1. Save 10% every year. There are two knocks on this rule of thumb. First, the 10% of pretax income is the sum you’re meant to save for retirement—which means those who have other goals, like buying a house and paying for a child’s college education,

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Doing Better

Jonathan Clements  |  January 1, 2016

IT’S JANUARY 1—a day of great hope. Those New Year’s resolutions to save more still seem achievable. Nobody’s investment results have yet fallen behind the market averages. Market pundits can still fantasize that this year they’ll be proven right. In this spirit of optimism, check out my 16 ways to improve your life in 2016. Below, you’ll also find some thoughts on bond-market risk.
16 Ways to Improve Your Life in 2016

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Not Just Irrational

Jonathan Clements  |  December 29, 2015

OUR FINANCIAL irrationality has been well documented by academics focused on behavioral finance. But we aren’t just irrational. We’re also inconsistent in our irrationality. Here are five examples which, while somewhat amusing, can also have dire financial consequences:

Employees will work for 30 years at a job they hate to qualify for a traditional defined benefit pension, but they wouldn’t dream of delaying Social Security for a few years to get a larger monthly check.

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