Playing Soccer on a Live Minefield

The chase for yield is dangerous.  Many people who didn’t plan properly are hurting because low interest rates were the one thing that breaks every financial plan. Low interest rates and deflation are practically impossible to protect against unless you’re fortunate to have a pension or payments not based on interest rates.  Few are that

When the Right One Comes Along

Regret is a stern taskmaster.  It won’t let you rest. Thinking about what “coulda, woulda, shoulda” is like having a nagging pebble in your shoe.  Better to make decisions based on the best information you have at the time, leaving the door open to make greater decisions when greater information arrives. But sometimes our “old

The Deferred Happiness Model

You can’t escape them.  The “experts” are everywhere, on TV and radio – gurus like Clark Howard, Suze Orman, and Dave Ramsey distribute financial advice to the aspirational.  In almost every single case the financial advice given tells you that if you don’t save today, you will be broke tomorrow.   Really? I just sat with

Wisdom from the Cave

At ninety-three, Richard Zimmerman broke out of his nursing home and hitchhiked all the way back home.  He didn’t want what others wanted; he wanted less.  He needed less, and wouldn’t let anyone give him more.  At last, at the age of ninety-four, he laid his head down and died.  The way he wanted to,

Beware of Being Called a Sophisticated Investor

I recently had lunch with a lawyer who tried more than 150 arbitration cases against every brokerage firm in the industry. The arbitration panel is staffed by people from the industry, and it prevents anyone who is not affiliated with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) from participating. In other words, fee-only advisors are excluded because

Financial Advisor, M.D.

When was the last time you went to the doctor because you felt great? The impetus for making that appointment is usually preceded with discomfort, pain, or just a general sick feeling. Normalcy rarely creates action. Financial advisors and physicians are similar in this way. Both are usually on the receiving end of something gone

Planning, Pilots & Profits

The last few years have nothing short of amazing. So much had changed right before our eyes. The hubris that so often accompanied financial “experts” has finally lost some of its synthetic shine. The template financial approach is gone for good. The best advisors help you understand how to deal with uncertainty. An honest conversation

The Unintended Consequence

If you’re not from the South, that strange vine that seems to permeate every vacant space is called Kudzu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kudzu).  Native to southern Japan and southeast China,  it was introduced into the US in 1876 to combat soil erosion.  If you drive across any southern state, the impact of Kudzu is painfully clear.   When it arrived in

Imagination and Creativity

When and where do you get your best ideas? In the shower? On the beach? Ever wonder why your best ideas rarely come to you while at work? This is because the creative mind doesn’t’ perform optimally while in “the box”. The box is that place that doesn’t change. It is the steel cubicle where