Vacation Mode: The band is back together this week (all four of us are in the same house at the same time!) so I’m taking some vacation days. Here are some interesting, non-financial pieces to enjoy while I’m away. 1. People hearing sounds for the first time reminds us that science can be a wonder The beauty of science is profoundly real when you see the first expressions of people hearing sounds...

Where are you on this scale? 1. In “The Three Levels of Wealth,” Ben Carlson tries to determine where most Americans might find themselves on Stewart Butterfield’s scale: Level 1. I’m not stressed out about debt: People who no longer have to worry about their credit card debt or student loans. Level 2. I don’t care what stuff costs in restaurants: How much you spend on a particular meal isn’t impacted by your finances. Level 3. I don’t care...

      What’s That Stock Worth to You? They say your home is your castle, but that doesn’t mean you should have to pay lavish prices to live there – at least no more than the going rate for a similar estate. It’s the same for your investments. You expect to pay something for the holdings in your portfolio, but there’s no sense paying more than market rates. If you do, it counts directly against the...

      July 2018 The Tao of Wealth Management The path to success in many areas of life is paved with continual hard work, intense activity, and a day-to-day focus on results. However, for many investors who adopt this approach to managing their wealth, that can be turned upside down. The Chinese philosophy of Taoism has a phrase for this: “wei wu-wei.” In English, this translates as “do without doing.” It means that in some...

No, we are not in a 9-year-old bull market 1. Currently some clients, and pundits, are voicing concerns about the longevity of the current bull market. In the September 2017 article “No, This Is Not the Second Longest Bull Market Ever”, Barry Ritholtz and Michael Batnick laid out the case that the period running from mid-2015 to early 2016 "absolutely was a bear market." Barry also explains how he measures...

What’s your favorite mixed nut? In a bowl of mixed nuts, which flavor do you favor? For the record, I’m a sucker for the cashews. It’s fine to pick out your treat preferences. In the market, you’re best off skipping the picking, and sticking instead with an appropriately balanced mixed bag. This quarter’s up-and-down returns continue to show us why. Whether we view the market by quarter, year or more, we’ll always see...

  Have you heard about that new Postcard-sized Tax Return? Kelly Phillips Erb, aka @taxgirl, gives us a first look in Here's How The New Postcard-Sized 1040 Differs From Your Current Tax Return. Yes, the new 1040 is smaller but it comes with at least six additional schedules, or forms, that many taxpayers will have to attach to the main form. And the font size is TINY. Does Your State Rely...

The Impact of Inflation Over the long run, stock markets are expected to deliver returns well beyond the rate of inflation. That is, the $1 you invest in today’s stock markets should still provide $1 or more worth of purchasing power decades into the future. In exchange, you must tolerate volatility risk, which can cause your account balances to bounce around wildly, often uncomfortably, along the way. In contrast, “safe” Treasury bonds...

Your path to buying a home In How to Buy a House, Michelle Higgins of the New York Times outlines your path to homeownership, step-by-step. Steps include: Rent vs. Buy, How Much House Can I Afford, Check Your Credit Score, Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage, Line up Cash, Figure Out Where You Want to Live, Making An Offer, and Closing. Don’t forget to celebrate when all is done! Additional Reading: From...

Someone who is uniquely positioned as both a physician & financial planner offers advice on health care In 3 Ways to Stand Up to the Healthcare System & Control Costs, Dr. Carolyn McClanahan, CFP® shares “three ways to effect change in our system, get better care, and control your health care costs.” A must read for everyone. Additional Reading: Any of her previous articles on health care here including “The Lettuce Scare...