First-time home buyers having a rough go of it 1.Starter-Home Affordability Hits a Decade Low (Prashant Gopal, Bloomberg, 8/27/2018) “Starter homes are now more costly to purchase than at any time since 2008, when the last boom came to a crashing halt. In the second quarter, first-time buyers needed almost 23 percent of their income to afford a typical entry-level home, up from 21 percent a year earlier, according to an analysis...

Bob Lefsetz thinks the STEM era is over… 1.  And now it is about “Soft Knowledge.” Article first shared by Barry Ritholtz. “For twenty years we’ve experienced the denigration of the liberal arts. For twenty years we’ve been ruled by tech. For twenty years it’s been about entrepreneurship. Now it’s about thinking. About concepts. About ideas. Not changing the world with products, but analysis and influence”. What are you getting into if you invest...

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...