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new york times

Staying Out of Your Neighbor’s Business

New York Times

Humans can be a competitive lot. The way we posture and position ourselves to stand out in a group seems to happen instinctively. After all, in the past we competed for resources and survival. Our lives depended on it. Today, we still compete, but for different reasons. Instead of food, we compete for attention and…

Speaking the Language of Risk

New York Times

When I say “risk” and you say “risk,” chances are high we don’t mean the same thing. The finance industry defines risk as something measurable. It is variability within a set of known limits. You may have heard it referred to as standard deviation or even volatility. Ultimately, it represents how much an investment wiggles…

At an Impasse but Finding a New Path

New York Times

“I can’t believe you see it that way!” Just last week, I said this to my wife in the middle of a discussion (O.K., a fight) about money. We were experiencing something many of you have probably also faced. We needed to make a very important financial decision about how much of an emergency fund…

Simple Financial Solutions Often Beat the Complex Ones

New York Times

“Can it really be that simple?” Over my career, I’ve heard these words from so many people. Clients, friends and family all just assumed that the process of financial planning needed to be complex. This assumption doesn’t surprise me. The traditional financial industry is built, in large part, on the notion that complexity equals quality….

Finding Surer Footing

New York Times

We left the trail head at 1 a.m. and headed for the summit of the Grand Teton. I had made this climb several times, but my friend was still new to mountaineering. This trip was his first attempt at the popular peak. Our goal was to reach the top by sunrise so we had enough…

Add Uncertainty to Your Financial Plans

New York Times

Human beings don’t like uncertainty, especially when we’re contemplating our financial futures. It’s not enough for us to think that we’ll have enough money to send our kids to college, or to retire. We want to know exactly how much money we’ll need to achieve those goals — and precisely how we’re going to get…

A Mystery in Hedge Fund Investing

New York Times

When I look at hedge funds, there are three data points that keep bothering me. They create a pattern that doesn’t make a lot of sense. I hope you can help me understand what I’m missing. 1. Hedge fund performance has been terrible. In 2014, the Barclay Hedge Fund Index returned 2.88 percent. In that…

Rethinking Money, Not as Good or Bad but as a Tool

New York Times

Almost everything we’re taught about money is focused on spending it and saving it. Parents, teachers and even personal finance books discuss saving money as keeping it, increasing it and controlling it. Saving money involves figuring out ways to get more of it, to build a bigger cushion. We’re taught that’s the ultimate goal. In…

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