Mine

My mother taught my son a new word this weekend. “Mine.” He’s at an age where he understands more than he can say, so he jumps on any word he can pronounce. Last weekend, the word was “ice” in the cooler that held our beers while tailgating at a college football game. This weekend, it…

What if Your Goal Isn’t the Max?

Many responses to my post on how few families save in 529 plans focused on the inability to max retirement contributions. But what if your goal isn’t to max your 401(k)? I’m sure FIRE movement advocates will disagree, but most people do not need to max their 401(k) to save enough for retirement. Median household…

American Energy

The U.S. is now the largest single country producer of crude oil, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia earlier this year. Technological advances in horizontal drilling fueled a boom in the West Texas Permian basin and other tight rock formations. In Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, the Marcellus-Utica shale formation houses an estimated 84 trillion cubic…

Why Are So Few Using 529s?

Last week, Morningstar published a report on the use of 529 accounts for college savings. It found that only 16% of families with young children are using 529 plans. While this number is not necessarily shocking, it is unfortunate that families are leaving money on the table. Morningstar’s report, authored by Head of Behavioral Science,…

We Only See a Version of the Truth

A few years ago, I attended a presentation by Terrance Odean, Berkeley Professor and famed researcher on behavioral finance. In the middle of his presentation, Professor Odean played a video and asked audience members to count the number of times the players in white shirts passed a basketball. I vigilantly went about the task, putting…

Calendar Years are Arbitrary

Time is a human invention. Sure, the Earth orbits to Sun every 365 days and rotates every 24 hours, but humans developed the concept of time. Whether it is dark or light outside, my alarm clock rings at 5:50am each morning. That wasn’t the case for humans two hundred years ago. They structured each day…

Mega Billions

There was no winner in last night’s $1 billion dollar Mega Millions drawing, so the projected jackpot for Tuesday at $1.6 billion. That’s Billion with a B. What’s even more shocking is that the mega ball last night was lucky number 7. Tuesday’s jackpot is a new record, surpassing the $1.586 billion dollar prize in…

Diversification Means Saying Sorry

One of the oldest adages in investing is to diversify. “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” On the flip side, being diversified means you always own something that underperforms. I am not the first person to write that “diversification means always having to say you’re sorry”. For more great articles on the…

The Allure of Private

Prospective clients are sometimes surprised when I tell them we invest in mutual funds and ETFs (exchange-traded funds). Some think we are stock pickers because Josh is on point in discussing companies on CNBC. Others have enjoyed outsized returns in large cap growth darlings Apple, Amazon, or Facebook. But a third group, those with more…

Advisors Earn their Stripes in Down Markets

It’s too early to call this market selloff a down market. Stocks are only 5-6% below all-time highs. But a two-day decline of 5% is jarring, even to the most hardened investors. We know that investment losses hurt two times more than gains feel good. Even though portfolio values are higher than they were a…