Annuities are Sold, Not Bought

I spoke to a reporter earlier this week who asked, “What’s the number one reason people buy annuities?” My answer, “because someone sold it to them”. When you slap a 7%-12% sales commission on any financial product, a hungry salesforce is going to find a way to sell it. Nobody wakes up in the morning…

National Security

Last week, I attended the annual lunch of the Bureau of Governmental Research in New Orleans where Mike Leiter, former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, spoke about his views on national security, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity. When I tell you, this guy has an impressive resume, it’s a dramatic understatement. He is a former naval…

One Million Dollars

I have bad news, a million dollars is not a lot of money. Let me rephrase that, a million dollars is not worth as much as it used to be. In the context of saving for a 30-year retirement, a million dollars won’t be enough. It all depends on how much you need to withdraw…

Crisis du Jour

Back in February of this year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1,032 points in a single day. The media hyped it as the largest decline on record, which was misleading. Yes, it was the largest POINT decline, but not the largest one-day PERCENTAGE decline. This is my biggest pet peeve about market reports. We…

Living to 100

How long do you think you will live? This is the greatest area of uncertainty when creating a financial plan. We know that people are living longer, but we don’t know how much longer that will be in 30 to 40 years. Former President George HW Bush was 94 when he died last week. The…

What I Learned on Internet Break

I wish I could tell you that my four-day internet break over Thanksgiving was a mountaintop moment, but it truth, there was nothing earth shattering. However, I have a few takeaways from four full days and five nights without social media, email, or internet. I turned off my smart phone for most of it, something…

Money Scripts

Several years ago, I attended a conference session with Tim Maurer. He began by asking each of us to think of our first memory of money. Take a moment, do you remember yours? A common answer is the Tooth Fairy. I find this a hilarious first money memory, a magical fairy who pays children for…

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. What could be better than a holiday that combines family, food, and wine? I love trying over the top recipes from scratch, helping set the table, and even cleaning up after the meal. When I’m in New Orleans for Thanksgiving, as I am this year, we go to the opening…

Everybody Knows About Mississippi

We interrupt this blog for a post about a political mishap gone terribly wrong. Last week, Mississippi Senator and run-off candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith was recorded joking about attending a “public hanging”. I have never heard this Southern colloquialism before, but that is what the candidate claims she used when she said of a donor, “If…

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…