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…

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…