Okay, not evil, I was embellishing to get your attention. They are, however, misleading, offer a false sense of security and, not unlike fire extinguishers and bow ties, are to be used only in a dire emergency.
Two hosts of a podcast I’m listening to recently described their relationships with money after both growing up poor. Their thoughts started me thinking, again, about people’s views toward money and what affect it has on us psychologically.
If you’ve read any commentary over the last couple of weeks about the company GameStop, and how could you miss it, then you’ve probably seen this portrayed as the classic David vs. Goliath story. These tiny investors trading from their phones got the better of the huge, bad hedge funds and this new technology allowed the common man to stick it to the suits! But, does one win just by making someone else lose?
In 2015 the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team entered the NCAA tournament with a record of 34-0 and was deemed the “biggest favorite in modern NCAA tournament history”, according to USA Today. The oddsmakers installed UK as even favorites to win the championship.
I am not a betting man. Now, I do enjoy perusing the betting lines on college and NFL football games and making some bets in my head, but my abysmal record helps me keep my money in my pocket. Similarly, I often get asked how I think the stock market will perform this year. When I answer that I have no clue how it will fare in the short term, I often receive a squinty-eyed stare in return. If I could read minds, I assume that look means, “Isn’t that your job?” Answer: No, the reason I can’t predict the market is that NO ONE can! Witness:
When I was a freshman in High School I wanted to invest in the stock market. I, of course, had no idea what that really meant or how to do it, but it seemed interesting to me. Now remember, the stock market wasn’t nearly as accessible as it is today. Because of that, my parents equated the stock market to something akin to three-card monte in Times Square, so they told me I could invest when I had saved $1,000 from my paper route. If I had invested my hard-earned $1k into the “stock market” as measured by the S&P 500 then (1979), it would have grown to $93,050 as of the end of 2019. And, get this, if I had added just $500 each year to that initial $1,000 investment, the total would now be $476,597. Holy compound earnings, Batman!
While 2020 has been a pretty miserable year for many activities, it’s been a great year for reading…..because, well, you can only stream so much. (Season 4 of The Crown is really good, by the way, as is the Queen’s Gambit, both on Netflix) So, if you’re looking for gift ideas for others or even for yourself, of the many I read this year, here are 10 I recommend.
“You must pay taxes. But there’s no law that says you gotta leave a tip”, said somebody once. So check now, while you still have time to do something about it, to see whether you’ll owe or get a refund when you file next year. If you believe you’ll owe, below are some moves to reduce or eliminate that amount.
I’ve been asked several times recently if gold should be a part of one’s portfolio to hedge against uncertainties such as inflation, a pandemic economy, high federal debt or a contested election. If you think the U.S. is ready for imminent and complete collapse – think France in WW II – and you and your family will have to flee with only the belongings you can carry, then sure, gold will always have value to someone and is relatively easy to smuggle across a border. As a hedge, however, my personal preference would be boxwoods. Here are my thoughts:
A friend – a friend of everyone he met, actually – recently died. Known affectionately by many as the “Silver Fox” as much for his personality as for his looks, our friend truly loved people and life. In fact, he was the kind of guy who never had a bad day. At his funeral, one of his several eulogists listed our friend’s 10 keys to living a good life. I find them so compelling I want to share them with you: