Ben Carlson

Financial Advice March Madness Edition

“Forecasts may tell you a great deal about the forecaster; they tell you nothing about the future.” – Warren Buffett “Renting space in my head to CNBC seems like a bad use of square footage.” – Carl Richards With March Madness in full swing and upsets at every turn I’m sure there are many people out…

Determining Your Risk Tolerance

“Risk is what is left over…after you have thought of everything.” – Carl Richards “Risk is low when investors behave prudently and high when they don’t.” – Howard Marks In the world of high finance, risk is a word you hear on a daily basis. Risk measurement, risk parity, risk controls, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns….

Real Estate Investment Performance

In my post that looked at housing as an investment I showed historical data going all the way back to 1880 on the investment returns in the housing sector. Then I looked at some of the investment characteristics on housing including the net expenses you pay and its low liquidity when you need to sell. I…

Lessons From Cyprus

If you have been following the financial news this week you have seen more mentions of the tiny country of Cyprus than ever before. This is a tale of debt, bailouts, bank deposits and rich Russians looking for a tax haven. I won’t bore you with the details (feel free to read here and here…

Do You Need Life Insurance?

A single friend recently asked for some advice on life insurance. It seems that his insurance agent for his home and car was trying to talk him into getting a life insurance policy. Having no financial expertise he wanted my take. Obviously as a single male with no beneficiaries to worry about this was a…

The Truth About Stocks and the Economy

“Those who have knowledge don’t predict. Those who predict don’t have knowledge. ” –Lao Tzu, 6th Century BC Chinese Poet “If you spend 13 minutes a year trying to predict the economy, you have wasted 10 minutes.” – Peter Lynch Many investors assume that the stock market anticipates economic developments. Or that the latest GDP number…

Common Sense Links for the Week

Here’s what I’ve been reading this week: How to fix America’s wealth inequality (The Atlantic) The most inevitable headline of all time (The Motley Fool) Surprise! It’s been a decent decade for stocks (Yahoo! Finance) Bobby Knight’s investing advice (MarketWatch) Why time frames matter to you (The Big Picture) Hidden credit card benefits (Lifehacker) How…

Can You Handle Investing In Stocks?

“In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run it is a weighing machine.” – Benjamin Graham When we got engaged my wife and I had a discussion about how we would run our finances once we were married. This was obviously a topic that was breached by me…

How to Manage Your Money on Auto Pilot

“Human decision-making is complex. On our own, our tendency to yield to short-term temptations, and even to addictions, may be too strong for our rational, long-term planning.” – Peter Singer “Truly successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.” – Malcolm Gladwell We all like to think that we are good at…

Is Real Estate a Good Investment?

“Housing takes maintenance, it depreciates, it goes out of style. So why was it considered an investment? That was a fad. That was an idea that took hold in the early 2000s. And I don’t expect it to come back. Not with the same force.” – Robert Shiller Purchasing a home is the biggest investment…