Ben Carlson

Why Costs Matter

“You can’t control what markets can do, but you can control the costs you pay. The less you pay to the purveyors of investment services, the more there will be for you. The quintessential low-cost investment vehicles are index funds, which should comprise the core of every investment portfolio. The high fees charged for active…

Why Scary Retirement Stats Don’t Work

“Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.” – Mark Twain I feel like every week I read another story about the terrible state of retirement savings by individuals. Here are some of the scary retirement stats I read about…

Am I Ready to Retire?

The following guest post comes from Ed Carlson. Ed is a retired Healthcare CFO (and my father) who is spending his time during retirement helping others prepare for the financial, estate planning and healthcare issues that arise once you leave the workforce for good. Ed is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA).  Feel free to ask…

European Stocks and Headline Risk

“Heaven: Where the Police are British, Chefs are Italian, Mechanics are German, Lovers are French and, it’s all organized by the Swiss. Hell: Where the Police are German, Chefs are British, Mechanics are French, Lovers are Swiss and it’s all organized by the Italians.” – Proverb

Beware of Market Experts Wielding Misleading Graphs

“Stupidity well packaged can sound like wisdom.” – Burton Malkiel Having a historical perspective on the markets is crucial to be able to understand the present and plan ahead for the future. Looking back on how the markets have performed in various economic, interest rate and investment cycles can give you a broader sense of…

Being a Sports Fan and the Cycle of Fear, Hope & Greed

“Why does this matter to me so much? Isn’t it fundamentally stupid that this matters so much?” – Bill Simmons on being a sports fan I’ve spent a lot of time learning, thinking and writing about the inherent behavioral biases that we humans all seem to share. The greatest investors of all-time don’t do things…

Investing in Stocks is Counterintuitive

“Many things about investing are counterintuitive. Low-quality assets can be safer than high-quality assets. Things get richer as they become more highly respected (and thus appreciate). There can be more risk in thinking you know something than in accepting that you don’t.” – Howard Marks “Investing is the only business I know that when things…

What’s Wrong With This Retirement Plan?

“The more complexity there is in the market, the more that something simpler stands out.” – John Maeda Fidelity Investments, the behemoth mutual fund company that oversees nearly $4 trillion in assets, has gotten some bad press in the past few months. Fidelity manages many 401(k) retirement plans for employers across the country.  One of…

Dilbert Creator: Think Systems over Goals

“Your dreams of creating a dry-cleaning empire won’t be helped by knowing that Thomas Edison liked to take naps.” – Scott Adams Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic strip, had a great piece in the Wall Street Journal last weekend which outlined some of his career advice based on his experience with failure…