Animal Spirits: Listener Mailbag

When Michael and I started Animal Spirits the biggest thing we underestimated was the sheer amount of feedback we would receive from listeners.

I’m not trying to toot our own horn here but it was surprising just how much more feedback poured in from the podcast audience in relation to blog readers. It makes sense when you consider it’s far easy to let your personality shine in a podcast than a written piece.

Another pleasant surprise is the thoughtful nature of the questions we receive from readers. It’s easy to poke fun at the financial literacy of this country but our readers ask informed, intelligent questions on everything from personal finance to investing to real estate to taxes to markets and everything else that comes up in one’s financial life.

We try to answer 2-3 questions on our regularly scheduled show but have been bombarded with so many questions we needed to set aside an entire episode to answer a bunch all at once.

Today’s listener mailbag is presented by Naviplan by Advicent:

Go to to learn more about how their financial planning software.

We discuss:

  • Advice for people in their 40s who haven’t started saving for retirement
  • Do people really need 6-12 months’ of spending in cash for emergency savings?
  • Is it a risk to lower your retirement contributions over time if you front-load them?
  • Are stable value funds a better deal right now than bond funds in your 401k?
  • Company stock versus mutual funds in a 401k
  • At what point should you look into using a financial advisor?
  • Balancing high-flying growth stocks with boring dividend-paying stocks
  • The emotions of investing your inheritance money
  • How do you know if you’re a good investor or if you’ve just been lucky in a bull market?
  • Doing nothing is a decision
  • If interest rates are rising why aren’t CD and savings account yields rising?
  • How long of a track record do you need to know a strategy doesn’t work?
  • Investing in non-correlated alternative investments
  • Making it on your own as a young financial advisor
  • City vs. suburbs for real estate
  • Does it make sense to convert your 401k to a Roth?
  • The financial impact of caring for aging parents
  • How does a 457b retirement plan work?

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