Ben Carlson

Simple or Complex Investments?

“Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grow. If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas.” – Paul Samuelson Wall Street has made plenty of money over the years pushing complex investment strategies with high fees on their unsuspecting clients. Most of these investments fail to beat simple…

How Do I Pay For My Children’s College Tuition?

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.” – Albert Einstein Common sense reader mailbag: I have two young children. How will I ever be able to afford to send them both to college? Obviously, with the high cost of tuition and the amount of student loans that younger generations…

Why Bother Investing in Bonds?

“In spite of promising lower returns than most other investment classes, bonds earn inclusion in portfolios by providing protection against the extraordinary circumstances of a financial crisis or economic deflation.” – David Swensen If you missed Part 1 of my common sense series on bonds please read Investing in Bonds to learn about the different…

What Are You Focusing On?

“Until you can manage your emotions, don’t expect to manage money.” – Warren Buffett Managing your finances can be challenging for a number of reasons. One of the biggest ones is that there seem to be thousands and thousands of variables that we have to consider. I have discussed staying in your lane or focusing…

What We Can Learn from Warren Buffett and Bill Gross

“Do not be puffed up because of your knowledge nor overconfident because you are a learned person.  Take counsel with the ignorant as well as with the wise, for the limits of proficiency cannot be reached, and no person is ever fully skilled.” – Egyptian Magistrate Ptah-Hotep, 2400 B.C. Warren Buffett and Bill Gross are…

Dividends for Yield, Stability and Outperformance

“Risk to us is 1) the risk of permanent loss of capital, or 2) the risk of inadequate return.” – Charlie Munger Academic research over the years has told us that investment risk is defined by standard deviation or volatility. The higher the volatility that an investment has, the greater the risk and therefore the…

Investing in Bonds

“The essence of investing is the management of risks, not the management of returns.” – Benjamin Graham When people talk about the market, stocks get all of the attention and headlines. Stocks have historically been one of the highest performing financial assets while also displaying high amounts of volatility. There are also many instances where…

Honest Investment Advice From a Wall Street Professional

“I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat, and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?” – Yogi Berra I have spent a lot of time talking up the advantages…

Lessons From Thinking Fast and Slow

“If there is time to reflect, slowing down is likely to be a good idea.” – Daniel Kahneman Thinking Fast and Slow is a fascinating book by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman. It is full of interesting studies that have been performed over the years to learn how to think about thinking and how we…

How to Lose Money with the Stock Market at All-Time Highs

“When things are going well and prices are high, investors rush to buy, forgetting all prudence. Then when there’s chaos all around and assets are on the bargain counter, they lose all willingness to bear risk and rush to sell. And it will ever be so.” – Howard Marks Stock markets around the globe continue…