Recently I completed a book by author Charles Duhigg titled “The Power of Habit” ( Duhigg,2012). It was an interesting read about the structure and building blocks of habits and how our brain responds, both positively and negatively. One interesting discussion was how consumer goods companies have used the science of habits to sell their products. The author tells the story of the rise of toothpaste after World War I, and how marketers and scientists created the daily brushing ritual which most of us now mindlessly follow every day. This habit they created has resulted in billions of dollars of sales, where there was once none. Today, over 70% of all Americans use their product daily and often several times each day! How did they do it? They mastered the human psychology of habits and leveraged the concept of cravings and rewards. (more…)
I was recently stuck in traffic on an airport shuttle bus with a group of advisors. One advisor was referencing an older widowed client and stated, “She didn’t earn that money, so it really didn’t matter to her. Her husband was the one who worked”. I was at first offended on a personal level but after long consideration and persuasion from my colleagues, I realized this was an opportunity. It is an opportunity to educate others on how to find financial advisors that meet our needs, help us identify our goals, and put our best interests first.
On initial consultation with a financial advisor, you are probably walking through the door with a list of things you would like to get accomplished. It is the advisor’s job to allow you to share what those needs are…and then delve a little deeper. What other needs might you have that you might not have even realized yet? (more…)
As I write today the date is March 8th and it is a special day! Did I know how special when I woke up this morning? Nope. The day started early, wake up at 4:30 a.m. to take care of the pets and get a work out in on my basement elliptical while watching my MarketWatch talk shows on DVR. The morning routine continued-coffee- kids’ lunches-dinner in crockpot-laundry-shower-prep for work-coffee. 6:15 a.m. and ready to go! And what to my wondering eyes did appear? A driveway that needed to be shoveled out again as it was plowed in during my 15-minute shower interval. High-heels traded for snow boots along with some elbow grease and I was on my way to the office. Arrival, ahhhhhh. First morning task at the office is emails. The greatest subject line rolled across my inbox, “Happy International Women’s Day”. As a woman, I was happy to celebrate all the accomplishments I had achieved in just my first 3.5 hours of the day, Happy Women’s Day to me! (more…)
This was the title of an article I read many years ago by Nick Murray. Nick is a financial expert and author of many books for the financial advisory business. The headline caught my attention and the recent performance of the markets reminded me of his piece. He shared his thoughts, interestingly enough, when market returns were significantly negative and he as encouraging investors to remain true to their allocation regardless of short term fluctuations.
Similarly, when markets are providing exception returns as they have for the last several years, it is easy for clients to lose focus of their long terms goals, and the reason they are investing. Their objective morphs from a comfortable retirement to chasing the outperformance of the market. It takes courage to remain with your well diversified, balanced portfolio, when a less thoughtful approach may provide more return in the short run. Thus, the courage to underperform. (more…)
Today is the four-year anniversary of my husband Greg’s sudden passing. As I sit here writing I reflect back on what had to be done in the hours after his death. The biggest decision was how do I tell the kids that their Dad is gone. What words do you choose for an audience of 8-year-old innocence, 11-year-old independence, and 12-year-old indifference? How are each one of my kids going to accept these words? The choices I made in those moments would have lasting effects for my kids. (more…)
Four years ago, I uttered the words, “I don’t know what everyone is complaining about, 40 is awesome!” Just two weeks later, my husband, Gregory, died suddenly, and I became a widow and single parent of three kids under 12. Everything changed in a moment, and 40 didn’t feel so good anymore. (more…)
With the turn in the calendar year comes a new FAFSA form for the 2015 year. (more…)