Death Anecdote

Death By Anecdote

Suppose you have a perfectly healthy 100-year-old neighbor who never exercises and smokes two packs of cigarettes a day. Would you quit exercising and start smoking two packs a day in hopes of living a healthy life into your 90s?  Would you begin living your life based on their story?  Of course not!  This could, quite literally, lead to death by anecdote.  You would be making a serious, life altering decision based on a single data point – your neighbor.  As silly as this example seems, you may unknowingly be making investment decisions…Read more
Mild Side

Take a Walk on the Mild Side?

A friend recently sent me an interesting article entitled How Happiness Comes With Age - Becoming Okay With Being Boring.  I’m guessing I liked the title so much because I am a CPA and have mastered the art of being boring.  If you ever need someone to liven up a party, just give me a call and I will give you the phone number for my friend Ron - he is really fun. One particular part of this article jumped out at me as it relates to investing.  The writer was discussing our…Read more
Burger Fries

Burger, Fries and a Plane Crash

Well-known risk consultant Peter Sandman wisely observed that, “The risks that scare people and the risks that kill people are generally entirely different.” Why is this? His conclusion is that it has to do with control and familiarity. It seems that we are much less afraid of things that are familiar and that we feel are in our control (even if they are, in fact, much more dangerous). The truth of Sandman’s observation hit home for me one day as I was enjoying a juicy burger and freshly cut French fries at one…Read more
Pot Pie

What Pot Pie Can Teach Us About Investing

I was recently shopping for note cards on a popular paper company’s website.  I know that has the potential to win the ‘least interesting opening sentence in a blog post’ award this year, but do your best to hang with me here.  This shopping experience started out in a very promising way.  I basically knew what I wanted and the home page of the site had a prominently displayed tab for Note Cards.  How much easier could it get?  Unfortunately, when I clicked on the Note Cards tab my thoughts of quick and…Read more
What Traffic

What Traffic Can Teach Us About Investing

Sitting in Washington, D.C., traffic the other day made me think of an instructive story I heard some years back.  It went something like this:  Imagine that you are in your car, leaving Washington, D.C., for a fifteen hour drive to Florida.  Unfortunately, half an hour into your trip, you see a line of brake lights ahead and within moments you are sitting still in the middle of a traffic jam.  As you stare out the window of your car, you notice people on bicycles flying past you.  After an hour of going…Read more
Sale Avoid

One Sale People Avoid

People who know me well will tell you that I tend to get in a rut when it comes to food (I prefer to think of myself as consistent).  If I’m not going out to lunch on a particular day, one of my ‘rut’ foods is a pack of tuna with some lemon.  It’s easy and inexpensive - a beautiful combination to my way of thinking! What is also beautiful to a numbers guy like me is walking into the grocery store and seeing that one of my ‘rut’ foods is on sale. …Read more

What Cruise Ships Can Teach Us About Investing

My family and I took our first cruise over the Christmas break.  We have never taken a cruise before.  This is mostly due to the fact that my wife and I saw the Titanic movie.  Spoiler alert - it does not end well.  And if that wasn’t deterrent enough, earlier this year there was the now notorious sewage gate incident aboard a stranded Carnival cruise ship.  If you didn’t read about it, it involved a cruise ship that lost power at sea.  When the power went out, so did the toilets.  I will…Read more
T-Rex Cockroach

What a T-Rex and a Cockroach Can Teach Us About Investing

You have probably heard the tale of the tortoise and the hare, but I am guessing that you are not as familiar with the story of the T-Rex and the cockroach.  The mighty T-Rex is celebrated in museums and movies as the biggest and most dominant and terrifying carnivore of all time.  The cockroach, on the other hand, is small, ugly and perhaps the most reviled of insects.  For investors, the important moral of the T-Rex and the cockroach story is that the lowly cockroach is still thriving and multiplying around the globe,…Read more
Voting Booths

What Voting Booths and Scales Can Teach Us About Investing

A little over a week ago, a technical glitch knocked out trading in all Nasdaq Stock Market securities for three hours.  If you are a true long-term investor with a good financial plan, then your attitude toward a market closure of three hours or three months should be one of indifference.  As Warren Buffett said, “If we aren’t happy owning a piece of a business with the Exchange closed, we’re not happy owning it with the Exchange open.”  This leads me to an important question that gets to the heart of how you…Read more
Creative Destruction

Creative Destruction

A Fossil By My Driveway A while back, I was outside taking the trashcan to the curb when something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye, something yellow and shiny in a plastic bag.  I went over and picked it up.  It was a book, and in it were names and phone numbers.  I believe people used to refer to it as a phone book. I think I would have been less surprised to find the thighbone of a Tyrannosaurus Rex sitting at the end of my driveway.  I expected…Read more