In no particular order, here’s a few interesting things I heard and read recently that I wanted to share:
It Was 30 Years Ago This Week… (Zacks, by Mark Vickery)
I remember where I was 30 years ago this week. Although I was just a teenager, I recall being with my dad (a high school math teacher) on the infamous “Black Monday” at a diner in Cherry Hill, NJ. He had just taken me to “bring your kids to school day” at the high school and we stopped for some lunch on the way home. It didn’t mean a lot to me at the time, but I recall looking up at the TV and looking at the fear and panic and downward sloping chart of the market’s big pullback that day. U.S. markets dropped 23% in one day! My father was interested in the news and appeared concerned, but for the most part was calm and collected. I remember him saying something to the effect of “nothing we can do, it will be OK though”. The Dow closed on that “Black Monday” at 1,738, but fast-forward to today it’s around 23,000 (and my parents are now comfortably retired). I guess that was pretty good foresight, and one of the many lessons my dad taught me about money, investing, and patience. It’s a big reason why I chose the profession that I am in, and I like to think I am equally as calm and collected.
When Buying Insurance, Make Sure Your Risks Are Covered (The News Tribune, by Gary Brooks)
Part of my job as a financial planner is to have the discussion with clients about their life insurance coverage, and help them understand if they are adequately covered or not. I review pros/cons of their current situation, as well as provide the options and quotes for increasing their coverage, if needed. According to statistics, 2 out of 3 households reading this article are grossly under-insured, particularly if the primary wage owners dies. Every situation is different, but one rule of thumb for life insurance coverage is to have 10 times your income (if you make $100k, that’s $1mil in coverage). I have some useful resources on my website, including a “how much life insurance do you need – calculator”. Some of the considerations include: do you have enough coverage to replace your income? Do you have enough to make sure your family sustains a comparable standard of living? Do you have your debts covered (mortgage, etc.)? Do you want to have some money for your kids to go to college? At the end of the day, I can advise people but the decision is up to them. I just don’t want to be telling the surviving spouse that we didn’t have the conversation – I make it a point to educate everyone on this topic!
Why Do Smart People Do Foolish Things? (Scientific American, by Heather A. Butler)
This article (based on research) argues that most intelligence tests fail to capture real-world decision-making and our ability to interact well with others. And for those that “think critically” tend to live longer and are associated more so with wellness. To the contrary, several studies failed to find evidence that IQ impacts life satisfaction or longevity! Those with higher IQs have tended to experience more negative life events – some health related, some interpersonal related, some financial related. And while “intelligence” is largely determined by genetics, reasoning and rationalizing skills can be learned – so get to it! Interesting, short read that I liked…