Category Archives: New York Times


Risk and the Real Consequence of Failure

We left the trail head at 1 a.m. and headed for the summit of the Grand Teton. I had made this climb several times, but my friend was still new to mountaineering. This trip was his first attempt at the popular peak. Our goal was to reach the top by…

What Diversification Feels Like

Forget Diversification. You Just Need to Pick the Winner.

You made a huge mistake last year with your money. You know this now, right? The only investments in your portfolio that did very well were probably United States stocks. Bonds may have held their own, but everything else was just pitiful. International stocks performed horribly and emerging markets weren’t much better. What were you…

Hedge funds

The Hedge Fund Conundrum

When I look at hedge funds, there are three data points that keep bothering me. They create a pattern that doesn’t make a lot of sense. I hope you can help me understand what I’m missing. 1. Hedge fund performance has been terrible. In 2014, the Barclay Hedge Fund Index returned…

How do judge a financial advisor

What Does Your Financial Advisor Do?

There’s a fight brewing in Washington. While fighting in Washington isn’t new, the cause of this particular fight might shock you. People are arguing about financial advice. Last week, the debate gained national attention as President Obama waded into the discussion. At the center of this argument is a surprising…

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported

Weighing the Value of Money & Time

One summer, a friend of mine planned a river trip. The closest public airport was a day and a half’s drive from the river. So my friend decided to hire a private plane to get his group to the destination in a few hours. I know this choice sounds extravagant,…

Savings & Using_1

Treating Money Like a Tool: Don’t Spend It, Use It

Almost everything we’re taught about money is focused on spending it and saving it. Parents, teachers and even personal finance books discuss saving money as keeping it, increasing it and controlling it. Saving money involves figuring out ways to get more of it, to build a bigger cushion. We’re taught…

income vs enough

Only You Know If Your Income is Enough

On and off over the years, I have used a training app called Strava. It allows you to keep track of your performance on different biking, running and skiing trails. You can even break down overall times into sections or compare your performance over the entire trail. Last year, in an…


Sticking with the Herd: A Risky Proposition

What feels safe is often risky, and what feels risky is often safe. This statement contradicts just about every evolutionary instinct we possess. We tend to seek out safety and avoid risk whenever possible. A classic example has to be the instinct that (still) tells us we are safer staying…


Take the No Shame, No Blame Challenge

About 10 years ago, my wife and I were driving around Park City during one of our annual summer trips to Utah. We knew that at some point we wanted to live there, so we were excited when we discovered a new housing development. Only a handful of lots had…

Risk Exposure

Your Exposure Trumps Your Risk

Last week, a conversation with a friend reminded me how easily we can confuse actual risk with our own exposure to that risk. My friend travels a lot for work, and I asked him where he planned to go this year. His answer surprised me. “I don’t know,” he replied….