Crude oil prices have dropped significantly. In October of 2014 crude WTI oil topped $90/barrel while now it is approaching $58/Barrel 12/17/14. The good news is that the drop in crude means lower prices at the pump.
When I ask clients when they plan to retire, they often pick an age much lower than what may be realistic for them. In some cases, this is an arbitrary target based on when their parents retired on what they perceive to be the societal standard for an “early retirement”. In fact, the peer pressure can be annoying. Many retired Baby Boomers will ask their friends who are still gainfully employed why they have not retired, suggesting that someone has “failed” if they are still working. The reality is that many early retirees leave the workforce too early. Whether the decision was against their will or intentional due to a stressful work environment, this decision is often regretted. Early retirees are often ill-prepared emotionally as well as financially. (more…)
The S&P 500 which represents US large cap stocks has performed admirably in the past 5 years, but there is a disconnect between these lofty valuations and fundamentals. In fact, recently several variables have pulled away from the larger market suggesting that the S&P is likely to follow. See these charts courtesy of zerohedge.com (more…)
The Christmas season is upon us and the shoppers are already heading to the malls. Many Americans get caught up in the swell of activity and end up spending far more than they anticipated. Not only do they overspend, stress levels rise as they shop for gifts, plan parties, decorate their homes and buy and prepare food for holiday guests. The result come January is a “holiday hangover.” (more…)
I had the opportunity to hear Dan Heath, one of the authors of Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Work and Life, speak about how we can avoid making poor decisions. Dan, who is a professor at Duke University, wrote the book with his brother Chip Heath, a business professor at Stanford. The talk was fabulous, because not only did he discuss several reasons we make bad decisions, he also offered constructive tips about how to prevent these behaviors. Whether or not you decide to get a tattoo, eat dessert at the Cheesecake Factory, or spend time engaged in mind-numbing hobbies (think Angry Birds), you can avoid predictable destructive patterns. (more…)