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Archive for December, 2008

Extreme Makeover: 2009 Edition

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008, by

It helps sometimes to hope for the best…but to plan for the worst. Let’s imagine that your boss calls you into their office after the holiday break to have a little chat. They start with the good news: You get to keep your job. Then the bad news: Your salary has been cut from $85,000 […]

Van Pelt Syndrome

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008, by

“A ship in harbor is safe–but that is not what ships are built for” John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic, 1928 The least surprising news flash of the entire year ran in last Monday’s (12/22) Wall Street Journal, under the heading “Investors Lose Faith, Pull Out Record Amounts“. No kidding. Now they tell us. […]

W Rescues Hedge Fund

Monday, December 29th, 2008, by

The mainstream media got it wrong. Again. The December 19th capitulation by the President was not a rescue of the auto industry. It was primarily a rescue of the United Auto Workers and the private hedge fund, Cerberus. It might help to step back from this debacle and imagine you were going to start a […]

The Paradox of Thrift

Friday, December 26th, 2008, by

On this day after Christmas, in the wake of the dramatic markdowns that will cap off the holiday shopping season, we explore yet another variation on a theme…that no good deed ever goes unpunished. The good deed would be a nation of consumers that curtails its mindless and reckless consumption in favor of only necessary […]

The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Investors

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008, by

(With appropriate apologies to Steven Covey for ripping off the title of his best selling book.) Here’s my Christmas gift to you… Looking back over a business career now spanning four decades, I thought it might help to summarize what I’ve learned from direct observation of personal and client behavior, so that you can model […]

Coping with Runaway College Costs

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008, by

I hope I live long enough to see rational reforms in the two most uncompetitive and unrepentant cartels in our economy. That would be the markets for health care and secondary education. Both have costs increasing far in excess of the nominal inflation rate. Both are distorted by third party reimbursement. As the recession grips […]

Line for Bailouts just got Longer

Monday, December 22nd, 2008, by

Guess who the newest mendicant is? Your dear old alma mater… Our nation’s colleges and universities. You will recall that there are two huge sub-sectors of our economy that do not respond to normal price discovery. That would be health care and education. Both derive most of their funding from third party payers, which distorts […]

You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man

Friday, December 19th, 2008, by

Be sure to catch this classic flick on Turner Classic Movies, or from Netflix. W.C. Fields at the peak of his popularity. I’m not sure of the original author of this aphorism, but today’s title explains how Bernard Madoff allegedly scammed his clients out of $50 Billion (that’s with a “B”) using a plain, garden […]