What’s Your Role In Your Financial Outcomes?

If you are a consumer of personal finance content like I am, you have by now undoubtedly heard one commentator or another derisively dismiss the idea of even mentioning the long-term cost of a daily Starbucks trip. They don’t want to hear about it—it’s a trope to be ignored. And this derision is coming from otherwise competent and professional personal finance sources. This phenomenon got me thinking: what’s going on here? Surely Commentator X …
Always Say No? Always Say Yes? Which Is It? Warren Buffet is cited for the wisdom that “the difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”  Over the years I’ve heard any number of snippets of advice from Mr. Buffet and I have to concede that I usually find myself nodding in agreement with his folksy, common-sense perspective. It’s hard to argue with his …
I recently had a conversation with my teenage daughter where we had reason to consider the financial situation of an elderly couple that are family friends. My daughter became aware that this family had an (undisclosed) amount of money to live on for the rest of their lives, and that was it. She made an off-hand remark that “they have that amount of money to live on, and that’s it? That would stink.” This …
In his “Intelligent Investor” column in the September 7, 2019 print edition of the Wall Street Journal, Jason Zweig wrote about an idea that we’ve thought about a good deal in the recent past: the fact that not all risk tolerance assessments are created equal. In the piece, Mr. Zweig—himself an accomplished and noted author regarding topics related to the intersection of money and our brains—takes specific aim at what some have referred to …
Our data consistently tells us that in the arena of personal-finance outcomes, behaviors matter. They matter a lot. So we thought it was time to try and quantify—from a dollars and net-worth perspective—exactly how much is “a lot.” We’ll consider savings rate as a critical behavior. We have talked here before about the difference in savings rates between “high-potential” and “low-potential” individuals, as measured by scores on the DataPoints Building Wealth assessment. As a quick …

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