High-Cost Annuities Poison the Well of Teachers’ Retirement Plans

High-cost annuities have ABSOLUTELY no place in the 403(b) plans of public school teachers. Every day we are looking at the vendor choices for school districts and have come to this conclusion: They are appalling and are an affront to basic human decency. Roger Wohlner wrote something today called “Annuities: The Wonder Drug for Your Retirement?” If…

Reflections of Pearl Harbor Day

There were no “safe zones” in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. In the age of “micro-aggressions” and “everybody’s special snowflake gets a trophy”, the events that happened on that fateful day stand out in sharp contrast our current diet of “fake news,” reality-show dominated media. That day 2,403 Americans were killed along with 1,178…

How To Domesticate the Untamed Investor

“We tend to seek easy single factor explanations of success. For most important things though, success actually requires avoiding many separate possible causes of failure.”  – Leo Tolstoy In order to be happy you must succeed in many different ways. This is commonly known as the Anna Karenina principle from Tolstoy’s famous novel. Though Tolstoy…

7 Deadly Sins Of Financial Salespeople

“There are many new sinners today but there are not any new sins, just the old ones clothed in different rags” – Billy Graham   Bad incentives cause bad behavior. The financial services industry is a prime breeding ground for this type of unethical behavior. Excessive compensation will cause the average person to do, and…

Trust, but Verify, your Investment Advisor

“The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.” – Stephen King In the end, trust in your investment advisor is all that matters. Nothing will work if this essential bond is not established. Without trust, your client relationships are no stronger than sand castles during high tide. Clients have given me checks for…

Teachers Need to Catch Up with Their 403(b) Plans

Teachers have some huge advantages embedded in their 403(b) plans despite the overwhelming abundance of crappy annuities. If managed correctly, some teachers are able to save 50k a year in pretax contributions. We need to get them good choices so they can take advantage of this terrific benefit. We are working on that right now….

An Open Letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren

Dear Senator Warren, We desperately need your help in righting a great wrong. Many of our nation’s public school teachers are being fleeced in their retirement accounts by excessively greedy insurance companies and brokerage firms. This is not hyperbole. Here are the facts: According to The Wall Street Journal, the average 401(k) participant paid 0.67%…

Welcome to the Annuity Jungle

“The great corporation which employed you lied to you, and lied to the whole country — from top to bottom it was nothing but one gigantic lie.”  – Upton Sinclair, The Jungle Many investors roam dangerous grounds as financially illiterate prey in a jungle teeming with salespeople disguised as real financial advisors. Upton Sinclair, one…

Evidence Based Investing for Dummies

“To hell with facts, we need stories!”- Ken Kesey The most important ingredient in creating an investment portfolio is evidence. Unfortunately, according to Michael Shermer, “Humans are pattern-seeking, story-telling animals, and we are quite adept at telling stories about patterns, whether they exist or not.” The average investment plan of many retail investors consists of…

The Most Valuable Degree is from Good Luck University

“Ten men in our country could buy the whole world and ten million can’t buy enough to eat.”  – Will Rogers Luck plays a vital role in wealth creation, whether you want to believe it or not. No one is disputing the role of hard work and personal grit; the point being these qualities can…