Apprise Wealth Management's Selected Readings for the Week of January 20, 2019

Personal Finance

January 21, 2019
Personal Finance

At Apprise Wealth Management, we want to help people make better decisions about money. We also read constantly and like sharing some of the commentaries we enjoyed reading the most each week.

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Here are this week’s articles as well as a brief description of each:

1.   On Jack Bogle (1929-2019). Last week, Jack Bogle passed away. Warren Buffett once said, “Jack Bogle has done probably more for the American investor than any man in the country.” Mr. Bogle was the founder of Vanguard and inventor of the Index Fund. If you own ETFs or mutual funds, it is quite likely the associated fund expenses have declined, largely because of Mr. Bogle’s work. In this post, Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Zweig, who knew Mr. Bogle for 25 years, shares his reminiscences on Mr. Bogle and his career. See also: Five Pieces of Advice from John Bogle.

2.   Budget Your Time Like You Budget Your Money. In 2019, one of my most important goals is to increase my productivity and efficiency. I have already made some changes to how I use email, social media, and electronic devices in general, freeing up more time. One of the more interesting points I thought this article made was how most products sold by technology companies today are free to consumers. Instead of paying for them with cash, we pay for them with time. While time seems like a cheap commodity, it is also scarce. There is considerable merit to the idea of budgeting our time, just like we should budget our money.

3.   How Not to Be StupidWe typically think of “stupidity” as the opposite of intelligence. However, chess master Adam Robinson suggests that the truth is “stupidity is overlooking or dismissing conspicuously crucial information. ”In other words, we can avoid real “stupidity” by avoiding human errors. There are seven factors that can cause us to do something stupid. All of them do not have to be present – they are additive. In no particular order, they are as follows:

·        Being outside your normal environment or changing your routines

·        Being in the presence of a group

·        Being in the presence of an expert or if you, yourself, are an expert

·        Doing any task that requires intense focus

·        Information overload

·        Physical or emotional stress, fatigue

·        Rushing or a sense of urgency

The more of these factors that are present, the higher the risk of a stupid mistake. For example, all seven of these factors are present in U.S. hospitals where the number of annual deaths due to human error – 210,000 to 440,000 – dwarfs the number of fatalities from automobile accidents – 30,000. In short, the best way to minimize the number of stupid mistakes is to minimize the presence of these seven factors.

4.  These Overlooked Social Security Claiming Strategies Can Help You Get Bigger Checks in Retirement. For many, Social Security will be an important source of income in retirement. There are many ways to claim Social Security benefits. Failing to use the right strategy can cause you to leave thousands of dollars on the table. You do not want to sacrifice any of your benefits by using the wrong claiming strategy. This article offers several strategies that can provide a big payoff if used properly.

5.   What’s Really Happening to Retail? Amazon has clearly disrupted retail businesses putting many brick-and-mortar stores out of business. While this article focuses on New York City, it identifies the types of stores that can be classified as Amazon-proof businesses. Not surprisingly, food and beverage businesses lead the way. Such establishments are particularly important to younger people many of whom “barely know how to make a cup of coffee.” There is also “a new focus on health, foods, body consciousness, and an obsessive attention to aesthetics.”

We hope you find the above posts of interest. If you would like to talk to us about financial topics including your investments, creating a financial plan, saving for college, or saving for your retirement please fill out our contact form, and we will be in touch. We can schedule a call, a virtual meeting via Zoom, or a meeting at Apprise Wealth Management's office in Northern Baltimore County.

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