Market Dominance and the Winner’s Curse

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:20+00:00 April 28th, 2017|Global Market Update|

Do we live in a winner-take-all economy? Source: Latticeworks Increasingly, commerce seems dominated by a few big firms. We use our iPhones to search for stuff on Google; we buy it on Amazon; and we tell our friends about it on Facebook. These tech titans provide everything we need, and they’re incredible profitable. Normally, high profits would attract competitors, forcing down margins. Consumers would benefit, as companies vie for their business, either through lower prices, better service, or some other innovation. But that doesn’t [...]

The Merchants of Venice

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:20+00:00 April 27th, 2017|Global Market Update|

How do we know what a company is worth? Photo: X. Source: Pixabay We want to base our investments on facts, not feelings. One reason Apple is worth more than GM, even though GM has twice as many employees, is that Apple earns more – five times more – than the car giant. Both companies have iconic brands with global scale. But Apple is far more profitable . But how do we know this? We know it because of double-entry accounting: debits, credits, income, [...]

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions (Part 4)

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:20+00:00 April 26th, 2017|Global Market Update|

What’s the best way to decide? Photo: Judith Broug. Source: Morguefile We’re deciding things all the time. What time to get up, what courses to take, who to hire and fire, whether to fix up the house or sell it. Our decisions depend on our thinking. And the clearer our thoughts, the better our decisions will be. The final step in making good decisions is putting the relevant facts in place. Facts are real. They can’t be argued over or debated. Facts may support [...]

French Revolution?

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:20+00:00 April 25th, 2017|Global Market Update|

How does the French election figure into this crazy season? Photo: Benh Lieu Song/ Source: Wikipedeia France’s weekend’s election prompted markets to rally around the world – a development some have called, “Le Phew.” The French stock market rose by 5% – the equivalent of 1000 points on the Dow. Other markets also rallied: Germany was up 3, London 2%, even Japan rose at least 1%. There has been a global “risk-on” trade, because the most radical outcome – a France that rejects the [...]

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions (Part 3)

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:21+00:00 April 24th, 2017|Global Market Update|

What resources do we need to improve our decisions? Source: usafacts We all use facts to make our decisions. We also act on what we know – of ourselves and of the situation. We can look into a problem and we can seek help. Where we look and who we turn to are both resources. Encyclopedic resources are straightforward and easily accessible. They present humanity’s collective knowledge about a subject. They might answer a question like what symptoms are linked to a disease or [...]

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions (Part 2)

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:22+00:00 April 21st, 2017|Global Market Update|

How can we improve our decision-making? Source: Quora Most of us live in “react-mode.” We’re like thermostats – the temperature goes up, and we try to cool things down. It gets a little chilly, and we turn up the heat. We don’t deliberate, we just do something because it makes us feel better. But reacting to circumstances doesn’t change the underlying situation. It just makes us a little more comfortable, for a little while. One of the best ways to improve our decisions is [...]

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions (Part 1)

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:22+00:00 April 20th, 2017|Global Market Update|

How can we make better choices? Photo: Colin. Source: Wikipedia Let’s face it: the world is constantly changing, and we face important decisions every day – where to live, what to do, how to show our friends and family that we care. We’ve never been so interconnected, and yet people have never felt so isolated. It’s never been easier to find out who organized the Seneca Falls Convention on women’s rights in 1848 or why the British keep ravens in the Tower of London. [...]

Putting Fun Into Finance

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:22+00:00 April 19th, 2017|Global Market Update|

Can personal finance be fun? Photo: Melodi2. Source: Morguefile For most of us, money matters are unpleasant. They involve budget issues and trade-offs and hard choices that frustrate everyone. So we need to encourage ourselves, to set up some kind of incentive program. For example, estate planners say you should update your will every three years or so. So: think about what would be a special treat—like eating at a favorite restaurant, or going to a special show—and reward yourself when you update your [...]

Follow the Leader

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:22+00:00 April 18th, 2017|Global Market Update|

Do we suffer from an “expert” bias? Photo: Christopher Michael. Source: Flikr We tend to trust the views of experts, especially when it’s about something we haven’t experienced ourselves. If I haven’t travelled to Antarctica, I’ll generally trust someone who’s actually been there – even if they travelled to the islands on the Antarctic Peninsula, and I’m headed for the South Pole – over 1500 miles away. This is natural. When we’re in unfamiliar territory, we want a guide. We look for someone to [...]

Free Education!

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:22+00:00 April 17th, 2017|Global Market Update|

Should college be free? Photo: Kelly Martin. Source: Wikipedia There is a move, politically, to make college less expensive. And with tuition and fees at private institutions running $60-70 thousand per year, it’s understandable why people get concerned: most of us don’t have half a million dollars just lying around to pay for our kids’ college. Moreover, tuitions that high make the idea of “working your way through school” seem ridiculous. Twenty hours per week at a work-study job pays for less than 20% [...]