Getting Quilled

By |2019-01-04T05:33:00+00:00January 4th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Uh oh. American Porcupine. Photo: Chuck Holmer. Source: Wikimedia That’s what we thought the other night when our dog came rushing back to the house from the nearby woods. She was acting a little strange, so we took a closer look. Sure enough, she had a mouth full of porcupine quills. What followed was about an hour of holding her still while one of us used a pliers to latch onto each quill and pull it out. Our dog was a good girl and [...]

Customs, Laws, and Legislation

By |2019-01-02T07:07:54+00:00January 2nd, 2019|Global Market Update|

That’s just not right. Litter in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo: Bengt Nyman. Source: Flikr. CC-BY-2.0 That’s our reaction when we see a social norm or informal rule being flouted, whether it’s people casually throwing trash on the street or nabbing a parking spot someone else is slowly moving into or cutting a line that’s been forming. Before governments enact laws, customs and conventions form that guide important social interactions. And that’s what’s challenging about the huge digital platforms that have developed over the past decade. [...]

Thanks for the Memories

By |2019-01-01T18:27:35+00:00January 1st, 2019|Global Market Update|

How reliable is our memory? Photo: Bill Anders. Source: NASA Fifty years ago, Apollo 8 had just returned from its historic mission orbiting the moon. The three astronauts had been launched into space atop a redesigned Saturn V rocket, flew over a million miles, orbited the moon ten times, had to reenter navigational data accidentally erase by commander Frank Borman, and returned safely to Earth six days after launch. They made a live Christmas Eve telecast from space that was, at the time, the [...]

Amped Up Injuries

By |2018-12-28T06:16:33+00:00December 28th, 2018|Global Market Update|

When do we make our most painful mistakes? Illustration: Mohamed Hassan. Source: Pixabay Most of our biggest investment errors can be linked to charged emotions. We know what our most common mistakes are: overconfidence, loss-aversion, confirmation bias, selective data, and so on. What’s not well-studied is what makes us subject to these cognitive errors. A major factor is our emotions; whether we’re really happy or unbearably sad, getting emotional with money rarely ends well. This is more easily said than done. When an investment [...]

Bumpy Roads

By |2018-12-27T07:16:42+00:00December 27th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Have you ever been on a long drive down a bumpy road? Photo: Valley Isle Excursions. Source: Flikr. CC-BY-2.0 As a newly-minted driver some umpteen years ago, I never understood why my parents always told me to slow down while driving on roads that got a little rough. It felt fine to me. To be honest, the chop and rattle could be a little exhilarating, a break from the monotony of long, straight, flat highways in the Midwest. But now that I’m a little [...]

Choose Wisely

By |2018-12-27T06:00:02+00:00December 27th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Remember Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? Public Domain. Source: Book of Romance, Flikr When Indiana gets to the final scene in a cave, he’s confronted by an array of choices. The one instruction he’s given is “Choose wisely.” That’s my theme for next year: choose wisely. Confronted by volatile markets? Choose wisely. Finding unexpected risks? Choose wisely. Facing personal pressures? Choose wisely. Our sources of wisdom should be diverse: from number-crunching to reflection on our own needs and limitations to insights from finance [...]

The Economics of Christmas

By |2018-12-21T11:49:07+00:00December 19th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Have you ever considered the economic impact of Christmas? Photo: Viktor Hanacek. Source: Picjumbo There are lots Christmas celebrations. There’s the religious holiday, which is outside the scope of this blog. There is the secular holiday, where folks take time off to be with loved ones. It’s been noted that homeless shelters are pretty empty at Christmas. It’s the one time of the year many of those folks have someone to take them in. And then there’s the economic holiday: the [...]

Cookie Cutters?

By |2018-12-19T05:55:03+00:00December 19th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Do you like making gingerbread cookies? Photo: Viktor Hanacek. Source: Picjumbo. It’s a holiday tradition in our family: mixing, cooling, and rolling out the dough, cutting out and baking the shapes, then decorating the cookies with outlines, colors, and a personal touch. The smells that fill the kitchen are intoxicating: molasses, nutmeg, cinnamon. There’s nothing like it – although some enterprising candle companies have tried to generate the aroma in their jar candles. But it’s not the cookies or the aroma that’s so attractive. [...]

Trending Traditions

By |2018-12-17T07:37:56+00:00December 17th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Do you have any traditions around the holidays? Photo: Jill Wellington. Source: Pixabay. Lots of folks have traditions they observe this time of year around decorations, or gift-giving, or – especially – food. In Scandinavia they decorate a straw Christmas goat and place it in their living rooms, celebrating a time when a goat, not Santa, delivered Christmas gifts. My Jewish friends in grade school brought their Hanukah dreidels to school for show-and-tell, and we would guess which letter they would land on when [...]