Wednesday, October 8, 2014

When Sunk Costs Help

When Sunk Costs Help
I love my little sister. After our parents divorced, we became modern day latchkey kids. We spent every weekday afternoon after school hanging out and playing mancala and watching t.v. And, yeah, back then I sort of tortured her, too. But in a loving, big-brother kind of way. The funny thing is that we grew up into such different people, even though we were raised in the same household. My sister is completely health conscious, hiking all over the place and eating organic foods; but exercise and diet are a constant struggle with me. I'm obsessed with finances and investments, while my sister would rather be doing something, maybe anything, else.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Social Capital vs. Financial Capital

Social Capital vs. Financial Capital
Today I'm on the roundtable of the Stacking Benjamins podcast, along with Len PenzoGreg McFarlane, and Joe Saul-Sehy. We're talking about retirement, ownership trends of certain assets, and when you might be saving too much. It is my very first podcast and, go figure, immediately after having me on the show, Stacking Benjamins won the Plutus Award for "Best Podcast". Coincidence? 

If you have an hour to burn, click here to give it a listen. And if you just want to skip to the roundtable, you can fast forward to 11:15. And...back to the blog.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Convenient Narratives

Last month I wrote about an NPR podcast that outlined how the real cost of education is not rising all that dramatically. In inflation adjusted dollars, the amount may be going down slightly. This is not the narrative we hear when we turn on the television or radio. We hear about skyrocketing tuition and fees that the average American family simply cannot keep up with. The truth is trickier than that. But I suspect that we're more comfortable hearing news stories and statistics that confirm what we already think: confirmation bias at work.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Is College Really Getting More Expensive?

Thanks to my only real source of news, NPR podcasts, I learned that the cost that college students are paying for tuition isn't rising very fast at all. This story from Planet Money tells a very different narrative than the one I'd been hearing for years. So I was skeptical. But as the good folks at NPR make clear, the disparity makes sense. There are two costs being tracked: the sticker price, which is the cost that colleges list on their official websites, and the net price, the average price that students actually end up paying. So while the sticker price is increasing, most students do not pay the sticker price.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I Am Miley Cyrus

A quick note: I offered to write about any subject whatsoever if someone could get my comments to show up again on other blogs. EcoCatLady came to the rescue with a tip on Akismet, which was great, but then she took me up on my offer to do an in-depth analysis of Miley Cyrus' cover of "Jolene", which was terrifying. I mean, it's cute to say you can write 800 words on an ironic subject. Then someone calls your bluff, and you have to stare into your computer monitor and face the hard the truth: you only have about 80 words in the hopper, and they are not even good words. But, a promise is a promise, so it's time to give it the old college try. Lord help us.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Why Aren't We Getting Better With Money?

Why Aren't We Getting Better With Money
Cry for help: a few months ago, I noticed a lot of my comments weren't showing up on my favorite blogs. Apparently, WordPress thinks I am a spam bot. (This likely says something about the quality of my comments.) So, if you think I've stopped reading and commenting on your blog, it's likely that my comments are getting caught in a spam filter. If someone can fix this for me, I will write a post (on my blog or yours) on any subject you want. Want an in-depth analysis on Miley Cyrus' cover of "Jolene"? You got it. Want me to wax poetic about "In Living Color" and the sad, slow death of live sketch comedy? No problem. Just help me fix my computer problems and I'll gladly whore out my writing. And...back to the post.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Trickle Down Consumption

Trickle Down Consumption
I was driving to a kickball game the other day, when I heard a cool story on Marketplace about those little white oval stickers with two big letters that people sometimes put on their bumpers. You know, "GB" for Great Britain, or "F" for France, stating the places the driver has visited, or where he's from. The stickers were created by the UN back in the 1940s, in Europe. There were so many drivers from other parts of the world that the United Nations created the stickers as an easy way to identify the country the driver was from. The reporter notes that, "in the US, they became a status symbol: EH for East Hampton, or AK for Nantucket. Secret codes that said the driver of this car lives or vacations in America's most elite resorts." These days, the stickers are a way to brag about the cool places you've been, or a flag you can send up as a beacon, hoping others from your home town might be living in this new place with you.