The psychology of money and why we make the choices we do.

The Stock Market – Rocky Start to 2016


The stock market has gotten off to a wobbly start in 2016. If this “correction” feels familiar to the one in August of last year, it is because the same reasons are still in play: the economic slowdown in China, fear of Fed rate increases, and the rapid decline in oil prices. World Economic Growth While economic growth in the U.S. remains fair to good, economies in other parts of the world are not doing so well. China, the world’s second largest economy, had been a strong engine of growth. It is now slowing dramatically. Europe is still struggling in the aftermath of the economic meltdown of 2008. Japan is also lagging. Emerging markets have suffered as the threat of Fed interest rate increases spurred investors to look for less risky places to put their money. The U.S. economy does not exist in a vacuum. Weakness in the rest of the world threatens to lead us toward recession.

The Stock Market – Rocky Start to 20162017-11-22T11:14:22-08:00

Who’s In Charge of Your Finances?


This week I’ve been reading Thinking Fast and Slow by psychologist Daniel Kahneman. The author received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his work on cognitive biases in decision-making. Where finances are concerned, we all like to think we make rational decisions, based upon well-considered reasoning. The studies examined in this book suggest otherwise. What is really behind our financial decisions? Here’s a personal example – my “lettuce story.” I am standing in front of the produce section at the grocery store, eyeing a beautiful head of organic romaine. But I’m frozen.

Who’s In Charge of Your Finances?2017-11-22T11:14:44-08:00

I Am Afraid to Face My Finances


We’ve all heard the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” I am reminded of a woman who came to see me a few years ago for help with financial planning. She had rescheduled the initial meeting several times. When she finally came in, I could tell that she was upset. After she had talked for awhile I asked her, “How was this process for you, gathering your information for our meeting?” She admitted that she felt embarrassed about being disorganized and not having saved as much as she “should” have at her age.

I Am Afraid to Face My Finances2017-11-22T11:15:21-08:00

How a New Relationship Can Trigger Money Issues


A couple, I’ll call them Tom and Sally, get together for a second date, wine, and appetizers. They had gone out for coffee a few days earlier and shared an immediate sense of having met someone special. Sally had mentioned she’d be traveling for work; they would not be able to see one another again for more than a week. Tom decided to find out if his initial feelings about Sally were true. So he asked her out three days later. Glad that he’d taken the initiative, she happily accepted. Now, on that second date, they are savoring each other’s company when the check arrives. Neither one makes a move. There is an unspoken moment of uncertainty. What to do?

How a New Relationship Can Trigger Money Issues2017-11-22T11:16:02-08:00

Are You Afraid Of Financial Advisors?


A silly question – maybe? OK, Halloween is over, but I got a bit of a fright when I reviewed a recent survey done by Harris Poll stating: “Nearly three quarters (71 percent) of Americans say some aspect of talking to a financial advisor scares them . . . ” That’s a huge number. What’s going on here?

Are You Afraid Of Financial Advisors?2017-11-22T11:17:06-08:00

Facing the Haunted House of Money


Halloween is a time when it’s actually fun to be scared. It comes in small doses and when you get really frightened, it’s easy to remind yourself that it’s not real. But brace yourself for the haunted house of money: a list of numbers that paint a ghoulish picture for women’s personal finances. They add up to a scary challenge for women preparing for retirement: $0.78, 11, 5, and 80 percent.

Facing the Haunted House of Money2016-11-01T16:30:03-07:00

What Does Financial Well-Being Mean to You?


People these days seem to spend considerable time and money taking care of their health, paying particular attention to choices about diet, organic food, exercise, different kinds of alternative medical care, and spiritual self-care. But what about the notion of financial self-care? Recently, I facilitated a discussion with a group of women on the topic of financial self-care and some interesting points came out of the discussion. Generally, people seemed to have a good idea of what they need to do to take care of themselves financially, and the statements about the feelings resulting from successful financial self-care were powerful. Consider these comments: “I feel better about myself,” “I feel empowered to make choices,”

What Does Financial Well-Being Mean to You?2017-11-22T11:19:04-08:00

My 9/11: A Financial Epiphany


It has been 14 years, and yet I feel my emotional scar, healed, yet still tender to the touch. Tears still well up. Unfortunately 9/11 was just the first in a series of events that led to my life-changing discovery about money. This is what 9/11 taught me. I was in Manhattan that week for the Merrill Lynch Financial Services Conference (an ironic coincidence…maybe.) It was held at the Pierre Hotel where we listened to bank management talk about their strategies for gaining a “greater share of consumers’ wallets.” I walked out of a morning session to see footage of the second plane hitting the tower.

My 9/11: A Financial Epiphany2017-11-22T11:19:23-08:00

Stock Market Correction Blues


The last few years in the stock market have actually been quite boring. Up a little, down alittle. We may be lulled into a false sense of security, believing that making money in the stock markets is a foregone conclusion. We become complacent. Sharp declines over the past couple of weeks have jolted many nerves. The markets are currently seeing the biggest correction to hit U.S. stocks in four years. A 10% drop in value is the definition of a “correction.” The S&P dipped over 10% at one point in just a few days. While this can be alarming, such periodic pullbacks can also be instructive. They help to keep greed in check, and remind us that making money in the stock market involves risk.

Stock Market Correction Blues2017-11-22T11:19:41-08:00

Why It’s OK to Love Money (and How to Have More of It in Your Life)


A few weeks ago, I had coffee with a woman who said, “I really love money! I just wish I didn’t feel bad about saying it.” Yeah, I love money too! I identified with her feelings, especially remembering my college years when the prevailing cultural message was that greed and money are bad, suggesting that being poor is somehow noble. It prompted me to think about why loving money feels like an important step toward bringing more of it into your life.

Why It’s OK to Love Money (and How to Have More of It in Your Life)2017-11-22T11:20:41-08:00

Greece, Grexit, Graccidents: What Does This Have to do With My Investments?


Lately the media has been frothing over the rocky financial situation in Greece. Banks and stock markets closing, on top of high unemployment and chronic recession – surely these dire circumstances must have important repercussions for investors here, right? How concerned should we be and what should we do?

Greece, Grexit, Graccidents: What Does This Have to do With My Investments?2017-11-22T11:23:28-08:00

A Dad’s Wish And The Importance Of Values


Lately I have been reflecting on the importance of values as a compass for our lives. Now that the boys have moved out I can’t help but wonder if they will eventually live the values that we worked so hard to instill as parents.

A Dad’s Wish And The Importance Of Values2017-11-25T07:21:25-08:00