Friday, January 23, 2015

The Vicous Cycle of Tidying.

When we tidy each place separately, we fail to see that we're repeating the same work in many locations and become locked into a vicious cycle of tidying. To avoid this, I recommend tidying by category.  [My bold]

Thus says Ms. Kondo in her The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which Amazon describes as the "#1 Best Seller in Zen Philosophy." 

Please tell this lady that no one in our house is caught in that cycle, especially me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

WSJ's Best Online Tools for Navigating Retirement: Here's Life Planning for You, Kid.

In the Encore section of today's WSJ, the front page article is entitled "The Best Online Tools for Navigating Retirement" and its complete with a photo of a couple contemplating retirement, a photo right out of the 50s.  So I guess that we baby-boomers have become our parents.  I mean I love(d) my parents, but that's pretty depressing, even though I look in the mirror each morning shaving and I see my dad.  Thanks a lot.

Anyway, since this article is behind the pay-wall, I'll just list the "best on-line tools" in a series of posts and give you a short description.  This is my first post in that series.  Here is this site's welcome:

Welcome to your path to freedom. That is what financial Life Planning is all about—the freedom to find your dreams, and to bring them alive. Life Planning helps you reorganize your relationship to money so that your financial resources are dedicated to supporting your life of greatest value, meaning and purpose. 

This sounds vaguely religious.  Yet this is the WSJ's "favorite." It "offers a free series of introspective exercises," probably because us boomers are pretty flabby with that sort of thing, introspection I mean.  We are notoriously outwardly directed when we are not smoking pot. We've got to get in touch with our inner selves or risk defaulting to the Villages. The site also provides links to "financial planners trained in 'life planning.'"  Life Planning "focuses on helping clients clarify their goals, values and priorities before planning their finances." 

Actually, the couple in the photo appear to be happy.  (Although it disturbs me that they are not holding hands - its sort of a knuckle-bumping walk into retirement, I guess.)  Maybe they have their future pretty much squared away.  Probably because they saved a lot of money over the years buying their clothes at Goodwill.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Investing vs. Leveraged Speculation

[A]ll individuals can still choose to do what most professionals no longer can: Invest for the long run without having to measure their performance moment to moment in a mad race to beat the market.

But if, instead, you use borrowed money to speculate in markets you don’t understand, you have taken your basic advantage and distorted it into a lethal disadvantage.

-Jaxon Zwieg, in an article entitled "Still Want to Trade Currencies?" in today's WSJ. (Behind the pay-wall.)

Friday, January 09, 2015

Althouse Posts on Decluttering (UPDATED)


I have a relatively small office at the firm.  Each business day at the office, I spend at least an hour (or should) doing what I call a "sweep."  By that I mean looking at every piece of paper that has wandered out of place and either discarding it, scanning it, posting the subject matter on a to-do list, or otherwise putting it where it needs to go, where God intended for it to be.  Cf. 1 Cor. 14:33.

Now and then, I walk into the office the morning after a complete de-clutter (usually on a Monday, after I've spent the better part of my day Saturday doing the sweep, requiring the balance of that day to be spent in a long nap) and I feel a sense a joy.  I think that is what first walking (floating? rematerializing?) into heaven must feel like.  (Or maybe heaven is simply having the time and energy to declutter.)

This is not exactly the same thing that Althouse posts about, but it is very close.

We are always misplacing things at home, and often they cannot be found for years.  There is an entire set of Barth's Church Dogmatics that disappeared amongst the clutter several years ago.  We still don't know where it is.  We refer to where it went as "the sock hole."  There are lots of things we would like to retrieve from that place, but we can't find the portal.  When the kids arrive after we've gone to heaven, they will finally unpile everything - like the lady in the Althouse link . They will discover the entrance to that Lewis Carroll kind of place, and they will have a good laugh.


I had to get back into this post because the link didn't work to the Althouse blog.  It is fixed, but I read the blog again.  You will see that Ann reviews the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and includes a YouTube video of its author, Marie Kondo, discussing the book.  Ms. Kondo advises keeping only the things that give you joy.  Hmm.  Well, Carol is certainly on the list.  Now what else?

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Living to 96?

The WSJ for this weekend has a worthwhile article (behind a pay wall) entitled, "The 15 Numbers Every Investor Should Know."  Among those numbers is one's life expectancy, that is, the age to which the subject should assume he or she will live.  (Obviously, savers and investors should be interested in this number.)  The article links to a website called "Living to 100," which includes a "Living to 100 Life Expectancy Calculator." By answering a few multiple choice questions, the calculator will give you the last anniversary of your birthday.  Mine is 96.

The site will give you not only the age to which you can expect to live, but also a set of comments and suggestions in light of your answers to the multiple choice questions.  Most of the comments and suggestions make sense, but there is one that is troubling.  Because I answered that I consume very few dairy products per week, there is a recommendation that I consume more to avoid osteoporosis.  Apparently, the author of the calculator, Thomas Perls MD, MPH, FACP, did not get Dr. McDougall's memo.  A diet full of vegetables and a life with periodic exercise should result in enough calcium to keep one's bones strong.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Wealth and Siblings

The print edition of the Miami Herald this morning features on the front page of its business section an AP article by Bernard Condon that the Herald headline writer entitled "Wealth gap deepens sibling rivalries."  It features Jayson and his sister Jackie, Jason materially successful and Jackie not so much.  Jayson is college educated, in his mid-thirties and single. Jackie has no-college (yet), is in her late twenties, and she married her high-school boyfriend.  But if you read to the end of the article, you see these two people moving toward each other in their views and growing in their respect for each other. 

The article on the AP website (and on the Herald's own website) has a more accurate headline: "How wealth gap complicates sibling relationships."

The Herald headline, however, advances the newspaper's agenda:  that we should all have the same outcome regardless of the choices we make and that government should make it so.

I concede that that the article also includes quotes from a psychotherapist who "says she's never had so many clients troubled by sibling wealth."  However, a sample taken from a lone psychotherapist's practice hardly makes the case promoted by the Herald headline.  Nor do Jason and Jackie.