image_pdfimage_print

Beware the Student Loan Grinch

If I had to attend mandatory addiction classes, it would be CA, or Christmas Anonymous, for those who look forward to the holiday season just a bit too much and then suffer when it’s over. December 26 is always a bummer for me because I know Christmas is 364 days away. Of course, at that point, I also know I’m getting closer to taking down decorations, which is no fun for anyone. In fact, a recent survey by Christmas Lights, Etc. – an online store – found that when it comes to all things Christmas, taking down decorations is the […]

Read More

Would You Date Chicago?

Over the past decade I’ve dealt with a lot of teen angst. My three kids range from 19 years old to 24, so there have been thousands of stories – some first hand and some from their friends – about romantic relationships and friend drama. Like any good parent, I jumped into such conversations in the early years, eager to share my wisdom and save the young souls from heartache. And, like most parents, I found myself roundly ignored until the relationship in question ended in flames. Such things have thousands of unique details, but typically come back to the […]

Read More

All the Banks Deserve Are Crocodile Tears

It’s official. Lending institutions are having a tough time making loans. Don’t get me wrong, they still make money the old fashioned way: by borrowing from us through deposits on which they pay almost no interest, and then lending it long term to anyone that qualifies. But they’ve had to jack up their other fees because the traditional business plan just isn’t cutting it. You and I are still keeping tidy sums at the bank, even though they pay us about half the rate of inflation, guaranteeing a loss of purchasing power. But few people, and even fewer businesses, want […]

Read More

The Black Friday Choice

Sixty years ago, the Philadelphia police dreaded the days after Thanksgiving. People piled onto Market Street downtown, marveling at the new Christmas window displays, while football fans filed in for the Army-Navy game. Both groups created traffic snarls and other headaches for the local PD. Traffic patrol officers started calling it Black Friday and Black Saturday, noting all the problems and long work hours. Local reporters assigned to the traffic beat picked up the lingo, running Black Friday headlines. This happened long before anyone described the day after Thanksgiving as “black” in reference to retail profits. It’s fitting that the […]

Read More

Why It’s Important to Cut Through the Hype to Find the Real Gems

I could do with fewer headlines. Or maybe I just want less yelling. I remember a time, long ago, maybe in mid-2016, when CNBC didn’t spend 15 minutes straight talking about politics. But now, as I wake up every morning in the five o’clock hour central time and sip coffee, the hosts pour over daily political headlines and then squabble. Afterward, they recount the president’s early morning tweets, which often include exclamation points. And this is on a financial news channel! After exercise, I eat breakfast and finish my morning with the papers, which once again scream at me with […]

Read More

The Tax Burden That We All Share

For almost 20 years I had employees. You never know the pain of human resources until you supervise others and are directly responsible for their workload and overall employment. It’s no fun. As with every office, we had certain rules about decorum. We also had rules that were specific to me. I’m a bit sensitive to smell, so I asked employees to lay off heavy perfume or cologne. This was harder for the men than the women. Apparently, guys take the Axe commercials seriously, thinking they have to bathe in the stuff. In the same vein, I didn’t allow tuna […]

Read More

Napoleon’s Dream Will Ultimately Drive the Dollar

The European Community is a stultified, lumbering mass of bureaucracy. It’s fitting that the organization operates from Belgium, a country frozen in time because of political infighting. The European Community, which aims to bring economic integration among its member states, is also something else – a resounding success. It started in 1957 with founding members Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany, and eventually 12 nations were incorporated into the European Union in 1993. They stopped killing each other, live under common rules, and many share a currency. This was Napoleon’s dream about a century and a half […]

Read More

The End of the Road for Tesla?

Tesla, the nifty electric car company, and its larger-than-life founder, Elon Musk, proved something. People around the world will pay gobs of money for very cool electric cars, even if they have limited range and take forever to charge. Americans in particular love new gadgets, and Teslas are the biggest gadgets of all. Musk and company also proved something else. Investors love a story. We ache for far-reaching dreams based on beating the odds and a cowboy, go-it-alone point of view. Nothing says “I see the future and you don’t” like driving a Tesla. But dreams don’t come cheap. Musk […]

Read More

The Truth About Harry’s Research (And What He’s Saying Now)

In 1997, Prudential Securities gave Ralph Acampora a 1962 red Corvette. Two years earlier, he’d forecast the Dow would reach 7,000 by 1998, and it happened a year early, in February of 1997. Everyone was ecstatic. I had worked at the same firm for years, but had recently left, driven away by the same Ralph Acampora. It wasn’t personal. I’ve never met him. Instead, it was a piece of research I saw him use when backing up his famous forecast. Ralph is a market technician – he’s self-described as “the Godfather of Technical Analysis” on Twitter – who regularly draws […]

Read More

Pick a Platitude

I just turned off the television. There wasn’t anything wrong, there was just… nothing. As I go through my day, I stay tuned to CNBC, albeit with the sound down low, simply to have background activity. But today, I just can’t get there. I keep asking myself the same question when I hear their comments… so what? Usually I enjoy some of the banter, and I recognize that most of the people floating across the screen are very smart and accomplished. But I don’t feel edified. In my head I’m playing an endless loop of old quotes and comments that […]

Read More