Play It Again, Steve – Timeless Financial Tip #9: Beware of Big Banks’ Conflicted Financial Advice

There’s only so much you and I can do about life’s many surprises. Some things just happen, beyond our control. Fortunately, to make the most of your hard-earned wealth, there is one huge and timeless best practice you can control: You can (and should) avoid seeking unbiased financial advice from biased sales staff. How do you separate solid investment advice from self-interested promotions in disguise? Here’s a handy shortcut: Are the investments coming from your friendly neighborhood banker? If so, please read the fine print—twice—before buying in. Due to inherently conflicting compensation incentives, most banks’ investment offerings are optimized to feed their profit margin, at your expense. Read on to understand how and why bank employees may not be your best source of independent financial advice.

Continue ReadingPlay It Again, Steve – Timeless Financial Tip #9: Beware of Big Banks’ Conflicted Financial Advice

Play It Again, Steve – Timeless Financial Tips #4: How To Manage Your Financial Behavioural Biases

There are countless external forces influencing your investment outcomes: taxes, market mood swings, breaking news, etc., etc. Today, let’s look inward, to an equally important influence: your own financial behavioural biases. When we make snap financial decisions that “feel” right but are rationally wrong, we tend to sabotage our own best interests. By recognizing these reactions as they occur, you’re more likely to stop them from ruining your financial resolve, which in turn improves your odds for better outcomes. Let’s explore some behavioural finance examples that you’ll want to prepare for…

Continue ReadingPlay It Again, Steve – Timeless Financial Tips #4: How To Manage Your Financial Behavioural Biases

This Is Your Investment Brain on Pessimism

Have you been reading the headlines, viewing your investment portfolio, and assuming the worst is yet to come? Welcome to your painful crash course on what market risk really looks like—and more importantly, how it feels. Most investors say they’re ok living with periodic market risk, as long as it helps them achieve better returns over the long run. We accept (in theory) that tolerating the interim damage done to our own investment portfolios will help us meet our long-term financial goals. But that’s investment risk in theory. Since it’s been a long time since we’ve encountered an extended bear market climate, you may have forgotten or never known the reality of it. It may not have clicked then, when significant market declines happen, it is usually due to despairingly bad news … amplified by headlines screaming how things are only going to get worse from here. The reality is, when we’re in the middle of a storm of stuff, our behavioural biases make it very difficult to believe we’ll ever see better days.

Continue ReadingThis Is Your Investment Brain on Pessimism

Opportunity Cost Impact of Your Daily Financial Decisions on Your Retirement Plans

As my husband and I approached our late 40s/early 50s, we decided it was time to solidify our previous hastily sketched plans for early retirement. We had worked hard for many years and skimped in places and were confident that we had done everything right to retire early and live our best early retirement lives. However, when we sat down with the numbers, we realized our dreams of an early retirement with travel and adventure were farther from reach than we thought. We both had well paying careers and didn’t feel that we had splurged so much that we should be this far behind. What happened? And, more importantly… How do we get back on track? Once panic-mode subsided, we sat down with some spreadsheets to see what had gone awry and figure out how (and if?) we could still retire early and be able to comfortably afford the things we wanted from retirement. Here’s what we did to right the (sinking?) ship...

Continue ReadingOpportunity Cost Impact of Your Daily Financial Decisions on Your Retirement Plans