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What’s on your mind?

Every so often, there are things we just know: The earth is round. Whichever traffic lane you’re in moves the slowest.  Politicians exaggerate or even outright lie …

In investing, all bets are off.  Even a seemingly rock-solid security can go sour without warning. For this reason, I favour evidence-based investing.  It still doesn’t offer certainty, but it gives us the best odds for building and preserving wealth in markets filled with upsets and distractions, false signals and siren songs. It helps us remain rational, when reactionary emotions are the norm. 

Here’s a quote from the late Hans Rosling’s Factfulness, expressing what I’m getting at:

“I’m not an optimist. That makes me sound naïve. I’m a very serious ‘possibilist.’ That’s something I made up.  It means someone who neither hopes without reason, nor fears without reason, someone who constantly resists the overdramatic worldview.”

In this context, I have a favour to ask you.  Over my career, I have written more than 250 financial blog posts and articles.  During my recent website revamp, I decided to clean up my blog, displaying only the posts that seemed the most relevant.  As you might imagine, it was hard to choose.  It’s hard to be objective about your own work!

So, I wonder if you’d lend me a hand:

What’s on your mind? What financial planning and investment questions would you like me to answer?

Would you like to know more about how or when to invest?  How current events (elections, anyone?) may impact your financial interests?  How much money do you need to live comfortably in retirement?  What to make of residential real estate values or interest rates?  How to optimize your estate planning and charitable giving?  Something else entirely?

For all these and more, I have or can create posts to share my ideas and insights, from an evidence-based investing perspective. 

Why is evidence-based so important?  Whether out of ignorance or malicious intent, too many financial “talking heads” and financial product providers prey on your emotions.  Worse, if you’ve never had the opportunity to tell them apart, it can be impossible to tell the difference between false facts and evidence-based possibilities.  

A play on your emotions may seem very believable.  You’ll still see studies, citing “everyone knows” facts, and anecdotes that make sense. But take a closer look, and you’ll discover the “studies” have been fabricated in-house to reach foregone conclusions.  What “everyone knows” is based on hearsay instead of robust data. (Take my traffic lane illustration, for example!)  And a few anecdotal observations don’t make for statistically founded reason

In short, we’re too often fed deeply flawed “evidence” based on flimsy data samples concocted by industry insiders seeking to appeal to investors’ hopes and fears. 

My mission is to be here, year after year, showing you what evidence-based investing and financial planning looks like.  Among other things, true evidence-based inquiry should be academic, or at least scientific.  It should be thoroughly peer-reviewed, strictly objective, and readily replicable. 

Once you learn to spot the difference, you too can become a serious possibilist! 

Again, please let me know what is on your mind and I would happy to address it.  Feel free to contact me directly via email or send me a message.