Do You Lean Left Or Lean Right?

No, this isn’t about your political persuasion.

Instead, I think you can can consider much of what is dispensed as financial advice in a pretty simple “either/or” set of choices.

None of these are mutually exclusive. Perhaps you want to pick and choose a few from both sides.

However, I believe, and my experience supports, that most people – and their financial advisors – generally subscribe to either a left- or right-leaning set of beliefs, philosophies and approaches.

So what differentiates “left” and “right” and how do you know which way you lean?

I’ve put together a simple table which you can see below.

The left column is characterized by transactions, tactics and, often, a lot of hope.

The right column, in my humble opinion, is indicative of relationships, strategy and an ongoing financial planning process backed by academic research and informed by your personal values, goals and priorities.

Financial Choices

So which will you choose?

Do you lean left or lean right?

Think about it and choose carefully.

Your future will depend on it.

And if you’re not familiar with me, my work and my writing, I operate squarely in the right column above. Further, despite many financial advisors adopting a “do what I say, not what I do” approach to personal finance, I personally utilize the identical philosophies I recommend all the way down to the specific investments in my own finances.

I welcome your thoughts and comments below, and if you have any additional financial either/or choices I might have overlooked, please share those as well.

Cold, Wet And Stranded On An Island

Long-term thinkingI recently wrote about the old Choose Your Own Adventure books that I enjoyed as a kid back in the 70s, and I attempted to put that into the context of creating or thinking about or planning your own adventure.

Can you plan an adventure?

Or does an adventure require an element of spontaneity, serendipity or surprise?

I’ll share an adventure story of my own. And it certainly wasn’t planned.

About 20 years ago or so, I was single, just a couple years out of college, and had started my first real, grown-up job with Merrill Lynch in Atlanta.

My Dad was going on a business trip to Hawaii and he invited me to go with him.

Like any broke, early-20-something kid, I wasn’t about to pass this up.

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Is Your Financial Advisor Guilty Of Burying The Lede?

Essentialism BookI’m currently reading Essentialism by Greg McKeown. It was recommended by a good friend (thanks, Brian), and it’s been a great read so far.

The summary of Essentialism is that you should focus on the “vital few” instead of the “trivial many.”

In Essentialism, the author mentions the late screenwriter, Nora Ephron. If you’ve ever seen When Harry Met Sally or Sleepless in Seattle, you’re familiar with Ephron’s work.

The book includes a story from Ephron about a lesson she learned from her high journalism teacher many, many years ago.

It’s about the “lede” of a story (sometimes also spelled as “lead”).

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The Adventure Of You

The Adventure of YouWhen I was a kid, I liked to read.

I didn’t love reading. But I liked it a lot.

Some of my favorite books were called Choose Your Own Adventure. Maybe you’re familiar with them.

In these books, you (the reader) are the main character. And the books are written to present you with a choice every few pages.

For example, you might come to a fork in a path you’re exploring in one of the stories. In this type of book, you’d see something on the page like this:

  • To turn right, continue reading on page 8, or​
  • To turn left, continue reading on page 11.

Depending on which choices you make and which page you’re instructed to read next, the story unfolds in a way that feels more personal. More real.

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Recent Social Security Changes You Need To Be Aware Of

Social Security ChangesWhen sharing the initial results of my survey, there was a high level of interest in the topic of Social Security.

And here we are, just a week later, with a couple of significant Social Security changes included in Section 831 of the recent budget approved by the House and expected to be approved by the Senate.

These are changes that could cost some of you tens of thousands of dollars in lifetime Social Security benefits.

First, a little history . . .

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