Radical Uncertainty and COVID-19

I have been reading a very interesting book called Radical Uncertainty: Decision-Making Beyond the Numbers. The authors' thesis is that people, companies, and governments place far too much faith in quantitative predictions and measures. The failure of predictions and planning lies in the inherent limitations in our understanding and data. This relates to Nassim Taleb's … Continue reading Radical Uncertainty and COVID-19

Does COVID-19 change the rules of personal finance?

While experts have been warning about the potential for global pandemics for years, the emergence and spread of COVID-19 has been an enormous shock to societal systems. Along with the risk to life and health, many families have have been thrown into economic turmoil. In a world with the potential for social and economic shocks … Continue reading Does COVID-19 change the rules of personal finance?

Misleading statistics on the retirement crisis

The issue of retirement savings in the United States needs more sensible discussion and fewer sensationalist headlines such as The Retirement Crisis is Much Worse Than You Think and Fears of a Retirement Crisis are Overblown - and These Numbers Prove It. Unfortunately, discussions of this topic are rife with simplistic and misleading statistical arguments. … Continue reading Misleading statistics on the retirement crisis

Is it useful to discuss the ‘average American’?

In discussions of all sorts of public policy, it is common to see references to the average American or the average household. It seems to me that the entire idea of the average American household may be fairly meaningless. About 33% of Americans have a college education. The average incomes of people with college degrees … Continue reading Is it useful to discuss the ‘average American’?

Tallying the ultimate costs of debt

Carrying debt can have costs far beyond the interest paid, something that few people fully appreciate. Debt repayment has substantial opportunity costs, which means that there are decisions that are unavailable because you are repaying debts. A substantial component of these opportunity costs relates to tax benefits. Lost tax benefits The single most important opportunity … Continue reading Tallying the ultimate costs of debt