Economic Science, Sales-Based Nonsense, and the Vast Gulf Between Them

Economists know a great deal, yet, for some reason, most Americans invest as if that knowledge did not exist. The financial world is full of scientifically established truths that fly in the face of much that Wall Street sells. The situation calls for both careful study and great caution. Investing at this historical moment may […]

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Shouldn’t Education be Tax Deductible?

The first day of school is an exciting time. Everyone remembers the mixture of promise and trepidation while waiting to find out what the new school year will bring. What is my teacher like? (What are my students like?) What will we be doing? Who are my new classmates? What wondrous (or boring) new things […]

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Patience Is a Valuable Negotiating Asset

Among the most powerful items in a negotiator’s toolbox is the ability to wait. Of course, the habit and mental discipline of patience is probably an advantage in most areas of life. It tends to be overlooked in negotiation, though, and so is worthy of some further consideration. For many years, I worked with a […]

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Legal Duties of Financial Advisors

For half a dozen years or more, a great political battle has been waged in Washington. At stake has been the level of duty owed clients by their financial advisors. As I have indicated in previous posts, it is a very big deal. To the astonishment of many, under current rules the vast majority of […]

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The Folks Who Handle Your Money Owe You Something

The various advisors, brokers, banks and financial services companies all owe you something. It isn’t money or recompense that you should expect from them. Rather, the folks who handle your money owe you a set of attitudes and behaviors that indicate professional service instead of salesmanship, arms-length-transactions, or profiteering. Let’s get specific. Everyone who has […]

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Cooperation vs Competition

An important question arises almost invariably whenever we think hard about the concept of negotiation. Are cooperative or competitive methods the better road toward optimal outcomes? Professors Lax and Sebenius have referred to a version of this quandary as the negotiator’s dilemma. Most scholars and thoughtful practitioners eventually conclude that good negotiators must adopt some […]

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The New York Times Takes Notice of the Virtual Impossibility of Consistently Beating the Market

I have written frequently that efficient, liquid markets price assets more or less correctly and, as a result, it is essentially impossible to “beat the market” over extended periods of time.  This “rational market theory” is not personal opinion or one side of an argument but, rather, accepted scientific fact. Economists know that outperformance is […]

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What is Negotiating Your Investments Really About?

In Negotiating Your Investments, I am trying to teach readers a number of different things that I think are important and valuable. Not all of those lessons fit together intuitively, though, and several readers have suggested a short description of the book’s path. Here are the major points of the book in the order of […]

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The Great Frustration When Scientific Knowledge Is Ignored

How do you get people to acknowledge scientific fact if it is both counterintuitive and contrary to popular belief? I have faced this challenge since the publication of Negotiating Your Investments and I must confess it is a tough nut to crack. Economists are close to unanimous in their understanding that some form of the […]

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Trust Prudently

To negotiate successfully, you have to figure out the difficult issue of who, and how much, to trust. Here are some things to keep in mind. Trust is not binary. Too many people make the mistake of either “trusting” or “not trusting” their negotiating partners. They unwisely think it is like a switch, either in […]

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