Earlier this month, political and business leaders joined scientists from over 190 countries in Paris to address climate change. The resulting agreement (essentially to do whatever it takes to avoid global warming exceeding 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels) is almost certainly insufficient to effect a solution to climate change. First of all, there are no mechanisms to make the agreement binding. Moreover, the initiatives and mechanisms proposed seem disconnected from the 2-degree goal. But even though this conservationist considers the agreement weak, I was ecstatic with the outcome rather than disillusioned. Here’s why.
Prioritizing your goals is an important part of financial planning, but it often poses a tricky balance. And it turns out, we may not be wired to negotiate this balance particularly well. The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted a study out of the University of Chicago that showed that people were willing to borrow money at expensive rates to keep savings goals intact. Why?
Do you remember the endless summers of childhood? When your parents dragged you and your annoying siblings on those car trips that seemed to take forever (but were really more like two hours)?
My office window overlooks the local high school’s football stadium. Last Friday, I was wrapping up emails and heard the familiar sound of the school’s marching band warming up for the first Friday night football game. I can’t believe summer is over and school is back in session. It feels like only last week that I was listening to that same stadium blast “Pomp and Circumstance.” For many years now, endless summer seems to only apply to the interminable heat of the Valley.
My coffee affliction started after we had our first child, Renzo (now 3.8 years old), and I visited with a friend to experience his newly arrived espresso machine from Italy. I was always a green tea guy until I had his meticulously concocted 18 grams of freshly roasted Vivace pulled through the machine at exactly 199 degrees Fahrenheit to produce exactly 22 grams of ristretto espresso. After six trips to Italy and two years in Seattle, I thought that I knew what espresso should taste like, but at that moment I tasted something completely foreign.
My experience has been that people naturally gravitate toward two camps when it comes to getting invested. The people in the first camp are rightfully focused on their careers and their families. They diligently sock money away, consciously spending less than they make, until one day they look at their bank statement and think, “Wow! That’s a lot of cash just sitting around!” The hurdle now facing these individuals is inertia—after all, if you haven’t done something about the money for months, what’s a few more days … or weeks … or months? Also, by this point you are typically talking about a large sum of money. And that can be intimidating in decision-making.
While it may not be our favorite topic, all of us have been taken advantage of at some point in our lives. The recent FBI crackdown on a $100 million-plus ATM Ponzi scheme perpetrated in our own backyard hit close to home for many of our clients and has been a frequent topic at recent client meetings.
Every year, I am surprised how suddenly summer switches to The Holiday Season here in L.A. And with The Holiday Season comes shopping and shopping fads. This year it’s all about Frozen (if you have toddlers). For Halloween, even my forklift-obsessed 3-year-old son wanted to be Frozen‘s star, Queen Elsa. Then he changed his mind to Anna, then Elsa again, then Anna again, and so on and so on. He eventually settled on being an astronaut after seeing a video on YouTube of Neil Armstrong’s lunar landing. Go figure. But the Frozen fandom remains alive and well at our house.
My husband and I recently committed to making more conscious choices about our food. We try to buy organic options, limit processed foods, and consume meat that is sustainably and responsibly sourced.
Steering clear of any discussion on the merits of these choices, they had one unexpected consequence for us: They made grocery shopping so much simpler. Which fish should we grill tonight? Only the mahi-mahi is wild right now. Done! We go to fewer stores. We have eliminated a stressor we didn’t even know we had.