Your credit score is used to rate your risk as a borrower, and landlords, lenders and potential employers may look to your credit score as an indicator of financial responsibility. This can affect your ability to rent an apartment, the interest rate on your mortgage and even your career opportunities. As an example, the interest rate on a mortgage could be a full percentage point higher for someone in the lowest credit tier (550 and below) than for someone in the highest credit tier (750 and above). For a $400K mortgage this would result in more than $100K of additional interest over the life of a 30 year loan!
Comparing today’s global environment vs. one year ago feels to me a bit like Lewis Carroll’s insightful metaphor. Despite all of the apparent unsettledness in the world these days, perhaps there are lessons from Lewis Carroll’s classic work of literature that we can apply to today’s challenges.
Given the massive polarization between Republicans and Democrats, I have been thinking a lot about how our personal views on the environment, social issues, economics and therefore politics can affect our world-views and possibly derail a rational and disciplined long-term investment strategy.
As I write this, the US stock markets are kicking off 2017 by reaching for record, all-time highs. So why doesn’t it feel like everyone is exuberant?
Authors and poets often use metaphors to convey their true meaning. Nobel Prize winning (for Literature) Chilean poet Pablo Neruda was especially adept at the use of metaphor to convey images – take this example from Neruda’s love poem If You Forget Me:
Why is the idea of change so powerful? Conventional wisdom would suggest that it offers a more pleasant alternative to a relatively unpleasant reality. But I would argue that it need not be so unequivocal. Change offers the illusion of control over situations which may be complex, opaque and alienating.
Generally one has two choices when responding to the question, “How are you?” The conventional option is to simply respond, “Fine. How are you?” and move on with life. The other choice is to respond honestly in some long, drawn-out monologue for which nobody really has the time or interest to hear. Often honest to a fault, I sometimes take the less conventional route and bore my friends to death.
This June, my wife, Janie and I went to Europe for a well-deserved vacation. We had planned the trip for almost a year: booking our airplane flights, booking a group tour with a major tour company and coordinating our activities so we could be joined by our dear friends from New Jersey. Timing was the all-important factor. We knew we were dependent upon God for our weather, but never did we think about how labor organizations could play a role in deterring our desired outcome. Our flights were booked through Air France. Little did we know, there were planned strikes by pilots, and then later by air controllers, that would affect our trip.
Identity theft has become one of the fasted growing crimes in America. The Federal Trade Commission has found that 9.9 million American fall victim to identity theft every year. Many of us have personal experience being victims of identity theft. Last fall, my car was broken into and my purse, containing my driver’s license, credit cards, etc. was stolen. Not only was I scared for the safety of myself and my family, but I was now faced with significant financial concerns as the criminals attempted to purchase various items under my name.
Last week my wife, Mia, went on a reunion binge, traveling to the East Coast for her reunions for undergrad and graduate schools. Accordingly, I got the kids for Memorial Day Weekend and the week thereafter.