What Behavioral Economics Taught Me About Watching The News

crispydoc Uncategorized 3 Comments

At the time of writing, I’m deep into Michael Lewis’ latest book, The Undoing Project. It’s a profile of the unlikely friendship and rich academic collaboration between two psychologists, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, whose interest in the systematic flaws of human decision-making gave rise to the field of behavioral economics. A result cited from their studies felt particularly relevant …

Risk Tolerance As A Form Of Sacred Fear

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I heard a sermon last weekend based on the concept of sacred fear, explained through the analogy of standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon as a simultaneously beautiful and terrifying experience. On the one hand, you are filled with a sense of the sublime in tandem with a rare perspective of your insignificance in the greater world. At …

De-Risking The Portfolio

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Me: “I’m so relieved you came straight to the Emergency Department.” Patient: “I’ll take lucky over smart any day, Doc!” This comment came from a patient with a long and checkered cardiac history who walked into a smaller local ED complaining of chest pain, only to experience a witnessed cardiac arrest from a typically lethal arrhythmia (ventricular fibrillation). The emergency …

Breeding The Next Generation’s Gordon Gekko

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We discuss money often in our family. Until recently, I thought this was an unqualified positive. When we returned from our summer travel to Washington, D.C. and Spain, the entire family reviewed the costs of all three weeks, pinpointing the areas of greatest expense (spoiler alert: the U.S. travel was much more pricey!). When we went out for ice cream …

Halloween Scorpion Hunt: Frugal Family Fun In The Southwest

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We recently took a full moon hike as a family offered through our local nature conservancy, and it inspired a suggestion for what could be a fun and possibly spooky family Halloween activity for those who live in the Southwestern United States: a night-time scorpion hunt! It’s worth knowing that in the Los Angeles area, where I live, there are …

Will Roots In A HCOL Area Hose Our FI Plans?

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How important is putting down roots in a community to your life objectives? The question was underscored on reading a recent guest post by Jacob Lund Fisker (of the legendary Early Retirement Extreme blog) on Get Rich Slowly. Jacob is a theoretical astrophysicist who studied at Berkeley and achieved FI before eschewing academics for a life pursuing interests independent of …

My Year Of Unprofessional Haircuts

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A few years ago, a provocative concept became the basis for a most amusing book entitled, “Not Quite What I Was Planning.” The conceit was that, similar to the title, the book consisted entirely of six word memoirs submitted by persons ranging from the famous to the obscure. My favorite came from the writer Dave Eggers: “Fifteen years since last …

Remember, Medicine Was Your Plan A

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Perspective in allopathic medicine is often (regrettably) present in homeopathic doses. This post, much like the vitamin B shot your last patient reported getting from the local Clinica Malpractica down the street, is intended to compensate for a perceived deficiency of perspective that may well be imaginary. Many of us become disillusioned with medicine over time. We come to believe …

WTF Is An ETF?

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*Special thanks to reader MF, who graciously corrected an error on my part in the original post. The article has been updated and the error corrected as of 10/15/19. A consistent question I get from new investors is whether exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or mutual funds are the optimal vehicles for investments in taxable brokerage accounts. This post is an attempt …

Adventures In Paying The Moron Tax

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There’s an old adage that gets trotted out at every elementary school fundraiser: If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. Today I’d like to explore some of the consequences, both financial and non-monetary, of ignorance in my life through some illustrative case studies. The Roth IRA was established in 1997. My transitional internship year began in 1999. During four …