The Best Gifts

The Best Gifts

Giving gifts during the holidays is a wonderful tradition that can help unite families and friends. When we give in the right spirit, we remember that giving can be even more joyous than receiving. With all this love and generosity in the air, why do we often feel so much stress and financial strain this time of year? Could it be that we focus a little too much on trying to fulfill everyone’s expectations – or at least our perception of their expectations – rather than truly giving from our hearts? Of course, we all want to find the perfect gifts for our loved ones because we want to maximize their happiness and minimize their disappointment. It’s nice to have some idea of what people would like, but where’s the fun in simply picking from a list of never-ending “pre-ordered” items, especially when you know there’s no way you could buy even half of what’s on the list and still call yourself a prudent parent or grandparent! Be a Detective Giving meaningful gifts doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and can be a lot more fun if you think of yourself more as a detective than an order taker. If we pay enough attention over time, we can easily discover on our own what would be the perfect gifts for our loved ones without even asking them. Then they will be a lot more surprised (and hopefully more delighted) at what they get, and we might even get away with not spending so much money on junk they don’t need, and probably won’t even want after the holidays. Just...
The Election’s Impact on the Market

The Election’s Impact on the Market

For better or for worse, the suspense is finally over and our next president has been elected. Whether you are shouting for joy or crying your eyes out, what does this all mean for the stock market? Many people are shocked that Donald Trump won. Based on concerns we’ve heard about how this election would affect the market, many people are probably just as shocked that the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped up 1.4 percent (256 points) the day after the election, and the S&P 500 rose 1.1%. A lot of people were expecting a big drop in the market because that’s exactly what happened after the past two elections. Could it be that after the past two elections the market was reacting negatively to news that our next president would be a Democrat, and that now the market is reacting positively to the election of a Republican? Don’t count on it. The market fell the day after George W. Bush was elected in 2000, and it rose the day after the re-election of Bill Clinton in 1996. Historically, there has been no predictable impact on the market based on whether a Republican or Democrat takes office in the White House. Furthermore, the day after the election gives no indication as to how the market will perform over the next 12 months. In fact, although the S&P 500 dropped 5 percent the day after Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, over the course of the following 12 months the S&P 500 gained 26%. In 2012, the swing was even more dramatic, losing 3% the day after the election,...
More Money, More Stuff? Don’t Count on More Happiness

More Money, More Stuff? Don’t Count on More Happiness

By Carl Richards What is the one thing that, if you could just get your hands on it, would make you much happier? Go ahead. Get out a piece of paper and write down the first thing that pops into your head. Got it? O.K., now fess up. Who wrote something about a new car? How about a promotion? A bigger house? A raise? A yacht? But if you wrote down almost anything at all (except a wish for deeper and more long-lasting relationships), you’re probably wrong. It turns out that happiness doesn’t come from more money, more stuff or even big life events like getting a raise or landing that dream job. A study from the 1970s by Philip Brickman, Dan Coates and Ronnie Janoff-Bulman for the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology even found that lottery winners took less satisfaction than nonlottery winners in everyday events, and in general, they were not any happier than those who didn’t win the lottery. If winning the lottery doesn’t bring happiness, how likely is it that a new boat will? Not long after my wife and I married, we were walking around in a Salt Lake City park, superexcited to be newlyweds and with big dreams about the future. We started talking about money. While I can’t recall the exact number, I do remember saying something like, “If I can just make X dollars, we’ll be so much happier.” It seems so shallow to think that some thing or number will make me happier. But then I realize how often I have heard others say it, too. Even more common...
Brexit

Brexit

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that last Thursday the citizens of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union (52% voted to leave, 48% voted to stay). The European Union (EU) is a political and economic partnership of 28 countries, mainly in Europe. The EU was formed after World War II to facilitate peace and free trade throughout the region, but many of the countries involved were accepted into the EU much later – even as late as 2013 in the case of Croatia. The popular nickname “Brexit” was derived from a combination of “Britain” and “Exit.” The UK’s withdrawal from the EU will not happen overnight, but could take up to two years to negotiate. No one knows what the economic impact on Britain, Europe, or the rest of the world will be. Some predict this is a recipe for global recession, and others claim it’s the best global economic news we’ve heard in a while. In the meantime, it’s hard to ignore headlines about the impact on the markets, such as the following: CNBC: Dow closes down 600 after Brexit surprise; financials post worst day since 2011 USA Today: US stocks hammered as Brexit shock rocks markets New York Times: Turbulence and uncertainty for the market after Brexit It’s true, that Friday and so far today have been bad days for the stock market, both in the USA and abroad. The Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes were down over 3%on Friday. So what does this mean for investors? Some reporters, politicians, and economists would have us believe it’s time to run for the hills...