#economics #NobelPrizeForEconomics #RichardThaler #BehavioralEconomics
People make poor choices about money.
That may seem obvious to some, but Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago has made a career of studying people’s economic behavior. He was rewarded last week with the Nobel Prize in economics.
“Far from being the rational decision makers described in economic theory, Thaler found, people often make decisions that run counter to their best interests,” write David Keyton and Jim Heintz of the Associated Press. Their article on Thaler’s prize was published Oct. 10, 2017, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“To contain the damage from such collective actions (like not saving enough for retirement, buying houses as prices soared, or failing to get out of a bad investment even as the value plummets etc.), behavioral economists say, policy-makers must recognize human irrationality,” the reporters write.
Irrationality is part of being human. It applies not only to economic decisions, but also other life choices. Everyone knows smoking is bad for you, yet there are still people smoking. Everyone can cite all the foods that are bad for them, but eat those foods anyway.
Not everyone makes bad decisions all the time, and not every “bad” decision is terribly consequential. But a pattern of bad decisions over time – or just one bad decision made consistently over time – can be detrimental, even disastrous.
It hardly takes a Nobel laureate to figure out that if one does not save for his retirement, his life will be worse for it.
There’s good news in all of this. The world has created ways to perhaps compensate for bad economic decisions – ways that don’t involve someone, or something, bailing someone out.
There are actual ways to earn extra money, perhaps even lots of extra money, by spending a few non-working hours a week in their pursuit. To learn about one of the best such vehicles, message me.
One always can put himself on a path to good economic decision-making. It boils down to spend less, save more and, to continue borrowing from consumer adviser Clark Howard’s tagline, “don’t get ripped off.”
It requires discipline, of course. It requires rational thinking throughout your life. It requires watching where every penny goes. Yes, even a few pennies saved here and there can add up over time.
It requires thinking less about today, and more about tomorrow, and years from now. That may be difficult to do as a young adult, just starting to build a life. You’ll have expenses, family etc., that will cost you money. But a good way to start is by saving a specific amount every week – even, say, $5.
Save it and don’t think about spending it. As your pay at work increases, save that increase. As your savings grow, get good trusted advice about how to invest it.
Thaler joked to the AP reporters that he would spend his Nobel Prize money “as irrationally as possible.”
“In traditional economic theory, it’s a silly question,” Thaler told the reporters. “And the reason is that money doesn’t come with labels. So once that (Nobel) money is in my bank, how do I know whether that fancy bottle of wine I’m buying (is being paid for by) Nobel money or some other kind of money?” he told the reporters.
In other words, money is money. When it is put into our hands, being a good steward of it is essential. That’s not to say that we can’t have a nice bottle of wine, or some other treat, once in a while. We need SOME irrationality in our lives just to be human. It gets dangerous, though, when one allows irrationality to always trump rationality.


#WomenInRetirement #EarningsOfWomenVs.Men #jobs #layoffs
During their working years, women tend to earn less than men.
When they retire, women are more likely to live in poverty.
So says an article by Adam Allington of the Associated Press, published in the July 11, 2016, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Women who raised children and cared for the sick and elderly family members often take what savings and income they have and spend it on something other than their own retirement security, Allington writes.
He quotes the National Institute on Retirement Security, which reports that women are 80 percent more likely than men to be impoverished at age 65 and older. Women 75 to 79 are three times more likely, Allington writes.
“I’ve had jobs that included a 401(k) and I was able to put some money aside every month,” Allington quotes Marsha Hall, 60. “But then I would get laid off and have to cash out the 401(k) to have money to live on,” he quotes Hall, who was born and raised in Detroit, is divorced and has no children.
Hall works part time as a file clerk, and she and her siblings chip in to care for their 75-year-old mother, Allington writes.
“If it wasn’t for Section 8 (a housing subsidy), I don’t know where I’d be living,” Allington quotes Hall.
Many men also have undergone a layoff in the last few years. Many families have lost their homes and have had to liquidate some, if not all, of their retirement savings.
Some see themselves scraping together a living via Social Security, part-time or even full-time jobs well into their golden years – presuming they can find those. For many, trying to reproduce the income they had in a job they lost is nearly impossible, as they see it.
Fortunately, there are solutions out there that can produce an income – even a better income than one has ever had – that don’t involve subsidies, or working at a traditional W-2 job in your golden years, and allow a person to help others do the same. For one of the best, message me.
Traditionally, women have borne the brunt of caregiving. They have also, in many cases, had to take off some work time to have children.
Much research has shown that, in general, they have also earned cents on the dollar vs. men.
These phenomena may have put women behind in earnings, thereby putting them behind in terms of retirement savings.
But both men and women are facing what Hall has faced in recent years: layoffs and not being able to replace a lost job with one that yields as good or better income than what was lost.
It’s important for everyone to have a Plan B in case the worst happens. If you have a good job, stay with it and save as much of your income as you can. Invest those savings well, with the help of a trusted adviser. If life forces you to take a break from work, try not to deplete those savings, though that may be easier said than done.
Most of all, make a secure retirement a priority in your life by spending less and saving more.


There’s good debt and bad debt.
Of course, having no debt at all is ideal, but often, to have what you want in life, you sometimes have to borrow money.
Mortgage debt is among the good kind. As you pay it down, you are paying a part of it to yourself in the form of equity in your home. The more you pay down, the greater the equity. As a bonus, you are living in your house, too, so there’s an absence of rent payments. When your house is completely paid off, you essentially are living there for free.
In this economic milieu, when you sell a house, it’s not an automatic profit. But if you HAVE to sell your house, one of the considerations is that for however long you’d lived in your house, you didn’t pay rent – all of which goes into someone else’s pocket.
College loan debt used to be considered good debt. You were getting money for an education that ultimately was going to lead you to a better job than if you hadn’t gone to college. It made college available to non-wealthy families.
But Carolyn Thompson, reporting for the Associated Press, asserts that student loan debt is widening the gap between rich and poor. Her article ran in the March 30, 2014, edition of The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.
Thompson’s point: those who came out of college with lots of debt – roughly 37 million people saddled with $1 trillion in debt – will have a hard time catching up with the wealth of their peers who graduated with no debt at all. In short, those from wealthier families, long term, will have a leg up financially on their cohorts that were forced to borrow to go to school.
Looking at the big picture, a college education isn’t what it used to be. Decades ago, a college education gave you a shot at jobs that those who didn’t graduate or finish college wouldn’t get. Companies hired raw brains, and trained them for the jobs they wanted them to do.
Today, some of those degrees we cherished years ago are almost worthless in terms of job opportunities. You may have studied what you loved, or found your passion in, say, the arts, but converting that to economic advancement can be difficult.
Therefore, if you borrowed money to study what you love, or to find your passion, you need to do something to pay back all that debt. Unemployment, or constant job hunting, isn’t going to make that debt go away. Even if you get a good job out of college, as Thompson asserts, you’ll still have a potential six-figure debt out of the gate. Those years it takes to catch up to your debt-free peers may find you not getting a mortgage for the house you want, and having to settle for a lesser lifestyle for a long time. It could keep you from starting young to save for retirement.
In short: if you have to borrow money to go to college, you had better find it all worth it, regardless of what you study. You may come out an expert on Shakespeare’s works, but you could be making a living pouring coffee. Though there’s nothing wrong with having smart coffee pourers, you won’t be paying down your debt quickly, and may have little in savings at age 60.
There are numerous solutions to this problem, besides skipping college altogether. If you are not college material, don’t fret. There are other ways to make money. For one of the best, visit . You may find a way to earn a substantial income without interfering with your academic loves or passion. If it fits you, and you start before college, you could have a financial leg up on all your peers.
As radio talk show host and financial expert Dave Ramsey might advise: don’t let debt be your financial death.