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Will we be able to resist the market’s ‘sugar high’?

The story has it that Debbie Reynolds, expressing some adult supervision, told her daughter, Carrie Fisher, that she craved too much immediate gratification. “But immediate gratification takes too long!” Fisher replied.

I worry that a similar sentiment may have become the mindset of many who have experienced the quick 10 percent rise in market values since the election. Fueled by promises, some investors will feel that the next 10 percent boost will be taking too long.

It was a wonderful life

Picture a late-night scene with heavy snow falling and 5 inches already on the ground, with not a car in sight at the single four-way intersection in “downtown” Springfield, Vermont. Dad was giving me, age 15, a ride home from a dinner party, and at the top of a very steep hill leading straight down to the center of town, he said, “Son, let me show you how you drive when it’s slippery out. You pump the brake like this.”

The beginner’s guide to taking on the system

For years, annual stockholder meetings were enlivened by so-called “gadflies” who seized the microphone and castigated the CEO and selected directors. Caught momentarily like deer in the headlights, these victims would put up with it for just so long and then summon the guards. Better yet, they held the meeting in some godforsaken, out-of-the way location that discouraged attendance.

Do we want to revive a lose-lose health care system?

Before the Affordable Care Act, the most common cause of personal bankruptcies was the lack of insurance for health-related expenses. When insurance companies could deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, anyone with health problems was uninsurable and facing bankruptcy in the event of an accident or a serious illness.

Hospitals just spread the costs of unpaid bills out over their insured patients, and we all ultimately paid the bill in the form of higher insurance costs. For everybody, it was “lose-lose.”  

Staying happy while scaling the ‘wall of worry’

It’s safe to say that a vast number of American voters are disappointed with the way things turned out in the presidential election, but the news is not all bad. At times like this, I find solace in the Bobby McFerrin song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” One of the verses went, “In your life expect some trouble;
When you worry you make it double.” So let’s walk on the sunny side of the street.

While opportunity knocks, opportunism lurks

Life with my 100-year-old father has given me some insight into what caring for the aged means to the elderly themselves, as well as to the “sandwich generation.” The latter describes the baby boomers still paying for their children’s educations while taking responsibility for the care of their aging parents.

We have been lucky in my father’s case, because he and my mother were financially prepared for the substantial costs of nursing home care. But first-hand experience of managing these costs has taught me something about the opportunism that exists across the care industry.

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