I Love Jack Bogle

| March 16, 2009

Amid all the economic chaos that is swirling around our great land, the financial equivalent of 9/11, I find myself looking for voices of reason and sanity. Even with a four-day market rally last week, housing starts are still at an all-time low and unemployment is raging toward the 10 percent level not seen since 1982. So now more than ever, Jack Bogle, the founder of Vanguard and the creator of the popular Vanguard 500 Index Fund, is a voice we should all give our undivided attention.

My Cousin Won the Lottery

| March 12, 2009

I have never personally known anyone to win the lottery—until now. Recently my first cousin and her husband won the Georgia Lottery, to the tune of $133 million. That sum will go a long way, especially in these recessionary times, in Carrollton, Georgia, population 22,000. They are now the richest folks in town. On hearing the [...]

The Self-Made Don’t Fear the Recession

| March 4, 2009

“If I made it once, I can make it again,” is a common refrain I hear from the self-made wealthy. And I don’t think it’s classic success bravado, either. The self-made see the recession through a slightly more optimistic lens because no matter what the economy throws their way, they believe they can weather the storm. For one thing, as I found in my research for The Richest Man in Town, the self-made rich loathe leverage, so they don’t have creditors knocking at their doors. Perhaps more fundamental, though, is their self-assurance that they could so it all over again if they were so forced. In fact, most of my self-made multimillionaires have done just that.

The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself

| March 2, 2009

FDR’s famous words were echoed this weekend as Warren Buffett released his latest shareholder’s letter, indicating that Berkshire Hathaway had lost $11.5 billion in net worth in 2008, the worst performance in the 44 years he has been managing the company. As usual, Buffett makes a very good point when he says, “The U.S.—and much of the world—became trapped in a vicious negative-feedback cycle. Fear led to business contraction, and that in turn led to even greater fear.”