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Seeing Causality When It's Not There

Just because two events happen contemporaneously does not mean one of them caused the other to occur.  We love to see causality and connect things that are not necessarily related.

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Yucky Tax Stuff

Nothing says stop reading further than the word "tax."  Nonetheless, please take 60 seconds to quickly review the following important information.

Your friends at the IRS have imposed new requirements on the companies that hold your investments (think Schwab, Merrill Lynch, etc.).  These custodians must now report the cost basis for certain stocks sold during 2011 and for other types of investments beginning in 2012.  Because of this, the Form 1099 that you receive each year from custodians will be different than in the past.

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Investment Tricks You Can Do at Home

Watch the video to learn how to analyze investment risk without any real knowledge of the underlying investment.  Impress your friends! 

  

Just remember, 10 year Treasury bonds are currently paying around 2% interest.  So the only reason someone would offer you  a 12% yield is to induce you to take on the added risk.  They are not paying such a huge premium above Treasuries because they love you.

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When Price Doesn't Matter

I occasionally view things differently than my wife, for which I take full responsibility and repent the error of my ways.  For example, I do not fully appreciate a good bargain.  When my wife buys an item for $50 that was originally $300, I do not share her enthusiasm, although I express my pleasure at her good fortune.  To me, either the item was worth $50 or it wasn't -- it's previous price is irrelevant.

With investments, the purchase price can get in your way of clear analysis.  Let's say you bought the XYZ stock a few months ago for $100 per share and it now trades at $70.  Should you sell it?  Well, there are numerous factors that go into such a decision.  Does it make a difference that you bought the stock for $100 per share?  Absolutely not!

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On the Sexual Revolution and the Decline of the West

When did the sexual revolution begin?  A recent book describes Wilhelm Reich, a student of Sigmund Freud, as the father of the sexual revolution in the 1920's. Another new book claims that the sexual revolution commenced in the1860's in England during the stuffy Victorian era.  Of course, both of these arguments fail to give any credence to the antics of the Hell-Fire Club in London during the late 1700's. 

Ariel Levy writes in The New Yorker how each generation views themselves as having stumbled upon something new.  Such an approach often arises from the conceit of youth -- they are unaware of what preceded them; instead, they focus on how they are breaking free from the social constraints of the day.

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