Football, IPOs, and The Winner's Curse

The hapless Detroit Lions, the cause of endless frustration, may have done something right for once when they didn't pursue All-Pro defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh in a bidding war that was eventually won by the Miami Dolphins. Suh received a $114 million contract, $60 million of which was guaranteed.

Why do free agents in sports receive such enormous contracts that seem to defy reason? After all, as the website "FiveThirtyEight" points out, Suh's dominance as a player with the Lions may not be replicated in Miami. And even if Suh continues to be a great player, Miami may still have paid him more than he's worth.

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Possible Reasons for the Dramatic Drop in Oil Prices

During a time of rising gasoline prices, the comedian Jay Leno quipped: "I bought a gallon of gas, as an investment." He probably did not anticipate that this sentiment could one day be a factor in causing oil prices to plunge, as they have recently.

Why has the price of oil dropped more than 50 percent over the past year? Two obvious culprits are our old economic friends, supply and demand. On the supply side, increased production in the U.S., along with the return of production in such places as Libya, has made oil more plentiful. On top of this, a sluggish world economy, especially in slower-growing China, has lessened demand. The result is lower prices.

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Do You Know What Makes You Happy?

What gives you the most pleasure: stuff or experiences? Material items can last a long time. Experiences are often fleeting. Would you enjoy new furniture more than a vacation? Listen to the video to hear what studies say regarding this matter. After all, your financial life extends beyond saving and investing -- spending well can make a difference, too.

Musical Treat

Is money a prerequisite to love? This eternal question was contemplated in the song "If I Were a Carpenter." I'm partial to Bob Seger's version, but there are many great takes on this classic, including ones by Alison Kraus & Dwight Yoakam, Willie Nelson & Sheryl Crow, The Four Tops, and Bobby Darin. Which one do you like best?

How Much Investment Risk, Are You Comfortable With?

Do you really know the true level of investment risk that you are comfortable taking? Click the Risk Review link, answer a few quick questions, and you can instantly obtain a clearer sense of how much risk you can tolerate. You may be surprised what you find out.

We can also help you take it to the next level and compare your current portfolio to your risk score. Many people discover that they have more risk in their portfolios than they realized. People are often complacent with a relatively aggressive portfolio when the stock market is going up, forgetting about the discomfort they endure during a downturn. This exercise helps you focus on both risk and reward.

If you are interested in a slightly more detailed quiz than the one provided in the link, let me know and I'll send you a more comprehensive survey.

I look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to pass this on to your friends and colleagues as well.

Should You Have Invested, All Your Money in India in 2014?

Peering out into the investment world on January 1, 2014, Ms. X decides to put the bulk of her portfolio in a mutual fund investing in India. Mr. Y, on the other hand, chooses to put a significant amount of his assets in Latin American stocks. As it turns out, the average stock fund investing in India gained 44.6% in 2014 while the average Latin American fund lost 12.9% (according to Morningstar).

Who made the better choice? The answer appears to be Ms. X, who achieved incredible returns by selecting India. I would argue that neither Ms. X nor Mr. Y acted in a particularly wise manner. They both made big bets with an outcome that was far from certain.

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