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Ben Carlson

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A Wealth of Common Sense
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Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Life stage:
DIK (Dual Income, Kids)
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Latest Blog Posts

The unemployment rate sits at 4.3%. Inflation is subdued at just 2.2% over the previous 12 months. The 10-year treasury bond yield is still well below 3%. The S&P 500 passed through 2500 recently and has hit 45 (and counting) new all-time highs in 2017 alone. Stocks haven’t seen a 10% correction in almost 2 years. It feels as though volatility has been outlawed. The former host of The Apprentice is the President... ...
Posted: Oct 17 2017 @ 4:08 PM
“Wow, you really have your hands full, huh?” I get this comment roughly 3-4x a week when people see me out and about with my 5-month old twins and 3-year-old daughter in tow. If I’m in a good mood and carrying two car seats I’ll even throw in a dad joke and reply, “Literally!” Our life can be hectic at times but having twins has been an amazing experience. When I announced my wife ...
Posted: Oct 15 2017 @ 2:16 PM
I remember when The White Stripes burst onto the scene from Detroit in the early-2000s. Their sound was unique. Their look was unique. And no one could figure out what the relationship was between Jack and Meg White. Are they brother and sister? Are they married? Maybe they’re cousins? This was the early days of the Internet and they kept it pretty opaque so no one really knew for a while (it ...
Posted: Oct 12 2017 @ 9:01 PM
Investors have been hearing about bond market bubbles since the financial crisis. Interest rates have refused to budge but even if/when they do rise most of the people proclaiming this is a “bond bubble” don’t really understand what that means. There’s a huge difference between how bonds and stocks are structured and many of those arguing this case seem to fail to make this distinction. I explain i... ...
Posted: Oct 11 2017 @ 3:25 PM
Once you reach a certain wealth threshold the money itself tends to take a backseat to optics and status symbols. One of the newer status symbols for the richest of the rich is to have their own family office. For the uninitiated, a family office is simply a private wealth management operation that handles all aspects of a family’s money management needs. Family offices are typically reserved for ultra high net ...
Posted: Oct 10 2017 @ 3:47 PM
The Wall Street Journal published a story last week about the investing program for the foundation of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FINRA is a nonprofit that’s tasked with regulating the broker-dealer industry to ensure investors aren’t getting taken advantage of. FINRA itself has a $1.6 billion investment portfolio that leaves much to be desired based on the description in the WSJ. The ... ...
Posted: Oct 09 2017 @ 1:19 PM
One of the best and worst parts about the fact we now have such easy access to historical market data is there are plenty of built-in narratives in the performance numbers. It’s easy to back up just about any stance on the markets based on how you present your data. Here’s a breakdown of S&P 500 performance (all numbers through 9.30.17) since… …the start of this year: 14% …the market bott... ...
Posted: Oct 08 2017 @ 8:00 PM
One of the hardest parts about giving financial advice, or any advice for that matter, is the fact that good advice alone is not enough. Good advice is all around us and people simply choose to ignore it much of the time. Telling a friend or family member who is overweight to eat better and workout periodically is good advice. But for most people, that good advice will not be effective. ...
Posted: Oct 05 2017 @ 8:35 PM
People have seemingly been predicting the next recession before the last one even ended (remember the double-dip recession forecasts?). The problem is the economic machine is a complex organism. It doesn’t operate on a set schedule. And even if you could predict the exact timing of the next recession it still might not be all that useful for your investing needs. Here’s my exploration of this idea in a recent ...
Posted: Oct 04 2017 @ 2:10 PM
There’s an old say that, “History doesn’t repeat itself but it does rhyme.” This one is used quite often in the finance realm. But when it comes to financial news, this phrase needs to be reversed to, “Financial news doesn’t rhyme but it does repeat itself.” The biggest reason for this is the fact that pundits and investment professionals alike have a hard time changing their mind... ...
Posted: Oct 03 2017 @ 3:00 PM


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