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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

Tim Whatley was always one of my favorite recurring characters on Seinfeld. Whatley was Jerry’s dentist and was played masterfully by Bryan Cranston, who later went onto Breaking Bad fame. There was one episode where Jerry goes to get some dental work done by Dr. Whatley. Before giving Jerry the gas to put him out, Whatley...... ...
Posted: Dec 14 2017 @ 10:07 PM
On this week’s Animal Spirits with Michael & Ben we discuss: The huge problems facing municipal pension plans. The pension fund Hail Mary in private equity. Jeremy Siegel’s less pessimistic expected return assumptions. Why women are better investors than men. Why historical market returns are likely overstated. The unfortunate math on a 60/40 portfolio. Bitcoin...... ...
Posted: Dec 13 2017 @ 9:29 AM
“The easy money has been made” is one of my least favorite sayings in all of finance because you can only know this with the benefit of hindsight. Well, with that benefit, 2017 was about as easy as it gets. There hasn’t been a down month or a loss of greater than 3% in the...... ...
Posted: Dec 12 2017 @ 2:09 PM
During three separate interviews this week I was asked if I was seeing any signs of complacency among investors, markets, or clients. If anything, the people I talk to are more concerned with the high probability of lower market returns in the future but my view is surely clouded by the clientele and readers I...... ...
Posted: Dec 10 2017 @ 4:36 PM
Bitcoin’s rise is a sight to behold. Just look at this chart: It seemed insane that the price went through $9,000 at Thanksgiving. Today it was over $19,000 at one point! It’s unreal. I honestly believe we have a front row seat to what could end up being one of the craziest manias of all-time....... ...
Posted: Dec 07 2017 @ 5:01 PM
On this week’s Animal Spirits with Michael & Ben we discuss: How having kids has changed our perspective on our finances The rising cost of childcare The great baby bust of 2017 Automation’s threat to the workforce Why market valuations are like NBA teams A slump in venture capital seed funding The holy grail of...... ...
Posted: Dec 06 2017 @ 9:17 AM
While the markets have been rocking across the globe in 2017 without a hint of volatility, the current bull market hasn’t always been easy. The S&P 500 hasn’t hit the standard definition of a bear market (a drawdown of 20% or more) in many years but a number of other markets did in late-2015/early-2016. Small...... ...
Posted: Dec 05 2017 @ 3:19 PM
A large contingent of investors has been perplexed by the resilience of the markets and the economy throughout this cycle. Volatility in both stocks and economic growth remain muted even though they’ve been given plenty of excuses to go berserk. Eventually this stability will come to an end (it always does) but it’s worth discussing why...... ...
Posted: Dec 03 2017 @ 9:02 PM
Although the stock market has risen for eight (going on nine) years in a row, the gains haven’t been felt equally by the investing public. Bloomberg shared some data Friday on stock market ownership broken out by age group and how it’s changed since the previous cycle peaked in 2007: In almost every age group, the...... ...
Posted: Dec 02 2017 @ 8:40 AM
The winter months can be brutal in Michigan. It’s cold. It’s snowy. It’s icy. It’s dark. The sun rarely peeks out from behind the clouds. I love the warm weather so at least once a year, probably around January or February, I fantasize about moving somewhere warmer and curse myself for living in the cold....... ...
Posted: Nov 30 2017 @ 10:36 PM


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