Jarrett B. Topel's blog

How to enjoy an $18 Mai-Tai

Mai Tai

As a financial advisor1, I often hear people express a common sentiment that goes something like this: “I want to enjoy the now. I understand that planning for the future is important, but since no one knows what the future really holds, I want to seize the day now while I can”.  I completely understand this inclination, and in a lot of ways, I agree.  For most of us, however, there is an inherent contradiction in this line of thinking. That is, how can we truly enjoy the now, if our future is insecure?

Even Mr. Spock Could Use a Financial Plan

Spock Financial

As I worked towards my undergraduate degree in finance, then my Certified Financial Planner® designation, and finally my Masters in Financial Planning (MSFP), I was consistently taught about “Rational Choice Theory” and it its place in “Modern Portfolio Theory”.  I learned that a rational investor, would always make the right decisions based on facts and statistics, not on emotions or gut reactions, and that was why markets were so efficient over the long-term.  In the sterilized world of academia, it is easy to know the right thing to do: buy when prices are low, sell when prices are high,

The Time Is Now

The recent end of the school year has brought about a lot of change in our house, with our daughter finishing 1st grade, and our son preparing to enter kindergarten in the fall. And, although we are focused on the big things to come, it’s hard not to reflect on the past few years and wonder, where did the time go? Was it really over 7 years ago that Janine and I sat in the waiting room at Kaiser Hospital, freaking out about the unfamiliar road ahead, while waiting for our first child to be born? It can’t be, can it?

Avoiding Tax Paralysis (The Importance of Tax Diversification)

I’ve never understood why there exists in most American’s minds, such a negative association with paying taxes (as in “death and…”). Doesn’t the fact that a person has to pay taxes mean that he or she has made money? I get that there are any number of specific objections people may have, depending on their own personal political or socio-economic position, to how much they are taxed, or to what the money is used for etc., but it has always struck me as an odd dichotomy that something relatively positive can carry such a negative connotation in most people’s minds.