Why Busyness Isn’t Good Business

Why Busyness Isn’t Good Business

By Tim Maurer It’s old news that we’re busy and that we wear our busyness as a badge of honor. But a new study found that Americans, in particular, are actually buying it. Specifically, the study concluded that Americans who always say they’re “busy” are actually seen as more important. Unfortunately, it’s all a charade. Numerous studies have shown that busyness isn’t actually good business, and here’s the big reason why: It makes us less productive. We’re all susceptible to it, but If I’m saying to myself (and I have), “Woo, I’m busy; really busy,” I’m likely being distracted from the most important, most productive work that I could be doing. I may feel like I’m doing more, but the net result is actually less. And it often feels like it. But not everyone wears busyness as a status symbol. In response to the research and their own well-informed gut feelings, many are finding enjoyment in more productive work at a less busy pace. I wanted to know how these people recognize when they’re devolving into busyness and what they do to stop the downward spiral, so I asked 12 thought leaders who’ve inspired me two simple questions: How do you know when you’ve gotten too busy? What is a technique that you use to “unbusy” yourself? Here’s what they had to say: Chris Guillebeau, Art of Non-Conformity blogger, Side Hustle School podcaster and author of Born For This, knows he’s too busy when: I don’t mind working hard and taking on lots of projects–in fact, I wouldn’t have it any other way—but when I have no time to...
Political Biases Can Impact Your Investing

Political Biases Can Impact Your Investing

By Larry Swedroe “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.” These words, from the opening of Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities,” are among the most famous in all of English literature. Today they could easily apply to how investors view the outlook for the U.S. economy and our stock market. Politics Affect Investors’ Market Perceptions Whether you view the outlook for our economy and stock market as entering the best of times or the worst of times is highly dependent on your political perspective. Research on investor behavior has found that individuals become more optimistic and perceive the markets to be less risky and more undervalued when the party they favor is in power. This leads them to take on more risk. They also trade less frequently, which is a good thing, because the evidence demonstrates that the more individuals trade, the worse they tend to do. But when the opposite party is in power, investors’ perceived uncertainty levels increase, and they exhibit stronger behavioral biases, leading to poor investment decisions. You can observe just how strong the impact of these biases can be in the Spectrem Group’s December 2016 Affluent Investor and Millionaire Investor Confidence survey. Prior to the presidential election in November,...
Why Every Millennial Should Consider Funding a Roth IRA

Why Every Millennial Should Consider Funding a Roth IRA

By Tim Maurer Much—too much—has been said and written about the relative superiority of Roth IRAs versus Traditional IRAs. The debate over which is better too often involves the technical numerical merits. In truth, the Roth wins in almost every situation because of its massive behavioral advantage: a dollar in a Roth IRA is (almost) always worth more than a dollar in a Traditional IRA. This is true regardless of one’s age, but the Roth IRA is even more advantageous for Millennials. I must first disclaim that you can disregard any discussion of Roth or Traditional IRA if you’re not taking full advantage of a corporate match in your employer’s 401(k)—free money is still better than tax-free money. But after you’ve “maxed out” the match in your corporate retirement account, here are the top three reasons Millennials should consider putting their next dollar of savings in a Roth IRA: 1) Life is liquid, but most retirement savings isn’t. Yes, of course, in a perfect, linear world, every dollar we put in a retirement account would forevermore remain earmarked for our financial futures. But hyperbolic discounting—and the penalties and tax punishments associated with early withdrawal from most retirement savings vehicles—can scare us away from saving today for the distant future. The further the future, the more we fear. The Roth IRA, however, allows you to remove whatever contributions you’ve made—your principal—without any taxes or penalties at any time for any reason. Therefore, even though I’d prefer you to generally employ a set-it-and-forget-it rule with your Roth and not touch it, if the privilege of liquidity in a Roth helps you...
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