What Makes a "Professional"?

When it comes to the management of your money, many would agree that this responsibility should be placed in the hands of a professional. However, the prerequisite to become a financial advisor is passing a licensing test, with no formal higher education required. Can all financial advisors, therefore, be considered "professionals"?

How Pragmatism Guides Financial Planning

Pragmatism is a school of philosophy that examines truth through utility. For example, how useful a belief is to you may be more important than whether or not the belief is in fact true. Financial models can be viewed in a similar way: how useful is your financial plan?

Must-Read Finance Books

It is easy to become nearsighted in the world of finance and economics, especially with so much information flowing through the 24 hour news cycle. I look to books to maintain perspective on our industry, and in this latest blog post I wanted to share some titles that I believe we could all benefit from taking in.

The Argument for Gold

Over the years there have been calls for the US to return to a gold standard. But how realistic is this, and what were ther easons we abandoned it in the first place?

Presidential Economics

How much credit should a president get for a good economy? How much blame for a bad one? Contemporaries remain divided on this issue. We explore some key moments in our economic history, and the men that brought us through them.

Don't Panic!

One of the most important pieces of legislation passed in the last one-hundred years was the Banking Act of 1933. While there were many issues the bill addressed, one component effectively ended bank runs in the US. 

One Nation Under Regulation

Regulation in a free market is like pulling weeds out of a garden; not enough and the garden becomes overgrown, too much and you start to pull the out the good plants with the bad ones. 

What the Heck is an Emerging Market Anyway?

While the investment returns associated with emerging markets can be attractive, it is important to understand the risk levels that come along with them. A brief history lesson can help explain the risk/reward relationship of this volatile asset class.

Is the Income Tax Unconstitutional?

The US was one of the last developed nations to adopt a personal income tax. The reason lies in the US Constitution, and as always, the devil is in the details.

The Birth of Financial Advertising

While Merrill Lynch may be a household name, Charlie Merrill, who started the company in 1914 is not. He was a visionary and his impact on advertising in the financial industry is second to none.