Friday, January 13, 2006

Nuts and Bolts

Nuts and Bolts, Amherst, NH, January 2006, HP Photosmart R817, Exposure 251/5931 sec @ f2.8, ISO 200, no flash © Steven Crisp

Sometimes you have to turn your attention to the "nuts and bolts" of life. My good friend, Dan, along with being a spiritual compatriot, and photographer protege, is accomplished in the financial department (heck, he was able to retire at 43).

So I've taken a break from my spiritual investigations to gain some insights into necessary financial matters. Let me save you some time -- only buy index funds with the lowest possible fees; oh yeah, and rebalance every one or two years, and you are done. The only key decision you need to make is your equity/bond allocation (and suballocations if you so desire) to address your risk tolerance. That's it! I wonder why "they" don't teach us that and save everybody a bunch of heartache and wasted time.

Having gained some of those insights, I do intend to apply them to my retirement portfolio and get this baby running on auto-pilot, with a disciplined review no more frequently than every quarter. Oh yeah, and I've tuned out all financial e-mail, news, magazines, etc. This is only so much noise trying to get you to "beat the market" and help stock brokers (sorry JB) and fund managers extract money from your wallet.

Kids -- take notice, these are pearls, pearls, I tell you! Oh yeah, and for you, save as much as you can as early as you can; and when you enter the corporate world, max out your 401-K contributions, even better if they contribute (free money), as soon as possible. OK, now your lesson is done as well.

You've heard the quiet voice in background (supported by academic study after study)-- no one can beat the market over the long term, so why bother? And the market is not so bad in the long run, especially if you start EARLY. Within a week, I expect to be back full time (well, outside of work) to the spiritual reflections and of course, to my photography. Thanks for your patience.

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