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20 Is the New 50

The world looks different from my side of the desk. Three decades working with clients dreaming of retirement and the good life has revealed things you can’t fully understand unless you see it with your own eyes. We hear crazy talk like 70 is the new 50, indicating people at age 70 are as active as people once were at 50. Bullshit! I would be happy as hell if I could pry some people’s asses off the couch for more than a trip to the fridge at age 20. The noises they make is a tell; they are ready for the nursing home by 30. But I digress.

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Occam’s Razor: The Simple Way to Be Right All the Time

Life is more complicated than it has to be. More moving parts do not mean better. Electric cars have one moving the part, the motor; whereas gasoline powered vehicles have several hundred moving parts. More moving parts mean more things can go wrong. When all things are equal, the machine with fewest moving parts that still gets the job done is usually the best choice. Electric cars will outperform old-fashioned gasoline engine vehicles on every front as electric vehicles are improved. Lots of explanations will be given as to why electric cars blow gasoline engines off the road, but the simplicity of an electric vehicle will be a significant reason for the lower costs and higher performance.

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Valuation: Warren Buffett Style Investing

In the course of my work I am frequently asked to place a value on a business a client wants to sell or acquire. There are several ways to determine value in such situations. Today we are going to focus on the value of listed companies (stocks). Warren Buffett has stated most people should drop their money into an index fund and let it ride. If you are like me you follow Warren’s advice, but invest a portion of your money in individual stocks anyway.

There are numerous books on Warren Buffett and his style of investing. These books glance over the process Warren uses, focusing on tidbits of advice Warren has given over the years. Reading Graham and Dodd’s Security Analysis exposes how difficult it can be to value a company. Since Graham and Dodd, our understanding of value creation has grown and Warren Buffett uses the new analysis tools in his investing style.

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The Tragedy of the Commons in Investing

Back in the early 1980s a CPA named Herb Vest had this crazy idea to merge the investment and tax preparation fields. By the 1990s both HD Vest Financial Services and your favorite wealthy accountant’s tax firm were hitting full stride.

My first career choice was not tax preparation or accounting, it was financial services. I fell in love with the stock market crash of 1929 my sophomore year of high school and from that point on wanted to be a stock broker. Tax preparation was a seasonal job I preferred over working all year long, putting the stock broker idea on hold. Besides, I invested most of my income and the library was filled with great books on the stock market and its history.

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