Showing posts from July, 2011

Some Final Words on Money and Happiness

by Laura Rowley

I spent this week in Ohio at my brother-in-law's funeral. He died at 58 of a brain tumor after a long battle that he fought with diligence and patience and quiet humor. At a Catholic funeral, the priest gives a homily, or short talk, on the Bible readings. If you want a homily, the priest said, look at Bob's life.

Bob was married 38 years, a father of five, an engineer, the guy who volunteered to wire his parish church when personal computers first came out. He was the runner who competed in dozens of 10K races with his whole family, but never got an individual trophy because he insisted on keeping pace with the slowest runner. With Bob, no one was left behind.

He grew up one of eight children in a small town in Illinois, the son of a postman and a homemaker, where he took the American dream to heart. He was loyal, faithful, kind and positive in the extreme. We used to joke about how Bob would say hello with a bone-crushing hug and then tell you, four or five time…

Are Retirement Calculators Reliable?

by Walter Updegrave

Based on my age, investments and the amount I'm saving, an online calculator suggested that my chances of being able to retire with the money I'll need is a virtual slam dunk. How confident can I be that my investments will actually earn enough over the next 40 years for me to retire? -- D.M.

I'm not a math wiz or a quant by any stretch of the imagination. But when it comes to making retirement planning decisions, I think it's important to look at the numbers.

That said, whenever you rev up an online tool or calculator, you've got to remember that you're dealing with estimates (often very squishy ones) not certainties. So common sense dictates that you take the results with more than a couple grains of salt.

Let's take the case of retirement calculators. Most project how large a nest egg you might accumulate -- and, in many cases, how long it might last -- based on a number of factors, including how much you've already accumulated, how m…

I’ve worked at Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs. Now I run a bar. I have no regrets

Shree Ann Mathavan

Singaporean Colin Tay went from banking to beers when he left the financial industry after nine years. Formerly from Deutsche Bank, he now runs two businesses with a partner: Old Empire, a gastro bar, and TSA Wines, a beer and wine distribution company. He speaks to eFinancialCareers about his decision to give up the corporate life.

My former life as a banker

I studied economics and finance at the University of Sydney, so when I returned to Singapore in early 2002, I started looking for banking jobs. I saw banking as something lucrative, a safe route, especially since the sector was booming in Singapore. When I first started, I didn’t have any specific preference on which area I wanted to get into, I just wanted in. I am a people’s person though, so I thought a role where I dealt directly with clients would suit me.

My first job was at OCBC. I worked in retail banking, quality assurance, and finally I assisted a private banker. Three years later, I joined Goldman Sachs …

5 Signs You're About To Be Fired

There are many tell-tale signs that your job may be in jeopardy; if your company has just undergone a corporate merger, layoffs have begun to wind their way around the office floor, or your department's benefits have been slashed, for example. However, much of the time the signs are not so blatant and many employees are blind-sided when they are handed the pink slip. They never saw the red flags. Here are five warning signs that you might be nearing your final days:

1. You have been stripped of responsibilities.
Have you been given less work, had your projects and promotions stalled or been given a dead-end task? Does the office intern seem to have more responsibility than you? All of these are clear signs that your skills are not valued and your superiors do not see many prospects for you in the future of the company. Having a boss who champions your work and promotes you internally is a clear marker of your worth within a company. If this is not happening for you and you feel that…

Warren Buffett Invests Like a Girl, Says Author

By Jeff Macke

Over the years the exalted Oracle of Omaha has been called many things, most of them fawning. What the man had never previously been accused of, at least to my recollection, is being girly. This is, until Louann Lofton, author of Warren Buffett Invests Like a Girl, joined me and Nesto to elaborate.

Louann says Buffett is "able to manage his emotions better than most men are," a claim that caused me to make tight fists and snort in derision. She supports her assertion by pointing to studies showing that men "tend to take on more risk than necessary," in part because of his seeming ability to take some of the testosterone out of the investing process and focus on the long term.

With the hair on my back standing upright like a threatened guard dog, I pointed out that Buffett has done more than his share of aggressive trades, among which being his famous crushing of Goldman Sachs (GS) and General Electric (GE) in 2008. For those unfamiliar with those deals, …

Happy people make better, faster decisions: study

There used to be a saying written on some shopping bags that said, "When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping."

But a study published Thursday in the Journal of Consumer Research has found that it's better to go shopping when the going's not so tough, and we're in a good mood, because we make faster and more consistent decisions.

Researchers Paul Herr and Derrick Davis of Virginia Tech, Christine Page of Skidmore College and Bruce Pfeiffer of the University of New Hampshire conducted a study to determine how mood influences the "very basic element of decision-making" -- deciding whether or not we like or dislike an object.

The authors manipulated study participants' moods by showing them pictures of positive things, like cute puppies, or unpleasant things, like diseased feet, and then showed them pictures of common objects, one at a time.

The objects were flashed on a screen and then replaced by a word -- like, dislike; good, bad; favorable, unfa…