Tag: research (Page 1 of 3)

Anecdotes vs. Research (and the benefits of each)

Anecdotes vs. Research (and the benefits of each)

As a researcher, it is important to me that you know the difference between anecdotes and data (the stuff produced through primary research).

What is Research?

This is a broad question that has many different facets, I realize. And I could bore you with the specifics of randomized controlled trials vs. observational studies, but our purposes here, I consider data/research to be something that has been tested. Many subjects have been involved and conclusions have been drawn. Research is testing whether defaulting workers into contributing to retirement funds actually increases earnings and then finding out that it does.

The conclusions drawn from research mean that they’ve been tried and tested. Many, many people save way more money into retirement plans if you default them into contributing in the first place. What do we do with this information? If you default your contributions, you may not end up clawing them back at all!

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How to Choose a Fund Manager

How to Choose a Fund Manager

Over the past year, I’ve come across some pretty interesting studies about fund managers. Based on the research, let’s take a look at who the ideal fund manager is:

Top Performing Fund Managers:

  1. Drive “Practical but Unexciting” Cars – Fund managers who drive sports cars take on more risk… but the risk doesn’t translate into better returns. So, make sure you’re checking the parking lot before choosing your fund manager!
  2. Are from Poorer Backgrounds – It turns out privilege puts people in positions they don’t necessarily deserve to be in. Fund managers from poorer backgrounds may have to prove themselves more because of their lack of connections or status, so the ones that make it are smarter and have more grit than the ones that got a “leg up” to get there.
  3. Actually Do Very Little – This article is about Nevada’s 35 billion dollar fund manager. He describes his method as “bare-bones.” The article says: “The Nevada system’s stocks and bonds are all in low-cost funds that mimic indexes. Mr. Edmundson may make one change to the portfolio a year.”

Be Your Own Manager:

The key, as Mr. Edmundson from the Nevada fund would tell you, is low-fee index funds. Even if you don’t choose Vanguard funds, you can thank Vanguard for creating The Vanguard Effect – The combined savings of Vanguard’s low fees added to the driving down of prices in the industry leading to a savings of over $1 Trillion to the consumer!*

Maybe this is the end of investing as we know it if everyone jumps on the passive funds train. Or maybe you think index funds are communist (I don’t make this stuff up!). Then make up your own mind… but for now, I’m going to drive my sensible car and put my money in index funds and leave it alone!**


*This is similar to the “Costco Effect” in Anchorage. We’re told to be grateful we live in Anchorage after Costco came because before that, prices were much, much higher. 

**I can’t claim I don’t have the privilege card, because I do

Girls Are Brilliant (And Why That Matters)

Girls Are Brilliant (And Why That Matters)

In light of recent events, I’ve started hearing arguments (from both men and women) that women have achieved equality and need to “stop complaining.” Everyone apparently knows that girls are brilliant already. I’ve also been informed that “men controlling women” isn’t a common theme that exists outside of my own “echo chamber” and that women can officially do anything they want to. I realize that research has also lost popularity as of late, but as a researcher, I will continue to publish research-based information.

Gender Stereotypes Start Young

In the midst of the arguments this past week, a study was published looking at 6-year-olds. In the first part of the study, children were told a story about a character that was “really, really smart.” They were then shown pictures of 2 men and 2 women and told to identify which one they thought was the protagonist of the story. 5-year-old girls and boys (not yet school-aged) were just as likely to choose a boy or a girl as a protagonist to the story (and likely to lean toward identifying the protagonist as themselves–girls would choose a girl, boys would choose a boy). 6-year-olds, however, were not. The study states: “Despite [the] strong tendency to view one’s gender in a positive light, girls aged 6 and 7 were significantly less likely than boys to associate brilliance with their own gender.”

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The Money Moose Survey

The Money Moose Survey!

Alright, friends! The time has come! Drumroll, please….

Introducing, the Money Moose Survey!

How You Can Help Me:

  1. Go and Take the Survey. It will take 5-10 minutes. Be honest in your responses.
  2. Make all spouse/significant others/random dinner guests take the survey. Don’t discuss its contents, just set it in front of them and say: “While I whip up dessert, I have an important study I would like you to participate in.”
  3. Share with your blogger and personal audiences. If you are a blogger, share the link and say something like: “A large-scale study about money! Help a sister out!” When you post it on your personal Facebook/Twitter feed say: “My good friend Maggie [because I consider you a friend if you are here reading this blog… I mean, you know more about me than most of my Facebook friends!] is doing a large-scale research project. Please take 5-10 minutes of your time to participate.”
  4. Post the link in public bathrooms. Bribe people. Withhold Christmas cookies until they take the survey. *Ahem* I’m sorry. I got a bit carried away there… I don’t want anyone to be forced… (am I coming off as desperate?)

The link to share is:

http://www.moneymoose.space

(please note it is .space, not .com … who wouldn’t want to click on that?!) Again, please don’t discuss the survey contents. You can say it’s about money (I put it right in the title!) but please leave the rest hidden. I don’t want to skew results by having people think about the answers before they take the survey.

Challenge: Share it far. Share it wide. Can we get 500 responses before I return on January 9? I’ll let you know how many we have when I return.

HAPPY HAPPY HOLIDAYS FRIENDS! You are all the greatest. Seriously. I’m thankful for you! And I’ll see you Next Year!

What does your remarkable life look like?

What Does Your Remarkable Life Look Like?

Several years ago, I caught a glimpse at my doctor’s notes in my chart. Mine didn’t say “difficult patient” like Elaine in that one Seinfeld Episode, but I was equally confused and offended by a statement in mine:

Bones and joints unremarkable.

Um, excuse me?! I think my bones and joints are VERY remarkable! I jest about my offense, of course. As Mr. T pointed out, in the medical world, that is probably a compliment (and since Lui’s birth, my joints are probably now medically remarkable). But “unremarkable” feels offensive.

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The future is full of hope

The Future is Full of HOPE

We’re going to start off with a little riddle:

A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies instantly, and the son is taken to the nearest hospital. The doctor comes in and exclaims ‘I can’t operate on this boy!’
‘Why not?’ the nurse asks.
‘Because he’s my son,’ the doctor responds.
How is this possible?

An old one, for sure. Do you remember the first time you heard it? I do! I was still a kid. Of course the answer is “The doctor is the boy’s mother.” Duh. And I remember saying: “Oh duh! (probably with a forehead-to-the-hand smack)” but I totally didn’t get the answer. It was, indeed, a riddle. You could blame this on my upbringing, except I was raised by incredible, feminist parents that instilled very young that I could do anything I wanted to do even though I was a girl. So, I’m blaming society as a whole. We knew women could be doctors. We even knew some female docs, but they were usually male.

This week, I told this riddle to my children.

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Be an amateur and an expert

Why You Should Be An Amateur AND An Expert

On Monday, I made a case for not swimming alone, but finding people passionate about your subject and swimming with them. You’ll notice I did not use the word “expert.” When you’re seeking out someone with that passion, you want them to be both an amateur AND an expert.

“Amateur” Definition (Oxford English Dictionary):

1. One who loves or is fond of, one who has a taste for anything.
2.  a. One who cultivates anything as a pastime, as distinguished from one who prosecutes it professionally; hence, sometimes used disparagingly, as = dabbler, or superficial student or worker. b. Often prefixed (in apposition) to another designation, as amateur painter, amateur gardener.
3.a. Hence attrib. almost adj. Done by amateurs. Cf. amateur gardener with amateur gardening.
b. Used disparagingly. Cf. sense 2.

Following this list of definitions, “amateur” both means someone with such a passion about a subject, it goes beyond everyday interest as well as someone that “dabbles” instead of seriously studying.

“Amateur” comes from the Latin “Amatore” meaning “Lover of.”

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Do not swim alone

Do Not Swim Alone, Swim with Swimmers

When I was working in the office last month, I stayed in a nearby hotel and made myself go swimming each evening after work to get some exercise and relax. Each evening I was the only one in the pool. The last night (that’s right, I blatantly ignored them for four days), I read the posted rules for the pool. The last one read simply: DO NOT SWIM ALONE.

My first thought? Oh no! I’m going to die in here and no one will even know! Second thought: That’s ridiculous. I’m an adult and a competent swimmer. Third thought: I think I feel a metaphor coming on…

If you’ve read this blog at all, you know I love a good metaphor whether it comes from watching some fishermen or straight out of a fortune cookie. And here was a brilliant one, right on the wall of the hotel pool.

The Metaphor:

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retire now

The State of Retirement in the U.S. in 2016

It’s sad.

<End of post.>

Alright, alright. I’ll get into details if I must. First, the good news:

According to the 2016 Retirement Confidence Survey published by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, people are starting to move out of their recession fears. The percentage of workers “very confident” in having enough to retire, went up from 13% in 2013 to 22% in 2015. This year it went down slightly to 21%, but overall, people are feeling a bit more confident in these insane market days.

The question is: Should they feel this confident?

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Problems with Pareto Principle and Outsourcing

Problems with the Pareto Principle and Outsourcing

If you’ve read enough about how to become rich, you’ve probably encountered two concepts:

  1. Pareto Principle – 20% of the input is responsible for 80% of the output. In personal finance, people tout focusing on only doing that 20% responsible for the most return. That leads to principle number 2:
  2. Outsourcing – For the parts of the 80% of the job that are still necessary, you outsource them.

Let me start by stating that I agree that the Pareto Principle is real and outsourcing can be useful in some regards. Let me also state that I agree that while frugality has limits, income potential does not. I agree that everyone is capable of earning more and the amount is potentially limitless.

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