The First Question to Ask Everyone

Suppose you truly want to connect with other people.  What’s your best strategy? Most of us start off with questions like: what do you do for a living?  And: where did you grow up?  We ask for facts and then try to extrapolate a living person around the data that we...

Life Satisfaction and Economic Growth

You’re probably tired of hearing about the Greek debt crisis, but sometimes it helps to connect the abstract with the concrete—that is, the huge numbers involved with the actual lives of the people living in the country. The Greeks today live in a vacuum of...

The Doctor On Your Wrist

Chances are you think that medical costs are going to bankrupt America, and if we assume that Medicare and Medicaid costs will rise as they have for the past 20 years (despite the brief interlude these last three years), then there is reason for alarm. But ask...

Is this the right time to go off the grid?

The world is buzzing about the latest innovation by Elon Musk, founder of the Tesla battery-powered cars.  Soon you’ll be able to hang a 220-pound battery on the wall of your garage, hook it up to solar panels, and cut the electrical wires to your house.  The solar...

Advice to grow by

In case you were looking for interesting (and possibly life-changing) bits of advice, a website called Raptitude (subhead: “Getting better at being human”) is offering 67 different ideas on better ways to live.  The list includes interesting fusions of practical and...

Forrest’s Great Investment

If you watched the popular Forrest Gump movie, you may have noticed that moment when the perplexed young man opened his brokerage statement and noticed that a big chunk of his shrimp operation profits had been invested in (as he said) some kind of fruit company.  He...

Are you aware of your SALT liabilities?

Does your company operate in multiple states? If so, there’s a good chance that you owe some state and local taxes (SALT) outside your home state. But many closely held private businesses are unaware of their SALT liabilities. While it’s sometimes difficult to...

Understanding the NIIT

The 3.8% tax can take a bite out of some home sale profits Summer generally is an optimal time to sell your home. If you’re putting up a “for sale” sign on your lawn this year, make sure you understand the 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT) that applies to profits...