Financial Security and Modern-Day Pirates

© Can Stock Photo / AlienCat

Pirates may be jolly when they’re Johnny Depp in a costume, but the real renditions aren’t amusing at all … as the world is being reminded of recently in the form of a global Microsoft ransomware outbreak. If you’ve not yet seen the news, all you have to do is Google “ransomware attack 2017” and you’ll get caught up pretty quickly. You might want to have a paper bag handy, to breathe into.

Bottom line, to help shore up the security of your virtual ship, there’s one important step you and your clients should be taking if you’ve not yet done so: Make sure all updates and patches to your Windows operating system have been completed – like, yesterday. (As in, stop whatever else you’re doing, and do that now.)

By the way, I’ve just added a short email to the Content-Sharing Library, which you can use to reach out to your clients about this simple but important step. And, as incredibly excellent timing would have it, just last Friday, I also happened to load a quick-reference guide and a longer report on the subject of protecting against financial fraud and identity theft (U.S. and Canadian versions of the same).

If my timing were always this impeccable, I’d become an active investor! It’s not, and I won’t.

As they used to say on Hill Street Blues, let’s be careful out there.

“They” Said It Was Okay: New Use of Gender-Neutral Pronouns

© Can Stock Photo / scanrail

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

March 24, 2017 may have seemed like an ordinary day to you. But for U.S. journalists and the rest of us word-nerds who mostly use the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook as our guide, it was the day the organization finally threw in the towel on a long-standing gender identification debate.

The AP has stopped insisting we match singular subjects with singular pronouns, even when the gender could be either/or (or these days, “neither,” or “all of the above”).

At least with respect to the grammar of things, I was singularly delighted to hear the news. On the one hand, perpetuating stereotypes by defaulting to male or female pronouns has long left me cold. Who’s to determine whether that indeterminate doctor, nurse, advisor or architect is a “he” or a “she” on second reference? Continue reading ““They” Said It Was Okay: New Use of Gender-Neutral Pronouns”

More Free Stuff From Me and Mineral – Coming Soon

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

For almost 20 years, I’ve been writing about evidence-based investing (aka, passive investing). I’ve been at it since Humberto Cruz was a familiar syndicated columnist, nationally reporting the passive news as well. Remember him? Cruz retired in 2010 after this final column, but check out how timely his reflections remain:

“Just as investors piled into tech stocks in late 1999 and early 2000, and went into hock to flip condos in 2005-2006, they will flock to whatever investment is ‘hot’ in 2011, increasing the risk of getting burned. Through the years, this self-destructing investor behavior has never changed.”

Before I embarked on my current career, I was a tech-head writer for computing facilities at Washington University in St. Louis, Ralston Purina, and a library software developer you’ve never heard of unless you’re a librarian. Even when I was at BAM Advisor Services, we developed a lot of in-house tech toys, which generated the usual questions about how – and when – to talk about them.

If there’s one rule I learned, it’s that you DO NOT talk up next releases until they’re actually released. With Murphy’s Law in force right up until you flip the switch, anything that can go wrong, probably will. So predicting publication dates and final features is about as wise as forecasting next month’s stock prices, and about as safe as sharing client testimonials (at least here in the U.S.).

So you can understand why I don’t usually announce any goodies before they’re fully baked.

Today, I’m going to break the rules. My boss said it was okay. Continue reading “More Free Stuff From Me and Mineral – Coming Soon”

Canadian Bank Bloopers: Have You Heard the News?

© Can Stock Photo / gleighly

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

Have you heard the news? First there was that little Wells Fargo dust-up down here in the states. Now, ALL of Canada’s big banks – or at least some 1,000 of their employees – have reportedly been deluging CBC News investigative reporter Erica Johnson’s inbox, anxious to talk about the pressures they’ve felt to place customers’ best interests second.

The story broke in early March with a bank teller confessing, “I will do anything I can to make my goal.” I wonder if Johnson had any notion that this chink in the wall was soon to be split wide open with a flood of “me too” mea culpas sent her way. She reported on them in this incredible, mid-March follow-up piece, “We are all doing it.”

Incredible to me, anyway. Usually, the popular press loves nothing more than a juicy financial scandal. Except, apparently, if it’s going down up in Canada. What, have we got too many of our own to report on? Unless I’ve missed it, I haven’t seen a peep in the major U.S. media outlets.

Continue reading “Canadian Bank Bloopers: Have You Heard the News?”

Evidence-Based Connections Between Flossing and Finance

© Can Stock Photo / andreykuzmin

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

One of the best lessons from last fall’s Evidence-Based Investing Conference in NYC didn’t take place at the conference itself. It happened in the train station, where I met up for a couple of hours with “Annie,” a high school friend I hadn’t seen since the late 70s.

Had Facebook existed then, maybe we would have been better at staying in touch. It didn’t, and we weren’t. Fortunately, the bear hug Annie gave me when we reconnected promptly eliminated any time and distance between us. We jumped right back in where we left off, talking about nothing in particular and everything at once.

One of the things we talked about was this “evidence-based investing” jones that had brought me to the East Coast to begin with. Annie, who is a palliative care senior social worker at a major medical center, said something at the time about the comparative challenge of evidence-based medicine, controlled studies and practical treatments.

Continue reading “Evidence-Based Connections Between Flossing and Finance”

Corporate Communications Can Be a Super Pain

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

With the torrent of political news we’re awash in at the moment, I’ve had a hard time finding my whimsy of late. We could all use something especially whimsical this week, don’t you think?

Exhibit A: No matter how carefully your marketing pros plan your company’s consistent branding, one worker-bee with a misplaced label can cause it all to come crashing down. What a super pain.

 

Then again, that front-line worker-bee better captured my actual sentiment about house painting. Perhaps there are lessons to be learned from that.

Enough said.

Breaking News: Your Blogging Life Just Got Easier

You know it’s good for you and your community: blogging. Especially if it’s good stuff, accessible and informative, without sucking away too much of your client-service face time.

What would you say to a new service to help you achieve just that? Consider it done!

It all started when husband/wife team Jud and Kim Mackrill of Mineral reached out to me recently with an intriguing idea. Here’s the overview: Continue reading “Breaking News: Your Blogging Life Just Got Easier”

Wise Wording: More Accurate or More Approachable?

© Can Stock Photo/Birchside

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

Continuing to explore some of the questions I raised in my post-EBI Conference post, Questioning … Processing … Evidence-Based Investing, today I’ll touch on another question I posed, but left unanswered:

When describing investing to the general public, is it better to go with terminology that is more accurate or more familiar?

To be honest, I’m still not sure I have an easy answer.

More Accurate?

Clearly, the term evidence-based investing is more accurate. It’s closer to the essence of how most advisors with whom I collaborate are serving their investor clients.

After all, if the best available evidence suggested that stock-picking skills and market-timing reflexes generated true alpha over time and after costs … that’s what we’d be doing. Some might call that “active,” but the justification would still be evidence-based. Continue reading “Wise Wording: More Accurate or More Approachable?”

Evidence-Based Investing: Is It Literature?

© Can Stock Photo / tharun15

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

In my last post, Questioning … Processing … Evidence-Based Investing, I offered a mind dump of some of the questions I’ve been considering since I attended last November’s Evidence-Based Investment Conference.

I may or may not comment further on the entire list of questions. That’s where the whimsical part comes in. Today, I want to air my views about the first question I posed:

How important is the “evidence-based investing” name to begin with? Must it be tightly defined, or is a loose confederacy all well and good?

Personally, I’ve decided I can live with the loose confederacy. In fact, we are probably best served by it … if we embrace our inner Bob Dylan. Continue reading “Evidence-Based Investing: Is It Literature?”

Questioning … Processing … Evidence-Based Investing

©CanStock Photo/smarnad
©CanStock Photo/smarnad

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy  

Technology has spoiled us. Actions that used to take days are now a click or flick away.

Unless, of course, you’re downloading something, and you encounter the dreaded “progress bar.” It never moves. It never ends. It’s processing … forever.

That’s a little how I feel about getting back to you with my review of the inaugural Evidence-Based Investment Conference I attended in mid-November.

I’m processing.

Continue reading “Questioning … Processing … Evidence-Based Investing”