THE STRAIGHT S K I N N Y
How Much Does Luck Play Into the Economy? THE LUCK OF THE DRAW
Financial experts and the media try to inundate us with “sound” advice and predictions for the future of the market and our economy. The problem with following that advice is that no one actually knows what’s going to happen to the economy. Unfortunately, even seasoned experts cannot tell you what will happen a month from now. Various studies corroborate just how random the market can be. A researcher from the University of Chicago — who was also the first to utilize computers to track market fluctuation — found that there is no logical pattern when it comes to stock prices. Everything is random, and the only way to predict a change in the price is to have insider knowledge of what is happening. Here’s a great example of this phenomenon. In the early 1990s, some people invested early in AOL, and by 1999, those who cashed out won big. However, those who waited around until March through July of 2000 missed out on the riches and lost 50 percent in the dot-com bubble burst. So, the question is this: Was luck involved? The answer is yes and no. For those working with or in AOL, cashing out in 1999 was a smart choice. They saw the burst coming, and they were fortunate enough to be in a situation where they could make an informed move. But for your average Joe, or even the average advisor in Maryland, it might not have been quite as obvious. I often work with clients who mention they would like to invest in or purchase stock with a company because they like it. Apple is a common name I hear, and Maryland-based Under Armour is also a popular choice. While these are viable options, I often remind clients that they are not sitting in the boardrooms making decisions. You may like how a company is being run, and you may want to support it, but that does not mean it’s a wise choice to funnel your money into it. It’s easy to be panicked by the financial media with their many doom and gloom proclamations. The real answer to smart investing? Own all the markets and tilt toward those factors that influence returns. We now have
50-plus years of research that demonstrate what those
factors are, and algorithm technologies are always looking for more. Using the research, our mission is to capture the returns of the market, not chase them.
With a properly allocated portfolio, you are able to ride the roller coaster of market swings with more reasonable expectations. You can then “invest and worry less.” Understanding what is normal for your portfolio is crucial to being disciplined, patient, and focused on the long view. Knee-jerk reactions are always harmful. “Luck favors the prepared,” Edna Mode says in “The Incredibles.” It’s good advice for many areas of life, including your investment strategies. We work to keep clients prepared, so they can enjoy the things that really matter to them.
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3 Ways to Honor International Women’s Day
On March 8, people around the world will honor International Women’s Day. Adopted by the United Nations in 1975, the holiday is meant to highlight the immeasurable accomplishments of women throughout history and draw attention to the ongoing struggle for global gender equality. International Women’s Day is celebrated differently around the world. Some nations, like Nepal, give all their citizens the day off. Most countries, however, including the United States, treat it as a normal day, at least officially. Even though we don’t have the day off, there are many ways for everyone to honor International Women’s Day this year. Here are a few of them.
Spring is in the air, and it’s time to celebrate with another round of spring- cleaning. Banish the clutter and make room in your life for something new! Many charities see a sharp increase in donations as spring-cleaning season starts. Donating your used books, kids’ toys, and gently worn clothing allows your old items to have a second life. However, when filling that donation box, make sure you’re donating each item because it can do good and not just because you feel bad about throwing it away. Charities have a big problem with well-meaning citizens dropping off items that are better left in the trash. There are many items charities simply cannot handle. Most charities will have lists of items they can and cannot accept on their websites. Some items that you should not donate include: DONATE WITH CARE The Right Way to Donate After Spring-Cleaning
Talk About theWomenWho Inspire You
From major innovators, like Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, to megalithic literary icons, like Maya Angelou, women throughout history have shaped how we live our lives. Whether you’re inspired by famous historical figures or the women in your own life, take the time to talk about that influence. Which women helped get you where you are today? What female leaders do you look up to? What are some lessons you’ve learned from them?
Make Room for Conversation in theWorkplace
Many of the challenges women face globally happen in the workplace. If you think your company has room for improvement in its treatment of women, now is a great time to do something about it. Even if you believe your company treats women and men equally, there’s no harm in empowering your colleagues to talk to give their opinions. If you’re an employer, this could mean giving women in your workplace an avenue to discuss issues, air grievances, and make suggestions. If you’re an employee, consider asking for such a forum. In either case, providing both public and anonymous avenues for women to express themselves is a great way for your company to take a step forward in fostering gender equality.
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Loose remote controls
Personal care items, like soap, shampoo, or makeup
Join the Conversation
Tangled cords or phone chargers Any broken, damaged, or dirty items
Regardless of your gender, March 8 is the perfect time to tune in to the larger conversation surrounding gender
These items may be unsafe to sell, costly to ship, or impossible to refurbish effectively. When a charity regularly receives items they cannot use, they have to spend hours of manpower sorting through things that end up in the trash anyway. This process can be expensive for organizations with already-strained resources. Some local charities spend over $1,000 a year on dumpster and trash removal fees for unusable donations. While charities will have no choice but to throw unusable donations in the trash, there are services you can use to make your spring- cleaning eco-friendly, even for items you can’t donate. For example, if you have torn or stained blue jeans, reach out to Blue Jeans Go Green. This program keeps denim out of landfills by turning it into insulation. And while Goodwill can’t take your batteries or old flip phone, you can check out Call2Recycle.org to learn how to safely recycle your e-waste.
inequality, if you haven’t already. This could mean attending meetings or demonstrations in your town, reading works that capture the female struggle for equality, such as Roxane Gay’s “Difficult Women,” or seeking out blogs and social media accounts from gender equality activists online. International Women’s Day is about appreciating the contributions of women to society and envisioning a more equal world for the future.
However you decide to celebrate women this March, keep in mind that no matter who you are or where you come from, we all have the
Your donations can be a big help to local charities. Just don’t “donate” your garbage.
power to change our world for the better.
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LLAMAS, PIGS, AND HORSES … OH, MY!
3 Unique Therapy Animals Everyone has heard of therapy dogs and cats, but did you know virtually any critter can be a therapy or support animal? Therapy animals help humans cope with PTSD, anxiety, depression, injury, high blood pressure, and chronic pain, as well as a wide range of other conditions and difficulties. Therapy animals range from guinea pigs that can fit in a purse to dolphins that swim with amputees. Here are three unique companions who make a difference in the lives of people who need them.
beneath his desk to pet Buttercup. Afterward,
Rojo the Llama
the child spoke to the class for the first time. “It was a remarkable breakthrough,” says Brady.
Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas in Portland, Oregon, has conducted over 1,500 visits during the last decade and helps over 10,000 people each year. Their star llama, Rojo, is one of just 14 llamas registered as a therapy animal in the United States. Rojo’s exceptionally gentle temperament is calming to everyone who meets him. He’s so well-loved and has become such a big deal that he has his own Facebook page and two children’s books!
Rocky the Miniature Horse
Buttercup the Pot-Bellied Pig
At just 32 inches high and 325 pounds, Rocky packs a lot of cuteness into one small package. He’s not a pony but rather a breed of miniature horse historically used in coal mines in the 17th century. His specialty is working with retired veterans at the VA Community Living Center in Phoenix, Arizona, where the residents know him and look forward to his visits. For some, Rocky’s visits are bittersweet. “I wish I could have had more time to spend with horses,” says one veteran as he scratches Rocky’s ears. “There’s something calming about them.”
Lois Brady, a speech pathologist who works with special needs students in San Francisco, has a secret weapon in her arsenal: Buttercup, her black, 70-pound Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. His docile nature makes him the perfect companion for autistic children, who are often easily startled. Because Buttercup is an unusual sight in classrooms, children find him fascinating. In 2017, an autistic student who had never spoken to his classmates before felt compelled to crawl out from
TAKE A BREAK
Inspired by Food & Wine Magazine.
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3/4 cup corn kernels
• • • •
2 teaspoons granulated garlic 2 teaspoons granulated onion
2 tablespoons flaky sea salt 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
1/3 cup canola oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
In a small skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds. Shake skillet often and cook until white seeds are golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and add garlic, onion, and salt. In a large saucepan, combine popcorn kernels and oil. Cook over medium-
high heat, covered, until popcorn kernels start to pop. Once popping, continue cooking and shaking the pan intermittently until popping ceases, about 3–5 minutes. Transfer popcorn to a large mixing bowl. Pour in butter and toss to coat. Finally, add seasoning, toss again, and serve.
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Luck on the Market
Why Charities Hate Spring-Cleaning 3 Ways to Honor International Women’s Day Llamas, Pigs, and Horses … Oh, My! Everything Popcorn
Family Activities for St. Patrick’s Day
CELEBRATING ST. PATRICK’S DAY
Exploring Irish Culture
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t have to mean heading to the local Irish bar and drinking a large green beverage. If you’re not interested in going out this year and would prefer to do something at home with the family, here are a few ways everyone can celebrate.
Another way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your family is to sit down and read about Irish culture with your kids. Learn where the legend of the leprechaun came fromor read other stories from Irish folklore. You can also watch videos of Irish dance performances and encourage the kids tomake their own. There’s also fascinating history on St. Patrick and why he became the patron of the holiday that your family members can research together. If you have Irish roots, tell your kids about your heritage.
Watch Irish Movies
What better way to get festive than by making some St. Patrick’s Day-themed dishes? You can make rainbow cupcakes, green cookies, St. Patrick’s Day popcorn, or — for a more traditional
For a relaxing activity, settle down in front of the TV for a movie night filled with films related to Irish culture. Try “The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns,”“Song of the Sea,”“The Luck of the Irish,” or “The Secret of Kells.”
dish — Irish soda bread. You can also cook up an array of greens for dinner on March 17, which could include Brussels sprouts, spinach, cucumbers, green beans, peas, or asparagus.
Make an Impact
Teach your kids how to be “greener” this month by doing more for the environment. Discuss ways to save energy and water in the home, and talk about the importance of taking a break from electronics and enjoying the outdoors. This list is not exhaustive by any means, but it’s a good start to get your family to create new ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. You might even create family traditions that will last for years to come.
A Mischievous Leprechaun
To treat your kids to a fun game, leave green footprints around the house and participate in impish tricks! Empty a tissue box, hide the remote, swap out regular light bulbs with green ones, or draw rainbows on the windows. You’re only limited by your imagination.
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