Swarm Intelligence and Free Enterprise

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 Delray Beach, FL – Scientists use the term “swarm intelligence” to describe how relatively dumb animals can do amazingly smart things. Termites, for example, have nearly nonexistent brains. Yet, as pointed out in a HarvardBusiness Review(HBR) article I came across (in a friend’s bathroom, of all places), “they build mounds that are engineering marvels, able to maintain ambient temperature and comfortable levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide even as the nest grows.” Ants are able to find the shortest possible route from their base to a food source. They do this by working together. Individual ants wander out, walking here and there. As they do, each ant leaves a chemical substance – pheromone – that attracts …

Read MoreSwarm Intelligence and Free Enterprise

Net Investible Wealth

Saturday, April 21, 2018   Delray Beach, FL – Principles of Wealth: #14 of 61 Income is an important factor in the acquisition of wealth, but it is not a measure of it. Nor are expensive possessions. The only measure of financial wealth is net investible worth. It had a pool in the back and automatic doors on the garage in front. It was the nicest house I had ever lived in and our first home. Three bedrooms. Two baths. Friendly neighborhood. $170,000. “Do you think I’m being foolish?” I asked. “Spending so much on a home?” Eddie looked at me as if I was crazy. “Your income last year was more than double the cost of the house,” he …

Read MoreNet Investible Wealth

The True Cost of Buying

Saturday, April 14, 2018   Principles of Wealth: #13 of 61 Delray Beach, FL – We buy financial products and services because we believe they will make us richer. But we should never forget that the purchase itself is almost always a cost that makes us, for the moment at least, poorer. You buy the new $45,000 Audi you’ve been dreaming of. It makes you feel like rich. But the moment you drive it out of the dealership its value – and your net worth –go down by about $6,000. “One day this watercolor will fetch a hundred grand at Sotheby’s,” the art dealer tells you. You want to believe him. But his profit on the $80,0000 artwork is $20,000, …

Read MoreThe True Cost of Buying

One Thing & Another

Word for the Wise Leonine (LEE-uh-nine) = of or relating to a lion. Example as used by Sax Rohmer in the 1915 crime novel The Yellow Claw: “In the leonine eyes looking into hers gleamed the light of admiration and approval.”  Quotable Quote “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary can speak.” – Hans Hoffman   From My “Work-in-Progress” Basket Principles of Wealth: #12 of 61 The term “value” is widely understood in theory but rarely in practice. Value denotes that which you can appreciate and benefit from, both now and also in the future. Anything that is valuable to you can be said to be a value. Friendship, for instance. Or fidelity. Or …

Read MoreOne Thing & Another

One Thing & Another

Word for the Wise Preternatural (prih-tur-NATCH-uh-rul) – existing outside of nature; extraordinary. Example from George Will: “Beyond his preternatural affability, there is some acid and some steel.”  Champagne Trick A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continually from the bottom of the glass to the top.   From My “Work-in-Progress” Basket Principles of Wealth: #11 of 61 To acquire wealth, it is helpful to be able to define it. Fewer than one in ten people can. The answer is “stored value.” That kid driving the red Ferrari? The doctor with the huge white house on the ocean? The attractive older woman wearing the Oscar de la Renta gown? They look wealthy, but you …

Read MoreOne Thing & Another

One Thing & Another

Word for the Wise Claque (KLAK) – a group hired to applaud; a group of sycophants. Example as used by Charles P. Pierce in an Esquire article titled “Nobody Knows How to Play This Game Anymore”: “The bill passed the House because the Freedom Caucus, that claque of unreconstructed extremists who hold the balance of power there, gave in a little.”  Did You Know…? Cats spend 66% of their lives sleeping.   From My “Work-in-Progress” Basket Principles of Wealth: #10 of 61 Wealth is neither absolute nor objective. This is so because those things that we value are by nature relative and subjective. Your Richard Mille watch cost you $35,000 when you bought it 10 years ago, when the company …

Read MoreOne Thing & Another

One Thing & Another

Word for the Wise Pinguid (PING-wid) – fat and oily. Here’s a lovely sentence from The Bunsby Papers by John Brougham that includes it alliteratively: “Peter was pinguid, plump, and plethoric – she was thin to attenuation.” Did You Know… ? If you add up all the numbers from 1 to 100 consecutively, the total is 5050. Keep that in mind. You never know when it will come up in conversation.   From My “Work-in-Progress” Basket Principles of Wealth: #5 of 61 Wealth and income inequality are realities that exist in every economy – even those committed in principle to the distribution of wealth. Many people today, believing that equality is an intrinsic and achievable good, seek to flatten financial …

Read MoreOne Thing & Another

One Thing & Another

Word for the Wise Popinjay (POP-in-jay) – a strutting, supercilious person. Example from Ernest Hemingway: “If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing. A writer who appreciates the seriousness of writing so little that he is anxious to make people see he is formally educated, cultured or …

Read MoreOne Thing & Another