Volatility in investing can be a great thing. The attraction to Bernie Madoff's scam can be better understood by its lack of volatility. His funds showed annual returns of an eerily consistent 10-12% and at one point reported 72 consecutive months of positive returns. His strategy used a split-strike or collar options strategy (not related … Continue reading On Hidden Risks and Volatility
Financial valuation uses multiple approaches to estimate the value of a company, whether a shoe factory, a chain of Tex-Mex restaurants, a software company, a bank, or a law firm. The questions are framed around what a firm is worth relative to cash flow, book value, relative to similar assets, recent industry transactions, or others. … Continue reading Medical Bankruptcies in America
Mothers and psychologists remind us that we have a built-in bias to do what's easiest or to follow the path of least resistance. Water and electricity are like this. We are naturally lazy so to stick to an exercise plan, it should be something we like, with shoes left by the bed, perhaps done with … Continue reading Cadillac Consequences
Today the cost of healthcare landed on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, just below a story on bond yields, and next to the dancing UK Prime Minister, Teresa May. The angle of the story is how the cost of family healthcare premiums in the United States now approaches $20,000. The genesis of … Continue reading The $20,000 Price Tag: Insights into the 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation Employer Survey.
Jeff Bezos of Amazon is famous for being customer-centric, so much so that Amazon's annual letters proudly say, "We seek to be Earth’s most customer-centric company." Shipping, easy returns, streaming, and Kindle are proof. "Free" 2-day shipping for Prime membership is a big part for me. So far this year I've ordered 54 packages, or … Continue reading In Praise of the Six Page Narrative
If you rent a car, have cable or internet, or health insurance, your experiences are likely to be less stellar than if you use Netflix or shop at Nordstrom. TV providers show up late for your scheduled appointment, and, since they feel for you, they raise your bill after six months. Conversely, Netflix charges $10.99/month … Continue reading Does The Net Promoter Score Matter in Healthcare?
No economist, junior high student, employee, or small business owner* in the United States thinks healthcare should be tied to employment. Ask around. It's equally unpopular across the political spectrum. But we have it, and it's not by accident, but rather an unintended consequence of the 1942 Stabilization Act. The WW2 era Act led to … Continue reading Why Employer-Provided Healthcare is Here to Stay
12% and 33%. According to a 2015 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, only 12% of adults have a proficient state of healthcare literacy. That's why goals to eliminate waste in the US healthcare system, help people to be better consumers, and shop for care, need to start with the front door, … Continue reading The Case For Healthcare and Financial Literacy
$45,000. That's a conservative estimate of the 30 year opportunity cost of having family PPO coverage instead of a high deductible health plan (HDHP). Allow me to explain. According to Kaiser Family Foundation ("Kaiser"), the average annual family premium for a HDHP is $1,900 cheaper than a preferred provider plan (and has averaged $2,000 over … Continue reading The Cost of Being Over-Insured
The Holy Grail scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade shows the closing piece of the riddle to find the cup of Christ. Walter, businessman-turned-scoundrel, outsourced his decision on which cup to choose to Elsa, the archeologist. Caught by his lust for power, he drinks from a beautiful golden cup. “He chose poorly,” and … Continue reading Business, Statistics, and the Carpenter’s Cup