Critical Thinking Required

Critical Thinking Required

Welcome to Critical Thinking Required, hosted by LBW Wealth Management. Our goal is simple: we want to challenge you to think differently about finance and business. Join us, and start the journey today!

Episodes

July 19, 2024 6 mins

Investing can often feel like walking a tightrope. Balancing risk mitigation and return maximization is essential for any successful investment.  Should you take a high risk in the hope of a high return?  Or should you aim for safety and expect less?  In today’s volatile market, which one should take priority?

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Nathaniel talked about how high interest rates impact your investments previously.  In this episode, Tim discusses how interest rates impact daily financial planning, from mortgages, car loans, and credit cards, to savings and budgeting.  Tim said it so well: the point of planning is positioning.  It allows you to put yourself in a good position to take advantage when an opportunity presents itself!

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As you may have already heard, the Federal Reserve announced that it plans to hold interest rates steady amid high inflation, and forecasted just one cut in 2024 instead of three to six.  In this episode, Nathaniel discussed what that means for your investments.  And why did the market keep going up in a high-interest rate environment when in theory should have gone down?

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Today we're diving into a topic that's crucial for self-employed individuals: investment account types. Whether you're a freelancer, consultant, or small business owner, understanding these options can be a game-changer for your financial future and retirement. So, let's get started.

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This is our 2024 first-quarter commentary.  Nathaniel discussed 3 main topics: US stock market performance, and why the S&P 500 doesn’t truly reflect the overall stock market; inflation, and how it impacts your investments; and lastly, the 2024 presidential election and how it may affect your financial planning.

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If you are planning to have a child, or you just had one, there are some financial preparations that you may find extremely beneficial in the long run:

1. Cash Flow: Create a realistic budget and increase your emergency fund;
2. Estate Planning: Pick your guardians, create a trust, or at least complete the free estate planning templates your state provides;
3. Life Insurance: Now that you have (or are about to have...

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In this episode, Nathaniel and Tim discussed what the S&P 500 index is, its performance, and does it truly represent the overall stock market.  From January 1 to June 20, 2023, the S&P 500 increased 14.3%.  That's well above the 10-year and 20-year averages through that same time period of 3.6% and 3%, respectively.  "The markets must be doing really well this year then!", you may think.  But why are your 401...

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In this episode, Tim and Nathaniel discussed estate planning for digital assets.  This is a relatively new concept for older generations.  Most of us are familiar with wills and trusts for cash, real estate, and other investments.  But what about digital assets like Bitcoin, online bank accounts, etc.?  If you are an influencer or work in the media industry, what about your social media accounts, movie/music rights?  Nathaniel and ...

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In this episode, Tim and Nathaniel discussed private investments: what're their qualifications, why they have income/assets restrictions, and how should one view them.  A couple of research filters to go through: define your goals, understand the vehicles, consider the risk, know the management/leadership, and pay the right price.  Nathaniel made a great point: if you have a small business or part-time side business, the best ...

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Threads is Meta’s latest social media app.  It’s a Twitter-like product with short missives you can share with followers.  It lets you post text, photos, links, and videos.  It reached 100 million subscribers in a record time: within 2 days.  In comparison: it took ChatGPT 2 months, TikTok 9 months, Instagram 30 months, cell phones 15 years, and telephones 75 years.  Tim and Nathaniel discussed from an investor’s perspective, what ...

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June 30, 2023 29 mins

For this episode, Nathaniel and Tim discussed investments within the music industry.  The earning method has changed in the past decade with streaming services.  Nathaniel used Taylor Swift as a perfect example of how top artists can change the power dynamic with corporate giants.  There are many different types of organizations in the music industry (artists, music production, recording companies, publishing companies, agencies, e...

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In the last episode, we discussed some frequent spending habits we’ve seen, and how we should interpret them.  For this episode, we are going to discuss budgeting.  Before we start, understand that this is going to be an emotional and hard exercise.  Ask yourself, are you really ready to make a lifestyle change if needed?  Be realistic about your expectations and numbers: if not, you are going to fail again and again, and create a ...

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This is part one of our spending habits discussion.  Dan and Tim listed what people call “spending red flags”: frequent small expenses like coffee and restaurants; unused subscriptions and memberships; impulse purchases; and trying to keep up with your friends.  We are not disagreeing with these points, but it’s also important to understand this: our spending is not about the objects/services that we pay for, but more about the emo...

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The crypto ETFs are not doing too well for the past year.  The fall of some leading players like Tierra/Luna and FTX hurt investors greatly, and the potential criminal fraud investigation is even more alarming.  And now, with the rise of ChatGPT, you can clearly see that crypto is no longer ETFs’ favorite new baby; the money is moving to the AI world.  Investors are piling into shares of graphics chip maker Nvidia, Microsoft, Googl...

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In this episode, Nathaniel discussed 4 hot industries that he won’t invest in, and what his exceptions are:

1.     No commodities like oil, gold, and silver, etc., but yes to commodity royalties.

2.     No Bitcoin, but yes to blockchain technology or other related industries.

3.     No real estate as a landlord, but yes to professional real estate investment groups.

4.     No cash-heavy and cyclical industries like shipping, but yes to...

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The U.S. government has never defaulted on its debt, and it’s unlikely it will default this time either.  But if it were to happen theoretically, it would have severe consequences for the country's economy and global financial markets, from rising interest rates to lower stock market prices, and from higher inflation to the end of the U.S. Dollar dominance.  What can one do to prepare for such a disaster?  Academics have diffe...

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Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett are Nathaniel's all-time favorite investors.  As always, they offered a lot of wisdom (and a couple of zings) at the 2023 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting.  Tim and Nathaniel discussed the duo's take on: 1. Why are they against "diversification" when everyone else thinks it's the golden rule, and the importance of building up your circle of competence; 2. The pair called E...

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For this episode, we asked ChatGPT and Google Bard: "Write a podcast outline on how will ChatGPT/Google Bard change the financial planning industry?"  Here is the second part of each chatbot's outline.

Discuss potential concerns and limitations of using ChatGPT in financial planning:
o Make mistakes that could lead to financial losses.
o Be biased in its advice, which could lead to people making poor...

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For this episode, we asked ChatGPT and Google Bard: "Write a podcast outline on how will ChatGPT/Google Bard change the financial planning industry?"  Here is the first part of each chatbot's outline.

From Chat GPT:

I. Introduction 
A. Introduce the topic of how ChatGPT is poised to revolutionize the financial planning industry 
B. Briefly explain what ChatGPT is and its capabilities
II....

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In this episode, Ying and Nathaniel discussed the fight between Disney World and the state of Florida.  Back in 2022, the state of Florida passed the Parental Rights in Education bill, aka “Don't Say Gay” law.  Because of Disney World’s pushback, the Governor of Florida sought to take away Disney’s special tax district until he realized that the abolishment of the district would require taxpayers in Orange and Osceola Counties...

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