Graph from CarlsonTwo of the most important aspects of a good investment philosophy can be summed up by the following questions. 1) Is this strategy likely to work? 2) Will I be able to stick with this strategy for long periods of time throughout the inevitable ups and down of the stock market? At Beacon, we have a thoughtful, well-defined investment philosophy that we think answers both of the above questions in the affirmative.

When I was a little kid--probably 5 or 6--my dad started taking Hebrew lessons from a brilliant woman at Sandhills Community College named Vivian Jacobson. Originally from Chicago, Vivian and her husband Ralph had retired to Pinehurst, where they became--and remain--an integral part of the community, and more importantly, close friends of my family (as well as employers of yours truly--I spent many a Saturday doing yard and house work at the Jacobson house!).

[caption id="attachment_8098" align="alignleft" width="550"]earnings-life-cycle Source: “What Do Data on Millions of U.S. Workers Reveal about Life-Cycle Earnings Risk?” by Guvenen, Karahan, Ozkan & Song[/caption] If you've been reading our Brief for any length of time you may have seen the term "lifestyle creep" come up once or twice. It's a fascinating concept with an equally emotive name, and it has all sorts of implications in the practice of long-term financial planning. Lifestyle creep is, more or less, the natural but potentially dangerous rising standard of living that occurs over the course of a lifetime as salaries increase with age (to a point). It's potentially dangerous, because if it creeps too much, then retirement becomes prohibitively expensive to fund at the level of your creeped up lifestyle, since your rate of consuming dollars will by definition have outstripped your rate of saving dollars.