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The latest reminder of how divided we are around the world and how poorly our political systems understand and have adapted comes this morning as British citizens voted yesterday 52% to 48% to leave the European Union. The referendum itself was the result of a risky campaign pledge Prime Minister David Cameron made in order to gain re-election. He calculated the referendum was the only way he could placate anti-EU Conservatives in his party, while holding off the growing threat that the U.K Independence Party might fracture his majority in Parliament.

Are your options wide enough? Have you ever noticed when filming activities like children playing, school plays, or sporting events, how difficult it is to capture the whole story? There's so much going on outside the tight focus of the camera's lens we can't possibly capture it all. Regrettably, the phenomenon also explains a significant part of our lives and how we make decisions and plans. Chip and Dan Heath, in their book Decisive, use teenagers to illustrate how narrow our frames of reference can be for most of our decisions, even the most important ones. They are called single-option decisions. For example, 'should I break up with my boyfriend or not?' is a single option decision.

A frequent question from both young and old clients is “Will I get my benefits?” You might be surprised to learn that the Social Security Program is not as bad off as you might think. That said, the program will be changing in the next 20 years, so it behooves the thoughtful planner of every age to consider and be ready for possible worst cases, while there's time to replace possible gaps in retirement income.

The question ‘what-if?’ can be a source of nagging worry, or it can be a proactive tool for improving preparedness and confidence. How we choose to address the question has huge impact on our lifestyle. If we allow ourselves to worry about something, it is said we spend our energy twice; first by worrying today and later when, or if, the thing we worry about actually happens. Corrie ten Boom describes the futility this way; “worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength." Our beloved Mark Twain recognizes how often we do it, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.”  And Dan Zadra describes its creative waste, “Worry is a misuse of the imagination.”

Kids are expensive. They are amazing, and expensive. Expensive enough that all the [somewhat flawed] posts about how, if you start saving 15% of your income when you're 25 you'll have somewhere in the neighborhood of several millions of dollars when you retire--well, all that can kind of fly out the window if you're 30- or 40-something and finding it hard to save because of summer camps, and clothes, and food for a middle-school boy, and sports teams, and college tuition. So then you read all those other posts about how there's such a large retirement savings gap in the US, and then feel deflated and resigned to the fact that you'll be sitting at work for at least fifty more years.

Exchange Traded Funds, or ETFs, are the most efficient vehicle yet devised to harness the returns of stock and bond indexes. They capture nearly all of the underlying assets' returns with little or no leaks of taxes, expenses, or under-performance.

ProcessAlmost universally, people describe their financial program in terms of affinity and trust for their advisor. It’s only natural that relational ties would play such a central role in one of our most intimate relationships. But are trust and affinity enough? Are these feelings sufficient foundation for the confidence we place in these individuals and their companies for one of the most important roles of our lives?

What is it about a glitzy gambling city on the Mediterranean, known as Monte Carlo, that could possibly diminish or eliminate the gamble we often associate with our lifetime-investing and planning? A second question sheds light on the first. Where do you think all that...