With today's presidential inauguration, we embark on a social, political, market, and economic journey arguably unlike any we've ever seen in our lifetimes or in the history of this country. The degree of disappointment and hurt on one side is balanced by joy and hope on the other. We will likely see and hear equal amounts of both for weeks and months time to come.

The price of a postage stamp just went up again. While a one cent increase in a postage stamp probably isn't going to hurt anyone other than mass mailers, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, the ever-increasing cost of stamps serves as a good reminder of the ever-increasing cost of everything else.

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!).

As we bid adios to 2016  and anticipate 2017, many of the 'givens' from years past have vanished. The healthcare industry will almost certainly undergo another sea-change, like it did in 2010 with Obama Care. Taxes are apt to fall significantly with both a White House and Congress on parallel courses to cut virtually all tax rates, corporate and personal. International trade is headed for a shakeup as Mr. Trump promises to end or re-negotiate all major agreements on the table and in force that in his view unfairly penalize American interests. Major federally-funded construction projects will renovate highways, bridges, dams, waterways, and airports, but which ones and at what cost to the debt? Immigration laws will be strenuously enforced, impacting families, sanctuary cities, farms, and high tech companies dependent on lower cost visa workers. And foreign policy? If there ever was a case of 'out of the frying pan and into the fire,' we are there. The world is a mess and likely to to get messier, unless and until American diplomacy, backed by credibility and power, is reestablished.

One of the most overlooked and yet most important aspects of long term investing is efficiency. The concept of efficiency touches our everyday lives in so many routine ways we take it for granted. We set the thermometers down or up when we are away to conserve money and energy use. We recycle to reduce the waste going to landfills and slow the drain on our natural resources. We are more gentle on the accelerator when gasoline prices are high. We might even think to remove unnecessary weight of stuff on the seats and in the trunk that serve no purpose in our daily commute.

We are getting a lot of questions about things like the 'Trump Rally,' inflation, and owning bonds in the face of rising interest rates. These are all reasonable concerns given all the changes being openly discussed by the new administration and congressional policy makers. But aside from an unexpected and unprecedented victory like Mr. Trump's, markets, economists, and policy makers are reacting pretty much as they should.

For most folks, the idea of financial planning sounds like as much fun as doing lab work, going to the dentist, or creating a budget. And in truth, the way it is widely practiced only amplifies the perception that it is a painful exercise in all things uninspiring. As sensual creatures, we enjoy things that appeal to our senses and instinctively avoid the things that affront them.

Whether or not President-elect Donald Trump has a mandate to pursue the huge changes he aspires to make is a matter of debate. He won impressively from an electoral standpoint, but the popular vote looks razor-close. What is practically inarguable is the fact that the...

Donald Trump's victory proved a shock to pollsters, gamblers, and stock & bond traders. Stock futures swooned 4.5% last night, but have since mitigated most of their losses. As of this writing the S&P 500 is down only 0.5%. On the bond side, fears that Mr. Trump's...