[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.

Did you know that you can buy a stroller (for a baby) made by Aston Martin? Did you know that it would cost you $4,000? I present this, for now, without comment. We'll come back to it momentarily.
Sometimes, when I tell people about the sort of work we do at Beacon, I get the sense that some view our primary mission and value as simply the building of wealth. And of course, that's part of what we do, and an important one at that. No one exactly hires us to make a nice La-Z-Boy shape out of their pile of money and just sit on it for 30 years. After all, the bank will pay them a couple pennies a year to do that. But the concept and reality of inflation would make that course of action pretty detrimental to most folks, so we build wealth for clients the best we know how, harnessing the power of the capital markets as efficiently as possible, and as effectively as human behavior allows.

We had some really bad weather this week in North Carolina (as did other places in the Southeast). Between tornadoes and severe thunderstorms and all that accompanies those events, it was probably enough to make you think more deeply than you're accustomed to about what's really important.