There's a powerful agenda behind the opposition to the rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) requiring that advisors to retirement plans be fiduciaries: The securities industry wants to preserve its ability to give conflicted advice. There's a lot at stake.
Don't do business with brokers who will not confirm in writing that they are fiduciaries to you. In my experience, brokers will not make this representation and instead will try to persuade you that the "fiduciary issue" is a red herring. Don't be fooled. It's a really big deal.
When's the last time you reviewed your business retirement plan? Find a fiduciary investment adviser who can go over your current company plan and give you a second opinion. It may just save you millions.
Capitalism is at an inflection point. While its next iteration is a work in progress, what is clear is that capitalism will need to evolve and change to retain its status as the world's dominant socio-economic model. And it will need to do a better job of delivering what society really wants.
Most of today's society is focused on the maximization of output and respective consumption. We have replaced true happiness related to accomplishment and shared experiences with rather questionable metrics of 'consumptive joy.'
It is evidently a no-brainer, and yet a broadly misunderstood concept: Happy employees make better companies, and better companies (should) make more money. However, translating this formula into reality is an entirely different conversation.
Buffett used his punch-card analogy in an investment context. It's consistent with his belief that really profitable investment decisions are few and far between. But I think the punch-card analogy applies equally well to life, and to the decisions that define and shape our lives.
Could it be that the cost of operating a university -- technology, wages and infrastructure -- is rising at triple the rate of other technology, wages and infrastructure simply by being inside an institution of higher learning?
Anyone who's ever been asked to step in and manage their parents' or someone else's personal finances can tell you that it's an awesome responsibility -- and by "awesome," I don't mean "totally cool." It's more like "inspiring an overwhelming feeling of fear."
We have moved so far into the notion of every man for himself that we have to add complexity to our business law to ensure that there are at least a few companies that have figured out how to be good citizens as well as profitable.
It is easy to forget that 401(k) plans have only been around for three decades. We have learned a lot in that period, and the jury is now in: The 401(k) experiment has failed. This system does a better job of enriching the financial sector than in providing retirement security to Americans.