Creative Capital

Trust Fund Baby Syndrome: An Interesting Case

In the fall of 1997 I found myself in the spacious, many-​windowed living room of a large home in a southern state I’ll call Florida, although that’s not where it was. I have also slightly modified some of the details of the family to protect their privacy.

A Pampered Generation

The typical trust fund baby is well-​known to all of us: a life devoted to spending down the family’s capital on themselves, not working, having difficulty maintaining relationships, living empty lives. The fear that people will be ruined by money is so pervasive that, following the French Revolution, trusts were…

Poor Parenting Saps the Wealthy

We are talking in a roundabout way that has taken us back to first principles about the human maturation process and how it interacts with the fear of affluent parents that money will ruin their children. There are several characteristic ways that affluent families go wrong, launching the shirtsleeves-​to-​shirtsleeves phenomenon…

Understanding the Trust Fund Baby

We are talking about the complex process through which infants and children are transformed from little beasts into responsible adults. More particularly, we are talking about how that process often goes wrong and never goes perfectly.

Make your Plan Now (While You’re Calm)

“Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be.” –Janet Yellen. Last week I suggested six steps we could take to prepare ourselves for the next market crisis — which, Janet Yellen notwithstanding,…

What Will You Do in the Crisis? Part II

“I’m less interested in the return on my money than in the return of my money.” –Mark Twain

What Will You Do in the Crisis?

“The world is in the throes of a Bull Market in everything.” –The Economist. No, I am not — not, not, not — predicting a market crash. (On the other hand, if the market collapses just after I post this, I will naturally take credit for calling it.)

The Trouble with the Elites

C. P. Snow titled his last book, written shortly before he died, “A Coat of Varnish.” What he meant, as he put it, was that “Civilization is hideously fragile.” Civilization, that is to say, is like a thin coat of varnish spread on top of human savagery. The varnish looks…

Europe Fails to Build the New Man

Since human beings settled into communities — that is, since most of us stopped being hunter-​gatherers — a primary goal of mankind has been to improve how we are governed. We wanted governments that were more representative, fair, and efficient, governments that could improve our economic circumstances and defend themselves (and us) from outside…

The Instability of Europe

Between the first and second world wars, most of the European governments — Britain and, to a lesser extent, France, being exceptions — lived lives that were, to paraphrase Hobbes, weak, unstable, and short.

On Populism

Civilization is like a very fine suit of clothes that is just slightly too small for us. The term “populism” derives from the Latin, populus, meaning “people.” It doesn’t mean “people” in the sense of “There are a lot of people who don’t read my blog.” It means “people” in…

Investing in a Rigged Market, Part IV

If we care about the health of free market economies, then we need to care about how efficiently capital is allocated in those economies. And if we care about efficient capital allocation, then we need to care about the health and efficiency of capital markets, because those markets are the…

Squeezing out the Investment Experts

The core problems with central bankers, which have led directly to the catastrophes of the Tech Bust, the Financial Crisis, the pathetically weak recovery from the Great Recession of 2008-​09, and the near-​destruction of the asset management business, are: groupthink, arising out of the fact that every central banker in…

The Fed and Friends

We are talking about the traumatizing events that rocked the asset management business, to say nothing of the world, beginning in 2008, a calamity brought to us courtesy of the world’s central bankers.
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