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Thoughts, Insights & Education

A look at how we think, and how that thinking translates into a unique value to you.

You are Colorblind and I Can Prove it.

It turns out that dogs see more than black, white, and shades of grey.  It is true that they are able to perceive a range of colors that is more limited than what we humans can distinguish.  I say that if a dog is “colorblind” because it has a limited range of observation, then maybe we all are.

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Matt Miller
Radical Acts in Public Places

This is a story about a specific day in the fall of 2012 that has been on my mind lately.  Amy (now my wife) was visiting me in Denver and we were enjoying a stroll through the heavily foot-trafficked streets of downtown.  As we paused in a public square, I began to get the feeling that something was wrong.

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Matt Miller
What To Do When You Deserve Better.

I’ll give you the bad news first.  As much as we like to think that people “get what they deserve”, be that outcome good or bad, it is often not the case.  The good news is that you can do something about it. The steps are simple, but not necessarily easy.

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Matt Miller
Breaking Mom's Heart

“If you feel like a student sitting in the principal's office, it is not an accident. A scene has been carefully constructed so that you will be influenced, if not intimidated, by a sense that you are not the most powerful or important person in the room.”

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Matt Miller
The Everyday Question You're Getting Wrong

There is a question that we find ourselves answering all the time.  It seems like a simple one, and yet we so often get the answer wrong.  An inaccurate reply may have consequences that influence our ability to plan for and fully enjoy our lives.

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Matt Miller
Birds, Bees, and the Extinction of Greed

It is easy to think that the investment industry is a system of greedy people helping other greedy people to be better at being greedy.  Sometimes it is precisely that, and that is why a new type of financial firm needs to evolve to serve investors that don’t fall under the heading of “greedy people”.

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Matt Miller
Why I (almost) Never Wear Suits to Work

I confess that I own more business suits than most people do. I even like some of them and for years would wear one every day to work. You might still see me in one today if we attend the same wedding, or if I am speaking to an institution where this level of formality is customary. Putting such occasions aside, I mostly choose to leave my neck ties in my closet and save my jackets for chilly days. I occasionally will receive a comment on how my day-to-day work attire isn’t quite as flashy as it once was. This choice is a product of an evolution that I will share.

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Arielle Walrath
Why and How to Cut Financial Support of an Adult Child

While dependability and commitment to one’s family are admirable traits, several recent studies show the negative consequences of such good intentions. The most troubling direct result of this support is on the parents, 60% of whom (according to Merrill Lynch research) would be willing to work longer in order to support their adult children. Over one third of the respondents to the Ameriprise study even admitted that helping their adult children has slowed down their own retirement savings.

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Arielle Walrath
Make Better Decisions in the New Year

It is true that actions speak louder than words, and if our actions are truly what defines us as individuals then the quality of our decisions must be of great importance. After all, what we do is often a product of what we have decided to do. Following this logic, a critical step to improving oneself would be to focus on making better decisions.

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Arielle Walrath
For Superior Performance, Don’t Overlook the Poor

Having been born into a wealthy family is certainly not indicative of a superior ability to manage money. By studying the family histories of over 250 U.S. money managers, Chuprinin and Sosyura found that managers from poor families tend to deliver measurably higher risk-adjusted returns than managers from rich families. It seems that an inherited advantage may have developed into a handicap of sorts.

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Arielle Walrath
How American Idol Undermines Our Future

While I don’t begrudge anyone their chance at stardom or their pursuit of “the impossible dream”, I worry about how many people don’t truly understand their statistical improbability of being one of the lucky few.  I wonder how many people want to be the famous performer but would never stomp their feet in just one coffee shop in order to get there. 

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Arielle Walrath
Thank You for Your Disagreement

Irrespective of your religious affiliation (or lack thereof), you have likely had a person at your front door who is espousing a view of life that is different from your own.  We’ve all been there.  More often than not, I am not at all interested in buying what they’re selling and wish I had just quietly let the bell ring until they moved on to the next house.  This is my reaction until I consider why this person is at my door.

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Arielle Walrath
Surviving the Age of the Unapologetic

What are we to do as a culture when exposure to some necessary traits such as honesty, charisma, and leadership come at a societal cost?  To be bold is not inherently bad, but what about when someone becomes boldly prejudiced?  How can we encourage the nobly defiant, while discouraging the ruthlessly inhumane?

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Arielle Walrath
A Zen Path to Wealth

While it may be rare for any of us to see a young student approach a Zen Master for advice today, it is not hard to find a person of any age engage in well-intentioned behaviors that impede their own success.  Like an adventurer struggling to escape quicksand, anxiety and over activity can sometimes make our desired outcome move further and further out of our reach.

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Arielle Walrath
Would You Rather be Happy or Right?

The fact remains, that we must plan for the misfortune that life can occasionally bring.  We must also plan for the range of outcomes where things turn out just wonderfully!  One simple process for decision-making is to ask yourself two questions:  “What if I am right?” and “What if I am wrong?”  The pessimist has to ask themselves, “Would I rather be happy or right?”  The optimist can be both.

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Arielle Walrath
Heirs Not Worth your Net Worth?

In my professional realm, we go to great lengths to ensure that your hard-earned legacy can serve your families and causes for generations to come. This can involve a wide array of estate planning tools, as well as the services of a good attorney. Today, I am addressing a different approach to protecting your legacy.

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Arielle Walrath