Articles by Carl Richards

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Carl Richards is a Certified Financial Planner and a columnist for the New York Times, Morningstar magazine and Yahoo Finance. He is author of 2 books, The Behavior Gap & The One-Page Financial Plan. Carl lives with his family in Park City, Utah. You can find his work and sign up for his newsletter (which has an international audience) at www.behaviorgap.com/


Fake Experts Abound. Here’s How to Find a Real One.
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Fake Experts Abound. Here’s How to Find a Real One.

There are two types of experts in the world: real experts, and fake ones. The real experts are the people who spend many years refining their knowledge and skill set in a particular area and become masters of pattern recognition. But all too often, they end up toiling away in relative obscurity and poverty, neither…

Planting a tree, not hiring a coach
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Planting a tree, not hiring a coach

We’ve been told over and over by the traditional financial services industry to look for the best investment. In our search for the best, we often use past performance. Doing so makes sense since we rely on past performance for other decisions. For instance, if a university needs a new basketball coach they start by…

A 4-Step Guide to Ranting Productively
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A 4-Step Guide to Ranting Productively

There’s nothing wrong with ranting. Most people do it. I would argue that everybody needs to do it. In fact, I’d even suggest that ranting is a good thing. But only if you do it right. If you do it wrong, the consequences can cost you your job, your friendships or even your marriage. So…

Here's how to outperform 99% of your Neighbours
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Here’s how to outperform 99% of your Neighbours

Investor behaviour matters a lot. In fact, it probably matters more than skill. To understand why this is true, first you need to understand one fundamental concept: Investment returns and investor returns are almost always different.  In 1999, I was working diligently doing my job as an investment advisor or financial planner (I was never sure what…

How do you define financial security?
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How do you define financial security?

You want to know the #1 rule of personal finance for couples? Spouses almost never agree on the definition of “financial security.” Even the simple act of talking about what to do with extra money can cause conflict in relationships. Why? Because at the core of these discussions are deeply-held values about what security (or…

Between me and stupid
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Between me and stupid

A while back my wife and I hired a financial planner. It was a big change to sit on the other side of the desk and see the process from the client’s perspective. I received some interesting reactions when I told people. The most common one was: Why does a Certified Financial Planner need to…

A simple formula for making dreams come true
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A simple formula for making dreams come true

Today, I’d like you to engage in a quick exercise with me. Please get out a pen and paper, and answer the following questions: You have something you want to do, and you’re not doing it… yet. What is it? What’s the next smallest step you can take to make that thing happen?   Why…

You Need an Accountability Partner. (Or a Punch in the Nose.)
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You Need an Accountability Partner. (Or a Punch in the Nose.)

My friends, I’m willing to bet that there’s something important you want to do. Badly. Problem is, you’re just not doing it. Isn’t that frustrating? It certainly has been in my life. In fact, I’ve found it so frustrating that I created a game to help.  It’s called “Punch You in the Face.” Here’s how you…

Learning to Deal With the Impostor Syndrome
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Learning to Deal With the Impostor Syndrome

On paper, your investments in stocks, real estate or even cash may look like your greatest assets. While all those things are superimportant, you have something else that’s even more valuable. It’s the investment called you.   Finding ways to increase your value while doing the things you love may be the most important thing…

Regret Less, Act On Your Wish Lists Now
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Regret Less, Act On Your Wish Lists Now

On your deathbed, it’s too late to make wish lists. That’s the thought that went through my head high over the ocean, willing the plane to go faster as I rushed thousands of miles back to New Zealand to meet up with my gravely injured wife in the hospital near Christchurch. Let me back up….