How good are you at estimating?

Strategic decision-making often requires you to estimate current and future quantities. Here’s a quiz to see how good you are at it. For each quantity below (2009 data unless noted otherwise), make your best guess. Don’t try to find the answers, just guess. World camel population Annual consumption of popped popcorn in the US (quarts) GNP … Continue reading How good are you at estimating?

Simple spreadsheets for complex questions

Isn’t it hard to build a spreadsheet to analyze financial issues? Don’t you need to be a math whiz? Don't you need to write complicated formulas into all those cells? No, no, and no! You can do a lot with just addition, subtraction, and multiplication, and Excel will do all the arithmetic for you. The … Continue reading Simple spreadsheets for complex questions

How much money do I need to retire?

Are you saving enough to retire? That depends on how much you need to have when you enter retirement. Last time I showed you a spreadsheet to help one of my clients amass $2,000,000 by the time he retires. But will that be enough? We can build a simple spreadsheet that gives you a start on … Continue reading How much money do I need to retire?

Choices for Change

You always have more than two choices in any decision. A lot of decisions come out of a problem or dissatisfaction. The temptation is to jump in and do something right now, especially if you’re angry. Before you do that, settle down and make a list of possible alternatives that will remove, mitigate, or otherwise … Continue reading Choices for Change

It’s gone, you can’t get it back, and it’s making you crazy

I just read a great article about thinking mistakes and how they mess up our decision-making. This article covers eight mistakes, any of which could be the basis for an article by itself. It also includes some terrific cartoons illustrating confirmation bias. Right now I want to focus on mistake #3, the sunk cost fallacy. … Continue reading It’s gone, you can’t get it back, and it’s making you crazy

Ben Franklin’s decision technique

Benjamin Franklin had a life-long interest in finding ways to make himself more effective. It worked. He become a statesman, an inventor, a publisher, a writer… and got his face featured on the hundred-dollar bill. One of his techniques was a simple way to make a difficult decision, specifically whether to do something or not. … Continue reading Ben Franklin’s decision technique