John Oliver Does Us All A Service

john_oliver_retirementWe know from Mary Poppins that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down and, similarly, a healthy dose of humor is the best way to learn about something as baleful as personal finance. John Oliver does us all a good 20-minute service in nailing key points about retirement, in this bit from a few weeks ago.


The video is worth watching and includes such key points as:

  1. Annuities suck (Especially variable annuities, I should add).
  2. Financial Advisor” is a meaningless title that tells you nothing about their qualifications.
  3. Fees matter a lot. A lot. A  lot.
  4. Suze Orman has a crazed look on her face (ok that’s my own editorializing right there).
  5. Actively managed funds tend to lag passive funds, by approximately the amount of extra fees.
  6. Insurance companies are particularly egregious fee-chargers when it comes to financial services.
  7. Personal investing – despite the best efforts of the financial infotainment industrial complex – can be made startlingly simple.

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Public Speaking


I founded Bankers Anonymous because, as a recovering banker, I believe that the gap between the financial world as I know it and the public discourse about finance is more than just a problem for a family trying to balance their checkbook, or politicians trying to score points over next year’s budget – it is a weakness of our civil society. For reals. It’s also really fun for me.

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