About · Press · Contact · Write For Us · Top Personal Finance Blogs
Featured In:
Michael Lewis
Michael R. Lewis is a retired corporate executive and entrepreneur. During his 40+ year career, Lewis created and sold ten different companies ranging from oil exploration to healthcare software. He has also been a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC, a Principal of one of the larger management consulting firms in the country, and a Senior Vice President of the largest not-for-profit health insurer in the United States.

Relocating vs. Remodeling – Deciding Whether to Stay or Move

By Michael Lewis

moving familyHistorically, almost two-thirds of households in America live in a place they own. Homeownership is a key prong of the American dream, and according to a American Housing Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, some 9 out of 10 Americans achieve it during their lifetime.

Also key to American homeownership is the notion of moving up – i.e., buying a home, living in it for a few years, then selling to reap the profit in order to purchase another property, either a higher-value place or one that better suits the owners’ current living situation. This was particularly popular in high-growth areas like California and Las Vegas. But that was before the recent economic downturn and a massive slump in housing prices. Now, the decision to sell your house and trade up is not as clear-cut as once thought, and owners are left wondering, Should we stay, or should we go?

Click to continue reading...

What Is a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) – Rules & Eligible Expenses

By Michael Lewis

fsa“Tax shelter,” a slang description of an account and method to legally defer or eliminate government taxes, is a dirty word to those who forget that favorable tax treatments are legislated to encourage specific behavior or actions that benefit the community as a whole. While many such programs – such as those implemented to encourage drilling for oil – are beyond the use of the average American, using a flexible spending account to reduce taxes on a federal and state level is an option for many.

Click to continue reading...

5 Decision Making Skills & Techniques – The Emotional Brain

By Michael Lewis

thinking“Use your noodle! Your brain is like every other muscle in your body; by using it before you act, the fewer surprises you will have with a greater likelihood of getting the results you expect.”

My father’s sage advice more than 50 years ago continues to benefit me when I face a particularly knotty problem in my business, my investments, or my family. Whatever you call the process – “meditating,” “pondering,” “speculating,” or “noodling” – the manner of ensuring optimum outcomes through better decisions remains the same.

Click to continue reading...

10 Tips to Develop Effective Workplace Communication Skills

By Michael Lewis

manager and employeeHas your boss ever treated you unfairly or blamed you for a failure that was beyond your control? Recently, a friend came to me in distress about a critical hand-written memo that he and his colleagues had received from their superior, the manager of a national retail chain store. The chain, formerly a Wall Street darling, had fallen from favor with the failure of the company to renew an annual contract with one of their larger customers. As a result, the stock price had dropped by a third, cash flow had decreased, layoffs were anticipated, and morale was in the dumps. Every employee felt the pressure.

Click to continue reading...

3 Reasons to Invest In an Unmanaged Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF)

By Michael Lewis

investing in an etf can be better than individual stocksWhy buy a car when you can own a dealership? The majority of investors would be better advised to buy an unmanaged exchange-traded fund (ETF) rather than investing in the securities of individual companies, according to Warren Buffett, a man generally recognized as the most successful stock investor in modern times. When asked what market advice he would give an individual in his 30s, Buffett said, “I would just have [my investment] all in a very low-cost index fund from a reputable firm…and I could just go back and get on with my work.”

Click to continue reading...

6 Reasons Why You Should Buy Life Insurance

By Michael Lewis

life insuranceFor many people, their first experience with life insurance is when a friend or acquaintance gets an insurance license. In my case, a college friend, recently hired by a major insurance company, contacted me (along with all of his other friends) to buy a $10,000 policy underwritten by his company.

Unfortunately, however, this is how most people acquire life insurance – they don’t buy it, it is sold to them. But is life insurance something that you truly need, or is it merely an inconvenience shoved under your nose by a salesperson? While it may seem like the latter is true, there are actually many reasons why you should purchase life insurance.

Click to continue reading...

What Is a Health Savings Account (HSA) – Rules, Limits & How to Open

By Michael Lewis

money healthcare jarAn inability to pay medical bills is the single greatest cause of personal bankruptcies in the United States. While this result may not be surprising since the American health care system is the most expensive in the world, the study paradoxically found that three-quarters of the people filing a medically-related bankruptcy have health insurance. According to Steffie Woolhandler, M.D. of Harvard Medical School, “Many of them were bankrupted anyway because they had gaps in their coverage, like co-payments, deductibles, and uncovered services.”

Click to continue reading...

What Is Term vs. Whole Life Insurance – Types of Life Insurance

By Michael Lewis

life insurance coupleMany young men about to propose marriage struggle to choose the perfect wedding ring – whether to buy an elaborate and expensive diamond, or a simpler, less expensive gold band. Each ring serves the same purpose as a symbol of everlasting commitment, but there is a substantial difference in cost, as well as the possible reaction of friends and family and the expectations of the recipient.

Choosing life insurance can pose a similar conundrum. While all life insurance provides funds in the event of the insured’s death, the same factors – the purpose for which the funds are intended, the cost, and the needs of the beneficiary – have to be considered when selecting the type of life insurance most appropriate to your situation.

Click to continue reading...

Buying a Second Vacation Home – Pros & Cons, Things to Consider

By Michael Lewis

vacation homeAccording to Money Magazine, now is the time to purchase if you’re considering a second or vacation home. Across the country, prices are near or below their five-year lows. In Vail, Colorado, home prices are down 30% from their highs. Pebble Beach, perhaps the most renowned golf area in the U.S., has seen a decrease of 36.3% in square-foot prices compared to five years ago. And prices in Orlando, Florida, home of the Walt Disney World theme park, are down more than 50% from their highs.

Click to continue reading...

How Expensive Healthcare Affects Working Americans & Retirees

By Michael Lewis

expensive healthcareAmerica spends nearly 18% of its gross domestic product (GDP) for healthcare, more than 50% higher than the next highest nation, Switzerland. However, it is probable that, unlike Switzerland, the United States will be required to spend additional money to improve national defense, to replace our aging infrastructure, and to expand our investment in education. America simply does not have enough funds to go around.

Click to continue reading...

8 Tips to Protect Yourself From Rising Healthcare Costs

By Michael Lewis

healthcareThe impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, informally referred to as “Obamacare,” is likely to be felt by Americans in the near future through higher healthcare insurance premiums, increased difficulty in making doctor appointments, and decreased face-to-face consultations with their personal physicians. While the exorbitant annual increases in healthcare costs of past years could moderate – and possibly reverse – in the long-term as a result of the act, everyone should be prepared for higher healthcare expenses in the short-term.

Click to continue reading...

What Is an Internship – Benefits, Pay & Expectations

By Michael Lewis

internInternships, both paid and unpaid, have become increasingly popular over the last decade with employers and candidates. Employers have long recognized the significant expenses incurred to identify, recruit, hire, and train employees, only to lose the employee who then quits and moves to another company or industry. Presently, one in three employees in the U.S. leaves his or her job for a new position each year – this is substantially higher than the rate of one in four that existed in 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Click to continue reading...

What Is Health Insurance – Definition & How It Works

By Michael Lewis

doctor nurse patientThe purchase of a health insurance policy for the first time is, in many ways, a rite of passage – a signal that you have passed from child to adult. The purchase of a health insurance policy is also one of the more expensive acquisitions you will make during your life, rivaling the expense of buying a home. At the same time, most people do not understand health insurance or the components of the contract between insurance companies and themselves, often learning to their dismay that coverage they thought they had is actually nonexistent.

Click to continue reading...

Investing in Individual Stocks – 5 Survival Techniques in a Changing Market

By Michael Lewis

some feel that the stock market is a big gambleThere are no flashing lights, no clatter of coins hitting the metal bins of slot machines, no raucous shouts of victory or envious looks when a winner hits it big. But some believe that Wall Street is no different than the Las Vegas Strip – less glamor, less glitz, but still a place for gamblers to risk all where the house has the edge.

Dr. Leon Cooperman, the noted hedge fund founder and president of Omega Advisers, Inc., warned President Obama on CNBC television that “the best capital markets in the world were turning into a casino.” And The Motley Fool, a popular newsletter for individual investors, said in November 2011 that “market volatility had become so erratic this summer that it often felt like a rigged game.”

Click to continue reading...

What Is Good Customer Service – 2 Models for Success

By Michael Lewis

clerk and a buyerAll companies claim to value and provide great customer service. But the fact is, few companies understand the components of the customer service model they promise, or deliver the level of customer service expected. In fact, according to a poll by American Express, 78% of customers surveyed chose not to make an intended purchase due to poor service, and 60% of purchasers were willing to try a new brand or company solely to receive better service elsewhere.

In an environment where all competitors have broad selections, similar brands, and low prices, excellent customer service is what differentiates retailers from their competition. Why then is mediocre or poor customer service commonplace, and how can management make a difference?

Click to continue reading...

Links monetized by VigLink