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A Note from Don St. Clair

I had already been influenced by the thinking of professor Zvi Bodie of Boston University when we met serving on a professional association task force. Professor Bodie, who literally wrote the book on investments, had long advocated for a safety-first approach to investment advice and was challenging the common sense of the financial planning community by arguing that stocks may become more, rather than less risky, the longer you hold them. Bodie asserts that the conventional Wall Street idea that long-term investors should always be in stocks is completely wrong. “The length of your time horizon has nothing to do with your willingness to take risks, stocks are just as risky in the long run as in the short run. In some ways stocks are even riskier in the long run.”

Stephanie Kelton, Ph.D. has served as Chief Economist on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. I first met Stephanie when she was an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and I was serving as chair of the Financial Planning Association’s annual Retreat Conference. As conference chair, I was looking for an economist capable of challenging our pre-conceived notions about money – where it comes from; how it’s created; and where it goes when it’s destroyed. An expert in the operational realities of money and banking, Stephanie’s book The State, The Market and The Euro (2001) correctly predicted the debt crisis in the Eurozone. And her subsequent work demonstrated that: (1) Quantitative Easing (QE) wouldn’t lead to high inflation; (2) government deficits wouldn’t cause a spike in U.S. interest rates; (3) the S&P downgrade wouldn’t cause investors to flee Treasuries; and that (4) the U.S. would not experience a European-style debt crisis.

More recently I’ve had the unique good fortune of learning from Dr. Fernando Flores. Formally trained as an engineer and philosopher, Dr. Flores’ is credited with developing a revolutionary theory of management and coordination based on a new understanding of language and moods. As a young man he was Chile’s Minister of Finance before spending three years as a political prisoner of General Augusto Pinochet. He is the author of several of books including Understanding Computers and Cognition, A New Foundation for Design, which he co-authored with Dr. Terry Winograd. The book was named the Best Information Science book of 1987 by the American Society for Information Science, and recognized by Byte Magazine as one of the all-time 20 most influential books on Information Technology. Dr. Flores has been successful as an educator, entrepreneur, Chilean Senator, and is recognized as the founder of ontological coaching. He has greatly influenced my thinking, my world view, and my work as a financial planner. The tagline “Ambassadors of Possibility” is completely his.