After Rupert Murdock bought The Wall Street Journal, some people canceled their subscription to protest. Even though it is expensive and I am frugal, I didn’t, and I never regretted my decision. Too often nowadays we only listen to people with whose opinion we agree. During the Constitutional Convention in 1783, not everyone approved; about one-third bolted refusing to sign.

If you don’t want a Wall Street Journal subscription, at least get the weekend edition for Jason Zweig’s column. He writes fantastically, but his New Year’s resolution column may be the ultimate. He ought to repeat it annually because he won’t beat this one.

Ostensibly an investment advice/financial commentary piece, he did not mention finance once, but it was between the lines. Unfortunately, the paywall is massive like old Berlin, and journalistic ethics prohibit cutting and pasting. Let me ad-lib Zweig’s as space permits.

Make resolutions public. To declutter, we use our dining table for eating instead of holding junk. I get the added benefit of seeing pretty blue eyes early every morning.

Go outside more … a lot more. Put your phone down when you walk; on the A it could save your life. Walking sans phone is easy for me, but listening without hearing what I already think is like climbing Mount Everest. Too often we live in our echo chambers. Be less judgmental about people but more judgemental about ideas.

Zweig argues we should take our work more seriously and ourselves less seriously. “The constant reminders of your ignorance should never cease to amaze you.”

On a bad day, call, don’t text an old friend. Borrowing a line from Lewis Grizzard, call your mama, I wish I could call mine.

They Say It’s Your Birthday

In a small statistical aberration, coupled with an assist from love and luck, I turned 62 earlier this month. Despite being eligible for Social Security benefits, I won’t file for benefits. Many people have physically demanding jobs, while others need the income or have a low life expectancy, but good fortune is on my side, at least for now. I often cringe when people admit they took Social Security early. For many, it is a huge mistake. Delaying benefits increases your payment 8 percent annually; algebra is beautiful.

Clients of financial advisors tend to be wealthier and have better access to healthcare, which means longer life expectancies. Sadly, many don’t get good advice regarding Social Security. Delaying benefits means spending down assets; follow the money. While commission-based advisors can lose trail commissions, asset-management fees are much higher; many recommend taking Social Security benefits as early as possible. Fee-only fiduciary planners have the biggest conflicts of interest notwithstanding the white hat he or she likes to wave.

You can’t always get what you want, but Buz Livingston, CFP can help figure out what you need. For specific recommendations, visit or come by the office in Redfish Village, 2050 Scenic 30A, M-1 Suite 230.