Choosing a professional, like a dentist or financial advisor, can be difficult when we don't have the requisite expertise to judge their skill level. But there are certain things you can focus on. Check out the video for some criteria to use and how golf balls fit into the equation.
Dentists help create a nicer smile. Hopefully financial advisors make you smile. Chicago's "Make Me Smile" is a great combination of rock with a horn section. The 1970 live version is worth a listen. (Sadly, the 1977 live version shows the deterioration of the late guitarist/singer Terry Kath.) Other "smile" songs include "Desecration Smile" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and a take on the classic "Smile" by Nat King Cole.
China overwhelms you -- in a positive way. There is the history, the culture, and the food. There is the size of its cities and the presence of so many people. There is the natural beauty of its mountains, lakes, and rivers. It's hard to convey everything we saw, so I'll focus on some of the broader themes of our experience (as compared to a travelogue).
You say you want a revolution ...
Construction cranes filled the sky of the Chinese cities we visited, adding ever more high rises to the seemingly endless vista of apartment buildings. How could Beijing (population 22 million), Xian (8.5 million), and Chengdu (14 million) become any denser?
The hapless Detroit Lions, the cause of endless frustration, may have done something right for once when they didn't pursue All-Pro defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh in a bidding war that was eventually won by the Miami Dolphins. Suh received a $114 million contract, $60 million of which was guaranteed.
Why do free agents in sports receive such enormous contracts that seem to defy reason? After all, as the website "FiveThirtyEight" points out, Suh's dominance as a player with the Lions may not be replicated in Miami. And even if Suh continues to be a great player, Miami may still have paid him more than he's worth.
During a time of rising gasoline prices, the comedian Jay Leno quipped: "I bought a gallon of gas, as an investment." He probably did not anticipate that this sentiment could one day be a factor in causing oil prices to plunge, as they have recently.
Why has the price of oil dropped more than 50 percent over the past year? Two obvious culprits are our old economic friends, supply and demand. On the supply side, increased production in the U.S., along with the return of production in such places as Libya, has made oil more plentiful. On top of this, a sluggish world economy, especially in slower-growing China, has lessened demand. The result is lower prices.
What gives you the most pleasure: stuff or experiences? Material items can last a long time. Experiences are often fleeting. Would you enjoy new furniture more than a vacation? Listen to the video to hear what studies say regarding this matter. After all, your financial life extends beyond saving and investing -- spending well can make a difference, too.
Is money a prerequisite to love? This eternal question was contemplated in the song "If I Were a Carpenter." I'm partial to Bob Seger's version, but there are many great takes on this classic, including ones by Alison Kraus & Dwight Yoakam, Willie Nelson & Sheryl Crow, The Four Tops, and Bobby Darin. Which one do you like best?