Best-selling financial advisor and economist shares planning insights and advice with investors. 2TW
A personal-finance writer, lecturer and author of Investing for Dummies as well as four other national best-sellers, Tyson offers clear and manageable advice to today’s investors.
Eric Tyson is a best-selling personal-finance book author and has penned five national best-sellers. He is also the only author to have four of his books simultaneously onBusiness Week’s business book best-seller list.
His Personal Finance for Dummies, a Wall Street Journal best-seller, won the Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Business Book of the Year. Eric’s syndicated newspaper column is read by millions of readers weekly. He is a former columnist and award-winning journalist for the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle.
Eric’s work has been featured and quoted in hundreds of local and national publications and media outlets, including Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, Money, Worth, Parenting and USA Today. He has appeared on the NBC “Today” Show, ABC, Fox News, CNBC, the PBS “Nightly Business Report,” CNN, and on CBS national radio, NPR’s “Marketplace Money” and Bloomberg Business Radio. He has also been a featured speaker at a White House conference on retirement planning.
Tired of working as a management consultant to Fortune 500 financial-service firms, which were more interested in maximizing short-term profits than in providing the best financial products and services, Eric founded in 1990 the nation’s first financial-counseling firm that worked exclusively on an hourly basis. He started his new company to provide objective, cost-effective personal financial advice. Through family and friends, Eric had seen many otherwise intelligent people make major mistakes in managing their money.
In addition to his counseling work and three decades of investing experience, Eric also has made an impact in the writing and media fields. Much of the personal-finance writing and reporting he saw and heard was biased, jargon-laden and, in some cases, filled with bad advice. For example, rather than telling people the hard truth – that one must live within one’s means as a prerequisite to building wealth – many publications offer hyped and unrealistic “get rich without making sacrifices or taking risk” type approaches.
In addition to his writing and counseling, Eric also taught the nation’s most highly attended personal financial management course at the University of California. He has spoken at many corporations and non-profits. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics at Yale and an MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Eric is the only best-selling personal-finance author who has an extensive background as an hourly-based financial planner and who does not accept speaking fees, endorsement deals or fees of any type from companies in the financial services industry, or product or service providers recommended in his articles, books and publications.
Q: My spouse insists on buying and drinking bottled water (saying it’s healthier and tastes better) and we easily spend $40 or more per month. I see this as a waste of money. We drank tap water growing up and don’t see why we can’t do so now as adults. What do you say?
A: I’m going to propose a compromise here that gets you better-quality water and saves you lots of money over the years ahead. Bottled water is big business. Last year, Americans consumed more than 11 billion gallons of bottled water, which amounts to more than 36 gallons per person. People spent more than $15 billion on bottled water last year.
And, get this: With all the fuss last year about how expensive oil and gasoline are, we willingly pay more per gallon for bottled water than we do for the energy to propel our cars and heat our homes.
Research shows that people consume bottled water because they believe it’s better than tap water. Better in terms of its supposed health benefits and better in terms of taste. “Consumers across the United States choose bottled water because it is a healthy, refreshing beverage … they choose bottled water because they are not always satisfied with the aesthetic qualities (e.g., taste, odor, color) of their tap water,” according to the International Bottled Water Association.
Some consumers object to the chlorine and fluoride added to most public water supply systems, and this concern has been echoed by some health professionals, especially in the alternative health care movement. Also, an Associated Press study found that 24 municipal water supplies in major metropolitan areas were tainted with prescription and over-the-counter drugs not absorbed by people’s bodies. These drugs end up in wastewater when folks go to the bathroom. Current water treatment procedures fail to remove the pharmaceuticals.
As for bottled water, in blind taste tests, consumers have failed to be able to differentiate tap from bottled water. Also, the comedy team of Penn and Teller found that 75 percent of people chose New York City tap water over expensive bottled water in a blind taste test. They also did a hysterical bit passing off hose water as expensive bottled water in a trendy California restaurant. And analysis shows that bottled water is far from the pure image conveyed in its advertising.
Environmentalists also criticize the enormous plastic pollution generated from bottled water. And health concerns have been raised about chemicals leaching from the plastic into the water.
To solve your impasse, I suggest that you invest in a water-filtration system at home that will allow you to improve the tap water and save you money on bottled water. According a recent Consumer Reports review of the topic, the simplest and lowest cost approach is a carafe-style system (e.g., Brita and Clear2O), which you fill at your sink and can keep in your refrigerator. Such systems generally have filters that require periodic replacement. Among Consumer Reports recommended “Best Buy” water-filtration systems deemed “effective at removing common contaminants and off-tastes” are countertop-type and under-sink systems, which go for about $200 to $300. For more serious water problems, CR recommends reverse-osmosis filtration systems, which begin in that same price range and can range much higher.
Even if you hire someone to do the installation, these systems should easily pay for themselves within the first year and then you will enjoy a more than 100 percent annual return on your investment by being able to eliminate those costly bottled-water purchases. How’s that for a low-risk, super-high-return investment!
To dispense your own bottled water for use outside your home, you should get a small supply of dishwasher-safe, stainless-steel containers such as those made by Klean Kanteen and SIGG.
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Write Eric Tyson, author of “Investing for Dummies” and “Personal Finance for Dummies” (Wiley) via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2016 Eric Tyson
Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.