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A Lesson In Personal Finance

Apr 22, 2009

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Scott Cameron

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Journalists don't make a lot of money. We often hear that we should save for retirement, so many of us try to set a bit aside every month. Now, as layoffs grow and 401(k)s shrink, Jeffrey Goldberg wonders in The Atlantic: How did we get here? And how do we recover?

My crucial mistake was believing that the brokers and wealth managers and cable-television oracles who make up the financial-services industrial complex actually had my best interests at heart. Or so say the extremely smart-and wealthy-people I asked to help me figure a way out of my paralysis. One of these people was Robert Soros, the deputy chairman of the fund started by his father, George. I went to see him at his office, where he spent two hours performing an autopsy on my assumptions.

"You think a brokerage should be a place you go to pay commissions for fair and unbiased advice, right?" he asked.

"Yes," I said.

"It's not. It never has been."

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