A Lesson on Mindfulness from Johnny Depp


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WHAT I'M THINKING ABOUT: "The Mistakes We Make When Giving to Charity"
By Shlomo Benartzi and Christopher Olivola, The Wall Street Journal

For better or worse, tax season always reminds us how we measure up in the generosity department as we gather our giving receipts. More often than not, I find people want to be more generous than they are. The desire is there but they can’t or don’t execute for a variety of reasons.

If you’re in this camp, this is a thought provoking article about how we tend to get in our own way when it comes to generosity. It also reminds us of the power of giving. Holding tight to your money for the sake of security will likely achieve the very opposite: increasing your anxiety. It’s counterintuitive and vulnerable, but often the best thing to do if you’re anxious about your money is to try giving more of it away.

“We often assume giving money away is a choice between our happiness and the happiness of others. But this research is a reminder that generosity is much better than that: We are built so that giving also feels good. When we donate to a cause we believe in, everybody wins.”


A PERSPECTIVE I APPRECIATED: "The Depp Conundrum: Who Should Keep Tabs on the Money?"
By Charles Duhigg, The New York Times

This interesting article addresses the new and controversial DOL fiduciary rule in light of Johnny Depp’s personal financial debacle. I support holding more advisors to a fiduciary standard, but I also believe that at the individual level we need to be more engaged and aware of what’s going on with our finances. You can’t rely on regulation alone to be your advocate.

While one can find fault in the actions of both Depp and his financial advisors,  financial responsibility must start at the individual level. Would a fiduciary standard have protected Depp to some degree? Possibly. Could Depp have protected himself by exercising greater mindfulness over his finances? Most certainly.

“And this is where questions regarding the fiduciary standard come into play, because while Mr. Depp is clearly prone to some very bad financial choices, just as clearly the Management Group has allowed those decisions to occur.
If the Management Group were held to the fiduciary standard, his advisers would probably have had more of an obligation to stop Mr. Depp from doing foolish things with his money, like giving it away or impulsively buying a French town. And, if Mr. Depp disregarded that advice, the Management Group might have had an obligation to cut ties with the actor, or at the very least, stop paying itself millions of dollars from his accounts.
But, by the same token, Mr. Depp should also have paid at least a little attention to what was going on. Being a movie star shouldn’t excuse you from the obligation of balancing your checkbook once in a while.”