Are You Broke Yet??

Discussion in 'Educational Resources' started by marketsurfer, Jul 10, 2009.

  1. 'Broke: The New American Dream' is a 2009 film documentary directed by Michael Covel. It is a vivid, honest, often humorous and always insightful look at our struggle with investments and retirement.

    These are tough times. The stock market has imploded. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG have become part of the government. Firms like Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch & Bear Stearns have gone under. Inflation? Have you been to the grocery store recently? And all the while we continue to play the lottery and trust social security. Let's face it, we were not designed to deal with risk and uncertainty. It scares the you know what out of us. What are we doing wrong? What can we do better?

    No one asked Michael Covel to make this film, but he was concerned this story would not get told in the most hopeful way, so he is telling it. Covel traveled 75,000 miles over the course of 2007 and 2008 to visit with hundreds of people from America to Europe to Asia. He interviews single moms facing foreclosure, Nobel Prize winners, professional poker players and US Congressmen. How did we dig such a big hole when it comes to our retirement, money and investments? We all want to retire, we all want to provide for our families, but Covel's film paints a picture that trusting the government, TV shows, big brokerage firms and mutual funds is not the way to go. There are ways for all of us to break away from the fear and confusion so many of us feel about our money, but the world has changed and it is time for straight talk.

    This smart journey through Wall Streets financial advice maze challenges us with the truth about human behavior and our beliefs regarding money and markets. The opening sequence portrays the financial advice universe that surrounds us from CNBC television clips, late night infomercials and brokerage commercials to financial web sites and sheep. How could anyone possibly decide where to put their money with so much competing advice out there? We are in a world where everyone is seeking advice on this very important aspect of their lives, but those who offer that advice seem to be wrong as much as they are right. Theres money to be made, but whos making it?

    With self-deprecating humor, Covel's storytelling stresses the importance of understanding our internal biases, why we think the way we do, and why we do the things we do. Everyone wants to be a billionaire, and with the flood of information coming from television, newspapers, and the internet, many think financial success is as easy as watching TV. Unfortunately our financial media makes it difficult for the individual investor to learn about money. Instead of educating us, it is confusing us.

    Along the journey the film meets Nobel Prize Winners Harry Markowitz and Vernon Smith, famed mutual fund manager Bill Miller and UK-based fund manager David Harding. But the film goes beyond pure Wall Street types. The film visits with average folks who are trying to figure out how to navigate the treacherous waters of our current financial landscape, a landscape made even more fearful due to events of October 2008.

    From a sheep farm in rural Virginia, to the halls of congress to the poker tables of Las Vegas, the film digs into the dangerous behavioral biases that have kept so many of us from achieving security and prosperity. This story delivers a distinct personal responsibility message throughout, but it does not excuse the outside forces that often prey upon average people (government, media, brokers, mutual funds, etc.). We all have a chance to succeed, but not until we change our behavior!