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APPLYING PRACTICAL INSIGHT TO
COMPLEX FINANCIAL CONCEPTS

Karen Firestone has spent over thirty years honing skills applied to
the investment world, while at the same time navigating a path through the work/familyscape. She considers many issues from an unusual angle, including stock market movement, factors facing professional women today, and how to think in simple terms about some complex financial structures. Karen shares her observations in posts that also appear in the Harvard Business Review and Huffington Post. As the CEO of Aureus Asset Management, a former fund manager at Fidelity Investments, and the mother of four grown children, Karen has a rare perspective into which she injects humor and some irreverence.

Would You Play Golf on a Weekday Afternoon?

Weekday-Golf

Last summer, I was invited by a few friends to meet at 4 o’clock on a weekday to play a few holes of golf on a sunny afternoon.   As I got out of my car, a guy I know waved and said, “Hey, great to see you, but don’t you still work?”  (Yes.) Over on the driving…

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Why the Market Keeps Going Up and Why It Might Matter to You

Stock-Chart

I work in the stock market, although I have never written a “market” piece in this venue. So why now? Because the broad indices have steadily climbed higher for almost five years and, until recently, no one outside of those of us trading stocks all day, seemed to notice. Now I have to be careful…

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When He Retires and She Still Works, What Happens?

Woman-Works

My generation – the Baby Boomers – are beginning to retire, particularly the very successful ones who can afford to retire earlier.  They have stayed at work late, risen early, traveled more than they wanted when their children were young, survived under different bosses, ascended through the ranks, and attained ever increasing responsibilities.  Now, many…

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Reciprocal Mentoring With Millennials

Portrait of three businesspeople sitting near laptop and discussing working ideas in the office

This is not a forum for true confessions, but I have nowhere else to turn.  After months of anxious observation, I am finally admitting that I have never witnessed, over my long career, such a wide ability gap favoring the youngest people in the office relative to the senior members of my company in an…

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Why Else We Love Gravity

The astronaut  in outer space

The Wall Street Journal points out today how popular the movie “Gravity” is with audiences of both genders, and all ages and nationalities.  The movie plays to viewers attracted to special effects, suspense, personal endurance, and our spine tingling fascination walking in space.  All of that is true but I would add one further explanation. …

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Is It Ever OK to Break Into Your Colleague’s Computer?

sherlock holmes silhouette in studio on white background

Rick was looking for Kelly, one of the analysts who supported his consulting team. Kelly’s hours were a mystery, and Rick was confused and annoyed. He tried to check her calendar online, but, after struggling to locate it, he solicited help from an IT specialist. They found all sorts of surprising weekday appointments at the…

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Who Dares Bake Cookies for the Office?

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Recently, I asked one of my partners, a big, strong father of three, what he had done over the weekend. He explained that while his wife was out one rainy afternoon, he and the kids baked blueberry crumble, then assembled a confection known as an “ice box cake” and also tried a new multi-step red…

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Look Who’s Distracted Now

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When acclaimed hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones revealed his opinion that women become much less effective as stock traders or investors once they have children, he was, in a sense, suggesting that the distraction of motherhood—a distinctly feminine condition—exceeds that of other attention-siphoning activities. I was reminded of how, almost thirty years ago, I…

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Managing in a Safety-Centric World

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Safety is now Americans’ overriding concern. Several years ago, as I sat in a secondary school board meeting, the visiting headmaster of a K-8 school was asked what he considered the highest priority for parents in choosing high schools. I was astounded when he said “safety” rather than, for example, “quality of education.” But that…

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How Should a Small Business Handle Parental Leave?

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Although the U.S. is a highly developed country, the US government’s work/family policies have not changed since 1993, when the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) passed. We are the only developed country without any required paid parental leave. (FMLA entitles employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave with an equivalent position available on return.) Even…

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