Ep. 003 – Misleading Numbers in Elections and Investing with Harry Enten

Young. Check.

Ivy League educated. Check.

Obsessed with statistics. Check.

Obsessed with politics. Check.

A rising star in the media world. Check.

Yep, that pretty much describes this week’s “Better Off” podcast guest.

As promised, we tackle uncomfortable, and even controversial, money and investing issues, but on this episode, we are wading into the choppy waters of politics, with Harry Enten, senior political writer and analyst for FiveThirtyEight. If you’re not familiar with the site, it’s the brainchild of statistician guru Nate Silver who gained recognition in 2008 after correctly predicting the outcomes in 49 of the 50 states in the presidential election.

With the presidential inauguration upon us, we thought it made sense to talk to someone about the recent race, more specifically the numbers behind it, and how so many people got it wrong.

What were the warning signs that so many missed? What did Hillary do wrong? Was it all about the economy or were there other factors? Did the third party candidates have an impact?

Harry breaks down the election/forecasting/statistical terminology we’ve been bombarded with over the past year or so. What is probability and what does it mean? How about margin of error? What about sample errors? Are polls perfect or are they just a tool?

As you’ll hear, politics was the main theme, but we also talked about Harry’s background and his love of sports and weather. That’s right, weather. This guy loves a good snowstorm. So much so that it played a role in picking a college.

I think you’ll really enjoy the interview. It was very fun and informative, definitely one of my personal favorites. Harry Enten is a name you will be hearing more and more of in 2017. We just hope he remembers us little people.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

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“Better Off” theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.