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Point of Inquiry is the Center for Inquiry's flagship podcast, where the brightest minds of our time sound off on all the things you're not supposed to talk about at the dinner table: science, religion, and politics. Guests have included Brian Greene, Susan Jacoby, Richard Dawkins, Ann Druyan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eugenie Scott, Adam Savage, Bill Nye, and Francis Collins. Point of Inquiry is produced at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, N.Y.
 
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When can you retire? What savings rate is needed to achieve a secure retirement? What impact will Social Security have on your retirement? What are the different retirement accounts that may be available to you? How do you balance other life expenses with saving for retirement, and how should you prioritize them? Bill relates his answers to his dec…
 
In practice of having an abundance mindset, Bill and Anastasia return to their end of year tradition in taking stock of what they and others are grateful for in the past year. A special thanks to those who shared their messages of gratitude with Creating Wealth, and to healthcare workers who continue to save lives. For questions and comments, you c…
 
What does it mean to be alive? Does life have a clear definition? On this week's episode, Carl Zimmer joins host Jim Underdown to discuss his new book, Life's Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive to help answer those questions. Can we clearly define what it means to be alive? Scientists have been struggling with this question for centurie…
 
What is an interest rate and why do investors pay close attention to them? In this episode, Bill and Anastasia discuss how interest rates affect stocks, bonds, and how the Federal Reserve's actions impact the broader economy. They cover what is going on with today's interest rates, how that compares to the historical average, and what investors sho…
 
Christians believe that Jesus was the son of God who walked the Earth as a human being. Some Atheists believe none of the God bits but that there was a man named Jesus who did exist. There is also an ever growing community who believe Jesus did not exist at all. Not as the son of God nor as a man. On today's episode we speak to someone with evidenc…
 
This is a continuation of the conversation on investing styles from the previous episode (How Do You Invest?). In this second part, Bill and Anastasia cover several other concepts - sector funds, dollar cost averaging, margin of safety. And investing styles including momentum and contrarian investing. They discuss the importance of where you get yo…
 
On today's episode we introduce the show's new guest host, Julia Sweeney and her interview with author David G. McAfee on his new book, Hi, I'm an Atheist!: What That Means and How to Talk About It with Others. McAfee and Sweeney speak about the new book, how it helped Sweeney get back in touch with her atheism roots, his journey being raised in a …
 
What are the common obstacles that small business owners face? This is the second of a two-part series on starting and running your own business with special guest speaker, Bob Clements--Cofounder, Partner, and General Counsel of Benchmark Business Group. Part Two covers the obstacles that owners typically face as their business grows: For example,…
 
This is a two-part series on starting and running your own business with a special guest speaker, Bob Clements--Cofounder, Partner, and General Counsel of Benchmark Business Group. Part One covers what people should consider if they want to start their own business. Why would an individual prefer to be self-employed vs. work for someone else? In wh…
 
What is going on in the stock market? Before diving into the topic, Anastasia provides news updates relating to topics discussed in previous episodes: The Rise of GameStop (GME) Stock, Investing in Common Stock Part Two, and How to Pay for College. Bill and Anastasia then discuss inflation concerns, what the autumnal dip is and why it happens, the …
 
Throughout the modern world trust in science has continued to erode at dangerous speeds. From anti-vaxxers to climate change deniers, there is an ever growing movement of people that deny science at the peril of us all. The shift towards a public with increasing lack of scientific literacy and critical-thinking skills combined with the proliferatio…
 
How can you fund attending college in the U.S.? Bill and Anastasia first discuss reasons why an individual should attend college and when they shouldn't, before launching into a discussion of the various ways you can save or pay for college if you are a U.S. citizen. How does FAFSA work? What type of student loans are available? How and when should…
 
Is investing the same as gambling? Bill and Anastasia dive into a topic that has come up in separate conversations with millennials about cryptocurrency trading. They start by defining investing, gambling, and speculating, then launch into a discussion of casino gambling, sports betting, why people may conflate investing with gambling, and why the …
 
What are the common financial concerns of those in their 60s and 70s? Bill and Anastasia tackle the third and final life stage to discuss common questions that individuals ask before, during, or after retirement. How should you balance your portfolio in this life stage? How do you receive Social Security benefits - do you have to register for it? A…
 
It’s a rare person indeed who can trick and amaze people on one hand while reassuring them that what they are experiencing is not real. Meet Banacek. He’s not only an illusionist, magician, mentalist extraordinaire, he’s a skeptic’s skeptic who for decades has been instrumental in exposing fraud and deception. In this episode of Point of Inquiry, J…
 
What are the common financial concerns of those in their 40s and 50s? Bill and Anastasia tackle the second of three life stages to discuss common questions that individuals ask in the middle of adulthood, sometimes called "The Sandwich Generation." How do you balance a family budget of food, utilities, travel, child care costs, assisting any aging …
 
What are the common financial concerns of those in their 20s and 30s? Bill and Anastasia tackle the first of three life stages to discuss common questions that individuals ask at the beginning of adulthood. When should you start saving for retirement? When you get married, how do you merge financial assets? If you have kids, how should you start fu…
 
Have you ever been curious about what other people believe in or how they navigate the ethical challenges of life? Ancient philosophy was partly used as a way to better understand the best way to live life. In this episode of Point of Inquiry, Jim Underdown talks to two of the editors of How to Live a Good Life: A Guide to Choosing Your Personal Ph…
 
A question on the minds of many theists and non-theists alike is why are so many Americans leaving religion and becoming religiously unaffiliated? What are the underlying factors causing this shift? In today's episode we dive into what the data shows about this movement with Ryan Burge, author of the new book The Nones: Where They Came From, Who Th…
 
In the last few years, cryptocurrency has become a full blown phenomenon. In Part Two, Bill and Anastasia discuss listeners' questions on the tax ramifications and liquidity of cryptocurrencies, and where they see cryptocurrency going from here. Stay tuned: Anastasia makes an important announcement near the end of their discussion. Since this is a …
 
In the last few years, cryptocurrency has become a full-blown phenomenon. Bill and Anastasia discuss Bitcoin and what makes people so excited, and concerned, about cryptocurrencies. Bill answers what makes cryptocurrency valuable and why it's different from any financial product he's ever seen before in his 42 year career. There was so much to cove…
 
In the June/July issue of Free Inquiry, today's guest Greg Paul makes the case that a loving God cannot possibly exist next to all the suffering and death, children have had to endure throughout human history. In his piece, he claims this fact has the, "...potential to accelerate the already rapid decline of the illusion that is theism." On today's…
 
What is the difference between income and wealth, and why is it fundamental to understanding wealth creation? What do people get wrong by focusing on income instead of wealth? Bill talks about the importance of building wealth for retirement and reiterates a formula introduced in the Season One episode "Spending Control" for determining how much yo…
 
The Center for Inquiry Investigations Group tests extraordinary claims from anyone who believes they have paranormal or supernatural abilities like telekinesis, mind reading, and many otherworldly talents. The group offers a $250,000 prize for anyone able to prove a paranormal ability under mutually agreed upon test conditions. The group then repor…
 
What happens in the aftermath of a parent's death? What is an executor and what are they responsible for? How different is it to work with a non-family executor versus a family member who acts as one? How different is the process when a parent dies with a living spouse than when a widow/widower dies? Bill and Anastasia discuss the myriad of questio…
 
Annabelle Gurwitch is an award-winning actress, comedian, and writer. She's also a secular humanist and a skeptic, though that hasn't always been the case -- at least not the skeptic part. On this episode Annabelle speaks with host, Jim Underdown about her beliefs, her new book, life as a performer, new age religions and cults, and dealing with adv…
 
On TV, a lack of money is often used as an obstacle to challenge characters. Anastasia describes the money problems of characters in TV shows Breaking Bad, The Office, Gilmore Girls, etc and Bill suggests possibilities that the characters could have considered to avoid or resolve their financial difficulties, providing a few takeaways for real, non…
 
David Javerbaum is the guest on this week's episode of Point of Inquiry. David discusses his early writing career and his current gig as God. David discusses starting out with The Onion and what it was like working with David Letterman, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert. As former head writer and producer on the Daily Show, David gives his insights …
 
Have you wondered what it's like to get caught up in a conspiracy theory? QAnon, the 9/11 truth movement, lizard people who want to take over the world. What does it take for rational humans to believe such outstandingly irrational beliefs? In this week's episode, Leighann Lord speaks to Stephanie Kemmerer about her personal journey falling in and …
 
What are four simple actions you can take to increase your savings rate? Why is focusing on your savings rate so important? Do younger people struggle more with saving or is it a challenge for all ages? Bill provides an example from his career of someone who was frugal and diligent with budgeting. As the world exits the pandemic era, what should yo…
 
An Atheist and a Christian Walk Into a Bar | Overcoming Differences America is as polarized as it's been in decades as our citizenry draws lines in the sand over a variety of issues. Friends and family who hold different political or religious persuasions may find it hard to impossible to hold civil conversation together. One friendship hasn't suff…
 
Bill applies his perspective of decades as an investment advisor to what happened with GameStop (GME-nyse) stock in late January 2021. What fueled the rise of GME? What made the event so unique and what are the implications for the financial industry moving forward? Bill compares GME stock to what happened with tulips in the Netherlands in the 1600…
 
Bill and Anastasia return to one of their favorite topics to discuss what goes into forming an annual household budget. How do you create a yearly budget? How do you budget for specific goals like going on a long vacation or a house renovation project? As a future-oriented thinker, Bill explains how he starts by visualizing goals before he sits dow…
 
Christmas in 2020 will be unlike any other in recent history due to COVID 19. Nevertheless, Christians around the world will be finding ways to celebrate the birth of Christ. On this episode of Point of Inquiry, Jim speaks to Tom Flynn, editor of Free Inquiry magazine and author of The Trouble With Christmas. Affectionately known as the Anti-Claus,…
 
What should you be doing to manage your 401(k)? How does active vs. passive investing apply to your retirement accounts? Bill provides some historical context for the rise of the 401(k) plan and a few important takeaways when it comes to saving for retirement. Anastasia discusses the various employer sponsored 401(k) presentations she's sat through…
 
Bill and Anastasia answer a listener question about credit reports before diving into a free-form discussion based on financial and lifestyle tips from famous experts known for their financial prowess. Bill talks about his career and finally achieving a role he loved. They discuss how hard work early in a career can open up opportunities later in l…
 
In 1997 Jim produced and directed a short documentary called “A Day in the Life of Frank Sinatra” that was an exploration of what it was like to be a homeless man with a famous name. Twenty three years later, Frank Sinatra is recently off the streets, lives in a government-funded camper in Los Angeles, and is trying to live a normal life. In this e…
 
When should we focus on paying off debt and when can we start investing? Are there certain loans you need to pay down before you can really start putting money away towards investments? Bill and Anastasia discuss a common sentiment expressed by younger generations who are eager to build wealth and how to figure out what to prioritize. Bill mentions…
 
What does the Puritan founder of both the state of Rhode Island and the Baptist Church have to say about modern evangelicals? Roger Williams had certain ideas that didn't fit into 17th century England or its American colonies. Freedom of conscience, separation of church and crown, fair treatment of indigenous peoples, and supporting the rights of w…
 
How important is thinking positively when it comes to creating wealth? How can you retrain your brain to think abundantly? In this follow-up to the third episode, "Having an Abundance Mentality," Bill and Anastasia discuss what it takes to think positively about your finances. Bill mentions examples of negative thoughts you or family members may ha…
 
Author J.R. Becker joins Leighann Lord in this episode of Point of Inquiry to speak about his book series, Annabelle & Aiden. The series is a pro-science children's book series that explores science, philosophy, and critical thinking. Their conversation dives into: What inspired Becker to write the series How the books teach critical thinking and a…
 
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