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Let's All Learn How To Fish...

To Sustain Long-term Economic Growth

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About the Book

Demographics do not have to be destiny.  We have a choice.  Today’s economic growth challenges will become greater in the future because of the world’s aging population, fertility levels and trends, and current entitlement policies. Those challenges can be overcome with thoughtful public policies and a culture that fosters responsibility and appreciation.

Michael Falk's "Let’s All Learn How to Fish… to Sustain Long-Term Economic Growth" reconsiders what makes us “healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Our past does not need to be prologue to our future, but all of us (who are capable) need to take responsibility to ensure it does not become so.  Policies that reward paying riders, not free riders, are needed. The book focuses on how we might re-imagine health care, retirement, and education policies to usher in a new ERA (… from Entitlement to Responsibility with Appreciation) of sustainable long-term economic growth.

Upcoming Appearances

November 8, 2019 - Essentia Analytics Conference, NY

November 20, 2019 - CFA Montreal

Well, the “Gone Fishing” sign is gone; my follow-up book “Get to Work… on OUR future” is likely to be available on Amazon by the end of October


“Michael Falk, a seasoned investment consultant and hedge fund manager who speaks his mind and thinks well outside the box, offers solutions for entitlement reform, education, health care, and self-reliance. Falk suggests that the “safety nets” that people need in order to take risks and succeed should be transformed into “trampolines” so that they do not become traps instead. A thought-provoking read and especially relevant in this election year!”

— LAURENCE B. SIEGEL, Gary P. Brinson Director of Research, CFA Institute Research Foundation

“When societies divide a stagnant economic pie, conflict almost inevitably results. But when the pie is growing, everything becomes so much easier. So how can we get the U.S. economic pie to grow faster? That's today's most crucial economic question -- and the answer must address today's ever-slower expansion of the workforce. Michael Falk's solution -- delivered in an engaging (and occasionally humorous) manner: Create the right incentives, including incentives to stay in the workforce. Folks, of course, will quibble with his policy recommendations. But there's little doubt that Michael is raising the right questions.” (from

— JONATHAN CLEMENTS, Award-winning Columnist & Author

Michael Falk poses important questions about how our society can provide adequate social benefits at a time of slow productivity growth—and his answers are clear, cogent, and provocative.

— MARC LEVINSON, author, An Extraordinary Time: The End of the Postwar Boom and the Return of the Ordinary Economy

"Michael's knowledgeable and articulate push for dialogue on these topics is sorely needed. Read and share this excellent book - become part of this critical dialogue."

— PAUL SMITH, CFA, President & CEO, CFA Institute

How rare to get first rate economic thinking in a format that is so easily understandable and perfectly sensible. We all know that we will have to fix our broken system -- everything from Social Security and Retirement Savings to Healthcare and Education. And it seems almost doable, if you follow this non-ideological, incentive-based, realistic approach. Every college grad should be required to read this before entering the "real world." (from

— TERRY SAVAGE, Bestselling, Nationally Recognized & Syndicated, Personal Finance Author

"In his must read book, Michael offers a compelling vision for how to create a more productive society which results in increased prosperity and individual health and happiness.  Michael is a master at distilling complex information, and this book - rounded out with memorable data and humor along the way - will not let you down."

— SUZANNE DUNCAN, Global Head of Research, State Street Center for Applied Research

"Michael S. Falk, CFA, CRC possesses a brilliant narrative which provokes a serious debate about the long term effect of policies with regard to the most important piece of the social contract which we have been signing across generations: retirement. Not only we must learn to fish, but mostly fish can't be multiplied by magics: we will always live in a world of scarce resources, no matter how fast we improve productivity or better educate ourselves and our beloved children. Take this deep dive into what our future may look like, as a consequence of what we pretend our present to be. And start to think ... McFly! A must read."

— PAOLO SIRONI, IBM Global Thought Leadership, Wealth Management FinTech Analytics

“This book turns the spotlight on a long neglected subject: financial education. It is a milestone on our societies’ journey towards self-help as risk gets personalised. It provides rich insights into actions that are consistent with the art of the possible. I enjoyed reading it immensely and look forward to your next book… I much like your writing style that translates complex ideas into simple words. A rare skill.”

— Prof. AMIN RAJAN, CEO, CREATE-Research


About the Author


Michael is a partner at Focus Consulting, where he helps investment teams improve their investment decision-making, and investment firms with their strategic planning as well as their succession. Previously, he was a chief strategist at Mauka Capital, LLC, a global macro L.P., and a chief investment officer in charge of manager due diligence and asset allocation for a multi-billion-dollar advisory practice. 

Michael is a frequent speaker and presenter. He is part of the CFA Institute’s Approved Speaker List, and teaches on behalf of the CFA Society of Chicago in their Investment Foundations Certificate program.  In the past, he had been a contributing member in the Financial Management Association’s (FMA) practitioner demand driven academic research initiative (PDDARI) group and taught at DePaul University in their Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Certificate Program.  He is frequently quoted in the financial press and presents at industry events such as you can see and hear below - 

2017 Research Foundation presentation of my book (Annual CFA conference), click here to view

CFA Magazine Interview, click here to read

He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Retirement Counselor (CRC) designations.


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Q&A with Michael

1.     What prompted you to write this book?

We all have a purpose, and mine - for many years - has been "to positively impact the financial lives of as many people as possible".  If my book's principles help to update thinking and policy designs, then with this book I will have made my greatest stride towards meeting my purpose.

2.     Who are you teaching to fish?

Everyone. When individuals - who are able - take responsibility for their own financial well-being and their governments govern productively, everyone can benefit.

3.     Do you think governments can implement any of your ideas?

I do think governments can implement policies and have the skill to do so based on my principles. However, any implementation will require the requisite will to maintain the fortitude and stamina to bring forth change.  



For all of us, economic health and economic growth are heavily influenced by social policies on entitlements, government spending, taxation, and personal incentives—in particular, how we are motivated and what we are required to share with others. Have we taught too few individuals how to fish for themselves and handed out too many fish? 

Michael’s passion for finance started in 1990. While living with his parents after college, he watched how his father and how his parent’s relationship changed when his father’s employer went bankrupt. At the age of 59, his father needed to find work because he wasn’t yet ready for retirement. Michael internalized this experience, aspects of the wrongness of retirement, and found his calling to help others improve their financial lives.