Here’s a look at how some professional prognosticators – from a money manager to an NFL draft expert – determine what will be.
Job: Money manager.
Tools: Levin, who was named one of the nation’s top financial planners by Barron’s, relies heavily on experience. After getting a business degree from the University of Minnesota in 1985, he founded Accredited Investors.
Approach: “We try to make more decisions that are more good than bad rather than right or wrong.”
Accuracy: Accredited Investors must be doing something right: It has retained 95 percent of its customers from five years ago, Levin said.
Fallout: “We look at how we could make a better decision. … It’s important to evaluate both your process and the decision. You can have a bad decision with a good process, but also a bad decision that come out of a bad process.“
Job: Tarot card reader and spiritual adviser.
Tools: Greenway says her trust in tarot cards is “complete, totally complete.”
Approach: “You can say I’m looking at the weather of the soul, what’s underground that people can’t see, bringing something up from the unconscious to consciousness.”
Accuracy: Greenway said she’s more than 50 percent accurate. “Not 100 percent because that’s absurd and people are so complex. … Even after 25 years I’ll be blown away by how accurate something is.”
Fallout: As many as half of the people who have their fortunes told at the Renaissance Festival are repeat customers. As for others, “If they didn’t find [a reading] helpful, chances are I’ll never hear from them.”
Job: Projecting box-office returns for Rentrak, a Los Angeles-based company that provides research and analysis for the entertainment industry.
Tools: He studies past patterns of movie attendance and sales and talks to other industry insiders.
Approach: Dergarabedian has spent two decades in the business, including stints predicting opening weekends for the Associated Press and Hollywood.com. Still, he admits that “a lot of it’s your gut. It’s an educated guess.”
Accuracy: He said the numbers usually land within the range he projects. “Always in the ballpark,” he said. “Rarely are you dead on the number.”