Columnist | Business

Lee Schafer joined the Star Tribune as a columnist in 2012 after 15 years in business, including leading his own consulting practice and serving on corporate boards of directors. He's twice been named the best in business columnist by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, most recently for his work in 2017.

Schafer grew up on a southwest Minnesota cattle farm and studied history and economics at Macalester College. He received his masters degree from Northwestern University and worked as a writer and editor for a regional business monthly before returning to business. His work included investment banking but he had the most fun advising CEOs on growth strategy. He lives in St. Paul with his wife Tanya Bell, a real estate development consultant and civic leader, and they have three adult daughters. He's also been active as a volunteer, including for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, Neighborhood House and Urban Homeworks.


Schafer: More savings looks like a good thing, but it's not

Since the last recession ended in 2009, Americans have generally saved about 5% of what they made. That held up until March, when the savings…


Schafer: If you're near retirement, some tips for the hard choices coming your way

Not always being able to pick your own retirement date is just one challenge.


Schafer: Delivery business is dodgy all around, especially these days

Drivers sure need work, too, but delivery doesn't work great for them, either.


Schafer: Maintaining work community away from the office isn't easy

The change in thinking isn't where we work so much as it's how to work better with the tools we have.


Schafer: There's still resilience in tech startups in middle of the U.S.

Never easy, building a company from scratch is going to be harder in this year of the pandemic recession.


Schafer: A job lost in government has the same economic effect as one lost in a business

Declining state and local government spending really can make an economic downturn worse. And this recession is bad enough already.


Schafer: Buffett comforted investors until he described selling

It was sobering to realize he'd already concluded that the airlines likely won't be the same.


Schafer: At the end of an awful month, here's what the stock market taught us

The simple explanation for the bounce back? Hopefully April was the low point.


Schafer: People in Minnesota businesses are solving problems fast

Instead of fixating on what can't be done for users, here are examples of focusing on what can.


Schafer: Bankers are at the crossroads of this crisis and face new scrutiny

We're still early in this economic crisis, but banks should err on the side of keeping businesses able to recover and able to pay workers and suppliers.