Category: Other

Two Simple Rules for Safely Managing Debt

I think it’s fair to say that we may be approaching another debt crisis in the U.S. According to the New York Federal Reserve, as of Q1 2018 credit card debt stood at $792 billion, auto loan debt at $1,188 billion, student loan debt at $1,453 billion, and mortgage debt at a whopping $8,982 billion…
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What Is Your Advisor Really Costing You?

In a recent article in Morningstar, John Rekenthaler talked about how Ameriprise and other brokerages/custodians/advisors offer funds based on how much revenue they get from the fund companies.  These so-called revenue-sharing agreements, he argues, are a way for the brokerages to hide the income they are actually earning from the advice they are providing to…
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More Financial Protection For Seniors

Since 2005 the population of individuals aged 65 and over in the U.S. increased from 36 million to over 50 million.  It’s expected to double to nearly 100 million by 2060.  When you take into account the fact that these seniors own over 75% of all financial assets (according to the Securities & Exchange Commission),…
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Personal Financial Satisfaction Near High

Some positive data about Americans’ personal finances comes to us from the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). They have been reporting a Personal Financial Satisfaction Index on a quarterly basis since 2004. In spite of its name, though, this index is not based on a survey or poll.  It is rather a calculation based on…
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Subprime Auto Loans Reach New Highs

Remember the billions of dollars of poorly-vetted mortgage-backed securities (MBS) that helped destroy Lehman Brothers and numerous banks (not to mention the world economy) in 2008? This time it’s auto loan-backed securities (ABS) that are setting records.  According to Bloomberg Businessweek, $26 billion in subprime ABS bonds were sold in 2016, surpassing the peak reached…
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How Well Did You Predict 2016?

Now that the year is almost behind us, let’s turn to my favorite topic, predicting the future.  As usual, there were a number of events that occurred at various times during the year, the results of which (1) were completely missed by the media and (2) went totally counter to investor expectations.  In case you’ve…
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The Essence of Democracy

My readers know that I never write about politics.  However, having just lived through the most polarizing and divisive election in my lifetime, I felt an obligation to address this subject, since the actions of our elected officials can have a major impact on everyone’s financial future.   So I’m taking the liberty of providing advice…
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How Much House Can You Really Afford?

If you are in the market for a new home, especially your first one, you will be faced with a plethora of choices and decisions to make.  Location, size, style; there are so many variables that you may find the process overwhelming.  But the first decision you will face is how much house you can…
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Can The U.S. Government Go Bankrupt?

According to Time Magazine, the answer is yes. I refer to their recent cover proclaiming “Make America Solvent Again!” and touting our current $13.9 trillion debt level.  Sounds more like a rallying cry for a political candidate than an attempt to educate the public on economics.  But that’s pretty typical for the media these days. …
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Beware Of Lawmakers Trying To Protect Us

In the wake of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that was signed into law by President Obama in 2010, there’s been a five-year fight going on in Congress pitting investor protection against Wall Street profitability. What bothers me significantly is the deceptive way one side appears to be framing the discussion.…
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