Master Financial Education

Financial Planning Daily Commentary 2017
The  most intensive and extensive on the Web

E. F. Moody Jr.

click above for bio

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Uniform (Im)Prudent Investor Act- Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay Out of Date

World Statistical data  


Most low-income individuals are willing to pay at most half the cost of their health insurance
Using administrative data from Massachusetts’s health insurance exchange, Amy Finkelstein of MIT and Nathaniel Hendren and Mark Shepard from Harvard find that most low-income people will not purchase health insurance without extremely large subsidies. For example, they estimate that low-income people are willing to pay at most half the cost of their health insurance and that, even with a 90 percent subsidy, 20 percent of low-income people would remain uninsured. The authors suggest that the availability of uncompensated (free) healthcare likely reduces the value of being insured for low-income people. They conclude that modest enrollee premiums can be a major deterrent to universal coverage among low-income individuals.

“amnesia bias”, a tendency to focus on recent experience. We remember more distant catastrophes but we do not feel them viscerally.


Increasing minimum wage decreases machine-replaceable jobs and increases unemployment
Analyzing data from the Current Population Survey between 1980-2015, Grace Lordan of the London School of Economics and David Neumark of the University of California, Irvine, find evidence that low-skilled workers whose jobs are easily automated, particularly older workers in manufacturing, suffer when the minimum wage is raised. The authors find that a $1 increase in the minimum wage decreases the share of low-skilled workers whose jobs are easy to automate by 0.43 percentage point. Such a minimum wage increase also raises the unemployment rate for low-skilled workers in easily automated jobs by 0.12 percentage point.

8/18: Global returns 10 years

8/17: This is so wrong--

10-year-old Indian rape victim gives birth after a court denies her request for an abortion

Hate and stupidity seem to be in lockstep.  \\

Disaster preparedness tips for homeowners

Improve your readiness with these easy-to-follow tips for disaster preparation in your home.

1. Create a family emergency plan

The midst of a disaster is no time to try and figure out how to react. Make preparations ahead of time so that everyone in your household knows what to do.

Related: 5 keys to preparing for tornadoes

Here are the keys to putting together an effective family emergency plan:

  • Know your risks. Depending on where you live, certain disaster risks will be more prevalent than others. How you should react will vary accordingly. Your preparedness plan should include a process for evacuating your home in advance of hurricanes, wildfires and other monitored risks, as well as what you would do if you need to shelter in place, like when a tornado is fast approaching.
  • Secure your home. It can be hard to remember everything your house needs to stay protected during a storm. Make a list of all the areas you should inspect and secure before evacuating or sheltering in place, including your roof, windows, power and plumbing.
  • Write it out. No matter what type of disasters you need to prepare for, document your plan and provide a copy to everyone in your household. Consider displaying your emergency plan where everyone can easily see it so that preparedness is always top of mind.
  • Have a meeting spot. If you need to escape home quickly or find each other in the midst of a chaotic situation, make sure everyone knows where to go. Whether it's a friend or family member's house or a local storm shelter, everyone in your family should know where to meet if you get separated.
  • Designate an outside contact. Have one person or family member who lives outside of your immediate area designated as the single point of contact in case you do get separated from your own family. Following a disaster, it may be easier to reach someone in an unaffected area. This person can help coordinate contact among the members of your household.
  • Practice. Having a plan is only as good as your ability to use it. Conduct safety drills seasonally, especially if you have children, so that everyone can swing into action when it counts.

Often, the most dangerous phase of a disaster isn't immediately when it hits — it's during the aftermath. (Photo: Shutterstock

2. Keep an emergency disaster kit

Often, the most dangerous phase of a disaster isn't immediately when it hits — it's during the aftermath. Losing access to essential supplies is a serious concern, so it's important that you're able to get by during the hours or days before things return to normal. Keep an emergency disaster kit stocked with all the necessities you'll need to ensure the health, safety and comfort of your family.

Related: Summer weather safety risks & preparation

Emergency kit basics include:

  • Drinking water and nonperishable foods.
  • First aid supplies.
  • Prescriptions and other essential medicines.
  • Flashlights and batteries.
  • Spare clothing, blankets, shoes and outerwear.
  • Important documents like passports and insurance information.
  • If you have animals, include pet food and supplies.

Take advantage of today's technology to improve your preparedness. (Photo: Shutterstock)

3. Use technology to stay connected and aware

Technology makes it easier than ever to stay aware of weather risks, coordinate with loved ones and stay safe in the event of an emergency. Take advantage of today's tech to improve your preparedness:

  • Sign up to receive emergency alerts on your smartphone. That way, you're less likely to be caught off-guard by approaching danger.
  • Stay connected to family members. Consider activating location-sharing on family smartphones to help keep track of each other during a disaster.
  • Purchase a weather radio to keep in your emergency kit that can receive official warnings and notices if mobile networks get jammed. Remember: Opt for a battery- or solar-powered model or one that can be charged with a hand crank to ensure you have access information in the event of a power outage.

Related: Are your customers prepared to weather the pitfalls of hurricane season?

While disasters aren't always predictable or preventable, there are things you can do to minimize the potential harm to you, your family and your home. Make sure your disaster preparedness checklist includes how to plan for emergencies, which essentials to stock up on, and how to use technology to stay plugged in throughout a disaster. Keep these tips in mind, and you'll be well positioned to keep your household safe, even if the unexpected should occur.

Pete Duncanson is director of business process and branch operations for ServiceMaster Resto

I am not so sure about 'timid' but the issue of getting screwed.

Non-401(k)-Savers Timid About Asking for Financial Help

Whether saving in a 401(k) or not, the majority of survey respondents say their investment confidence would grow dramatically with the help of a financial professional.

EFM- The fear of another 2000 and 2008 caused a lot of people to avoid investing altogether. At least 1/3 have not recovered from 2008.

Cleveland has outpaced Las Vegas for the distinction of the city with the most “underwater” homes, meaning those homes that are worth less than their current mortgages.

Patient and Disability Rights in the Health Care Setting

Have you or a relative been to a doctor’s office and been refused help in filling out paper work? Have you received paperwork from a health care provider that you or your loved one could not read?

Do you know your rights as a consumer with a visual disability? Patient’s rights cover such topics as access to care, patient dignity, confidentiality, and consent to treatment. The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protect your rights and guarantee you equal access to health care services.

It is your responsibility to assert your rights under these laws. If you don’t ask for an accommodation no one will be aware that you need large print, Braille, or an electronic version of information.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications.

ADA Title III: Public Accommodations

Title III covers businesses and nonprofit service providers that are used by the public. These include hospitals, urgent care centers, doctor’s offices, nursing homes and home health agencies.

Health care services must provide equal treatment in the way they serve patients with disabilities. This means removing barriers in existing buildings.

Patients with visual disabilities have the right to have any written materials either read to them or given to them in an alternate format such as large print, Braille or on tape. This includes assistance with filling out paper work, having hospital admission booklets, home health agency information, doctor’s orders, and discharge plans available in a format that is accessible to the patient.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973

This law has similar protections for patients with disabilities. This law applies to federal, state and local government and to any non-profit organization or health care provider that receives federal funds such as Medicare and Medicaid.

You should file your complaint as soon as possible. In some instances, depending on the applicable law, you may have a limited amount of time to file a complaint after the alleged incident of discrimination

To file a complaint under these laws, make note of the date, time and location of the discriminatory act, the name of the person spoken to and his or her response upon requesting a reasonable accommodation.

Visit US Department of Justice website for more information on a person’s rights under these laws or call 1-800-514-0301.

Visit U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights for Section 504 complaints  or call 1-800-368-101

8/17: China and India are dangerously close to military conflict

8/16: Robots
Brookings Institution finds robots "are congregating densely in some places but are hardly found in others."

'8/16: Human trafficking

8/16: Global returns 2nd quarter






Americans Worry Inflation Will Derail Their Retirement:

Fifty-four percent of Americans said they are “terrified” or “very concerned” that inflation will impede their ability to pay for health care, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America found in a survey. The same concerns were expressed about paying for long-term care (45%), living the lifestyle they would like to have in retirement (40%), being able to pay for housing (33%), paying for groceries (29%) and being able to afford to travel (27%). Read more »

8/16: Slowdown

Lap horse
8/15: Oblivious Investor



Chronic Disease Indicators -


Community Health Status Indicators (CHSI 2015) -


Health Indicators Warehouse -


Interactive Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke -


National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, & TB Prevention Atlas -


National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network -


The Social Vulnerability Index -


Vulnerable Populations Footprint Tool -


"Financial Frictions and the Great Productivity Slowdown" Free Download
IMF Working Paper No. 17/129

ROMAIN DUVAL, International Monetary Fund (IMF)
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Trinity College (Dublin), Deutsche Bundesbank

We study the role of financial frictions in explaining the sharp and persistent productivity growthslowdown in advanced economies after the 2008 global financial crisis. Using a rich cross-country,firm-level data set and exploiting quasi-experimental variation in firm-level exposure to the crisis,we find that the combination of pre-existing firm-level financial fragilities and tightening creditconditions made an important contribution to the post-crisis productivity slowdown. Specifically:(i) firms that entered the crisis with weaker balance sheets experienced decline in total factor productivity growth relative to their less vulnerable counterparts after the crisis; (ii) this declinewas larger for firms located in countries where credit conditions tightened more; (iii) financially fragile firms cut back on intangible capital investment compared to more resilient firms, which isone plausible way through which financial frictions undermined productivity. All of these effectsare highly persistent and quantitatively large-possibly accounting on average for about a third of the post-crisis slowdown in within-firm total factor productivity growth. Furthermore, our results are not driven by more vulnerable firms being less productive or having experienced slowerproductivity growth before the crisis, or differing from less vulnerable firms along other dimensions.


"Compensation for Loss of Work Income in Personal Injury Cases" Free Download
CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6570

LEIF DANZIGER, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Economics, IZA Institute of Labor Economics
Northern Illinois University - Department of Economics

What is the appropriate lump-sum compensation for loss of work income in personal injury cases? Since generally future work income is not known with certainty, compensation for its loss must be based on statistical considerations. Typically, courts have based awards on mean or median work income, but apparently without meaningful grounding in economics. We use economic theory to address this issue. We find that the relation between the appropriate compensation and the mean and median work income depends on the uncertainties of work income and of consumption facilitated by the lump-sum compensation awarded, as well as the degree of risk aversion. Since the consumption uncertainty associated with compensation generally exceeds that associated with work income, we conclude that the lump-sum compensation should exceed mean and therefore median work income.

I gave up on them decades ago. Maybe it will get better now???

Japan's Economy Grows Again, in Longest Streak in 11 Years

8/15:  China’s love of US chicken feet proves a recipe for a perfect trade

Maybe they will stop North Korea for more chicken feet?

(This was actually in an update from the Financial Times. )



Strong employment gains in recent months have brought the jobless rate down to a historically-low 4.3%. However, this decline has not been accompanied by rising incomes or consumer prices, generally associated with a sustainable economic boom. Some Federal Reserve policymakers have found this trend puzzling, while many labor economists point to underlying weaknesses in the job market, including high levels of underemployment and long-term joblessness, as drags on income. 

Stagnant wages amid rising profits have meant that the wage share in US national income has fallen from 63% to 57% in the last 15 years

8/14: if Fed officials tighten monetary policy at the first sign of wage increases, they will never allow the imbalances that have built up, including deep income disparities, to be torn down. Average hourly earnings rose just 2.5% on a yearly basis in July, nothing to write home about and certainly not enough to begin the ground lost over the last decade and more.


Business investment, which is key to long-run economic growth, has also been dismal during the now eight-year expansion.

"There is no precedent for the weakness of investment in the current cycle. Nearly ten years later, real investment spending remains less than 10% above its 2007 peak," Mason writes.

"This is slow even relative to the anemic pace of GDP growth, and extremely low by historical standards. In the three previous [economic] cycles lasting that long, real investment spending had increased anywhere from 30% to 80%. Even shorter cycles saw substantially greater investment growth."

Global agriculture towards 2050

The issue of no food will lead to a conflict 'like the world has never seen'  (If trump can use that, so can I)

I do not believe our civilization will make it to 2200

8/14: Neurohacking:

In 2016, a group of American and Japanese neuroscientists, led by Hakwan Lau, reconditioned the brain to remove traumatic fears. They used a so-called neurohacking approach: They first identified threatening stimuli in the brain and then offset their negative connotation by associating them with pleasant stimuli, such as rewards. The promise of neurohacking is that debilitating fears—such as arachnophobia or, more seriously, post-traumatic stress disorder—could be reduced or even eliminated. Neurohacking also offers a revolutionary path forward for reducing cognitive biases, such as status quo bias or regret aversion, which can be attributed to a natural fear of change.

8/14: Cyclical Population Dynamics of Automatic Versus Controlled Processing: An Evolutionary Pendulum

8/14: Habits

a 2017 study examined 38 natural field experiments that were designed to reduce energy consumption. Once the treatment ended, energy savings persisted in only 35 to 55 percent of nudge campaigns. The researchers concluded that “there is still much that we do not understand about habit formation and ways to induce changes in such.”

Recent research in Neuron provides the strongest evidence to date that habit formation is a matter of controlling the level of activity in a specific brain region called the orbitofrontal cortex.

Until a behavioral change is associated with a tangible brain change in such keys cortical areas, it’s unlikely to become a habit and thus unlikely to persist over time. Years of neuroscience studies have shown that only persistent behavior change leaves traces of habit formation in our brain

adding irrelevant neuroscience information increases the perceived quality of psychological explanations. For example, including images of the brain makes bad explanations sound more authoritative and believable. This “neuroscience bias” may result from the common view that “the brain is the best explanation for mental phenomena.”

How can we distinguish neuroscience from neurobabble? A good first step is to heed the advice of neuroscientist Molly Crockett: “If someone tries to sell you something with a brain on it, don’t just take them at their word. Ask the tough questions, ask to see the evidence, ask for the part of the story that’s not being told. The answers shouldn’t be simple, because the brain is not simple.” And beyond the threat of neurobabble, we must also realize that although neuroscientific techniques like sleep conditioning can be used for good—to help people reduce their biases—they have more malicious applications too.


In developed economies, for example, the unemployment rate is close to cyclical lows reached in 2007, the money supply is rising nicely and so are asset prices (too nicely for some!). In many respects, therefore, the global economy is starting to look a bit more “normal.”

8'14: Inflation

During the precrisis period, global headline inflation was boosted by rapid increases in oil and commodity prices driven by rapid industrialization in emerging economies, especially China. But core inflation rarely approached 2% during this period (Display). This suggests that many of the forces holding inflation down might be structural in nature, like demographics or technology.

A Cancer Conundrum: Too Many Drug Trials, Too Few Patients

The problem is that many of the trials are uninteresting from a scientific view, said Dr. Roy Herbst, the center’s chief of medical oncology. The companies sponsoring these trials are not addressing new research questions, he said; they are trying to get proprietary drugs approved.

If the struggle to find patients for immunotherapy trials is challenging, finding patients for another new type of cancer treatment can be next to impossible.

EFM- I think the general consumer/patient does not know that something may be available to help them 

Dollar down

What has long been considered an indomitable haven — the American dollar — may no longer be a sure thing. Since the beginning of the year,
the dollar has surrendered nearly 8 percent against major currencies.

EFM- Well, where will investors go? Dollar is still the best global bet. But if North Korea does...........................

8/13: Finances after 2008

Pay attention to everything

        The financial crisis that began in the US housing market had turned, by August 2007, into a full-blown global credit crunch that plunged countries around the world into recession. In the US, the economic downturn was the deepest since 1945 and the longest since the Great Depression.The US economy had made back that lost ground by 2011, but knock-on sovereign debt crises in the eurozone would delay many European economies’ recovery — and for some, the ground has still not been made up. Unemployment in Greece remains at 23 per cent, some 15 percentage points higher than in 2007

8/13" People who work out for about seven hours a week have a 40 percent lower risk of dying early compared with those who exercise less than 30 minutes a week

8/13: Blacks and Hispanics and degrees

A new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that while college-educated African Americans and Hispanics had more assets than those without degrees, grads typically fared worse in the face of financial turmoil.

College graduation and home ownership rates among both of those minority groups have soared over the last two decades, delivering more African American and Hispanic families into the middle class. Yet a crippling economic recession erased much of those gains for many families, who remain mired in debt and struggling to reverse the devastation.

Having a degree in hand has opened up a world of financial opportunities for African Americans and Hispanics. The median income of African American and Hispanic graduates in 2013 was at least twice as high, and the median family wealth—retirement accounts and homes—was nearly four times greater than people from those groups without degrees, according to the report.

Despite the financial gains afforded by a college degree, African American and Hispanic graduates suffer greater losses of wealth than their less-educated counterparts.

Between 1992 and 2013, median wealth declined by about 56 percent among college-educated African Americans versus 3.8 percent among African-Americans without degrees, who may have had less to lose. The findings are striking for Hispanics as those with degrees during that time witnesses a 27 percent decline in net worth, while those without degrees actually recorded a median 31 percent growth in wealth, according to the report.

8/13: High Yield bonds

After returning approximately 1.15% in July, high yield bonds are now providing returns of approximately 5.41% in 2017, with CCC rated bonds (7.89%) outperforming BB rated bonds (5.11%).1,2,3 Declining to near a three-year low of 5.40% in late July, high yield bond yields have since widened to 5.74% as commodity price volatility and an increase in new-issue volume have taken some steam out of the recent rally

EFM- I have watched these for a long time and used them rarely. But it may be worth more than a second chance since returns have been very good

8/13: Inflation and productivity

From a year earlier, core consumer prices rose 1.7%.9 The report marked the latest sign of weakening inflation pressures and rounded out a week of relatively lackluster U.S. economic data. Earlier, the Labor Department said U.S. worker productivity increased at an annual rate of 0.9% in the second quarter, up from a 0.1% growth rate in the first quarter of 2017.10 At 1.2%, year-over-year growth showed a modest pickup in worker productivity.10 However, it remains subdued by historical standards and shows few signs of breaking out of the slow growth that has persisted over the past decade.11

EFM- I did not think that our economy would be strong enough for three yield increases. It's a tossup- unless North Korea sullies the water. If it is bad, look to a global destabilization and a potential recession. Of course, maybe it might  be Venezuela .that causes the problem.

8/13: Can you hear me now??

Communication for someone with a hearing impairment can be challenging, but you can make a few simple adjustments to ensure the family gathering is an inclusive and pleasant experience for everyone.

Position Yourself to Be Heard and Seen

It is important that you are in the best position to be heard, as well as seen, by a person with hearing loss. Face the person directly so that your face, especially your mouth, is in plain sight. Do not obstruct your mouth with your hands, or eat or drink, while trying to communicate.

If the person with hearing loss has a favorable ear, be sure to sit on that side of them. When initiating conversation, be sure you have their attention so that you are both focused on the conversation and no words are lost or misunderstood. It is difficult for anyone to jump into a conversation or respond to questions when they have not heard what was spoken or asked of them.

Consider the lighting or other distractions as well, and avoid interferences from obscuring the vision of the person with hearing loss.

Communicate Clearly

Speak in a clear, concise manner without shouting and overemphasizing. It is a common mistake for people to speak excessively slowly or loudly to a person with hearing loss, which can lead to unnecessary hurt feelings and embarrassment. In fact, exaggerated speech may even make it more difficult for the person to hear what you are saying, as words can sound distorted.

If the person is having trouble understanding what you are saying, try rephrasing your words rather than repeating them. Sometimes saying something in a different way can be less complicated and make it easier for the him or her to understand you.

Consider the fact that we don’t just communicate with our words, we also use facial expressions and gestures, so be sure to use these visual cues when speaking with someone with hearing loss.

Reduce Background Noise

Background noise can be very distracting as well. The noise of the television, radio or multiple conversations taking place around you can obscure the words you are saying. Turn off background noise and relocate to a quieter area to have the best possible conversation.

In addition to hearing loss, people with hearing impairments can also be sensitive to loud noises. Be mindful of this when considering background noise.

Encourage Seniors to Wear Their Devices

Seniors have lots of legitimate reasons for not wearing their hearing aids or other hearing devices. Often, the cause comes down to simple discomfort. Help ensure that the senior is wearing the hearing aid properly, the volume level is adequate and that it fits properly. If they complain about any of these issues you should get them in touch with their doctor or audiologist so that modifications can be made, or their hearing can be checked to identify any additional loss or problems.

Introduce the Concept of Perceptive Listening

What is perceptive listening? It’s using perception, context, visual cues and pieces of the conversation the person has heard to figure out what has been said. Encouraging the senior in your life to use perceptive listening (which is a skill that, like any other, should be practiced), will help them to regain some independence when it comes to communicating with family, as well as with people outside the home.

Show Patience and Understanding

Most importantly, when communicating with someone who is experiencing hearing loss, be patient and understanding. Hearing loss can have a profound effect on a person’s life and can cause frustration, social withdrawal and depression. It is important to include people with hearing loss in conversation, and make your best effort to accommodate their needs. Doing this will ensure that family gatherings are a fun-filled experience for everyone!


8/13 policy sample review

Many carriers are decreasing the conversion period and the number of products to convert to.

8/13: ETFs

    passive and quantitative investors now account for about 60 per cent of the US equity asset management industry, up from under 30 per cent a decade ago. This is changing market flows in potentially unpredictable ways that investors and regulators do not entirely understand, and spawning some esoteric products. This year, for example, investors have rushed into an obscure “Inverse Vix” ETF that benefits from low volatility. This ETF is now the world’s 34th most actively traded equity security, exchanging hands more often than the stock of Chevron or Pfizer, and has returned almost 100 per cent this year. It appears to have distorted measures of volatility this year, creating an impression of calm

Cancer's Newest Miracle Cure

A most interesting article from NYTimes. This cure may have legs to cover many different types into full remission

8/13: And we are going to have a balanced budget WHEN????

The US Army is reportedly $7 billion to $9 billion short of the money it needs to start modernizing the force

8/13: That is very low UK GDP

    Economic growth in the UK appears to be losing a little momentum, weighed down by a sluggish performance in the services sector, according to estimates from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.The think-tank said on Thursday that gross domestic product in the UK grew by 0.2 per cent in the three months to July, after notching up 0.3 per cent of growth in the second quarter. Niesr said the UK economy “continues to grow below its long run trend of 0.6 per cent”.

expects GDP to expand by 1.7 per cent this year

EFM I know that the U.S. has an extremely low unemployment rate but I will be interested to see a full year GDP. Of course, North Korea is a wild card to anything. Actually, NK should never have happened like this. Clinton, Bush and Obama let it spiral out of 'control'.

An insurance agent stalking a client


"Too Lucky to Be True - Fairness Views Under the Shadow of Cheating" Free Download
CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6563

STEFANIA BORTOLOTTI, University of Cologne - Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences, University of Bologna - Department of Economics
Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Economics
Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, University of Cologne - Department of Economics
University of Cologne

The steady increase in inequality over the past decades has revived a lively debate about what can be considered a fair distribution of income. Public support for the extent of redistribution typically depends on the perceived causes of income inequality, such as differences in effort, luck, or opportunities. We study how fairness views and the extent of redistribution are affected by a hitherto overlooked, but relevant factor: immoral self-serving behavior that can lead to increased inequality. We focus on situations in which the rich have potentially acquired their fortunes by means of cheating. In an experiment, we let third parties redistribute resources between two stakeholders who could earn money either by choosing a safe amount or by engaging in a risky, but potentially more profitable, investment. In one treatment, the outcome of the risky investment is determined by a random move, while in another treatment stakeholders can cheat to obtain the more profitable outcome. Although third parties cannot verify cheating, we find that the mere suspicion of cheating changes fairness views of third parties considerably and leads to a strong polarization. When cheating opportunities are present, the share of subjects redistributing money from rich to poor stakeholders triples and becomes as large as the fraction of libertarians - i.e., participants who never redistribute. Without cheating opportunities, libertarian fairness views dominate, while egalitarian views are much less prevalent. These results indicate that fairness views and attitudes towards redistribution change significantly when people believe that income inequality is the result of cheating by the rich.

8/11: Mental health and races

8/11: What a study of correlations reveals about diversification

8/11: From one of my readers

Dear E.F.Moody,

I have been following your "Gripes" page for several years. I think I came across it during an Internet search about how fees impact investment results. During the time when you still had a page with all sorts of links. 

 Let me just say that I have learned a lot, and check your page regularly, notwithstanding your sometimes off-color jokes (eyeroll). While I am far from being an expert, thanks to your page and other sources, I believe that by now I have a decent financial knowledge that helps me to actively plan ahead in accordance with my risk tolerance.

 Since I am currently in the throws of a comprehensive pre-retirement financial review, including a rebalancing of my investments, just today your link to the Vanguard index fund comparison is very useful. 

 I have also referred several friends and colleagues to your writings about how to care for loved ones with Alzheimers, dementia etc.

 So, thank you for compiling all this helpful information and I hope you will continue to do so.

"It is easier to stay out than get out."
Mark Twain

8/11: Womens pay state by state

8/10: The world's 10 most volatile currencies

British pound
Japanese Yen
New Zealand
Norwegian Krone
Australian Dollar
South Korean Won
Canadian Dollar
Danish Krone

8/10: REtirement in various countries


Must be throwing spit balls

8/10: Vanguard index funds

Vanguard has a “one stop” offering for investors wishing to simplify their exposure to the U.S. equity market, namely the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index fund (VTSMX).

VTSMX purportedly attempts to represent the performance of U.S. large-cap, mid-cap and small-cap stocks. But, it doesn’t. Rather, it primarily replicates the performance of Vanguard 500 Index.

Nice friend

8/9. Employees dying earlier  Bloomberg

In 2015, the American death rate—the age-adjusted share of Americans dying—rose slightly for the first time since 1999. And over the last two years, at least 12 large companies, from Verizon to General Motors, have said recent slips in mortality improvement have led them to reduce their estimates for how much they could owe retirees by upward of a combined $9.7 billion, according to a Bloomberg analysis of company filings. “Revised assumptions indicating a shortened longevity,” for instance, led Lockheed Martin to adjust its estimated retirement obligations downward by a total of about $1.6 billion for 2015 and 2016, it said in its most recent annual report.

As regards social security- The most recent data available “show continued mortality reductions that are generally smaller than those projected,” according to a July report from the program’s chief actuary. Longevity gains fell short of what was projected in last year’s report, leading to a slight improvement in the program’s financial outlook

Death rates for Americans over the age of 50 have improved, on average, by 1 percent each year since 1950, according to an by the Society of Actuaries, though there’s a lot of variation in any given year. From 2000 to 2009, that long-term trend seemed to be accelerating, with annual improvements of 1.5 to 2 percent—but then those gains stalled. From 2010 to 2014, death rates were only improving by about half a percent per year.
In 1970, a 65-year-old American could to live another 15.2 years on average, until just past their 80th birthday. By 2010, a 65-year-old could expect to live to 84.
But the increases have slowed down since then. Life expectancy at 65 rose by just about four months between 2010 and 2015—half the improvement recorded between 2005 and 2010.

The broader trend isn’t unique to the U.S. A July from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the United Kingdom found that the U.S., Canada, and Britain have all experienced similarly slowing gains since 2011. That report suggested the combination of the recession and cuts to social safety-net programs may have played a role. “These signs should be taken as warnings that worsened health care, behaviour and environment can reverse decades of success in health and longevity,”

8/9: Blunt Climate Report

A small difference in global temperatures can make a big difference in the climate: The difference between a rise in global temperatures of 1.5 degrees Celsius and one of 2 degrees Celsius, for example, could mean longer heat waves, more intense rainstorms and the faster disintegration of coral reefs

the draft report finds it “extremely likely” that more than half of the global mean temperature increase since 1951 can be linked to human influence.

The average annual temperature in the United States will continue to rise, the authors write, making recent record-setting years “relatively common” in the near future. It projects increases of 5.0 to 7.5 degrees Fahrenheit (2.8 to 4.8 degrees Celsius) by the late century, depending on the level of future emissions.

It says the average annual rainfall across the country has increased by about 4 percent since the beginning of the 20th century. Parts of the West, Southwest and Southeast are drying up, while the Southern Plains and the Midwest are getting wetter.

“It is very likely that the accelerated rate of Arctic warming will have a significant consequence for the United States due to accelerating land and sea ice melting that is driving changes in the ocean including sea level rise threatening our coastal communities,” the report says.

Human activity, the report goes on to say, is a primary culprit

8/9: Difference in 20 year allocations

At year-end 2015, 401(k) plan participants in their 20s held 80% of their aggregate assets in equities, compared to 77% for their 1996 counterparts. In 1996, savers in their 20s allocated 55% of their aggregate assets to equity funds, but the year-end 2015 data shows the level dropping to 28% of assets invested in equity funds for that same age group. In addition, the share of assets that 401(k) participants in their 20s allocated to company stock fell from 17% in 1996 to 5% at year-end 2015, the report shows.

Balanced Funds and TDFs

So what gives? “One factor influencing this trend is that today’s younger investors are relying more on the automatic rebalancing feature of target-date funds to keep their assets allocated in an age-appropriate way as they progress through their careers,”

EFM- REbalancing in this market to bonds is a fool's game. Yields are horrid and the FED is raising rates. So is all the education and marketing of TDFs wrong??

YEP- not all obviously, but the risk scenario is way off base.

....these trends also are similar among all age groups in the database. Overall for the period 1996 to 2015, allocations to company stock decreased from 19% to 7%, allocations to equity funds decreased from 53% to 43%, and balanced funds increased from 7% of assets to 25%.

Further noting the increasing popularity of TDFs, the EBRI/ICI 401(k) database shows that investments in TDFs increased in 2015 to 20% of assets, up from 5% at year-end 2006, and nearly half of the 401(k) participants tracked in the database held these funds.

In addition, recently hired participants allocated a larger portion of their balances to them. At year-end 2015, 60% of recently hired participants held TDFs and accounted for more than one-third of their assets

8/9: No country for old men:

(Look at all the statistics you want. Then check the bold print. If that is true, there will be no retirement anywhere close to what they expected.)

The Blackstone Group conducted an internet-based survey in October of a nationwide sample of 1,000 Americans age 52 to 70 with an annual household income of between $30,000 and $100,000. The survey included questions about middle-income boomers’ feelings at three points in time: in 2006 (before the financial crisis), during the financial crisis and today.

Only 51% of respondents felt the economy had recovered somewhat from the financial crisis, and 2% said it had fully recovered. The remaining 47% did not believe the economy had recovered at all.

Two-thirds of boomers said they had not personally benefited from any economic recovery since 2007. Of these, 52% reported that their savings were lower today than before the financial crisis.

A Fraught Retirement

The CSR noted in a statement that before the crash, middle-income boomers were already contending with a “new retirement” stemming from changes to their retirement programs, as employers shifted away from defined benefit plans such as pensions to defined contribution plans, primarily 401(k) plans.

Today, middle-income boomers’ outlook for a secure retirement is full of uncertainty, according to the survey.

Only 31% felt well prepared or very well prepared for retirement, down from 41% before the financial crisis. Confidence that retirement would be personally satisfying was also down, to 37% from 44% before the crisis.

A recent report showed that boomers had many goals still unmet for a comfortable retirement.

The CSR survey found that 57% of boomers felt confident in meeting daily financial obligations, compared with 65% before the crisis.

Still, respondents’ confidence in their ability to make smart investments decisions were near pre-crisis levels, 47% today versus 50%.

The survey found that middle-income boomers were adapting their expectations to meet the realities of this new retirement.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they were worried about another financial crisis in their lifetime.

More than eight in 10 reported taking actions to manage their spending behavior since the start of the 2007 crisis, such as reducing their discretionary expenses and recurring monthly expenses or creating and maintaining a household budget.

Twenty-eight percent said they had built up an emergency fund, and 17% were saving a larger percentage of their paycheck than before the crisis.

A recent report examined how prepared Americans are for retirement.

Three-quarters of boomers in the CSR study reported that they had changed their investment behavior as a result of the financial crisis, most often taking defensive measures: 28% were making more conservative investment choices and 18% were regularly reviewing and adjusting investments.

One in four said they no longer invested at all.

Just about all of middle-income boomers said they still planned to retire, but retirement will look different that before the crisis in terms of income, work and debt.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they expected to rely on Social Security for their primary source of retirement income, compared with 30% before the crisis, while 19% both before the crisis and today cited an employer pension.

Before the crisis, about a third of middle-income boomers expected to work full time or part time in retirement. Today, nearly half said they expected to work at least part time.

Only 34% of boomers said they would retire free of debt, down from 45% before the crisis.

Ten years ago, 23% expected to have savings to pass along to heirs, while today only 16% said they would leave an inheritance.

8/8: Math ability men and women

8/8: Do you take prescriptions??  Do your parents?????

Read this.


8/7: Fidelity’s analysis found of the 21% not deferring enough to get the full match, roughly half are only one to two percentage points away

8/7: This is about Venezuela but it reflects a consist4ency of fraud, corruption et al in most of South America. I had tried to give Mexico a break years ago but that blew up too. South America has vast lands, people who will work and we keep ending up with this type of crap.

Mounting crisis in Venezuela.
This week, after an election that was widely denounced as fraudulent, the United States labeled Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro a dictator and issued new sanctions against him. In a new video primer, watch Dany Bahar, Samantha Gross, and Ted Piccone discuss the current situation, what Maduro is likely to do next, and how the international community can respond.

EFM- I have given up for SA in terms of investing. I don't know if it will EVER get its act together. Find some place else to invest

8/7:This guy is brilliant. You don't always have to accept his position but you sure better know about it.

Roubini : A Dim Outlook for Trumponomics
NEW YORK – Now that US President Donald Trump has been in office for six months, we can more confidently assess the prospects for the US economy and economic policymaking under his administration. And, like Trump’s presidency more generally, paradoxes abound.
The main puzzle is the disconnect between the performance of financial markets and the real. While stock markets continue to reach new highs, the US economy grew at an average rate of just 2% in the first half of 2017 – slower growth than under President Barack Obama – and is not expected to perform much better for the rest of the year.
Stock-market investors continue to hold out hope that Trump can push through policies to stimulate growth and increase corporate profits. Moreover, sluggish wage growth implies that inflation is not reaching the US Federal Reserve’s target rate, which means that the Fed will have to normalize interest rates more slowly than expected.
Lower long-term interest rates and a weaker dollar are good news for US stock markets, and Trump’s pro-business agenda is still good for individual stocks in principle, even if the air has been let out of the so-called Trump reflation trade. And there is now less reason to worry that a massive fiscal-stimulus program will push up the dollar and force the Fed to raise rates. In view of the Trump administration’s political ineffectiveness, it is safe to assume that if there is any stimulus at all, it will be smaller than expected.

  1. Personality matters: Relevance and assessment of personality characteristics




Miloš Kankaraš

Personality characteristics shape human behaviour and influence a wide range of life events and outcomes. They do so not only through their direct effects on life outcomes, but also through their indirect effects on other important personal factors and intermediate life events, such as the development of cognitive capacities, the attainment of educational qualifications and the formation of a family. As such, personality characteristics have a demonstrable relevance for a wide range of policy issues and represent an important, although often neglected, subject of policy interest. This paper reviews the scientific literature covering a wide range of personality characteristics, discussing their conceptualisations and main features, their relevance for important outcomes in life and work, and the chief ways they are measured. It aims to provide a comprehensive overview of various attributes of personality from the perspective of their potential importance for the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), taking into account their analytical potential and policy relevance. The paper also outlines and evaluates the most important measurement instruments for each personality characteristic, with a focus on short self-report scales as the most appropriate form for inclusion in large-scale international surveys. Finally, it presents some considerations related to the evaluation and promotion of personality characteristics and introduces the substantive and measurement criteria that could be used to select the personality attributes, and related measurement scales, to include in large-scale surveys.


8/7: And just another mess you got me into Ollie.

PBGC’s multiemployer program: Out of cash by 2025?

By Nick Thornton

PBGC's multiemployer program that insures collectively bargained defined benefit pensions of about 10.5 million participants is "in serious trouble,"

EFM This has  been going on for years. 

However see above a retirees are dying earlier

8/7: How to Start the Conversation About Dementia-some good stuff

I have had a couple children who simply refused to recognize their mother had dementia. Tough to work around denial. And since the mother was incompetent, they really needed to try and get a release from her when she might be competent (usually the morning, witnesses needed) or try for a conservatorship.

8/7:Absolutely necessary.The return to a hospital is not only costly but impacts the elderly's health  severely

Under Trump, Hospitals Face Same Penalties Embraced by Obama
"Amid all the turbulence over the future of the [ACA], one facet continues unchanged: President Donald Trump's administration is penalizing more than half the nation's hospitals for having too many patients return within a month. Medicare is punishing 2,573 hospitals, just two dozen short of what it did last year under former President Barack Obama ... Starting in October, the federal government will cut those hospitals' payments by as much as 3 percent for a year."

8/7: Great idea- gps and Alzheimers. They review 10 GPS systems

A behavior that commonly affects those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, wandering can lead to death or serious injury. Disorientation caused by the disease makes even familiar surroundings seem unfamiliar to seniors, causing many people with dementia to get into dangerous situations.

Fortunately, elderly GPS tracking devices and technology have introduced a new way for caregivers and families to prevent the dangers of wandering in senior loved ones. R


8/3: Iraq's weather service warned on Thursday that temperatures will increase next week in most parts of the country, with the highs expected to reach 51 degrees Celsius, or about 124 degrees Fahrenheit

EFM- a few more  degrees and it makes life unsustainable for humans

8/3:    5 Worst States for Diabetes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 12.6% of U.S. adults age 20 and older have diabetes, and about one-quarter of the members of that group are unaware they have the condition. The numbers are much worse for older Americans. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimates that almost 26% of those age 65 and older are diabetic.

there are some steps all people with diabetes can take to can improve their offers of coverage, including: 8/3:I'll drink to that

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics recently released its findings on alcohol use in the United States.

The States With the Highest Reported Heavy Drinking Rates

1. Alaska: 8.6%

2. Wisconsin: 8.2%

3. Maine: 8.1%

4. Vermont: 7.7%

5. Montana: 7.7%


8/3:Greenspan: No Bubble in Stocks, but Look Out When Bonds Pop
Equity bears hunting for excess in the stock market might be better off worrying about bond prices, Alan Greenspan says.

EFM- The bond debacle has been on my plate for a couple years as interest rates were supposed to rise precipitously. Taking a lot longer but another rise by the FED could make the market tumble. 

8/2: Let's skip school

We’ve made almost no progress reducing chronic absenteeism.
In the latest blog post from Evidence Speaks, Brian Jacob and Kelly Lovett find that despite local and state efforts over the last 20 years, chronic school absenteeism remains an ever-present issue in U.S. schools. Jacob and Lovett outline the causes, consequences, and possible solutions to the problem.

EFM- Those that do not get a high school diploma are relegated to low income tedious work. And they will lose those to simple robots. Then you have a bunch of kids with nothing to do but join gangs and ......................

8/1: Blah, blah, blah

Researches at Facebook shut down an artificial intelligence (AI) program after it created its own language.

The researchers’ encounter with the mysterious AI behavior is similar to a number of cases documented elsewhere. In every case, the AI diverged from its training in English to develop a new language.

The phrases in the new language make no sense to people, but contain useful meaning when interpreted by AI bots.

Per Elon Musk- “AI is the rare case where I think we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive,“Because I think by the time we are reactive in AI regulation, it’ll be too late.”

EFM- Is it already too late??? Think of those high frequency stock programs. The AI's of competitors have probably been doing  it for years.

8/1 Opiods

approximately 142 Americans dying every day,’ ‘America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks.’ A commission, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, states that the goals of such a declaration would be to ‘force Congress to focus on funding’ and to ‘awaken every American to this simple fact: if this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will.’” The commission’s report also includes a number of recommendations to deal with the ballooning opioid epidemic, such as expanding capacity for drug treatment under Medicaid, increasing use of medication-assisted treatments for opioid disorders, and mandating that local law enforcement officers carry naloxone.

“State and Local Pension Plan Funding Sputters in FY 2016”

by Jean-Pierre Aubry, Caroline V. Crawford, and Alicia H. Munnell


The brief’s key findings are:

8/1: India smog

A World Health Organization (WHO)’s study of 1,600 cities ranks the national capital Delhi as the most polluted. Air pollution was 40 times more than permissible safety limits prescribed by the WHO and 15 times greater than Indian standards.

8/1: Americans’ Personal Financial Satisfaction Hits 10-Year High

EFM- I do not see this same optimism. Russia and particularly North Korea have put us in a box. The Russia mess may calm down but an aggressive North Korea won't really be interested   in a negotiated  settlement to nuclear arms unless the away the store. No matter the settlement, NK will  dislodge  itself soon after and create another larger problem. They have broken all their promises before and I see no reason why it will not continue.

  1. Extended Gini-type measures of risk and variability




Mohammed Berkhouch ; Ghizlane Lakhnati

The main of this paper is to introduce a family of risk measures which generalizes the Gini-type measures of risk and variability, by taking into consideration the psychological behavior. Our risk measures family is coherent and catches variability with respect to the decision-maker attitude towards risk.


8/1: 8 Things You Should Know About ALS-  worth reading

It's what killed Sam Shepard. Roughly 35,000 Americans suffer from ALS. That's just 1 or 2 people per 100,000,

If you are wondering about Stephen Hawking, he has the slow type ALS. Shepard had the fast one

8/1: WOW!!!

Brexit will push up costs for banks by as much as 4 per cent and their capital requirements will rise up to 30 per cent, according to the most detailed assessment yet of what Britain’s departure from the EU means for the sector.

The findings by consultants Oliver Wyman will make grim reading for its bank clients, many of which are struggling with low profitability. They come a day after HSBC became the first lender to put a price tag on Brexit, saying the immediate disruption would cost it $200m-$300m.

EFM I am still trying to figure out the ultimate impact of Brexit but this is pretty bad

Then again we have Russia, North Korea as major danger points. At least someone told Scaamucci to piss off. 10 days was too long.

Trump has some decent staff on hand. But Trump needs to be toned down. If Kelly can calm him down- great. If not and Kelly resigns, kiss off this presidency. .

8/1: Top-Rated 529 College Savings Plans:

Plan (Advisor-sold) plan. Their direct-sold affiliates also made the 5-cap list.

7/31: Depression

the World Health Organization announced that more than 300 million people suffer from depression and that it's the leading cause of disability worldwide.

EFM= I knew that it impacted a huge number of people but not that it was the leading cause of disability. For those in the financial planning arena, if you recognize an inconsistency with you client, be careful. They do not necessarily understand what is really going on. The agent has to be careful in explaining everything in detail and taking copious notes. Do not expect such clients are acting rationality.

  1. Belief in Hard Work and Altruism: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment




Sule Alan (University of Essex) ; Seda Ertac (Koc University)

We show that optimistic beliefs regarding the role of effort in success, while leading to success, diminish the individual’s sympathy toward the unsuccessful. We generate random variation in the degree of optimism about the productivity of effort via an effective educational intervention. We find that treated children, holding significantly more optimistic beliefs, are no less likely than control to give to unlucky recipients, but significantly less likely to give to those who failed at a real effort task despite an opportunity to build skill. The results highlight possible unintended social effects of effort-focused optimism and have implications for political economy.


redistributive preferences, prosocial behavior, altruism, beliefs, fairness, field experiments


D31 D64 I24 I28


7/29: Fentanyl- 50 times more powerful than heroin.

Two to three milligrams of fentanyl—the equivalent of five to seven grains of table salt—is enough to cause respiratory depression, cardiac arrest or death

So what happens if a terrorist brings a sealed bottle on an airplane, train. into the air vent at hotels etc. Doesn't seem that there is a plan in place to stop this transfer. Easy way to kill everyone on an airplane including the pilots. 

7/28: Dangerous Drugs-- interesting. Worth a look

7/28: This means that the FED will raise rates again. And most bond values will drop\

U.S. economy rebounded strongly between the months of April and June following a weak first quarter, government data shows

The country’s gross domestic product, a broad measure of economic activity, grew 2.6 percent at an annualized pace, the Commerce Department said.

7/28: No school  today

Roughly 14 percent of students nationwide miss 10 percent or more of the school year, with rates much higher for black students and those with disabilities

EFM: No education equals a bad life overall.Yes, society must do more to get the students involved but it has to start with the family.

7/28:  A new study of more than 4,000 college students in the Netherlands found that those with access to recreational marijuana on average earned worse grades — and failed classes at a higher rate than their nonusing counterparts

7/28: residential construction

7/28"Insurance details

Lot of detail- primarily just for me

7/27: Cholera

Yemen is experiencing an outbreak of "unprecedented scale," according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Since April, more than 400,000 people have been infected, and close to 2,000 have died. More than 5,000 Yemenis are estimated to contract the disease, or have symptoms of cholera, on a daily basis. Children under age 15 account for more than 40% of all cases, and people over age 60 make up a third of all deaths from the disease.

"This outbreak is being driven by conflict, the collapse of the basic public services and malnutrition,"

EFM- you may wonder what tte issues on health are for. Forsaking the obvious, in 2050 there will  another 1.5 billion people on this earth. Certainly by then and guaranteed thereafter, a 'pox on your house' will decimate the world's population. If the climate gets much hotter, there will be no place to hide. Mother earth is standing by to take over once again.

Sleep apnea

More info and a free questionnaire.

No reasons, logic, rationalizations, or excuses make it okay to publicly embarrass colleagues or subordinates.

“Leaders take heed, it is quite simple but against the grain: Thou shalt not provoke public loss of face in employees.

The price to be paid is typically steep.

And the act of publicly demeaning employees is toxic, and it ultimately seeps into organizational culture.

It is not fun to be a member of a workplace where disapproval means a public flogging.”

Alan Goldman, a professor of management

7/27: Foot care: Pay attention. I am driving a neighbor to doctors after having part of both feet amputated. But she is not paying attention to what she knows she should do. Still smoking is the worst. No exercise. Eats wrong foods

Never soak your feet.

Never apply heat of any kind to your feet.

Never cut your own toenails, refer to a podiatrist or medical doctor.

Never go barefoot.

Never assume that the circulation or sensation in your feet is normal.

Never use strong medications on your feet (be careful of over-the- counter preparations).

Never allow corns or calluses to go untreated.

Never perform bathroom surgery on your feet.

Never wear shoes that do not fit properly.

Always wear white socks, as colored socks contain dyes.

Wear acrylic fiber socks, which are actually more absorbent than cotton as it "wicks" moisture way from the skin.

Never keep your feet too moist or dry.

Seek medical attention immediately if you have any questions about or problems with your feet.

7/27: Wound Care

Solid and detailed.  My neighbor isn't following this as well.

But the main problem is smoking. If she keeps this up, the next amputation will be the legs.


North Korea will be able to launch a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile as early as next year, U.S. officials warn in new assessment

Trump will state that it was Clinton's fault and that Sessions counted down the firing.
I try to keep politics out of the commentary but Trump crossed a red line months ago.

7/26: The statistics are overwhelming. Will football be banned?? All the world's attorneys will file against the league owners from now on for allowing serious injury to continue.

• 111 N.F.L. brains. 110 with disease.

An overwhelming number of football players in a new study were found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative disease linked to repeated blows to the head.

7/26: USA taxes compared to OCED countries

7/25: The downward spiral to dementia
Mary Muir, M.Ed.

This week has taken me on a journey I never wanted to take. For the first time, my mother does not know me. She has lost all connection to my face, my identity and my voice. For the past five years, Mom has been living with Alzheimer’s and lives in a rest home nearby. Every day, my husband and I have visited her and taken her out for a ride or for tea. It has been a special ritual that helped her quality of life and provided sensory stimulation Likewise, it has given us the satisfaction of knowing she looked forward to our times together.

In December, she became 100 years old. Even then, she was able to walk without a cane and chat about the simple joys of nature, trees, sunshine, clouds and changing weather. I often joked that she is my best teacher on focusing and coming into the present moment.

July 2009 will long live in my memory. It is the beginning of an ending. It marks the beginning of an end of life as we knew it and an ending of a life as her only child, her daughter.

After returning from a few days’ vacation, my husband and I were both shocked to find that my mom has “lost” any memory of us or the fact that we are married. She has forgotten entirely that we have been coming to see her daily for the past five years. She continues to ask me who I am, if I know where her daughter is and why her daughter never comes to visit.

I am familiar with the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. I knew that this could happen one day, although one is never prepared for the emotional impact of becoming a total stranger to your own mother.

These changes are further evidence that the disease in now progressing full scale to take away even the smallest consolations we had as caregivers and that she had lviing with Alzheimer’s.

Unless one has had an “up close and personal” encounter with a family member who has dementia, it is difficult to imagine the heartbreak it creates and the amount of emotional readjustment it demands from both caregiver and loved one.

I have been told that the best way to approach our visits now is to avoid making any reference to being her daughter. Unless she brings it up, I do not mention that I have been there to see her. In spite of the personal pain I am feeling, it is important to confront the reality and not walk away from her at a time when she is most vulnerable.

Consequently, I must now try to focus on the calmness and comfort I can bring to her. We have let go of titles and relationships. We are now just two pilgrims on this journey and our focus is on how to relate purely at the heart level. I am holding on to the moments of comfort in the midst of pain and suffering over a lifetime of lost memories.


7/24: This should worry us all.

IMF cuts growth forecasts for UK and US The IMF has cut its growth forecast for the UK economy this year to 1.7 per cent, citing tepid economic performance and uncertainty over Brexit. The 3 percentage point downgrade was the biggest it made to any of the advanced economies, although it also cut its forecast for the US to 2.1 per cent. The eurozone is expected to outperform the UK economy with 1.9 per cent growth. (FT. )

EFM- I do not believe the U.S. will see 3% growth for a long long time. The U.S. budget is in taters. 4% growth is a fabrication at best.

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

is a group of disorders that affect connective tissues, which are tissues that support the skin, bones, blood vessels, and other organs. Defects in connective tissues cause the signs and symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which vary from mildly loose joints to life-threatening complications.


"The Economics of Value Investing" Fee Download
NBER Working Paper No. w23563

KEWEI HOU, Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Finance
E. J. Ourso College of Business, Louisiana State University
University of Cincinnati
Ohio State University - Fisher College of Business, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

The investment CAPM provides an economic foundation for Graham and Dodd’s (1934) Security Analysis. Expected returns vary cross-sectionally, depending on firms’ investment, profitability, and expected investment growth. Empirically, many anomaly variables predict future changes in investment-to-assets, in the same direction in which these variables predict future returns. However, the expected investment growth effect in sorts is weak. The investment CAPM has different theoretical properties from Miller and Modigliani’s (1961) valuation model and Penman, Reggiani, Richardson, and Tuna’s (2017) characteristic model. In all, value investing is consistent with efficient markets.

Institutional subscribers to the NBER working paper series, and residents of developing countries may download this paper without additional charge at

Near death awareness

“They are very common among dying patients in hospice situations,”. “Those who are dying and seem to be in and out of this world and the ‘next’ one often find their deceased loved ones present, and they communicate with them. In many cases, the predeceased loved ones seem [to the dying person] to be aiding them in their ‘transition’ to the next world.”

EFM: Do NOT argue with them or tell them no one is really there. Find some nice way of moving the conversation elsewhere but there is no sense at all to try to get them to 'understand' reality. Most of that is gone already,

What can one say?????


"Making the House a Home: The Stimulative Effect of Home Purchases on Consumption and Investment" Fee Download
NBER Working Paper No. w23570

EFRAIM BENMELECH, Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Boston University - Department of Economics
Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management - Department of Finance

We introduce and quantify a new channel through which the housing market affects household spending: the home purchase channel. Using an event-study design with data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey, we show that households spend on average $3,700 more in the months before and the first year following a home purchase. This spending is concentrated in the home-related durables and home improvements sectors, which are complementary to the purchase of the house. Expenditures on nondurables and durables unrelated to the home remain unchanged or decrease modestly. We estimate that the home purchase channel played a substantial role in the Great Recession, accounting for one-third of the decline in home-related durables spending and a fifth of the decline in home maintenance and investment spending from 2005 to 2010, together totaling $14.3 billion annually.


Can You Put Your Retirement Plan on Autopilot?
"Having quality service providers is a good idea but they cannot relieve you, your company or your other in-house fiduciaries from all responsibility for investment and administrative decisions. Second, some financial advisory firms charge extra to act as 'investment managers.' You may find that the 'extra protection' afforded by this arrangement is not really worth the additional expense. Finally, consider other alternatives to mitigate fiduciary liability. This may include steps like adopting a suitable investment policy statement or obtaining fiduciary insurance."

EFM- actually you can. I just filed a patent showing how it can and should be done.

7/23: Potential” output forecasts are actually worthless

There are only two ways to interpret these forecasts. Either economists were ridiculously optimistic at the beginning of the millennium or the US economy spent the first decade of the 2000s operating far below its “potential”.

Standard theory* suggests the first interpretation is closer to the truth: technocrats at the central bank and the budget office were deluded into believing the anomaly of the late 1990s would continue indefinitely.

Their error seemed plausible at the time because both institutions had spent the second half of the 1990s consistently under-estimating the economy’s ability to grow.

Back in 1996, for example, the CBO expected “potential output” would only grow at a yearly average rate of “about 2.1 percent” from 1997-2006. That was about a percentage point slower than what actually happened, and about two percentage points slower than the average growth rate in 1997-2000. Similarly, the Fed’s staff economists thought potential output had a “2 percent trend” back in 1996.

By the time they’d finally corrected their earlier errors the world had changed again and they were left looking as foolish as people buying the S&P at a Shiller earnings multiple in the 40s.

EFM- You have seen my comments about long term trends. You may have to make some guesstimates when looking at retirement over 30 years or so. But you can only do so with  a range of probabilities.

But looking past 5 years for being definitive is a losing bet. If I come close  with inflation, returns, budget et al after 5 years I'd like to say I was good at projections. But it might be pure dumb luck as well.
That said, my warnings for recessions in 2000 and 2006 were 'spot on'.
Know why?????????????????/

7/23:Fewer children globally (Alana Semuels)

The explanation for the country’s low birth rate, one that has implications for the U.S.: Japan’s birth rate may be falling because there are fewer good opportunities for young people, and especially men, in the country’s economy. In a country where men are still widely expected to be breadwinners and support families, a lack of good jobs may be creating a class of men who don’t marry and have children because they—and their potential partners—know they can’t afford to.
“The gender stuff is pretty consistent with trends around the world—men are having a harder time,”  “The birth rate is down, even the coupling rate is down. And people will say the number-one reason is economic insecurity.”

Since the postwar years, Japan had a tradition of “regular employment,” as labor experts commonly call it, in which men started their careers at jobs that gave them good benefits, dependable raises, and the understanding that if they worked hard, they could keep their jobs until retirement. Now, according to Jeff Kingston, a professor at Temple University’s Japan campus and the author of several books about Japan, around 40 percent of the Japanese workforce is “irregular,” meaning they don’t work for companies where they have stable jobs for their whole careers, and instead piece together temporary and part-time jobs with low salaries and no benefits.

In a culture that places such an emphasis on men being breadwinners, this has serious implications for marriage and childbearing. Men who don’t have regular jobs are not considered desirable marriage partners; even if a couple wants to get married, and both have irregular jobs, their parents will likely oppose it, according to Ryosuke Nishida, a professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology who has written about unemployment among young workers. About 30 percent of irregular workers in their early 30s are married, compared to 56 percent of full-time corporate employees, according to Kingston. “Japan has this idea that the man is supposed to get a regular job,” said Nishida. “If you graduate and you don't find a job as a regular employee, people look at you as a failure.”

7/23: Very low volatility


Since the 1950s, 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced, about half of it since 2004.

A new study analyzes the material, most of which doesn’t naturally degrade.

7/23: Trump threw Sessions under a bus. Maybe Rex Tillerson???

ExxonMobil has sued the US Treasury in an attempt to stop a fine for allegations it behaved with “reckless disregard” for violating Russian sanctions while Rex Tillerson, now US secretary of state, was chief executive in 2014.

The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control fined Exxon the maximum penalty of $2m in what it called an “egregious” case, saying it had failed to disclose breaches of sanctions over deals with Igor Sechin, chief executive of Russia’s state-controlled oil group Rosneft. (FT)

7/23: I had no idea of the average cost of a wedding was this high. I could buy a whole mess of fishing gear with that amount of money. (A number of fish are now laughing hysterically since my catch rate ability recently is terrible.)

the average cost of a wedding in the US in 2016 was $35,329. The site also found that Americans spend an average of $6,162 on an engagement ring, and estimates that a plain gold or platinum wedding band will run you about $1,000, depending on the retailer.

7 best, 7 worst regions in U.S. for life expectancy

the county in which you live can add—or subtract—as much as 20 years, or even more, from your lifespan.

7/20: Just too high. When this bubble breaks,  the losses could be/will be worse than 2008

(FT) US tech stocks have broken a record, surging past their dotcom bubble peak. The S&P 500 information technology index, which measures the largest companies in the industry, rose for the ninth consecutive day on Wednesday, closing up 0.6 per cent at 992.29. That compares with the previous record of 988.49 on March 27 2000. The rally continued in Europe on Thursday, but at a gentler pace. The Euro Stoxx technology index was 0.2 per cent higher by late morning. All eyes will be on Microsoft today, when the world’s largest software company reports earnings.

It is 17 years since the crash of tech stocks after dotcom mania and the long crawl back by the sector. “Earnings are a lot more solid now,” one expert said. But money managers are still hesitant on the sector. Banks have overtaken tech stocks as the most overweighted sector, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s most recent fund manager survey

Why Your Weight Is a Bigger Cancer Risk Than Smoking

7/18: Social Security’s Financial Outlook: The 2017 Update in Perspective

The brief’s key findings are:

7/18: When caregiving ends

Grief is often a foreign feeling for most until they are faced with it head on. When you lose a loved one, it can be hard to do much of anything, but life must go on. From the heirloom furniture passed through generations to old love notes, choices are thrust into your lap whether you are ready or not. Decisions are immense or can be something as simple as what to do about the food in your loved one’s cabinets.

For some, settling an estate and sorting through the items left behind brings closure. For others, it can make a difficult time even worse. Here are five tips to honor your loved one and yourself during this difficult time:

Take a moment

After the initial loss, grief is forefront to other emotions and life feels chaotic. Advice comes from every direction whether you ask for it or not. Many will tell you to hurry through the sorting and delegating of items. Personally, I advise clients to take a moment, and a deep breath before you make hasty decisions. This will prevent future family arguments and possible regrets.

If finances and circumstances allow, give yourself a good 30 days before jumping into any major decision-making in the dissolution of your loved one’s legacy. Also, you need to use this time to move through your grief and find healing. If you push it away or ignore it, grief will manifest in disruptive and painful ways. This is your time to process it in its freshest state.

Don’t do it alone 

If your family works well together, use this time to revisit old memories. Choose what physical talismans of those memories you wish to hold onto.

If you find yourself explaining and justifying your choices to your friends or family, they are not the right ones to assist you during this time. Look for someone who is empathetic. Try to involve individuals around you that allow you to make choices without judgment.

Ideal supporters at this time are organized and show up with an open and clear mind.

Honor their memory.

Of the items you will keep or distribute to friends and family, there is likely to be a surplus of belongings that can be useful to someone not in the immediate family. Not every member of the family even wants to take your loved one’s items. But who should get these items?

Focus on local organizations. Small non-profits and thrift organizations can thrive from your donations. Make choices that feel good and honor the wishes of your loved one. Think about organizations that were important to them, and their beliefs. If they did not have a connection with any organization, what charities are important to you? Through selecting organizations that resonate with you or your loved one, the entire process can be a healing one that benefits many.

Keep track of your decisions.

Six months to a year after you dissolve your loved one’s material legacy, when the dust clears from the darkness, different individuals might inquire about particular objects. How about dad’s golf clubs? Mom’s crystal glasses? The family photos?

This is where your helpful, empathetic friend comes into play again. Have them help you keep track of your decisions. You are then able to look back and know what decisions you made. Knowing what went where will be incredibly efficient in the long run. List each item and assign it a number, then add the location the item came from and who/where the item is going. This offers peace of mind, and prevents future arguments.

Take care of yourself

This process is difficult, but you need to prioritize your needs, too. Your basic needs such as hydration, nutrition, and rest are essential during this period. You might not feel like doing much of anything, but covering the basics will preserve your future well-being and health. It is easy to be distracted by the emotions and the intimidating amount of work that lies ahead.

Sickness is common in this period, as your body responds to the grief and stress. Don’t neglect your health, job, friends, other family members and the need to grieve. Taking care of yourself not only honors you, but your loved one as well

Senior Housing 101: Senior Care Types Explained

assisted  living. nursing home. continuing care,  facilities, more

7/16: Perhaps his election will really help the lower caste

India elects president

India’s political establishment is set to elect Ramnath Kovind, a lawyer-turned-politician with the ruling Bharatiya Janata party, to the presidency. Mr Kovind is from a family of Dalits — those on the lowest rungs of Hinduism’s hierarchical caste ladder. He has practised as a Supreme Court lawyer and served two terms in parliament’s upper house, and is unopposed. The presidency is primarily ceremonial but becomes important during any political or constitutional crisis. The president is elected by members of parliament and state-level legislators

Traveling with dementia

Airports Educating Staff on How to Be Senior-Friendly

London’s Heathrow Airport has committed to training its 76,000-strong workforce to build their understanding of dementia and other disabilities.

The goal is to create a more calm and comfortable environment for any passengers living with the disease.

Security, with its long lines and metal detectors, can be one of the likeliest places to trigger anxiety and frustration for passengers with dementia. Heathrow is now examining how security personnel can carry out their job without adding unnecessary stress.

The Lanyard System and Quiet Rooms

Not only has Gatwick Airport (south of London) implemented a similar training campaign, they’ve offered passengers the option of wearing hidden disability lanyards. The voluntary program allows passengers to indicate discretely that they might require additional assistance.

The lanyards are recognizable to staff without any logos or other information, so passengers maintain a sense of privacy. It can also be removed, so caretakers and travelers can choose to only display it when they feel a situation might become especially challenging.

If lanyards aren’t suitable, badges, bracelets and pins are also available. These accessories indicate that the wearer might:

  • Need more time to process information
  • Need to remain with family
  • Need staff to use clear verbal language as it may be difficult to understand facial expressions and/or body language
  • Need staff to be visual with instructions
  • Need a more comprehensive briefing on what to expect as they travel through the airport
  • React to sensory overload

The bustle of airports can also cause passengers living with dementia to become overstimulated. Heathrow plans to create designated “quiet areas” and rooms so passengers can recover from the confusion and stress of the airport there.

Tips for Navigating the Airport

The trend toward dementia and senior-friendly airports will hopefully spread to North America soon, but regardless, it pays to keep the following in mind when traveling with someone living with dementia:

  • Arrive early and avoid the unnecessary stress of rushing
  • Go through security behind your companion, so you will be on hand to assist them
  • Have your companion carry a copy of your name and phone number in case you get separated
  • Speak with airport staff – be clear about the situation, and the capabilities of your loved one
  • Seek out a quiet place – if the airport does not have a designated quiet space, a prayer room can also give you time and space to calm down
  • Travel light – taking less luggage allows you to easily keep within touching distance

Dementia does not have to stop someone from traveling. Even if an airport has not fully adopted dementia-friendly practices, we can learn from the ones that have and take steps to ensure the well-being of our loved ones living with dementia.

What travel tips do you have for someone traveling with a loved one who has dementia? What changes would you like to see in airports to make travel more accessible to those living with dementia? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. 

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7/13: Our banks did well- not so for the UK

The UK government’s finances fail the stress tests it applies to banks by a wide margin, Britain’s independent fiscal watchdog said on Thursday in an uncompromising report that laid bare the vulnerability of the public finances.

The Office for Budget Responsibility said weaker average growth rates, the near inevitability of recession in the years ahead, higher interest rates and inflation posed significant risks to the public finances, threatening to put them on an “unsustainable path”. Both main political parties will find the conclusions uncomfortable.

7/13 cremation
50% of burials are now cremations or as they say in thee south--BYOH

Bring your own hotdogs

7/13: WHAT???

Signs of Hearing Loss

Many loved ones will not tell their caregiver of an onset of hearing loss, for fear of losing independence. Instead, they become isolated, depressed, angry, lonely, frustrated and even physically ill. Some telltale signs are when a loved one withdraws from their normal social activities, refuses to attend family and friend gatherings, or doesn’t answer the phone anymore, saying they were busy or unavailable. Any avoidance of conversation is cause for concern.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division, offers these behaviors which may signal a struggle to hear properly.

A loved one may:

Some physical symptoms that may occur with hearing loss include a ringing, roaring, hissing or buzzing in the ear, also known as tinnitus; ear pain, itching or irritation; fluid or pus leaking from the ear; and vertigo. Caregivers can keep a watchful eye on their loved one for these behaviors and physical symptoms.


If a caregiver suspects a hearing loss, it is important to have it checked soon, in order to prevent problems down the road. A loved one might resist, but this is where the “caregiver persistence” and tough love come in.

Here is how to handle some common objections a loved one may raise to having their hearing checked.The first common objection is that the “other people simply aren’t talking loud enough.”  In the ears of a person with hearing loss, everyone is mumbling. A caregiver can tell their loved one that it may be a simple medical problem such as wax buildup and an exam can rule out certain medical concerns and treat those conditions.

Second, many seniors are concerned with spending money. They may say, “It would cost too much to get a hearing aid!” The commitment associated with hearing aids or other devices is looked at as permanent and thus, a large cost. A caregiver must realize that while this is true, a quality of life has its own cost. Both caregiver and loved one must weigh their options once a hearing loss is diagnosed.

And third, people of all ages are worried about appearing “old.” A hearing aid only increases that perception in many minds. Caregivers should remind their loved one that continually asking people to repeat themselves and being left out of conversation can be a more visible indicator of age than a hearing aid. Also, with today’s technology, hearing aids are less imposing and noticeable than ever before.

If a caregiver is prepared to thwart excuses with a little preparation before, a loved one will feel that their caregiver is competent, educated and safe to care for them. It will instill a confidence in a loved one when a caregiver is knowledgeable and organized.


There are many ways to protect a loved one’s hearing and make living with the condition as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

First, don’t shout! Many caregivers may think that talking louder and slower is helpful, but in actuality, it distorts the conversation even more for a person with hearing loss. Professionals suggest speaking at a normal speed and tone, with small modifications, is best.

Background noise is a huge deterrent for loved ones with hearing loss. Try to eliminate these distractions as much as possible. If at home and having a conversation, turn off the TV or radio, fan or other electric device. Shut windows if traffic noise is an issue.

After the noise is limited and a conversation can occur, talking face-to-face is best. A group setting may be hard for a person with hearing loss to catch multiple conversations.

In addition to these talking tips, there is some physical maintenance which can help maintain a loved one’s hearing. Begin by scheduling a yearly physical. Many times, caregivers are running a loved one to the doctor for a variety of ailments. However, a yearly physical is one appointment not to be overlooked. This is the best way to detect and also prevent many medical problems.

Just as a person makes a yearly trip to the eye doctor and needs a prescription to buy new glasses, every person in their senior years should have their ears checked as well. A hearing test will reveal what a loved one may have been “missing” and not even known.

Exercise and eating healthy are as important to ear health as to heart health. A healthy lifestyle leads to increased focus and response in all areas of life, including hearing. The body functions as a whole, so nourishing it properly will reap benefits for a long time. A caregiver should encourage a loved one to be healthy in all aspects.

A caregiver must be an advocate for their loved one with hearing loss. The first step is always education. Know the signs of hearing loss, and steps to take following a diagnosis. Learn about the many technological advances that can help a loved one live a fulfilling life despite the challenges.

Many public places including hotels, churches, museums, auditoriums, theaters, etc. provide assistive technology for the hearing impaired. When it’s available, make sure a loved one uses it. And if not available, explain to the staff the importance of these devices. A little planning ahead can make for a fun trip on the town and eliminate a loved one’s feeling of being left out.

By learning the best ways to communicate, a caregiver can pass along these tips to other family members and friends. Simple strategies can increase communication, lessen stress and promote an enjoyable time for all involved.Communication is always a two-way street. Whether the loved one coping with the hearing loss or the caregiver learning how to navigate new waters, it takes both parties working together to have a successful outcome. It’s both persons’ responsibility to do their best in every situation and always show respect for the other’s challenges. 

The Better Hearing Institute says that one of the most loving things a caregiver can do is help their loved one come to terms with their diagnosis. This may be even harder than the actual purchase of hearing aids or assistive devices. Loss of hearing is a scary venture into uncharted waters for anyone with a recent diagnosis. A caregiver should be a constant support through the highs and lows of hearing loss. Once it’s properly treated, both sides will be glad they addressed the issue, together.

7/12: Unfortunately I have a cough

New research appears to reinforce “system integrity theory” — that people with high IQs live longer because they may be genetically blessed with an exceptional physiology, and this “optimal bodily functioning” leads to both a high IQ and resistance to disease.
Anjana Ahuja explains why this is so controversial. (FT)

Never heard this before- very interesting

7/12: I knew we were exporting a lot of oil but I did not think it would be this much. I wonder if the comment includes all the problems with horizontal drilling, contamination of ground water and those pesky earthquakes.

US pumps up
America will quadruple its crude oil exports to volumes greater than most Opec members
by 2020, according to PIRA Energy. As one expert put it: “This is very bad news for Opec.” (FT)

712:  Doomsday- the demise of humans due to climate change. I figure there might be ways for civilization to get to 2050. But then it's all bad from there. 

Arctic permafrost contains 1.8 trillion tons of carbon, more than twice as much as is currently suspended in the Earth’s atmosphere. When it thaws and is released, that carbon may evaporate as methane, which is 34 times as powerful a greenhouse-gas warming blanket as carbon dioxide when judged on the timescale of a century; when judged on the timescale of two decades, it is 86 times as powerful. In other words, we have, trapped in Arctic permafrost, twice as much carbon as is currently wrecking the atmosphere of the planet, all of it scheduled to be released at a date that keeps getting moved up, partially in the form of a gas that multiplies its warming power 86 times over.

At 11 or 12 degrees of warming, more than half the world’s population, as distributed today, would die of direct heat

Since 1980, the planet has experienced a 50-fold increase in the number of places experiencing dangerous or extreme heat; a bigger increase is to come. The five warmest summers in Europe since 1500 have all occurred since 2002

Climates differ and plants vary, but the basic rule for staple cereal crops grown at optimal temperature is that for every degree of warming, yields decline by 10 percent. Some estimates run as high as 15 or even 17 percent. Which means that if the planet is five degrees warmer at the end of the century, we may have as many as 50 percent more people to feed and 50 percent less grain to give them

There are now, trapped in Arctic ice, diseases that have not circulated in the air for millions of years — in some cases, since before humans were around to encounter them. Which means our immune systems would have no idea how to fight back when those prehistoric plagues emerge from the ice.

For every degree increase in temperature, the Malaria parasite reproduces ten times faster. Which is one reason that the World Bank estimates that

Carbon dioxide just crossed 400 parts per million, and high-end estimates extrapolating from current trends suggest it will hit 1,000 ppm by 2100. At that concentration, compared to the air we breathe now, human cognitive ability declines by 21 percent.

For every half-degree of warming, they say, societies will see between a 10 and 20 percent increase in the likelihood of armed conflict

Every degree Celsius of warming costs, on average, 1.2 percent of GDP (an enormous number, considering we count growth in the low single digits as “strong”). This is the sterling work in the field, and their median projection is for a 23 percent loss in per capita earning globally by the end of this century (resulting from changes in agriculture, crime, storms, energy, mortality, and labor).

Every round-trip ticket on flights from New York to London costs the Arctic three more square meters of ice.

Carbon absorption can initiate a feedback loop in which underoxygenated waters breed different kinds of microbes that turn the water still more “anoxic,” first in deep ocean “dead zones,” then gradually up toward the surface. There, the small fish die out, unable to breathe, which means oxygen-eating bacteria thrive, and the feedback loop doubles back. This process, in which dead zones grow like cancers, choking off marine life and wiping out fisheries, is already quite advanced in parts of the Gulf of Mexico and just off Namibia, where hydrogen sulfide is bubbling out of the sea along a thousand-mile stretch of land known as the “Skeleton Coast.” The name originally referred to the detritus of the whaling industry, but today it’s more apt than ever. Hydrogen sulfide is so toxic that evolution has trained us to recognize the tiniest, safest traces of it, which is why our noses are so exquisitely skilled at registering flatulence. Hydrogen sulfide is also the thing that finally did us in that time 97 percent of all life on Earth died, once all the feedback loops had been triggered and the circulating jet streams of a warmed ocean ground to a halt — it’s the planet’s preferred gas for a natural holocaust.

In a six-degree-warmer world, the Earth’s ecosystem will boil with so many natural disasters that we will just start calling them “weather”: a constant swarm of out-of-control typhoons and tornadoes and floods and droughts, the planet assaulted regularly with climate events that not so long ago destroyed whole civilizations.

If the universe is so big, then why haven’t we encountered any other intelligent life in it? The answer, they suggested, is that the natural life span of a civilization may be only several thousand years, and the life span of an industrial civilization perhaps only several hundred. In a universe that is many billions of years old, with star systems separated as much by time as by space, civilizations might emerge and develop and burn themselves up simply too fast to ever find one another.

EFM- Those born in 2020 will have a life expectancy of 60- 70. Maybe even shorter. Their children's children will not live long unless they have a LOT of money to insulate themselves from the dire lives of those without.

Financial planners in the future will need to explore a dying world.

7/12: Retail Savings Guide for Baby Boomers







7/12: Can you hear me now???