Master Financial Education
Daily Commentary 2015
E. F. Moody Jr.


I have asked Errold Moody to provide a brief example of what he has actually found on behalf of a client who engaged his services to review the insurance contracts which funded the client's estate plan. You will be amazed. In my 30 years in the business, I have never seen an authoritative, objective, prudent expert speak so clearly on the use of insurance. What Errold can do is unique in the industry.

Steven Winks

Secretary of State John Kerry - In America,  "you have a right to be (as) stupid (as) you want to be."
(But too many Americans are abusing the privilege)

Why did our systems fail and why will they continue to do so?  From Paul Volcker

"our economics are based on “an unjustified faith in rational expectations, market efficiencies and the techniques of modern finance"

You must not believe everything you think

Stephan Thomas Vitas

You are entitled to your own opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts.

Kevin Kind

Words  are chosen in order to influence us as manipulable objects, not to inform us as autonomous subjects.

Stephen Colbert

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds 

Albert Einstein


Uniform (Im)Prudent Investor Act- Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay Out of Date

World Clock by

 I now have contracted with one of the major professional (non industry) associations in the U.S. to provide videos on a host of financial issues to their members

These are the two free videos that are offered to consumers as an incentive to purchase others.  They are basic investment videos for those  that are new to the  field. More later


language intentionally designed to influence rather than inform is now ubiquitous in the business of sports and politics and markets
 Why? Because it works.

Ben Hunt



7/2: DEMOGRAPHICS - The United States is now the world's second largest Spanish-speaking country after Mexico, according to a new study published by the prestigious Instituto Cervantes. The report says there are 41 million native Spanish speakers in the U.S. plus a further 11.6 million who are bilingual, mainly the children of Spanish-speaking immigrants. This puts the U.S. ahead of Colombia (48 million) and Spain (46 million) and second only to Mexico (121 million).

7/2: SHORTER LTC BENEFIT PERIODS – According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance about half of people who bought long-term-care insurance last year selected a three-year benefit period. That compares with 31% who did so in 2012 and the shift is due to consumers trying to cut premium costs.

7'2: I am not so optimistic when rates rise.

Nouriel Roubini: Emerging Markets After the Fed Hikes Rates

NEW YORK – The prospect that the US Federal Reserve will start exiting zero policy rates later this year has fueled growing fear of renewed volatility in emerging economies' currency, bond, and stock markets. The concern is understandable: When the Fed signaled in 2013 that the end of its quantitative-easing (QE) policy was forthcoming, the resulting "taper tantrum" sent shock waves through many emerging countries' financial markets and economies.
Indeed, rising interest rates in the United States and the ensuing likely rise in the value of the dollar could, it is feared, wreak havoc among emerging markets' governments, financial institutions, corporations, and even households. Because all have borrowed trillions of dollars in the last few years, they will now face an increase in the real local-currency value of these debts, while rising US rates will push emerging markets' domestic interest rates higher, thus increasing debt-service costs further.
But, although the prospect of the Fed raising interest rates is likely to create significant turbulence in emerging countries' financial markets, the risk of outright crises and distress is more limited. For starters, whereas the 2013 taper tantrum caught markets by surprise, the Fed's intention to hike rates this year, clearly stated over many months, will not. Moreover, the Fed is likely to start raising rates later and more slowly than in previous cycles, responding gradually to signs that US economic growth is robust enough to sustain higher borrowing costs. This stronger growth will benefit emerging markets that export goods and services to the US.
Another reason not to panic is that, compared to 2013, when policy rates were low in many fragile emerging economies, central banks already have tightened their monetary policy significantly. With policy rates at or close to double-digit levels in many of those economies, the authorities are not behind the curve the way they were in 2013. Loose fiscal and credit policies have been tightened as well, reducing large current-account and fiscal deficits. And, compared to 2013, when currencies, equities, commodity, and bond prices were too high, a correction has already occurred in most emerging markets, limiting the need for further major adjustment when the Fed moves.
Above all, most emerging markets are financially more sound today than they were a decade or two ago, when financial fragilities led to currency, banking, and sovereign-debt crises. Most now have flexible exchange rates, which leave them less vulnerable to a disruptive collapse of currency pegs, as well as ample reserves to shield them against a run on their currencies, government debt, and bank deposits. Most also have a relatively smaller share of dollar debt relative to local-currency debt than they did a decade ago, which will limit the increase in their debt burden when the currency depreciates. Their financial systems are typically more sound as well, with more capital and liquidity than when they experienced banking crises. And, with a few exceptions, most do not suffer from solvency problems; although private and public debts have been rising rapidly in recent years, they have done so from relatively low levels.
In fact, serious financial problems in several emerging economies – particularly oil and commodity producers exposed to the slowdown in China – are unrelated to what the Fed does. Brazil, which will experience recession and high inflation this year, complained when the Fed launched QE and then when it stopped QE. Its problems are mostly self-inflicted – the result of loose monetary, fiscal, and credit policies, all of which must now be tightened, during President Dilma Roussef's first administration.
Russia's troubles, too, do not reflect the impact of Fed policies. Its economy is suffering as a result of the fall in oil prices and international sanctions imposed following its invasion of Ukraine – a war that will now force Ukraine to restructure its foreign debt, which the war, severe recession, and currency depreciation have rendered unsustainable.
Likewise, Venezuela was running large fiscal deficits and tolerating high inflation even when oil prices were above $100 a barrel; at current prices, it may have to default on its public debt, unless China decides to bail out the country. Similarly, some of the economic and financial stresses faced by South Africa, Argentina, and Turkey are the result of poor policies and domestic political uncertainties, not Fed action.
In short, the Fed's exit from zero policy rates will cause serious problems for those emerging market economies that have large internal and external borrowing needs, large stocks of dollar-denominated debt, and macroeconomic and policy fragilities. China's economic slowdown, together with the end of the commodity super-cycle, will create additional headwinds for emerging economies, most of which have not implemented the structural reforms needed to boost their potential growth.
But, again, these problems are self-inflicted, and many emerging economies do have stronger macro and structural fundamentals, which will give them greater resilience when the Fed starts hiking rates. When it does, some will suffer more than others; but, with a few exceptions lacking systemic importance, widespread distress and crises need not occur.

7/2: AN ISLAND CLOSER TO HOME - Puerto Rico is just days away from a historic economic collapse after the commonwealth's governor said the island cannot pay its $72 billion in debts. The government's attempts to slash expenditures and restructure its debt have failed and "for the first time (the government) acknowledges the true extent of the problem." Over the weekend, Padilla told The NYT that the government's finances were "in a death spiral" and that "the debt is not payable."

WORLD OUT OF FINANCIAL AMMO - The world will be unable to fight the next global financial crash as central banks have used up their ammunition trying to tackle the last crises, the Bank of International Settlements has warned. The so-called central bank of central banks launched a scathing critique of global monetary policy in its annual report. The BIS claimed that central banks have backed themselves into a corner after repeatedly cutting interest rates to shore up their economies. These low interest rates have in turn fueled economic booms, encouraging excessive risk taking but booms have then turned to busts, which policymakers have responded to with even lower rates.

  1. The rise of behavioural economics: A quantitative assessment




Geiger, Niels

This paper is devoted to the question of operationalising the development of behavioural economics, focussing on trends in the academic literature. The main research goal is to provide a quantitative assessment in order to answer the question of whether or not behavioural economics has gained in relative importance in the past few years. After an introduction and a short summary of the history of behavioural economics, several studies are laid out and evaluated. The results generally confirm the story as it is usually told in the literature, and add some notable additional insights.


behavioural economics,bounded rationality,culturomics


D03 E61 E65


  1. Saving Face and Group Identity




Eriksson, Tor (Aarhus School of Business) ; Mao, Lei (Central University of Finance and Economics) ; Villeval, Marie Claire (CNRS, GATE)

Are people willing to sacrifice resources to save one's and others' face? In a laboratory experiment, we study whether individuals forego resources to avoid the public exposure of the least performer in their group. We show that a majority of individuals are willing to pay to preserve not only their self- but also other group members' image. This behavior is frequent even in the absence of group identity. When group identity is more salient, individuals help regardless of whether the least performer is an in-group or an out-group. This suggests that saving others' face is a strong social norm.


pro-social behavior, social image, saving face, group identity, experiment


C92 D03 M52 Z13



Signs that Your Loved One May Need Assisted Living

Moving a family member into residential care is never an easy decision. However, there are some telltale signs that caregivers can look for in order to recognize when it’s time for assisted living:

  1. Wandering: In later stages of dementia, the risk posed by wandering becomes much greater, notes Rita Vasquez, M.A., an MFTI Clinician at Quail Lakes Counseling Center in Stockton, California. “They can wander even if you just take the time to go to the bathroom,” she says, and the probability of falls and injuries increases.
  2. Sundowning: Sundowner syndrome” — very agitated behavior that becomes more pronounced later in the day — is a common characteristic of those with Alzheimer’s. Vasquez says that this can take a heavy toll on caregivers, and when it begins to severely disrupt family routines, this may be a sign that the caregiving burden is too hard to handle.
  3. Aggression: Verbal, physical, and even sexual aggression frequently happen in those with dementia, and caregivers and other family members may suffer or begin to feel resentful. “I tell people when they’re getting to that state, it’s time to start considering placement,” says Vasquez.
  4. Home safety issues: Ask yourself honest questions about your senior family member’s health and your own abilities to care for them. Is the person with dementia becoming unsafe in their current home?
  5. Escalating care needs: Is the health of the person with dementia or my health as a caregiver at risk? Are the person’s care needs beyond my physical abilities? If you’re answering yes to those questions, it might be time to have that tough family conversation.
  6. Caregiver stress: Stress and other caregiver symptoms can be just as telling a sign as the dementia behaviors described above.

Caregiver Stress May Indicate a Need for Help

An article in the New York Times discussed the psychological costs of caregiving and of making difficult care decisions, which some professionals are likening to the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. Caregivers may experience symptoms like “intrusive thoughts, disabling anxiety, hyper-vigilance, avoidance behaviors,” and more.

Rita Vasquez attributes these symptoms not only to the pressures of caring for someone with dementia, but also to the disruptions to normal sleep and eating patterns that result when one is spending so much time on caregiving: “When the brain is always on alert, many things are going to happen — you’re not going to eat well, your nutrition is going to go down,” and physical health suffers.

The emotional, mental and physical toll of caregiving can be particularly pronounced for spouses of those who need care. In one of the families Vasquez works with, the wife and primary caregiver is 80 years old.

“She’s taking care of her 85-year-old husband and it’s draining her,” Vasquez says. “When he fell recently, she couldn’t pick him up and had to call the paramedics.”

In cases like this, it might be clear immediately when the demands of care become too great. In other cases, it might not be so obvious. However, if you are feeling isolated and alone, or if you begin to feel resentful of your loved one, it might be time to examine the source of those feelings, says Vasquez.

“Sleep deprivation, anger, resentment, all those things will become part of what happens to a caregiver,” she says. “And, of course, the guilt, when you think, ‘I’m not doing enough.’” When that happens, it’s important to recognize how much you’ve been giving to your loved one, and perhaps tell yourself, “Okay, I’m not living a life for myself anymore, I’m living for that person.”

My Loved One Needs More Help Than I Can Give—What Now?

Deciding between assisted living vs in-home care is never easy, and caregiver guilt and grief are common reactions to moving seniors out of their homes. As Rita Vasquez puts it, “We lose our family member twice: once to the disease, and again when they pass.” Caregivers may wonder if they could or should have done more; they may feel separation anxiety in moving their loved one to another location. If family dynamics are difficult — if, for instance, a caregiver caring for a parent had an unhappy childhood — that may further complicate the decision process.

This is why planning ahead is so important: “If you know your family member is in the early stages of [illness], first and foremost you want to get all your paperwork together,” Vasquez says. “It’s in our culture that we don’t want to talk about those things,” but before dementia begins to affect your loved one’s cognitive health, it’s important to have someone help them collect the right paperwork and make those critical decisions, whether it’s a friend, family member, or physician. Planning ahead, getting informed, and involving the appropriate persons in the decision will ultimately help ease the process when it’s time to move your loved one into care.

The best way to be there for them, Vasquez says, is to know that they are in the proper place for getting the care that they need. Visit communities before choosing one, and make sure they have activities and medical support appropriate to dementia patients. Ultimately, she says, try to remember that if you’ve done that research “They are going to thrive wherever you send them.”

Caring for the Caregiver

As a caregiver, it can be difficult enough to find time to care for your senior loved one, let alone yourself — even if your family member is in residential care. But staying healthy is one of the best things you can do to provide the support your loved one needs. Arranging a short stint in respite care is one way to get some time to rest and recuperate, especially if you are caring for someone at home.

Taking care of your mental health is also critical, and there are many benefits to seeking out a circle of support to bolster you when times are difficult. Counseling, therapy, and support groups all exist to help family members going through transitions relating to Alzheimer’s and dementia. Check with the facility that your loved one is moving to, suggests Vasquez, who has led caregiver support groups and coordinated family services at a local residential care facility. Many care homes, she says, offer support groups and other resources for families. These resources can help you come to terms with the idea that sometimes the best decision for the health and happiness of both parties is putting your loved one into care.

“We have to know that as a human being, we can only do so much without taxing our health,” says Vasquez.

6/29: Bad omen

The two measures send a signal that the government may not be eager to see an abrupt end to a stock market rally that has seen prices more than double in the last 12 months. The rally has been underpinned by speculative trading heavily financed with borrowed money. Young, often poorly educated investors have been betting on further appreciation even as business managers, with more information on the true health of their companies, have reportedly been selling heavily.

  1. Multi-dimensional Risk and its Diversification




Woohwan Kim (FR&I, Korea) ; Young Min Kim (Radiation Effects Research Foundation, Japan) ; Tae-Hwan Kim (Yonsei University) ; Seungbeom Bang (FR&I, Korea)

In this paper, we propose defining the ¡®risk¡¯ of a portfolio as a multi-dimensional concept characterized by three components: variance, skewness and kurtosis. Unlike most previous papers studying how the first component of risk,i.e., variance, is diversified, we use both analysis and simulations to investigate how the other two components (skewness and kurtosis) are diversified when the number of stocks in a well-diversified portfolio increases. We find a couple of interesting results. When a portfolio is skewed and fat-tailed, then not only its variance, but also its skewness and kurtosis are simultaneously reduced as the number of risky assets in the portfolio increases. When the risky assets in a portfolio are moderately correlated, the three components tend to decrease and eventually converge to non-zero values. These non-zero limit values can be used to define the true multi-dimensional systematic risk of the portfolio. Hence, it can be argued that mul ti-dimensional non-systematic risk can be diversified by constructing a well-balanced portfolio. Another interesting result is that the skewness risk of a portfolio tends to decrease more slowly than the other two types of risk, the variance risk and the kurtosis risk, which indicates that the skewness risk is the most difficult to diversify among the three components.


Diversification, Skewness, Kurtosis, Systematic Risk.


C10 G11


  1. The economics of radical uncertainty




Ormerod, Paul

In situations of what we now describe as radical uncertainty, the core model of agent behaviour, of rational autonomous agents with stable preferences, is not useful. Instead, a different principle, in which the decisions of an agent are based directly on the decisions and strategies of other agents, becomes the relevant core model. Preferences are not stable, but evolve. It is not a special case in such circumstances, but the general one. The author provides empirical evidence to suggest that as a description of behaviour in the modern world, economic rationality is applicable in a declining number of situations. He discusses models drawn from the modern literature on cultural evolution in which imitation of others is the basic strategy, and suggests a heuristic way of classifying situations in which the different models are relevant. The key point is that in situations where radical uncertainty is present, we require theoretical 'null' models of agent behaviour which are different from those of economic rationality. Under uncertainty, fundamentally different behavioural rules are 'rational'. The author gives an example of a very simple pure sentiment model of the business cycle, in which agents use very simple heuristic decision rules. It is nevertheless capable of approximating a number of deep features of output growth over the cycle.


uncertainty,imitation,evolution,agent-based model,sentiment,business cycle


D81 E32


  1. Income Inequality and Risk Taking




Ulrich Schmidt ; Levent Neyse ; Milda Aleknonyte

Standard economic theory assumes that individual risk taking decisions are independent from the social context. Recent experimental evidence however shows that the income of peers has a systematic impact on observed degrees of risk aversion. In particular, subjects strive for balance in the sense that they take higher risks if this gives them the chance to break even with their peers. The present paper is, to the best of our knowledge, the first systematic analysis of income inequality and risk taking. We perform a real effort field experiment where inequality is introduced to different wage rates. After the effort phase subjects can invest (part of) their salary into a risky asset. Besides the above mentioned possibility of higher risk taking of low-wage individuals to break even with high-wage individuals, risk taking can be influenced by an income effect consistent with e.g. decreasing absolute risk aversion and a house money effect of high- wage individuals. O ur results show that the dominant impact of inequality on risk taking is what can be termed a social house money effect: high-wage individuals take higher risks than low- wage individuals only if they are aware of the inequality in wages


Risk, Inequality, Real Effort, Field Experiment, Social Comparison


C93 D63 J31


6/24: This will make you feel better

“Though heart attacks are also the number one killer of women, almost three-quarters of women who die of heart attacks are 75 years or older. By this time the average man has been dead for almost two years.” 


According to the National Investment Center’s 2010 Investment Guide, there were 6,315 professionally managed assisted living communities in the U.S. with approximately 475,500 apartments.

1. One Size Does Not Fit All – Varying Levels of Care

Because there is no nationwide definition for assisted living (although it is regulated in all 50 states), senior communities that call themselves assisted living facilities can offer differing levels of care. They offer a less-expensive, residential approach to delivering many of the same services available in skilled nursing, either by employing personal care staff or contracting with home health agencies and other outside professionals.

A Place for Mom’s Advisor in Chicago, Dovid Grossman says, “Not all assisted living communities are equal. Some provide lighter care, and some can even provide care for those who bedridden or who need help eating while still remaining in assisted living as opposed to a nursing home.” It often depends on the community’s licensing. Many states have a tiered system of licensing whereby communities with a higher degree of licensing are able to provide more care.

2. Each Community Has a Unique Personality

Care aside, the look and feel of communities varies as well. Some communities have a more formal, traditional design sensibility, while others may have a more home-like, down to earth ambiance. Some communities may have art deco décor while others are firmly grounded in mid-century modern design. The range of senior community designs is on display in the ALFA 2012 Senior Living by Design Awards. Assisted living communities come in all shapes and sizes. They can be towering apartment buildings in urban centers, sprawling complexes in the suburbs, cottages or more intimate communities catering to a relatively small number of residents. There’s no nationwide standard size, but according to our own definition, assisted living communities are licensed to care for at least 20 people, but many communities have hundreds of residents. Smaller communities usually offer a homelike atmosphere while the larger communities offer an abundance of interest clubs, recreational opportunities, and acreage for recreation.

Krystal Chan, Partner Services Projects Manager at A Place for Mom said, “Every assisted living community has a different personality. You can visit two communities down the street from one another that offer the same care and services, they may even look identical to one another, but that feel very different. Just because your loved one didn’t like one community, doesn’t mean the next one won’t feel right.”

3. Yes, You Can Bring Your Pet

Senior living communities have different pet policies with specific weight limits and breed restrictions, so it’s important to do your research. For example, some communities have “pet interviews” to determine whether the pet is right for their community, while others allow dogs and cats under 20 lbs. Birds and fish are also welcome in many communities, and some communities even have Pet Coordinators to care for the furry and feathered friends. Some communities only allow pets on a case-by-case basis. So make sure to contact your communities of choice and ask about their particular pet policy.

Read more about the health benefits of pets and why many assisted living communities have begun to integrate pets into their care programs in our Pet Therapy and the Benefits of Pets in Senior Living blog post. For more in-depth information about the benefits seniors receive from their furry companion, read our article on How Pet Therapy Has Changed Assisted Living.

4. Assisted Living Costs are Lower Than You Think

Assisted living is often less expensive than home health or nursing home care in the same geographic area. According to the 2012 A Place for Mom Cost of Senior Care Survey, the national average rate for a one-bedroom apartment is approximately $3,300 per month. While 86.2% of assisted living residents pay from their personal financial resources, 41 states offer “home and community-based waivers” that allow low-income residents to live in assisted living.

Additionally, more seniors are purchasing long-term care insurance to help plan for and finance their long-term care needs. Wartime veterans and their spouses may eligible for VA benefits known as Aid and Attendance that can offset the cost of care. A Place for Mom’s Guide to Financing Senior Care has details about creative financing plans that can make care affordable as well. Those with low income and assets may to need use Medicaid to pay for senior care. To explore this option, contact your local Area Agency on Aging Office, which can be located at

5. Assisted Living is Not Synonymous with Nursing Homes

Our research suggests that many families believe they need they need nursing homes for their ailing older loved one when in fact assisted living is the most appropriate option. An assessment by an Advisor or medical professional is the best way to determine the care type needed, but some general distinctions can be drawn between assisted living and nursing homes. For instance:

  • Assisted living residents are mainly independent but may need help with daily living personal care tasks such as bathing and dressing, while nursing home residents tend to need 24-hour assistance with every activity of daily living
  • Assisted living residents are mobile, while those who are bed ridden require nursing homes
  • Nursing home residents generally have a single or semi-private room, while assisted living residents typically live in a studio or one-bedroom apartment
  • Nursing home residents require fully staffed, skilled nursing medical attention on a daily basis, while assisted living residents are more stable and do not need ongoing medical attention

6. Culturally Diverse Options

An increasing number of assisted living communities are designed to meet the unique cultural, religious, dietary and language-based needs of local populations. On the West Coast, there are many Asian senior communities such as Fremont Hills in Fremont, California, and more are on the way. Our corporate partner, Aegis of Newcastle recently broke ground on a new community designed to meet the needs of the predominantly Chinese population in the area.

Jewish communities are popular too, particularly in the Northeast and East Florida. Many assisted living communities serve kosher foods (some even have certified kosher kitchens), celebrate Jewish holidays and have weekly Shabbat services. Five Star Residence of Boca Raton in Boca Raton, Florida is just one of the many predominately Jewish communities in our network of options.

Some communities offer multiple cultural, religious and dietary options. Beverly Hills Loving Care has an equal share of Persian and Jewish residents, and have staff that speak both Farsi and Yiddish (in addition to English of course).

As America simultaneously diversifies and ages, we’re bound to see an ever increasing demand for niche retirement communities, including golf-oriented communities, LGBT oriented communities and communities with themes no one has even thought of yet.

7. Assisted Living Dementia Care

In 2012 there were more than 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia who required specialized dementia care treatment. Many assisted living facilities offer dedicated Alzheimer’s memory care programs for residents which are designed to decrease wandering, agitation and improve their quality of life. Generally residents with early stage Alzheimer’s or dementia can live among the regular population of assisted living residents, but when the condition becomes advanced, residents are then transitioned from the regular assisted living section to the memory care area. Memory care is specialized assisted living that’s secure to protect residents, that has staff specially trained to care for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and that have other design and caregiving adaptations for the comfort and safety of memory-impaired residents.


Here are eight facts about the ways men experience aging and senior care:

1. Men Live Shorter Lives Than Women

The difference in life expectancy between men and women is well known.

According to the World Health Organization, American women live five years longer than men. Historically, the gap was even larger. The relative paucity of elderly men was vividly illustrated recently in New Jersey at the world’s largest gathering of centenarians: only 2 of the 40 participating centenarians were men.

Scientists have been pondering the discrepancy in life expectancy between the sexes for decades. One reason men live shorter lives, experts say, is because they have a propensity to high-risk behaviors such as alcohol abuse, smoking, driving recklessly and going to war. Some of the latest research indicates differences in the male immune system may be a big part of the reason men live shorter lives, too.

Another important factor is heart disease. Heart disease is a major concern for men and women, but men are more likely to succumb to a heart attack earlier in life than are women. Andrew Kimbrell, author of “The Masculine Mystique,” notes: “Though heart attacks are also the number one killer of women, almost three-quarters of women who die of heart attacks are 75 years or older. By this time the average man has been dead for almost two years.”

2. Only 1-in-7 Assisted Living Residents are Men

According to the Assisted Living Federation of America, less than 15% of assisted living residents are men. This is largely due to the life expectancy differences we just discussed. The fact that men are a small minority of senior community residents sometimes means that senior communities don’t always appeal to masculine tastes.

Author, Pam Gerhardt, recently wrote an essay describing the challenge she faced as she was trying to find an assisted living facility for her father: “Every place I visited, I was overwhelmed by potpourri and teddy bears with bows. A typical day’s activity? ‘Manicure afternoons.’”

While it’s true that the ambiance and decor assisted living communities tends on the more feminine side of the spectrum, most senior communities provide activities, outings and common areas that appeal to traditionally male tastes. For example, the Garden Park Villas in Escondido, California, has a card room and a weekly poker tournament. There is also a barber shop, bocce ball, bowling, and outings to San Diego Padre’s games.

During a visit to my grandmother’s senior community in Gig Harbor, Washington, she introduced me to Cecil, age 76. I asked him about what it’s like to be in the minority at a senior community. He started out with a joke, “It’s like that Beach Boys song, Surf City,” he says, before singing out “…two girls for every boy.” After a moment, he became more serious and told me that he doesn’t mind that there aren’t a lot of men at the community. He says that although there aren’t many men who are residents, the ones who are there have formed a close, tight-knit group. Cecil says he never has trouble finding someone to play billiards or cribbage with, “I like to shoot billiards and play the odd game of cribbage. There’s always a sparring partner around.”

3. Older Men Report That They are Happier Than Older Women

Popular wisdom holds men have a harder time with aging than women. For example, a 1996 article in Geriatric Nursing said, “…Research has shown that men generally have a harder time in adjusting to the changes [of aging]. Conditioned throughout their lives to be strong, controlling, and independent, men can be devastated by the losses that are associated with aging.”

Despite the subjective impression that men have a harder time with aging, older men are significantly more likely to indicate that they have happy lives than older women. A University of Michigan study found that 25% of older men reported being “very happy” compared to 20% of older women. Interestingly, it was women who were happier in younger age groups: “The relationship between gender and well-being reverses itself over time, moving from a female advantage of four points to a deficit of five points.”

4. Men are Less Apprehensive About Aging

A study by researchers at Florida State University (FSU) found that men are less apprehensive about growing old than women. In the study, male and female college students were asked about their feelings regarding aging. Females expressed considerably more anxiety and fear about aging than their male counterparts. Students were also asked draw the face of an older person, and women students were much more likely to include wrinkles in their drawing than male participants.

While men may be less fearful of growing old, apprehension certainly still exists. A study by the American Geriatrics Society asked men what they feared most about aging. Men’s top fears about aging included:

  • Physical weakness
  • Loss of purpose
  • Impotence
  • Dependence on others
  • Developing dementia

5. Men are Perceived to Be “Old” at a Later Age Than Women

The same FSU study found that “both men and women reported lower ages at which women are considered to be old, compared to men.” For better or worse, a 65-year-old woman might be considered “old” while a 65 year old man may not. Similarly, a study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that older men are considered more attractive than older women: “Although both men and women were perceived to diminish in attractiveness as they aged, the decline for women was greater. Moreover, ratings of women’s femininity decreased with increasing age, whereas evaluations of men’s masculinity were unaffected by age.” Feminist thinker and author, Susan Sontag, coined the phrase “double standard of aging” when she described this phenomenon in a 1979 essay.

6. Men Experience Similar Rates of Alzheimer’s Disease to Women, but Higher Rates of Vascular Dementia

Because there are more elderly women than elderly men, there are more women than men with Alzheimer’s disease and other kinds of dementia. But when researchers at Esasmus Medical Center looked at the rate of Alzheimer’s as opposed to the number of patients, they saw that men and women have an approximately equal risk of developing the disease. On the other hand, they did find men have a notably higher incidence of vascular dementia than their female counterparts. Another study noted that brain atrophy, which is a common consequence of many age related ailments, is more pronounced in men than women.

7. Older Men are Satisfied With Their Sex Lives

While discussions about the love lives of seniors can be a bit taboo, sexual intimacy is often described as a core human need. In a study that surveyed more than 2,800 men over 75, about half said that sex was “at least somewhat important” to their lives, and one third of the men were sexually active. Another study found that 74% of sexually active men over age 60 said that they are equally or even more satisfied with their sex lives than during their 40s.

8. More Men Than Ever are Caregivers

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in 1997 just 19% of family caregivers were men while in 2012 that number is 40%. Researchers and advocates for seniors and caregivers are beginning to pay more attention to the increasing number of men who are caregivers. For example, niche websites for caregiving men, such as, have sprouted online.

Males face special challenges as caregivers. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, men are more likely than women to feel unprepared when they take on their role, and are less likely to ask for help than women. A separate study published in the journal Research on Aging looked at factors associated with the husband’s ability (or inability) to care for an ailing wife in the long-term. The researchers found men’s ability to care for their wives at home was dependent on a number of variables, including how much the caregiving role impacts the husband’s other activities, and the prior relationship between husband and wife.

6/23: Genocide lives
Pope Francis on Sunday denounced what he calls the "great powers" of the world for failing to act when there was intelligence indicating Jews, Christians, homosexuals and others were being transported to death camps in Europe during World War II.

In today's world, he told the young people: "Everything is done for money

6/22: Why Poorly Performing Funds Remain in 401(k) Plans
"A recent analysis of [SEC] 401(k) data from 1998 to 2009 ... found that there is significant favoritism toward affiliated funds in 401(k) plans.... [W]hen a 401(k) plan deletes an affiliated fund, there's a 96 percent chance a new affiliated fund is added to the plan during the same year. When an unaffiliated fund is removed from the plan, there's only a 43 percent chance that it will be replaced with a new fund from the same service provider."
(U.S. News & World Report) 

  1. The importance of High Frequency Data on the Financial Markets


Simona Adascalitei (Romanian Academy Iasi Branch)

While the High Frequency Trading (HFT) activity is in decline and researchers have inconclusive results about its net (positive/negative) impact on the financial markets, massive quantities of High Frequency Data (HFD) become more and more accessible. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of HFD on the Financial Markets. To support this statement, we will analyze some of the special characteristics of High Frequency Data (HFD) compared to the characteristics of Low Frequency Data (LFD). Then we will make a review of the papers that have proven that the use of HFD can improve the accuracy of volatility measures, volatility estimators, and volatility forecasts. Given this superiority of HFT over LFD, our aim is to encourage academics and practitioners to start focusing more on this type of data in order to have a better understanding of the highly dynamic financial markets.


High Frequenc Trading, High Frequency Data, Financial Markets, Volatility


G10 G17


6/21: LTC- Moreover, our research suggests that some consumers’ rejection of long-term-care insurance is based on what psychologists call “narrow framing,” or people’s tendency to exclude key factors when making decisions. Narrow framing has been found to be common when individuals face complicated decisions—and shopping for long-term-care insurance is certainly one of those instances.

6/21: Just info

Michelle, age 54 preferred non-smoker, purchased a $1,000,000 GUL to age 120 policy with a no-cost Refund Option Rider for $9,650/year.

1. Paid Up Policy (Year 20)

At age 74, she no longer has a need for the coverage and takes a reduced paid up policy for $660,000 to age 120 with access to $528,000 for chronic illness.

      $660,00 death benefit guaranteed to age 120
      $528,000 max benefit for Chronic Illness Rider or Terminal Illness Rider

2. Refund Premiums

Michelle has the flexibility to exchange her policy for a premium refund; after year 15 (50% refund), year 20 (100% refund) or year 25 (100% refund)

      $72,375 return of premium in year 15
      $193,000 return of premium in year 20
      $241,250 return of premium in year 25

3. Maximize Death Benefit

Michelle simply continues to pay her annual premium and the $1MM death benefit will go to her heirs when she dies. She also has access's to $800,000 of her death benefit if she has chronic illness.

      $1,000,000 death benefit guaranteed to 120
$800,000 max benefit for Chronic Illness Rider or Terminal Illness Rider

6/21: Disability= from a reader

Home Modifications to Promote Independent Living


Disability Accommodation Cost Guide

Home Safety for People with Disabilities  


Fire Safety & Disabilities Guide’s Guide to Transportation


Rights for Those With Hearing Loss

Increasing Physical Activity among Adults with Disabilities

Chronic Pain Relief with Swimming Exercises


Stay Active with a Disability: Quick Tips


Personal Finance Guide for People with Disabilities


6/21: SEC's Stein: Alternative mutual funds could endanger investors
Alternative mutual funds that work more like hedge funds should be examined by the Securities and Exchange Commission, member Kara Stein says. "Alternative mutual funds promising the upside of hedge fund investments with the liquidity of traditional mutual funds are all the rage," she said. "I think this trend should give everyone pause, and regulators and the public need to be asking questions about this development." InvestmentNews (free registration)

6/21: Social Security Actuarial Time to Live Table
Great info to spark conversations at parties
6/21: Just plain fat-

the average weight of a US woman is now 166.2 pounds—about the same weight as the average man in the 1960s—up from about 140 pounds during that time. That’s an increase of 18.5%. 

Men, who weighed 166.3 pounds in the 1960s, now tip the scales at an average of 195.5 pounds, for a 17.6% gain.

35% of Americans over 20 are considered obese, while 69% of adults are either overweight or obese,. As for children, one in five between 12 and 19 and 18% between 6 and 11 are obese.
A 2012 study found Americans were the third-heaviest people on the planet behind residents of Tonga and Micronesia. 

The average American was 33 pounds heavier than a Frenchman, 40 pounds heavier than a citizen of Japan, and 70 pounds heavier than a person in Bangladesh


6/18: Much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. As one participant put it, “poor methods get results”. The Academy of Medical Sciences, Medical Research Council, and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council have now put their reputational weight behind an investigation into these questionable research practices. The apparent endemicity [i.e. pervasiveness within the scientific culture] of bad research behaviour is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world. Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data. Journal editors deserve their fair share of criticism too. We aid and abet the worst behaviours. Our acquiescence to the impact factor fuels an unhealthy competition to win a place in a select few journals. Our love of “significance” pollutes the literature with many a statistical fairy-tale. We reject important confirmations. Journals are not the only miscreants. Universities are in a perpetual struggle for money and talent, endpoints that foster reductive metrics, such as high-impact publication. National assessment procedures, such as the Research Excellence Framework, incentivise bad practices. And individual scientists, including their most senior leaders, do little to alter a research culture that occasionally veers close to misconduct.

6/18" Seattle Preschool in a Nursing Home 'Transforms' Elderly Residents

Residents  did a "complete transformation in the presence of the children. Moments before the kids came in, sometimes the people seemed half alive, sometimes asleep. It was a depressing scene. As soon as the kids walked in for art or music or making sandwiches for the homeless or whatever the project that day was, the residents came alive."

An absolutely brilliant idea

6/18: What will we do with all the old people? I really don't know. 
By 2050, nearly 690 million people will be over the age of 60 in mainland China

6/18: Current statistics indicate that about 60 percent of people living with Alzheimer’s are going to wander. And, of those who are lost over 72 hours, only 20 percent survive.
GPS SmartSole - another great idea 

Andy:     GTX Corp, the company that makes the GPS SmartSole, and Patrick Bertagna, who actually invented it, did two things that were unique. One, they were able to miniaturize it enough to fit inside of an insole, looking like an insole you’d buy at any pharmacy. But, the second component may be more important; it allows you to then hide it on the person. The two primary manifestations of Alzheimer’s related dementia are confusion and paranoia. In the early stages, they’re going to be confused and they will routinely remove anything placed upon them with which they’re not familiar. It doesn’t matter if it’s on their wrist or around their neck or even tagged onto their sweater. If they feel it and discover it, they’ll remove it. In the past, we’ve had these devices and the manufacturers will tell you to lock it onto their wrist or their ankle. That flies in the face of what clinicians know would be the appropriate thing to do with these folks because they will, in fact, hurt themselves up to the point of breaking their wrist to get that thing off. So, it is important that we’re able to hide it and, obviously, placing it in their shoe is the ideal place.

Gary:    And, it doesn’t have to be new shoes.  It could be their shoes that they’re comfortable with because, for the most part, if you’re running around outside, the last thing you’re going to take off is your shoes.

Andy:    A lot of people don’t realize there are three types of memory.  The one that’s most relevant with Alzheimer’s is procedural memory, also known as habitual memory. It retains things that we do out of habit, and getting dressed is one of those things.  It’s actually the last type of memory that’s retained in individuals with Alzheimer’s. So, even into the later stages of the disease, even if their caregiver dresses them, they will typically stay dressed and that includes, of course, their shoes. They’ve owned dozens, sometimes hundreds of pairs of shoes throughout their life. Putting on their shoes is literally part of their procedural memory. They’re perfectly comfortable doing it. 


There is also another feature, which is called a geo-zone or a geo-fence. You go to the account and set up a perimeter. Drag and click the mouse and make a little circle. You can set that up anywhere from 200 to 300 yards in any direction around your home, your church, the daycare center or whatever.  So, if they wander outside of that geo-zone, even if you didn’t notice they were gone, you will receive emails or text messages automatically with a link to a Google map showing you exactly where they are.
6/18:  most investment success  is due overwhelmingly to luck rather than skill.

UCLA finance professor Brad Cornell has proposed a simple formula for gauging the relative investment importance of skill and luck. Upon applying that formula to a large sample of mutual funds, he found that 92% of the differences in those funds’ annual returns was “attributable to random chance.”

Maimes reached a substantially similar conclusion when applying Cornell’s formula to the several hundred investment advisers monitored by the Hulbert Financial Digest.

 If we accept professor Cornell’s finding, for example, 8% of an adviser’s superior performance is due to genuine skill. The corollary of this small role played by skill, however, is that it takes many, many years for it to win out over luck.

6/17: Roubini

Policy interest rates are near zero (and sometimes below it) in most advanced economies, and the monetary base (money created by central banks in the form of cash and liquid commercial-bank reserves) has soared – doubling, tripling, and, in the United States, quadrupling relative to the pre-crisis period. This has kept short- and long-term interest rates low (and even negative in some cases, such as Europe and Japan), reduced the volatility of bond markets, and lifted many asset prices (including equities, real estate, and fixed-income private- and public-sector bonds).
And yet investors have reason to be concerned. Their fears started with the “flash crash” of May 2010, when, in a matter of 30 minutes, major US stock indices fell by almost 10%, before recovering rapidly. Then came the “taper tantrum” in the spring of 2013, when US long-term interest rates shot up by 100 basis points after then-Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke hinted at an end to the Fed’s monthly purchases of long-term securities. -in Project Syndicate 

6/17: Reverse Mortgages
borrowers don’t have to make monthly payments on the loan, they do have to pay property taxes, homeowners’ insurance and maintenance costs. If they do not, their lender may declare a default and start foreclosure proceedings. “Advertisements that create the impression that there is no risk can thus be misleading,”

Some consumers said they did not understand that reverse mortgages are actually loans that would have to be repaid in the future (EFM- This surprised me since the elder would have to assume it was FREE money. This is illogical at any level but I suppose it is simply a reflection of the limited knowledge of finances coupled with the even further lack of understanding of financial after 65.) Some said that ads claiming that reverse mortgage funds were “tax free” led them to believe they would not have to pay property taxes. Others believed reverse mortgages were a government program, and therefore safer, although the loans are made by private lenders.

About 52,000 reverse mortgages were endorsed by the Housing and Urban Development Department for F.H.A. insurance for the federal fiscal year ended Sept. 30, and more than 620,000 loans are currently outstanding, according to statistics provided by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association

 borrowers were required to undergo mortgage counseling with a government-approved counselor before they took out a reverse mortgage. “The ad is the beginning of a lengthy informational process,” he said.

Consumer advocates, however, say some mortgage counselors are better than others. “The quality of the counseling really varies,”. Counseling is often done over the telephone, she said, and some counselors may follow a script offering generic advice, rather than delving into an individual’s unique financial situation. (EFM- it is hard to do any type of training without a mandatory visual identification of what is going on.)

Here are some questions to consider about reverse mortgages.

How much can I borrow using a reverse mortgage?

That depends on various factors, like your age, the value of your home and the interest rate offered by your lender. Rules aimed at reducing risk now generally limit borrowers to taking no more than 60 percent of their overall equity in the first year after taking out the loan. Also, in some cases, lenders may require that funds be set aside for the tax and insurance payments, .

Where can I find a H.U.D.-approved reverse mortgage counselor?

Contact information is available on H.U.D.’s website. (H.U.D.’s term for a reverse mortgage is “Home Equity Conversion Mortgage,” or H.E.C.M.)

Lower-income borrowers may qualify for free counseling, but others may be charged a fee ranging from $90 to $135, Ms. Alwin said. Sessions typically last at least 90 minutes.

How can I make the most of reverse mortgage counseling?

Ms. Bolling Mancini suggests calling several counselors to find one that will meet face to face, and coming prepared to ask questions about your specific financial situation. “In person, the counselor can show numbers on paper,” she said. “Doing it on the phone doesn’t work as well.


Job Seekers Want a Retirement Plan

Nearly 80% of employees view benefits such as a retirement plan as being key considerations when accepting a new position, the ADP Research Institute found. However, only 50% of companies provide a retirement option. While some employers are concerned about cost and disinterest among management and employees alike, the size of the company itself may be another reason it does not offer a retirement savings vehicle.

Read more >

6/17: List of robo advisors

Tough to determine if they are better than the average broker. It appears to be a lot about nothing. They are both using software to determine what a client should invest in. And no one will ever figure out which software is  better given that a buy and hold allows millions of combinations.
They both determine risk by some esoteric questionnaire and some algorithms. At this point, robo advisers are far cheaper but no better.
The key is that neither help with major downturns. You'd think that a human would be much better here but since brokers have never been taught the fundamentals of investing and nothing on the risk of loss, clients of either are going to lose their shorts. 

No identification of risk?? Then, no good.


Social Security Quiz Stumps Most Americans:

Most people flunked a 10-question survey about Social Security commissioned by MassMutual. Only 28% of Americans received a passing grade when asked basic questions about Social Security, and only 8% said they are very knowledgeable about Social Security. Read more »


Roubini : The Middle East is a Mess

6/16:The Q Ratio and Market Valuation
EFM- very involved material. Most should avoid clicking the article

6/16: This whole issue of fiduciary is a mess. No telling what will finally emerge

Supreme Court Decision in 401(k) Case May Have Profound Effect on Fiduciary Debate
"According to the DOL, the [best-interest contract exemption (BCE)] does not mandate an ongoing or long-term advisory relationship, but rather leaves that to the parties to the contract, the terms of which would govern whether the nature of the relationship between the parties is ongoing or not. The allowance of a short-lived fiduciary duty is central to allowing broker-dealers to reasonably modify their current business models to accommodate the requirements of new rule. Tibble v. Edison, however, makes clear that a fiduciary's duty to an ERISA plan is ongoing. Can the BCE be squared with Tibble v. Edison or vice versa?"
(Investment News) 

6/16:Behavioral Finance Q&A with Shachar Kariv – Part 1

6/16:Behavioral Finance Q&A with Shachar Kariv – Part 2

6/15: Ben Hunt, Epsilon Theory: When you really want to think

6/15" Stay aware of the BIS:

Bank for International Settlements (BIS), “ Global dollar credit: links to US monetary policy and leverage.” Long story short, emerging markets have borrowed $9 trillion in dollar-denominated debt, up from $2 trillion a mere 14 years ago. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard did an excellent and thoroughly readable review of the paper a few weeks ago for the Telegraph, summing up its import:

Sitting on the desks of central bank governors and regulators across the world is a scholarly report that spells out the vertiginous scale of global debt in US dollars, and gently hints at the horrors in store as the US Federal Reserve turns off the liquidity spigot….

“It shows how the Fed's zero rates and quantitative easing flooded the emerging world with dollar liquidity in the boom years, overwhelming all defences. This abundance enticed Asian and Latin American companies to borrow like never before in dollars – at real rates near 1pc – storing up a reckoning for the day when the US monetary cycle should turn, as it is now doing with a vengeance.”