Master Financial Education
Finance Planning Daily Commentary 2016
The  most intensive and extensive on the Web
E. F. Moody Jr.


I have asked EF 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

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

Hatred is too strong an emotion to waste on someone you don't even like

Dr. Who

Be careful who you call your friends. I'd rather have four quarters than one hundred pennies.
 Al Capone

Investing is not easy. Anyone thinking that it is, is stupid

Charlie Munger

There is no sense in being precise when you do not know what you are talking about

        John von Neumann

“ . . . there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.”

 Henry Louis “H. L.” Mencken

“As skill improves, performance becomes more consistent, and therefore luck becomes more important.”
Michael Mauboussin

“in preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable.”

Dwight Eisenhower

'The Federal Reserve is a giant weapon that has no ammunition left'

Former Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher

The reason the professors teach nonsense is that if they didn’t, what would they teach the rest of the semester?

Teaching people formulas that don’t really work in real life is a disaster for the world.”

Charlie Munger

“The expected rarely occurs and never in the expected manner.”

– Vernon A. Walters

Nations rise and fall with the quality of their leaders, and their leaders succeed and fail based upon who they are at their core – what they believe, how they think, and what they do. Nothing shapes a leader or a society like their education or lack thereof. Let me be clear: when I refer to an education, I’m not referencing earning a degree, I’m talking about developing a rich intellect – they are not always one and the same.

Mike Myatt

 "If you see fraud and don't shout fraud, you are a fraud"

Nassim Taleb

“We really can’t forecast all that well, and yet we pretend that we can, but we really can’t.”

Alan Greenspan

. I do not base my forecasts on mathematical models or some finely honed methodology, but on my sense of where the economic world stands today and where I think it might likely be in the near future.

Actually, I’m going to spend the first few pages demonstrating that the mathematical models used to forecast GDP and all sorts of interesting economic events are basically nonsense.

John Mauldin

The essence of investment management entails the management of risk, not the management of returns.

Benjamin Graham

“If you are not confused about the economy, you don’t understand it very well.”

Charlie Munger

The least competent are the most certain of their skills

Dunning-Kruger effect

The key to success is the ability to fake sincerity.

Many humorists

It’s difficult to put in the hard work of reading a great work of literature, when we spend our time writing in 140 characters. 

Mark Myatt

…the current culture of education has displaced parents as the primary instructors of children in favor of professionals who try their best to recreate the home environment at school; has the federal government rather than the community determining the structure of equal educational opportunity; has deserted the idea that memorization trains the brain; has fostered a loss of literacy by replacing the study of original writings with abridged textbooks; and has created a populace unable to engage in reasonable discourse. We have rejected the historically successful model of rigorous, classical education in favor of entertainment and job training.”
Leigh Bortins

“What you think is much less important than how you think.”
Philip Tetlock

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”


“We observe the world how it is today and make these very simple projections and turn them into a terrible scenario. “This approach fails to take into account that the world is changing.”

World Bank’s Social Protection and Labor Global Practice.

The most glaring problem with current risk tolerance questionnaires is its failure to add any perspective and context to what the risk score means.

Brian Leitner

A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is getting its boots on.

Mark Twain

There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.


Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds 

Albert Einstein


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

World Clock by

5/25: Universal Life

SOME consumers who bought universal life insurance policies decades ago are now facing premium increases in the double-digit percentages to maintain the policies. The policyholders have limited options, since finding affordable replacement policies would probably be difficult now that they are much older.

Transamerica Life Insurance Company,  notified some universal life customers last year that their rates would rise an estimated 38 percent. Other policyholders say their increases are even higher. The lawsuit says that Transamerica is breaching the terms of the policies by sharply increasing its monthly deduction rate — the amount taken from policyholders’ accounts to cover premiums, the cost of the policy’s death benefit and other expenses and fees — as a pretext to avoid paying the policyholders the interest rates agreed to when the policies were sold.


"Tips from TIPS: The Informational Content of Treasury Inflation-Protected Security Prices" Free Download
FEDS Working Paper No. 2014-24

STEFANIA D'AMICO, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Federal Reserve Board - Division of Monetary Affairs
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve - Division of Monetary Affairs

Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are frequently thought of as risk-free real bonds. Using no-arbitrage term structure models, we show that TIPS yields exceeded risk-free real yields by as much as 100 basis points when TIPS were first issued and up to 300 basis points during the recent financial crisis. This spread reflects predominantly the poorer liquidity of TIPS relative to nominal Treasury securities. Other factors, including the indexation lag and the embedded deflation protection in TIPS, play a much smaller role. Ignoring this spread also significantly distorts the informational content of TIPS breakeven inflation, a widely-used proxy for expected inflation.


Bridging the Gap Between Leadership and Management

5/25: Hourly wages


5 Tips on AMD Caregiving

By: Samuel Masket MD

Despite recent projections estimating the number of individuals in the U.S. with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) will reach 20 million in 2020, new survey results reveal that nearly 75 percent of Americans still don’t know AMD – the loss of one’s central vision - is the leading cause of legal blindness in older adults. The top choice selected was, incorrectly, glaucoma.
The survey also found that 43% of Americans age 65 years or older (equivalent to nearly 20 million Americans) have or know someone with AMD and find themselves assisting those individuals frequently, despite not being familiar with this debilitating form of blindness.
What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
The signs of AMD are subtle at first. Straight lines, like mailbox posts, may appear bent or crooked, or vision might be slightly blurred. It isn’t until AMD progresses that caregivers may find that their parents need more help paying bills, running errands, and recognizing friends they meet on the street. As central, “straight-ahead” vision deteriorates, an older adult sacrifices their independence and it’s very common for these patients to experience increased stress or depression as a result.
Today, more than 15 million Americans are affected by some form of macular degeneration and approximately 2 million Americans have the advanced (End-stage) form with associated vision loss, which is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss and legal blindness in individuals over the age of 60. AMD does not cause complete blindness, but at its most aggressive, it can completely damage the macula, which is the region of the retina responsible for central, detailed vision. Although peripheral vision remains unaffected by AMD, the developing “blind spot” in central vision is not something people can see around using natural eye moments.
Despite the availability of new drug treatments that slow, but not stop, the progression of AMD, the number of people with the advanced form of the disease is expected to double by the year 2050.
Only a comprehensive dilated eye exam, usually given by an ophthalmologist, can detect macular degeneration. It’s important that caregivers ensure that their loved ones see their eye doctor at least once a year, or more frequently if AMD is progressing, to be assessed for treatment. The more common form of AMD is called dry (atrophic) AMD, which is a slower progressing form of AMD compared to wet (neovascular) AMD, which is caused by abnormal blood vessels that leak fluid or blood and damage the macula. Wet AMD is only diagnosed in 10 percent of all patients.
Caring for the AMD Patient
Do you know how to care for someone living with AMD? Studies find that people living with advanced AMD may need assistance nearly four hours per day, five days per week. Spouses or adult children provide 72 percent of that care.
Notably, the above referenced survey found that more than 1 in 3 (35%) Americans who know someone with AMD assist them frequently. But, also, that despite the high prevalence of AMD, the majority of respondents -- 66 percent -- report that they are unconfident in their ability to care for their loved one should a family member develop AMD.  Learning about AMD and different strategies to identify symptoms, treat and manage the condition benefits both the patient and their caregiver.
How can you help your loved one manage AMD? Here are some quick tips that you may find useful:

  1. Start a conversation – Work with your loved one to identify the questions that are important to address with a doctor about the specific diagnosis and available treatments.
  2. Commit to a healthy life - Quitting smoking, losing weight and watching your blood pressure can help reduce the risk of AMD progression; simple changes like adjusting lighting and purchasing an e-reader (that allows for larger print) can make daily life easier. Make it a family mission to live a healthier lifestyle.
  3. Safe driving – Initiate a serious conversation with your loved one and their physician about whether their vision is sufficient to make driving safe for themselves and other people on the road. Also, recognize that your loved one may experience mixed emotions about giving up driving as it signals an obvious sign of lost independence. It’s important to provide support through that transition.
  4. Research options – Despite there being no cure for AMD, it can be managed. An ophthalmologist may recommend treatments ranging from vitamins, drug or laser therapy, or, even a tiny FDA-approved telescope implant for those patients who have progressed to the most advanced form of the disease.
  5. Find support – Across the country, there are local low vision resource centers, such as Lions Club International. These organizations help people living with AMD better navigate their environment via occupational therapy and low vision assistive devices, for example. There are also national AMD awareness groups that provide education and resources, such as BrightFocus Foundation, Macular Degeneration Foundation and the National Eye Institute, to name a few. is another resource that provides education about age-related macular degeneration and treatment options.
Age-related macular degeneration is common and will grow in incidence as the boomer population ages. Understanding how you can assist a loved one to best manage the condition is vital because it will enhance the family’s ability to enjoy life together.


Why Do People With Alzheimer’s Wander?

By  Frena Gray-Davidson


Don't think Alzheimer's experts know any more than you about Alzheimer's behaviors. They don't. So, your guess is as good as theirs. And, speaking as a longtime Alzheimer's dementia caregiver, frankly I think caregiver guesses are better than most other people's. So there!      In my workshops, I always encourage family caregivers to guess. If the first guess seems to be wrong, guess again. Always be prepared to try something new when dealing with solving a difficult behavior.

And, by the way, it’s only difficult for you, which is really worth thinking even harder about. Not that you don’t matter because, of course, you do. It’s just that sometimes we’ll label a behavior as difficult and then we’ll fight to stop that behavior. To retrain our person. To make them learn that it’s not what we want.

Boy, now there’s a way to make yourself feel crazy.  When we’re specially stressed, we caregivers can get stubborn and locked into our own demands. That’s because of the tightening up we experience as stress. Weary, grieving and overwhelmed, we just don’t tend to say to ourselves, “Now, how can I find a better way to solve this problem?”   No, we tend to mutter between our clenched teeth, “If he (or she) doesn’t stop doing that, I’m going to go crazy!”    So, figuring out how to find a solution to any dementia behavior problem should be preceded by a warm scented bath, or a session at the gym, a movie you love and then your own self-consulting care plan conference.

So now let’s fast-forward to that relaxed state in which you can ask yourself, ”What exactly is this behavior about and how can I find a solution?”   People don’t do things only because they have dementia. Yes, they do have short-term memory issues. And, yes, they are usually unable to do rational step-by-step thinking. Even given those two unfixable issues, people with dementia have a very wide range of possibility in the behaviors they demonstrate.

So, why is your person doing that particular thing? That’s what you have to make guesses about. Your person is targeted on doing what will bring a desired emotional result. That you don’t want them to wander is your problem. Even if you pointed out that certain things are dangerous for them, it means nothing.   Why not?  Because they don’t remember what the problem was with what they did. And anyway, they feel like that’s what they want to do.  And you can’t fight dementia.

So, why does your Alzheimer Dad go wandering? Make some guesses. Ask questions. Ask him, and then ask yourself:

  •   Is he bored? Probably;
  •  Is he restless? Sometimes;
  •  Is he stuck with absolutely nothing to do? Yes, often.
  •  Is he just not used to being this person with dementia?  Undoubtedly.

Think about the average person who has dementia. They’ve lost their previous life and have nothing to replace it.  Caregivers can be so busy that those they care for are often left in a kind of limbo They can be left doing nothing, having nothing and unable to figure out for themselves what to do.

I always look at the problem things they want to do as their communication to us. So, a walker wants to walk. As my nephew would say, “Duh!”   First, everyone else can go walking any time. Except for people with dementia. We even label their walking as wandering. That’s our caregiver jargon which says we don’t want them to do it. It’s dangerous for them and inconvenient for us.  If we don’t help find alternatives,  however, they will walk out when we’re not looking.


  1. The biggest reason never stated for people with dementia wandering is that this is the way they can self-medicate their anxiety and sense of displacement;
  2. That feeling of displacement drives them to walk out of the front door and straight off down the road, going forward endlessly. It is a feeling that instigates walking and it is dementia which keeps it going. Once people have begun walking,  they tend to be  unlikely to ask for help or directions and they tend to go straight ahead.
  3. Boredom and  restlessness also drive people out of their front doors to find presumably some kind of variety.

This is why the smart caregiver creates an activity plan. For your Dad, maybe he needs a drawer all of his own full of the kind of stuff that used to interest him.  Maybe he was a handyman around the home. Then screwdrivers, nails, a hammer – all the equipment of fixing up might keep him happy indefinitely. Maybe a tool box all jumbled up with stuff he can sort out.

 How about having him sweeping up the leaves in the backyard? Filling bird-feeders with seed? If you get him weeding, be prepared for the consequences of a person with dementia who no longer knows a weed from a treasured garden guest.

 When we craft an activity plan for our family member with dementia we look for something which evokes what was familiar in a way that doesn’t hold to forgotten standards. And as the caregiver, we commit to letting go of our standards of perfection.

 The activity works simply by absorbing the person.  Sometimes, your Mom could wash and dry the dishes.  So what if you have to redo them? Mom felt useful and helpful and it brought back to her a life in which she was the woman who held the family home together.

These activities fill time, yes, but they also remind people who they were when they did not have dementia. I doubt they think it through in that way, though. I suspect they simply feel a more peaceful, more settled sense of belonging. 

 The desire in the dementia wanderer is often simply to want to go somewhere, anywhere but where they are.  In assessing problem dementia behaviors, we always look at both the obvious message and the metaphor. Dementia allows people to operate at a number of different mental levels all combining into this present moment  – which in itself might actually be South Dakota, 1926, for the person with dementia. Time zones may blend as that person’s life has now blended into its own story, nearing completion.

 How do we bring satisfaction to the wanderer? Well, obviously, an actual walking program is a great idea. The caregiver need not be the one to do this. Ask a family member, a neighbor, a high school kid you trust, a volunteer from the senior center  – any of whom can be great company on a walk. Hire someone to do the daily walk – it’ll be a good investment.

 To organize this, you plan it, you set the boundaries in time and distance, you train the walker who’ll go with your wanderer. You explain dementia. You prepare them.

 Add to this, a driving program. Most people with dementia love a drive in the car. It’s the most active passive entertainment for an elder. It should probably end at an ice-cream parlor or a fruit stand or somewhere else involving food.

The company of others who also have dementia is often very comforting, so look for a good day activity program. How do you know it’s good? See if people are having a good time. Talking like friends. Enjoying the quality of the connection. Dementia is often a lonely condition. The actual activity almost doesn’t matter as long as it clearly connects people by the heart.

 The goal of all this is to tire out your family member so that restless dissatisfaction does not speak so loudly to them. Maybe get them a good pet friend, one of those older pets that are so understanding and seldom get adopted..

 By the way, don’t forget to secure your doors. You want to know when your person heads for the great outdoors. This doesn’t have to be sophisticated.  The things people I know have used successfully have been:

  1. a set of brass bells hanging on a door-handle;
  2. that cheap set of buzzer and five activators that you can put on doors. Not at all expensive -- I think around $7 and in most budget stores and hardware places;
  3. a warning door chime;
  4. an ankle bracelet that sets off a perimeter alarm.
  5. Or for the cunning escaper, firmly locked doors, deadbolted and you have the key.   

 If your person does get out, unnoticed by you, of course you need to go find them. Before you do that, call the police and give a description. Ideally, you would already have lodged a photo with the local police station just in case.

 If you have already tagged them with a GPS unit, then your search will be much easier. Check on-line to find great prices on personal GPS systems. It's something you can tag on the back of someone's pants each day, for example. Not in pockets or a handbag or wallet  – which can be lost or stolen.

 If you are looking for someone not tagged, know that people with dementia are most likely to simply continue walking in a forward direction. If you have straight highways from your door, I'd follow those first. If you're calling out for them, call by name, not by role. So Frank, not Dad. That's because they may be in a much younger time-zone state of mind where they weren't a Dad.

 I know you will already have got a non-removable ID on your person. Not in a pocket but on a bracelet, anklet or dogtag. You can get these from the Alzheimer's Association but they're much cheaper from your local Walmart or equivalent. Put on their name, something like "memory-impaired" and the most relevant phone number.

 Have your emergency wanderer kit already – all the numbers, all the friends and neighbors who’ve already agreed to help. Call everyone. Don’t be embarrassed – people love to help in a real emergency.

 May all dementia journeys be safe ones.

5/24: Drug use

5/24: Slowdown

5/23: Interest rates

5/22: Canadian Euthanasia bill

The court ruled in a decision on Tuesday regarding a 58-year-old woman referred to as E.F. that the government must provide access to physician-assisted death to those facing intolerable and incurable suffering, regardless of whether the illness or disability will lead to their death. The woman in the case was seeking a court-granted exemption to have a doctor help her end her life before the new law comes into effect, because she suffers extreme pain related to a psychological condition.

Canada needs this. They have been overrun by zombies. But it is so cold that the zombies have not been able to move that well. However when you consider global warming...............................

5/22: This is a literacy Quiz

Question 1: Suppose you had $100 in a savings account and the interest rate was 2 percent per year. After 5 years, how much do you think you would have in the account if you left the money to grow?

A. More than $102

B. Exactly $102

C. Less than $102

Question 2: Imagine that the interest rate on your savings account was 1 percent per year and inflation was 2 percent per year. After one year, with the money in this account, would you be able to buy:

A. More than today.

B. Exactly the same as today.

C. Less than today.

Question 3: Do you think that the following statement is true or false? “Buying a single company stock usually provides a safer return than a stock mutual fund.”

A. True

B. False

Scroll to the bottom of this for the quiz answers

The Results

How did you do? Did you find it challenging? If so, you’re not alone. In a 2004, when the questions were first posed to U.S. residents age 50 or older, about a third failed to answer correctly the interest rate question, a quarter flubbed the inflation question and nearly half failed to determine that investing in a single stock is usually more risky than investing in a mutual fund. Just 34 percent of respondents answered all three questions correctly.

EFM- Get all of them right and it means nothing in the real world of investments

5/22: Inflation

  1. Information avoidance in financial decision making


Anna Blajer-GoĀ‚Ä™biewska (University of Gdansk) ; Dagmara Wach (University of Gdansk) ; Maciej Kos (Northeastern University)

When making financial decisions, decision-makers should perceive having complete risk information as beneficial. Surprisingly, in some situations decision-makers prefer to know less than more, even when it may result in losing money. Some shareholders do not keep themselves informed about the company they have invested in, and some online customers prefer not to read the terms of service of the online stores they shop at. The aim of this study was to identify the impact of selected characteristics of financial threats on individualsČŘ™ decisions to avoid information about the probability that a given threat may occur. To reach this goal, we conducted an incentivized full-factorial 2x2x2 experiment in which subjects (n=395) made financial decisions to minimize the amount of money they could lose. We investigated their behaviour under such threat focusing mainly on their willingness to attain information that can protect them from losing money.We hypothesized t hat: (1) the more serious the financial threat, the fewer people avoid risk information; (2) the higher the perceived probability of the financial threat, the more people avoid risk information; (3) the lower the effectiveness of prevention of the threat, the more people avoid risk information. Additionally, we investigated the role of coping-styles (Miller, 1987) and locus of control (Rotter, 1966) on risk information avoidance in the financial domain. Specifically, we tested the conjectures that: (4) blunters are less likely to attain risk information than monitors; (5) external locus of control leads to more risk information avoidance than internal locus of control. Furthermore, we controlled for: anticipated emotional response, rational/emotional thinking, risk attitudes, and basic demographics.To analyse the data we ran a logistic regression model with Huber-White sandwich variance estimator and rejected hypotheses 1-3. However, we found an interesting interaction effect: the e ffect of threat severity on information avoidance depends on perceived probability of the threat. Specifically, people tend to avoid financial risk information more often when the financial threat is more serious and the perceived probability of the threat is high. In other words, they avoid financial risk information when knowing it would benefit them most. Finally, our data provides support for hypotheses 4 and 5, and suggests that anticipated emotional response and sex are statistically significant predictors of financial risk information avoidance.


Decision making, behavioural economics, behavioural finance, risk information avoidance


D81 G02 D03


5/22: Retirement  As you are aware, I usually provide a synopsis of an article and a link to the source. This material I need to save for posterity and pretty much it is all here.

The Society of Actuaries studied the impact of unexpected or shocking retirement expenses during its 2015 update to its biennial risk survey started in 2001. The study followed up with focus groups to supplement regular surveys with people who were retired at least 15 years to understand the long-term impact of a lack of retirement planning. While almost three in ten retirees (28 percent) report experiencing none of these shocks or unexpected expenses, 13 percent say they encountered three and 19 percent encountered four or more in retirement. One-quarter of retired widows (24 percent) indicate they have encountered four or more.

17. Loss of capacity requiring someone outside the household to manage your money

Retirees: 1 percent

Retired widows: 1 percent

Men: 1 percent

Women: 1 percent

Age 45-59: 4 percent

Age 60-69: 0 percent

Age 70-80: 1 percent

Household income less than $35,000: 2 percent

Household income $35,000 - $74,000: 1 percent

Household income greater than $75,000: --

16. Divorce during retirement

Retirees: 3 percent

Retired widows: 1 percent

Men: 3 percent

Women: 3 percent

Age 45-59: 3 percent

Age 60-69: 4 percent

Age 70-80: 3 percent

Household income less than $35,000: 5 percent

Household income $35,000 - $74,000: 2 percent 

Household income greater than $75,000: 2 percent

15. Significant damage to or loss of home due to fire or natural disaster

Retirees: 3 percent

Retired widows: 4 percent 

Men: 2 percent

Women: 4 percent

Age 45-59: 5 percent

Age 60-69: 2 percent

Age 70-80: 3 percent

Household income less than $35,000: 2 percent

Household income $35,000 - $74,000: 4 percent

Household income greater than $75,000: 2 percent

14. Loss of home through foreclosure

Retirees: 3 percent

Retired widows: 6 percent

Men: 2 percent

Women: 3 percent

Age 45-59: 6 percent

Age 60-69: 3 percent

Age 70-80: 2 percent

Household income less than $35,000: 4 percent

Household income $35,000 - $74,000: 2 percent

Household income greater than $75,000: 1 percent

13. Bankruptcy

Retirees: 4 percent

Retired widows: 4 percent

Men: 5 percent

Women: 3 percent 

Age 45-59: 8 percent

Age 60-69: 3 percent

Age 70-80: 4 percent

Household income less than $35,000: 7 percent

Household income $35,000 - $74,000: 3 percent

Household income greater than $75,000: 1 percen

12. Victimization by fraud or scam

Retirees: 6 percent

Retired widows: 5 percent

Men: 5 percent

Women: 7 percent

Age 45-59: 11 percent

Age 60-69: 5 percent

Age 70-80: 5 percent

Household income less than $35,000: 8 percent

Household income $35,000 - $74,000: 5 percent

Household income greater than $75,000: 4 percent

11. Loss in total value of savings of 10 percent or more due to poor investment decisions

Retirees: 9 percent

Retired widows: 8 percent

Men: 12 percent

Women: 7 percent

Age 45-59: 16 percent

Age 60-69: 9 percent

Age 70-80: 8 percent

Household income less than $35,000: 11 percent

Household income $35,000 - $74,000: 9 percent

Household income greater than $75,000: 7 percent

10. Death of a spouse or long-term partner

Retirees: 10 percent

Retired widows: 56 percent

Men: 5 percent

Women: 14 percent

Age 45-59: 4 percent

Age 60-69: 6 percent

Age 70-80: 16 percent

Household income less than $35,000: 15 percent

Household income $35,000 - $74,000: 7 percent

Household income greater than $75,000: 5 percent

9. Family emergency that impacted the amount able to spend on other things or used 10 percent or more of savings

Retirees: 12 percent

Retired widows: 18 percent

Men: 11 percent

Women: 13 percent

Age 45-59: 20 percent

Age 60-69: 11 percent

Age 70-80: 11 percent

Household income less than $35,000: 17 percent

Household income $35,000 - $74,000: 11 percent

Household income greater than $75,000: 6 percen

8. Going on Medicaid

Retirees: 14 percent

Retired widows: 11 percent

Men: 16 percent

Women: 12 percent

Age 45-59: 24 percent

Age 60-69: 12 percent

Age 70-80: 12 percent

Household income less than $35,000: 27 percent

Household income $35,000 - $74,000: 6 percent

Household income greater than $75,000: 3 percent

7. Sudden loss of total value of savings of 25 percent or more due to a fall in the market

Retirees: 14 percent

Retired widows: 13 percent

Men: 14 percent

Women: 14 percent

Age 45-59: 13 percent

Age 60-69: 9 percent

Age 70-80: 19 percent

Household income less than $35,000: 15 percent

Household income $35,000 - $74,000: 12 percent

Household income greater than $75,000: 14 percen

6. Running out of assets

Retirees: 15 percent

Retired widows: 16 percent

Men: 15 percent

Women: 15 percent

Age 45-59: 23 percent

Age 60-69: 13 percent

Age 70-80: 13 percent

Household income less than $35,000: 27 percent

Household income $35,000 - $74,000: 9 percent

Household income greater than $75,000: 3 percent

5. Illness or disability that limited the retiree's ability to care for himself or herself

Retirees: 15 percent

Retired widows: 22 percent

Men: 15 percent

Women: 15 percent

Age 45-59: 25 percent

Age 60-69: 13 percent

Age 70-80: 14 percent

Household income less than $35,000: 21 percent

Household income $35,000 - $74,000: 12 percent

Household income greater than $75,000: 9 percent

4. Drop in home value of 25 percent or more

Retirees: 16 percent

Retired widows: 22 percent

Men: 16 percent

Women: 16 percent

Age 45-59: 13 percent

Age 60-69: 15 percent

Age 70-80: 19 percent

Household income less than $35,000: 13 percent

Household income $35,000 - $74,000: 19 percent

Household income greater than $75,000: 18 percent

3. Significant out-of-pocket medical or prescription expenses from a chronic health condition or disability that did not limit the retiree's ability to care for himself or herself

Retirees: 20 percent

Retired widows: 12 percent

Men: 22 percent

Women: 18 percent

Age 45-59: 31 percent

Age 60-69: 21 percent

Age 70-80: 15 percent

Household income less than $35,000: 27 percent

Household income $35,000 - $74,000: 20 percent

Household income greater than $75,000: 8 percent

2. Major dental expenses

Retirees: 24 percent

Retired widows: 28 percent

Men: 23 percent

Women: 25 percent

Age 45-59: 27 percent

Age 60-69: 20 percent

Age 70-80: 28 percent

Household income less than $35,000: 23 percent

Household income $35,000 - $74,000: 23 percent

Household income greater than $75,000: 26 percent

1. Major home repairs or upgrades

Retirees: 28 percent

Retired widows: 34 percent

Men: 28 percent

Women: 29 percent

Age 45-59: 28 percent

Age 60-69: 27 percent

Age 70-80: 31 percent

Household income less than $35,000: 23 percent

Household income $35,000 - $74,000: 30 percent

Household income greater than $75,000: 35 percent


our college study skills guide

 Guide to Best Online Degrees-

- Cheapest Online Degrees-


The rebalancing problem

Even if our expectations about the future have not changed, we still feel compelled to tweak our portfolios to bring them back to our “optimal” mix. This process we call rebalancing. We may rebalance periodically – quarterly for example – or we may set percentage boundaries around each asset class and rebalance when they are exceeded. Either way, the underlying assumption is that our target allocation is better than the allocation the markets have given us.

Research on the value of rebalancing suggests that it has little ability to increase returns or decrease risk. Whatever utility exists depends on factors such as time period, the direction of the market and the relative future expected returns of the asset classes being rebalanced. Yet few, if any, of us take these factors into account in developing our rebalancing strategies. Instead, we employ simple, mechanical rebalancing strategies that add little or no value and may even detract from long-term performance.

Is every asset class doomed to a life sentence in our portfolios – once they are added can they ever leave? Aren’t there some supposed “asset classes” like commodities or managed futures that have no real long-term expected return? Wouldn’t it be better to hold them at certain times, but not at others? “Yes,” you say, “but it is too hard to tell when to hold and when to fold, and, anyway, they are in my portfolio as a diversifier to reduce volatility.”

Ah, volatility reduction. Is that a good thing, or a bad thing, or does it depend? Certainly, all things being equal, we’d like less volatility rather than more. No one likes big swings in their portfolio value – at least not the downward swings. But all things are never equal. We rarely have the choice of getting the same return with less risk if Mr. Market is being reasonably efficient. As a practical matter, if we shave off some volatility we also shave off some return.

Shouldn’t the composition of our portfolios be determined by the objectives of the client? Sometimes it makes sense to dial the same set of risky/not-so-risky asset classes up or down depending on the client’s goals. But why construct all of our portfolios using this cookie-cutter approach? Shouldn’t we question why each asset class is in the portfolio? Why build a conservative portfolio for someone in retirement using the exact same asset classes as a portfolio built for an aggressive investor in their 30s? In one case, controlling volatility is important. In the other, it gets in the way of fully achieving the client’s long-term goals.


  1. Can transparency of information reduce embezzlement? Experimental Evidence from Tanzania




Salvatore Di Falco ; Brice Magdalou ; David Masclet ; Marie-Claire Villeval ; Marc Willnger

Embezzlement is a major concern in various settings. By means of a sequential modified dictator game, we investigate theoretically and experimentally whether making information more transparent and reducing the number of intermediaries in transfer chains can reduce embezzlement and improve the recipients’ welfare. Consistent with referencedependent preferences in terms of moral ideal, we show that the impact of transparency is conditional on the length of the transfer chain and on the position of the intermediaries in the chain. Its direct effect on image encourages honesty. Its indirect effect via expectations plays in the opposite direction, motivating individuals to embezzle more when they expect that the following intermediary will embezzle less. Senders react positively to a reduction of the length of the chain but negatively to transparency.



  1. Gender differences and stereotypes in strategic thinking




Maria Cubel (Universitat de Barcelona) ; Santiago Sanchez-Pages (Universitat de Barcelona)

Recent literature has emphasized that individuals display varying levels of strategic reasoning. This paper presents ten years worth of experimental data from two countries exploring the existence and endogeneity of gender differences in strategic sophistication. We report results from two experimental studies employing the beauty contest game, one from the classroom and one from the laboratory. We observe robust and signi?cant gender differences in strategic sophistication in favour of men in zero-stake situations. These differences disappear when a monetary prize is awarded. We also ?find that depth of strategic reasoning varies with gender priming. Females display signi?cantly higher levels of strategic sophistication than males when gender is made salient. This effect of gender priming is driven by females who believe women are superior in the game.


guessing game, strategic sophistication, gender, stereotype threat,beliefs.


C72 C91 D81 J16


5/22: Yield vs Duration

since mid-2014 the world has lost more than $5 trillion worth of positively yielding debt, with most of that decline coming in countries running negative rate policies. As of the end of March 2016, we had 38 percent of developed market bonds trading at negative yields. Looking forward, rates are likely to stay low, even with further Federal Reserve (Fed) rate increases, meaning generating income will remain difficult. The average duration in the fixed income market has extended. Duration, or the measure of how much bond prices are likely to change in response to changing interest rates, has extended dramatically in every developed sovereign market in recent years,

Against this changed market landscape, the risks for traditional fixed income investors have increased, and the need for diversification and flexibility in fixed income has become greater than ever. In other words, navigating today’s bond environment requires having a flexible approach in a bond toolkit.

5/22: Disability



Would your client be able to take a year long vacation? If the answer is no, what would happened if they were disabled? Disability insurance usually costs 1-3% of your client's income. Does it make sense to spend 1-3% to protect 100%? Yes!

More than 25% of people will become disabled before they die

More than half use savings to pay bills if out of work, 33% would sell possessions, and 29% would use a credit cards or loan

The average time off work due to a disability is 2.6 years

A disability lasting 2.6 years translates to 135 weekly paychecks missed

More than 75% say it's very or somewhat likely that they will have a serious accident in their lifetime

Every 7 seconds, someone in the United States suffers an illness, injury, or accident that will keep them out of work for more than one month


"Do Individuals Put Effort into Lying? Evidence from a Compliance Experiment" Free Download
CESifo Working Paper Series No. 5805

NADJA DWENGER, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance
Berlin School of Economics and Law, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance

We study whether individuals in a face-to-face situation can successfully exertsome lying effort to delude others. We exploit data from a laboratory experiment in which participants were asked to assess videotaped statements asbeing rather truthful or untruthful. The statements are face-to-face tax declarations. The video clips feature each subject twice making the samedeclaration. But one time the subject is reporting truthfully, the other time willingly untruthfully. This allows us to investigate within-subjectdifferences in trustworthiness. We find that a subject is perceived as more trustworthy if she deceives than if she reports truthfully. It is particularly individuals with dishonest appearance who manage to increase their perceivedtrustworthiness by up to 15 percent. This is evidence of individuals successfully exerting lying effort.

5/22: Liability insurance        Haven't used them but I put it in for reference.

 • Crime Insurance -

  • Cyber Liability -

  • Home Healthcare -

  • Home Inspectors -

  • Insurance Agents -

  • Pharmacies -

  • Real Estate -


  1. The influence of gender and expressed emotions on evaluation of managerČŘ™s behavioral and professional competen


Ewa Magier-Ā akomy (WSB University in GdaĀ„sk) ; Honorata Neumueler (WSB University in GdaĀ„sk)

The gender issue in management is still vividly discussed (i.e. :Byron 2008; Chua; Murray, 2015; Lakshmi, Peter, 2015). Researchers are interested in both: relation between managerČŘ™s gender and real efficacy, and between managerČŘ™s gender and perceiving his/her efficacy. The aim of this work is to understand the role of managerČŘ™s gender and his/her emotions in the perception of his/her professional competencies and social or personal skills. Authors try to answer the question whether the evaluation of the managerČŘ™s professional and behavioral competencies depends on managerČŘ™s gender and emotions expressed at his/her face. It was expected that negative emotion, especially expressed by female manager would decrease the evaluation of her competencies. To test the hypotheses, 4 questionnaires were developed. Each questionnaire consist of picture, short description of manager and 25 characteristics given in the form of semantic differe ntial scale. Each version differed with an attached picture according to independent variables included to the research: gender (man vs woman) and emotion (joy vs anger). 25 characteristics referred to professional and behavioral skills. 160 subjects (employees) participated in the study. Results show that expressed emotion more significantly determines female managerČŘ™s competencies than male. In addition, negative emotion expressed by woman conduces to low evaluation. The emotion expressed by man does not influence how he is perceived, sometimes his negative emotion leads to perceiving his competencies as higher (i.e.: in decision making, or being reliable). The results are discussed in the frame of social perception theories.


economic psychology, manager's competencies, gender, emotions, social perception, decision making, ANOVA


A10 A13 A14




Distracted driving

5/22: Labor market not happy

5/19: . Saying it like it is

The Bank of England’s chief economist has admitted that the British pensions system is so complicated, even he fails to understand it, warning of the “damaging” consequences this presents for consumers as they approach retirement.

Andy Haldane said he considered himself to be “moderately financially literate” yet confessed to “not being able to make the remotest sense of pensions”.

“Conversations with countless experts and independent financial advisers have confirmed for me only one thing — that they have no clue either,

“More of the risk associated with financial decisions is these days being shouldered, not by the state or companies, but by individuals,” he said.

The move away from generous final salary or defined benefit pensions to defined contribution schemes over the past 20 years had placed the investment risk of pensions “squarely on the shoulders of the individual, rather than companies”, he said.

Campaigners have warned of the growing pensions “advice gap” as the cost of financial advice on complex pension products can easily run into thousands of pounds, deterring consumers from consulting experts before cashing in retirement funds.

However, Mr Haldane said that the finance industry had not helped to close this “perception gap”, pointing to “plenty of evidence, including from the financial crisis, of financial products being made more complex than was necessary and consumers being charged a premium for buying them”

Part of the problem, he said, was that a great many people found financial issues “difficult and boring”, claiming that this stemmed from the way mathematics is taught in schools.

“For many, maths is a turn-off because it seems unrelated to their everyday lives; it lacks real world relevance. Sad to say, payday lenders have a greater resonance to many people than Pythagoras’s theorem,

Mr Haldane cited government research that 17m UK adults had a standard of mathematics that was “no higher than those of a primary-school child”,

5/19: Goldman Sachs just downgraded stocks all over the world


The MPT problem

Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) is an elegantly wonderful confluence of insight and mathematics, worthy of the Nobel Prize that was awarded to its developer, Harry Markowitz. Efforts to implement MPT, unfortunately, have not been as fruitful as the theory.

The reason is simple. To build an “optimal” portfolio using MPT, you must know three things – the future expected returns, volatilities and correlations of the asset classes you use in the portfolio. The problem is no one knows what those numbers are.

The problem, of course, is that these numbers are not fixed, but change every year, and their historical patterns and sequences are not likely to be repeated in the future. They just keep changing and rarely, if ever, line up with capital market assumptions.

You can look at historical averages, but these numbers change over time, too. In his original MPT paper, Markowitz said that history might be a good starting place, but that ultimately the “judgement of men” would be required to refine the estimates.

5/19: 5 year yields

More than $7.1 trillion of government debt now yields less than zero.1Five-year nominal rates in Japan are negative 1.6%, which means investors are paying the government when they purchase Japanese government bonds. The picture is not much better in Europe, where five-year nominal yields are negative 1.3% in France and negative 0.8% in Switzerland.

But miniscule yield is better than negative yield, which has spurred many global investors to buy US Treasuries as a source of income. At the same time, the US government’s AAA credit rating on US Treasuries from S&P is attractive to global investors where bonds from their home country may have a positive yield but a lower credit rating.

5/19: Soros

in the first quarter, Soros Fund Management owned a put option of 2.1 million shares on the SPDR S&P 500 exchange-traded fund (ETF), which tracks the benchmark U.S. index.

5/19: Paying too much

CalPERS has reduced the number of its external money managers to 159 from 212 in a nine-month period,

5/19: This is just plain wrong but since no one intends to do anything it will keep happeningAn elderly woman went to an Edward Jones broker who she trusted to invest her money. She had only Social Security income but she did not want to pay any taxes on her $28k savings. Here's how the broker invested her money: Franklin-Templeton Ohio Tax Exempt Bond fund, within an annuity, and the annuity within an IRA.

EFM: Hard to believe. But a supervisor had to stamp his approval on the trade.

5/19: Rate Increase??

Financial markets are being overly pessimistic about the US outlook and may underestimate the chances of an interest-rate increase as soon as June, according to a senior Federal Reserve official. Dennis Lockhart, the president of the Atlanta Fed, said recent inflation readings had been “encouraging” while early signs pointed to growth rebounding from a soft first quarter, meaning that June should be a possibility for a move

5/19: Spending changes

5/19: Slow economy

5/18: The other half are already dead

Almost half of weed-smoking Canadian drivers say that they can safely operate a vehicle while stoned.


Fatal crashes doubled after state legalized marijuana, AAA says

Prevalence of Marijuana Involvement in Fatal Crashes: Washington, 2010–2014,

5/18:   Top 15 Cheapest States for Long-Term Care: 2016
Good info by Genworth


5/18: China       Gary Halbert

Two prominent experts on China, each with his own best-selling book, Gordon Chang and Frazier Howie, believe that China’s economy grew by only 3-4% last year as opposed to the 6.9% figure put out by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Some are calling it the “Dead Panda Economy.”

The authors argue that there’s no way growth could have been 6.7% in the 1Q. Like many countries around the world, 2016 got off to a rocky start in China in January and February. While the economy did post a strong rebound in March, it was not nearly enough to result in a 6.7% first quarter, the authors say. And based on preliminary reports, weakness returned in April in a big way.

Another thing that makes the authors skeptical of the official government numbers is the fact that the Peoples’ Bank of China went on an unprecedented stimulus spree in the 1Q. Credit growth in the 1Q was more than twice that in the 4Q as China created almost $1 trillion in new credit during the quarter, the largest quarterly increase in history. If the economy was really growing at 6.7%, there would be no need for such massive stimulus.

Both authors believe that the Chinese economy is headed lower, perhaps even into a recession before too long. Likewise, they believe that China’s central bank is past the point of being able to effectively goose its economy with massive stimulus.

Looking at some specific economic numbers, we see that China’s exports fell more than expected in April and have now dropped in nine of the last 10 months. Imports, considered a vital sign of domestic demand, have fallen for 18 straight months.

Meanwhile, China’s previously vibrant manufacturing sector has seen a significant decline over the last year. It’s Purchasing Managers Index for April came in at only 50.1, barely above 50.0 which divides expansion from contraction.

For all of these reasons, I expect worries about China to escalate in the weeks and months just ahead, especially when the financial media wakes up to the fact that China still has big problems that are probably going to get worse before they get better.

S&P 500

US stocks are at a critical juncture and the S&P 500 looks very “toppy” from a technical perspective -- with lower highs and lower lows over the last year. If the US equity markets become concerned that China is once again a serious problem, we could see another sizable move to the downside

5/18:When Depressed Husbands Refuse Help
Beverly Wax

To the outside world, Emme lived a charmed life.  She was a successful model, creative director of her own clothing line, a television host, lecturer, and mother of a beautiful baby girl.  Only her family and closest friends knew she was actually dealing with a devastating situation that is all too familiar to wives across the country: a husband who has depression but won’t get help.

Phillip Aronson, the wonderful man she married, found himself in a downward spiral of depression, even attempting suicide at one point to escape his pain.  Phil was always an energetic partner, excited to go to work each morning either to the showroom to check on the latest graphic designs for the Emme line or to attend meetings about some new project.   He was a caring and loving father.  But as depression enveloped him, Phil “had no energy, no appetite, no drive…and this was in sharp contrast to how he usually was.  He was depriving himself of everything, and when you don’t nourish yourself —physically, intellectually, or emotionally—your body tends to shut down.”

In their recently released book written in both their voices, Morning Has Broken, A Couple’s Journey Through Depression, Emme says, “No one knew what it was like, to be caught up in it like we were…it’s a lonely thing to be married to a man in the depths of a depression with an infant daughter at home…it was all about getting through each day.  I never felt more alone.”  Soon, Emme realized he could not even watch their daughter, Toby, and everything changed: the logistics of running the household and her ability to work.  Emme writes that every day they lost a little piece of Phil, and during the worst period, somebody needed to be with Phil at all times, “and that somebody needed to be me.”

Men and Depression

U.S. statistics state that women experience depression much more frequently than men: 1 out of every 4 to 5 women, compared to 1 out of every 8 to 10 men. However, many experts feel these statistics are simply wrong. “Men experience depression probably just as much as women, but they aren’t diagnosed,” explains Julie Totten, President and Founder of Families for Depression Awareness, a non-profit national organization. “Depressed men often get angry at others and abuse alcohol or drugs. Depressed women on the other hand may blame themselves, but then they ask their doctor for help.”

The consequences of untreated depression are serious and sometimes fatal. Depression is a leading cause of disability so many men can’t work. Depression also puts men at a high risk for suicide; they are four times more likely to take their lives than women.

Signs of Depression to look for in men:

* If someone is suicidal, treat it as a medical emergency. Call the person’s clinician, or call 911 or take him to your local hospital emergency room.

When husbands have depression, it can tear apart their marriage and family. Wives may take over and hope the problem will go away, or on the opposite end, withdraw, feeling betrayed and angry. More often, they alternate back and forth between these behaviors and emotions. Fifty percent of wives caring for a depressed husband will develop depression themselves.

The good news is that depression is highly treatable.  Once diagnosed, most people who get help report substantial relief.

The problem is that many men deny they are depressed and resist treatment (usually medication and/or talk therapy).  Their belief: depression is a woman’s disease.

Depression Affects Everyone

Dealing with a depressed husband who is in denial is not easy. But, by not addressing the issue, your husband continues to be ill or get worse, even suicidal, and you lose out as well. Depression makes men feel like they are worthless and hopeless. They can’t change how they feel without treatment. “Depression isn’t just your husband’s problem; it’s your problem and your children’s too.  Luckily, there are ways to address the issue,” Totten explains. “The top priority is to get your husband into treatment. You have to ask yourself, ‘What have I got to lose?’ You simply need to take action for everyone’s sake.”

Terrence Real, a psychotherapist and author of I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression, offers his perspective, “Women in a relationship with a depressed man feel faced with a painful dilemma.  They can either confront the man with his depression – which may further shame him – or else collude with him in minimizing it, a course that offers no hope for relief.”  He offers some strong advice to women, “You absolutely have the right, even the obligation, to put your foot down.  You have to insist on good health in your family.  It serves no one any good to back off; go to the mat on this issue.  It affects your husband and marriage, and absolutely your children.”  

He reminds women, “Remember, you are still married and at one time he listened to you.  Don’t be afraid to make this a fight…this is no time to stand on ceremony.  Make a doctor’s appointment, go out to dinner afterwards, be romantic, or bribe him; whatever it takes.” 

What Wives Can Do

Totten was able to help her father get diagnosed and treated for depression; but only after tragically losing her brother to suicide over fifteen years ago because he was never diagnosed.  She realized her dad was exhibiting signs of depression and started Families for Depression Awareness, after finding no help for families who wanted to get involved in a relative’s treatment.

Totten says she had to call her father’s doctor and tell him her father had depression. But she didn’t know how to get him to see the doctor. “Finally, my dad said he thought he had the flu, but he didn’t. I agreed with him and was able to get him to the doctor under this pretense.”

With a resistant spouse, Totten believes women need to take a similar tack.  “Call the doctor and explain that your husband has depression. Explain what the symptoms are. Then, make the appointment for him.  Go with him.  If he resists, ask him to do it just for you, to make you feel better.”

Anne Sheffield, author of Depression Fallout,, agrees with Totten.  “Denial is very common, particularly in men.  They think depression is a sign of weakness, or someone with it is mentally defective.”  She reinforces that wives should not be accusatory and instead need to address different behaviors, like sleep problems, “It’s better not to say: I think you have depression.  He is most likely to come back with `If anyone’s depressed it’s you!’”

She points out even though men may willingly go to talk therapy, sometimes they are unwilling to take any sort of medication because of a possible loss of libido.  “He doesn’t want to be stuck with no sex drive.”  Sheffield stresses to try different or a mix of medications and “tell your husband to give it at least six weeks to work.”

How to Help Your Husband

What not to do

Men with depression are suffering from a medical condition, not a weakness of character. It is important to recognize their limitations.

Laura Rosen, PhD, co-author of When Someone You Love Is Depressed, says wives need to educate their husbands.  “Leave brochures out; highlight a section so he has some understanding.”  She suggests, “I’ve noticed you don’t seem yourself…it would help me if you talk about it; I’m up at night and really anxious.”   Collaborate together and then go so far as to get a consultation, get a name, and make an appointment.”

Another way to get husbands educated is to have them take an anonymous depression questionnaire, like the Mood Questionnaire on, a quick screen for depression as well as for bipolar disorder and/or suicidal tendencies.

5/18:Are you in the American middle class? Find out with an income calculator

No cheating

In percentage terms, 51% of adults lived in middle-income households, 29% in lower-income households and 20% in upper-income households.


Experts predict lower returns on retirement investments

Continued low interest rates and highly valued stocks are likely to drag down retirement investors' returns in coming years, some experts say. "Right now, things look pretty bleak for the next 10 years," said David Blanchett, head of retirement research at Morningstar. That means retirees and those near retirement might need to plan to draw down less income annually, and younger workers will need to save more or work longer.


Top Ten Ways To Care For Yourself

  1. Keep a diary. Start today. Describe your fears as well as your hopes, the reality of what each day is like, Don’t be afraid to write about the losses, big or small.

  2. Stick with your diary. Let yourself record the little victories, go back and review the earlier months and years. Notice the personal, physical, emotional goals and successes you and your loved one have achieved.

  3. Create a simple communication network. Think of this as a designated communicator. Choose a friend or relative who will make all the calls and tell all the news when there are calls to make and news to tell, you might want to save the “big successes and wonderful news” sharing for yourself, but you will be worn out if you are constantly on the phone retelling the details of the last days or weeks over and over.

  4. Let your friends help you. When someone asks “Can I do anything for you?” give him or her something to do. Let your friend run an errand or stay with your loved one while you take a break and get out on your own.

  5. Visit with people you love. You may often have to ask your friends or family to come to your house or keep you company while waiting for your loved one’s treatment to be over. You need to be a whole person who has friends and interests and can think about something besides the responsibilities of caregiving. You shouldn’t have to reinvent your life when your caregiving responsibilities subside.

  6. Stay involved in your loved one’s personal life. Be careful that your loved one does not slip from the role of loved one, family member, friend into the role of patient. Don’t let yourselves lose the relationship you had prior to the need for caregiving.

  7. Talk about it! There are innumerable fears and anxieties associated with any illness or disease, which can and will tear a person apart. Talk to your friends and your loved one about your feelings. The worst thing you can do is build a wall around yourself to protect others.

  8. Keep the romance alive. Couples facing caregiving situations are apt to forget to nurture the relationship that brought them together up till this point. These relationships need just as much, if not more attention, now that one of you is ill, than they did before.

  9. Include your loved one in your changes. As time passes we all change in small and big ways. If you find a new friend, discover an interest in a new genre of books or music, find a new recipe or a great place to eat, share these as much as possible with your loved one. Introduce your new friends, have them visit, if your loved one cannot easily leave the house.

  10. Spend time reading the new books aloud, listen to the new music together.
    Keep setting goals. Before you were a caregiver, you set personal goals. Your life did not end because you became a caregiver. When the caregiver duties subside, you should not “Return” to your life, you should continue with your life

5/17: Real Estate foreclosures

"It must be remembered that after declining steadily since 2010, the delinquency rate has now returned to its historic norm. It is now at its lowest since the middle of 2006, and is equal to the average seen from 1985 to 2005,"


5/17: Trump will use this for a lot of mileage

NEW BOOK - Washington is abuzz about an 84-page exposé due in bookstores in two weeks, and Washington is abuzz with speculation about who may have written it. 'The Confessions of Congressman X' is 'a devastating inside look at the dark side of Congress as revealed by one of its own.'
*    'Most of my colleagues are dishonest career politicians who revel in the power and special-interest money that's lavished upon them,' the author writes.
*    'My main job is to keep my job, to get reelected. It takes precedence over everything.'
*    'Fundraising is so time consuming I seldom read any bills I vote on. Like many of my colleagues, I don't know how the legislation will be implemented, or what it'll cost.'
The book also takes shots at voters as disconnected idiots who let Congress abuse its power through sheer incompetence.

5/17: Why investors may need to lower investment expectations

For the 100 years ending in 2014, U.S. equities returned 6.5% annualized, the report says, while in the past 30 years ended 2014, U.S. equities returned 7.9%. U.S. bonds returned an annualized 1.7% for the past 100 years and 5.0% for the last 30 years. European equities returned 4.9% for the past 100 years and 7.9% for the last 30, while European bonds returned 1.6% for the 100 years and 5.9% for the last 30. 

Those 30-year returns for U.S. equities, the researchers say, were 1.4 percentage points above the 100-year average and 2.2 percentage points higher than the 50-year average. Western European equity returns for the last 30 years also exceeded the 100-year and 50-year averages, while fixed-income investments, as measured by total real returns on government bonds, were also considerably higher in the U.S. and Europe in the 1985-to-2014 period than they had been from 1915 to 2014.

Global GDP growth was fueled by a “simultaneous increase in productivity and employment … over the past 50 years, but that confluence no longer exists,” the researchers write, partly because of an aging world, where the number of working-age adults “has stalled.” The decline in employment growth, the MGI researchers say, will cause a 40% drop in global GDP over the next 40 years,

Corporate profits worldwide will be affected by three major trends.

First is new competition from emerging markets, noting that EM companies “often play by different rules,” including lower costs and a “willingness to accept lower returns.”
One example: Chinese firms already make up some 20% of the Fortune Global 500; U.S. and European companies account for only 54%.

The second trend is technology and tech-enabled firms that have “reach unprecedented scale in terms of users, customers, revenue and profits.” An example: In 2013, 40% of international call minutes “were Skype-to-Skype calls, representing $37 billion of lost revenue for telecom firms.”

The third trend affecting corporate profits, especially large-cap ones, is increased competition from small and medium-size companies who are taking advantage of online platforms to achieve scale. For example, Alibaba, eBay, Amazon “and other online platforms are now providing a way for thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises to achieve immediate global reach and compete with far larger players.”

5/17: FIDUCIARY RULE ADVICE - There's plenty of advice available on what you need to be doing to prepare for the DOL fiduciary rule: "4 Things Advisors Should Tackle Before First DOL Fiduciary Deadline," "7 actions to demonstrate compliance following the DOL fiduciary rule," "How to sell fixed indexed annuities in a DOL fiduciary environment,"  "5 adviser miscondeptions about the DOL fiduciary rule" and "Figuring Out Fiduciary...Now comes the hard part."        

5/17: Going down         Bloomberg

“Right now, things look pretty bleak for the next 10 years,” an expert says. “The U.S. has had a higher return for a balanced portfolio for the last 115 years than almost any other country in the world. We’ve had it really good for a long time.

5/16:   One in Seven Seniors Still in the Workforce

The average age at which U.S. workers expect to retire is 66, up slightly from about 64 years of age between 2004 and 2008.

In 1995, workers expected to retire at age 60, according to Gallup’s 2016 Economy and Personal Finance Poll. Thirty-eight percent of U.S. adults now expect to retire between the ages of 62 and 67, while 23% expect to stop working before they turn 62. But many workers (31%) predict they won’t retire until after age 67, the current minimum age for receiving full Social Security retirement benefits.

Lower-income workers plan to retire a bit later, on average, than those earning $75,000 or more annually. Young adults, ages 18 to 29, plan to retire earlier than middle-aged and older adults, likely reflecting youthful optimism about their future income and savings, Gallup says.

26% of adults 67 and older are either still in the workforce (14%) or worked until they were 67 or older before retiring (12%). That is slightly less than the 31% of today’s non-retirees who intend to work past age 67. However, the greater discrepancy is in the percentage retiring before age 62: 36% of today’s seniors say they did this, while just 23% of current workers intend to.


The US just hit the largest number of older workers ever (Bloomberg)

The latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that nearly 20% of Americans aged 65 and up are working right now, reports Ben Steverman. And because of the huge size of the baby boomer generation, this means the US now has the largest number of older workers ever.

Folks have cited various reasons for delaying retirement. Some said they needed to keep earning money and/or benefits, while others said they enjoyed their jobs and "wanted to stay involved,"

5/16: Smart Beta"

a dollar invested in the least volatile American shares (by quintile) in January 1968 was worth $59.55 by December 2008; in the most-volatile quintile, $1 fell to 58 cents.

5/16: Smart Betas????  “Is backtest overfitting a fraud?”       Mandatory reading

investment professionals have been using essentially that same logic to assert that their strategies – often called “smart betas” – will outperform the market. New research exposes the faulty mathematics upon which such claims are based.

5/16: The Adequacy of Investment Choices Offered By 401(k) Plans READ the abstract below

Abstract Defined-contribution plans represent a major organizational form for investors’ retirement savings. Today more than one third of all workers are enrolled in 401(k) plans. In a 401(k) plan, participants select assets from a set of choices designated by an employer. For over 60% of 401(k)-plan participants, retirement savings represent their sole financial asset. There have been a number of studies of the decisions made by 401(k) participants, but the choices made by 401(k) participants are the product of two different decisions: what is offered and what is chosen. There have been no studies of the choices offered to 401(k) participants. This paper analyzes the adequacy and characteristics of the choices offered to 401(k)-plan participants for over 400 plans. We find that, for 62% of the plans, the types of choices offered are inadequate, and that over a 20-year period this makes a difference in terminal wealth of over
300%. We find that funds included in the plans are riskier than the general population of funds in the same categories, but have a slightly higher rate of return. We also examine the performance of the specific mutual funds held by the plans, and we find that the performance is better than the average performance of similar randomly selected funds. However, we find that the performance difference is roughly equal to the difference in expenses between funds selected by plans and randomly selected funds. We study the characteristics of plans that are associated with adequate investment choices, including an analysis of the use of company stock, plan size, and the use of outside consultants

.5/16: Pseudo-Mathematics and Financial Charlatanism: The Effects of Backtest Overřtting on Out-of-Sample Performance

5/16: Stock portfolio design and backtest overřtting
In math
ematical řnance, backtest overřtting connotes the usage of historical market data to develop an investment strategy, where too many variations of the strategy are tried, relative to the amount of data available. Backtest overřtting is now thought to be a primary reason why investment models and strategies that look good on paper often disappoint in practice. In this study, we focus on overřtting in the context of designing an investment portfolio or stock fund. We demonstrate a computer program that, given any desired performance prořle, designs a portfolio consisting of common securities, such as the constituents of the S&P 500 index, that achieves the desired prořle based on in-sample backtest data. Unfortunately, the program also shows that these portfolios typically perform erratically on more recent, out-of-sample data, which is symptomatic of statistical overřtting. Less erratic results can be obtained by restricting the portfolio to positive-weight components, but then the results are quite unlike the target prořle on both in-sample and out-ofsample data. One implication of these results is that so-called smart beta funds, which are designed in-sample to deliver a desirable performance prořle, are likely to disappoint out-of-sample.

5/16:  Robo problems

5/16: Rolling into another plan

Boston Research Technologies study on mobile workforce behaviors, published last year, found that 32.8% of participants left their savings behind in their most recent former-employer plan when they changed jobs. The most frequent reason cited for this decision was that the participants felt rolling their accounts into their current-employer plans would take too much time.

also found that the majority of millennials, Generation-Xers and baby boomers would roll their 401(k) accounts into their current-employer plans if the employer paid for it, and even more of them would roll in their IRAs if the employer paid for that as well. Fortunately for sponsors, the Plan Sponsor Council of America reported in its industry survey published this past January that 97.6% of defined contribution plans can accept roll-ins from other plans.

5/16: Number of jobs

The average worker changes jobs at least 7.4 times over the course of 40 years,

Suitability versus Fiduciary

the adviser must determine whether the recommendation is suitable for the client given his investment profile. The adviser should look to facts such as the client’s age, other investments, financial situation and needs, tax status, investment objectives, investment experience, investment time horizon, liquidity needs, risk tolerance and other relevant factors. Quantitative suitability requires an analysis regarding whether a reasonable basis exists for believing that a series of recommended transactions, even if suitable when viewed in isolation, is not excessive or otherwise unsuitable for the specific client based upon his investment profile.

the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) provides for what has become known as the “prudent expert” standard. ERISA’s duty of prudence requires that a fiduciary discharge his duties “with the care, skill, prudence and diligence under the circumstances then prevailing that a prudent man acting in a like capacity and familiar with such matters would use in the conduct of an enterprise of a like character and with like aims.”

EFM- nice words but they can mean anything. If you look above, you will see my comments on the Prudent Man Rule.................................way out of date.

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

.......The DOL points specifically to: 1) making a determination that the particular investment or investment course of action is reasonably designed, as part of the portfolio, to further the purposes of the plan, taking into account the risk of loss and the opportunity for gain, or other return, and 2) considering factors such as the composition of the portfolio with regard to diversification, the liquidity needs of the portfolio, and the projected return of the portfolio relative to the funding objectives of the plan.

EFM- If, however, the adviser is to exact a retirement portfolio, he or she should know of the total impact it will have on the consumer. portfolio diversification 

Worth reviewing

The power of portfolio consistency

5/15: Income and assets and TDFs

5/15: Zero interest rates- FED Chairman Yellen

By some accounts, these policies appear to have provided additional policy accommodation. As I have noted previously, we certainly are trying to learn as much as we can from the experience of other countries. That said, while I would not completely rule out the use of negative interest rates in some future very adverse scenario, policymakers would need to consider a wide range of issues before employing this tool in the United States, including the potential for unintended consequences.''


Productivity, output per worker hour, has increased at a disappointing average annual rate of 1.3 percent since 2005 compared to the 2.8 percent annual pace recorded in the previous 10 years.

    Moving Elderly Parents when they don't want to:

When it comes to moving elderly parents and broaching the "nursing home" or "assisted living" conversation, experts like Stella Henry, R.N., author of The Eldercare Handbook  (HarperCollins, 2006) say "this is probably one of the hardest decisions a child will ever have to make." Henry, an eldercare specialist who has been featured in Time, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, says many seniors "unrealistically believe they can take care of themselves for the rest of their lives." And that's where their children or other family members can be instrumental in identifying the problem and instigating change.

'5/15: Old people

'5/15: Air pollution

5/15: US retail shudders Shares in Macy’s sank as much as 13 per cent as sales in its department stores slumped nearly 6 per cent. Fitch’s also cut the Gap store chain’s credit rating to junk, underscoring the struggle of

515: Huge deficit rise

the unfunded pension liability of all 50 states plus the District of Columbia rose 84% from 2008 to 2014 from $2.625 trillion to $4.833 trillion from 2008 to 2014 using a 2.18% market rate based on Treasury bonds.

State defined benefit plan assets were $5.1 trillion at the end of 2015 according to the ICI increasing just 11% since 2007 compared to $6.7 trillion in defined contribution plans like 401ks which rose 52% over that same period and $7.3 trillion in IRAs which rose 55%. Meanwhile, private DB were just $2.9% mirroring the State DB increase.

The difference is that the private sector has moved aggressively into participant directed DC plans where the employees bear the brunt of unfunded liability whereas the states have only recently started that transition. Some municipalities, most notably Detroit, have sought to shed their pension liability in federal bankruptcy court. Others face the difficult reality of either raising taxes or reducing pension benefits like Chicago is pursuing. In either case, services will suffer.

You really haven't had a bad day till this happens
5/15" Oil

From 1970 to 2008, US domestic oil production fell from over 9.6 million barrels a day to about 5 million barrels a day. Since 2008 it has rebounded to roughly 9.4 million barrels a day, though the number of oil rigs operating in the US has fallen considerably over the past year.

That increase in US oil production, coupled with a falling worldwide demand for oil, has helped create a glut in the oil market that many producers are still trying to clear

Financial Times

America’s middle-class meltdown For decades, the Sun Belt — an area stretching from the country’s south-east to south-west — promised jobs and a lower cost of living. But the benefits of the boom have been shared unequally and the problems of wage inequality are beginning to catch up.


Tips for Buying Long Term Care Insurance
by Mary Damiano

The decision to buy Long Term Care Insurance should not be entered into lightly. There are many things to consider and many options available. Purchasing a policy without making and informed decision can be a costly mistake. Before buying anything, be sure to ask these questions, which serve as a basic guideline of things you need to know.

When it comes to buying Long-Term Care Insurance, your most valuable resource is common sense. Don’t allow yourself to give in to scare tactics. Make sure every detail is in writing because a detail can mean the difference between qualifying for benefits or being declared ineligible, and can cost thousands and thousands of dollars. If something sounds to good to be true, it usually is. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Remember that insurance companies are businesses and the only way they can stay in business is to make money and be profitable. Being profitable means that more money comes in than goes out. Therefore, the more money they can get customers to pay, and the less money they have to pay customers, the more profitable they are. Think about that before you buy anything.

5/15:  I cannot fathom that Britain will actually leave the European Union

A vote for Brexit is likely to cost jobs and hit the pound says BoE


A vote for Brexit is likely to cost jobs, raise prices and see the pound plummeting, the Bank of England warned in its quarterly inflation report on Thursday in its most outspoken comments to date on the consequences of the EU referendum.

Although the central bank did not provide a detailed forecast of the consequences of Brexit, its expectation of lower growth and higher inflation would leave it facing a difficult “trade off between stabilising inflation on the one hand and stabilising output and employment on the other”.

5/15" LTC

the median cost of a private room in a nursing home increased just 1.2 percent between 2015 and 2016, to $253 per day.

The cost of a semiprivate room increased 2.3 percent, to $225 per day, but the median monthly rent for an apartment in an assisted living facility rose just 0.8 percent, to $3,628.

The median cost of adult day health care actually fell 1.25 percent, to $68 per day.

5/15: I just refuse to invest in Latin America. The politics are too messy. Worse than us

Brazil’s president impeached, suspended from office

South America’s largest country is facing its most severe economic contraction since the 1930s, and a massive corruption scandal has tarnished nearly all of Brazil’s political leaders.


When Caregiving is  Not Enough -
Finding Good Homecare

By Leah M. Pavela, LCSW


Find out if the agency you are considering is licensed and bonded.  In the case of a home health agency, this means that the quality of care being provided has been surveyed/accredited by an outside accrediting agency such as Medicare or the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).  The agency should also be licensed by the state in which it operates.  Agency outcomes can be researched by going to and going to their new “home health compare” tool, or calling the Medicare helpline at 1-800-MEDICARE. 


In terms of employees, confirm that all home health employees (nurses, physical therapists, home health aides, and social workers) are certified or licensed in the state they are working (regulations may vary by state), in order to ensure they meet minimum requirements to perform their duties.  Also important is to make sure that the agency does screenings of employees to ensure that not only do they not have a criminal background, but that they are free of communicable diseases which could affect the compromised immune system of a patient.


Ask what policies are in place to ensure patient confidentiality, and find out how far that policy extends.  Many caregivers, particularly ones who arrange for assistance long distance, find themselves frustrated after they arrange for care for a loved one, only to be told that due to HIPAA regulations, the agency cannot provide information on their health status.  At the outset of care, make sure of what the company’s policy for communication is and ensure that it is noted who may and may not receive information about the patient. 

Kathy R. found communication a problem with one home health agency while caring for her stepmother cross- country.  She faxed a durable power of attorney right to the home health agency but “they still wouldn’t tell me anything!”  She states that “especially when you are working from a distance, your hands are tied when there is no communication.” 


For most people, it is a far better choice to choose a “full service” agency which provides for all their needs (nursing, home health aide, physical therapy) than to pick and choose services from different agencies.  This ensures that caregivers are free to communicate amongst themselves on a patient’s progress and work collaboratively to resolve any issues, rather than if they are all from different agencies and forced to stab blindly at problems as they arise.


Most patients fare better when they see one or two familiar faces rather than a steady stream of strangers passing through their lives.  Find out if the same person will be caring for your loved one, or if they will see a new person on a continual basis.  Having one or two familiar caregivers is particularly helpful in the case of people who are confused or frail, as this helps both the patient and caregiver get used to a routine.  It also helps the caregiver know what is “normal” for a patient and what is not normal and warrants a call to the doctor.  Also important to find out is what will happen should the regular worker call in sick.  Will the person be forced to wait for assistance until the next day?  Will a substitute come out at the same time?  Will the person have to wait for hours until another worker has time in their schedule? 


Find out what the procedure is if there is an emergency.  Is there always someone on call?  Will a patient need to wait until the next business day to speak with someone should an emergency happen after the regularly scheduled service is performed?  A good agency should have someone on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so urgent matters need not wait until the next scheduled visit.

FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY – A reputable agency will not hesitate to address the patient’s financial considerations and should provide the patient/caregiver with a written statement explaining what is/is not covered by insurance/Medicare, and what services the patient will be responsible for out of pocket, if any. 


Check with friends, your physician, ask people at your place of worship, or attend a support group and ask which home care agencies others are using.  One of the best ways to assess how an agency performs in the home is to look past the glossy brochure and ask people how they feel about the service that has been given to their loved ones.  Chances are that good or bad, people will be happy to share their experiences. 


Many people who look for home care erroneously assume that if their loved one needs assistance in the home, Medicare will cover the service.  This is not always the case.  Medicare limits itself to “reasonable and necessary part time or intermittent skilled nursing care and home health services,” and does not include 24 hour care, services which are limited to “homemaking” services, assistance with transportation, or companion services.  Unless a person has a long-term care insurance policy which provides for these services in the home, home care can be cost prohibitive.  Although most people prefer to “age in place,” there are times that due to financial resources and the availability of finding good, reliable, continuous care, that an assisted living community may be a better choice than in-home care, both financially and for the assurance of the safety and health of a loved one.

As one popular commercial for menswear states, “An educated consumer is our best customer.”  There is possibly no arena in which this is truer than in the search for good, reliable home health care.  Ronnie Thomas, who is a part owner/administrator for a home health agency in Broward County, states that when a person is considering home health care for a loved one, one should make an informed decision and weigh all the options.  She believes that first and foremost to remember is that the services the patient is receiving is paid for by insurance (usually Medicare) and since this is money the loved one worked hard for and paid into the system, they are entitled to and deserve good, quality care which puts the patient’s needs first, out of the system.  “Attentive, kind, quality care from committed professionals who involve the family as much as possible,” are things she believes should be insisted on.  Kathy R. believes the same.  “Compassion and good communication between caregiver, patient, and the home health provider are paramount,” she states, and although she has had many sleepless nights worrying about her stepmother’s health, she knows that the home health provider she now uses provides her with one less thing over which to worry.


"Understanding the Decline in the Safe Real Interest Rate" Fee Download
NBER Working Paper No. w22196

ROBERT E. HALL, Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Over the past few decades, worldwide real interest rates have trended downward. The real interest rate describes the terms of trade between risk-tolerant and risk-averse investors. Debt pays off equally across contingencies at a given future date, so debt is valuable to risk-averse investors to smooth consumption across those contingencies. In an equilibrium with trade between investors who differ in attitudes toward risk, the risk-tolerant investors will borrow from the risk-averse ones, shifting the risk to those whose preferences favor taking on risk. In the case where investors have preferences that are additively separable in future states and in time, attitudes toward risk are heterogeneous among investors if they differ in the curvature of their utility kernels and differ in their beliefs about the probabilities of outcomes, especially adverse outcomes. If the composition of investors shifts toward those with higher curvature (higher coefficients of relative risk aversion) and toward investors who believe in higher probabilities of bad events, the real interest rate falls. The paper calculates likely magnitudes of the decline and presents evidence in favor of a shift in the composition of investors toward the more risk-averse. The downward trend in real interest rates is a significant problem for monetary policy but is helpful to heavily indebted countries.

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

5/11: Insomnia: The Caregiver's Role 

A growing number of seniors today face the difficulty of sleep disorders, commonly referred to as insomnia. Up to 30% of the elderly experience infrequent sleep patterns, apnea (the stoppage of breath), and waking up too early. Insomnia results in depression, constant fatigue, and even a decline in health in some people. The causes of sleep disorder are many and varied, including chronic pain and previous illness, high doses of medication, lifestyle changes, and anxiety and depression. All can play a part in triggering sleep loss and unless changed can damage your loved ones sleep cycle permanently. Caregivers usually must face a change in their own life when dealing with insomnia, and while it can be controlled, it often takes time. If your loved one has already begun sleeping less and waking up at odd hours, you may need to seek assistance from health care professionals who can assist you in the best treatment. Consider the following:


"Mortality Inequality: The Good News from a County-Level Approach" Free Download
NBER Working Paper No. w22199

JANET CURRIE, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Princeton University
Princeton University - Center for Health and Wellbeing

Analysts who have concluded that inequality in life expectancy is increasing have generally focused on life expectancy at age 40 to 50. However, we show that among infants, children, and young adults, mortality has been falling more quickly in poorer areas with the result that inequality in mortality has fallen substantially over time. This is an important result given the growing literature showing that good health in childhood predicts better health in adulthood and suggests that today’s children are likely to face considerably less inequality in mortality as they age than current adults. We also show that there have been stunning declines in mortality rates for African-Americans between 1990 and 2010, especially for black men. The fact that inequality in mortality has been moving in opposite directions for the young and the old, as well as for some segments of the African-American and non-African-American populations argues against a single driver of trends in mortality inequality, such as rising income inequality. Rather, there are likely to be multiple specific causes affecting different segments of the population.

5/11: Spending and saving

From 1990 to 2005, the savings rate dropped from 7.8 percent to 2.6 percent. Since then, the savings rate has risen; it was 5.1 percent in 2015.

5/11: Longevity Illusttrator

“We designed the Actuaries Longevity Illustrator to help plan for the possibilities of surviving to a range of different ages both for individuals and couples,”  “Life doesn’t fit into just one scenario or age to reach in retirement. Instead, people should plan for a variety of outcomes – living shorter or longer than expected.”

Well my odds are OK. But this still says nothing about the quality of life.

5/11: Dear ol' Met

From 2009 through 2014, MetLife Securities misrepresented or omitted at least one material fact relating to the costs and guarantees of existing VA contracts in 72 percent of the 35,500 replacement applications the firm approved, said FINRA.

5/10: Recession Alert: We are  focused on U.S recession forecasting, dating and probability estimation using  quantitative econometric models and statistical techniques. Our SuperIndices track current and future US economy strength/direction and are updated 21-25 times per month as their component data become available, with detailed reports available to subscribers on a weekly basis. We have no interest in promoting specific shares, commodities, structured funds or political views. Our only interest is the accuracy of our models, meaning you can be assured of unbiased information

With  observers agreeing on the end of the “Great Moderation” and sub-par economic growth likely for the foreseeable future, recessions are likely to revert back to occurring once every 4-5 years on average, meaning recession forecasting will become more important to active portfolio performance.

5/10: Oy!

Oh dear.

5/8:Stockbroker Economics and Overestimating Diversification

Not a bad overview regarding lower returns in the future. No way should anyone use past returns for anything in the future

5/8: Senior Living Cost Index

By region, state; city

Good material

This is what happens when you listen to too much politics


Massachusetts states that robo advisers are NOT in the best interests of consumers, They say the planning needs human intervention.

Possible true- but who? Somebody with just a series 7 who was never taught the fundamentals of investing?

How about ONE college semester on money?


Consumers Clueless on Cost of Their Financial Products: Hearts & Wallets

According to the findings from Wants & Pricing: What Investors Buy & Competitive Ratings from Hearts & Wallets, 31% said they didn’t know what they paid for their financial products, and 28% said they were charged a fee by their financial “store,” which the research firm defines as “retail and defined contribution providers working directly with investors.”

According to the study, 41% say they pay their “financial store” nothing and instead pay through actual products; of those, 72% said they paid nothing for the product. In addition, only 20% of those surveyed had a “clear understanding of the incentives of their providers,” a percentage that Hearts & Wallets noted has not improved in the s years it’s conducted the study.

5/8: Met coughs up 20 million

MetLife’s securities unit in some cases overstated the cost of a customer’s existing VA contract, while failing to tell them about cheaper replacements. FINRA found that from 2009 through 2014, the firm misrepresented or omitted at least one material fact relating to the costs and guarantees of customers' existing VA contracts in 72 percent of the 35,500 VA replacement applications the firm approved, based on a sample of randomly selected transactions.

"The reason is that sales of life insurance policies and annuity contracts are driven by commissions,  Joe Belth

5/8: Robo advisers

regulators have raised concerns about whether robo-advisers are thorough enough when gathering information about investors. A robo-adviser does not ask about money held outside of its service, for example, which can provide a distorted picture of a customer’s financial standing

EFM- it is mandatory that ALL investments be identified.  A budget is also mandatory since it is necessary to figure our what they SHOULD do rather than what they would like to do. 

5/8: Smart beta defines a set of investment strategies that emphasize the use of alternative index construction rules to traditional market capitalization based indices.Smart beta emphasizes capturing investment factors or market inefficiencies in a rules-based and transparent way.

Measuring the performance of
smart beta strategies over a short
time horizon can be hazardous, as
their benefits are typically designed
to be realized over the longer term.
Where short-term performance or
tracking error of single smart beta
factors represent a barrier for
investors, multi-factor approaches
that blend factors with uncorrelated
performance profiles can help
manage the risk of short-term
underperformance while preser ving
the longer-term factor premia. This
new generation of smart beta
strategies also helps to mitigate
concerns about factor-timing risk

5/8:  Have a nice day

Forty-Eight Mental Breaks for Caregivers

Caregiving takes a lot of time. Even if you had spare time to daydream in the first place, it’s probably gone now. However you must give yourself a mental break once in a while. The following list is intended to make you think back to a simpler time in your past, and possibly one in your future. Use them sparingly (one at a time), or be a glutton (overdose on all of them at the same time). The goal here is to make you feel better. If you really want to make yourself feel better, use this as a “to do” list. Please pass the list on to others who may need it.

*Falling in love
*Laughing so hard your face hurts
*A hot shower
*No lines at the Super Wal-Mart
*A special glance
*Getting mail-other than bills or junk mail
*Taking a drive on a pretty road
*Hearing your favorite song on the radio
*Lying in bed listening to the rain outside
*Hot towels out of the dryer
*Finding the sweater you want is on sale for half price
*Chocolate milkshake. (or vanilla!)
*A long distance phone call
*A bubble bath
*A good conversation
*The beach
*Finding a $20 bill in your coat from last winter
*Laughing at yourself
*Midnight phone calls that last for hours
*Running through sprinklers
*Laughing for absolutely no reason at all
*Having someone tell you that you're beautiful
*Laughing at an inside joke
*Accidentally overhearing someone say something nice about you
*Waking up and realizing you still have a few hours left to sleep
*Your first kiss
*Making new friends or spending time with old ones
*Playing with a new puppy
*Having someone play with your hair
*Sweet dreams
*Hot chocolate
*Road trips with friends
*Swinging on swings
*Wrapping presents under the Christmas tree while eating cookies
and drinking eggnog
*Song lyrics printed inside your new CD so you can sing along
without feeling stupid
*Going to a really good concert
*Winning a really competitive game
*Making chocolate chip cookies
*Spending time with close friends
*Seeing smiles and hearing laughter from those friends...
*Holding hands with someone you care about
*Running into an old friend and realizing that some things (good or bad) never change
*Riding the best roller coasters over and over
*Watching the expression on someone's face as they open a much
desired present from you
*Watching the sunrise
*Getting out of bed every morning and thanking God for another beautiful day....

5/8: Negative bonds

The duration on the Barclays global aggregate bond index hit a record high of 6.8 years this month. At the same time, the yield on the index has crumbled to 1.44 per cent from 4.24 per cent a decade ago.

The impact of the central bank stimulus has been far reaching, lifting demand for corporate bonds as investors are forced into the riskier corners of that market. It is a trend that has been exacerbated by a lack of new issuance, as merger and acquisition activity — a driver of debt sales — has slowed sharply this year.

Nor is it just governments that have enjoyed the benefits. Companies have tapped the demand for longer-dated bonds too. US retailer Target and Chinese oil company Sinopec are among companies to have sold 30-year bonds in the last month.

Bonds investors have grown concerned that companies are using the funds to buyback shares rather than invest in capital projects or pay for research and development.

“[Negative rates] have created this perverse set of incentives . . . with companies issuing debt to buy back stock,” Henry Peabody, a portfolio manager with Eaton Vance, says. “That just doesn’t work long-term. As investors push back on negative rates and you have this embedded duration risk, it’s a nasty cocktail.

5/8: It's not just the unskilled that will be put out of business with robots.

US researchers enter the cutting edge with first robot surgeon

5/8:Are investors ready for lower growth for longer? How are they working to bridge the performance gap?

5/8:While investors’ long-term return expectations for individual asset classes appear relatively high, many respondents appear less confident in their ability to actually meet return targets. Nearly a quarter of respondents said that their long-term return expectations are not currently being met,with a mere 13% saying that, on average, their asset classes were performing above expectations. Of those experiencing returns below their long-term expectations, many expect this underperformance to continue.

For investors experiencing a performance shortfall, increases in active investing,objective-based investing or allocations to  alternatives are the preferred approaches.

EFM- I do not agree with the bulk of their comments. And like all other commentators, they do not define risk
But it IS worth reading

Planning For Long Term Care

Most older people are independent. But later in life--especially in the 80s and 90s--you or someone you know may begin to need help with everyday activities like shopping, cooking, walking, or bathing. For many people, regular or "long-term" care may mean a little help from family and friends or regular visits by a home health aide. For others who are frail or suffering from dementia, long-term care may involve moving to a place where professional care is available 24 hours a day. 

The good news is that families have more choices in long-term care than ever before. Today, services can provide the needed help while letting you stay active and connected with family, friends, and neighbors. These services include home health care, adult day care, and transportation services for frail seniors as well as foster care, assisted living and retirement communities, and traditional nursing homes.

Planning Ahead
The key to successful long-term care is planning. You or your family may need to make a decision in a hurry, often after an unexpected emergency like a broken hip. Be prepared by getting information ahead of time. That way, you will know what's available and affordable before there is a crisis. To start:  

Be aware that figuring out care for the long term isn't easy. Needs may change over time. What worked 6 months ago may no longer apply. Insurance coverage is often very limited and families may have problems paying for services. In addition, rules about programs and benefits change, and it's hard to know from one year to the next what may be available. 

A Need for More Care
At some point, support from family, friends, or local meal or transportation programs may not be enough. If you need a lot of help with everyday activities, you may need to move to a place where care is available around-the-clock. There are two types of residential care:

Finding the Right Place
To find the residential program that's best for you: 

A Smooth Transition
Moving from home to a long-term care facility or nursing home is a big change. It affects the whole family. Some facilities or community groups have a social worker who can help you prepare for the change. Allow some time to adjust after the move has taken place.

Regular visits by family and friends are important. They can be reassuring and comforting. Visits are necessary, too, for keeping an eye on the care that is being given.

5.5:  How To Sell Your Business And Pay Less Or No Tax

5/5 Pueta Rico ness

Puerto Rico defaulted on a $422 million debt payment on Monday, deepening the economic crisis facing the U.S. territory and increasing the pressure on Congress to pass legislation that would allow the island to restructure its debt. But, ultimately, there is no quick fix to Puerto Rico’s problems


Glidepath Optimization Tool


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Documents the target-date fund selection process to meet your clients’ fiduciary obligations.


Helps evaluate the plan’s current, optimized and risk-tolerance-based glidepaths using real plan demographics, plan goals and risk tolerances.


Forecasts the results, reliability and risk of each glidepath and provides a list of target-date solutions that align with the chosen glidepath.


CFAs Think Robos Pose Greatest Risk to Asset Managers

survey respondents differentiated between which segments of investors would be most affected by automated financial advice tools. Most respondents (70%) believe that the mass affluent are likely to benefit from the trend, compared to 17% who thought it would hurt