Tag Archives: economic analysis

Boost your retirement savings

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”—Winston Churchill

Retirement tips – Save, save, save and watch the fees:
A hidden shame of the disproportionate recovery explained here. Not only have many, many not enjoyed the rising stock market, but largely they say it is because they do not have the money to invest. Over half of Americans pass on the stock market
On a similar, and related, note, many, many Americans do not have employer based retirement plans. So, they are on their own, know it, or not, and likely to be expecting Social Security to carry the day. US Retirement Preparedness Seems Wobbly
Here’s a fascinating overview of the phantom recovery notion and some sage advice on downside protection for your retirement savings. Paper Wealth In Your Accounts Is Great, But Only If You Know How To Protect It
To the extent you do participate in the markets, don’t forget the fees! This week consider the 12b-1 fee – honest, look for this one. The Single Most Obnoxious Retirement Fee: How to Dump It

Leadership tips – get some tips from the Pope, and stay accessible:
Pope Francis has been a refreshing change for the Roman Catholic Church. Perhaps it is time to take a few pointers from his leadership playbook. Pope Francis and the Discipline to Win the Long Game
While I often harp on it, communication is key to successful leadership. Here learn more, and highlight the notion of meaningful work for your team. How and Why to Help Employees Find Meaning in Their Work

Travel tips – while you save for retirement, save on your travel, too:
This guy spends all his time finding deals, now you can benefit from his labors. The ‘Man Who Flies for Free’ says these are the 3 best websites for airline deals
When you are on the road – hopefully decompressing – use these apps to make it a better experience. 30 Must-Have iPhone Apps for Frequent Flyers

This week, something to ponder:
This crosses over between distraction and travel, really interesting, though. Seven Unknown Architectural Wonders
I’m going to bet you missed this one. Amid a glut of shipwreck finds, this stands apart for its antiquity. The Antikythera Shipwreck – The Titanic of the Ancient World and its Sunken Historic Treasure

Improve your retirement prospects

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”— Confucius

Retirement tips – small things you can do today to make your life better later:
How you choose to invest your money is important, too, right behind saving it in the first place. This interesting piece explains in simple terms the notion of Smart Beta, stripping away the market cap weighting of simple indices. Since I may have convinced you to seek out lower fees, perhaps even ETFs, this is time well spent. A Review of the Different Approaches to Smart Beta
I shared some insight on this in my last update, and since then there has been a “flash crash.” Did you even realize? No? Then take the time to read this. When the World’s Reserve Currency Flash Crashed: “I haven’t seen anything like it since the financial crisis”

Leadership tips – behavioral changes that will make you a better leader today:
There is little more valuable than a direct line to reality from your entire team. I suppose an ex-CIA operative is as good as anyone to suggest ways to create that needed link. How Leaders Can Get People to Tell the Truth
On a related, but somewhat more sinister note, this piece helps you improve your powers of persuasion. If nothing else, it is fascinating to see how companies manipulate you every day. The hidden tricks of powerful persuasion

Travel tips – a few minutes now can save you a lot of hassle on the road:
Well, that all seems kind of doom and gloom filled. This might take your mind off things. I know as good as I am on airplanes, over 12 hours starts getting to me. The World’s 20 Longest Non-stop Flights
Everyone knows how awful airline cabins are from a germ perspective. These guys are trying to do something about it. I’m all for that … especially on my next 17 hour flight! Disinfecting Planes with Robots
I have not tried it yet, but this introduction makes me very interested in GoSeek. How to find “hidden” hotel discounts

Weekly Diversions – fascinating things you may have missed:
This is crazy, the Nazis built these secret lairs as an escape hatch from their misdeeds. Apparently this is not the only one. I read that they purportedly had them in deserts and other inhospitable places. Nazi Lair from World War II Found Hidden in Argentine Jungle
I am a sucker for new technology, and 3D printing has such promise. This, though, seems like a giant leap forward. If all you do is watch the videos, it is definitely worth clicking through. Company Unveils Radical, Layerless 3D Printing Technology “25 to 100 Times Faster” than Standard 3D Printing

Become more well rounded

You have to be odd to be number one” — Dr. Seuss

Global Economy:
Alan Greenspan has lost some of his luster since largely leaving the public eye. Still, it is never a bad idea to hear what he has to say. Aside from the seemingly preposterous suggestions, (riots in the streets?) there are some good points. Gossip in the Workplace Could Signal Larger Problems
On the flip side, I offer the perspective that a strengthening Dollar is causing global liquidity tightening, imperiling emerging markets, including China. “Ignore This Measure of Global Liquidity at Your Own Peril”, Albert Edwards Warns

Retirement:
With all my focus on fees and income, you may wonder what the goal is for retirement savings. This may help. You won’t be able to calculate how much money you’ll need for retirement without knowing these six answers
Another way of looking at the same problem, how much to save? How Much of Your Income Should You Save?

Travel:
I am sold on this, effectively sight unseen, because of the age old conundrum around garment bags being yet another, big checked item. Fellas, This Bag Will Make Traveling with a Suit So Much Easier
Travel internationally with good mapping capability, and don’t crush your data budget with this new app. Nokia HERE Maps for iPhone is out: Here’s why you want it
If you are not so concerned about your data, you may want to have a look at these apps, too. 8 Travel Apps That Work Better Than a Guidebook

Weekly Diversions:
Dig these gems up on Netflix, Amazon or PPV. Worthwhile 2014 Movies You May Have (Actually) Missed
I found this to be both mesmerizing and unnerving. A visualization of an asteroid’s path of orbit which nearly collided with the Earth and Moon in 2003
This one takes a commitment, but if you liked “The Imitation Game” it may be worth the effort. The Man Who Tried to Redeem the World with Logic

Understanding Longevity Risk

Understanding Longevity Risk
Then a quick note on US economic recovery and some fun things, too

Being right about your longevity is the real key to retirement planning:
Yes, I focus a lot on costs and compounding when talking retirement, but it really comes down to how long you will be living, doesn’t it? That’s your longevity risk. My focus is right because you want to get the most bang for your savings, but still, how much should you have? Plan for a Long Life When Saving for Retirement
I have mentioned these several times before, but I am not the only one thinking “longevity annuities” will be the big push in 2015 after Treasury approved them inside your 401(k) or IRA. ‘Longevity’ in annuities could be the big 2015 focus
The good news is you should expect … and push for … your retirement plan to show you just how much income you can expect from your savings. Lifetime Income Estimates Would Boost Retirement Savings Rate, Study Finds
Lest we forget, fees matter, but here is a completely different perspective, shareholder fees matter most according to this article, makes sense. The great mutual fund expense ratio lie

One interesting article about the US economy:
This helps explain the discrepancy between rosy figures on the economy and the persistent malaise at the local level. Only 2% of counties have fully recovered! Much of America Still Hasn’t Recovered from the Recession

Interesting reading from around the web:
Two articles this week on Google’s changes to Google Translate. If you head overseas this is a real win Google Translate Update May Save You a Lot of Money and even a demo Watch Google Translate decipher foreign signs in real time (could have used that once or twice!)
This one gives you an infographic on what Apple products drive revenue. Where Apple’s Money Comes From
Beware the consequences of exceeding your free bag limit on airlines. What Airlines Don’t Tell You About That Free Bag

Oil Prices and You

Oil prices and you
Some tools you may like to have, and some facts that will amaze

Oil prices continue to slide … is there more to it than shale?
With the shale oil boom in the US, Saudi’s keeping the taps running, and global economy still sluggish, prices continue to plummet. Oil sinks below $59 after IEA cuts demand outlook
This one is intense, but interesting now to see what happens, since prices hit $59 overnight. Deutsche Bank predicting a broad high yield default cycle from plunging oil prices. The astounding thing to me, the assertion that there is a “widely documented “secret” deal by Obama/Kerry with the Saudis to crush Russia with low, low oil prices.” If WTI Drops To $60, It Will “Trigger A Broader HY Market Default Cycle”, Says Deutsche
Oil prices have meaningful impacts on petro-fueled economies. Impact of Oil Price Drop on Producer Nation Deficits
Jennifer Ponce de Leon at Columbia thinks it produces investment opportunities Oil and the High Yield Market

Let’s get back to your retirement planning:
A pretty well reasoned contrarian view on the active vs. passive argument. Active vs. Passive Management: It’s a Good Time to Go Active
First, some follow-up on the Tony Robbins controversy, Tony takes to ThinkAdvisor to defend himself. Tony Robbins slams critics, says he’s not a financial advisor
An age old lesson for my retirement focused readers: beware fees … and in this case taxes. With Market Timing, Even if You Win, You Lose
If you insist on playing the market, though, there’s an even cheaper way to do it now. The Robinhood app for your phone allows you to trade for free, that beats even E-Trade or any of the other low cost options. Robinhood Launches Zero-fee Stock Trading App
Way more intense than usual this week, so let’s lighten things up now:
Save even more money on your holiday shopping. Secret Codes Will Save You Money at Costco
Make it difficult to track your digital footprint. Opt out of global data surveillance programs like PRISM, XKeyscore and Tempora
I am amazed by this one, how about you? By the numbers: Half the senators who voted for PPACA will be gone in 2015
Finally, one very silly thing to lead you into the weekend: 16 Ridiculous but True Facts That Will Make People Think You’re a Liar

Your retirement agenda

Your retirement agenda
Some tools you may like to have, and some facts that will amaze

Your weekly retirement insights:
It may not be pleasant, but worth reading to keep focused The hard truth about Americans’ retirement options
Trust me, don’t be intimidated by this one, it really is worth your time and effort 3 Things Worth Thinking About
Here again, you’re not going to like this one, but read it, especially if you are or soon will receive Government benefits Manipulation of CPI Saved the Federal Government Over $150 Billion from 1998 – 2012
Some useful tools for everyone to consider:
First, for the city folk, with Uber’s new surge pricing, this is a must have app. SurgeProtector Finds Nearby Areas Unaffected by Uber’s Surge Pricing
Another electronic Godsend for international travelers Slated is an iOS Keyboard that Automatically Translates What You Type

Just plain fun facts to consider:
Literally, this will take you one minute 14 amazing and lesser known historical facts
Some of these will make you laugh, some will make you think The 40 Best Neil deGrasse Tyson Quotes of All Time
This will mess with you, try it You Can Change the Direction by Just Thinking About It
Another really quick read, but some fascinating, thought provoking things – definitely overstated though 29 Facts About Our Lives That Will Change You Completely

Taking the long view

Taking the long view
An update focusing on the long view in a variety of venues

There was a lot of coverage about the landing of a spacecraft on a comet this week. Still, if you missed it, it truly is worth a quick look at the remarkable photos and to admire the technical acumen required to make this feat possible.
Landing on a Comet 317 Million Miles from Home
Graphic Shows the Size of Rosetta’s Comet
Comet over cities in Europe

This may seem highly esoteric, and incredibly economist-wonky, but trust me; it really is an interesting read about the extreme lengths to which Japan’s central bank is going to manage their economy. It is most interesting because of the global implication … that’s right, it all gets back to your retirement.
Things That Make You Go Hmmm…Like Japan’s Inevitable Apocalypse

We are fast approaching the 100th anniversary of the “Christmas Truce” from the first Christmas of World War I. This often forgotten touch of humanity during the brutal trench war that would forever change the landscape is very much worth remembering.

First, a shameless plug for the Minnesota Opera’s Pulitzer Prize winning Silent Night, composed by Kevin Puts, with libretto by Mark Campbell, this captures all the elements of the moment. Plus, it is a very easy entrée into the opera world … you won’t even realize it is an opera, believe me. It will be airing on your local PBS station just before Christmas, check the schedule for your local time.
Silent Night on PBS

Interestingly enough, Sainsbury’s has created a great ad around the event, too. I came across this yesterday which reminded me of Silent Night.
This heartbreaking anti-war commercial just won Christmas

Time for caution in retirement planning

Time for caution in retirement planning
Then, enough light reading to take the edge off the heavy stuff

The election is behind us, does anyone expect any different outcome from DC? I certainly do not, but I want to know your thoughts.

Regardless your opinion on the election, it is always time to fine tune your retirement planning:
Here is a simple, five step view of what you must be considering when planning for retirement Let’s Get Real About Life After Retirement (Infographic)
In case you missed this, it is an astonishing development; you get to pay interest to the bank for holding your money! It Begins: German Bank ‘Charging’ Negative Interest to Its Retail Customers
Agree, or disagree with the selections, it is worth the time to run through these to be smarter on the current state of the economy. Lots to digest here, find the correlation ones, at least, they’re funny. Wall Street’s Brightest Minds Reveal the Most Important Charts in the World
This is a really interesting read, especially if you have emerging markets exposure. A Scary Story for Emerging Markets
A weekly look at leadership, since we all, always can use a hand:
You may not like them all, but generally hard to argue with any of them. 10 Tips and Quotes from the Best Leadership Books of the Year
Now, let’s lighten things up some, plenty to choose from this week:
While the top of this page is startling, the bottom is even more interesting. All the asteroids found to date in one cool visualization
Not “The Great Escape,” but a daring, true story of WWII heroism. Unsung Nazi Prison Camp Escape May Have Been the Boldest Breakout During WWII, Book Claims
You see these in ports, but it is hard to comprehend just how large they are. Take a closer look inside here. Explore the Deck of the Largest Floating Object Ever Created

Some great economic analysis

Plus, some leadership and travel tips, and a bevy of just cool facts

Agree, or disagree, it is great to get hard data on the table for discussion:
A great, short economic analysis on the greatest problems facing the global economy, summed up in a single, mind-boggling chart The Defining Problem of Our Times (in 1 simple chart)
An economic analysis to help you understand what is really driving the Wall Street run since the 2008 bottom, again in one simple chart Why Institutions are so Desperate for the Retail Investor to Come Back
The leader of Germany’s Central Bank lays out some hard truths, his economic analysis and candor is refreshing, and this one has a bunch of charts. Kudos to Herr Weidmann for Uttering Three Truths in One Speech

Because we all need to keep refreshing our leadership skills, and no single article or idea is the Holy Grail:
Keep your team, and your business, focused by dealing with the biggest issues first Great CEOs Deal with ‘Elephants’ First

I saw this in two different articles, and it seems brilliant … plus, you can still get in on the indiegogo campaign:
A cool idea to blend current technology with luggage … know where it is, know what it weighs, keep your stuff secure … all linked to your smartphone! Connecting Flight: Bluesmart Smart Carry-on Luggage

Now, for the cool stuff, from a German U-Boat to the Cosmos:
Over 70 years after the battle, they have uncovered a U-Boat and its prey off the coast of North Carolina. How cool is that? Uncovering a Hidden Battleground
Some are dumb, some are fascinating, I like the ant and the flights, you? 12 mesmerizingly informative GIFs
Talk about culture shock, the retired Attica prison warden visits a contemporary facility in Norway An American Warden Visited a Norwegian Prison, and He Couldn’t Believe What He Saw
These few slides put it all in perspective You Won’t Think of Life on Earth the Same After You See These 15 Photos