Errold. F. Moody Jr.

  
PhD, MSFP, MBA, LLB, BSCE
click above for bio

EFM@EFMoody.com

Financial and Economic Daily Commentary 2018

Knowledge makes obsolete the inequities that ignorance and prejudice justify

 

       

 

USA Today- "This is a high-powered personal bookmark list that spans the spectrum of the truly useful."

FORBES- "You'll find some great information."

BUSINESS WEEK: "For an Expert, Click here"  

From an adviser: It is a daily read for me. Clearly biased towards the client.
Great perspectives and links to thought provoking material. Greatly appreciated

Investor/Investing Risk of Loss: Identify, Manage and Limit Investment
Risk of Loss on Mutual Funds and ETFs

Four Phase Process that will change the investment dichotomy for 75% of Middle and Lower Income investors overall and up to 90% for 401k Investors 

Losses limited to about 12% for recessions

Patent Pending
 


Morality, Sexism, Ethics, Corrupt Equilibrium


Critical reference to the limited fiduciary capabilities in the planning industry (and more) and why they may/will remain as such given sophomoric DOL rules and flaccid organizational enforcement. Specific commentary to sexism and ethical and moral lapses of society impacting women. Not the standard drivel


Analysis for investors and advisers. The economic changes from the Great Recession caused major adjustments in investing. One of the major issues is the flip flop of the correlations in bond funds versus equities  coupled with a truly lower return and an increased overall risk. It will take a lot more effort to provide adequate return for those in need and the discussion will address pros and cons particularly for retirement purpose Emphasis on risk, Click for full article. 



“It’s not the Fed’s job to stop people from losing money.”

Jay Powell- President of the Federal Reserve

A Detailed Timeline of the 2008 Financial Crisis

 

Revolutionary Method for Asset Allocation- Increase Returns, Reduce Risk

September 2018



BOGUS SEQUENCE OF RETURNS PLANNING

October 2018


12/11: U.N. Climate Conference

As negotiators from around the world gathered in Poland to discuss how to lower carbon emissions, the Trump Administration unveiled two schemes promoting fossil fuels.


 “It is hard to comprehend why we are collectively still moving too slowly—and even in the wrong direction.”
United Nations’ Secretary-General


a report from an international team of scientists warned that the planet was closer to dangerous warming than had previously been believed, and that a critical threshold could be crossed within a matter of years. To avoid this, a rapid and total overhaul of global energy systems would be needed. Such a transformation, the team observed, has “no documented historical precedent.”


the Trump Administration basically flipped off negotiators in Poland by unveiling not one but two new schemes for promoting fossil-fuel use. The first was a proposed rollback of an Obama-era rule that effectively blocked new construction of coal-fired power plants.  The second was a plan to open some nine million acres of public lands in Western states to oil and gas drilling by sweeping aside protections for the greater sage grouse. Environmentalists—justifiably—labelled this move a “giveaway” to the fossil-fuel industry. As the Times noted, it would “open more land to drilling than any other step the administration has taken.”


researchers at the University of East Anglia and a group called the Global Carbon Project announced that emissions are again on the rise. Worldwide, they are expected to have increased by almost three per cent in 2018, to more than forty billion tons. In the United States, emissions rose by about 2.5 per cent, following a decade of decline.

EFM- If you have followed my climate commentary for the past few years you will note that I do not believe civilization will do anything before it is too late. It's not just climate- 1.5 billion more people by 2050, at least one pandemic, massive loss of agricultural land, far too little water, extreme food shortages- if any at all, extreme pollution of what is left, fisheries depleted, trees dying by the millions each year.....

Those 20 years old today will find a shorter lifespan in 2030 of maybe just a few years but by 2050, the entire world will have much shorter lifespans and certain countries will no longer exist due to heat, lack of water, higher sea water encroaching worldwide ..... The degradation will be so severe that the human being may move to non existence.

We have, no later than 2025, to almost completely change the way not only we live, but the entire world. We will do it? I say no.


12/11: Going up???


Image

EFM- Too much bad news going on in Washington that I think it will allow the market to go up- at least that much. But if people REALLY spend for Christmas, who knows?

12/11:

Financial Stability Report


A stable financial system, when hit by adverse events, or “shocks,” continues to meet the demands of households and businesses for financial services, such as credit provision and payment services. In contrast, in an unstable system, these same shocks are likely to have much larger effects, disrupting the flow of credit and leading to declines in employment and economic activity. Consistent with this view of financial stability, the Federal Reserve Board’s monitoring framework distinguishes between shocks to and vulnerabilities of the financial system.

Shocks, such as sudden changes to financial or economic conditions, are typically surprises and are inherently difficult to predict. Vulnerabilities tend to build up over time and are the aspects of the financial system that are most expected to cause widespread problems in times of stress. As a result, the framework focuses primarily on monitoring vulnerabilities and emphasizes four broad categories based on research. 2

1. Elevated valuation pressures are signaled by asset prices that are high relative to economic fundamentals or historical norms and are often driven by an increased willingness of investors to take on risk. As such, elevated valuation pressures imply a greater possibility of outsized drops in asset prices.

2. Excessive borrowing by businesses and households leaves them vulnerable to distress if their incomes decline or the assets they own fall in value. In the event of such shocks, businesses and households with high debt burdens may need to cut back spending sharply, affecting the overall level of economic activity. Moreover, when businesses and households cannot make payments on their loans, financial institutions and investors incur losses


3, Excessive leverage within the financial sector increases the risk that financial institutions will not have the ability to absorb even modest losses when hit by adverse shocks. In those situations, institutions will be forced to cut back lending, sell their assets, or, in extreme cases, shut down. Such responses can lead to credit crunches in which access to credit for households and businesses is substantially impaired.

4. Funding risks expose the financial system to the possibility that investors will “run” by withdrawing their funds from a particular institution or sector. Many financial institutions raise funds from the public with a commitment to return their investors’ money on short notice, but those institutions then invest much of the funds in illiquid assets that are hard to sell quickly or in assets that have a long maturity. This liquidity and maturity transformation can create an incentive for investors to withdraw funds quickly in adverse situations. Facing a run, financial institutions may need to sell assets quickly at “fire sale” prices, thereby incurring substantial losses and potentially even becoming insolvent. Historians and economists often refer to widespread investor runs as “financial panics.”


12/11: Inverted yield curve. So close---so very, very close

FRED® Series WGS10YR: 10-Year Treasury Constant Maturity Rate, %, W, NSA

The most recent observation is 2.90 for 2018-12-07.

FRED® Series WGS1YR: 1-Year Treasury Constant Maturity Rate, %, W, NSA

The most recent observation is 2.70 for 2018-12-07.

Just .2%.

12/11: READ!!!!!!!

1.   INVESTOR SOPHISTICATION: INTRUSION OF BEHAVIORAL BIASES IN INVESTMENT DECISIONS

By:

TAQADUS BASHIR (BAHRIA UNIVERSITY, ISLAMABAD CAMPUS); Taimoor Hassan (University of Gujrat)

Abstract:

Economics and conventional investment theory assumes that people are rational while markets are efficient, but people often think and act irrationally, and financial markets rarely follow textbook models of efficiency. Whereas behavioral finance uses knowledge from psychological studies in context of decision making in comparison to the so called predictable models popular in standard finance. Most oftenly investor behavior diverges from logics and rationality as investors are victim of numerous behavioral errors that intervene while they form up investment decision. Decison making is complicated due to the intervention of emotional attachments & avoidances, cognitive errors, and personality traits of decision makers. In developing country like Pakistan where the environment is unstable due to factors like security threats, terrorism, inflation, energy crises and are affecting the thinking pattern of people and the ratio of educated entrepreneur is very less, decisions are based on gut feelings, there is a need to study the impact of self-control, self-attribution along with cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias on investment decision and the current aimed to do so. The present study collected primary data through questionnaire from stock and bond investors. Significant positive relationship is found between the study biases and their impact on investment decisions of investors. Almost all the subjects were found to be the victims of confirmation bias, self-control bias, self-attribution & cognitive dissonance bias. Financial advisors are recommended to be first trained and then consulted for the detection & moderation of these biases before making investment decisions.

Keywords:

Behavioral Finance, confirmation bias, self-control bias, self-attribution, cognitive dissonance bias, financial advisors, investment decisions.

JEL:

G02 G11 D23

Date:

2018–10

URL:

http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:sek:iacpro:7009887&r=cbe


12/11: one JPMorgan Chase analyst estimates that uncertainty arising from Trump’s trade wars has already shaved up to 10 percent off the S&P 500 this year.

12/11: Long term market



12/11: TIPS AND RESOURCES FOR WOMEN TO RISE IN THEIR CAREERS











12/11:

1.   Rationally Inattentive Consumer: An Experiment

By:

Civelli, Andrea (University of Arkansas); Deck, Cary (University of Alabama and Chapman University); LeBlanc, Justin D. (University of Arkansas); Tutino, Antonella (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas)

Abstract:

This paper presents a laboratory experiment that directly tests the theoretical predictions of consumption choices under rational inattention. Subjects are asked to select consumption when income is random. They can optimally decide to reduce uncertainty about income by acquiring signals about it. The informativeness of the signals directly relates to the cognitive effort required to process the information. We find that subjects’ behavior is largely in line with the predictions of the theory: 1) Subjects optimally make stochastic consumption choices; 2) They respond to incentives and changes in the economic environment by varying their attention and consumption; 3) They respond asymmetrically to positive and negative shocks to income, with negative shocks triggering stronger and faster reactions than positive shocks.

Keywords:

Rational Inattention; Experimental Evidence; Information Processing Capacity; Consumption

JEL:

C91 D11 D8 E20

Date:

2018–11–19

URL:

http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:fip:feddwp:1813&r=cbe

12/10:

States moving toward best-interest standards for insurance agents

Proposals to impose best-interest standards on insurance agents could be taken up by as many as 14 states. "There's a narrative that we have to fix something but there's no evidence that there's something that needs fixing," AssessBEST CEO Kim O'Brien said.

EFM: Nothing wrong?? Insurance agents are not required on the use of a financial calculator. Neither is it required of Registerted Investment Advisers.

If you do not know what is happening when you stuff numbers into a computer, you have no idea what comes out. Naysayers will say that you company has the best software yada, yada but doing enough numbers over time will give you a good idea what to expect that comes out.

12/11:

1.   Which Two Heads are Better than One? Uncovering the Positive Effects of Diversity in Creative Teams

By:

Dutcher, E. Glenn; Rodet, Cortney S.

Abstract:

Creative teams drive the idea-economy, yet the determinants of a team's ability to create new ideas are not universally agreed upon. Group-level diversity has gained the most traction as an explanation, where a team's performance is usually attributed to diversity over observed characteristics such as race, gender, or functional expertise. Most agree that these characteristics are not especially important, but rather serve as an indicator of diversity in experiences, which is the actual mechanism that improves team ability. We formalize and test if experientially diverse groups produce more ideas. Because group assignment to projects in the field is rarely exogenous, and experiential diversity is not measured in observational data, we use a laboratory experiment to test our proposal. We find that experientially diverse teams create more ideas and also find no additional effect for gender, racial, socioeconomic, or personality diversity. Our general finding for why diversity may be important indicates that if a correlation exists between characteristic diversity and experiential diversity, the characteristically diverse team will have a higher ability. This generalization can be used to unify divergent results from prior studies and can help explain how dissimilar corporate diversity policies could be equally successful.

Keywords:

Diversity, Creativity, Group Production, Experimental Economics

JEL:

C90 C92 J24 M50 O30 O31 O34

Date:

2018–11–11

URL:

http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pra:mprapa:89982&r=cbe

12/11:

1.   Social Norm Perception in Economic Laboratory Experiments: Inexperienced versus Experienced Participants

By:

Schmidt, Robert J.; Schwieren, Christiane; Sproten, Alec N.

Abstract:

We study whether social norm perception in economic laboratory experiments differs between subjects that participate for the first time and subjects that already participated many times. Consistent with previous studies, inexperienced subjects pronounce egalitarianism, while experienced subjects pronounce efficiency and the maximization of their own earnings. Moreover, experienced subjects evaluate exploitation and deception of other individuals in the lab as more appropriate than inexperienced subjects. Field norms also slightly differ between the two groups, but to a lower extent than lab norms. We therefore conclude that learning effects are more important than selection effects for explaining differences between inexperienced and experienced participants. We also conduct exploratory analyses on the relation between lab and field norms and find that behaving unsocial in the lab is considered substantially more appropriate than in the field. This appears inconsistent with the hypothesis that social preferences measured in economic experiments are inflated and indicates a distinction between revealed social preferences and the elicitation of normatively appropriate behavior.

Keywords:

laboratory experiments; selection effects; learning; generalizability; methodology

Date:

2018–11–28

URL:

http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:awi:wpaper:0656&r=cbe

12/10:

French finance minister: Protests seriously damaging economy

The damage caused by the so-called Yellow Jackets protests in Paris is a "catastrophe for our economy,"


EFM: Will Macron hold on? Merkel is gone. What happens to England when Brexit is finished? Turkey is moving away from the U.S., North Korea has been a big joke between 'lovers'. Russia will continue to infiltrate our politics.


12/10: Just because I thought this was quite unusual and something I never heard of ever.

A 512 year old shark found in the North Atlantic


12/10. Salt your food with microplastics


more than 90 percent of sea salt sold across the world contains microplastics.

Only 9 percent of plastic waste worldwide is being recycled, so that leaves a lot to be wasted. Eight million tons of plastic ends up in oceans annually, and 80 percent of all ocean pollution comes from humans.


The Week That Was In Asia Photo Gallery

                                A nice sandy beach on the Arabian Sea. Tourists love it

12/10: U.S. rejects language affirming global warming’s severity, joining Russia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait as battle lines sharpen at summit

EFM- Unless the world works together to curtail the massive changes that are now occurring and will continue for the next millennia , we will not have a viable civilization. Only the VERY rich will be able to spend enough money to make their own electricity, pump their own water, etc. and distance themselves from the rest of the riffrap that would slowly be dying.


12/10: Why Retirement Is Broken And Needs To Be Reinvented

Longer Term

These are the elements that need to come together into an integrated solution to fix retirement.

  1. Education: Make a personal finance course a requirement to graduate high school. Today only 16.4% of high schools students are required to take a personal finance class in high school. It would also be ideal if employers offered financial education as part of an overall financial wellness offering.
  2. Fiduciary standard: Embrace product & practice principles that are in line with a Fiduciary standard - have all products be efficient, low fee, simple, transparent and designed to be in the best interest of users.
  3. Increase access to savings & investing vehicles: Innovate new simple financial products that provide lifetime income. Incentivize employers to offer better retirement savings options and provide a government supported alternative if there is not an employer option.  
  4. Default best practices: Research shows that setting appropriate defaults in retirement plans make a huge difference in outcomes. Features like auto enrollment into a 401(k), defaulting the savings rate, defaulting an appropriate portfolio allocation can materially move people towards retirement security.   
  5. Enable anyone to create and manage their own retirement financial plan:  Equip everyone with a portable living plan that is owned by the consumer and managed over time.
  6. Enable collaborative planning with expert advisors who are fiduciaries:  They can coach & support people and help them effectively take action - ideally a digital / human hybrid solution to maximize effectiveness while minimizing cost.

The good news is that many of the elements of a complete solution are known and consumers are pushing the financial planning industry to get more efficient and lower costs for many core financial products. The next phase of the evolution involves doing the same thing for guidance and advice.

EFM: WRONG!!!!!  Now I am not to say that certain of these elements will not help. But the key element to a greater return overall and that decreases risk during the worst times is through the Process described above. This is of the greatest concern  since investors will probably be going through another recession within the next  year where losses will probably be 50%+ once again. But the concept that the market always comes back is not preordained and if we suffer a flat market for awhile, the retirees will never enough money no matter what they do. However in all these articles in Forbes, Fortunes, Wall Street Jurnal et al, any statistics show the market returning relatively quickly and at pretty good returns. The world economy is nothing like it was. The U.S. is losing its reputation and capabilities due to China (mostly) and it is simply foolish to attempt statistics based on what happened from 1922; even starting in 1963. We are in a period of substantial flux and the very first element in financial planning is RISK


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

Benjamin Graham

12/10:



12/10: Volatility Lessons


Abstract

The average monthly premium of the Market return over the one-month T-Bill return is substantial, as are average premiums of value and small stocks over Market. As the return horizon increases, premium distributions become more disperse, but they move to the right (toward higher values) faster than they become more disperse. There is, however, some bad news. Even if future expected premiums match high past averages, high volatility means that for the three- and five-year periods commonly used to evaluate asset allocations, the probabilities of negative realized premiums are substantial, and the probabilities are nontrivial for ten-year and 20-year periods.


12/9: The most important news of the past week

Endangered Hawaiian monk seals keep getting eels stuck up their noses and scientists want them to stop

View image on Twitter


Soon teenagers the world over will be stuffing eels up their nose. I mean that is one spaced out mesmerized seal


12/9: Kurtosis


Kurtosis measures the fatness of the tail of a distribution of returns. It compares the size of the middle of a distribution with the size of the tails. Higher kurtosis means fewer but bigger unusual events. Low kurtosis reflects more frequent, modest moves. Counter-intuitively, therefore, low volatility can exist with high kurtosis, as medium-sized shocks become rarer versus the odd extreme move. The danger for investors is that they may confuse low volatility with calm, when statistically, monsters lurk.



12/9: European cash

the impending end of the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing “Asset Purchasing Programme,” which has been propping up asset prices with wholesale purchases of bonds, stocks, and anything else that isn’t nailed down.



If they take away the input, it could/would strain Europe into a recession. And us. And it you have a traiff war at the same time--- oh my!


12/9: The FED

Jerome Powell described an economy that “is close” to achieving maximum employment and price stability,” he noted that “there are reasons for concern,” including the rising debt loads and growing interest burdens of highly leveraged firms and the deteriorating quality of debt underwriting.

The three other vulnerabilities, according to Powell, are excessive leverage in the financial sector and funding risk for banks and nonbank financial entities, and financial bubbles.

12/9:

12/9: Trump and the world

The recent revalations will hurt our position in negotiations with Russia, North Korea (which has been a joke) and absolutely China. Trump's political ability has been clearly hampered and we have not yet got the final Mueller report. It does not makes sense that, in particular, that China will bend over to accept U.S. demands with an individual that potentially can be impeached. The market will/has already been impacted but I cannot see that this is the end of turbulence.

Though not on the tip of everyone's tongue, Hungary is snubbing the U.S. in any case. It certainly seems that the intransigency will get worse.  


And with John Kelly leaving in a couple of weeks, is there anyone who could keep Trump in line?? If it is a yes man, the chaotic situation could possible get worse- if that was possible.


12/9: How to Sustainably Feed 10 Billion People by 2050  World Resources Institute-  21 charts

the global population set to rise to 9.8 billion by 2050 That's .8 billion more than my previous statistics stated.

There is a big shortfall between the amount of food we produce today and the amount needed to feed everyone in 2050. There will be nearly 10 billion people on Earth by 2050—about 3 billion more mouths to feed than there were in 2010. As incomes rise, people will increasingly consume more resource-intensive, animal-based foods. At the same time, we urgently need to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agricultural production and stop conversion of remaining forests to agricultural land.

Feeding 10 billion people sustainably by 2050, then, requires closing three gaps:

  • A 56 percent food gap between crop calories produced in 2010 and those needed in 2050 under “business as usual” growth;
  • A 593 million-hectare land gap (an area nearly twice the size of India) between global agricultural land area in 2010 and expected agricultural expansion by 2050; and
  • An 11-gigaton GHG mitigation gap between expected agricultural emissions in 2050 and the target level needed to hold global warming below 2oC (3.6°F), the level necessary for preventing the worst climate impacts.

12/9:

' Why fewer children have health insurance now

Last year, the number of U.S. children without health insurance jumped by 276,000 — to 3.9 million, up from a low of 3.6 million in 2016 — according to a report published last week by Georgetown University. It was the first increase in the number of uninsured children in America since 2008, when the lead author of the study started keeping track of the data.

Multiple factors led to that, including states refusing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, creating a gap in affordable coverage options for low-income families. But even some families who are not considered low income made the difficult choice to forgo insurance last year due to ballooning costs.

"I don't prevent my kids from doing anything, but I live in fear," said one mother in Alaska. "I live in fear at every soccer game."


A correct Christmas

1. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus: subjecting minors to softcore porn and cheating on daddy. 
2. The Christmas Song: Open fire? Pollution. Folks dressed up like Eskimos? Cultural appropriation
3. Holly Jolly Christmas: Kiss her once for me? Unwanted advances
4. White Christmas? Racist
5. Santa Claus is Coming to Town: Sees you when you’re sleeping? Knows when you’re awake? Peeping Tom stalker
6. Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Everyone telling you be of good cheer? Forced to hide depression
7. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Bullying
8. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas: Forced gender-specific gifts: dolls for Janice and Jen and boots and pistols (GUNS!) for Barney and Ben
9. Santa Baby: Gold digger, blackmail, hooker
10. Frosty the Snowman: Sexist; not a snow woman
11. Do You Hear What I Hear: blatant disregard for the hearing impaired
12. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas: Make the yuletide GAY? Wow, just wow
13. Jingle Bell Rock: Giddy up jingle horse, pick up your feet: animal abuse
14. Mistletoe and Holly: Overeating, folks stealing a kiss or two? How did this song ever see the light of day?
15. Winter Wonderland: Parson Brown demanding they get married…forced partnership
16. The Hanukkah song- I'm not Jewish, dont force your religion on others.
17. Grandma got ran over by a reindeer- promotes a hit and run..also I dont want my kid to think theres no such person..




12/9: Oil price jumps after Opec agrees to cut output by 1.2m barrels a day


Oil prices spiked on Friday after OPEC+ surprised markets with a last minute agreement to cut production by 1.2 million bpd starting in January 2019.

















12/9:

Study: Millennials spend less because they don't have money

A study by the Federal Reserve found that the differences in spending between millennials and other age groups are a reflection of millennials' lack of wealth, not their personal values. Millennials "are less well-off than members of earlier generations [were] when they were young, with lower earnings, fewer assets, and less wealth," the study found.



12/9:



12/9: My reply to 401k education

There has been a major failing of the industry in addressing the risk of investing. Not Sharpe ratio, historical charts and reams of problematic spread sheets showing returns since the Bronze age, Monte Carlo and mean return (statistically invalid), buy and hold heresy, rebalancing (doesn’t really work), untested alternatives- while such work had hundreds of thousands of workers lose (S&P 500) 49% in 2000; 57% in 2008 and who knows how much coming up with another inverted yield curve indicating an upcoming recession. Instead of banal- or worse yet- convoluted- offerings that will not hit home with 90% of workers, first teach the basics they need to know. A budget, basic software for how much they will need at retirement (if audience is over 45/50), what they need to do to get enough, risk they need to take, how to reduce said risk of loss to only 12% to15% during major losses and when and how to get back in. With an 85/90% probability of earning greater returns.

Providing mutual fund ‘long term investing’ info means including at least 4 recessions over 30 years with lower returns overall. but is obscured by a fixed rate of return (never happened) or obscured with the issue that the market always comes back’. That is unacceptable since the probabilities are not set in stone. A long term ‘flat patch’ will force investors into a failed retirement- and more.

The ONLY way to address 401k investing (with retirement planning a key element for most) is by identifying the risk of the individual funds and in a formal allocation. Then they know what they are eventually going to lose once a bad patch occur and what is possible to reduce losses to an ‘acceptable limit’. It can be done but the major focus for many firms is the use of Target Date Funds- which should do terrible in the upcoming mess and fail miserably in retirement through the focus on bonds. Unfortunately, they are sold, in many cases, as the “only investment you will need for your lifetime.” These firms WILL get sued- and rightfully so.

 The firms need to adjust their focus/education to real life but I do not see the effort in current instruction. The answer is not the sale of another product or a change from 70/30 to 60/40 or whatever - it is a real life Process overseeing risk.

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

Benjamin Graham

 

12/9:  Cataracts

(I have had the surgery. Went fine but the physician did not provide info on the results to be expected. Perfect eyesight after surgery but once the swelling went down, the results were not as good. Should have been told.)

Delaying Treatment of Advanced Forms of the Common Eye Disease Can Increase Risk of Permanent Blindness and Injury.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology urges seniors and their caregivers to be aware of the dangers of ignoring the symptoms of cataracts, a leading cause of visual impairment that will affect more than half of all Americans by the time they are 80 years old. Delaying diagnosis and treatment of age-related cataracts can increase seniors' risk of permanent blindness and can lead to both physical and psychological damage.

Cataracts are caused by the clouding of the lens of the eye and are most common among older adults as the condition develops as the eye ages. Many seniors cope with cataracts — accepting vision loss as an inevitable part of the aging process rather than seeking medical treatment. Due to the incapacitation caused by blurred vision, leaving cataracts undiagnosed and untreated can lead to physical danger such as injuries from falls or running into unseen objects, as well as psychological harm like depression and social isolation. In addition, the longer advanced forms of cataracts are left untreated, the more difficult it can be to successfully repair the damage caused to the eye.

Adults age 65 and older should have regular eye exams to monitor for the development of cataracts, in addition to other common eye conditions and diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma. People with diabetes, a family history of cataracts, and those who smoke tobacco are at an increased risk of developing cataracts. Common symptoms such as dull, blurry vision, colors appearing less vibrant, and halos around lights may begin to be noticeable as cataracts develop. This cataract simulator demonstrates how vision is affected by cataracts.

Cataracts are nearly always treatable with surgery, but it may not be necessary until performing daily activities becomes difficult. If daily life isn't disturbed, a change in a person's eyeglass prescription may be all that is necessary until visual impairment becomes more severe. If completing everyday tasks is challenging, cataract surgery should be discussed with an ophthalmologist — a medical doctor specializing in the diagnosis, medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases and conditions.

"Seniors who find themselves giving up normal tasks like reading, exercising or driving due to cataract symptoms should know that they do no not need to suffer in silence," said Rebecca Taylor, M.D., spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "Cataract surgery can help these individuals regain their sight and their independence. It is one of the most common and safest procedures performed in medicine, so seniors should not resist seeking help. Getting treatment can vastly improve your quality of life."

For people without regular access to eye care or for whom cost is a concern, EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, offers eye exams and care at no out-of-pocket cost to qualifying seniors age 65 and older through its corps of nearly 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists across the U.S. To learn more about EyeCare America or to find out if you or a loved one qualifies for the program, visit www.eyecareamerica.org. EyeCare America is co-sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc., with additional support from Alcon and Genentech.

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology

The American Academy of Ophthalmology, headquartered in San Francisco, is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons — Eye M.D.s — with more than 32,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three "O's" – ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who has the education and training to treat it all: eye diseases, infections and injuries, and perform eye surgery. For more information, visit www.aao.org. The Academy's EyeSmart® program educates the public about the importance of eye health and empowers them to preserve healthy vision. EyeSmart provides the most trusted and medically accurate information about eye diseases, conditions and injuries. OjosSanos™ is the Spanish-language version of the program. Visit www.geteyesmart.org or www.ojossanos.org to learn more.

About EyeCare America

Established in 1985, EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is committed to the preservation of sight, accomplishing its mission through public service and education. EyeCare America provides year-round eye care services to medically underserved seniors and those at increased risk for eye disease. More than 90 percent of the care made available is provided at no out-of-pocket cost to the patients. More information can be found at: www.eyecareamerica.org.

Source: eyecareamerica.com

12/9: Salary needed for home

:

12/9: Will record flows to passive TDFs haunt savers when next recession drops?

EFM- answer- YES

THough TDF are touted as the best investment for the rest of your life- it is a fraud. If you have LOTS of money, do whatever you want. But investing in bonds and the like  over your retirement will mean losses due to inflation and the FED raising interest rates.

The TDF market eclipsed the $1 trillion market in 2017, .

About $70 billion flowed into TDFs last year, an all-time high. But the headline story from Morningstar’s report was the dominance of passively invested TDFs, which accounted for an astonishing 95 percent of estimated TDF flows.

12/9: Greenland Melting

The ice sheet is adding more to sea level rise than any time in the last three and a half centuries.
Melting on Greenland's ice sheet has gone into "overdrive," with meltwater runoff increasing 50 percent since the start of the industrial era and continuing to accelerate, new research shows. As more water runs off the ice sheet, it drives sea level rise, putting new pressure on coastal communities around the world.

melting ice from all sources will raise sea level between 8 and 12 inches more by 2050

"We think there's a tipping point around 1.5 Celsius of [global] warming to 2 degrees Celsius of warming that would commit the ice sheet to melting for centuries or millennia, based on paleoclimate records," Trusel said. The average global temperature is expected to start hitting that benchmark between 2030 and 2052, according to a recent IPCC report, and the Arctic is warming at twice the average global rate.

If all of Greenland's ice were to melt, it would raise sea level by about 20 feet. The latest IPCC report estimates that global sea level will rise somewhere between 10 and 30 inches by 2100 if global temperatures warm by 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. With 2 degrees Celsius warming, sea level would rise an additional 4 inches, putting 10 million more people at risk of flooding,

12/9:

12/9: Home Equity and retirees

The Urban Institute recently quantified how much this untapped equity could be worth to seniors in the United States and 10 European countries if it were converted to income – and the amounts are significant.

The typical retired U.S. household has the potential to increase its retirement income by 35 percent, researchers Stipica Mudrazija and Barbara Butrica estimate. In Europe, using home equity would add anywhere from 19 percent in Sweden to 100 percent in Spain.

home equity in various countries

12/9: We are part of the global warming. Even if one wanted to disagree, the real life impact we are facing will change mankind for the worse.

Stalling on climate: After two years of plateau, annual greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels worldwide have jumped a projected 2.7 percent, for a record high. A report by the Stanford-led Global Carbon Project places blame on massive growth in the worldwide economy but also on a too-slow transition to clean energy by the U.S. and other wealthy nations. "Countries can grow while cutting fossil fuel use," one of the report's authors told reporter Kurtis Alexander. "But there just aren't enough countries doing this."



12/6: This will hurt the tariff negotiations. But the part that was 'humorous' was 'human rights '.

China demands release of tech-giant executive after arrest on U.S. extradition charges

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei Technologies' chief financial officer and daughter of the company's founder, was detained in Canada earlier this week amid reports that the U.S. was seeking her extradition because the company had violated a ban on sending U.S. technology to Iran.

The Chinese Embassy in Canada said on Thursday the country "firmly opposes and strongly protests" Meng's arrest, calling it a "wrongdoing" that "harmed the human rights of the victim," and stock markets fell on the news.

Huawei, which recently passed Apple as the second-biggest maker of cellphones after Samsung Electronics, has been the target of deepening U.S. security concerns.

12/6: AND THIS JUST CAME IN

Dow plunges by more than 700 points on fears U.S.-China relations will worsen after arrest of tech executive



12/7: I'll be dead too but it really pisses me off now

the Daily Beast published a story on how unserious President Trump has been about tackling the deficit. Last year, according to the piece, senior officials presented him with charts that projected a “hockey stick” spike in the national debt if the federal government continues on its present trajectory.

“Yeah, but I won’t be here,” the president reportedly said, according to a source who was in the room, adding that the spike wouldn’t come until after he finished his second term.


12/7: You are getting tired
a graph showing recommended sleep time by age

Why Sleep Quality Is More Important Than Hours Slept

Imagine you asked someone about their diet and they said: “I eat every day.” Great news, but not very illuminating. Eating everyday could mean two eggs for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and a small piece of fish with brown rice for dinner. It could also mean a steady intake of TV dinners and cupcakes.

Sleep quality is trickier to measure — but it’s just as important. To understand how someone is sleeping, you first have to understand the sleep cycle.

Successful sleep follows a pattern, which experts divide into four stages. Scientists discovered this pattern about 100 years ago, using machines that detect brain waves as we sleep.

  • Stage 1 (Drifting Off)
  • Stage 2 (Light Sleep)
  • Stage 3 (Deep Sleep)
  • Stage 4 (REM Sleep)


12/6: Cars of the future: Financial Times

Car manufactures such as General Motors are in trouble. Not because of tariffs, rising labour costs or the PR challenges of moving jobs abroad. As their products become more about software and less about hardware, a new technology-based ecosystem is emerging that risks doing to GM what Apple’s iPhone did to Nokia.


12/: Approximately 15% of the population have a mental or physical disability


12/5: 6000 veterans commit suicide each year.

But about 23 military commit suicide each DAY


12/4:


Nations dirtiest cities

A bunch are in California

Have been to all of them- the rankings seem justified



12/5: About 15% of the world's population have a mental or physical disability


12/5:

US Treasury yield curves invert for first time since 2007

The spread between three- and five-year yields turned negative on Monday, dropping below zero for the first time since 2007, as did the two- to five-year gap. The more closely watched two- to 10-year spread reached its narrowest point since the same year.

EFM- the two and 10 year inversion is one of the most noted leading indicators of a recession about 12 to 14 months out. It does not address how long it would last nor how bad it would be. I taught this back in the late 90's and it fialied  was cfollowed o

.

12/5: 6000 Vets commit suicide each year

About 23 of all military commit suicide EVERY DAY


12/4: Respite for caregivers


Adult day care centers provide a break (respite) to the caregiver while providing health services, therapeutic services and social activities for people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, chronic illnesses, traumatic brain injuries, developmental disabilities and other problems that increase their care needs.

Some adult day care centers are dementia specific, providing services exclusively to that population. Other centers serve the broader population.

One difference between traditional adult respite, both group and in-home care, and adult day care is that adult day centers not only provide respite to family caregivers but also therapeutic care for cognitively and physically impaired older adults. 

Benefits of Adult Day Care

Adult day care allows caregivers to continue working outside the home, receive help with the physical care of a loved one, avoid the guilt of placing a loved one in institutional care, and have respite from what can be a “24/7” responsibility.

The caregiver’s loved one can also benefit from adult day care. He or she is able to remain at home with family but does not require 24-hour care from the primary caregiver. Adult day care participants also have an opportunity to interact socially with peers, share in stimulating activities, receive physical or speech therapy if needed, and receive assistance with the activities of daily living with dignity.

Contact the National Adult Day Services Association for a set of guidelines for adult day service programs. The U.S. Administration on Aging Eldercare Locatorcan also direct you to adult day care centers in your area. Ultimately, word of mouth is often one of the best ways of finding quality adult day care. 

How Do I Choose an Adult Day Care Center?

  • Conduct an individual needs assessment before admission to determine your loved one’s abilities and needs
  • Is there an active program that meets his or her daily social, recreational, and rehabilitative needs?
  • Does the center develop an individualized treatment plan for participants and monitor it regularly, adjusting the plan as necessary?
  • Are there referrals to other needed community services?
  • Are clear criteria for service and guidelines for termination established based on the person’s functional status?
  • Is a full range of in-house services offered, such as personal care, transportation, meals, health screening and monitoring, educational programs, counseling and rehabilitative services?
  • Does the center provide a safe, secure environment?
  • Are the volunteers qualified and well-trained? 
  • Does the center adhere to or exceed existing state and national standards and guidelines.

Excerpted from an ARCH National Respite Network publication: archrespite.org


12/3: Keep on Truckin'

California has laid out a series of goals to cut down on car exhaust, but according to a report, auto carbon emissions have been increasing steadily because commuters are driving further.

And for those in the know, the picture is a perfect example of rush hour. Actually it may be more like two hours.



What you are looking at is not unusual.


12/3: Bug Off

That is exactly what is happening. Fewer bugs


A German study found that, measured simply by weight, the overall abundance of flying insects in German nature reserves had decreased by 75 percent over just 27 years. If you looked at midsummer population peaks, the drop was 82 percent.


 “With each generation, the amount of environmental degradation increases, but each generation takes that amount as the norm.” In decades of photos of fishermen holding up their catch in the Florida Keys, the marine biologist Loren McClenachan found a perfect illustration of this phenomenon, which is often called “shifting baseline syndrome.”


Ornithologists kept finding that birds that rely on insects for food were in trouble: eight in 10 partridges gone from French farmlands; 50 and 80 percent drops, respectively, for nightingales and turtledoves. Half of all farmland birds in Europe disappeared in just three decades.


scientists learned that the world’s largest king penguin colony shrank by 88 percent in 35 years, that more than 97 percent of the bluefin tuna that once lived in the ocean are gone.


It is estimated that, since 1970, Earth’s various populations of wild land animals have lost, on average, 60 percent of their members. Zeroing in on the category we most relate to, mammals, scientists believe that for every six wild creatures that once ate and burrowed and raised young, only one remains.

EFM- Back in the 50's when my father would drive from Mass to Florida, you would run into huge horses of bugs that were almost impossible to get through without stopping and cleaning the windshield. And everyone knew you had gone on a trip because of the bugs embedded IN the radiator.

In a trip to Florida 20 years ago, all that had to happen was for the sun start to go down and then  there were massive horses of mosquitoes.

Lived in California for years. Caught lots of bass in the mid 90s because weather highs would stop for days, temperature would rise, the waters would calm, and I caught stripe bass by the hundreds. But each year thereafter, the winds went up, temperatures rarely got hot, and the waters stayed turbid throughout the 'summer'.

Fished in Sacramento. Bugs were not that predominant but enough to do top water.

Fast forward to now where I live next to old growth 'forest' next to Floridas's Lake Rosseeau (sans bass)_where there are effectively NO flying insects at all. Middle of summer and I am lucky to even hear a mosquito. NO dragon flies. Very seldom does one try top water lures because the bass aren't looking up to feed. A few butterflies during the day but not much else. Whoever heard of Florida without bugs????

If we keep losing bugs, then we lose humanity.


12/3: Upbeat economy, downbeat economy


On the plus side

■ Despite some difficulties, the gross domestic product in the United States rose at a 3.5 percent annual rate in the third quarter.

■ The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Indicators index has been rising, which suggests that a recession is probably not imminent.

■ The yield curve — the difference between long- and short-term interest rates — remains in a bullish zone, although that positive margin has been narrowing and bears close watching. (EFM- see article from weekend- lots of worry as far as I am concerned)

■ The end of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate tightening cycle may be in sight. Jerome H. Powell, the Fed chairman, said on Wednesday that interest rates were already close to a “neutral” level, which might imply that rates won’t rise much higher.

■ Finally, there is already so much bad news about the stock market that it amounts to good news. According to contrarian logic, Mr. Hickey said, the negatives are baked into stock prices, so the market has room to rise.

That last item may be a stretch. It is an indication, he said, that he is having difficulty being upbeat.

On the minus side

■ The trend of stock prices has been quite negative. While a string of strong days could turn that around, momentum is bearish.

■ Despite Mr. Powell’s latest comments, the Fed is still tightening monetary policy, which could easily derail the stock market and the economy.

■ The fiscal stimulus provided by the tax cut is, increasingly, behind us. Combined with tighter monetary policy, the loss of fiscal stimulus could hurt the American economy.

■ Tariffs have been rising, and business sentiment has been depressed by the prospect of widening trade wars.

■ Global economic growth has been slowing, and many stock markets around the world are already in bear market territory.

■ The domestic housing market has weakened, homebuilder stocks have plunged, commodity prices have fallen, and auto sales are relatively weak.

■ The tech sector, which propelled the market higher earlier in the year, has now lost hundreds of billions of dollars in value. Because of the importance of stocks like Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Alphabet (Google) and Apple, the psychological “impact of their weakness can’t be overstated,”


12/2:  China tariffs on hold for 90 days


The compromise, struck over a steak dinner at the Group of 20 meeting here and announced in a White House statement, was less a breakthrough than a breakdown averted. The two leaders remain far apart on basic issues of market access and trade policy, and there was no sign that either planned to back down on those.

EFM- I still don't think this will end particularly well for the U.S. since Trump may be engaged in a fight to hold onto his presidency.

12/2: Warning for Seafood Lovers: Climate Change Could Crash These Important Fisheries
Atlantic and polar cod face a double whammy as the planet warms: rising ocean temperatures and acidification could cut reproduction by nearly two-thirds

12/2: Farmers, Don't Count on Technology to Protect Agriculture from Climate Change
The worsening impact of heat, drought and extreme weather will overtake tech and science advances within decades at the current pace,

12/2: "Does Job Polarization Explain the Rise in Earnings Inequality? Evidence from Europe" Free Download
World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8652

MAURIZIO BUSSOLO, World Bank - Chief Economist Office for Europe and Central Asia
Email: mbussolo@worldbank.org
IVAN TORRE,
World Bank
Email: itorre@worldbank.org
HERNAN JORGE WINKLER,
World Bank - International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Earnings inequality and job polarization have increased significantly in several countries since the early 1990s. Using data from European countries covering a 20-year period, this paper provides new evidence that the decline of middle-skilled occupations and the simultaneous increase of high- and low-skilled occupations are important factors accounting for the rise of inequality, especially at the bottom of the distribution. Job polarization accounts for a large share of the increasing inequality between the 10th and the 50th percentiles, but it explains little or none of the increasing inequality between the 50th and 90th percentiles. Other important developments during this period, such as changing wage returns, higher educational attainment, and increased female labor force participation, account for a small portion of the changes in inequality.

12/2: "Feeding of Infants and Young Children in South Asia" Free Download
World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8655

HARRIET TORLESSE, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
Email: htorlesse@unicef.org
DHUSHYANTH RAJU,
World Bank
Email: draju2@worldbank.org

Poor breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices predict child stunting and wasting in South Asia, suggesting that initiatives to end undernutrition in the region should focus on improving the diets of young children. This review of the literature finds that South Asia has made relatively good progress in improving breastfeeding practices compared with other regions, but the lack of diversity in complementary foods and low frequency of feeding continue to be problems. Children who are most at risk of experiencing poor feeding include those who are born small, have younger mothers, and live in poorer households or in communities with less access to, or lower uptake of, primary health services. Initiatives to improve feeding practices have not produced substantial improvement, particularly in complementary feeding, because such efforts have lacked the coverage, intensity, comprehensiveness, and continuity needed. Policy, legal, and program actions to protect, promote, and support recommended feeding practices should be informed by situation analyses and formative research on context-specific drivers of poor practices. The actions should involve multiple sectors and stakeholders, including governments, the private sector, communities, and households.

12/2: Purchasing Power by State

Image

12/2: On the lighter side of the news
Rapper 50 Cent on His Son Marquise: I ‘Wouldn’t Have a Bad Day’ If He Got Hit by a Bus......

California nuns accused of years-long theft from school.......