Master Financial Education
Financial and Economic Daily Commentary 2018
The  most intensive and extensive on the Web

Knowledge makes obsolete the inequities that ignorance and prejudice justify
Errold. F. Moody Jr.

click above for bio



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- head of the Federal Reserve

A Detailed Timeline of the 2008 Financial Crisis


8/18: Teen Who Pushed Friend Off 60-Foot Bridge Says She 'Didn't Think About the Consequences'
EFM- An exceptional excuse. Everyone should now use it

We may have trains covered the same way in the future. Another huge expense.

(Have you ever been on BART in SF in the tube under the Bay???  Can you imagine a suicide bomber???)

8/17: Where are we??

Wage growth is meager while corporate profits are high. The modest 2.7 percent wage gains in the past year are getting wiped out entirely by 2.9 percent inflation. Gas is up 50 cents in the past year, Trump is running up the deficit and 48 percent of country doesn’t have any money in the stock market.

EFM- It's the deficit that will kill us. It's unsustainable. And now I hear that the Russians and China are possibly sending "war" satellites and as the U.S. ramps up our defense that will cost the U.S. billions more each and every year. We decided not to stop Russia with Ukraine and Crimea nor the Chinese with the man made islands in the South China Sea but we have to do something.


"Profitability, Asset Investment, and Aggregate Stock Returns" Free Download
Asian Finance Association (AsianFA) 2018 Conference

TIMOTHY K. CHUE, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
School of Accounting and Finance, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

The book-to-market ratio (B/M), profitability, and asset investment exhibit robust joint predictive power for the equity premium, generating out-of-sample R2s of 7%, 20%, and 29%, respectively, in one-quarter-, one-year-, and two-year-ahead forecasts. Since profitability and investment are positively correlated with each other yet predict future returns in opposite directions, while B/M and profitability are negatively correlated with each other yet predict future returns in the same direction, the variables’ joint predictive power is much higher than the sum of their standalone counterparts. Just as Fama and French (2006, 2015, 2016) and Hou, Xue, and Zhang (2014, 2015, 2017) show that profitable firms who invest conservatively are associated with high future alphas in the cross section, we find that high aggregate profits and low asset growth precede high aggregate stock returns in the time series. We also find that short-term (long-term) asset growth predicts one-year-ahead (two-year-ahead) stock returns—consistent with firms’ investment decisions being more responsive to changes in discount rates that correspond to the investment’s time horizon. To explain this pattern from a behavioral perspective requires two types of sentiment—one that primarily influences short-term investment and another that affects long-term investment only


Greece brain drain hampers recovery from economic crisis


Thousands of educated citizens have moved abroad and are not rushing back

EFM- Greece has a long way to go.


Computer games help push UK inflation to 2.5%


Volatile category of ‘recreation and culture’ masks softening prices, say economists

EFM- could you ever believe in your wildest imagination  that the Financial Times would address higher inflation in a major country due to the cost of computer games.


Population aging reduces per capita GDP growth when nominal interest rates are constrained by the zero-lower bound
Using data on 168 countries from 1990 to 2015, Gauti Eggertsson and Manuel Lancastre of Brown University and Lawrence Summers of Harvard University document that countries with more rapidly aging populations had higher GDP growth per capita over the last 25 years. Since 1990, real interest rates have also been declining as populations have aged, suggesting that capital deepening explains the positive relationship between aging and GDP growth per capita, the authors argue. As a country’s population ages, savings and, therefore, investment in productive capital per worker rise, which increases output per worker. This mechanism relies on real interest rates to adjust downwards as needed to make investment equal savings. When real interest rates are unable to adjust, for example due to the zero-lower bound on nominal interest rates, aging leads to secular stagnation. Indeed, the authors find that aging led to slower growth in GDP per capita after 2008 in those countries that were constrained by the zero-lower bound.

EFM: I won't belabor this but LIBOR was THE rate a lot of other rates were tied to. But it was being manipulated.

"Without much fanfare, the World Bank this week issued $1 billion of two-year floating-rate notes tied to the U.S. Secured Overnight Financing Rate, or SOFR. It’s the second sale of such debt after a $6 billion offering from Fannie Mae on July 26 with tenors of six months, 12 months and 18 months. Suddenly, the Libor alternative is picking up some momentum"

EFM- This appears/should reaffirm the U.S. as the standard bearer of money in the world.

8/16:Survey shows more than half of preretirees think they'll go back to work

A survey by Home Instead found that 53% of preretirees who plan to leave their job in the next five years anticipate going back to work at some point. The need to generate additional income was the most common reason given, but respondents also cited staving off boredom and keeping a sharp mind.

EFM- but the pay may not be good even assuming a job can be found outside of a greeter at Wal Mart


Trade with China increases US employment and wages
Zhi Wang of George Mason University, Shang-Jin Wei of Columbia University, and Xinding Yu and Kunfu Zhu of Beijing’s University of International Business and Economics use U.S. commuting zone-level data from 1990 to 2014 to explore how exposure to trade with China affects local employment and wages. The authors find that direct competition with Chinese imports reduces manufacturing sector employment. Employment also falls at U.S. firms that do not compete directly with Chinese imports but sell their output to manufacturers that do. However, these employment declines are more than offset by employment gains at non-manufacturing firms that use imported inputs from China, so that trade with China actually increases local employment overall. In addition, the authors find that 75 percent of workers in an average region experience real wage growth because of trade with China.

During the financial crisis of 2008, employment fell dramatically, as was expected. But in the economic recovery that followed, only certain jobs bounced back.

We all know that employment fell dramatically during the Great Recession. It was also slow to come back up following the recession, during the recovery. This, of course, is a well-known fact. What is perhaps less well understood is why the jobs that did return were primarily the higher-skill jobs, or higher-skill ‘cognitive’ jobs — meaning jobs that require a fairly high level of education and working with information technology or working creatively, and so on. It did not really help lower-skill, so-called ‘routine’ jobs — jobs on the factory assembly line, for example — recover as much.

When we talk about “polarization,” this is exactly what we mean — the distribution of wages becomes more polarized. We have very high-skill workers, and we have very low-skill workers, but this middle is, in some sense, disappearing.

In our model — the way we set it up — this is a natural process. When new technology comes about, this technology is much more skill-intensive. The natural thing that happens is that there’s demand for high-skill workers, so the workers should go and get trained, become high-skill, acquire these skills that are in demand — and everything is how it should be.

We have declines in labor force participation that are not fully explained by people going back to school, say, to acquire skills, and then coming back. This is what our models say should be happening. Of course we know in reality that post-secondary enrollment did jump in the Great Recession, exactly when our model predicts that should have happened. But we also know there’s a lot of people who exited the labor force and did not go to get trained and acquire new skills. That is, of course, a source of concern because the longer these people stay out of the labor force, the harder it is going to be for them to re-enter, if they’re going to be able to at all.

EFM- Though not addressed by the press or other research (at least in my reading) is the fact that immigration of unskilled workers may very well cause undue hardship on them as well as our economy since they will remain unemployed. Even excluding that, technology is replacing some of the most horrid work that they currently do. For example, slaughter houses are now moving to machinery that can kill cattle and skin and breakdown the various parts with no humans involved. Flipping burgers is already going the way of all machines.

8/16: Yield curve and 23.4 basis points

A widely watched measure of the yield curve briefly dipped to a new decade low on Wednesday morning, as the fallout from Turkey’s escalating economic crisis ricocheted around the world.

The difference between two- and 10-year yields dropped to 23.4 basis points, below its previous low of 23.6 basis points reached in mid-July. The measure has garnered the attention of investors as an indicator of economic downturn given that it has turned negative, or “inverted”, before every recession of the past 50 years.

EFM- a basis point is 1/100 of 1%.

8/16: What to look for in hiring a caregiver

For older adults, in-home non-medical care might be the key to independence.  However, the quality of care depends on the quality of the caregiver. When looking for in-home care, finding the best service can be a challenge.  This article offers suggestions on what to look for when hiring a caregiver.

What is In-Home Care?

In-home caregivers provide assistance with activities of daily living (ADL) such as meal preparation, dressing, grooming, medication monitoring, transportation and light housekeeping. These services should not be mistaken for home health services, which offer skilled, medical services by licensed professionals such as nurses and therapists.  While in-home caregivers may be trained and/ or certified, they focus mostly on activities of daily living and are not required to perform complex health care related tasks.  Programs such as Medicare, or Medicaid (Medi-cal) cover Home Health Services, but do not usually cover non-medical services.  There are some long-term care insurance policies that cover non-medical in-home care services.  Review your policy to determine whether in-home care is covered by your insurance.

Looking For Quality In-Home Care

There are a number of ways to find in-home care.  Referrals from health care professionals and others who have used in-home care may be the best source of quality care providers.  You can either hire the caregiver directly as an employee, or use an agency.

There are advantages and disadvantages to hiring a freelance caregiver. Families often cite lower cost as the major benefit.  However, when hiring a freelance caregiver, bear in mind costs related to being an employer. Employer taxes, insurance and Worker’s Compensation will need to be paid. Tax withholdings and payroll tax reports will have to be made.  In most cases, freelance caregivers do not qualify as “Independent Contractors” according to tax and labor laws. Trying to save costs while violating tax and labor laws can put your family at great risk.  Fines can be levied and back taxes plus penalties can accrue. Work related injuries might not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance. Live-in caregivers who use your home as their main residence may be considered a tenant. This may complicate things should you need to terminate this person’s service. You should always consult with tax insurance and legal professionals if you choose to hire a freelance caregiver.

Another very important aspect of hiring a freelance caregiver is safety. Has this person been convicted of a crime? What is their work history? Be sure to have the applicant list their experience and training. Check their references. Employee application forms are available at office supply stores, and can be used for each potential employee. It is also important to verify that this person can legally work in the United States. A form called the I-9 should be kept on file for the employee. Fines ranging from $250 to $2,000 can be imposed on those who hire illegal immigrants. Also, be sure to have a written agreement with the caregiver to avoid potential wage and labor disputes.

For peace of mind, you may want to use agencies or registries that offer pre-screened caregivers for you to hire directly.  Using a screening service does not relieve you of your responsibilities as an employer if you hire the caregiver directly. Agencies and companies who do background checks can be found in the Yellow Pages or on the Internet.

Another option for finding caregivers is through an agency. In-home care agencies usually offer licensed and bonded staff that perform a variety of tasks. While it may be more expensive to hire a caregiver through an agency, you will not be responsible for costs such as accounting, insurance and taxes. When choosing an agency, be sure to ask about what services are provided. Find out about the company. How long have they been in business? Are they with the Better Business Bureau? Check their references. Compare costs, services and features that they offer.  Do not be afraid to ask questions.  Remember, you are the client, and ultimately you must feel comfortable and confident with the caregiver’s services.

Questions to Ask When Hiring a Caregiver

When interviewing potential agencies and caregivers, there are many important things to consider:

What services are provided?

Caregivers may provide light housekeeping, transportation, meal preparation, medication monitoring, personal care, and assistance with ambulation. Some agencies provide higher levels of care such as incontinence care, heavy transfers and Alzheimer’s care.  Have the agency clearly state in writing what services are provided.

Can they work a schedule according to your needs?

Some agencies have minimum numbers of hours per shift. Some offer shift rates. Some charge more for holidays, nights and weekends. Ask which holidays are observed by the agency.

What are the costs? How are payments handled? What is the cancellation policy?

Some agencies/caregivers charge by the hour, while others may charge by the job or shift. You should outline in writing what you are getting for your money. Some agencies require a deposit before services begin. Find out what the deposit covers and their refund policy. Additionally, ask about their cancellation policy. Some agencies require advanced written notice of cancellation. Prices can vary widely.  The cheapest is not always the best option. It pays to shop and compare.

What is the caregiver’s employment status? 

If the caregiver is the employee of the agency, then the agency is responsible for bonds, taxes and insurance. Be wary of agencies that claim the caregivers are “independent contractors.” In most cases, caregivers do not qualify as “independent contractors” according to tax and labor laws. Their fees may seem low, but you could be deemed the employer and assume the employer’s responsibilities for taxes and insurance. Trying to save costs while violating tax and labor laws can put your family at great risk.  Fines can be levied and back taxes plus penalties can accrue.

Work related injuries may not be covered by your home owner’s insurance. There are no surety bonds that would cover “independent” caregivers for theft, dishonesty or negligence. The same considerations hold true if you hire an individual “freelance caregiver.”  Check with your legal and tax advisor if you choose to go this route.

What is the agency’s/caregiver’s track record?  How long has the agency been in business?

Call the Better Business Bureau to see if the agency has any complaints on file. Obtain and verify references (especially for freelance caregivers).

How much skill and experience do the caregivers have? Does the agency have skills and experience requirements for their caregivers? 

What kind of training do they give to their caregivers? Experience usually relates directly to skill. If your loved one has a special need, such as Alzheimer’s care, be sure the caregiver has experience and knowledge in this area.

  • What is the caregiver’s background?
  • Does the agency perform a criminal background check on their caregivers?
  • Are fingerprints taken?
  • Can they legally work in this country?
  • What is their driving history?

For freelance caregivers, you can do a background check yourself. The Department of Motor Vehicles can provide driving records and the County Courthouse can do criminal records checks. Resources can also be found in the phone book or on the Internet. Be wary of caregivers reluctant to provide background information.

Is the agency bonded, licensed and insured?

Ask to see copies of the agency’s business or other required licenses, liability insurance policy, Worker’s Compensation insurance policy and surety bond.  Keep copies for your records in case of a future need.

Is there a cost for assessments?

An initial assessment is vital to determining the type of care your loved one needs.  Some agencies charge fees for assessments.

Can you interview the caregiver before starting service?

You want to find a caregiver you feel comfortable with. Ask about the agency’s policy regarding interviewing caregivers. Most offer this for free, while some charge a fee.

What is the caregiver replacement policy? If your worker is sick or quits, are emergency call services available?

There should be a plan in place if your caregiver can’t work. Ask if you can replace a caregiver if there is a problem and how soon you can have a replacement.

How many caregivers work for the agency? 

This is important to determine the agency’s ability to find a replacement caregiver if needed.  Smaller agencies have fewer workers to call for replacements. Larger agencies have more workers to choose from.

You may have more questions to ask potential caregivers. Write them down and keep notes on the responses. Finding the right caregiver can be a tedious process, but you will feel better knowing you have done your best. It is a very important decision to bring a caregiver to your home. With the right information, you can determine which agency or caregiver is right for you.

An extensive article by the New York Times (still having problems getting images up properly)


EFM- Yes and no. If one uses the conventional 'rules', it attempts to keep the risk level the same year after year. The article notes"

“Because rebalancing our portfolios may induce pain, and even punish us with short-term losses, it becomes even more crucial to keep the end destination — to increase the likelihood of our achieving better investment outcomes over time — forefront in our minds,” the article states.

Rebalancing allows an investor to maintain the desired risk exposure of a portfolio over its life.

As the article points out, the expected volatility of a portfolio with an initial 60/40 allocation to stocks and bonds will change if a bull market in equities has pushed its asset mix to 80/20."

EFM- the process is bogus. First and foremost, the old rule doesn't work unless you understand correlation. That will snow most people so......

On the other hand, if one uses my 4 step Process (now being marketed) that allows one to gorge on the higher returns longer yet lower or exclude risk altogether. This has already been addresses by a PhD in mathematics. 

8/15: OIL

In today's newsletter, we will take a quick look at some of the critical figures and data in the energy markets this week. 

We will then look at some of the key market movers early this week before providing you with the latest analysis of the top news events taking place in the global energy complex over the past few days. We hope you enjoy.

Trader Update: Imagine having the same intel as energy ‘insiders’ or even high level government officials. Information that traders and money managers pay $50,000 and more to access. Oilprice’s new service is doing just that. High quality, relevant, and actionable intelligence directly to your mailbox every month. Click here to get involved.


-    By the end of the year, the
EIA expects U.S. natural gas pipeline capacity into the South Central region (the Gulf Coast) to reach almost 19 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d).

-    The EIA notes that this is a historic change in which the Gulf Coast becomes a demand center rather than simply a source of natural gas supply. Tens of billions of dollars have flowed into petrochemical complexes and LNG export facilities. 

-    There are three key pipelines set to come online towards the end of 2018 that will help carry natural gas from the Marcellus Shale to the Gulf Coast. 

Last year, nearly 4 in 10 sponsors said they were actively looking for a new plan advisor—an all-time high in Fidelity’s survey’s history. This year, 22% claim to be actively looking to switch advisors, still historically high, said Fidelity’s Burgess, but down markedly.

In 2017, nearly four in 10 sponsors said the reason they hired a plan advisor was to help meet sponsors’ statutory fiduciary obligations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

Fast-forward a year and the fiduciary rule is off the books. In Fidelity’s 2018 survey, released last week, only 14 percent of sponsors said their top reason for working with an advisor was fiduciary compliance.

Gutless legislators.

8/14:Nearly Half of U.S. Workers Spend 30 Minutes or Less Reviewing Benefits Before Enrollment

Auto-enrollment for disability plans can help employees make better financial decisions

New research from employee benefits provider Unum (NYSE: UNM) shows nearly half of U.S. workers (49 percent) spend 30 minutes or less reviewing their benefits prior to enrollment, according to an online poll of 1,227 U.S. workers conducted last month.


1.   Risky Choices and Solidarity: Why Experimental Design Matters


Conny Wunsch; Renate Strobl


Negative income shocks can either be the consequence of risky choices or random events. A growing literature analyzes the role of responsibility for neediness for informal financial support of individuals facing negative income shocks based on randomized experiments. In this paper, we show that studying this question involves a number of challenges that existing studies either have not been aware of, or have been unable to address satisfactorily. We show that the average effect of free choice of risk on sharing, i.e. the comparison of mean sharing across randomized treatments, is not informative about the behavioural effects and that it is not possible to ensure by the experimental design that the average treatment effect equals the behavioural effect. Instead, isolating the behavioural effect requires conditioning on risk exposure. We show that a design that measures subjects preferred level of risk in all treatments allows isolating this effect without additional assumptions. Another advantage of our design is that it allows disentangling changes in giving behaviour due to attributions of responsibility for neediness from other explanations. We implement our design in a lab experiment we conducted with slum dwellers in Nairobi that measures subjects’ transfers to a worse-off partner both in a setting where participants could either deliberately choose or were randomly assigned to a safe or a risky project. We find that free choice matters for giving and that the effects depend on donors’ risk preferences but that attributions of responsibility play a negligible role in this context.


solidarity, risk taking, experimental design


1.   Investment strategy and selection bias: An equilibrium perspective on overoptimism


Philippe Jehiel (PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)


Investors of new projects consider the returns of implemented projects delivering the same impression, and invest if the empirical mean return exceeds the cost. The steady states of such economies result in suboptimal investment decisions due to the selection bias in the sampling procedure and the dispersion of impressions across investors. Assuming better impressions are associated with higher returns, investors assessments of their projects are overoptimistic, and there is overinvestment as compared with the rational benchmark. The presence of rational investors aggravates the overoptimism bias of sampling investors, thereby illustrating a negative externality imposed by rational investors.


overoptimism,Investment strategy




8/14: Just not right- President Donald Trump signed a $716 billion defense policy bill named for John McCain, but he did not mention the Republican senator.

EFM- as I have addressed, there are a number of Trump bills I support. But I just wish he could just keep his mouth shut and his twitter account shut down. Shaming John McCain was just wrong.

8/14: Vanguard:One the biggest and most conservative asset managers on the street has just put out an ominous warning to investors. Vanguard has just told investors that a near term recession (by 2020) is looking more likely. The asset manager is worried about the flattening yield curve...[Read More]

8/14: Yes I am back to the grind but first I have to figure out another computer cause the old went on a hissy fit and then I had to stomp it to death.

8/17: Trump's  gaffe- this is  not going to end well at all

Paul Ryan noted
«Нет никакой моральной эквивалентности между Соединенными Штатами и Россией, которая остается враждебной нашим самым основным ценностям и идеалам. Соединенные Штаты должны быть сосредоточены на том, чтобы привлечь Россию к ответственности и положить конец его мерзким нападкам на демократию»,
Could  not have said it better

Since 2010, fast-food jobs have grown nearly twice as fast as employment over all, contributing to the economic recovery. But rapid growth has created new problems. Some say restaurants have grown faster than demand, causing a glut of competition that is another source of pressure on business owners.

Restaurant owners are also worrying about increased immigration enforcement: Nearly 20 percent of workers are foreign-born.

A recent analysis by economists at the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that an increased emphasis on education — and getting scholarships — had contributed to the decline in working teenagers, reflecting both the rising costs of education and the low wages most people that age can earn.


Table 1. Historical Nominal Returns by Decade

The returns below show how each asset class has performed on a nominal (absolute) basis on a decade-by-decade basis. Long-term returns (1926 through 2016) are also listed to provide a comparison.


Large-Cap Stocks

Small-Cap Stocks

Long-Tm Gov’t Bonds

Interm-Tm Gov’t Bonds
























































*Three years short of a decade.

Despite everything that has happened over this 76-year period, decade-long returns were only negative once for large-cap stocks: in the 2000s because of the aforementioned recessions and financial crisis. Returns were also low, but still positive on an absolute basis, for large-cap stocks during the 1970s when inflation hit double-digits. On the other hand, annualized gains were well into the double-digits on a percentage basis during three of the seven full decades.

Notably, the 2000s were not a lost decade for small-cap stocks. Though their returns were the lowest of any decade since the Great Depression, small-cap stocks still realized an annualized return of 6.3% between 2000 and 2009. Small-cap stocks have not routinely outperformed their large counterparts, however—trailing in three different decades (1950–1959, 1980–1989 and 1990–1999).

Table 1 also shows returns for both long-term and intermediate-term bonds. Though the 1970s were associated with poor returns for bond prices, their high yields provided much more income on a nominal (absolute) basis. Long-term bonds only incurred negative nominal returns during the 1950s when inflation was dormant and the economy was enjoying a postwar boom. Falling interest rates in the 1980s led to a multi-decade period of high returns for long-term and intermediate-term bonds.

The returns for each decade can be attributed to some event (or series), such as the 1950s postwar prosperity, the 1970s high inflation and oil embargos, the tech-driven boom of the 1990s and the dual-recession of the 2000s. Unless a person is absolutely certain about a specific set of circumstances recurring, basing future return expectations on a single decade or another comparatively shorter period of time should be avoided. Even if a person feels confident about their forecast, a very large margin of error should still be factored in.

An interactive graph of the US showing what work is needed where and for how much. Great for new graduates.
Educational and occupational choices matter for your earnings, but where you work matters, too. Employment opportunities and wages in some occupations vary substantially from state to state, county to county, and city to city.

Evidence suggests that people often move to find work or accept a job, but that there are many other factors that play a role in where a person chooses to relocate.[2] Cost of living (including housing costs) and taxes, as well as a host of other factors collectively referred to as amenities, all contribute to a choice about where to move. Research shows that workers value amenities like pleasant weather, clean air, low crime, and proximity to cultural attractions.

The median earnings for all working-age (25–64) full-time workers in the United States is $41,000, although deviations from this value are quite large. Education plays a large role in earnings differences: workers with less than a high school education have median earnings of $23,000, while those with an advanced degree have median earnings of $73,000. Median earnings range from $15,000 to $182,000 across 320 occupation categories.

The logic of the competitive model does indeed seem to suggest that if people can gain by breaking the rules
when no one is looking, they will do so, in the process creating competitive pressure for rivals to do likewise.

Robert H. Frank

With opioid-related overdoses and deaths reaching record levels in Canada, the top medical official in Toronto is calling for the decriminalization of all drugs as part of a strategy to treat illicit drug use as a public health and social issue, not a criminal one.

7/15: This excerpt is by Branko Milanovic on the issue of morality in business (or not). Some may find his comments (see number 1) as cynical but as I have gone through so many issues in my life, I really cannot take exception. 

 "I actually find myself in sympathy with the operations of Gekko, Skilling etc., not because I like them as individuals but because I see an iron logic in their behavior. Let me explain that iron logic as composed of three elements.

  1. Personal ethics do not exist
  2. Laws exist and they are supposed to embody the general moral rules so that we know what we can do, insuring that the pursuit of our private interest leads to some greater social good
  3. We then just follow our private interests.

In a (less than ideal) metaphor, imagine the rules as fences around a path, like in bobsledding. You can do whatever you want on that path, and should never hit the fence. But the fence is designed by somebody else (society) in such a way that while you yourself, never caring about why the fence was set just where it was set, will maximize the speed of your own movement and the overall average speed of all actors.*

I am thus intellectually sympathetic to the view that personal morality exists only outside economics or capitalism. I might like the guys who are nice and ethical, but when it comes to economics I really do not expect them to be so. I even very much doubt when they claim they are. I tend to see them as hypocritical. This is not in their job description.

This is the philosophy that I think motivated Skilling and the others. It is what I called in the attached blog (“Kant and Henry”) the idea of outsourcing morality. Morality is embedded in the fence and I am going to play by the rules (but nothing more) and, even when I consciously do not play by the rules (as for example when I cheat and score a goal by hand), I do not have to feel bad about it. It is the job of the referee to catch me and punish me. In other words, there is no internal ethical mechanism to stop me from scoring a goal by any means I can find."

EFM- There is a lot more- but ultimately it is like the CFP Board of Standards, CPA society, NAPFA and more regarding illegality, incompetence and more. "We will not enforce an ethical violation unless preceded by a legal one."

They are not the same- quite obviously. But the referees addressed above are at least actually looking for faults. We still do not have referees in the finance industry competent to figure out even the grossest violations. Think Bernie Madoff, ENRON, major financial institutions of 2008, etc. Bernie was able to do fraud in clear sight of regulators and he really only got caught because an 'investor' proved his numbers were fraud. Only then did the SEC do something. You have a lot of the players who marketed worthless mortgages still doing business.

mbn If you wish to win allegations or wrong doing, you better have a hard head and a lot of money because you will become ostracized. Think about the women of #MeToo movement. You can understand why they did not file grievances- they were right but the powerful have a lot of clout. I applaud the movement to get justice- at least decency.

Eight states will have just under half of the total population of the country, 49.5 percent, according to the Weldon Cooper Center’s estimate. The next eight most populous states will account for an additional fifth of the population, up to 69.2 percent — meaning that the 16 most populous states will be home to about 70 percent of Americans.

7/15: Jeremy Seigel-

Seigel's studies show that if investors could predict in advance when recessions will begin and end, they could enjoy superior returns to the returns earned by a buy and hold investor. Specifically, if an investor switched from stocks to cash or short-term Treasuries 4 months before the start of a recession and back to stocks 4 months before the end of the recession, he or she would gain almost 5 percentage points over the buy and hold investor.

EFM- A true statement but useless. The inverted yield curve in 2000 or 2008 indicate a recession- probably in 12 to 14 months though it could have been shorter or longer. Did anyone actually hit that- or better yet, right at the top?/ Not that I remember, Certainly getting back in 4 months before the end save by luck.


OIL- it's bouncing around- though higher right now

Despite the global oil market being hit by multiple outages and the sanctions on Iran promising to bring yet more oil offline, the return of Libyan supply this week is keeping oil prices down



Friday, July 13th, 2018

Oil prices held steady after Wednesday’s steep selloff, with the return of Libyan supply keeping prices in check despite reports of a tight global market.


7/15: Initial LTCi Claims Skew Heavily Toward Older Ages

Long-term care insurance (LTCi) claims are not filed as early as conventional wisdom would seem, new research indicates.

That may come as a surprise to people who don’t realize that LTCi claims tend to start when claimants are in the 80s and 90s,

EFM- that is much better for the company. It gets premiums longer and the payout is less (since policyholder is closer to death

7/15: Trump--The presumptive gall to tell May what to do. It's far beyond tactless- it is an act of meddling in country's innate rule to decide what they have a right to do. America rightly believes that Russia interfered in our election- and this was a boorish insufferable egomaniac (stable genius???) obstructing  another country's right to govern as they see fit. If it was something that was so wrong, it had to be best expressed in private. 

President Trump blasted Prime Minister Theresa May's compromise, pro-business Brexit plan, according to the Sun: "I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t listen to me.” He also warned that May's approach could imperil any future trade deal between the United States and Britain

The good times for U.S. equities may be about to stop rolling. After outperforming much of the rest of global markets over the past decade and continually hitting new record highs, U.S. stocks are likely to become the international laggards over the coming decade, as per the opinions of strategists at Morningstar Investment Management Europe.

Morningstar’s bearish forecast for U.S. equities finds some support, at least in the near term, from analysts calling the end of the current economic cycle. The signs are all there, Kempen Capital Management’s chief strategist Roelof Salomons told CNBC late last week, “we see yield curve flattening, we see credit spreads widening, we see defensives slowly becoming outperformers, it’s a classical late-cycle story.” 
7/15: Whistleblowing can really hurt. In my opinion, this article in the Huntington Post is "you can't beat City Hall"- in that the odds are stacked against you. It is also the reason that few women- until recently- did not go to HR, the press et al when sexual situations occurred. You make your own decision with the issues presented. .



7/15: This scam will get a reply

Attention Dear Customer

We wish to inform you that your fund valued $35,500,000.00 is ready to be release to you Via our online banking system. Kindly fill the information below and we will create online bank account on your behalf and send you the user name and password to enable you make transfer to any bank account of your choice.

First Name ...........................
Last Name .....................
State of Origin ................
Passport Number:.........................
National ID Card No..................
Marital Status:................
Date of Birth:............
Indication of Address:................
Residential Address:..............
ZIP / Postal Code:..............
Office Address: .................
Occupation: ......................
Existing Account
Account Name:.................
Account Number:....................
Bank Name:...............

Now if it was 45,000,000 I would have filled it out

7/15: How the population has changed

7/13: Are these alternatives better????

Fed finds alternative indicator of recession

Federal Reserve economists have determined the gap between two- and 10-year US Treasurys might be a less accurate indicator of recession risk than the spread between the interest rate on three-month Treasurys and the rate expected by the market in 18 months. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is exploring any correlation between eurodollar contracts and the approach of recession.

7/13: North Korea did not show up regarding the returns of American soldiers. Is it them or China pulling the chain??? It would not surprise me if China- the trade war may not be in full force but there is enough acrimony to mess up the 'deal' with North Korea.

7/13: Kinda high- add in the trade war and the public is going to be hit hard by these costs increases. You also have gas going way up.

US producer prices see biggest gain in more than 6 years

US Labor Department figures show producer prices posted a 0.3% June rise for an annual 3.4% rate, the biggest increase since November 2011. The escalating costs of services and motor vehicles were key in driving up producer inflation.



4.00% FOR 5 YEARS

  • Available in most states
  • $2,500 minimum
Issues to age 90

Health- the health of less-educated people is poorer and has improved less over time than their more-educated coworkers.

Labor market'- less-educated workers haven’t been affected very much by the change, because they’ve never been big beneficiaries of employer retirement plans. In the 1990s, they could claim just 11 percent of the value in pensions, and today they hold 11 percent of the wealth in 401(k) plans.

Social Security-Since they have generally shorter lifespans, a retirement delayed translates to fewer benefit checks – and smaller financial gains – over their years in retirement.

Working wife-
Their marriage rates have seen a sharper decline – from 88 percent to 64 percent in a decade – than the population’s overall decline.  So fewer high-school-educated men are feeling the pressure from a working wife to postpone retirement.

7/13: Richard Laterman CFA-

The Continued Flight of Capital to America

June produced a continued flight to the USD, which rose almost 1% against its global peers (DXY +0.7%). This flow of capital benefitted US equities, bonds and real-estate (the best-performing asset class last month, rising over 4%). Sustained strength in the US economy and an interest-rate hike (and hawkish tone) from the Fed played a role in this dynamic. Dollar strength acted as a large headwind against global diversified strategies, while shorter-term momentum strategies also suffered due to erratic price gyrations across most asset-classes.

Measured in USD, the vast majority of international asset-classes experienced losses of varying degrees, with particular pain borne by commodities (-1.9%) and emerging market stocks (-4.4%). The latter lost for the fifth consecutive month in the longest losing streak in almost 3 years. Crude oil bucked the lower trend in commodities by reversing its May swoon in a late month surge. Renewed tensions over immigration and weaker economic data in the EU drove down the major bourses (FTSE Europe -0.6%), while the open economies of Asia were rattled by the looming trade war (FTSE Pacific -2.6%).

With summer at full steam in the northern hemisphere, the seasonal decrease in trading volumes has the tendency to mask underlying trends. But as investors readjust their expectations and portfolios to a new world order of protectionism and autocratic rulers in weakening democracies, investors are shifting from a “return ON capital” mindset to one more focused on “return OF capital”. Global diversification and risk management remain our best defense against an ever more volatile scenariors in weakening democracies, investors are shifting from a “return ON capital” mindset to one more focused on “return OF capital”. Global diversification and risk management remain our best defense against an ever more volatile scenario

7/13:  There is article after article addressing how many retirees want to work in retirement/will work in retirement= and all the articles have 'various facts'  that are much different than another. If the following is actually true, the 6% of working retirees does not bode well well for figuring on the extra income  those retirees (52%) expect to make.
Few people actually work after retiring

While 52% of baby boomers who are still in the workforce expect to be employed after retirement, only 6% of retirees work, according to a survey from PGIM Investments. Pre-retirees increasingly base the decision on when to retire upon how much money they have, the survey also found.

7/13: Interesting-

Study: Nearly one-third of millennials don't see the point of retirement saving

Nearly one-third of millennials said they are not saving for retirement because they don't see the point when "anything can happen between now and then," according to PGIM Investment's 2018 Retirement Preparedness Survey. More than half of millennials surveyed said they plan on retiring whenever they have enough saved.

7/13: Working seniors

At some point, people with Alzheimer’s disease will need help with bathing, grooming, and dressing. Because these are private activities, people may not want help. They may feel embarrassed about being naked in front of caregivers. They also may feel angry about not being able to care for themselves.


Helping people with Alzheimer’s disease take a bath or shower can be one of the hardest things you do. Planning can help make the person's bath time better for both of you.

The person with Alzheimer’s may be afraid. To reduce these fears, follow the person's lifelong bathing habits, such as doing the bath or shower in the morning or before going to bed. Here are other tips for bathing.

Bathing Safety Tips

  • Never leave a confused or frail person alone in the tub or shower.
  • Always check the water temperature before he or she gets in the tub or shower.
  • Use plastic containers for shampoo or soap to prevent them from breaking.
  • Use a hand-held showerhead.
  • A rubber bath mat and put safety bars in the tub.
  • A sturdy shower chair in the tub or shower. This will support a person who is unsteady, and it could prevent falls. You can get shower chairs at drug stores and medical supply stores.
  • Don’t use bath oil. It can make the tub slippery and may cause urinary tract infections.

Preparing for a Bath or Shower

  • Get the soap, washcloth, towels, and shampoo ready.
  • Make sure the bathroom is warm and well lighted. Play soft music if it helps to relax the person.
  • Be matter-of-fact about bathing. Say, "It's time for a bath now." Don't argue about the need for a bath or shower.
  • Be gentle and respectful. Tell the person what you are going to do, step-by-step.
  • Make sure the water temperature in the bath or shower is comfortable.

During the Bath or Shower

  • Allow the person with Alzheimer’s to do as much as possible. This protects his or her dignity and helps the person feel more in control.
  • Put a towel over the person's shoulders or lap. This helps him or her feel less exposed. Then use a sponge or washcloth to clean under the towel.
  • Distract the person by talking about something else if he or she becomes upset.
  • Give him or her a washcloth to hold. This makes it less likely that the person will try to hit you.

After a Bath or Shower

  • Prevent rashes or infections by patting the person's skin with a towel. Make sure the person is completely dry. Be sure to dry between folds of skin.
  • If the person has trouble with incontinence, use a protective ointment, such as Vaseline, around the rectum, vagina, or penis.
  • If the person with Alzheimer’s has trouble getting in and out of the bathtub, do a sponge bath instead.


People with Alzheimer’s often need more time to dress. It can be hard for them to choose their clothes. They might wear the wrong clothing for the season. They also might wear colors that don't go together or forget to put on a piece of clothing. Allow the person to dress on his or her own for as long as possible.

Dressing Tips

  • Lay out clothes in the order the person should put them on, such as underwear first, then pants, then a shirt, and then a sweater.
  • Hand the person one thing at a time or give step-by-step dressing instructions.
  • Put away some clothes in another room to reduce the number of choices. Keep only one or two outfits in the closet or dresser.
  • Keep the closet locked if needed. This prevents some of the problems people may have while getting dressed.
  • Buy three or four sets of the same clothes, if the person wants to wear the same clothing every day.
  • Buy loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. Avoid girdles, control-top pantyhose, knee-high nylons, garters, high heels, tight socks, and bras for women. Sports bras are comfortable and provide good support. Short cotton socks and loose cotton underwear are best. Sweat pants and shorts with elastic waistbands are helpful.
  • Use Velcro® tape or large zipper pulls for clothing, instead of shoelaces, buttons, or buckles. Try slip-on shoes that won't slide off or shoes with Velcro® straps.


For the most part, when people feel good about how they look, they feel better. Helping people with Alzheimer’s brush their teeth, shave, or put on makeup often means they can feel more like themselves. Here are some grooming tips.

Mouth Care

Good mouth care helps prevent dental problems such as cavities and gum disease.

  • Show the person how to brush his or her teeth. Go step-by-step. For example, pick up the toothpaste, take the top off, put the toothpaste on the toothbrush, and then brush. Remember to let the person do as much as possible.
  • Brush your teeth at the same time.
  • Help the person clean his or her dentures. Make sure he or she uses the denture cleaning material the right way.
  • Ask the person to rinse his or her mouth with water after each meal and use mouthwash once a day.
  • Try a long-handled, angled, or electric toothbrush, if you need to brush the person's teeth.
  • Take the person to see a dentist. Some dentists specialize in treating people with Alzheimer’s. Be sure to follow the dentist's advice about how often to make an appointment.

Other Grooming Tips

  • Encourage a woman to wear makeup if she has always used it. If needed, help her put on powder and lipstick. Don't use eye makeup.
  • Encourage a man to shave, and help him as needed. Use an electric razor for safety.
  • Take the person to the barber or beauty shop. Some barbers or hairstylists may come to your home.

Keep the person's nails clean and trimmed

7/12: The dollar is softening and oil prices are rising. Life just got harder.

7/12:  Guess who's coming to dinner???                                                         EVERYBODY

World population numbers are projected to reach 8 billion around 2023, 9 billion by 2050 and expected to level off around 10 to 12 billion by 2100.
 Thomas Peter/Reuters
  • The world's population has reached the vicinity of 7.5 to 7.6 billion people.
  • Since 1960, world population has grown exponentially by about one billion every 13 years.
  • Humans have a large ecological footprint — we are the most populous mammal on Earth today.
  • But the Earth will only have capacity for the population to a point until premature death by starvation and disease balances the birth rate.
  • World Health Organization figures show 2.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and 4.5 billion lack managed sanitation.
Humans reached 1 billion around 1800, a doubling time of about 300 years; 2 billion in 1927, a doubling time of 127 years; and 4 billion in 1974, a doubling time of 47 years.

According to the Worldwatch Institute, an environmental think tank, the Earth has 1.9 hectares of land per person for growing food and textiles for clothing, supplying wood and absorbing waste. The average American uses about 9.7 hectares.

These data alone suggest the Earth can support at most one-fifth of the present population, 1.5 billion people, at an American standard of living.

Water is vital. Biologically, an adult human needs less than 1 gallon of water daily. In 2010, the US used 355 billion gallons of freshwater, over 1,000 gallons (4,000 liters) per person per day. Half was used to generate electricity, one-third for irrigation, and roughly one-tenth for household use: flushing toilets, washing clothes and dishes, and watering lawns.

If 7.5 billion people consumed water at American levels, world usage would top 10,000 cubic kilometers per year. Total world supply — freshwater lakes and rivers — is about 91,000 cubic kilometers.

World Health Organization figures show 2.1 billion people lack ready access to safe drinking water, and 4.5 billion lack managed sanitation. Even in industrialized countries, water sources can be contaminated with pathogens, fertilizer and insecticide runoff, heavy metals and fracking effluent.

The Earth supports industrialized standards of living only because we are drawing down the "savings account" of non-renewable resources, including fertile topsoil, drinkable water, forests, fisheries and petroleum.

Read the whole article.

Most of the people in the study were taking medications to keep their blood pressure under control, but she notes that higher readings, even if they weren’t excessively high, were associated with more brain lesions. “We are not talking here about people with very high blood pressure,” she says. “We’re talking about pretty average blood pressure and what blood pressure across the whole range of readings can do to the brain.”

Until more research is done, Arvanitakis says the results should encourage people to focus on maintaining healthy blood pressure not just for their heart, but for brain health, as well. “Many, many issues are important for brain health and for avoiding brain diseases,” she says, “so we should consider them all in order to be as healthy as possible as we grow into the later stage of life.”

7/12: The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle says that you can't know the exact position and the speed of an object at the same time. The closer you get to knowing one, the further you get from the other. .

There are questions caregivers face on a daily basis. How do we balance between too much and too little care? How do we balance what we think needs to be done with what might be most helpful?

Sadly, family members and other caregivers often sabotage well-intended efforts to help their loved ones simply because they haven’t thought about answers to basic questions. And when it comes to recommending changes in someone’s home, the balancing act can be particularly acute. This is a place where someone has lived all his life, where she feels comfortable, where he feels safe. The fact is, however, that while most people say they want to live in their homes as long as possible, most are not designed to allow them to age successfully in place. 

It’s not just the ill, but the “well elderly” who experience the effects of aging. Aging affects vision, mobility, dexterity and endurance. Arthritis or other degenerative diseases may make it difficult to do the things one used to do. This usually translates into some very real and practical problems at home. The three most common problems are: getting in and out of the house; using the bathroom; and going up and down the stairs. Because most people are unaware that simple home modifications can alleviate these problems, many develop coping strategies to stay in their homes, but put them at risk for accidents or injury.

While approaching the possibility of home modifications can be sensitive, the right preparation and understanding can make all the difference. It’s a fact of life. As people age, their bodies change and they may have difficulty performing certain daily activities because of physical and cognitive limitations. So the house that was once perfect for them may not be anymore. Consider this, when couples have their first child they make changes around the home. But very few realize that as they get older they also need to make changes to make the home more appropriate for this stage as well. 

As an occupational therapist who works in a county office in aging, I see attempts at this balancing act on a daily basis. Some successful. Some not. But all well intended. While an occupational therapist has specialized skills and expertise to match an environment to a person’s abilities, there are simple steps family caregivers can use.

1. Investigate and Raise Awareness

The best first step, even before you raise the home modification issue with your loved one, is to build a list of helpful resources for yourself. If you’ve ever tried to find particular products or home contractors for general work, you know how difficult this process can be. Who do you trust? What is the right price? Who have others used before? 

Because investigating resources can be the biggest obstacle a person faces when considering home modifications, becoming aware of different products and services can really help to facilitate this process. Subscribing to a catalogue that carries home modification products is a good idea and can easily be found by conducting a quick “Google” search on the subject. If you find something you think might be immediately useful, try introducing the idea of change in the form of a gift, like a new bathmat with non-skid backing. Or, if some regular home maintenance is already being performed, include handrails, if necessary, as part of that project. 

Community resources, like area agencies on aging, can be enormously helpful and are good places to start. These agencies may be knowledgeable about products and local services that can help with home modifications and offer referrals on aging resources – both subsidized and private. Sometimes, resources may be in your own back yard. Neighbors and friends who have successfully adopted changes can be great role models

2. Assessing

While a professional who specializes in aging is the best person to provide a complete assessment, there certainly are things caregivers can begin to do that will be enormously helpful when a professional is brought in. 

Carefully observe and look out for any changes in the home and with the person. As you look around the home, ask yourself if the environment has changed in any way. Is it clean? Is anything broken? Is there food in the kitchen? Has the laundry been done? As for the person, have you noticed whether they are forgetting things? Are medications being taken? Are bills being paid? It’s good to keep an eye out for any kind of change in typical, everyday behavior. 

These are things you can learn from observing. There are also things you can learn by asking. You might not always get a complete response, but you will have started the dialogue and reinforced your efforts in raising awareness. 

Consider asking

  • What kinds of things are you having difficulty doing at home?
  • What are you not doing now that you used to be able to do, or that you still want to do?
  • What are the reasons you don’t do those things? 
  • Which feel unsafe and which are you unable to do?

It’s important to problem-solve together. If you strongly impose your own ideas, they run the risk of being ignored. Approach the subject by letting your family members know that you are concerned about their health and safety and assure them that you don’t assume that getting older means self-awareness and understanding are diminished.

3. Consult a Professional 

The truth is, no matter how prepared you might be, no matter what kind of approach you take, you should count on a certain amount of resistance to your offer of help. A soft, patient approach is key, but in the end, it may not be all that is required.

An occupational therapist can match an environment to a person’s abilities so they can do what they want and need to do at home. The occupational therapist’s unique, three-pronged approach – looking at the person, the task and the environment – results in an individualized assessment that matches a person’s physical and cognitive abilities to the features of the physical environment allowing them to do what they want and need to do. It enables people to live what they consider to be full and meaningful lives.

To be honest, while utilizing the resources of an occupational therapist may provide enormous benefit to your loved one, it also relieves an enormous amount of pressure from the caregiver. The external professional can come in and ask questions in a way that produces the kind of responses that help lead to the development of an action plan.

An OT can walk into the home and immediately begin to identify what a person is doing well and can emphasize the person’s success. For example, she might say, “I notice you have cleared everything out which really helps in preventing falls. Are there other areas that you would like to focus on?”

An occupational therapist can take the blame off of the person and put it on the environment – it’s not you – it’s the home. Explaining that most houses were built when people’s life expectancies were not nearly as long really rings true for some.

The process of change

It’s essential to recognize and think about changes before they are needed rather than waiting for a crisis situation that may force a person to be removed from a home. Advanced planning empowers the person to make changes for themselves rather than have someone else step in. Often, it you wait until a crisis, individuals will resist even more. 

Expect change and the adoption of new behaviors to occur slowly. The process usually takes several steps including:

  1. pre-contemplation
  2. awareness
  3. information gathering
  4. planning
  5. action
  6. maintenance

In the planning stage, consider the Home Modification Strategies recently released from the American Occupational Therapy Association (see sidebar). This resource offers a room-by-room guide of things to look for and changes to consider in the home. 

In his famous graduation speech turned book, Dr. Seuss reminds us in Oh the Places You’ll Go, to:

Step with care and great tact / And remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act / Just never forget to be dexterous and deft / And never mix up your right foot with your left.

Life is a great balancing act, but not an impossible one. Through awareness, education, planning and action, you can help your loved ones fulfill their desire to remain in their homes for as long as possible.

7/11:  PLASTIC\
Good article
Approximately 40% of the world’s 7.6 billion people live within 62 miles (100km) of an ocean coast.
we collectively treat the oceans worse than most of us treat the inside of our cars. Every year, anywhere from about 8 to 12 million US tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans.

approximately 70% of all marine garbage sinks to the bottom.

7/10: State tax rates high and low

7/10: Inverted yield curve going bye, bye?????

this Fed is getting seriously hawkish: In the minutes today, it revealed that instead of thinking about backing off with its rate hikes, it's throwing out the flattening yield curve.

It explained what factors - in addition to the "gradual" rise in the federal funds rate, as per the Fed's rate hikes - cause the yield curve to flatten that make it unreliable as a recession indicator:

  • A "reduction in investors' estimates of the longer-run neutral real interest rate"
  • "Lower longer-term inflation expectations"
  • "Lower level of term premiums in recent years relative to historical experience reflecting, in part, central bank asset purchases" - meaning that QE are artificially repressing long-term yields in relationship to shorter-term yields.

And according to "some participants," these types of factors "might temper the reliability of the slope of the yield curve as an indicator of future economic activity," the minutes said.


“What Explains Differences in Public Pension Returns Since 2001?”

by Jean-Pierre Aubry, Anqi Chen, Alicia H. Munnell, and Kevin Wandrei

The brief’s key findings are:

  • Investment returns for state and local pension plans varied over 2001-2016 from 6.3 percent for the top quartile to 4.6 percent for the bottom. 
  • The variation could be due to differences in asset allocation and/or to the returns by asset class.
  • The analysis found that asset allocation – in equities, fixed income, and alternatives – was broadly similar across plans, while asset class returns showed more variation. 
  • Therefore, asset class returns turned out to be the primary reason for the disparities in overall returns.

7/10:  Most powerful!!!

Category 5 monster with 160 mph: eople are dead and dozens more are missing as torrential rain hammers Japan. Record falls have caused floods and landslides across southwest Japan

Another sign of global warming????  Will there be more this year????

7/10: Advice for Future Corpses                     (Great Title!!!!)

Enter “Advice for Future Corpses (and Those Who Love Them),” by the writer, palliative-care nurse and Zen Buddhist Sallie Tisdale — a wild and brilliantly deceptive book. It is a putative guide to what happens to the body as it dies and directly after — and how to care for it. How to touch someone who is dying. (“Skin can become paper-thin, and it can tear like paper. Pressure is dangerous.”) How to carry a body and wash it. How to remove its dentures.

She walks readers through every conceivable decision they will have to make — whether to die in the hospital or at home, how to handle morphine’s side effects and how to breathe when it becomes difficult (inhale through pursed lips).

To the caretaker, she writes: “You are the defender of modesty, privacy, silence, laughter and many other things that can be lost in the daily tasks. You are the guardian of that person’s desires.

I will buy this. The reviews are exceptional.


"Residential Investment and Economic Activity: Evidence from the Past Five Decades" Free Download
BIS Working Paper No. 726

EMANUEL KOHLSCHEEN, Bank for International Settlements (BIS)
Bank for International Settlements (BIS)
Bank for International Settlements (BIS) - Monetary and Economic Department

We analyse the evolution and main drivers of residential investment, using a panel with quarterly data for 15 advanced economies since the 1970s. Residential investment is a notably volatile component of real GDP in all countries in the sample. We find real house price growth, net migration inflows and the size of the existing housing stock to be significant drivers of residential investment across various model specifications. We also detect important asymmetries: interest rate increases affect residential investment more than interest rate cuts, and interest rate changes have larger effects on residential investment when its share in overall GDP is rising. Finally, we show that adding information on residential investment significantly improves the performance of standard recession prediction models.


In the traditional approach to portfolio construction, investors determine their risk tolerance and then select investments based on the amount of risk they are willing to take. In more technical terms, asset allocation decisions are driven by risk tolerance.

The Sortino ratio represents the exact opposite of the traditional approach to investing. Rather than focusing on risk, the Sortino ratio focuses on the investor's desired return. Understanding the differences, both broad and subtle, between these approaches can help investors approach portfolio construction in the manner most consistent with their investment objectives.

Start With a Focus on Goals

When initially asked to define their investment goals, many investors start out with a single objective that can be summed up as "I want to make as much money as I can." When presented with investment strategies that provide an opportunity to achieve significant gains in exchange for the possibility of sustaining significant losses, many of these investors revise their investment goals to something more along the lines of "I want to make as much money as I can without sustaining significant losses." It is at this stage that serious planning can begin—and the need to measure risk becomes relevant.

Risk and Return

From an investor's perspective, risk and return have a direct relationship, with low levels of risk associated with low potential returns and high levels of risk associated with the potential for high returns. The concept that invested money can render higher returns only if it is subject to the possibility of being lost is often referred to as "the risk-return tradeoff."

Because of the risk-return tradeoff, investors must be aware of their personal levels of risk tolerance when selecting investments. The goal instead is to understand the balance between the level of returns generated and the amount of risk that must be taken in order to generate those returns. To evaluate this balance, investors need to be able to quantify and measure risk.

7/10: Sharpe Ratio

The Sharpe ratio, derived in 1966 by William Sharpe, is one of the most commonly used measures of risk and return. It is calculated by subtracting the rate of return on a risk-free investment from the rate of return for the investment under consideration and dividing the result by the standard deviation of the investment's returns. The mathematical formula for calculating the Sharpe ratio is:

Mathematical formula for calculating the Sharpe Ratio.
7/10: The Sortino ratio, developed by Dr. Frank A. Sortino in 1980, refines the concept introduced by the Sharpe ratio. While the Sharpe measures both upside and downside volatility, the Sortino ratio captures only downside volatility. The calculation of the Sortino ratio is similar to the calculation of the Sharpe ratio except it uses downside deviation for the denominator, ignoring positive returns, instead of standard deviation and replaces the risk-free rate of return with the rate of return from a target defined by the investor. The mathematical equation is as follows:
Mathematical equation for calculating the Sortino Ratio.

Taking a closer look, the target rate of return can be the rate needed to achieve a specific financial goal over a specific period of time, the rate needed to match or beat a given benchmark, or any other rate desired by the investor.

The focus on downside risk makes the Sortino ratio more relevant to investors because it looks at potential losses as opposed to simply volatility. Investing, after all, is generally focused on making money not just on mitigating risk. Also, the investor-defined benchmark aligns well with the focus on making money. While the risk-free rate of return can certainly be used if it aligns with an investor's objectives, measuring volatility against a risk-free benchmark may be a totally inappropriate comparison if, for example, the investor has a portfolio of large-capitalization stocks that are more likely to behave like the Standard and Poor's 500 Index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average or another equity benchmark. With the Sortino ratio, investors are free to choose the benchmark that best matches their objectives

Some Federal Reserve officials are laying the groundwork to slow down the Fed’s interest-rate increases if they foresee a bond-market development that has traditionally been a harbinger of recession.

7/9: GDP

New- join through Linkedin.

EFM- Many Americans  were justifiably outraged when Obama let Assad kill more of his people when he 'knew' he Americans would intervene. Obviously we didn't and that is a stain on Obama. But now we have a RUSSIAN backed attack that has forced 325,000 Syrians to flee their homes in 100 degree heat and with no water nor food, And the borders are closed. What are we doing? Nothing- just sitting by with perhaps an utterance of 'this cannot go on and is wrong, immoral' or something of that ilk.  
Maybe we sit back because Russia is involved and Trump is going to have a sleepover with Putin shortly. 
Assad should have been pushed out long ago. We blew it before and it looks like we will blow it again. The death toll is over 400,000 with the Syrian regime so what's a few thousand more.

Anti Trump. No. I was pissed at Obama and this is no different. (And Trump pissed all over Obama for his refusal to help) Neither one had a cogent international policy that had any guts to it.
But I will ask this- just why is Trump having a personal meeting with Russia right now? Syria may not even be mentioned so what's the big deal??? More photo op as with Kim???? Free caviar??


4. Most nursing homes have overstated their staffing levels in reports to the government, effectively falsifying their records and confirming the suspicions of many families that the number of caretakers was often inadequate.

Close to 1.4 million people receive care in skilled nursing facilities. The new federal data reveals frequent and significant fluctuations in day-to-day staffing.

The discrepancy can be particularly acute on the weekends — when, one resident said, it becomes “like a ghost town.”

Our allies are going to be laughing at Trump about being taken by Kim. Same goes for Pompeo- though I can see he didn't want his real thoughts to come out. But I guess Trump knew it was coming because he 'read; Kim in just a minute. North Korea played the U.S. and won. Will the U.S. and South Korea go back to their war games????

This is an absolute mess. Maybe Trump can cry on Putin's shoulder.

So am I totally against Trump?? No. I thought he should have gone to see Kim. But to be taken like this puts the U;S. in bad straits. We look like schmucks.
7/8: Portfolio returns

7/8  Stocks went nowhere

Hello, ice? The person sitting on the park bench across from me just got tan.”

“Can you believe that these Puerto Ricans think they can enter America whenever they want, simply because they all have American passports?”

“Just saw a black person buy five pounds of crack at the grocery store in a sack labeled ‘flour.’ ”

“Those brown people keep walking down the street like they’re allowed to be on public sidewalks!”

“That Mexican-Arab-Native person is chewing an egg-salad sandwich like a terrorist.”

“Black people are barbecuing over there. Isn’t it illegal for black people to cook meat outside? And inside?”

“As we all know, it’s illegal for minorities to buy art.”

“Yeah, he does look exactly like that baby he’s pushing in that pram, but black people kidnap babies who look just like them every day.”

“They’re speaking Spanish. O.K., fine, maybe it’s Chinese.”

“I am one hundred per cent sure that this black person is tying her shoes in a suspicious way.”

“I just saw a brown person illegally cross the border from Vermont into New Hampshire.”

“Help! A minority glared at my dog.”

“Yes, I called five minutes ago, but that black person is still breathing.”

“There’s a black woman in my yoga class who’s stealing my moves.”

7/6: Wealthy not particularly happy with advisors

Capgemini’s 2018 world wealth report found that global satisfaction levels for wealth managers among high-net-worth individuals stood in the low 60% range in the first quarter. Even with a year-over-year increase in satisfaction, this was still below a “passing grade” of 70%.

Here’s the kicker: Over the past two years, investors enjoyed robust investment returns. Capgemini said this suggested that investment returns by themselves are insufficient to sustain a wealth management business.

The report said the wealth of individuals with $1 million or more of investable assets surpassed the $70 trillion threshold, with 1.6 million people joining their ranks globally. High-net-worth wealth grew by 10.6% year on year, a sixth consecutive year of gains, and will surpass $100 trillion by 2025

Capgemini noted that several concerns may be driving global investors’ subdued satisfaction levels: overall wealth management fee levels, growing need for personalized service and the desire for broader value delivery across investment and non-investment areas.

During the summer, it is important for everyone, especially older adults and people with chronic medical conditions, to be aware of the dangers of hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is an abnormally high body temperature caused by a failure of the heat-regulating mechanisms in the body to deal with the heat coming from the environment. Heat stroke, heat syncope (sudden dizziness after prolonged exposure to the heat), heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat fatigue are common forms of hyperthermia. People can be at increased risk for these conditions, depending on the combination of outside temperature, their general health and individual lifestyle.

Older people, particularly those with chronic medical conditions, should stay indoors, preferably with air conditioning or at least a fan and air circulation, on hot and humid days, especially when an air pollution alert is in effect. Living in housing without air conditioning, not drinking enough fluids, not understanding how to respond to the weather conditions, lack of mobility and access to transportation, overdressing and visiting overcrowded places are all lifestyle factors that can increase the risk for hyperthermia.

People without air conditioners should go to places that do have air conditioning, such as senior centers, shopping malls, movie theaters and libraries. Cooling centers, which may be set up by local public health agencies, religious groups and social service organizations in many communities, are another option.

The risk for hyperthermia may increase from:

Age-related changes to the skin such as poor blood circulation and inefficient sweat glands

Alcohol use

Being substantially overweight or underweight


Heart, lung and kidney diseases, as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever

High blood pressure or other health conditions that require changes in diet. For example, people on salt-restricted diets may be at increased risk. However, salt pills should not be used without first consulting a physician.

Reduced perspiration, caused by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and certain heart and blood pressure drugs

Use of multiple medications. It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician.

Heat stroke is a life-threatening form of hyperthermia. It occurs when the body is overwhelmed by heat and is unable to control its temperature. Heat stroke occurs when someone’s body temperature increases significantly (above 104 degrees Fahrenheit) and shows symptoms of the following: strong rapid pulse, lack of sweating, dry flushed skin, mental status changes (like combativeness or confusion), staggering, faintness or coma. Seek immediate emergency medical attention for a person with any of these symptoms, especially an older adult.

If you suspect someone is suffering from a heat-related illness:

Get the person out of the heat and into a shady, air-conditioned or other cool place. Urge the person to lie down.

If you suspect heat stroke, call 911.

Apply a cold, wet cloth to the wrists, neck, armpits and/or groin. These are places where blood passes close to the surface of the skin, and the cold cloths can help cool the blood.

Help the individual to bathe or sponge off with cool water.

If the person can swallow safely, offer fluids such as water or fruit and vegetable juices, but avoid alcohol and caffeine.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) within the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services helps eligible households pay for home cooling and heating costs. People interested in applying for assistance should contact their local or state LIHEAP agency.