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

7/17: 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.

“Forecasting is very difficult when it involves the future.” 

Yogi Berra

7/5: Hottest global weather EVER!!!!!

No matter whether you believe humans caused the problem or not is effectively irrelevant- we are in a zone that will continue to detrimentally impact humans from now on. It seems like every time I write something on how bad it is, within a week or two something like the above occurs putting humanities existence at risk.

We should give Trump at least a minute to figure out whether the Mexican President is a good and responsible person. Sure did work with Kim


a guide to downsizing for seniors and their loved ones 2

And yes, I do have a stuffed bass that I should get rid of.

7/5:  The State of America’s Workforce. It found that, overall, less than 47% of all U.S. workers are “somewhat ready” for retirement — having saved 50% to 80% of the money they will need — with 18% stating they are not ready at all (0 to 20% saved). Just a bit over that, 20%, say they are very ready for retirement (80% to 100% saved)

Blue- and gray-collar workers (47.7%) are “not very ready” (20%-50% saved) while white-collar workers (49.1%) were “somewhat ready.” The top professions of readiness were engineering (57.6%) and protective services (50.5%). The bottom groups of readiness were personal care workers, such as personal trainers (27.5%), and those in food preparation and serving (28.5%). The next lowest groups were construction and extraction (40.9%) and office and administration support (40.9%).

  • Within blue- and gray-collar areas, protective services and health care reported the highest level of excitement for retirement. Of all respondents, 25% felt excited for retirement while 26% felt only a little excited. Sadly, 17% were not excited at all.
  • A majority of those surveyed felt “not worried a bit” or “a little worried” about retirement, while 13% felt very worried.
  • The larger the company, the more positive workers felt about retirement.
  • Workers at smaller companies (fewer than 50 employees) were more likely than employees at larger companies to feel their employer is not helpful at all in their retirement planning.
  • Of all blue- and gray-collar workers, 26% felt not informed on retirement product options, while 20% of white collar workers said the same. Personal care workers weren’t satisfied at all with information  and only 45% of food preparation employees weren’t satisfied about retirement options. Construction and extraction employees as well as those in engineering reported the highest levels of “helpfulness.”

The study also found that those who felt most prepared for retirement were three times as likely to have access to pensions than those who felt unprepared, and were five times as likely to have IRAs, eight times as likely to have mutual funds and 10 times as likely to have an annuity. Further, 59% of those who felt prepared had a 401(k) plan versus those who felt unprepared.

Some reasons provided for not being prepared for retirement, the study found, were not saving earlier (40%), making bad financial decisions (19%), not saving enough (17%) and personal issues (8%). In addition, 26% said high daily living expenses and 24% said elevated debt levels hindered their ability to save. Those who said they were most unprepared for retirement stated these reasons five to seven times more than those who felt more prepared. Of professions who stated too much debt was a key issue were food prep and serving, health care, and construction and extraction (all 32%.)

Finally, the study found that four in 10 employees stated they planned to be working a part-time job during retirement either by choice or necessity, and that three in five were likely to work longer — on average two more years — to reach their retirement goals.

82 percent of the growth in global wealth in the previous year went to the top 1 percent of individuals ranked by riches. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent had no increase in their wealth,

The DOL fiduciary rule is dead. After initially invalidating the rule in March, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals officially issued an order vacating the rule on June 21st. The SEC has proposed its own regulation to replace the DOL rule, but the proposed rule comes short of requiring a unified fiduciary standard.

While the scrapping of the fiduciary rule may have a short-term impact on the types of investment advice out there, Michael Kitces correctly points out that investors have been alerted to the potential shortcomings and conflicts of interest in the financial advice industry. It’s now up to investors to make sure their advisor is held to a fiduciary standard.

With the industry already moving in the direction of fiduciary duty, one could argue that the DOL fiduciary rule is no longer necessary. Increased transparency and investor education makes the rule redundant today. The mainstreaming of the debate around fiduciary duties means that investors are better able to make informed decisions about the financial advice they receive. In fact, assets are already overwhelmingly flowing to low-cost index funds and firms that hold to the fiduciary standard of care.

EFM- lovely thought but the reality is that nil investors know the difference. True that fees have come down but if you save $750 per year on $100,000 it may seem like a lot over time. But if in a 10 year period you lose 50% of your money to a recession, what is the point? I figure 3 recessions in a 30 year period. probably four and 5 as an outlier.

7/5: 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.



The EIA predicts that gasoline prices in the U.S. have already peaked and will gradually decline over the course of 2018. The high point was in late May when the national average hit $2.96 per gallon. The EIA notes that gasoline prices tend to peak in the summer when demand is at its strongest point and more expensive summer fuel blends are required.
-    The EIA expects gasoline prices to fall to $2.84/gallon by September and to $2.68/gallon by December.
-    However, the short-term outlook seems to ignore the growing number of crude oil supply outages around the world, which is driving up oil prices. 
-    There is always a several month lag between changes in oil prices and changes in prices at the pump. But WTI is back to a three-year high, which likely means that gasoline prices are set to rise in the coming weeks, defying the EIA forecast. 

In a study, even when the rate of “problems” (threatening faces/unethical proposals) went down, participants continued to see them in areas they previously considered benign. Researchers believe this “prevalence-induced concept change” could explain why so many people take a pessimistic view of the world, even if some of our social ills have lessened over the years.

But Germany's Merkel is having a lot of problems at home with this issue and will probably have to set a number on entries


MoneyGuidePro was the winner in terms of market share: 36.10% of those surveyed who use financial planning software in their practice rely on MoneyGuidePro. Considered one of the most comprehensive programs and launched in 2001 by PIETech, it quickly rose to the top of the ranks and shows no signs of losing market share.

eMoney Advisor

eMoney offers a very in-depth program and is known for its detailed cash flow analysis module. Of over one thousand respondents who reported using financial planning software, 29.02% reported using eMoney, up from 25% in 2017. Additionally, it earned the highest average user rating (8.0) of all of the financial planning tools that the survey included. T


Newcomer RightCapital beat out Money Tree for third place in this year's survey, claiming 9.97% of the market share. For being a relatively new software, it was among the best rated (7.97).

Money Tree

Money Tree's total market share brings it to fourth on the list with 7.27% of survey respondents choosing it above all other programs. It is also the most popular software for veteran firms who have been in business for over 20 years.

Advicent (NaviPlan)

Advicent’s software received favorable responses from just over 5% of the survey’s respondents, with most citing NaviPlan as the preferred financial planning product.

  • Sea Level Rise: The mid-Atlantic, particularly New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida, has the highest exposure to coastal flooding in the United States, with the Bay Area and Pacific Northwest also highly exposed in several of their coastal cities and counties.
  • Cyclones/Hurricanes: The majority of cyclone risk in the United States is concentrated in the Southeast, given its geographic proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and the tropical Atlantic Ocean. The coastal Mid-Atlantic and Northeast are also exposed to cyclones, but they tend to be less frequent than in the Southeast and somewhat weaker on average after interacting with land or cooler ocean waters.
  • Extreme Rainfall: The Midwest is particularly exposed to heightened flood risk due to changing rainfall patterns. Recent advancements in attribution science show extreme rainfall to be the main driver of recent floods rather than 20th century agricultural practices, as was largely believed to be the case until recently.
  • Heat Stress: The highest heat stress scores tend to be centered in the Southeast and Midwest, concentrated in Missouri and western Illinois and fanning out to the Great Plains, Mississippi River Basin, and Florida.
  • Water Stress: Key watersheds for agricultural production such as the Central Valley aquifer system in California and the Ogallala Aquifer in the Great Plains are highly exposed to water stress. The agriculturally-dominated areas of Bakersfield, Delano, and Visalia, CA along the Central Valley Aquifer are among the ten cities most exposed to water stress. Similarly, municipalities along the Ogallala Aquifer in the Great Plains also rely heavily on agriculture and are among the most exposed to water stress.


"The Rate of Return on Everything, 1870–2015" Fee Download
NBER Working Paper No. w24112

ÒSCAR JORDÀ, Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Free University of Berlin (FUB) - Division of Economics
University of Bonn
University of Bonn - Department of Economics, Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
University of California, Davis - Department of Economics, University of Virginia - Department of Economics, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

This paper answers fundamental questions that have preoccupied modern economic thought since the 18th century. What is the aggregate real rate of return in the economy? Is it higher than the growth rate of the economy and, if so, by how much? Is there a tendency for returns to fall in the long-run? Which particular assets have the highest long-run returns? We answer these questions on the basis of a new and comprehensive dataset for all major asset classes, including - for the first time - total returns to the largest, but oft ignored, component of household wealth, housing. The annual data on total returns for equity, housing, bonds, and bills cover 16 advanced economies from 1870 to 2015, and our new evidence reveals many new insights and puzzles.

7/3:"Low-Skill and High-Skill Automation" Fee Download

NBER Working Paper No. w24119

DARON ACEMOGLU, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics, Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Boston University - Department of Economics

We present a task-based model in which high- and low-skill workers compete against machines in the production of tasks. Low-skill (high-skill) automation corresponds to tasks performed by low-skill (high-skill) labor being taken over by capital. Automation displaces the type of labor it directly affects, depressing its wage. Through ripple effects, automation also affects the real wage of other workers. Counteracting these forces, automation creates a positive productivity effect, pushing up the price of all factors. Because capital adjusts to keep the interest rate constant, the productivity effect dominates in the long run. Finally, low-skill (high-skill) automation increases (reduces) wage inequality.

7/2: Myanmar- this has been a stain on humanity

Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina has invited Mr Guterres to witness the condition of the nearly 1m Rohingya Muslims who have sought refuge from neighbouring Myanmar, amid talk that he World Bank may provide Bangladesh with a grant worth about $200m to help tackle the Rohingya crisis.

It is a New Yorker article and it may cost a couple books to sign up- so just do it.
The best real life read on death and dying that I have read in decades. (My first formal read was How We Die, Amazon 1994) . It is a lengthy article by a physician that identifies the personal, financial,  religious and medical elements of dying. If you are old, expect to get old or know someone who is already old, this becomes a must read. Attorneys, retirement/financial/wealth advisors and more should absolutely include this a a necessary element in dealing with clients. You simply have to read this

EFM-I understand the ethical issues in letting someone die when there is no hope of any recovery. But extending a 'life' of pain  and raw agony for an extra  month or two of tortuous existence that also costs up to hundreds of thousands of dollars is wrong.

Twenty-five per cent of all Medicare spending is for the five per cent of patients who are in their final year of life, and most of that money goes for care in their last couple of months which is of little apparent benefit.

Medical spending for a breast-cancer survivor, for instance, averaged an estimated fifty-four thousand dollars in 2003, the vast majority of it for the initial diagnostic testing, surgery, and, where necessary, radiation and chemotherapy. For a patient with a fatal version of the disease, though, the cost curve is U-shaped, rising again toward the end—to an average of sixty-three thousand dollars during the last six months of life with an incurable breast cancer. Our medical system is excellent at trying to stave off death with eight-thousand-dollar-a-month chemotherapy, three-thousand-dollar-a-day intensive care, five-thousand-dollar-an-hour surgery.

We are all aware that this occurs all the time. Society tells us to protect life. A family refuses to release the patient due to religious grounds and the element that they will be treated as pariahs by friends and more. I do recognize that but we simply cannot afford to extend  a life filled with pain and agony just to please others., 

7/2: Russia again??  Britain is now grappling with whether Moscow used ties to British citizens to bring about an exit from the E.U.  If Britain validates this, it will destabilize the world economics (at a minimum). Obviously politics will be in shambles for several years.

Japan’s Parliament tightened limits on overtime hours, responding to concerns about karoshi, or death by overwork,  It limits overtime work to less than 100 hours a month and less than 720 hours a year, and it sets penalties for companies that violate the limits.

In South Korea, a new work-hours law takes effect Sunday capping the workweek at 52 hours. President Moon Jae-in has said workers have the “right to rest” and lawmakers have blamed long hours for everything from sluggish job creation to low birthrates.

Government data released Friday showed Japan’s jobless rate hit a 26-year low of 2.2% in May, and there were 160 job offers available for every 100 job seekers.
7/1: Retirement education

National Institute on Retirement Security found that the median retirement account balance is $3,000 for working-age households, and $12,000 for near-retirement households.

7/1:Recession probability (click for interactive chart)

EFM- Now that you have reviewed the chart, where does most of all the pollution actually come from- not just industry???

Fact is, it dwarfs all pollution.  Anyone????

7/1: And to continue the issue

We Are Not Equipped to Deal with Climate Change

accelerating climate damage will define the future of the global economy. per Jeremy Grantham. “Fossil fuels will either run out, destroy the planet, or both,” he said. “The only possible way we can avoid this outcome is, frankly, to complete de-carbonize of our economy.” This will be the most significant economic event since the Industrial Revolution He feels that technology can do this. I don't- at least to the point where civilization will survive at a decent state beyond 2050.
He does not demean teh effort needed however and notes.'

“capitalism and mainstream economics simply cannot deal with these problems.” “Mainstream economics largely ignores natural capital,” “A corporation's responsibility is to maximize profits, not to waste money attempting to guess how to save the planet.” Grantham said that corporations don’t consider issues that will impact their business in 25 years, and he argued that they handle externalities very badly. As a result, he said, we are engaging in environmentally harmful behavior like deforestation and soil degradation, with a short-term focus on balance sheets and income statements.

EFM- what;s my take beyond his comments? The world is in a keenly divisive and politically argumentative state which has been further alienated by the likes of Trump which will set back discourse and civility for years- at least a decade. During that time, the nuclear clock will offset the minute lost regarding a nuclear catastrophe. It may already be in the making if it is shown that Kim is already upgrading his facilities. More fighting via religion will continue unabated and get worse when the limited agricultural lands wither away due to the climate change- due to man, Mother Earth or the Flying Muffin. It's happening no matter. Putin, Kim and Assad will probably be alive by 2050- do you think their quest for power reduced over time?

We will have greater storms and a rise in ocean level where recent estimates of loss of land seems to go up each week. Grantham thinks such issues will handled appropriately with capitalism. Nor a chance. Look how well we have done with our infrastructure that is in a mess. Trillions of dollars would be needed to save New York City.

Pollution and overfishing just gets worse and worse .There is now more plastic in the oceans than there are fish. The Sea of Japan is estimated to be effectively devoid of fish by 2045.

By 2050, another 1.5 BILLION people will live on earth to a total of 9 billion. While true that humankind can feed our globe now, we really don't try. 25,000 children die each DAY in the poorest areas. Nations now are strapped for monies and it will get worse. Immigration would reach astronomical levels which will further feed the haters and this will unquestionably fuel more wars.

Pretty bleak, eh? Well one certain way to eliminate a good piece of the problem will happen within the next 10 years as more viruses from permafrost that has been contained for thousands of years rise up. So we will have a pandemic which will offset, potentially,  billions of people from living. From those horrid remains, another pandemic would probably ensue. Mother Earth will spare no one and nothing, I think you will see a reduction in life expectancy by 2030 at a minimum. Did you know that our Life expectancy has gone down. Smoking still kills but obesity is better at it. Then we have drug use- think opiods. With the added stresses of life, their use could become worse.
I thought a pandemic might ensure with the bird flu. But we now have a new strain of Ebola.

Have I missed anything???

7/1: Chump change????

SEC Charges Merrill Lynch for Failure to Supervise RMBS Traders
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. will pay more than $15 million to settle charges that its employees misled customers into overpaying for Residential Mortgage Backed Securities (RMBS). Merrill Lynch agreed to repay more than $10.5 million to its customers and to pay penalties of approximately $5.2 million

7/1: China has had a 6.8% growth recently.

The eurozone economy slowed in the first three mo'tnths of this year, denting—but not ending—hopes of another year of strong growth after the currency bloc recorded its fastest expansion in a decade.

The eurozone entered the year on a high after outpacing the U.S. for the second straight year in 2017, inspiring early claims by business leaders that Europe’s economy had bounced back from years of crisis.

But figures released by the European Union’s statistics agency Wednesday recorded a dip in growth during the first quarter. The currency area’s gross domestic product—the most comprehensive measure of the output of goods and services in an economy—increased at an annualized rate of 1.7%, down from 2.7% in the fourth quarter of last year.

That was a weaker expansion than the 2.3% recorded in the U.S. during the same period.


7/1: Milk Money

More than 42,000 dairy farmers have gone out of business since 2000, casualties of an outdated business model, pricey farm loans and pressures from corporate agriculture.

In March, more than 100 dairy farmers across seven states learned that they would lose a contract that would end their business with Walmart and if they can’t find anyone else to buy their milk, they could soon have to sell their cows.

Suicide rates are up by 30 percent across the nation since 1999, according to a recent report by federal health officials. That increase comes even as the CDC notes that only about half the people who died by suicide had a known mental health condition, which has long been considered the ‘cause’ of suicide.

Typical depression manifests itself in fairly understandable ways--a lack of motivation or interest in favored activities, subdued mood, and even outward expressions of depression like talk of feeling sad, lonely, or worn down. All of these things make it relatively easy for friends and loved ones to help a depressed person seek appropriate treatment and maintain a positive outlook and support network.However, as the recent government study shows, the suicide rate is not very closely tied to pre-existing depression. That means that there is an entirely different demographic at risk for suicide, and it also explains why the suicide rate has increased so dramatically in recent years

Many studies point to the internet as a new and significant risk factor in the increased suicide rate. Instead of traditional depression and obvious risk factors like financial or relational distress, social media allows normally-functioning people to feel inferior or isolated relative to a curated set of ‘peers’.

7/1:  Going on vacation?????

28 most dangerous countries in the world

7/1: I do not dismiss the issue of separation of immigrant children. That said........., Most of the 25,000 children under five that die each day are concentrated in the world's poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. There, the child mortality rate is 29 times greater than in industrialized countries: 175 deaths per 1000 children compared with 6 per 1000 in industrialized countries.

7/1: Did Trumped get trumped???

U.S. intelligence agencies believe that North Korea has increased its production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites in recent months — and that Kim Jong Un may try to hide those facilities as he seeks more concessions in nuclear talks with the Trump administration,.

"There is absolutely unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the U.S," said one official briefed on the latest intelligence

EFM- not good news before going overseas. It may make him look like a schmuck.

7/1: Hip Replacement Surgery Dos and Don’ts

Learn more about what you need to do to have a successful recovery from your hip replacement surgery:

DON’T: Do It Alone

It is common to be discharged home or to a rehabilitation facility within two to four days after your hip replacement. Dr. William J. Hozack, an orthopedic surgeon at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, who was quoted in an article in the New York Times, stated that patients tended to be happier when they are able to recover in their own homes. Being at home also reduces your chance of blood clots, falls and infections.

Though you will be up and walking within two to three days after your surgery, there will be many tasks you can’t do right away. You will need a family member, friend or professional caregiver to assist you with:

  • Driving to appointments
  • Grocery shopping and meal preparation
  • Household chores like laundry, mopping, sweeping and vacuuming
  • Managing medications
  • Personal hygiene (bathing, showering and toileting once your incision is healed)

Hiring an in-home caregiver can relieve the stress placed on your family and loved ones. A home care aide is trained to offer comfort, meals, support and transportation. Home care agencies can offer services 24 hours a day or as needed.

DO: Eat for Healing

Your nutrition both before and after surgery is a key part of your healing process. The fuel that you are putting into your body can help you heal faster, maintain your strength and prevent infections.

Whole foods are your best option for providing optimal nutrition. Preload your fridge or ask your family and friends to bring by:

  • Berries and fruits
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Eggs
  • Healthy fats like avocado, nuts and seeds
  • High sources of iron and protein like beans and nuts, meat, poultry and seafood
  • Probiotic rich foods like kefir, sauerkraut and yogurt
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains

A delicious pot of slow-cooked stew or soup packed full of beans, leafy greens, meats and veggies makes an ideal lunch. Serve with a bowl of berries and yogurt. These nutrition packed meals will have you back on your feet sooner.

Also consider looking into food delivery services that can provide you with wholesome meals in your home. Two well known services are Meals on Wheels and Personal Chef to Go, both can help your recovery at home go more smoothly.

DO: Know What is Normal and Have Realistic Expectations

When you know what to expect you can prepare yourself for the healing process. Typically, you will be up and on your feet one to two days after your surgery and three days after surgery you will most likely be at home and able to walk with crutches or a walker.

Within 14 days, the staples from your incision will be removed and you can start showering. After three to six weeks you may resume light activities and may be driving and walking without crutches or a walker.

Then, 10-12 weeks after your hip replacement surgery is when you can expect to return to most of your normal activities. But now you can enjoy those activities without the pain and stiffness of your old hip.

DO: Manage Your Pain

Did you know surgery hurts? Your body will view the surgery as a trauma and respond with pain and swelling. This is to remind you to give your body time to heal. Reducing the swelling will allow you to move more easily.

Have a plan in place for the first three days after your surgery to be taking an anti-inflammatory medication prescribed by your doctor. Also ask your doctor about using ice for the first week. The cold reduces the swelling and allows the new joint to move easier.

Gentle exercises will also decrease your pain as it helps with blood circulation and decreases the swelling.

DO: Plan to Move

Lying in bed or sitting for most of the day will cause your new joint to stiffen. Your hip replacement was meant to give you more flexibility and less pain. Get moving to make the best use of your new joint! The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends that you stay active but not do too much, too soon.

Don’t push yourself beyond what you can handle, but plan to be up and moving for 20-30 minutes at a time. When you are moving you help the blood flow increase to your feet and legs and can prevent blood clots. You will also keep your muscle strength intact.

Always keep your operated leg facing the front and your hip higher than your knees. Use a heating pad for 15-20 minutes to warm up your muscles. Your physical therapist will give you a list of exercises to do each day. Do them!

The exercises are simple but are meant to keep your new joint in place and flexible. Usually, exercises will include:

  • Bending and straightening your knee
  • Lying down and raising your operated leg up to 12 inches off the bed
  • Pointing your toes up and down
  • Sliding your hip out to the side and back to the middle
  • Tightening your quads while keeping your leg straight
Don’t exercise to the point of pain. Aim for about 10 repetitions of each exercise three times a day. If you find this too uncomfortable, aim for fewer repetitions more often.

6/29: I had read nothing about this problem previously and it is hard to believe after everything with the great recession that major banks STILL do not have the required reserves

Deutsche Bank has failed the US Federal Reserve’s latest stress test and Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have been ordered to strengthen their balance sheets by limiting dividends and share  buybacks.

I think it shows just how perilous the banking system is particularly after all these years. It could mean a very large collapse when this recession hits.

6/29: And then we have this-

The Indian rupee has hit the lowest level on record against the greenback. Emerging markets, including India, have been under pressure in recent months due to higher crude prices, higher global interest rates and renewed geopolitical tensions.

EFM- read the last two words again. You should not/can't have initiated potential trade wars with major countries doing poorly

6/29: And then we have this

Chinese stocks are in a bear market and its currency has fallen to the lowest level this year. It’s now starting to look a bit like 2015, a period when Chinese financial markets were in meltdown.

6/29: While I'm at it- check out the 2yr and 10 year treasury spreads. Close to inversion

6/29: Alzheimers

Every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops AD.1  across America there are 15 million people caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

6/28: Regulatory sandbox- you need to know this because it is growing globally.

. In the computer science world, a sandbox is a closed testing environment designed for experimenting safely with web or software projects.

The concept is also being used in the digital economy arena, to refer to regulatory sandboxes: testing grounds for new business models that are not protected by current regulation, or supervised by regulatory institutions.

These testing grounds are especially relevant in the fintech world, where there is a growing need to develop regulatory frameworks for emerging business models. The purpose of the sandbox is to adapt compliance with strict financial regulations to the growth and pace of the most innovative companies, in a way that doesn’t smother the fintech sector with rules, but also doesn’t diminish consumer protection.

.EFM- I wonder if this is where artificial intelligence could get away from us?? 


"Xx>Xy?: The Changing Female Advantage in Life Expectancy" Fee Download
NBER Working Paper No. w24716

CLAUDIA GOLDIN, Harvard University - Department of Economics, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Females live longer than males in most parts of the world today. Among OECD nations in recent years, the difference in life expectancy at birth is around four to six years (seven in Japan). But have women always lived so much longer than men? The answer is that they have not. We ask when and why the female advantage emerged. We show that reductions in maternal mortality and fertility are not the reasons. Rather, we argue that the sharp reduction in infectious disease in the early twentieth century played a role. The primary reason is that those who survive most infectious diseases carry a health burden that affects organs, such as the heart, as well as impacting general well-being. We use new data from Massachusetts containing information on causes of death from 1887 to show that infectious diseases disproportionately affected females between the ages of 5 and 25. Increased longevity of women, therefore, occurred as the burden of infectious disease fell for all. Our explanation does not tell us why women live longer than men, but it does help understand the timing of the increase.

6/28: But what could make it worse??*

EU-US relations could get much worse, Tusk says

European Council President Donald Tusk has told Europe's leaders that the conflict between the US and the EU extends beyond trade and that they should prepare for "worst-case scenarios." The policies of US President Donald Trump have put trans-Atlantic relations under "immense pressure,"

*EFM- here's what- the meeting with Putin up. No one has a clue to potential agreements Trump might make to rattle Europe. After all, Trump wanted Russia to be added to the Gang of seven in full view of Ukraine. And there has been little confirmation that Kim is really do much of anything.Trump is on a short lease of time to make this real.

6/28:The World War II soldier who fought off 600 Nazis is getting the Medal of Honor

No one knows this guys name but he is indicative of the brave men and women  that have allowed me to life with free speech.

Garlin Conner was a non descript soldier who showed remarkable courage time and time again. .

At least you will know his name now.

6/28: When all you have is inconsistency everywhere, you can't even run a Taco Bell.

The announced departure of Trump’s legislative affairs director has brought the turnover rate among the president’s most senior aides to 75 percent in just the first 18 months of the administration. Kathryn Dunn

EFM- or was it McDonalds


People with diabetes should be extra careful during hot weather. Temperatures of 80°F (about 27°C) or above, especially with high humidity, can affect medication, testing supplies, and your health.

If you have diabetes, it is harder for your body to handle high heat and humidity. The heat index, which measures how hot it really feels by combining temperature and humidity readings, advises caution starting at 80°F with 40 percent humidity.

Here are suggestions from CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation on taking care of yourself during hot weather:

  • Heat can affect your blood glucose (sugar) levels and also increase the absorption of some fast-acting insulin, meaning you will need to test your blood glucose more often and perhaps adjust your intake of insulin, food and liquids.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to avoid dehydration. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages such as sweet tea and sodas.
  • If your doctor has limited how much liquid you can drink, ask what to do during times of high heat.
  • Check package inserts with medications to learn when high temperatures can affect them. Take medications with you if you will need to take them while you’re away from home, and protect them from the heat.
  • If you’re traveling with insulin, don’t store it in direct sunlight or in a hot car. Keep it in a cooler, but do not place it directly on ice or on a gel pack.
  • Check glucose meter and test strip packages for information on use during times of high heat and humidity. Do not leave them in a hot car, by a pool, or on the beach.
  • Heat can damage insulin pumps and other equipment. Do not leave the disconnected pump or supplies in the direct sun.
  • Get physical activity in air-conditioned areas, or exercise outside early or late in the day, during cooler temperatures.
  • Use your air conditioner or go to air-conditioned buildings in your community.

6/28: Kids eat into retirement plans

Compared with childless couples, parents in their 30s and 40s have about 3 percent less income for each additional child – some of this loss occurs when mothers work part-time temporarily or take time out for childbearing and childrearing. The income gap between parents and childless couples closes when parents reach their 50s and the kids start leaving the roost.


The federal debt is headed for the highest levels since World War II, CBO says

At its current growth rate, the debt will be nearly equal in size to the U.S. economy by 2028, the Congressional Budget Office said.

The huge deficit and outstanding credit and we have about 1.5 years till the dam breaks. I think it might happen before then. Actually the yield curve is coming VERY close to being inverted.

6/27: Not vetted but....................

Tips on Choosing a Major -

Top Accredited Online Colleges -

Guidebook to Surviving Freshman Year -

Guide to Visiting and Choosing a College -

ACT Resource Guide -

SAT Resource Guide -

6/27: 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.



In 2017, the oil and gas reserves at a selection of 83 publicly-traded companies grew by the most since 2013.
-    The companies added a combined 8.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) to their proved reserves, pushing the total up to 277 billion boe.
-    Spending on exploration and development rose by 11 percent compared to 2016 levels, but expenditures were still down 47 percent compared to 2013. 

6/26:The bank for central banks is blaring the siren on a new debt crisis that could cause a long and painful recession. The Bank for International Settlements said in a report released Sunday that ballooning levels of public and private debt could boost growth in the short term but were creating a "trap" that is going to be hard to escape.

EFM That is why a lot of predictions of recession for 2020- when the short term money ends.]

6/26: Wall Street is more worried than ever that an all-out trade war will plunge the economy into recession.

EFM- I think a recession in 2019. Most say 2020.

6'26:Medicare Allows More Benefits for Chronically Ill, Aiming to Improve Care for Millions

New benefits could include social and medical services, improvements around beneficiaries' homes, transportation to medical appointments and delivery of meals, and policymakers expect to learn from Medicare Advantage experiments in these areas

EFM- There must be a right to die law in all states- I figured it would happen by 2025,

Yes it is real

1.   Habit formation, obesity, and cash rewards


Augurzky, Boris; Bauer, Thomas K.; Reichert, Arndt R.; Schmidt, Christoph M.; Tauchmann, Harald


This paper examines weight loss and the formation of healthy habits through cash rewards in the context of a multi-phase randomized controlled trial involving 700 obese individuals. We find effects of monetary incentives for weight loss of up to EUR 300 on body weight during all experimental phases, including a period of a year and a half following the exposure to the financial rewards. We also find effects on healthy behavior during this follow-up phase. After the initial incentive period, we additionally provided participants who had lost a substantial amount of weight with monetary rewards of up to EUR 500. These had only short-term effects on body weight and healthy behavior. We argue that our findings are best explained by monetarily incentivized participants having formed healthy habits by the time the experiment ended and that only the speed of the transition to the new (health) equilibrium was affected by the additional rewards. Contrary to the pessimistic perspective presented in earlier empirical research on habit formation, our results suggest that a simple program relying on weight loss rewards can result in long-term health behavioral change.


field experiment,obesity,healthy behavior,habit formation,sustainability,monetary incentives


I12 I18 D03 C93




6/25: Recession U.S.

One model kept by economists at the Spanish bank BBVA indicates a 16% chance that it will happen in 12 months time, up from 5.2% in January. That’s around the highest chances since early 2016, when the model briefly spiked as financial markets were tumbling. Before that, it was last higher during the previous recession a decade ago.

A recession sounds like a far-off thought these days as U.S. economic growth continues to accelerate faster than its peers. Gross domestic product is expected to have grown a solid 2.2% in the first three months of the year when the final reading is released on Thursday. And GDP in the second quarter is expected to jump by more than 4%.

6/25: Chinese Bear Market

Shanghai’s main benchmark closed Friday nearly 20% down from its most recent high, set in January. Worries about escalating U.S.-China trade tensions have sent the index down 4% this week alone.

The so-called “national team,” an assortment of government-backed investment funds that often acts to stabilize the market, still owns nearly half a trillion dollars worth of stocks, or around 6% of the total, according to Wind Information. Regulators have also been meddling in more subtle ways, like ordering brokerage firms or investors not to engage in heavy selling.

Following Tuesday’s market tumble, state-owned financial newspapers used their front pages to claim that all is fine. China’s central-bank governor commented that market fluctuations were mainly due to “emotions.”

(EFM)- A 20% loss is seldom caused by pure emotion. A trade war will exacerbate the situation which could cause a panic in China and a recession. America is doing better but there are chinks as well.

6/25: Harley Davidson moving part of company to Europe to avoid European tariffs if imported to Europe
.  Oh yeah, no trade war going on!


"Well-Being Inequality in the Long Run" Fee Download
CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12920

LEANDRO PRADOS DE LA ESCOSURA, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Faculty of Social Sciences and Law, Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

This paper provides a long-run view of well-being inequality at world scale based on a new historical dataset. Trends in social dimensions alter the view on inequality derived from per capita GDP. While in terms of income, inequality increased until the third quarter of the twentieth century; in terms of well-being, inequality fell steadily since World War I. The spread of mass primary education and the health transitions were its main drivers. The gap between the West and the Rest explains only partially the evolution of well-being inequality, as the dispersion within the developing regions has increasingly determined its evolution.

6/24: A Burger Joint Where Robots Make Your Food

After all said and done, the journalist said it was the best $6 burger he ever had.
For those that live in LA, it is a Tommy burger. Pure messy decadence


"Parents' Beliefs About Their Children's Academic Ability: Implications for Educational Investments" Fee Download
NBER Working Paper No. w24610

REBECCA DIZON-ROSS, University of Chicago

Information about children’s school performance appears to be readily available. Do frictions prevent parents, particularly low-income parents, from acting on this information when making decisions? I conduct a field experiment in Malawi to test this. I find that parents’ baseline beliefs about their children’s academic performance are inaccurate. Providing parents with clear and digestible academic performance information causes them to update their beliefs and correspondingly adjust their investments: they increase the school enrollment of their higher-performing children, decrease the enrollment of their lower-performing children, and choose educational inputs that are more closely matched to their children’s academic level. These effects demonstrate the presence of important frictions preventing the use of available information, with heterogeneity analysis suggesting the frictions are worse among the poor.

6/24: Forces that move stock prices

Nice overview from Investopedia


"On the Macroeconomic Consequences of Over-Optimism" Fee Download
NBER Working Paper No. w24685

PAUL BEAUDRY, University of British Columbia (UBC) - Vancouver School of Economics, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Is over-optimism about a country's future growth perspective good for an economy, or does over-optimism also come with costs? In this paper we document that recessions, fiscal problems, as well as Balance of Payment-difficulties are more likely to arise in countries where past growth expectations have been overly optimistic. We arrive at this conclusion by looking at the medium-run effects of instances of over-optimism or caution in IMF forecasts. To isolate the causal effect of over-optimism we take an instrumental variables approach, where we exploit variation provided by the pseudo-random allocation of IMF Mission Chiefs across countries. As a necessary first step, we document that IMF Mission Chiefs tend to systematically differ in their individual degrees of forecast-optimism or caution. The mechanism that transforms over-optimism into a later recession seems to run through higher debt accumulation, both public and private. Our findings illustrate the potency of unjustified optimism and underline the importance of basing economic forecasts upon realistic medium-term prospects.

6/24: Adaptive clothing as we get older

Adaptive Clothing Options

As demand for adaptive clothing grows, there are more options than ever before. Here are a few to consider:

  1. ABL Denim focuses on soft jeans that are easy to put on, don’t create pressure sores and have pockets that are easy for wheelchair users to reach.
  2. Ag Apparel offers a little bit of everything from adaptive swimsuit coverups to made-to-measure garments, but what really stands out for older adults are their cardigans, capes and jackets for wheelchair users.
  3. Buck & Buck has been selling adaptive clothing for men and women since 1978 and offers items like velcro-closure trousers and shirts for easier dressing as well as zipper-back garments for dementia patients who sometimes need assistance to stay dressed during the day.
  4. CareZips makes an easy-to-access casual pant to make adult undergarment changes less stressful for the wearer and caregiver.
  5. Janska specializes in fleece clothing, including the popular unisex EasyWear jacket.
  6. Magna Ready specializes in magnetic closure button-down shirts, mostly for men.
  7. Target has sensory-friendly clothes for men and women, ideal for someone with autism, shingles or another skin condition that makes typical fabrics and clothing uncomfortable. The collection for women includes some jeans with higher rise coverage.
  8. Tommy Adaptive from Tommy Hilfiger offers designer jean jackets with magnetic closures, t-shirts and shift dresses with shoulder openings for easier dressing and classic sheath dresses with magnetic seams.

If buying a whole new wardrobe isn’t in your family’s budget, focus on the items that your parent wears most often and consider altering the existing items in their closet that they wear less often.

Resources for Altering Adaptive Clothing

If you sew, you may be able to alter some of your parent’s favorite clothes for better fit and easier dressing. For example, opening up the bottom few inches on the side seams of tops can help wheelchair users stay covered without bunching or pulling of the shirt hem.

Sweden’s Independent Living Institute runs a site that provides free step-by-step instructions on altering garments for wheelchair users, including hoodies, jackets, pants and shirts, and even rain and snow gear.

Threads Magazine also has an extensive list of tips for adaptive sewing, including placing pockets where they’re easy to reach and avoiding seams in places where pressure sores can form.

Tools That Make Dressing Easier

Even without a wardrobe upgrade, you can help your parents dress more easily. If they can easily use lightweight hand tools, here are a few to consider:

  1. Another item that’s helpful for picking up clothes off the floor or taking them down off a hook is a grabber, the kind of you pick up at the pharmacy.
  2. Buttonhooks let you poke a wire loop through a buttonhole, catch the button and pull it through the buttonhole. You can sometimes find combination tools with a buttonhook on one end and a zip puller on the other.
  3. Dressing sticks look like short canes with an s-shaped head and with a little practice, you can use them to put on jackets, pull on pants, shirts and more.
  4. Long-handled shoe horns are helpful for putting on shoes when you can’t bend easily at the waist.
  5. Zip pullers loop a hook through the small pull on a standard zipper so you can zip pants and dresses more easily.

There are many more tools out there that can help with everything from putting on bras to pulling up socks. The UK’s Disabled Living Foundation offers a complete rundown in their factsheet on choosing clothes and dressing tools.

Lest you worry that the growth in adaptive clothing is a fashion fad, there are designers training every year specifically on this type of wardrobe. The Open Style Lab in NYC brings together designers and design students, engineers, therapists and senior care communities to develop new garment designs for people with a variety of different physical needs.


"The Promises and Pitfalls of Robo-Advising" Free Download
8th Miami Behavioral Finance Conference 2017

FRANCESCO D'ACUNTO, University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business
University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business
University of Maryland - Department of Finance

We study a robo-advising portfolio optimizer that constructs tailored strategies based on investors' holdings and preferences. Adopters are similar to non-adopters in terms of demographics, but have more assets under management, trade more, and have higher risk-adjusted performance. The robo-advising tool has opposite effects across investors with different levels of diversification before adoption. It increases portfolio diversification and decreases volatility for those that held less than 5 stocks before adoption. These investors' portfolios perform better after using the tool. At the same time, robo-advising barely affects diversification for investors that held more than 10 stocks before adoption. These investors trade more after adoption with no effect on average performance. For all investors, robo-advising reduces -- but does not fully eliminate -- pervasive behavioral biases such as the disposition effect, trend chasing, and the rank effect, and increases attention based on online account logins. Our results emphasize the promises and pitfalls of robo-advising tools, which are becoming ubiquitous all over the world.

Words fail  me

"Losers Buy Beta" Free Download
8th Miami Behavioral Finance Conference 2017

KOUSTAV DE, University of Michigan, Department of Finance, Students

I empirically show that investors tend to buy higher beta stocks following realized losses. This behavior is observed in institutional as well as individual investors, but is more pronounced among individual investors with lower expertise, who on an average buy a new stock with up to 15% higher beta than that of the old stock they were holding. For an agent with utility consistent with prospect theory, this behavior emerges as the optimal response to her problem of maximizing utility within a mental account. Furthermore, this behavior can aggregate up during market downturns and cause pricing distortions in a direction similar to the beta anomaly. With this insight, I suggest a modification to the betting against beta trading strategy that can improve the Sharpe ratio more than twofold.


"Scarred Consumption" Fee Download
NBER Working Paper No. w24696

ULRIKE MALMENDIER, University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics

We show that personal experiences of economic shocks can “scar'” consumer behavior in the long run. We first illustrate the effects of experience-based learning in a simple stochastic life-cycle consumption model with time-varying financial constraints. We then use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), the Nielsen Homescan Panel, and the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX) to estimate the long-term effects of lifetime experiences on consumption. We show that households who have lived through times of high local and national unemployment, or who have experienced more personal unemployment, spend significantly less on food and total consumption, after controlling for income, wealth, employment, demographics, and macro-economic factors, such as the current unemployment rate. The reverse holds for past experiences of low unemployment. We also estimate significant experience-based variation in consumption within household, i. e., after including household fixed effects. At the same time, lifetime experiences do not predict individuals' future income. The Nielsen data reveals that households who have lived through times of high unemployment are particularly likely to use coupons and to purchase sale items or lower-end products. As predicted by the experience-based learning model, the effects of a given macro shock are stronger for younger than for older cohorts. Finally, past experiences predict beliefs about future economic conditions in the Michigan Survey of Consumers (MSC), implying a beliefs-based channel. Our results suggest a novel micro-foundation of fluctuations of aggregate demand, and explain long-run effects of macroeconomic shocks.

6/24:Careers in Engineering: Specializations, Career Paths and Earning Potential


"Central Bank Communication and the Yield Curve" Fee Download
CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12970

MATTEO LEOMBRONI, Stanford University
Boston University - Department of Finance & Economics
Copenhagen Business School
Copenhagen Business School

Using the institutional features of ECB monetary policy announcements, we provide direct evidence for the risk premium channel of central bank communication. We show that on days when the ECB announces its monetary policy almost all of the variation of bond yields is driven by communication. Moreover, while the effect of monetary policy is homogeneous across countries before the European debt crisis, we document dramatic differences post crisis and show that communication shocks drive a wedge between peripheral and core yields. We empirically link the periphery-core wedge to break-up and credit risk premia, and study this channel theoretically through the lens of an equilibrium model in which central bank communication reveals information about the state of the economy.

6/24:College Success for Women in STEM: Scholarships, Programs and Organizations Helping Women Bridge the STEM Gender Gap


"Changes in Nutrient Intake at Retirement" Free Download
NBER Working Paper No. w24621

MELVIN STEPHENS, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Urban Institute

While the literature finding a decrease in food expenditures at retirement suggests households do not adequately save for retirement, subsequent evidence that nutrient intake is unaffected by retirement has tempered these concerns. We further examine nutrient intake changes at retirement both by analyzing a much wider range of datasets, including longitudinal data, and by improving upon the empirical methodology used in earlier work. Our analysis yields four main results. First, unlike prior work, we find that caloric and nutrient intake fall at retirement in numerous cross-sectional datasets. We can reconcile these contrasting results as being due to well-documented differences and improvements in methodologies used to measure food intake. Second, using longitudinal data, we also find that intake falls at retirement. Third, we show that a food consumption index used in prior work to capture the relationship between permanent income and foods eaten can severely underestimate the impact of retirement on consumption. We show that a minor methodological revision circumvents this bias and that the revised consumption index falls at retirement. Finally, while unemployment reduces the consumption index, we find, in contrast to prior work, that the impact of retirement on the consumption index is larger. Overall, we consistently find that retirement reduces food intake.

6/24: Lots  of news here- tough to figure out. Other articles today talked about a glut of oil. Not so

OPEC has come to an agreement, albeit a vague one, that has left oil markets bullish and sent WTI and Brent soaring.

Friday, June 22, 2018

OPEC issued a communique on Friday that called on a return to 100 percent compliance for the group, down from 152 percent in May. The announcement deferred country-specific allocations, likely because they could not agree on the details. The decision likely means that any country with spare capacity will be able to boost production. In practice, Saudi Arabia and Russia will carry the lion’s share. How individual countries make decisions about how much to produce, while still trying to stay below a collective cap, opens up a lot of uncertainty. 

Oil up on vague outcome. Oil prices moved up on Friday morning, on expectations that the result from the OPEC+ meeting won’t lead to a supply glut. In recent days, there seemed to be a bit of convergence on a plan to boost production, perhaps by around 600,000 bpd. That amount would merely offset the declines from Venezuela over the past year, and would not plug the entire supply deficit facing the market. “The market caught up a little in terms of realizing that the rumored increase was less than what is necessary to balance the market,” Emily Ashford, director of energy research at Standard Chartered, told
the WSJ. “Any increase in production will come at the expense of spare capacity so that leaves the market much more vulnerable to future supply shocks,” she added. 

OPEC eyed 1 mb/d increase, but couldn’t agree. OPEC’s technical committee recommended a supply increase of about 1 million barrels per day, although press reports widely noted that such an increase would likely only be nominal, and actual barrels put onto the market would reach only about 600,000 bpd because several countries have no ability to boost output. The recommendation came even as Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh walked out of a meeting on Thursday night, although he met with his Saudi counterpart Friday morning. The discord likely led to the vague decision on 100 percent compliance, rather than on country-specific increases. 

Oil and gas methane emissions higher than expected. A new
study finds that the oil and gas industry might be leaking more methane from operations than is commonly thought. The study puts the methane leakage rate at about 2.3 percent of total production, or 60 percent higher than the EPA estimates. The difference is the equivalent of heating 10 million homes, and it also cancels out some of the net climate benefit that comes from switching from coal to gas for electricity.

EPA to put biofuels obligations onto large refiners. In a sign of retreat after outrage from the biofuels and corn ethanol industries, the EPA is
reportedly set to propose putting biofuels obligations onto large refiners. The agency had issued a series of waivers to smaller refiners, allowing them to get out of buying and blending biofuels, to the anger of the ethanol industry. After the political fallout, the EPA seems to be reversing course, but will shift those requirements onto large refiners. The move is a sign of the political power of the corn lobby, as well as Midwestern Republicans in Congress. 

Kimmeridge exits Carrizo, after activist campaign. Activist private equity group Kimmeridge Energy Management
sold its position in Carrizo Oil & Gas (NASDAQ: CRZO) this week after a campaign to try to change the company’s strategy. Kimmeridge tried to get Carrizo to sell its oil fields in the Eagle Ford and to shift the company’s focus to the Permian. However, Carrizo resisted and Kimmeridge ultimately decided to sell its 8.1 percent stake. Maintaining Eagle Ford assets turned out to be a winner, now that Permian prices have plunged because of pipeline constraints.

U.S. natural gas output to soar 60 percent. A new report from IHS finds that U.S. natural gas production could jump 60 percent over the next 20 years, a finding that suggests the shale gas revolution has decades of running room. Dry gas production could hit 81 billion cubic feet per day this year, but rise to 118 bcf/d by 2037. Natural gas is expected to capture about 50 percent of the electricity market by 2040, up from about a third today.

Libyan forces retake oil terminal. Libya briefly saw the outage of about 450,000 bpd of supply because of attacks from militants, combined with the destruction of several oil storage tanks. Reuters reports that East Libyan forces have retaken the shuttered oil ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, the two largest in the country. The three storage tanks that were destroyed will take years to repair. “Libyan production is very low but we are going to resume very soon,” Mustafa Sanalla, chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corp.,
told reporters in Vienna. “After a couple of days we will resume, we start our operations hopefully.”

Permian DUCs to rise. Pipeline bottlenecks are forcing Permian drillers to leave more and more wells
uncompleted. The drilled but uncompleted wells (DUCs) has more than doubled from the start of 2017, and should continue to rise as Permian pipelines fill up. “Some companies will have to shut in production, some companies will move rigs away, and some companies will be able to continue growing because they have firm transportation,” Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE: PXD) CEO Scott Sheffield said.

Corpus Christi port receives funding for upgrade. The Port of Corpus Christi
approved $217 million for upgrades to equip the facility to handle large oil tankers. The 1-million-barrel Suezmax and the 2-million-barrel VLCCs can only partially load at the facility right now. The upgrade will expand the port’s – and the country’s – export capacity.


"Exploring the Impact of Artificial Intelligence: Prediction Versus Judgment" Fee Download
NBER Working Paper No. w24626

AJAY AGRAWAL, University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management, NBER
University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Based on recent developments in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), we examine what type of human labor will be a substitute versus a complement to emerging technologies. We argue that these recent developments reduce the costs of providing a particular set of tasks – prediction tasks. Prediction about uncertain states of the world is an input into decision-making. We show that prediction allows riskier decisions to be taken and this is its impact on observed productivity although it could also increase the variance of outcomes as well. We consider the role of human judgment in decision-making as prediction technology improves. Judgment is exercised when the objective function for a particular set of decisions cannot be described (i.e., coded). However, we demonstrate that better prediction impacts the returns to different types of judgment in opposite ways. Hence, not all human judgment will be a complement to AI. Finally, we show that humans will delegate some decisions to machines even when the decision would be superior with human input.


Excellent material for real estate


"The Technological Elements of Artificial Intelligence" Fee Download
NBER Working Paper No. w24301

MATTHEW ALAN TADDY, University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

We have seen in the past decade a sharp increase in the extent that companies use data to optimize their businesses. Variously called the `Big Data' or `Data Science' revolution, this has been characterized by massive amounts of data, including unstructured and nontraditional data like text and images, and the use of fast and flexible Machine Learning (ML) algorithms in analysis. With recent improvements in Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) and related methods, application of high-performance ML algorithms has become more automatic and robust to different data scenarios. That has led to the rapid rise of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) that works by combining many ML algorithms together – each targeting a straightforward prediction task – to solve complex problems. We will define a framework for thinking about the ingredients of this new ML-driven AI. Having an understanding of the pieces that make up these systems and how they fit together is important for those who will be building businesses around this technology. Those studying the economics of AI can use these definitions to remove ambiguity from the conversation on AI's projected productivity impacts and data requirements. Finally, this framework should help clarify the role for AI in the practice of modern business analytics and economic measurement.


"Social Protection and Economic Development: Are the Poorest Being Lifted-Up or Left-Behind?" Fee Download
NBER Working Paper No. w24665

MARTIN RAVALLION, Georgetown University
World Bank, IZA Institute of Labor Economics
Georgetown University - Department of Economics

Standard measures of poverty may reveal nothing about whether the poorest of the poor are being lifted-up or left-behind, yet this is a widespread concern among policy makers and citizens. The paper assesses whether public spending on social protection benefits the poorest and hence lifts the floor, and what role economic development plays. Evidence is presented for the developing world and the US. Across developing countries, a higher mean income comes with a higher floor. The bulk of this income effect is direct rather than via higher spending on social protection. That spending generally lifts the floor though this is mainly due to social insurance; on average, social assistance adds only 1.5 cents per day to the floor. Turning to the US, the paper finds that the floor has been sinking over the last 30 years, associated with an inequitable growth process. Food stamp spending partially compensates the poorest, and helped stabilize the floor in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The poorest in the US gain more from food stamps than average spending on food stamps, though the program’s impact on the floor per $ spent has fallen over time.

6/23:Investors head for the hills
There were record withdrawals from global equity funds over the past week as trade war threats escalated.
EFM- throwing another brick at China puts the US in a precarious position. This definitely could move to a fell Trade War


"Taxonomy of Global Risk, Uncertainty, and Volatility Measures" Free Download
FRB International Finance Discussion Paper No. 1216

DEEPA DHUME DATTA, Federal Reserve Board
Federal Reserve Board of Governors
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System - Division of International Finance
Federal Reserve Board
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Federal Reserve Board - Trade and Financial Studies
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Federal Reserve Board
Federal Reserve Board
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System - Trade and Financial Studies Section

A large number of measures for monitoring risk and uncertainty surrounding macroeconomic and financial outcomes have been proposed in the literature, and these measures are frequently used by market participants, policy makers, and researchers in their analyses. However, risk and uncertainty measures differ across multiple dimensions, including the method of calculation, the underlying outcome (that is, the asset price or macroeconomic variable), and the horizon at which they are calculated. Therefore, in this paper, we review the literature on global risk, uncertainty, and volatility measures drawing on internal and external academic research as well as ongoing monitoring conducted by the Federal Reserve Board’s economics divisions to catalog measures by method of data collection, computation, and subject. We first explore a set of non asset-marketbased measures of risk and uncertainty, including news-based and survey-based uncertainty measures of monetary policy and macroeconomic outcomes. We then turn to asset-market-based measures of risk uncertainty for equity prices, interest rates, currencies, oil prices, and inflation.

6/22: More on climate change

In the last three decades, nearly half of the Arctic ice cap has melted away, the oceans have acidified, much of the American West has burned, lower Manhattan, South Florida, Houston, and New Orleans have flooded, and average temperatures have continued to climb. Just last week, a team of scientists reported in Naturethat the rate of melt off Antarctica has tripled in the past decade; as