Master Financial Education

Financial Planning Daily Commentary 2017
The  most intensive and extensive on the Web

E. F. Moody Jr.

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SP 500

World Statistical data

9/23: Basic probabilities

9/22: Life and Death and Hospice

Only 10 percent of Americans will die suddenly. The remainder of us (90 percent) will decline slowly, growing weaker until we die. Because this process is so gradual, we often don’t recognize that a loved one is approaching the final weeks of life. This may be why most Americans, around 80 percent, die in institutions, despite the fact that most Americans polled (85 percent) voice that they want to die at home. Perhaps the reason could be that we simply do not see it coming.

It is only natural that we would want to deny how seriously ill our loved one is. Denial protects us from the painful reality that we may soon lose someone precious to us. While denial can help us to cope, it also may interfere with making a plan that will guarantee that your loved one’s final months are spent in the place they choose, surrounded by friends and family.

Well-thought-out preparation, on the other hand, will allow us to choose where death will occur, participate more fully in our loved one’s care, make better decisions and achieve a measure of control over the coming months. We will feel peaceful despite living with uncertainty. In the future, after our loved one has died, we will reflect back on these final months, and be left with the deep comfort that comes from knowing that we did our best for someone we love at a very difficult time.

So what are the signs that an elderly person may be approaching the final months of life? There are many indicators, but in this article, we will discuss three common signs: weight loss, progressive weakness and infections.  

There is a great deal of research that shows that weight loss by itself is a powerful indicator that an elderly person is approaching the final months of life. Just five percent to 10 percent loss of weight in six months can be significant. If a person is in a nursing home, it has been shown that as little as 10 percent loss of weight in six months will carry 85 percent mortality in the next six months. Weight loss is so significant that it can be an indicator for hospice care. It is commonly understood that elderly people approaching the final months of life naturally stop wanting food and fluids.

Another indicator is increasing dependency. Loss of weight leads to loss of muscle which leads to progressive weakness. This may start with having difficulty getting up from the chair. It progresses from needing assistance to transfer to being chair bound to eventually being mostly bed bound. This immobility also puts an elderly person at risk for skin breakdown and pneumonia.

A third indicator is propensity for developing infections. It is well known that there is a progressive decline in the power of the immune system with aging. Before the introduction of antibiotics in the 1940’s, many elderly people died from pneumonia.  Pneumonia was called “the old man’s friend” as it promised a swift death.  We may think of pneumonia as being curable, but many elderly people are at risk to contract pneumonia and at risk to die from pneumonia. If a person is older than 75, they have a six times greater chance of getting pneumonia than if they were 60 years old. This is because the lung has lost its elasticity. In addition, changes in the brain and nervous system affect their ability to cough up secretions, which is essential to overcoming pneumonia. Some elderly people have difficulty with swallowing and may cough while eating, inhaling liquid into their lungs. This is called aspiration, and can cause them to get pneumonia repeatedly.   Some elderly people also develop infections of the urinary tract, which can be treated, but which further weaken the body.

Identifying early that your loved one is declining has many advantages. You can tell your health care provider how you want those final months to be, so he or she can support you in your plan. Services can be put in place at home or in a facility so that if a crisis arises, it can be managed without going to a hospital. If you are able to get hospice care in place, oxygen and medications for comfort will be on hand should a medical crisis arise. Nurses will do routine in-home assessments and advise you as to what you can expect. You and your family will be better prepared.

If you suspect your elderly loved one is declining, you can ask for a “hospice consult.” and a nurse will come to your home and advise you and your healthcare provider about eligibility. In-home support and availability of comfort  measures is the key to successful care at the end of life.


9/22: Disability claims

9/22:  You have probably seen many of the same type of articles regarding retirees, college students, women etc.

Millennials need financial guidance, education

The percentage of age 25 to 29 millennial Americans who have completed a post-secondary education program is very high, with women getting degrees at a higher rate (46%) than men (36%). These rates are significantly higher than was achieved by earlier generations at the same age.8 Yet, millennials experience higher rates of underemployment than the population as a whole.9 Many millennials have focused on higher education as the best path to increase their opportunities in a challenging and competitive employment market. Currently, 20.5 million students are pursuing post-secondary education in the United States, an increase of 5.2 million students since 2000.10

My type of vacation
9/21: Mental illness

A 2015 investigation by The Times found that nearly 40 percent of the population at Rikers Island, a total of 4,000 men and women at any given time, suffer from mental illness.

9/21: Battle deaths  NY Times

For two centuries, war had increased in both severity and frequency, with each conflict worse than the last until, in 1945, the trend suddenly stopped. And so did, for the most part, the deadliest form of conflict: war between states.That change seemed to break every unwritten rule for how the world worked. (It also made those other historic improvements possible.) Ever since, scholars have been asking how and why this happened, so that we might cement what remains a relatively recent change.
There are, broadly, two schools of thought. One is that those unwritten rules changed in 1945, after which the old, might-makes-right, every-nation-for-itself system was replaced by a new system of international cooperation. Under these new rules, it is argued, individual states worked to enforce norms of diplomacy over war and cooperation over competition.
The other school of thought is that the rules never changed at all, only the short-term incentives of the players. Ruthless power politics, in this view, still drives the international system. States still use violence and coercion when it suits them. It just so happens to suit them less these days.

9/21: Armed conflicts

9/21:How to Cook for a Loved One with Dysphagia

The simple act of eating is anything but for those who experience dysphagia, the medical term for difficulties swallowing or eating. Millions of Americans have the condition, especially aging adults: The U.S. Department of Health suggests that about 15% of the elderly population experiences some form of dysphagia. And for those who care for elderly adults, it may be difficult to find equally nutritious and appetizing food that can be consumed.

Caregivers may feel alone or discouraged when it comes to finding and cooking dysphagia-friendly recipes. Often, they will find themselves resorting to feeding their loved ones soft, tasteless food because it is the only thing they can swallow.

But, this is not the case, and students and faculty at Speech@NYU, the online master’s in speech pathology from NYU Steinhardt, wanted to change this mindset and provide tools so everyone can take dysphagia head on in the kitchen with “Dining with Dysphagia: A Cookbook.”

The cookbook, which includes eight recipes that elevate pureed or “mushy” food to a higher standard, focuses on all of the values that are important to those who are supporting people with dysphagia: nutrition, texture and taste. Not only is this cookbook meant to be a resource, but also the catalyst to help start a larger conversation about changing the narrative of dysphagia. In fact, this cookbook all started with the NYU Steinhardt Iron Chef Dysphagia Challenge competition, during which contestants prepared food based on recipes that are easy-to-follow and easy-to-swallow. The cookbook is a result of the event and this year’s dishes include rosemary mashed potatoes, pumpkin soup and vegetarian squash chili, just to name a few.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when cooking for someone with dysphagia:

  • Find out their favorite recipes: Talk to your loved one and determine what their food preferences are so you can create a dysphagia-friendly version
  • Focus on diversity: Mix it up by including different ingredients and balancing tastes
  • Make it a family affair: If you are worried that someone will be embarrassed or left out because they are eating “different” foods unlike the rest of the family or group, try recipes that everyone can enjoy to make the meal experience more inclusive
  • Get creative: Need more inspiration for new recipes? Consider doing recipe “swaps” with other friends or colleagues, or experiment on your own
  • Have a candid conversation: Do not be afraid to talk openly about dysphagia; Showing your support and how understanding you are of their condition is critical

It is important to remember that food should not only nourish the body, but also the soul. No one should ever assume they have to resort to simple, “mushy” food just because it is easily consumed. There are myriad options to create delicious recipes that your loved one will enjoy, and the cookbook is just one example of this.

If you would like to learn more about dysphagia, schedule an appointment with your loved one’s general practitioner. A speech-language pathologist will also be able to discuss the condition in greater detail.

To learn more about the “Dining with Dysphagia” cookbook visit

I find this hard to believe. And the amount of time to do it.....................

9/21: European immigration

9/21: How the debt got so high


"Credit Growth and the Financial Crisis: A New Narrative" Fee Download
NBER Working Paper No. w23740

STEFANIA ALBANESI, University of Pittsburgh
University College London, NBER, Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Columbia Business School - Economics Department

A broadly accepted view contends that the 2007-09 financial crisis in the U.S. was caused by an expansion in the supply of credit to subprime borrowers during the 2001- 2006 credit boom, leading to the spike in defaults and foreclosures that sparked the crisis. We use a large administrative panel of credit file data to examine the evolution of household debt and defaults between 1999 and 2013. Our findings suggest an alternative narrative that challenges the large role of subprime credit in the crisis. We show that credit growth between 2001 and 2007 was concentrated in the prime segment, and debt to high risk borrowers was virtually constant for all debt categories during this period. The rise in mortgage defaults during the crisis was concentrated in the middle of the credit score distribution, and mostly attributable to real estate investors. We argue that previous analyses confounded life cycle debt demand of borrowers who were young at the start of the boom with an expansion in credit supply over that period.

9/20: Rising Health Care Costs Threaten Employees’ Financial Security

79% of employees surveyed reported higher health care costs in 2016 — up from 69% in 2015 — and more than half said they were either spending less overall or contributing less to fund financial goals as a result.
Of that 56% that cut back, almost two-thirds said they were saving less for retirement, about 50% said they were reducing debt payments and almost 40% were investing less.

The survey also found that the impact of rising health care costs on savings, investments and debt servicing contributed to employees’ financial stress, which, in turn, negatively affected the health of six in 10 respondents.

9/20:"The Consequences of Abortion and Contraception Policies on Young Women's Reproductive Choices, Schooling and Labor Supply" Free Download

Documento CEDE No. 2017-43

DIEGO AMADOR, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics

I specify a dynamic life-cycle model of abortion, contraceptive use, schooling, and labor supply decisions of US women. I structurally estimate the model, allowing for abortion misreporting, using data from the NLSY97, aggregate abortion provider data from the Guttmacher Institute, and information on mandatory counseling restrictions at the state level. I simulate a series of policies and find that eliminating access to abortion services increases contraceptive use but decreases women’s schooling and lifetime earnings. I also find that providing free contraception would increase contraceptive use and decrease abortion rates substantially, while also leading to an increase in women’s schooling.

9/20: Globalization: Financial Times

or the past three decades western multinationals have been outsourcing production to low-cost countries such as China. But are executives turning to localisation?  automation, wage costs and political risk are driving businesses away from globalisation

EFM- I know that Trump (and many others) would like to see more manufacturing in the U.S. But labor of a certain type are scare. And we are restricting immigration.  And many countries are having immigration problems/issues. However the real reason that will become more obvious as time goes by is automation. Faster and cheaper and can/will  make products in the U.S.  more competitive. Nice but it will increase unemployment

9/20 Preventing UITs

Urinary tract infections, or UTI's are the result of bacteria that infect the system the body uses to carry urine out of the body.  Half of women and about twenty percent of men will have a urinary tract infection in their lifetime.

Changing some of these daily habits may help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs).

  • Wipe from front to back after using the toilet. Women should wipe from front to back to keep bacteria from getting into the urethra. This step is most important after a bowel movement.
  • Drink lots of fluids, especially water. Fluids can help flush bacteria from the urinary system. Water is best. Most healthy people should try to drink six to eight, 8-ounce glasses of fluid each day. (Some people need to drink less water because of certain conditions. For example, if you have kidney failure or heart disease, you should not drink this much fluid. Ask your health care provider how much fluid is healthy for you.)
  • Urinate often and when the urge arises. Try to urinate at least every 3 to 4 hours. Bacteria are more likely to grow in the bladder when urine stays in the bladder too long.
  • Urinate after sex. Both women and men should urinate shortly after sex to flush away bacteria that may have entered the urethra during sex.
  • Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes. Wearing looser, cotton clothing will allow air to keep the area around the urethra dry. Tight-fitting jeans and nylon underwear should be avoided because they can trap moisture and help bacteria grow.
9/20: Did not expect the tight correlation

9/20: Opioids’ rise in China
There’s plenty of discussion about the US’s opioid addiction problem. But a rapid rise in cancer cases in China is also driving an opioid boom in the world’s most populous country

EFM_ As much as the statement reflects  opioids is the rise of cancer. Never saw that before and wonder the cause or is it simply better diagnosis. .


"Effectiveness of Obesity Prevention and Control" Free Download
ADBI Working Paper 654


Implementation of evidence-based interventions to control obesity is regarded as a public health priority. In this working paper, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness evidence of sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes, nutrition labeling, advertising bans on unhealthy food, and school-based interventions are reviewed.

The review indicates that SSB taxes may be an effective and cost-effective intervention for obesity prevention and control. Regarding nutrition labeling, current evidence indicates that this has a significant impact on food selection. Although there is limited evidence on its impact on body mass index (BMI) and obesity prevalence, nutrition labeling is considered a cost-effective intervention in many settings. Further, while current evidence indicates that unhealthy food and beverage advertisements may increase dietary intake and the preference for unhealthy foods, especially in children, limited evidence demonstrates the impact of restricted unhealthy food advertising on BMI and obesity prevalence. However, such an intervention is considered to be cost-effective in many settings. Concerning school-based interventions, due to the limited number of good-quality studies as well as high variation across studies, the effectiveness of these interventions is inconclusive. Current evidence also suggests that school-based interventions are less likely to be cost-effective.

9/20 Depression

9/20: The Benna401k Comes Alive
"[Three designs] eliminate the complexity and the cost of the traditional 401k. They remove the requirement to have a plan document, to have a summary plan description, to have to file 5500 form, to have all this paperwork when employees terminate. All that disappears.... The easiest, Model One, has absolutely no rules.... [It] could be offered to all employees. All employees to be given the opportunity to make contributions via payroll deduction. It could have an employer contribution, either match or otherwise, but it doesn't have to. It has absolute total flexibility.... There is technically no plan in Model One, so there isn't a plan sponsor. The amount that the employee can get a tax break is less than what they can get with the standard 401k.... The closest [example] is what the states are moving into doing with the mandated payroll deduction IRA programs."

9/20: Why seniors do not eat

More than half of older adults who visit emergency departments are either malnourished or at risk for malnutrition, but not because of lack of access to health care, critical illness or dementia. Despite clear signs of malnutrition or risk of malnutrition, more than three-quarters had never previously been diagnosed with malnutrition, according to the results of a study published online in Annals of Emergency Medicine (“Malnutrition Among Cognitively Intact, Non-Critically Ill Older Adults in the Emergency Department”).

“We were surprised by the levels of malnutrition or risk of it among cognitively intact seniors visiting the ER, and even more surprised that most malnourished patients had never been told they were malnourished,” said lead study author Timothy Platts-Mills, MD, of the University of North Carolina Department of Emergency Medicine in Chapel Hill, N.C. “Depression and dental problems appear to be important contributors, as is difficulty buying groceries. Given that seniors visit ERs more than 20 million times a year in the U.S., emergency physicians have an opportunity to screen and intervene in ways that may be very helpful without being very costly.”

Of patients age 65 and older, 16 percent were malnourished and 60 percent were either malnourished or at risk for malnutrition. Of the malnourished patients, 77 percent denied have been previously diagnosed with malnutrition. Malnutrition was highest among patients with symptoms of depression (52 percent), those residing in assisted living (50 percent), those with difficulty eating (38 percent) and those reporting difficulty buying groceries (33 percent). Difficulty eating was mostly attributed to denture problems, dental pain or difficulty swallowing.

In this study, nearly all (95 percent) of patients had a primary care physician, nearly all (94 percent) lived in a private residence and nearly all (96 percent) had some type of health insurance. More than one-third (35 percent) had a college education.

Malnutrition is defined as lacking “adequate calories, protein or other nutrients needed for tissue maintenance and repair.”

“For patients who report difficulty buying groceries, Supplemental Nutrition Program, Meals on Wheels, Congregate Meals Programs or community-based food charities can be helpful, although other factors may also need to be addressed,” said Dr. Platts-Mills. “The growing role of the emergency department as community health resource makes it an essential place for identifying and addressing unmet needs of older adults. Implementation of oral nutritional supplementation is inexpensive and may reduce overall costs by accelerating recovery from illness and reducing readmissions.”

9/20:Caregiving Is Risky Business for Family Caregivers

Nine out of 10 non-professional family caregivers feel that it’s important to provide a good quality of life for the person they care for, like helping, and enjoy spending time with the care recipient.

However, many caregivers are providing care at their own risk. Fifty-five percent say that their own health is taking a back seat to the health of their care recipient. Sixty-nine percent gave little or no consideration to their own financial situation when deciding to become a caregiver.

9/20"The Veterans Affairs Department reported that veterans are 20 percent more likely than nonveterans to commit suicide.
 But the numbers of about 23 servicemen committing suicide EVERY DAY is a real problem for the military

9/20: AI is disconcerting at best. At its worst, it will delegate humans to the dustbins of jobs and take over the world. It might save mother earth from the decay we fostered in using the earth as a private playground for the scurrying epidemic of humans 

Lately, the same fears emerge in healthcare about artificial intelligence taking the jobs of radiologistsrobots surpassing the skills of surgeons, or taking jobs in pharma. A renowned voice in tech, Kai-Fu Lee, founder of venture capital firm Sinovation Ventures told CNBC that A.I. will be bigger than all other tech revolutions, and robots are likely to replace 50 percent of all jobs in the next decade. Stephen Hawking even said that the development of full A.I. could spell the end of the human race. Elon Musk agreed.


"Stabilizing the System of Mortgage Finance in the United States" Free Download
IMF Working Paper No. 17/186

RICHARD KOSS, International Monetary Fund (IMF)

It has been over a decade since the peak of house prices in the US was attained, and while there has been a concerted regulatory response to the subsequent collapse, the two Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) remain in conservatorship. While this action served to forestall a deeper crisis at the time, over the past several years risks related to the system of mortgage finance can be seen building across several dimensions that need to be addressed. While reforms to the GSEs are an important part of dealing with these concerns, this paper argues that broader changes need to be made across the entire mortgage landscape to stabilize the system, even before the final state of the GSEs is fully determined.


9/19: An ad I just got

11%Annuity Commission
5% Rider Bonus!
& Up to 50% Liquidity!


On Apps Received 9/15/17 thru 10/15/17
(Must be issued and paid by December 29, 2017)

Additional Features:
• 10% Penalty Free Withdrawals After Year 1
• 50% Cumulative Withdrawals*
• 60% Contract Value Policy Loan
• 75% Medical Stay Waiver
• 100% Terminal Illness, Nursing care & Death Benefit
• 200% Accidental Death
• 100% Full Accumulation at Death AM Best 'A' Rated Company

Boy, I want that 11%. And maybe a free trip to Cleveland

9/19: What is our FED going to do. It might raise rates another 25 basis point if inflation can take it. But where is the Eurozone heading. Not so good

The eurozone inflation rate is likely to slide below 1% early next year due to volatile developments in oil and unprocessed food prices. It's an awkward development for the ECB as it prepares to wind down its giant monetary stimulus. Meanwhile, inflation across the bloc rose 1.5% in August, heading closer to the central bank's target of just below 2%.

9/19: NYSE sine 1966

9/18:  READ THIS:

  1. The total cost of investing in mutual funds




Giorgio Albareto (Bank of Italy) ; Giuseppe Cappelletti (European Central Bank) ; Andrea Cardillo (Bank of Italy) ; Luca Zucchelli (Bank of Italy)

The total costs of investment in an open-end fund include those that are charged on the fund and those directly attributed to subscribers (subscription and redemption fees). Subscriptions of funds characterized by the presence of costs directly attributed to investors have increased significantly in recent years. The paper presents an estimate of the Total Shareholders Cost (TSC) made using the information provided by the investment management companies in the supervisory reports. The estimates obtained show that in the period 2006-2016 the TSC was on average 1.58 per cent of the total assets of funds (1.74 per cent at the end of 2016). Subtracting direct and indirect costs borne by investors, the return on open-end funds is reduced from 3.5 per cent on average to 2 per cent. Based on preliminary results, the presence of subscription and redemption fees reduces the elasticity of subscriptions and redemptions with respect to returns.


mutual funds, Total Expense Ratio, Total Shareholders Cost


G11 G23 E60


Really! Look at it again
9/18: Isn't random walk supposed to work anywhere???

Random walks and market efficiency in Chinese and Indian equity markets




Oleg Malafeyev ; Achal Awasthi ; Kaustubh S. Kambekar

Hypothesis of Market Efficiency is an important concept for the investors across the globe holding diversified portfolios. With the world economy getting more integrated day by day, more people are investing in global emerging markets. This means that it is pertinent to understand the efficiency of these markets. This paper tests for market efficiency by studying the impact of global financial crisis of 2008 and the recent Chinese crisis of 2015 on stock market efficiency in emerging stock markets of China and India. The data for last 20 years was collected from both Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE200) and the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index and divided into four sub-periods, i.e. before financial crisis period (period-I), during recession (period-II), after recession and before Chinese Crisis (periodIII) and from the start of Chinese crisis till date (period- IV). Daily returns for the SSE and BSE were examined and tested for randomness using a combination of auto correlation tests, runs tests and unit root tests (Augmented Dickey-Fuller) for the entire sample period and the four sub-periods. The evidence from all these tests supports that both the Indian and Chinese stock markets do not exhibit weak form of market efficiency. They do not follow random walk overall and in the first three periods (1996 till the 2015) implying that recession did not impact the markets to a great extent, although the efficiency in percentage terms seems to be increasing after the global financial crisis of 2008.


9/18. Treasury trading


9/18:  This just sickens me. What is wrong with some people??????

In 2004, Hjalti Sigurjon Hauksson was imprisoned for raping his stepdaughter nearly every day for 12 years, starting when she was just 5. Thirteen years later, his crime has helped bring down Iceland's government.

The story involves Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson and his father, Benedikt Sveinsson.

Here's what happened: Several months ago, Sveinsson drafted a letter of recommendation for Hauksson, arguing that he should have his “honor restored.” In Iceland, convicts can have certain civil rights restored by submitting letters of recommendation extolling good character. Hauksson and another convicted pedophile, Robert Downey (formerly named Robert Arni Hreidarsson), received full pardons over the summer.

And we have a weiner
9/18: And more obesity

Great comment

9. Western food companies are aggressively expanding in developing nations, unleashing a marketing juggernaut that’s contributing to a new epidemic of chronic illnesses fed by soaring rates of obesity. Above, a woman purchasing Nestlé products near Muaná, Brazil.

What we have is a war between two food systems, a traditional diet of real food once produced by the farmers around you and the producers of ultra-processed food designed to be over-consumed,” one expert said.

And I know this is tacky so say it- but before I die I'd like to get a deep fried Twinkie.

• Brazil, hooked on junk food.

Western food companies, seeing slower growth, are aggressively expanding in developing nations, contributing to obesity and other health problems.

9/18: You would think after all the wars the world has had that something would have materialized in civilization that the wars waste lives and may solve very little. Nope- and here we now have a Nobel Peace winner (Aung San Suu Kyi) allowing (perhaps instigating) genocide.

The issue of more and more conflicts/genocides/slavery/racism will emerge and get much worse as we add another 1.5 billion people by 2050. This will create massive conflagrations .as each person vies for the basic necessities such as food, water and shelter.This all will get worse and worse as we move to 2050. Who will emerge victorious?? Actually no one. Who will nicely survive? Those with LOTS of money who will live in multi million dollar forts. but that will only last a short time (10- 15   years) as Mother Earth takes back what was always hers.

We got a nut case in North Korea, genocides world wide. And despite all of America's talk on getting rid of Syria's government- we look like fools. Afghanistan proves it. Anyway, happy reading

‘Blood flowed in the streets’: Refugees from one Rohingya hamlet recount days of horror

Those fleeing Burma’s military crackdown, which has triggered an exodus of an estimated 400,000 refugees, say civilians were gunned down and villages torched. Those who escaped into Bangladesh have overflowed an existing refugee camp — and the tide is expected to grow in the coming days.

By Annie Gowen  •   Read more »

9/17: Returns since 2000  (I'll try and get a better picture)

9/17: Obesity

Globally, the percentage of adults who are overweight or obese has swelled from 29% in 1980 to 37% in 2013. Obesity is associated with serious health problems, most importantly diabetes, and though the solution to the problem seems easy—eat less—it is in fact fiendishly hard to combat.

Double whammy: you’re more likely to be obese if you’re poor:

9/17: I think this is way out of whack. No way the market should be this high. But I remember saying that in the late 90s- but also stating that the market can- and will- do whatever it wants. So just ride with it. However, there would already a process in place to limit such losses when the market turned.
If you want to play the market and 'buy on the dip, the market always come back, we are in this for the long haul, yada, yada, yada,- the world has changed and the idea that the past is tbe best indicator of the future is absolute folly.

9/17: Brief comments on China from Washington Post. Puts a lot of the questions of finance into focus

Consider China’s recent performance. In 2015 and again in early 2016, China suffered acute financial turbulence. After averaging almost 10 percent growth between 2006 and 2014 and turbocharging the global economy, China suddenly emerged as the chief risk to the world. In its headlong drive to invest in coal mines and steel plants, it created a glut that was driving foreigners out of business. In its faltering experiments with financial modernization, it allowed cracks to appear in its currency controls: Well-to-do Chinese families were rushing to buy anti-dictator insurance in the form of real estate in Los Angeles or London. The government’s war chest of foreign currency reserves shrunk by about $1 trillion as it desperately bought back yuan to offset capital flight.

In the past 18 months, however, China has restored calm. Last year the government ordered coal mines to cap production at 276 days; steel output was also cut, and producers the world over have profited from recovering prices. Meanwhile, authorities have put a stop to capital flight, using dictatorial powers to crush purchases of anti-dictator insurance. The process has not been pretty, but capital flight has ended and the yuan has recovered. Any company connected to China’s global supply chains is breathing more freely..

9/17: If you don't use it, you lose it

What to do about summer learning loss. Research shows that, on average, students can lose a month’s worth of school year learning over summer vacation. David Quinn and Morgan Polikoff examine the evidence and discuss interventions to prevent students from backsliding.

9/17: Even As States Return To Health, Pension Funds In Bad Conditions

9/17:  Fiduciary Rule Guide for Advisors
"The rule expands the 'investment advice fiduciary' definition under [ERISA] of 1974. If this sweeping regulation (1,023 pages in length) is not stopped outright, it will automatically elevate all financial professionals who work with retirement plans or provide retirement planning advice to the level of a fiduciary, bound legally and ethically to meet the standards of that status. While the new rules are likely to have at least some impact on all financial advisors, it is expected that those who work on commission, such as brokers and insurance agents, will be impacted the most."

There are no standards. Think they should be relatively conversant with a personal financial calculator????? Dream on. If they do not have one, run away.

9/17" Virgin Islands before and after Irma. Remarkable pictures of utter devastation

I was without power for five days.No way you can compare that to what these people are enduring

With everything gone now, what can they do??? I'd be lost since the options are close to zero.

9/17: Marine Plastic Pollution

Disgusting numbers

Rank Country Percentage of waste that is mismanaged Quantity of mismanaged plastic waste (MMT/year) Percentage of global mismanaged plastic waste Quantity of plastic marine debris (MMT/year)
MMT = million metric tons
Adapted from Jambeck et al. (2015)4
1 China 76 8.82 27.7 1.32–3.53
2 Indonesia 83 3.22 10.1 0.48–1.29
3 Philippines 83 1.88 5.9 0.28–0.75
4 Vietnam 88 1.83 5.8 0.28–0.73
5 Sri Lanka 84 1.59 5.0 0.24–0.64
6 Thailand 75 1.03 3.2 0.15–0.41
7 Egypt 69 0.97 3.0 0.15–0.39
8 Malaysia 57 0.94 2.9 0.14–0.37
9 Nigeria 83 0.85 2.7 0.13–0.34
10 Bangladesh 89 0.79 2.5 0.12–0.31
11 South Africa 56 0.63 2.0 0.09–0.25
12 India 87 0.60 1.9 0.09–0.24
13 Algeria 60 0.52 1.6 0.08–0.21
14 Turkey 18 0.49 1.5 0.07–0.19
15 Pakistan 88 0.48 1.5 0.07–0.19
16 Brazil 11 0.47 1.5 0.07–0.19
17 Burma 89 0.46 1.4 0.07–0.18
18 Morocco 68 0.31 1.0 0.05–0.12
19 North Korea 90 0.30 1.0 0.05–0.12
20 United States 2 0.28 0.9 0.04–0.11

/14:Top 10 health conditions costing employers the most

Arthritis, obesity and depression are among the ailments having the biggest impact on rising plan costs, according to research from the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans.


9/14: Arbitration

Firms pay no damages in about 60% of client claims that reach a decision, according to FINRA statistics. Clients may spend years navigating a process in which the odds are against them. Advisors already face steep odds in intra-industry cases, and the rule will help claims against advisors and firms,

The process of getting to arbitration is set to wear you down and either back away or accept a pittance before arbitration. As to the arbitrations themselves, the plaintiffs attorney may get an award but is willing to settle without an arbitration since they still get around 40% to 60% of the award so what you are seeing above--take half of it.

Further as regards the attorneys- they are clueless to the fundamentals of investing and without an expert witness    (good luck with that) it can be a game of craps. Think the arbitrators  are trained in the fundamentals of investing- get real. There are no classes is such fundamentals.  Think they know what a fiduciary is supposed to do. And it get funnier..................

9/14: In America we can wear shorts

THE BIG IDEA: West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner’s son was wounded by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan and suffered traumatic brain injury.

When he finally made it home, the Republican asked his boy to tell him about his toughest day in combat.

“He had been wounded. There was a girl who had a leg blown off. They had to call in F-16s to secure their positions,” Warner recalled in an interview. “I was expecting those kinds of war stories out of him. But he said, ‘Dad, the hardest day for me, without a doubt, was election day in Afghanistan.’ It was 110 degrees. Before they went out, they put tourniquets on each of their arms and legs so, if they got hit, they could still turn the tourniquets. They found five IEDs around the one polling place that his platoon was assigned to defend.” But Afghans came out to vote any way, even at great personal risk to themselves.

9/14: Such sweet talk

Pyongyang ups the rhetoric
A North Korean state agency — improbably named the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee — has threatened to use nuclear weapons to “sink” Japan and reduce the US to “ashes and darkness” for supporting a UN Security Council resolution and sanctions over its latest nuclear test.

9/14: Bank of England

9/14: Grief after loss

Grief is often a foreign feeling for most until they are faced with it head on. When you lose a loved one, it can be hard to do much of anything, but life must go on. From the heirloom furniture passed through generations to old love notes, choices are thrust into your lap whether you are ready or not. Decisions are immense or can be something as simple as what to do about the food in your loved one’s cabinets.

For some, settling an estate and sorting through the items left behind brings closure. For others, it can make a difficult time even worse. Here are five tips to honor your loved one and yourself during this difficult time:

Take a moment

After the initial loss, grief is forefront to other emotions and life feels chaotic. Advice comes from every direction whether you ask for it or not. Many will tell you to hurry through the sorting and delegating of items. Personally, I advise clients to take a moment, and a deep breath before you make hasty decisions. This will prevent future family arguments and possible regrets.

If finances and circumstances allow, give yourself a good 30 days before jumping into any major decision-making in the dissolution of your loved one’s legacy. Also, you need to use this time to move through your grief and find healing. If you push it away or ignore it, grief will manifest in disruptive and painful ways. This is your time to process it in its freshest state.

Don’t do it alone 

If your family works well together, use this time to revisit old memories. Choose what physical talismans of those memories you wish to hold onto.

If you find yourself explaining and justifying your choices to your friends or family, they are not the right ones to assist you during this time. Look for someone who is empathetic. Try to involve individuals around you that allow you to make choices without judgment.

Ideal supporters at this time are organized and show up with an open and clear mind.

Honor their memory.

Of the items you will keep or distribute to friends and family, there is likely to be a surplus of belongings that can be useful to someone not in the immediate family. Not every member of the family even wants to take your loved one’s items. But who should get these items?

Focus on local organizations. Small non-profits and thrift organizations can thrive from your donations. Make choices that feel good and honor the wishes of your loved one. Think about organizations that were important to them, and their beliefs. If they did not have a connection with any organization, what charities are important to you? Through selecting organizations that resonate with you or your loved one, the entire process can be a healing one that benefits many.

Keep track of your decisions.

Six months to a year after you dissolve your loved one’s material legacy, when the dust clears from the darkness, different individuals might inquire about particular objects. How about dad’s golf clubs? Mom’s crystal glasses? The family photos?

This is where your helpful, empathetic friend comes into play again. Have them help you keep track of your decisions. You are then able to look back and know what decisions you made. Knowing what went where will be incredibly efficient in the long run. List each item and assign it a number, then add the location the item came from and who/where the item is going. This offers peace of mind, and prevents future arguments.

Take care of yourself

This process is difficult, but you need to prioritize your needs, too. Your basic needs such as hydration, nutrition, and rest are essential during this period. You might not feel like doing much of anything, but covering the basics will preserve your future well-being and health. It is easy to be distracted by the emotions and the intimidating amount of work that lies ahead.

Sickness is common in this period, as your body responds to the grief and stress. Don’t neglect your health, job, friends, other family members and the need to grieve. Taking care of yourself not only honors you, but your loved one as well

9/14: Stagnant earnings- just terrible

“[E]ven though inflation is currently somewhat below our longer-run objective, I judge that it is still appropriate to continue to remove monetary policy accommodation gradually. This judgment is supported by the fact that financial conditions have eased, rather than tightened, even as the Fed has raised its short-term interest rate target range by 75 basis points since last December. For example, equity prices have risen, credit spreads have narrowed modestly, longer-term interest rates have declined, and the dollar has weakened…,” says New York Fed President William Dudley.

“[Financial conditions] influence the demand for goods and services by households and businesses… All else equal, an easing of financial conditions may warrant a somewhat steeper policy rate path.  Conversely, if financial conditions were to tighten unduly, then this might necessitate a shallower rate path to temper that tightening. To be clear, this does not mean that the Fed should mechanically target a particular set of financial conditions…Financial conditions are just a means to an end-the achievement of the Fed's employment and inflation objectives.”


How the Finance Gurus Get Risk All Wrong

Diversify as broadly as you can-far more than the supposed experts tell you.

By Benoit Mandelbrot and Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Your money is at risk. No matter what you've put it in—stocks, bonds, derivatives, hedge funds, houses, annuities, even mattresses —there's always the chance that you could lose it or miss out on a bigger opportunity somewhere else. Anyone who would tell you otherwise is either a fool or a huckster. Then there are those who do warn of risk but package it into a simple numerical measure that seems to put it within manageable bounds. They're even more dangerous.

Your mutual fund's annual report, for example, may contain a measure of risk (usually something called beta). It would indeed be useful to know just how risky your fund is, but this number won't tell you. Nor will any of the other quantities spewed out by the pseudoscience of finance: standard deviation, the Sharpe ratio, variance, correlation, alpha, value at risk, even the Black-Scholes option-pricing model.

The problem with all these measures is that they are built upon the statistical device known as the bell curve. This means they disregard big market moves: They focus on the grass and miss out on the (gigantic) trees. Rare and unpredictably large deviations like the collapse of Enron's stock price in 2001 or the spectacular rise of Cisco's in the 1990s have a dramatic impact on long-term returns —but "risk" and "variance" disregard them.

The professors who live by the bell curve adopted it for mathematical convenience, not realism. It asserts that when you measure the world, the numbers that result hover around the mediocre; big departures from the mean are so rare that their effect is negligible. This focus on averages works well with everyday physical variables such as height and weight, but not when it comes to finance. One can disregard the odds of a person's being miles tall or tons heavy, but similarly excessive observations can never be ruled out in economic life. The German mark's move from four per dollar to four trillion per dollar after World War I should have taught economists to beware the bell curve.

Today Google grabs much Internet traffic, and Microsoft represents the bulk of PC software sales. Out of a million submitted manuscripts, a handful account for the bulk of book sales. One percent of the U.S. population earns close to 90 times what the bottom 20% does, and half the capitalization of the stock market (close to 10,000 companies) is in fewer than 100 corporations.

In other words, we live in a world of winner-take-all extreme concentration. Similarly, a very small number of days accounts for the bulk of stock market movements: Just ten trading days can represent half the returns of a decade.

The economic world is driven primarily by random jumps. Yet the common tools of finance were designed for random walks in which the market always moves in baby steps. Despite increasing empirical evidence that concentration and jumps better characterize market reality, the reliance on the random walk, the bell-shaped curve, and their spawn of alphas and betas is accelerating, widening a tragic gap between reality and the standard tools of financial measurement.

It was in the third century of our era that the skeptical philosopher and physician Sextus attacked blind reliance on dogmas; his stance earned him the name Sextus Empiricus (Sextus the Empirical). Depressingly, medicine took 13 centuries to follow his recommendations, become empirical, and integrate surgeons' observations of the human body. The same resistance to reality characterizes finance. The inapplicability of the bell curve has long been established, yet close to 100,000 MBA students a year in the U.S. alone are taught to use it to understand financial markets. For those who teach finance, a number seems better than no number—even if it's wrong.

To blow up an academic dogma, empirical observations do not suffice. A better theory is needed, and one exists: the fractal theory of risk, ruin, and return. In this approach, concentration and random jumps are not belated fudges but the point of departure. The term "fractal" was coined in the 1970s by one of the authors of this piece to describe the many phenomena of nature in which small parts resemble the whole: The veins in leaves look like branches; branches look like miniature trees; rocks look like miniature mountains.

Similar patterns can be found in economic data, and the parts often relate to the whole according to what's called a power law. Such a law was first found to apply to the distribution of wealth: If there are about one-fourth as many people with a net worth of more than $200 million as there are with a net worth of more than $100 million, then there will also be about one-fourth as many with $2 billion as with $1 billion. This key property makes the computations easy; no computer is needed to divide by four.

In market terms, a power-law distribution implies that the likelihood of a daily or weekly drop exceeding 20% can be predicted from the frequency of drops exceeding 10%, and that the same ratio applies to a 10% vs. a 5% drop. In bell-curve finance, the chance of big drops is vanishingly small and is thus ignored. The 1987 stock market crash was, according to such models, something that could happen only once in several billion billion years. In power-law finance, big drops—while certainly less likely than small ones—remain a real and calculable possibility.

Another aspect of the real world tackled by fractal finance is that markets keep the memory of past moves, particularly of volatile days, and act according to such memory. Volatility breeds volatility; it comes in clusters and lumps. This is not an impossibly difficult or obscure framework for understanding markets. In fact, it accords better with intuition and observed reality than the bell-curve finance that still dominates the discourse of both academics and many market players.

Fractal finance, alas, has not yet earned a place in the MBA curriculum. Until that happy day, what is a person with money at stake to do? First, diversify as broadly as you can—far more than the supposed experts tell you now. This isn't just a matter of avoiding losses: Long-run market returns are dominated by a small number of investments, hence the risk of missing them must be mitigated by investing as broadly as possible. Passive indexing is far more effective than active selection—but you need to go well beyond an S&P 500 fund to do yourself much good. And wherever you put your money, understand that conventional measures of risk severely underestimate potential losses —and gains. For better or worse, your exposure is larger than you think.


Benoit Mandelbrot is Sterling Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Yale University and is the pioneer of fractal geometry. With Richard L. Hudson, he wrote The (Mis)Behavior of Markets. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a veteran derivatives trader and Dean's Professor in the Sciences of Uncertainty at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, is the author of Fooled by Randomness.

9/13: Donald Trump is a liar.   
Charles Blow  op ed NY Times
To some this lying may seem small, just another defect among many, but to me it is so much more. Honesty is the foundation of character. The truth is the common base from which all else is built.

And yet, this man feels completely unbound by it. He has no respect or reverence for it. For him, honesty is an option, one that he feels no compulsion to choose.

To some this lying may seem small, just another defect among many, but to me it is so much more. Honesty is the foundation of character. The truth is the common base from which all else is built.

And yet, this man feels completely unbound by it. He has no respect or reverence for it. For him, honesty is an option, one that he feels no compulsion to choose.

 “When we are overwhelmed with false, or potentially false, statements, our brains pretty quickly become so overworked that we stop trying to sift through everything. It’s called cognitive load — our limited cognitive resources are overburdened. It doesn’t matter how implausible the statements are; throw out enough of them, and people will inevitably absorb some. Eventually, without quite realizing it, our brains just give up trying to figure out what is true.”

This notion that Trump is damaging the sanctity and purity of truth, that truth in the Trump era operates on a floating scale, that for the Trump apologists truth has become a minor inconvenience, should have us all objecting in earnest.

This notion that Trump is damaging the sanctity and purity of truth, that truth in the Trump era operates on a floating scale, that for the Trump apologists truth has become a minor inconvenience, should have us all objecting in earnest

Click for the full article. Well written

EFM- I taught ethics for several years, The bulk of human error was "situational ethics" or "moral egoism> What is ok for you, your spouse/family, community, business et al, then it is ok. Or that someone else has been able to do something with nobody (authorities, private organizations regulators) caring/bothering, then , 'why not'. It is endemic in the planning business, so again, 'why not'. The various rules per UPIA or the DOL will help deter the most flagrant acts, but don't expect much. I never had to teach real life economics and planning for licensing  since because it was never tested. Want an example to help you look?  What did your adviser they do via the inverted yield curve both in 2000 and 2006.

Don't know what the implications? Read below a few paragraphs.If they are clueless to even the words, I suggest you run away.

I am in the lane for Irma. Probably lose electric on Sunday for a few days
  1. Contests as selection mechanisms: The impact of risk aversion




March, Christoph ; Sahm, Marco

We investigate how individual risk preferences affect the likelihood of selecting the more able contestant within a two-player Tullock contest. Our theoretical model yields two main predictions: First, an increase in the risk aversion of a player worsens her odds unless she already has a sufficiently large advantage. Second, if the prize money is sufficiently large, a less able but less risk averse contestant can achieve an equal or even higher probability of winning than a more able but more risk averse opponent. In a laboratory experiment we confirm both, the non-monotonic impact and the compensating effect of risk aversion on winning probabilities. Our results suggest a novel explanation for the gender gap and the optimality of limited monetary incentives in selection contests.




I can barely catch a bass on Lake Rouseau and this thing hangs from a tree.......

9/9: Microcaps comprise 60% of stocks but only 3% of market value


Benefits & Administration

Americans Underestimate Long-Term Financial Needs

Despite being confident about their current financial situation, a large portion of Americans significantly underestimate the projected costs of living in retirement, according to a recent survey by independent adviser Financial Engines. The study found that 58% of respondents at least 65 years of age and 76% of those between the ages of 55 and 64 believe the average married couple retiring at age 65 would need between $50,000 and $200,000 for health care. Financial Engines estimates the actual figure is $266,000.

Read more >

Saving for Retirement Not Feasible for Many Women

Saving for retirement is not economically feasible for 44% of middle-income women, MassMutual found in a survey. By comparison, this is the case for only 14% of men with annual household incomes of between $35,000 and $150,000. Thirty-nine percent of these women and 35% of these men say they do not feel very or at all financially secure, and 47% of women say they are not very or at all confident they will be financially secure in retirement.

Read more >

Hitler Llama
Look at those eyes- pure evil

(So beautiful with fur, so ugly when sheared )
9/9: Should have been done a long time ago.

Betsy DeVos Says She Will Rewrite Rules on Campus Sex Assault


The education secretary said in a speech that the Obama administration had gone too far and had forced colleges to deprive accused students of their rights

9/9: Home prices

9/9: Retail Sales


9/8: Now this is a major hacker ability- shutting down major cities. Be sure to read second paragraph. Enlightening

Hackers gain direct access to US power grid controls,” by Wired Magazine's Andy Greenberg: “Security firm Symantec is warning that a series of recent hacker attacks not only compromised energy companies in the US and Europe but also resulted in the intruders gaining hands-on access to power grid operations — enough control that they could have induced blackouts on American soil at will. … Never before have hackers been shown to have that level of control of American power company systems,

In February 2013, [Russian General Valery Gerasimov] laid out a new theory of modern warfare — one that looks more like hacking an enemy’s society than attacking it head-on.
Thanks to the internet and social media, the kinds of operations Soviet psy-ops teams once could only fantasize about — upending the domestic affairs of nations with information alone — are now plausible. The Gerasimov Doctrine builds a framework for these new tools, and declares that non-military tactics are not auxiliary to the use of force but the preferred way to win. … That they are, in fact, the actual war.

9/8: U.S. Debt

Debt Burden

Debt serves as a regulator of economic growth and is the focus of ill-advised fiscal and monetary policy. It is no coincidence that no matter what economic topic we explore, debt is usually a central theme. Illustrated in the chart below is the actual trajectory of total U.S. debt outstanding (black) through March 2017 and a calculated parabolic curve (red). The parabolic curve uses 1951 as a starting point and a quarterly 1.82% compounding factor to create the best statistical fit to the actual debt curve. If we start with the $434 billion of debt outstanding on December 1951 and grow it by 1.82% each quarter thereafter, the result is the gray line. If debt outstanding continues to follow this parabolic curve, it will exceed $60 trillion by the first quarter of 2020, or nine quarters from now

Barring negative interest rates, debt service costs will be an insurmountable burden by 2020. However, if the debt trajectory slows as it did in 2008 that too will bring about painful consequences. In other words, all roads lead to trouble.

9/8: Repeated ad nauseam, we have some major issues in the U.S. but it pales quickly when we look globally.
Fighting for survival in Yemen 
The country’s civil war has triggered one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises: two-thirds of the population face food shortages and lack access to clean water; more than 5,000 civilians have been killed in the hostilities; 7m are on the brink of famine. Now a cholera epidemic is raging across the country, with more than half a million infected. And the conflict, a proxy war between two regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, shows little sign of ending

9/8: This only gets worse

Opioids hit America’s jobs market 
Surging use of opioids in the US is impeding the jobs market recovery, according to new research that links increased use of painkillers with declines in the share of men participating in the labour force.

EFM-And this is a fallacy about the government just giving people instead of working for it. (The element of robots taking overa much of everything is true.) The problem is that a large number of teen agAers will use the money to buy more drugs to offset the pure boredom of their existence

Here's more from the Brookings Institute

In 2016, Princeton economist Alan Krueger made headlines with a shocking finding that nearly half of prime age men (or men ages 25 to 54) who are not in the labor force take pain medication on a daily basis. Two-thirds of those men—or about 2 million—take prescription pain medication on a daily basis.

Where have all the workers gone? An inquiry into the decline of the U.S. labor force participation rate

9/8:ational Council for Aging Care
1530 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22209

9/7: The Problem with Using a Funded Ratio to Track Progress Toward Retirement
"The virtue of the funded ratio is that it takes an abstract account balance and relates it directly to a goal or outcome, and can give savers a sense of accomplishment as the percentage slowly and steadily climbs towards 100%. The bad news, though, is that once account balances grow large, the funded ratio itself can become highly volatile as markets move up and down, and the discount rate used to calculate the funded ratio can unwittingly turn into an indirect absolute return benchmark that is difficult to keep up with."

I have a provisional patent that  solves the problem. Basically you can retain a higher return and your loss is nothing more than 12% even in a recession.

Substantial Room for Improvement’ in Investors’ Financial IQ: AMG Funds

This is the standard statistical inane article put out by planning firms/publication et al ad nauseam. Talks about diversification, rebalancing, etc. and certainly about risk. Nice thoughts- but universally wrong in that there is no way an adviser or client will know risk by some number coming from a very expensive software program that knows the color of your eyes and whether or not you liked your grandfather, flowers and so on. Risk is how much you could lose  in a bad economic fallout (recession), whether or not you are willing to lose that much and, if not, what you can do about it. This  will be dealt with as part  the patent identified above.

9/7:  Robots good, people bad

John Cryan, the chief executive of Deutsche Bank has warned that a "big number" of staff at the company will ultimately be replaced by robots and other forms of technology.

9/7: 500 year  Flood  

Oh Really??!!!

Rather than predicting the timing of a flood, these terms refer to the chance of it occurring at all.

A 500-year event has a 1 in 500 chance of occurring in a single year.

A 100-year event has a 1 in 100 chance of occurring in a single year.

A 10-year event has a 1 in 10 chance of occurring in a single year.

EFM- and pay attention to this  "

But changing landscapes — and a changing climate — could alter the probability of flooding.

“We’re looking at historical data when really we have something that is called non-stationarity,” Dr. Knight said. “The world isn’t stationary anymore and the hydrology isn’t. The landscape isn’t. So why are we still presuming the future will look like the past?”

9/6: NASD returns through August

9/6: AAII Bullish and bearish

9/6: AI- artificial intelligence- WWIII???

“Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind,”Putin said, according to RT. “It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”

The rise of AI and the alleged risks it presents humanity has previously been raised by Musk, who in July told U.S. governors that they should get proactive about AI regulation “before it’s too late.”

Proper artificial intelligence — not the kind currently used by large tech companies and even dubious initial coin offerings — would involve technology that is “self-aware,” a computer that could not only outthink humans but could also potentially start making moral judgments based on its own sentience.

Researchers at Oxford University predicted that AI has a higher risk of causing human extinction than other threats to humanity, such as climate change and asteroids. Microsoft Corp. Chris Bishop also subscribes to the Musk AI viewpoint, claiming that humanity faces a future that includes a “Terminator-style wasteland” caused by “ultra-intelligent machines.”

EFM- at some point, computers will win. Maybe by 2050 but certainly before 2100.

What;s one thing it will do? Determine the severity of massive storms (Harvey, Irma) and which are the best people to save. Maybe bomb a country, potentially with nuclear weapons, since the computers of the two countries simply cannot find a logical way out so devastation is next. So even if millions die, there is a winner given the best chance to build another civilization. As Lenin (or was it Stalin) said- a single death is a tragedy; a million deaths a statistic.

Men are tormented by the opinions they have of things, rather than by the things themselves

9/6:Gold gets no return and the bonds lose


9/6": Oil futures

Pump prices went up quickly when refineries stopped work. Now that they are going to full output, I wonder how long the prices will stay up.

97 million full-time workers are now living paycheck to paycheck

St. Louis Federal Reserve: the personal saving rate in June 2017 was a measly 3.8%. In effect, it means working Americans are putting away just $3.80 for every $100 they earn. For the average American earning $30,000 annually, that equates to just $1,140 a year in savings.

So, what are we doing with our money? Considering that the U.S. economy is 70% based on consumption, we're probably buying things. In fact, we're probably buying more stuff than we can reasonably afford. The Federal Reserve recently released data showing that aggregate credit card debt had hit an all-time high of $1.027 trillion, eclipsing the previous high that was set before the Great Recession. Add in well over a trillion in auto-loan and student-loan debt, and we have a growing profile of debts that Americans are struggling to pay.

If we utilize full-time employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2016 (123.8 million full-time workers), it means about 97 million of those full-time workers are living paycheck to paycheck. That includes 23% who said they always lived paycheck to paycheck, 17% who claimed they usually do, and 38% who noted that they sometimes do.

Roughly 9% of workers making $100,000 or more annually was living paycheck to paycheck, and 59% of these highest-income folks were carrying around debt. In the middle-income to middle-upper-income bracket of $50,000 to $99,999 in annual income, 28% were living paycheck to paycheck, and 70% were in debt.

 Just 19% of workers surveyed admitted to saving more than $501 monthly, while at the other end of the spectrum, 56% were saving less than $100 a month, including 26% with no monthly savings whatsoever.

EFM- I obviously do not know when this all hits the fan, but I think it could be worse than 2008

9/6: Houston pales next to this:

Nearly 125,000 mostly Rohingya refugees have entered Bangladesh since a fresh upsurge of violence in Myanmar on August 25, the United Nations said on Tuesday, as fears grow of a humanitarian crisis in the overstretched camps.
Their arrival has raised fears of a fresh humanitarian disaster as already crowded camps in Bangladesh -- home to around 400,000 Rohingya refugees before the latest crisis -- struggle to cope with the influx.
Many are sleeping in the open air and are in dire need of food and water after walking for days to reach safety, the UN's main coordinator in Bangladesh said in a report.

9/6: Just when the undocumented are branded as 'enemies of the state', they are going to be needed- lots of them

Undocumented workers could be key to Texas recovery

“If they deport all of us, who will rebuild?” says Enríquez, 36, waiting along with about two dozen other laborers seeking work. “We do more for less.”

  1. Are Mutual Fund Managers Paid For Investment Skill?




Ibert, Marcus ; Kaniel, Ron ; van Nieuwerburgh, Stijn ; Vestman, Roine

Compensation of mutual fund managers is paramount to understanding agency frictions in asset delegation. We collect a unique registry-based dataset on the compensation of Swedish mutual fund managers. We find a concave relationship between pay and revenue, in contrast to how investors compensate the fund company (firm). We also find a surprisingly weak sensitivity of pay to performance, even after accounting for the indirect effects of performance on revenue. Firm-level fixed effects, revenues, and profits add substantial explanatory power for compensation.


financial sector income; mutual fund performance; Portfolio manager compensation


G00 G23 J24 J31 J33 J44


9/5: Inverted yield curve and poor financial planning

I have harped on this well before 2000. When the yield curve inverts, it has been a 100% indicator of a recession. But were planners aware of it? No- it wasn't not taught as part of the series 7 or CFP or ChFC or PFS curriculum. Nothing in CFA material in the 90s. How did I find it? I subscribed to several FED Reserve newsletter. And there it was in plain view. Found other material as well. (Amazing that you can find stuff with a little effort.) Posted a lot of it at my site. Did it do any good? Nope. Never saw an article that expressly pointed out the correlation. Pundits have simply turned a deaf ear or give some bad press that data could not be confirmed. Rubbish- it was all after the fact.

But now comes 2006. Inverted yield curve. Posted at my site. Could not guarantee it would happen- but it is generally around 12- 14 months before recession starts. Doesn't say how bad, how long it will last- just that it should happen. Did I see articles in major publications in 2006? Not that I remember (though there must have been SOMETHING SOMEWHERE.).
Bernanke did note that there was such a demand for US Treasuries that the yield went down. That was it.
The result were thousands upon thousands of 'investors' that lost up to a trillion. Retirees losing almost everything...... Planning is not a profession if material like this is not taught- even recognized.

. Click the link above and watch the short video. Very illuminating and nails the necessity of watching the curve.

Dr. Komal Sri-Kumar, the president of macroeconomic consulting firm Sri-Kumar Global Strategies, says to keep an eye on the spread between the 2-year and 10-year Treasury yields, which has historically signaled a recession when it narrows down to zero. Overall, he watches the bond market for hints at a potential recession to come.

9/5: Can this be stopped? I don't think so

The First Count of Fentanyl Deaths in 2016: Up 540% in Three Years

The first governmental account of nationwide drug deaths in 2016 shows overdose deaths growing even faster than previously thought.

  1. The stabilizing effect of volatility in financial markets




Davide Valenti ; Giorgio Fazio ; Bernardo Spagnolo

In financial markets, greater volatility is usually considered synonym of greater risk and instability. However, large market downturns and upturns are often preceded by long periods where price returns exhibit only small fluctuations. To investigate this surprising feature, here we propose using the mean first hitting time, i.e. the average time a stock return takes to undergo for the first time a large negative or positive variation, as an indicator of price stability, and relate this to a standard measure of volatility. In an empirical analysis of daily returns for $1071$ stocks traded in the New York Stock Exchange, we find that this measure of stability displays nonmonotonic behavior, with a maximum, as a function of volatility. Also, we show that the statistical properties of the empirical data can be reproduced by a nonlinear Heston model. This analysis implies that, contrary to conventional wisdom, not only high, but also low volatility values can be associated with higher instability in financial markets.


9/5: Flooded cars

You really need to be careful

9/3: Disaster zones. Not looking good for U.S.

9/3: And more controversy Trump pushing to cancel trade deal with S. Korea, which could stoke tensions as they face the N. Korea nuclear crisis
The move is drawing resistance from senior White House officials including National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn,

9/3" Bike Sharing
Ingenuous way to get around cities. Pick a bike that is located at various areas in a city. Ride it for as long as you need it and then lock it up. Started in China and is moving globally.
Could it work here? Debatable. Gangs would simply take them and sell them in Mexico. Or simply beat them to death. Dump them in pools. Use your imagination for Oakland.

But no sooner than I posted this but China is noting that the program is not working as planned. The reason- people abusing the product and system

 If you had a bad day, it could not be as bad as this or maybe this ...................

then again..................

9/3: From Tony Steuer
Worked with him several years ago. Smart guy

Following are a few insurance tips that may help:


Washington, D.C. – U.S. house prices rose 1.6 percent in the second quarter of 2017 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI). House prices rose 6.6 percent from the second quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2017. FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for June was up 0.1 percent from May.

The HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. FHFA has produced a video of highlights for this quarter.

“U.S. house prices rose in nearly every state during the second quarter,” said FHFA Senior Economist William Doerner. “New home sales are climbing but, relative to the overall population, they still remain low from a historical perspective. The tight inventory is a major explanation for why house prices have been increasing every quarter over the last six years.” [Link to report


9/3" Flood Insurance   Good article

About 1% of the highest-risk homes have received about 30% of funds from the program. More than 30,000 homes across the U.S. are classified as “severe repetitive loss” homes — properties that have been rebuilt with government funds an average of five times.

EFM- they should not be insured when policies expire. These will simply become 'dead zones'. It is illogical to build stuff that will be lost in just a few years. We should not pay for a bad bet


If you’re looking for another way to help pay for college, Federal Work-Study may be a great option for you. Work-study is a way for students to earn money to pay for school through part-time on- (and sometimes off-) campus jobs. The program gives students an opportunity to gain valuable work experience while pursuing a college degree. However, not every school participates in the Federal Work-Study Program. Schools that do participate have a limited amount of funds they can award to eligible...

.9/3:Lowered fees

After Seven Years of Declining, DC Fees Remain Flat

Defined contribution (DC) plan fees—including recordkeeping, trust and custody fees—remained flat this year, NEPC found in a survey. The median fee per participant is $59, just a slight increase from $57 in 2016. This follows the previous seven years when the fees declined. In 2006, when NEPC first conducted this survey, the fees were $118.

9/3: Houston

Harvey could wind up being the most expensive natural disaster in American history. It could cost the economy about $190B, according to AccuWeather, which predicts it will total more than Katrina and Sandy combined. "You had the greatest rainfall ever measured in the continental U.S... damage to the supply chain across the country, jobs lost and health problems."

EFM-I had started an article on the changes our civilization will endure up to 2050 and more. One was the fact that climate forecasters indicating we would see fewer storms but with greater ferocity. Then the flood water of unimaginable rain occurs. Forecasters noted that this was a 1 in 1000 odds of occurring. But that is under the 'old' standards.on weather.
It will take years of rebuilding for only a certain number that have money and/or flood insurance. The government is shutting down its flood insurance policies- it has been underwater for a long time. Private insurance will be willing to cover for an extravagant cost. Probably kill most new sales and as such, would kill the reconstruction  before it begins. Why bother to build when you cannot pay the flood insurance and even when nothing might happen for the next ten years, potential buyers wouldn't bother taking over the massive risk.

I have noted that all of New Orleans will be inundated again before 2025. It would be foolish to spend billions after that for another rebuilding and it may end up a dead zone. 

9/3:Less than Half of Employed Americans Have Workplace Group Life Insurance

Survey: Not from lack of interest... Employers are just not offering it

When asked if they had auto, health or home insurance, 80 percent of Americans say they have at least two of these. But over half of employed Americans (55 percent) don’t have voluntary group life insurance provided by their employer.

EFM- huge need that should be offered to the neediest (lower paid) employees. But no matter the need, it's the bottom line for most small businesses. An endless loop.

9/3" Huge debt- Experian finds total student loan balances increased 149 percent since 2007

Over the last decade, student loan debt in the United States has grown more than $833 billion to reach an all-time high of $1.4 trillion.

9/3: Syria

Could a different American strategy have averted, or at least mitigated, the Syrian war’s terrible toll?

The researchers considered six alternative strategies. To be as rigorous as possible and avoid any biases, they used five separate analytical models to evaluate each strategy. In effect, then, this report consists of 30 studies.

9/3: Dying

9/3:: Oops my bad


8/31: Baby it's Hot Outside

Average temperatures have risen in every US state since the early 1900s, causing extreme summers, longer wildfire and allergy seasons, declines in crop and livestock production, and the spread of tropical diseases to be more common.

Earth is warming at a pace unprecedented in 1,000 years

The past three years were the hottest on record, and in 2017, temperatures have already reached their highest levels in history in some areas, from California to Vietnam. By the 2050s, New York City could see up to seven heat waves per year, with maximum temperatures at or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit for about 60 days — twice what the city currently experiences

8/31: Read the last part. Bodes well for economy
Increasing numbers of containers have been flowing through US ports despite protectionist threats from Mr Trump. Six of the nine largest ports — including Long Beach, California and Savannah, Georgia — have broken monthly records for traffic in the past year. (FT)

I think that is great

8/31:We have it bad- they have it worse

Floods hit South Asia 
It's not only Texas that's been battered by torrential rain. More than 1,000 people are believed to have been killed in severe flooding that has swept South Asia. Mumbai, India's business hub, has been brought to a halt and authorities are struggling to evacuate people. Many are blaming the unusually heavy monsoon rains on climate change. (Guardian)

8/31: But it will plummet in this quarter due to Houston

US economic growth pace revised up to 3% in second quarter


The rate of US growth picked up more steam than initially thought in the second quarter, signalling building momentum since the beginning of the year.

A second estimate showed gross domestic product had climbed at an annualised rate of 3 per cent over the period, according to the commerce department on Wednesday. The preliminary reading had showed gross domestic product climbing at an annualised rate of 2.6 per cent over the period, from 1.2 per cent in the first quarter.

Donald Cat- trump

8/31:Trump’s apprenticeship initiative is a step toward greater equality of opportunity

This is good

Trump's recent executive order to expand apprenticeship programs could help streamline training programs for American workers and fill the country’s record number of job vacancies..


Epilepsy, or seizure disorder, is a neurological condition that comes from abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Epilepsy is a chronic disorder that is typically diagnosed once there has been a history of two or more seizures that were not provoked by a specific preceding cause. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 3 million Americans have epilepsy. The incidence is highest in early childhood and has recently begun to become more prevalent in the elderly

There are some things you do not wash

(That face is so bad you could use it for Halloween)

8/30: Uncle Milty

EFM- He wasn't exactly wrong. Time changes everything but NO ONE could have ever predicted a crash like 2008 and the resulting chaos of interest rates.

8/30: Mortality rates attributable to climate change by county in the US.
Florida is all red. Guess I will have to move at some point. Ain't catching any decent bass anyway

Several factors will contribute to the rising death toll, which were previously documented by many other reports on climate change. A 2012 report by the Climate Vulnerability Monitor cited flooding, heat waves, wildfires, and crop shortages as some of the primary issues. Other problems expected to affect America's South include elevated energy use (to cool homes and buildings during heat waves) and increasing costs related to weather damage on the nation's coast.


“Are Many Retirees With Dementia Lacking Help?”

by Anek Belbase, Geoffrey T. Sanzenbacher, and Sara Ellen King  

The brief’s key findings are:

8/29: Adult Day Care

Caregivers who are just beginning their journey may feel adult day care services are for later stages of their loved one’s situation. The sooner caregivers locate and enroll their family member in a program, the greater the benefit for all concerned. Finding the appropriate day care can be challenging, but has grown much easier over time.

More adult day care centers are popping up in different areas. You may begin to notice more of them than you did previously, which expands options for places to start.


Well meaning family and friends may have suggested day care, using a variety of rationales that can sometimes border on invasive. If you are the primary caregiver, take the suggestions into consideration, while firmly stopping anything that makes you uncomfortable. But, take the opportunity to tell everyone offering advice that when you are ready to look for a site, you will appreciate their help.

The concerns you may have about quality of care and cost are valid. The intangible concerns of whether it is the “right” decision may require more thought and even some counseling through local support groups. You must feel comfortable about your choice to utilize day care to enhance your relationship with your loved one, and improve their day-to-day experience.

Once you come to the decision that day care will enhance your loved one’s experiences and offer you peace of mind, you can begin looking for facilities to meet your needs.


National organizations are especially helpful if your loved one spends time with family out of your area. Begin by learning which resources are state managed. Contact the local Area Agency on Aging and/or ADRC in the area where your loved one lives. 

The Alzheimer’s Association has a community resource finder on their site with a zip code locator for the division serving your area, and other service friendly carriers to help with your search. Their section on adding caregiving skills can be utilized to help caregivers manage their experience before and after the loved one has entered a suitable day care environment. Since caregiver and loved one’s needs change after daycare placement, evaluating caregiving skills diminishes stress levels. Do navigate the entire site to find hidden gems that will enhance your creativity in searching for options.

Your city and county guides online will connect you with day care centers. Some facilities are privately owned and operated, and will be found through phone directories or advertisements. Interview every facility to your comfort level, remembering that you will eventually need to make a decision.

Some facilities may be difficult to get into, and switching from one to another isn’t an easy solution. Inquire about temporary admission, which will free up space in the program for long-term care needs, and allow you to test how that particular center meets everyone’s needs. If you are able to set up more than one of these situations, it can stave off the anxiety of finding a permanent program, or passing the time of being on a waiting list for your first choice.


Adult day care is a managed program that is designed for specific individuals who cannot stay at home by themselves. Frail elderly persons, individuals with memory loss, or seniors with other challenges are candidates for day care.

Facilities are managed by state or local programs, including non-profit organizations. Private day care may be a franchise, or run by an individual who rents or owns a facility.

Clients are overseen during the hours they attend. Hours will vary, but generally span regular business hours (9 a.m to 5 p.m) to accommodate caregivers who work outside the home.

Meals, snacks and activities are part of the day care experience. There may be trips to shopping centers (with caregiver permission), restaurants or other off site expeditions. Each facility offers a calendar of activities to orient loved one and family to the day care structure. Most programs include arts and crafts, music, time for rest and visiting with other clients.

Reputable day care programs focus on “caring.” Clients are offered a place to enjoy the day with an emphasis on retaining self esteem. Day care is not a “dumping ground”! Although loved ones (especially those with dementia) may resist attending, staff members are skilled in making clients feel comfortable. Loved ones will share stories about their day, perhaps bringing home crafts made in “class.” Activities will span the range of clients’ abilities.

Adult day care is an enhancement to the journey of caregiver and loved one. Family members can enjoy a sense of security that their loved one is attended to. Loved ones can develop a life outside the home that is interesting, fun and safe. They do not have to worry, and if they show concern or anxiety, staff will reassure them as needed.

As an arrangement to delay or eliminate placement in a long-term care facility, day care is a preferred option by lay and professional caregivers. The combination of activities, change of atmosphere and competent personnel can deliver quality care. For some individuals, day care offers a unique type of “therapy” that doesn’t require a doctor’s order.


Caregivers will have an improved relationship with their loved one. Stress reduction may be the apparent bonus, but the joy of seeing a loved one interact with others can improve everyone’s overall outlook. Even the “normal” aging process has its progressive side, but day care can become a restorative force in a loved one’s journey.

Programs may offer caregivers options for counseling and support, and information about other possibilities such as at home respite care.

Connecting with other caregivers serves as a reminder that many individuals have chosen the path to work with their loved one by delivering “hands on” care. Relationships outside of day care may be formed over time, creating new friends and resources.

Feeling alone is an unwelcome side effect for caregiver and loved one. Day care reaches out to both individuals, creating a solid atmosphere of support. The miracle of connection with others can be explored in a professional environment that yields many personal benefits.


Change is an expected part of our daily lives today. Dealing with it so that YOU control IT rather than vice versa is an important and positive force in controlling your life. Try a few of these tips.

  1. Accept what you cannot change. Take a tip from AA. Change what you can, if it bothers you. But, if you cannot change it, learn to live with it.
  2. Face up to your problems. Sort them out, and see which ones are real and which are simply imagined. Deal with them as they are, and not what you think they are.
  3. Deal with one problem at a time. Sort out your priorities, and deal with them in the order of their importance to you.
  4. Be flexible. Give in once and a while. If you do, others will too.
  5. Don’t hold all of your worries inside yourself—talk it out. Frequently we swallow our unhappiness (along with candy, cake, ice cream, etc.) because we can’t let the problems out. Talk to someone. A burden shared is much less of a burden.
  6. Work off Stress. Physical outlets for stress help your body to fight off many of the negative results of stress.
  7. Get enough rest/relaxation/sleep. Give your body a chance to recover from day to day. Lack of sleep and rest will only make matters worse for you.
  8. Avoid “self medication.” A “spoonful of sugar” may make the “medicine go down,” but it does your body no good. Sugar, alcohol, nicotine, and ice cream may all feel good going down, but they make matters worse— from the inside. They add to your body’s physical stresses, thus making dealing with external stresses much harder.
  9. “Take time to smell the roses.” Have some fun. Relax.
  10. Think about and do something for others. A little altruism never hurt. It even makes people feel better about themselves.
  11. Be the “captain of your ship.”  If you are not happy with your life, think about what’s wrong or missing, and then plan the necessary actions to change it to coincide with your needs and desires for your life. 
  12. Work on your relationships with those who share your life. Don’t hold back your feelings. Share them with your family and friends and co- corkers. It can help to decrease tensions.

I'm sure she will be a success

8/28: Robinson, James Harvey . The Mind in the Making The Relation of Intelligence to Social Reform If some magical transformation could be produced in men's ways of looking at themselves and their fellows, no inconsiderable part of the evils which now afflict society would vanish away or remedy themselves automatically. If the majority of influential persons held the opinions and occupied the point of view that a few rather uninfluential people now do, there would,  for instance, be no likelihood of another great war; the whole problem of "labor and capital" would be transformed and attenuated; national arrogance, race animosity, political corruption, and inefficiency would all be reduced below the danger point. As an old Stoic proverb has it, men are tormented by the opinions they have of things, rather than by the things themselves. This is eminently true of many of our worst problems to-day. We have available knowledge and ingenuity and material resources to make a far fairer world than that in which we find ourselves, but various obstacles prevent our intelligently availing ourselves of them. The object of this book is to substantiate this proposition, to exhibit with entire frankness the tremendous difficulties that stand in the way of such a beneficent change of mind, and to point out as clearly as may be some of the measures to be taken in order to overcome them..

When we contemplate the shocking derangement of human affairs which now prevails in most civilized countries, including our own, even the best minds are puzzled and uncertain in their attempts to grasp the situation. The world seems to demand a moral and economic regeneration which it is dangerous to postpone, but as yet impossible to imagine, let alone direct. The preliminary intellectual regeneration which would put our leaders in a position to determine and control the course of affairs has not taken place. We have unprecedented conditions to deal with and novel adjustments to make—there can be no doubt of that. We also have a great stock of scientific knowledge unknown to our grandfathers with which to operate. So novel are the conditions, so copious the knowledge, that we must undertake the arduous task of reconsidering a great part of the opinions about man and his relations to his fellow-men which have been handed down to us by previous generations who lived in far other conditions and possessed far less information about the world and themselves. We have, however, first to create an unprecedented attitude of mind to cope with unprecedented conditions, and to utilize unprecedented knowledge

1921: Almost a century ago and we have not gotten that far at all. I do not believe human kind will ever muster the effort to right the wrongs he so clearly addresses. In my lifetime I noted that people found it a lot easier to talk about their ethics than to live up to them. It is absolutely true of the numbers of planners who say they have always done  the right thing for their clients.yet have next to no hard data or work to substantiate their claim.


Fascinating art
Yes, it is a mural on a building

"The Labor Market Impact of Undocumented Immigrants: Job Creation vs. Job Competition" Free Download
CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6575

CHRISTOPH ALBERT, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Students

This paper explores the labor market impact of both documented and undocumented immigration in a model featuring search frictions and non-random hiring that generates predictions consistent with novel patterns documented in data. Due to their lower earnings, a rise in the share of immigrant workers in the economy leads to the creation of additional jobs, but also more job competition for natives. As undocumented immigrants earn the lowest wages of all workers, their job creation effect is large, whereas it is small and potentially negative for documented immigrants. Model simulations show that the job creation effect of undocumented immigration dominates the competition effect, leading to gains in terms of both employment and wages for natives, which does not hold in case of documented immigration. Stricter immigration enforcement in form of a higher deportation risk for undocumented immigrants mutes job creation and raises the unemployment rate of all workers, having an even larger detrimental effect if it targets employed immigrants because this leads to a risk premium in their wages. I present empirical evidence that gives support to the qualitative predictions of the model.

8/27:  A household headed by an 80-year-old spends 43% less than a household headed by a 50-year-old. Older people suffer physical limitations that make them less capable of spending money.

3D art is fascinating

8/27: The numbers just get worse and worse

Thirty-Eight Percent of Workers Do Not Participate in Their Retirement Plan:

Eighteen percent of workers reduced their 401(k) contributions and/or personal savings in the past year, CareerBuilder found in a survey. Thirty-eight percent do not participate in a 401(k) plan, individual retirement account (IRA) or any other type of retirement plan. Twenty-six percent did not set aside any savings during the last year. One-quarter of workers said they were not able to make ends meet each month in the past year, and 20% have missed some payments.
Read more »

8/27: Good for her!!!!!!

Fed Chair Janet Yellen Rejects Trump Effort to Scrap Dodd-Frank

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Friday defended the web of regulations the Fed helped enact after the 2008 financial crisis, saying it helped restore the banking system's health and disputing criticism that the rules have hurt lending.

Yellen said the Fed is prepared to adjust the regulations as needed to help financial institutions. But in a speech to an annual conference of central bankers in Jackson Hole, she implicitly rejected efforts by Republicans, including President Donald Trump, to scrap the 2010 Dodd-Frank law as a threat to the economy.

8/27: Good for him!!!!!

GaryCohn said he considered quitting the White House over the president's widely condemned response to violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Cohn said he ultimately chose not to leave because of the duty he feels to his job.

The duty to the American people trumped (notice the pun) a personal issue

8/27: Workers’ Comp 101

8/27:According to data from the Social Security Administration, a man reaching age 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 84.3. A woman turning age 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 86.6. About one out of every four 65-year-olds today will live past age 90, and one out of 10 will live past age 95.

8/27: I do not see a way out of this comment and the one below that

Half of the jobs in America currently pay less than $18 an hour, according to Labor Department data. That’s about $37,000 a year if someone works full-time. Forty percent of jobs in the country pay less than $15.50, according to the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. There’s always debate about what constitutes a “good-paying job,” but it’s notable that manufacturing jobs, which President Trump campaigned on bringing back, pay over $20.50 an hour, on average.

Economists are stumped at how unemployment can be so low — 4.3 percent nationally and a mere 2.8 percent in Millikan’s home county — and so many CEOs complain they can’t get enough good workers, yet wages are barely rising. Some blame robots and overseas outsourcing for keeping wages low. Other says the labor market really isn’t as “tight” as it appears, since many Americans in their prime working years have given up looking for jobs.

Median household income, a good gauge of middle-class pay, peaked in 1999 under President Bill Clinton, according to census data. In the nearly two decades since then, households have seen their modest gains eaten away by inflation.

research found that the best paid workers — the top 5 percent — have seen their pay jump 22 percent from 2000 to July 2017. The bottom half haven’t even seen their pay rise 5 percent in that same period.

About half of America has $0 in the stock market

Fascinating Art

8/27 Very sobering

:Almost 8 out of 10 American workers say they live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder. That can force people to take on debt or otherwise struggle when an unexpected bill arises. It also raises questions about the stability of the broader economy given that consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of activity.

"Living paycheck to paycheck is the new way of life for U.S. workers," he said. "It's not just one salary range. It's pretty much across the board, and it's trending in the wrong direction."
A year ago, about 75 percent of U.S. workers said they were living from payday to payday, a number that has grown to 78 percent this year.

With the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting about 122 million full-time workers, the poll suggests 95 million of those adults could be living paycheck to paycheck. Through July, average hourly earnings were up 2.5 percent, according to labor data -- that's still below the 3 percent to 4 percent gains seen before the recession.

. Almost one of 10 workers who earn more than six figures annually said they are living paycheck to paycheck, according to CareerBuilder. That may seem surprising, but families who live in regions with a high cost of living may feel almost as strapped as lower-income households

About 40 percent of adults with a high school degree or less said they are scrambling to keep afloat, or more than twice the number of Americans with at least a college degree, according to the Federal Reserve. CareerBuilder found that about half of workers who earn less than $50,000 per year are always living paycheck-to-paycheck, compared with 28 percent of those earning between $50,000 to $100,000.

About 18 percent of workers said they cut back on their 401k contributions or personal savings in the last year, and more than one-third don't put away money for retirement

only a  third of workers stick to a budget

A woman scorned

(Absolutely priceless)

8/25: 10 ways to reduce slips, trips and falls in your business

LOTS of liability

8/25:il price fluctuations have small but long-lasting effects on core inflation
Using a novel econometric approach, Cristina Conflitti of the Banca d’Italia and Matteo Luciani of the Federal Reserve Board examine the impact of oil price fluctuations on non-energy prices. They find that oil price changes have a small but persistent effect on core inflation (inflation excluding energy and food), contrary to the existing literature which finds no effect. In particular, they estimate that the plunge in oil prices from roughly $100 to $30 per barrel between July 2014 to February 2016 decreased core personal consumption expenditure price inflation, the Fed’s favorite measure, by a quarter of a percentage point in 2015 and a third of a percentage point in 2016. The downward pressure is likely to persist until 2020,

EFM- Never thought I'd see oil this low. I remember the lines at gas stations in the early 70's. (Yes I am old)
By the same token who would have thunk of the earthquakes in Oklahoma et al due to shale oil drilling. I think tehre are going to be some major problems with horizontal drilling etc as we pump more oil out.

When the world changes as it did ten years ago, policies, especially monetary policy, need to be adjusted. Such an adjustment, never easy,
 requires unprejudiced, honest assessment of the new realities with clear eyes, unencumbered by the defense of previously held paradigms that have lost any explanatory power…

Mario Draghi”

8/24: Permafrost

“There’s a massive amount of carbon that’s in the ground, that’s built up slowly over thousands and thousands of years. It’s been in a freezer, and that freezer is now turning into a refrigerator.”

EFM- So we have thousands of tons of carbon that will turn on the climate and make it worse. Then think about a number of disease that have been frozen for centuries- that we don't even know about- that will be turned to humans who may then die worldwide

... men seem blindly driven to defend and perpetuate the conditions which produced the last disaster.

Robinson, James Harvey. The Mind in the Making The Relation of Intelligence to Social Reform, 1921


• Hunting a killer: the return of syphilis.

The sexually transmitted infection, which can lead to blindness, paralysis, dementia and even death, is spreading around the U.S.

It’s another consequence of the heroin and methamphetamine epidemics, as users trade sex for drugs. EFM- and Opiods

8/24: End of Life Issues

Advance directives: Legally accurate name for Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney.

C P R (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation): Non-surgical massage of a heart which has stopped to try to get the organ working again. Procedure will almost always be started unless there is a D N R (See Below) order.

Competent/competency: The ability of a person to communicate with a physician and understand the implications and consequences of medical procedures.

D N R (Do not resuscitate): An order on the patient's medical chart advising health professionals that extraordinary measures should not be used to attempt to save this person's life.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care: An advance directive by which a patint nominates another person to make health care decisions if and when the patient becomes incompetent, thus allowing a treating physician to obtain informed consent to a medical procedure or withdrawal of treatment.

Health Care Proxy: A combination of the above two documents and phrased differently. Likely to be encountered in the states of Massachusetts and New York.

Heroic Measures: Medical procedures which are pointless because the patient is certain to die regardless of these procedures.

Hospice: A formal program of palliative care for a person in the last six months of life, providing pain management, symptom control, and family support.

Informed consent: A patient giving permission to a physician to carry out a medical procedure after the patient is made fully aware of the benefits, risks, and any alternatives.

Living Will: Popular name for an advance directive by which a person requests in writing a physician not to connect, or to disconnect, life-supporting equipment if this procedure is merely delaying an inevitable death. Legal in all U S states.

Negotiated death: A formal agreement between family, physicians, hospital management, etc, that life support systems to an incompetent person are better disconnected in the best interest of the patient. All parties agree not to bring lawsuits.

Palliative care: Medical term for hospice. Measures which do not attempt to treat the illness, but to relieve the pain and other discomfort accompanying it.

This information was provided by Euthanasia Research and Guidance Organization

I just like the ingenuity

8/24: Most of this cost will occur in the last year's of life. But the size of that cost will overwhelm most budgets.

Health Care Expenses in Retirement to Cost $275,000:

A 65-year old couple, retiring this year, will need $275,000 to cover anticipated health care expenses, estimates Fidelity. This 2017 estimate is 6% greater than last year’s figure of $260,000 and represents a 70% increase since Fidelity’s initial retiree health care cost estimate in 2002. Expenses included in this estimate are monthly expenses associated with Medicare premiums, Medicare copayments and deductibles and prescription drug out-of-pocket expenses. It assumes enrollment in Medicare health coverage but does not include the added expenses of nursing home or long-term care. Read more »

“[W]e must be aware of the gaps that still remain in our knowledge. Our mainstream macroeconomic models still have little to say, for instance,
 about the non-linear propagation of shocks, the distributional impacts of policies, or how endogenous firm entry and exit can
affect economic performance. Policy actions undertaken in the last ten years in monetary policy and in regulation and supervision
 have made the world more resilient. But we should continue preparing for new challenges.”
Hutchins Center


Given a Choice, Public Sector Employees Choose DB Over DC:

Public sector employees given a choice of either a defined benefit (DB) or a 401(k) plan overwhelmingly prefer the DB plan, the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) found in a study of eight states that offer employees such a choice. In those states in 2015, the take-up rate for DB plans was 80% or higher in six states. The research also indicates that employees directing their own investments in a DC plan typically tend to earn lower returns than state pension plans. NIRS attributes this to four factors: lower expenses, professional management, an optimal investment allocation used by the DB plan and the benefit of longevity risk pooling.
Read more »



Passively Managed Funds Beat Actively Managed Funds:

Morningstar’s mid-year 2017 Active/Passive Barometer found that most actively managed funds have failed to survive and beat their benchmarks, especially for funds with longer time horizons. The average dollar in passively managed funds typically outperforms the average dollar invested in actively managed funds, the research firm finds. However, when compared to the trailing 12 months ended June 30, 2016, active funds’ success increased substantially in 10 of 12 categories in the year ended June 30, 2017. Forty-nine percent of active U.S. stock funds beat their composite passive benchmark in the 12-month period ended June 30, 2017, whereas only 26% had done so the year before.
Read more »

EFM- The real issue is the costs of the manager. These really drop gross returns- the reason most fail the index over time.

8/24"    Logical

Given a Choice, Public Sector Employees Choose DB Over DC

8/23: Globalization



"If you intelligently trade derivatives it's like a license to steal, so you can understand why they all want to do it... but what is the big plus in having everyone gamble with everyone else? I lived in a world with low gambling for decades when I was younger and I liked it better. I think it was better for the country. It's like having thousands of professional poker players. What damn good are they doing for anybody?" - Charlie Munger

 The problem with derivatives trading is that it is very hard for bankers to control themselves when they are easily making tons of money. They tend to get carried away with excess and in the process get themselves into serious trouble. If it is really bad, they can blow up the financial system, tank the stock market, destroy the economy, and put millions of people out of work.

 According to Paul  Wilmott, who holds a doctorate in applied mathematics from Oxford University, the notional value of the world's derivatives has reached $1.2 quadrillion (which is a humongous number, equal to $1,200 trillion). This is approximately twenty times as large as the world economy, which is approximately $60 trillion. The derivatives market is now 20% larger than in 2008, the last time we had a financial crisis that involved derivatives. And what is US bank exposure to this derivative risk? Consider this: JP Morgan Chase has $2 trillion in total assets and total risk exposure to derivatives of more than $52.9 trillion; Citibank has total assets of $1.3 trillion and total risk exposure to derivatives of more than $52 trillion; Bank of America has total assets of $1.6 trillion and total risk exposure to derivatives of $26.6 trillion; Goldman Sachs has total assets of $143 billion (that's billion) and total risk exposure to derivatives of $44.4 trillion (that's trillion).

 If you are a bank, here is the superfun part: that $1.2 quadrillion derivatives market in mind-numbingly complex and completed unregulated, and the banks' traders rule the roost. Anytime the US government even hints that it will regulate derivatives trading, an army of bank lobbyists swarms down on Washington, DC, and stops it by reminding our members of Congress who really owns them (and it isn't you and me). But it gets even better. Consider this: there is no one - that's right, no one - in government, in academia, or in the banks themselves who has a real grasp of all the dangers that lurk inside the largest financial bubble the world has ever seen.

8/23: State fiscal condition

Home Sweet Home
8/23: Powers of Attorney

Many people feel nervous at the thought of a power of attorney. It can be intimidating to consider giving another person or agent the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf.

There are valid reasons to consider a power of attorney if the need arises. In layman’s terms, a power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone (an individual or an entity) to conduct business on your behalf. There is more than one type of power of attorney. These include both financial and medical.

A medical power of attorney should contain specific information about who can make medical-related decisions when someone becomes incapacitated and cannot make these decisions for himself or herself. Experts generally agree that financial powers of attorney should not include medical information.

A financial power of attorney can be either durable or nondurable. It is important to know the difference and when you may need one or the other. Most people consider durable powers of attorney when there is a chronic illness involved or a date in the future when it might be foreseeable that illness can be disruptive to someone.

Financial Areas to Consider:

Regardless of the type of power of attorney chosen, there are broad areas of consideration concerning finances. These include (but may not be limited to) the following types of financial transactions:

Each state allows for fairly standard rights to be allowed through a power of attorney, although you want to do specific research in your state if there are unusual financial circumstances to consider.

Nondurable Power of Attorney:

A nondurable power of attorney is generally used for limited transactions. For example, if someone needs to grant authority for a single transaction, such as a stock trade, a nondurable power of attorney would be most applicable. Another reason to use a nondurable power of attorney would be if someone were traveling and unable to conduct business from home. Some states refer to this type of power of attorney as a special power of attorney.

Durable Power of Attorney:

A durable power of attorney is the one that often comes to mind. These are the legal documents that can start immediately and allow someone to act on your behalf until it is either revoked or upon your death. For individuals who are facing a chronic, debilitating illness or who may be preparing for a future incapacitation (such as a possible nursing home commitment), a durable power of attorney could fit these situations.

A durable power of attorney can be written so that it can be invoked at a future point in time. For someone with a chronic or potentially debilitating illness on the horizon, this type of instrument may be best to use. Usually a physician or other recognized authority will designate the time when an individual is no longer competent to manage their own legal affairs. At that point in time, the power of attorney will “spring” into place, allowing your agent to begin managing your financial obligations. For this reason, sometimes you may see references to a “springing” power of attorney.

Choosing Someone to Manage Your Affairs:

Deciding which type of power of attorney may be straightforward, depending on the circumstances. Finding a trusted person to manage your financial affairs may not be as easy. The “agent” can be a family member or friend whom you trust to manage financial affairs with the same due diligence as you would yourself.

It is generally a good idea to appoint more than one agent, even if you specify that only one of them may act at any given time. For example, a husband gives his wife power of attorney upon finding out that he has Alzheimer’s disease. The wife subsequently becomes incapacitated and is unable to care for her affairs, as well as that of her husband’s. Having more than one agent appointed will allow the husband’s power of attorney to stay in force without possible legal proceedings over his affairs.

Preparation and Filing:

You can find standard durable and nondurable power of attorney forms online at several different websites, or an attorney may give you a standard one that includes powers that you can grant or strike, depending on your individual circumstances. An attorney can prepare one for you for a fee; however, it is not necessary for an attorney to be involved unless you have special circumstances to consider.

A power of attorney is still valid, even if it is not on file at your local county clerk’s office. It does need to be signed in the presence of a notary public. It is especially important to keep originals safe, as sometimes banks and other entities will want to make a copy of the original when granting someone else access to your private financial information.

Can I Still Manage my Own Finances?

In most cases, the answer is yes. When a “springing” power of attorney is in place, someone other than the agent will make the decision to enforce the power of attorney. Until that point, you are still able to control your own financial decisions. For other situations, as long as you are comfortable making financial decisions, there is no reason that someone else has to do it for you.

What if it Doesn’t Work Out?

A power of attorney can be revoked at any point in time. Usually they are revoked when either the agent or the principal (the person who needs financial affairs managed) decides that the arrangement isn’t succeeding as planned. While it is not necessary to contact an attorney to prepare a power of attorney, some experts suggest that consulting an attorney may be wise when revoking one.

Compared to making the financial decisions, invoking a power of attorney can be a relatively simple process. Before developing one, make a list of financial obligations and decide how you would want these handled in the event that you are unable to take care of them yourself. Discuss your decisions with loved ones and develop a trust relationship with someone that would be designated as agent. If possible, find more than one agent to avoid delays and other legal complications in the event that your first choice is unable or unwilling to perform the necessary requirements. Decide if you need a durable or nondurable power of attorney. Finally, develop the power of attorney and have it signed. Keep the original in a safe place and make certain your agent(s) knows where to locate it when it is needed.

Discussing issues related to handling financial information is best done in advance when the stress of a chronic illness or debilitating condition will aggravate a situation. Calm decisions made in advance will allow others to make informed decisions when the power of attorney is in force.

Actual picture
8/23: Parents, aging and money

When you were a kid, your parents probably talked to you about money, perhaps about the value of a buck or how you might spend your allowance. As time marches on, you may find the situation reversed—and that you have to have the "money talk" with your parents. Adult children sometimes feel concerned that they're invading their parents' privacy when raising money issues. Parents, meanwhile, can feel threatened, or worry about losing their independence. Still, it can be helpful to have a dialogue with your parents about their finances as they get older.

"If you're lucky, your parents are happy if you offer to help," said Amy Goyer, AARP's family and caregiving expert. "Or, you might get the reaction that this is none of your business."

Not surprisingly, many adult children and their parents sidestep the issue.

Recent studies confirm that parents avoid having conversations about aging and money, assuming that their adult children either know or will figure out what needs to happen. On the flip side, adult children are also unlikely to start a conversation about financial topics with their parents. But avoidance may lead to problems down the road.

Here are some tips to get these conversations started and to help make "the money talk" a successful one:

Show your love. It's important to impart a clear message that you have your parents' best interests in mind. Make sure they understand that the goal of the discussion is not for you to exert power, but rather to help and support them.

Choose your words carefully. You want to be as non-confrontational as possible. AARP's Goyer recommends using "I statements"—sentences that begin with the word "I" as opposed to "You." For instance, instead of saying "You need to…" use phrases like "I'm concerned you may need to," or "I want to support you," Goyer advises. Validate your parents' feelings, Goyer added. Make sure you express that you understand their concerns and their fears.

Talk about yourself. If relevant, use your own experiences as a bridge to talking about your parents' needs. For instance, mention that you're thinking about signing a power of attorney or are considering purchasing long-term care insurance. You can then ask your parents whether they have done the same.

Offer to help. Ask your parents if they need help with small tasks that are not directly related to money. As they grow more comfortable with accepting help, you can start offering your assistance with managing their finances.

Ask the right questions. Those should include: Do you have a financial power of attorney in place? Have you compiled a list of all of your accounts? Have you named beneficiaries for those accounts? Have you given your financial firms information on a trusted contact? Do you have life insurance? What financial firms and professionals do you use and do you have an attorney, what is their contact information? Where do you store your important documents, such as insurance policies and account information?

Keep an eye out for scams. Once you have opened a dialogue with your parents about money, you will be in a better position to help them spot and avoid scams, or cut them off sooner. Be careful, though. Lecturing your parents about their mistake when it comes to a scam can play right into a scammer's hands, according to AARP. Instead, help talk your parents through your reasoning for why something might be a scam. And if they've been victimized, encourage them to talk to the authorities to help protect others.

Consider professional guidance. Involving someone outside the family with expertise in aging and financial matters can be valuable, especially if parents simply don't want to open up to you. Consider suggesting they meet with a professional who advises older clients, such as an elder lawyer or a financial professional. While you might not have control over what happens next, third-party nudges could provide the push needed to get the conversation started within the family

AI and weapons

the 116 signees express their concern over weapons that integrate autonomous technology and call for the U.N. to establish protections that would prevent an escalation in the development and use of these weapons. Autonomous weapons refer to military devices that utilize artificial intelligence in applications like determining targets to attack or avoid.

“The number of prominent companies and individuals who have signed this letter reinforces our warning that this is not a hypothetical scenario, but a very real, very pressing concern which needs immediate action,” Gariepy said. “We should not lose sight of the fact that, unlike other potential manifestations of AI which still remain in the realm of science fiction, autonomous weapons systems are on the cusp of development right now and have a very real potential to cause significant harm to innocent people along with global instability.”


"Why Does Idiosyncratic Risk Increase with Market Risk" Free Download
CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6560

SÖHNKE M. BARTRAM, Warwick Business School - Department of Finance
University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Finance Area
Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Finance, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

From 1963 through 2015, idiosyncratic risk (IR) is high when market risk (MR) is high. We show that the positive relation between IR and MR is highly stable through time and is robust across exchanges, firm size, liquidity, and market-to-book groupings. Though stock liquidity affects the strength of the relation, it is strong for the most liquid stocks. The relation has roots in fundamentals. Higher market risk predicts greater idiosyncratic earnings volatility as well as dispersion and errors in analysts’ earnings forecasts. Firm characteristics related to the ability of firms to adjust to higher uncertainty help explain the strength of the relation. We find evidence that the relation is weaker for firms with more growth options, which is consistent with the view that such options provide a hedge against macroeconomic uncertainty.

8/22: Sometimes it is amazing what is done out there.

Cat Poop Reportedly Used In Skin Care Line By Luxury Beauty Brand


"Global Inequality in a More Educated World" Free Download
World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8135

S. AMER AHMED, World Bank
World Bank - Chief Economist Office for Europe and Central Asia
Federal University of Parana (UFPR) - Departamento de Economia, World Bank
Development Prospects Group, The World Bank
World Bank

In developing countries, younger and better-educated cohorts are entering the workforce. This developing world-led education wave is altering the skill composition of the global labor supply, and impacting income distribution, at the national and global levels. This paper analyzes how this education wave reshapes global inequality over the long run using a general-equilibrium macro-micro simulation framework that covers harmonized household surveys representing almost 90 percent of the world population. The findings under alternative assumptions suggest that global income inequality will likely decrease by 2030. This increasing educated labor force will contribute to the closing of the gap in average incomes between developing and high income countries. The forthcoming education wave would also minimize, mainly for developing countries, potential further increases of within-country inequality.

8/22: Medication Errors

The Robots are coming::

A recent analysis by Cornerstone Capital Group suggests that 7.5m retail jobs – the most common type of job in the country – are at “high risk of computerization”, with the 3.5m cashiers likely to be particularly hard hit.

McKinsey, suggests that a new generation of high-tech grocery stores that automatically charge customers for the goods they take – no check-out required – and use robots for inventory and stocking could reduce the number of labor hours needed by nearly two-thirds. It all translates into millions of Americans’ jobs under threat.

  “single action bias”: confronted with a worrying situation, taking one or two positive steps often feels enough. If you have already bought extra groceries and refuelled the family car, surely putting up cumbersome storm shutters is unnecessary?

8/20: Overvalued

8/20: Rail gun

The weapon releases a current on the order of 3 to 5 million amps --- that’s 1,200 volts released in a ten millisecond timeframe, experts have said. That is enough to accelerate a mass of approximately 45 pounds from zero to five thousand miles per hour in one one-hundredth of a second, 

If this becomes a combat ready within the next few years, it WILL change how wars are fought by America. I assume Russia and China are developing these as well but no articles I have read indicated such.

Another area for war ??

 There is a lot of tension between India and China currently and the threat of war is being bandied about. The article goes into some detail as to what might happen but it ends with "Any conflict between the two would be explosive and bloody, requiring a lot of manpower and ending with a massive loss of life and little to show for it. The geography and population density between the two countries makes both of them unconquerable. "


8/20: Cost of dying

The average out-of-pocket expenditures toward end of life necessities is $11,618, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. On top of that, the National Funeral Director’s Association cites the median out-of-pocket funeral expenses — including viewing and cremation costs — at $6,078.
Just like in life, the cost of dying varies depending on the relative cost of living in each state. We calculated the average funeral expenses and end of life medical care in each state by multiplying the national averages for those services by the cost of living index in each state. We also considered the 2017 inheritance tax and estate tax data for each state from the Tax Foundation.

Click heading for nice article

"Ninety-nine percent of cases are dealt with in this way. I get very angry.

I am an honest person. I can show you four guys here who

can rape a woman as easily as plucking the feathers off a bird, but they never get arrested."

JAHANGIR KHAN, an Indian constable, describing how bribery had quashed a murder case.
NY Times

8/20 An extremely important area of care

How to Recognize When You’re in Denial About Your Parents’ Health

Denial can be a tricky thing. On the one hand, it can give us time to process stressful information—but if it spins out of control and goes on for too long, it can be a potentially harmful barrier to coping. When it comes to our parents’ health, we may not want to admit it when it’s time to seek help. Indeed, it may be very painful to think about a loved one in failing mental or physical health. But the potential dangers of not taking action far exceed the short-term pain that accompanies facing the reality of the situation.

What is Denial and Why Does it Happen?

Denial can be mostly unconscious or have a deliberate component, but either way, it involves a lack of acknowledgement of something going on around you. You may be refusing to recognize a problem or stressful situation, or minimizing its severity. Sometimes, the situation you’re in denial about can be obvious to others—to a direct caregiver, for instance, in the case of a parent’s health.

Understanding what denial is and why it occurs is an important first step in recognizing whether we ourselves are experiencing it—and it helps us realize that denial is a normal human reaction and not something to beat ourselves up for: “Refusing to acknowledge that something’s wrong is a way of coping with emotional conflict, stress, painful thoughts, threatening information and anxiety,” says the Mayo Clinic. Simply becoming aware of denial is an important move forward, and an opportunity to change our own and our loved one’s situation for the better.

Recognizing Signs of Denial in Yourself and Others

When family members can’t recognize that a loved one is ill and needs more senior care than they can get at home, it can be a frustrating experience for caregivers. But denial can be even more pernicious when we are experiencing it ourselves. We may not even be conscious of our inability to accept the situation. If that’s the case, how can we alert ourselves to recognizing if there’s a problem? There are some tell-tale signs to watch out for if you’ve got a loved one whose health may be worsening:

Moving Past Denial: Coping Strategies for Families

If the situations described above have you nodding your head in recognition—or if a trusted family member or friend has suggested you might be in denial—then what’s the next step? The Mayo Clinic suggests a number of strategies for getting your mind around the situation and coming to terms with your own feelings:

Has denial been an obstacle for you in making sure your loved one gets the senior care they need? What is your advice for readers in the same situation? Let us know in the comments


Family Conflicts Over Elderly Parents

Family dynamics are infinitely complex, but two underlying themes run through most sibling disputes about their parent’s care: injustice and inheritance.

1. Injustice

When one sibling shoulders a disproportionate burden of Dad or Mom’s care, that sense of unfairness can foster resentment. Often, by virtue of distance, the siblings who live further away are “off the hook” when it comes to caring for an aging parent, while the nearest siblings are obliged to take on a caregiving role. When the caregiving sibling asks for help from other siblings, the other siblings often don’t fully appreciate, or choose to ignore, how much help their parent needs, and how much work one sibling is doing.

2. Inheritance

Many siblings clash over a parent’s finances. With the average American household’s net worth declining since 2007, siblings must divide an even smaller inheritance, naturally increasing the likelihood of conflict. In a perfect world, each of us is selfless and not motivated by money, but we live in a far from perfect world where money is indispensable, so it remains a problem within families.

Caregiving is stressful on its own, but when injustice and inheritance are added to a situation, they can create animosity between siblings. When family dynamics are already tense because one sibling feels unjustly overburdened with a parent’s care, money can compound the conflict.

A sibling who provides most of a parent’s care may feel entitled to a greater share of an inheritance. Or, siblings who are more distant or not involved may believe that the caregiving sibling is spending too much money on a parent’s care. Sometimes, the children of aging parents will even resist plans for professional care in order to “protect” an inheritance.

Tips for Improving Communication with Your Siblings During a Family Disagreement

There are no easy answers to settle disputes between siblings who are butting heads over a parent’s care, but maintaining communication is crucial. Consider using these tips for improving communication with your siblings during a family disagreement:

A Family Meeting

Ideally, siblings can correct issues before they become irreconcilable. The key is good communication, and a tried and true strategy to facilitate the exchange of ideas is the family meeting. At a family meeting, there should be frank and open discussion about a parent’s care needs. Each sibling’s role and obligations should be established, and future plans should be made. But if the question of where to hold a family meeting leads to a bitter argument in and of itself, the friction may have gotten past the point when a family meeting can help.

Advisors, Counsels and Mediators

Sometimes a neutral third-party can calm feuding siblings. A Place for Mom Senior Living Advisors, who work directly with families as they plan a parent’s care, have defused many disputes between siblings over lengthy conference calls. Family counselors can also help to bridge the differences between siblings, assuming they still talk to one another. If things have become really heated, a family mediator specializing in senior care issues may be able to break through the ill will and help build consensus and find middle-ground.

The High Road

Ultimately, the only person we can change is ourselves. No matter how much we try to reason with a disagreeable sibling, we may not succeed.

While advocating for what’s best for our parent, it’s wise to let go of anger or resentment towards a sibling who has been unhelpful or hurtful, and to strive for the undeniable peace that comes from acceptance and forgiveness; neither stifling our impulse to call out an uncooperative brother or sister, nor allowing ourselves to be consumed with anger.

8/20: Study tracks changes in how 20-somethings invest their 401(k) plans 

An Investment Company Institute and Employee Benefit Research Institute study compared how people in their 20s invested within their 401(k) plans in 2015 with how 20-somethings invested in 1996. While the majority of allocations have gone into equities in both cases, the study showed investor preference has shifted from equity funds and company stocks to balanced funds, including target-date funds.

EFM Trick question- tell me how TDFs work. When they initially came out. there were fixed time periods where the allocations change. No management interference. Now? They look more like a managed funds with higher fees that will end up going into bonds and get lousy returns and probable losses as interest rates increase.  For the most part, these are not proper fiduciary allocations.

Somebody had a lot of time on their hands

But it was worth it


Most low-income individuals are willing to pay at most half the cost of their health insurance
Using administrative data from Massachusetts’s health insurance exchange, Amy Finkelstein of MIT and Nathaniel Hendren and Mark Shepard from Harvard find that most low-income people will not purchase health insurance without extremely large subsidies. For example, they estimate that low-income people are willing to pay at most half the cost of their health insurance and that, even with a 90 percent subsidy, 20 percent of low-income people would remain uninsured. The authors suggest that the availability of uncompensated (free) healthcare likely reduces the value of being insured for low-income people. They conclude that modest enrollee premiums can be a major deterrent to universal coverage among low-income individuals.

“amnesia bias”, a tendency to focus on recent experience. We remember more distant catastrophes but we do not feel them viscerally.


Increasing minimum wage decreases machine-replaceable jobs and increases unemployment
Analyzing data from the Current Population Survey between 1980-2015, Grace Lordan of the London School of Economics and David Neumark of the University of California, Irvine, find evidence that low-skilled workers whose jobs are easily automated, particularly older workers in manufacturing, suffer when the minimum wage is raised. The authors find that a $1 increase in the minimum wage decreases the share of low-skilled workers whose jobs are easy to automate by 0.43 percentage point. Such a minimum wage increase also raises the unemployment rate for low-skilled workers in easily automated jobs by 0.12 percentage point.

8/18: Global returns 10 years

8/17: This is so wrong--
10-year-old Indian rape victim gives birth after a court denies her request for an abortion

Hate and stupidity seem to be in lockstep.  \\

Disaster preparedness tips for homeowners

Improve your readiness with these easy-to-follow tips for disaster preparation in your home.

1. Create a family emergency plan

The midst of a disaster is no time to try and figure out how to react. Make preparations ahead of time so that everyone in your household knows what to do.

Related: 5 keys to preparing for tornadoes

Here are the keys to putting together an effective family emergency plan:

  • Know your risks. Depending on where you live, certain disaster risks will be more prevalent than others. How you should react will vary accordingly. Your preparedness plan should include a process for evacuating your home in advance of hurricanes, wildfires and other monitored risks, as well as what you would do if you need to shelter in place, like when a tornado is fast approaching.
  • Secure your home. It can be hard to remember everything your house needs to stay protected during a storm. Make a list of all the areas you should inspect and secure before evacuating or sheltering in place, including your roof, windows, power and plumbing.
  • Write it out. No matter what type of disasters you need to prepare for, document your plan and provide a copy to everyone in your household. Consider displaying your emergency plan where everyone can easily see it so that preparedness is always top of mind.
  • Have a meeting spot. If you need to escape home quickly or find each other in the midst of a chaotic situation, make sure everyone knows where to go. Whether it's a friend or family member's house or a local storm shelter, everyone in your family should know where to meet if you get separated.
  • Designate an outside contact. Have one person or family member who lives outside of your immediate area designated as the single point of contact in case you do get separated from your own family. Following a disaster, it may be easier to reach someone in an unaffected area. This person can help coordinate contact among the members of your household.
  • Practice. Having a plan is only as good as your ability to use it. Conduct safety drills seasonally, especially if you have children, so that everyone can swing into action when it counts.

Often, the most dangerous phase of a disaster isn't immediately when it hits — it's during the aftermath. (Photo: Shutterstock

2. Keep an emergency disaster kit

Often, the most dangerous phase of a disaster isn't immediately when it hits — it's during the aftermath. Losing access to essential supplies is a serious concern, so it's important that you're able to get by during the hours or days before things return to normal. Keep an emergency disaster kit stocked with all the necessities you'll need to ensure the health, safety and comfort of your family.

Related: Summer weather safety risks & preparation

Emergency kit basics include:

  • Drinking water and nonperishable foods.
  • First aid supplies.
  • Prescriptions and other essential medicines.
  • Flashlights and batteries.
  • Spare clothing, blankets, shoes and outerwear.
  • Important documents like passports and insurance information.
  • If you have animals, include pet food and supplies.

Take advantage of today's technology to improve your preparedness. (Photo: Shutterstock)

3. Use technology to stay connected and aware

Technology makes it easier than ever to stay aware of weather risks, coordinate with loved ones and stay safe in the event of an emergency. Take advantage of today's tech to improve your preparedness:

  • Sign up to receive emergency alerts on your smartphone. That way, you're less likely to be caught off-guard by approaching danger.
  • Stay connected to family members. Consider activating location-sharing on family smartphones to help keep track of each other during a disaster.
  • Purchase a weather radio to keep in your emergency kit that can receive official warnings and notices if mobile networks get jammed. Remember: Opt for a battery- or solar-powered model or one that can be charged with a hand crank to ensure you have access information in the event of a power outage.

Related: Are your customers prepared to weather the pitfalls of hurricane season?

While disasters aren't always predictable or preventable, there are things you can do to minimize the potential harm to you, your family and your home. Make sure your disaster preparedness checklist includes how to plan for emergencies, which essentials to stock up on, and how to use technology to stay plugged in throughout a disaster. Keep these tips in mind, and you'll be well positioned to keep your household safe, even if the unexpected should occur.

Pete Duncanson is director of business process and branch operations for ServiceMaster Resto

I am not so sure about 'timid' but the issue of getting screwed.

Non-401(k)-Savers Timid About Asking for Financial Help

Whether saving in a 401(k) or not, the majority of survey respondents say their investment confidence would grow dramatically with the help of a financial professional.

EFM- The fear of another 2000 and 2008 caused a lot of people to avoid investing altogether. At least 1/3 have not recovered from 2008.

Cleveland has outpaced Las Vegas for the distinction of the city with the most “underwater” homes, meaning those homes that are worth less than their current mortgages.

Patient and Disability Rights in the Health Care Setting

Have you or a relative been to a doctor’s office and been refused help in filling out paper work? Have you received paperwork from a health care provider that you or your loved one could not read?

Do you know your rights as a consumer with a visual disability? Patient’s rights cover such topics as access to care, patient dignity, confidentiality, and consent to treatment. The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protect your rights and guarantee you equal access to health care services.

It is your responsibility to assert your rights under these laws. If you don’t ask for an accommodation no one will be aware that you need large print, Braille, or an electronic version of information.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications.

ADA Title III: Public Accommodations

Title III covers businesses and nonprofit service providers that are used by the public. These include hospitals, urgent care centers, doctor’s offices, nursing homes and home health agencies.

Health care services must provide equal treatment in the way they serve patients with disabilities. This means removing barriers in existing buildings.

Patients with visual disabilities have the right to have any written materials either read to them or given to them in an alternate format such as large print, Braille or on tape. This includes assistance with filling out paper work, having hospital admission booklets, home health agency information, doctor’s orders, and discharge plans available in a format that is accessible to the patient.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973

This law has similar protections for patients with disabilities. This law applies to federal, state and local government and to any non-profit organization or health care provider that receives federal funds such as Medicare and Medicaid.

You should file your complaint as soon as possible. In some instances, depending on the applicable law, you may have a limited amount of time to file a complaint after the alleged incident of discrimination

To file a complaint under these laws, make note of the date, time and location of the discriminatory act, the name of the person spoken to and his or her response upon requesting a reasonable accommodation.

Visit US Department of Justice website for more information on a person’s rights under these laws or call 1-800-514-0301.

Visit U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights for Section 504 complaints  or call 1-800-368-101

8/17: China and India are dangerously close to military conflict

8/16: Robots
Brookings Institution finds robots "are congregating densely in some places but are hardly found in others."

'8/16: Human trafficking

8/16: Global returns 2nd quarter






Americans Worry Inflation Will Derail Their Retirement:

Fifty-four percent of Americans said they are “terrified” or “very concerned” that inflation will impede their ability to pay for health care, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America found in a survey. The same concerns were expressed about paying for long-term care (45%), living the lifestyle they would like to have in retirement (40%), being able to pay for housing (33%), paying for groceries (29%) and being able to afford to travel (27%). Read more »

8/16: Slowdown

Lap horse
8/15: Oblivious Investor



Chronic Disease Indicators -


Community Health Status Indicators (CHSI 2015) -


Health Indicators Warehouse -


Interactive Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke -


National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, & TB Prevention Atlas -


National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network -


The Social Vulnerability Index -


Vulnerable Populations Footprint Tool -


"Financial Frictions and the Great Productivity Slowdown" Free Download
IMF Working Paper No. 17/129

ROMAIN DUVAL, International Monetary Fund (IMF)
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Trinity College (Dublin), Deutsche Bundesbank

We study the role of financial frictions in explaining the sharp and persistent productivity growthslowdown in advanced economies after the 2008 global financial crisis. Using a rich cross-country,firm-level data set and exploiting quasi-experimental variation in firm-level exposure to the crisis,we find that the combination of pre-existing firm-level financial fragilities and tightening creditconditions made an important contribution to the post-crisis productivity slowdown. Specifically:(i) firms that entered the crisis with weaker balance sheets experienced decline in total factor productivity growth relative to their less vulnerable counterparts after the crisis; (ii) this declinewas larger for firms located in countries where credit conditions tightened more; (iii) financially fragile firms cut back on intangible capital investment compared to more resilient firms, which isone plausible way through which financial frictions undermined productivity. All of these effectsare highly persistent and quantitatively large-possibly accounting on average for about a third of the post-crisis slowdown in within-firm total factor productivity growth. Furthermore, our results are not driven by more vulnerable firms being less productive or having experienced slowerproductivity growth before the crisis, or differing from less vulnerable firms along other dimensions.

You'll never be as bad as a raccoon riding an alligator

"Compensation for Loss of Work Income in Personal Injury Cases" Free Download
CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6570

LEIF DANZIGER, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Economics, IZA Institute of Labor Economics
Northern Illinois University - Department of Economics

What is the appropriate lump-sum compensation for loss of work income in personal injury cases? Since generally future work income is not known with certainty, compensation for its loss must be based on statistical considerations. Typically, courts have based awards on mean or median work income, but apparently without meaningful grounding in economics. We use economic theory to address this issue. We find that the relation between the appropriate compensation and the mean and median work income depends on the uncertainties of work income and of consumption facilitated by the lump-sum compensation awarded, as well as the degree of risk aversion. Since the consumption uncertainty associated with compensation generally exceeds that associated with work income, we conclude that the lump-sum compensation should exceed mean and therefore median work income.

I gave up on them decades ago. Maybe it will get better now???

Japan's Economy Grows Again, in Longest Streak in 11 Years

8/15:  China’s love of US chicken feet proves a recipe for a perfect trade

Maybe they will stop North Korea for more chicken feet?

(This was actually in an update from the Financial Times. )



Strong employment gains in recent months have brought the jobless rate down to a historically-low 4.3%. However, this decline has not been accompanied by rising incomes or consumer prices, generally associated with a sustainable economic boom. Some Federal Reserve policymakers have found this trend puzzling, while many labor economists point to underlying weaknesses in the job market, including high levels of underemployment and long-term joblessness, as drags on income. 

Stagnant wages amid rising profits have meant that the wage share in US national income has fallen from 63% to 57% in the last 15 years

8/14: if Fed officials tighten monetary policy at the first sign of wage increases, they will never allow the imbalances that have built up, including deep income disparities, to be torn down. Average hourly earnings rose just 2.5% on a yearly basis in July, nothing to write home about and certainly not enough to begin the ground lost over the last decade and more.


Business investment, which is key to long-run economic growth, has also been dismal during the now eight-year expansion.

"There is no precedent for the weakness of investment in the current cycle. Nearly ten years later, real investment spending remains less than 10% above its 2007 peak," Mason writes.

"This is slow even relative to the anemic pace of GDP growth, and extremely low by historical standards. In the three previous [economic] cycles lasting that long, real investment spending had increased anywhere from 30% to 80%. Even shorter cycles saw substantially greater investment growth."

Global agriculture towards 2050

The issue of no food will lead to a conflict 'like the world has never seen'  (If trump can use that, so can I)

I do not believe our civilization will make it to 2200

8/14: Neurohacking:

In 2016, a group of American and Japanese neuroscientists, led by Hakwan Lau, reconditioned the brain to remove traumatic fears. They used a so-called neurohacking approach: They first identified threatening stimuli in the brain and then offset their negative connotation by associating them with pleasant stimuli, such as rewards. The promise of neurohacking is that debilitating fears—such as arachnophobia or, more seriously, post-traumatic stress disorder—could be reduced or even eliminated. Neurohacking also offers a revolutionary path forward for reducing cognitive biases, such as status quo bias or regret aversion, which can be attributed to a natural fear of change.

8/14: Cyclical Population Dynamics of Automatic Versus Controlled Processing: An Evolutionary Pendulum

8/14: Habits

a 2017 study examined 38 natural field experiments that were designed to reduce energy consumption. Once the treatment ended, energy savings persisted in only 35 to 55 percent of nudge campaigns. The researchers concluded that “there is still much that we do not understand about habit formation and ways to induce changes in such.”

Recent research in Neuron provides the strongest evidence to date that habit formation is a matter of controlling the level of activity in a specific brain region called the orbitofrontal cortex.

Until a behavioral change is associated with a tangible brain change in such keys cortical areas, it’s unlikely to become a habit and thus unlikely to persist over time. Years of neuroscience studies have shown that only persistent behavior change leaves traces of habit formation in our brain

adding irrelevant neuroscience information increases the perceived quality of psychological explanations. For example, including images of the brain makes bad explanations sound more authoritative and believable. This “neuroscience bias” may result from the common view that “the brain is the best explanation for mental phenomena.”

How can we distinguish neuroscience from neurobabble? A good first step is to heed the advice of neuroscientist Molly Crockett: “If someone tries to sell you something with a brain on it, don’t just take them at their word. Ask the tough questions, ask to see the evidence, ask for the part of the story that’s not being told. The answers shouldn’t be simple, because the brain is not simple.” And beyond the threat of neurobabble, we must also realize that although neuroscientific techniques like sleep conditioning can be used for good—to help people reduce their biases—they have more malicious applications too.


In developed economies, for example, the unemployment rate is close to cyclical lows reached in 2007, the money supply is rising nicely and so are asset prices (too nicely for some!). In many respects, therefore, the global economy is starting to look a bit more “normal.”

8'14: Inflation

During the precrisis period, global headline inflation was boosted by rapid increases in oil and commodity prices driven by rapid industrialization in emerging economies, especially China. But core inflation rarely approached 2% during this period (Display). This suggests that many of the forces holding inflation down might be structural in nature, like demographics or technology.

A Cancer Conundrum: Too Many Drug Trials, Too Few Patients

The problem is that many of the trials are uninteresting from a scientific view, said Dr. Roy Herbst, the center’s chief of medical oncology. The companies sponsoring these trials are not addressing new research questions, he said; they are trying to get proprietary drugs approved.

If the struggle to find patients for immunotherapy trials is challenging, finding patients for another new type of cancer treatment can be next to impossible.

EFM- I think the general consumer/patient does not know that something may be available to help them 

Dollar down

What has long been considered an indomitable haven — the American dollar — may no longer be a sure thing. Since the beginning of the year,
the dollar has surrendered nearly 8 percent against major currencies.

EFM- Well, where will investors go? Dollar is still the best global bet. But if North Korea does...........................

8/13: Finances after 2008

Pay attention to everything

        The financial crisis that began in the US housing market had turned, by August 2007, into a full-blown global credit crunch that plunged countries around the world into recession. In the US, the economic downturn was the deepest since 1945 and the longest since the Great Depression.The US economy had made back that lost ground by 2011, but knock-on sovereign debt crises in the eurozone would delay many European economies’ recovery — and for some, the ground has still not been made up. Unemployment in Greece remains at 23 per cent, some 15 percentage points higher than in 2007

8/13" People who work out for about seven hours a week have a 40 percent lower risk of dying early compared with those who exercise less than 30 minutes a week

8/13: Blacks and Hispanics and degrees

A new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that while college-educated African Americans and Hispanics had more assets than those without degrees, grads typically fared worse in the face of financial turmoil.

College graduation and home ownership rates among both of those minority groups have soared over the last two decades, delivering more African American and Hispanic families into the middle class. Yet a crippling economic recession erased much of those gains for many families, who remain mired in debt and struggling to reverse the devastation.

Having a degree in hand has opened up a world of financial opportunities for African Americans and Hispanics. The median income of African American and Hispanic graduates in 2013 was at least twice as high, and the median family wealth—retirement accounts and homes—was nearly four times greater than people from those groups without degrees, according to the report.

Despite the financial gains afforded by a college degree, African American and Hispanic graduates suffer greater losses of wealth than their less-educated counterparts.

Between 1992 and 2013, median wealth declined by about 56 percent among college-educated African Americans versus 3.8 percent among African-Americans without degrees, who may have had less to lose. The findings are striking for Hispanics as those with degrees during that time witnesses a 27 percent decline in net worth, while those without degrees actually recorded a median 31 percent growth in wealth, according to the report.

8/13: High Yield bonds

After returning approximately 1.15% in July, high yield bonds are now providing returns of approximately 5.41% in 2017, with CCC rated bonds (7.89%) outperforming BB rated bonds (5.11%).1,2,3 Declining to near a three-year low of 5.40% in late July, high yield bond yields have since widened to 5.74% as commodity price volatility and an increase in new-issue volume have taken some steam out of the recent rally

EFM- I have watched these for a long time and used them rarely. But it may be worth more than a second chance since returns have been very good

8/13: Inflation and productivity

From a year earlier, core consumer prices rose 1.7%.9 The report marked the latest sign of weakening inflation pressures and rounded out a week of relatively lackluster U.S. economic data. Earlier, the Labor Department said U.S. worker productivity increased at an annual rate of 0.9% in the second quarter, up from a 0.1% growth rate in the first quarter of 2017.10 At 1.2%, year-over-year growth showed a modest pickup in worker productivity.10 However, it remains subdued by historical standards and shows few signs of breaking out of the slow growth that has persisted over the past decade.11

EFM- I did not think that our economy would be strong enough for three yield increases. It's a tossup- unless North Korea sullies the water. If it is bad, look to a global destabilization and a potential recession. Of course, maybe it might  be Venezuela .that causes the problem.

8/13: Can you hear me now??

Communication for someone with a hearing impairment can be challenging, but you can make a few simple adjustments to ensure the family gathering is an inclusive and pleasant experience for everyone.

Position Yourself to Be Heard and Seen

It is important that you are in the best position to be heard, as well as seen, by a person with hearing loss. Face the person directly so that your face, especially your mouth, is in plain sight. Do not obstruct your mouth with your hands, or eat or drink, while trying to communicate.

If the person with hearing loss has a favorable ear, be sure to sit on that side of them. When initiating conversation, be sure you have their attention so that you are both focused on the conversation and no words are lost or misunderstood. It is difficult for anyone to jump into a conversation or respond to questions when they have not heard what was spoken or asked of them.

Consider the lighting or other distractions as well, and avoid interferences from obscuring the vision of the person with hearing loss.

Communicate Clearly

Speak in a clear, concise manner without shouting and overemphasizing. It is a common mistake for people to speak excessively slowly or loudly to a person with hearing loss, which can lead to unnecessary hurt feelings and embarrassment. In fact, exaggerated speech may even make it more difficult for the person to hear what you are saying, as words can sound distorted.

If the person is having trouble understanding what you are saying, try rephrasing your words rather than repeating them. Sometimes saying something in a different way can be less complicated and make it easier for the him or her to understand you.

Consider the fact that we don’t just communicate with our words, we also use facial expressions and gestures, so be sure to use these visual cues when speaking with someone with hearing loss.

Reduce Background Noise

Background noise can be very distracting as well. The noise of the television, radio or multiple conversations taking place around you can obscure the words you are saying. Turn off background noise and relocate to a quieter area to have the best possible conversation.

In addition to hearing loss, people with hearing impairments can also be sensitive to loud noises. Be mindful of this when considering background noise.

Encourage Seniors to Wear Their Devices

Seniors have lots of legitimate reasons for not wearing their hearing aids or other hearing devices. Often, the cause comes down to simple discomfort. Help ensure that the senior is wearing the hearing aid properly, the volume level is adequate and that it fits properly. If they complain about any of these issues you should get them in touch with their doctor or audiologist so that modifications can be made, or their hearing can be checked to identify any additional loss or problems.

Introduce the Concept of Perceptive Listening

What is perceptive listening? It’s using perception, context, visual cues and pieces of the conversation the person has heard to figure out what has been said. Encouraging the senior in your life to use perceptive listening (which is a skill that, like any other, should be practiced), will help them to regain some independence when it comes to communicating with family, as well as with people outside the home.

Show Patience and Understanding

Most importantly, when communicating with someone who is experiencing hearing loss, be patient and understanding. Hearing loss can have a profound effect on a person’s life and can cause frustration, social withdrawal and depression. It is important to include people with hearing loss in conversation, and make your best effort to accommodate their needs. Doing this will ensure that family gatherings are a fun-filled experience for everyone!


8/13 policy sample review

Many carriers are decreasing the conversion period and the number of products to convert to.

8/13: ETFs

    passive and quantitative investors now account for about 60 per cent of the US equity asset management industry, up from under 30 per cent a decade ago. This is changing market flows in potentially unpredictable ways that investors and regulators do not entirely understand, and spawning some esoteric products. This year, for example, investors have rushed into an obscure “Inverse Vix” ETF that benefits from low volatility. This ETF is now the world’s 34th most actively traded equity security, exchanging hands more often than the stock of Chevron or Pfizer, and has returned almost 100 per cent this year. It appears to have distorted measures of volatility this year, creating an impression of calm

Cancer's Newest Miracle Cure

A most interesting article from NYTimes. This cure may have legs to cover many different types into full remission

8/13: And we are going to have a balanced budget WHEN????

The US Army is reportedly $7 billion to $9 billion short of the money it needs to start modernizing the force

8/13: That is very low UK GDP

    Economic growth in the UK appears to be losing a little momentum, weighed down by a sluggish performance in the services sector, according to estimates from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.The think-tank said on Thursday that gross domestic product in the UK grew by 0.2 per cent in the three months to July, after notching up 0.3 per cent of growth in the second quarter. Niesr said the UK economy “continues to grow below its long run trend of 0.6 per cent”.

expects GDP to expand by 1.7 per cent this year

EFM I know that the U.S. has an extremely low unemployment rate but I will be interested to see a full year GDP. Of course, North Korea is a wild card to anything. Actually, NK should never have happened like this. Clinton, Bush and Obama let it spiral out of 'control'.

An insurance agent stalking a client


"Too Lucky to Be True - Fairness Views Under the Shadow of Cheating" Free Download
CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6563

STEFANIA BORTOLOTTI, University of Cologne - Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences, University of Bologna - Department of Economics
Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Economics
Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, University of Cologne - Department of Economics
University of Cologne

The steady increase in inequality over the past decades has revived a lively debate about what can be considered a fair distribution of income. Public support for the extent of redistribution typically depends on the perceived causes of income inequality, such as differences in effort, luck, or opportunities. We study how fairness views and the extent of redistribution are affected by a hitherto overlooked, but relevant factor: immoral self-serving behavior that can lead to increased inequality. We focus on situations in which the rich have potentially acquired their fortunes by means of cheating. In an experiment, we let third parties redistribute resources between two stakeholders who could earn money either by choosing a safe amount or by engaging in a risky, but potentially more profitable, investment. In one treatment, the outcome of the risky investment is determined by a random move, while in another treatment stakeholders can cheat to obtain the more profitable outcome. Although third parties cannot verify cheating, we find that the mere suspicion of cheating changes fairness views of third parties considerably and leads to a strong polarization. When cheating opportunities are present, the share of subjects redistributing money from rich to poor stakeholders triples and becomes as large as the fraction of libertarians - i.e., participants who never redistribute. Without cheating opportunities, libertarian fairness views dominate, while egalitarian views are much less prevalent. These results indicate that fairness views and attitudes towards redistribution change significantly when people believe that income inequality is the result of cheating by the rich.

8/11: Mental health and races

8/11: What a study of correlations reveals about diversification

8/11: From one of my readers

Dear E.F.Moody,

I have been following your "Gripes" page for several years. I think I came across it during an Internet search about how fees impact investment results. During the time when you still had a page with all sorts of links. 

 Let me just say that I have learned a lot, and check your page regularly, notwithstanding your sometimes off-color jokes (eyeroll). While I am far from being an expert, thanks to your page and other sources, I believe that by now I have a decent financial knowledge that helps me to actively plan ahead in accordance with my risk tolerance.

 Since I am currently in the throws of a comprehensive pre-retirement financial review, including a rebalancing of my investments, just today your link to the Vanguard index fund comparison is very useful. 

 I have also referred several friends and colleagues to your writings about how to care for loved ones with Alzheimers, dementia etc.

 So, thank you for compiling all this helpful information and I hope you will continue to do so.

"It is easier to stay out than get out."
Mark Twain

8/11: Womens pay state by state

8/10: The world's 10 most volatile currencies

British pound
Japanese Yen
New Zealand
Norwegian Krone
Australian Dollar
South Korean Won
Canadian Dollar
Danish Krone

8/10: REtirement in various countries


Must be throwing spit balls

8/10: Vanguard index funds

Vanguard has a “one stop” offering for investors wishing to simplify their exposure to the U.S. equity market, namely the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index fund (VTSMX).

VTSMX purportedly attempts to represent the performance of U.S. large-cap, mid-cap and small-cap stocks. But, it doesn’t. Rather, it primarily replicates the performance of Vanguard 500 Index.

Nice friend

8/9. Employees dying earlier  Bloomberg

In 2015, the American death rate—the age-adjusted share of Americans dying—rose slightly for the first time since 1999. And over the last two years, at least 12 large companies, from Verizon to General Motors, have said recent slips in mortality improvement have led them to reduce their estimates for how much they could owe retirees by upward of a combined $9.7 billion, according to a Bloomberg analysis of company filings. “Revised assumptions indicating a shortened longevity,” for instance, led Lockheed Martin to adjust its estimated retirement obligations downward by a total of about $1.6 billion for 2015 and 2016, it said in its most recent annual report.

As regards social security- The most recent data available “show continued mortality reductions that are generally smaller than those projected,” according to a July report from the program’s chief actuary. Longevity gains fell short of what was projected in last year’s report, leading to a slight improvement in the program’s financial outlook

Death rates for Americans over the age of 50 have improved, on average, by 1 percent each year since 1950, according to an by the Society of Actuaries, though there’s a lot of variation in any given year. From 2000 to 2009, that long-term trend seemed to be accelerating, with annual improvements of 1.5 to 2 percent—but then those gains stalled. From 2010 to 2014, death rates were only improving by about half a percent per year.
In 1970, a 65-year-old American could to live another 15.2 years on average, until just past their 80th birthday. By 2010, a 65-year-old could expect to live to 84.
But the increases have slowed down since then. Life expectancy at 65 rose by just about four months between 2010 and 2015—half the improvement recorded between 2005 and 2010.

The broader trend isn’t unique to the U.S. A July from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the United Kingdom found that the U.S., Canada, and Britain have all experienced similarly slowing gains since 2011. That report suggested the combination of the recession and cuts to social safety-net programs may have played a role. “These signs should be taken as warnings that worsened health care, behaviour and environment can reverse decades of success in health and longevity,”

8/9: Blunt Climate Report

A small difference in global temperatures can make a big difference in the climate: The difference between a rise in global temperatures of 1.5 degrees Celsius and one of 2 degrees Celsius, for example, could mean longer heat waves, more intense rainstorms and the faster disintegration of coral reefs

the draft report finds it “extremely likely” that more than half of the global mean temperature increase since 1951 can be linked to human influence.

The average annual temperature in the United States will continue to rise, the authors write, making recent record-setting years “relatively common” in the near future. It projects increases of 5.0 to 7.5 degrees Fahrenheit (2.8 to 4.8 degrees Celsius) by the late century, depending on the level of future emissions.

It says the average annual rainfall across the country has increased by about 4 percent since the beginning of the 20th century. Parts of the West, Southwest and Southeast are drying up, while the Southern Plains and the Midwest are getting wetter.

“It is very likely that the accelerated rate of Arctic warming will have a significant consequence for the United States due to accelerating land and sea ice melting that is driving changes in the ocean including sea level rise threatening our coastal communities,” the report says.

Human activity, the report goes on to say, is a primary culprit

8/9: Difference in 20 year allocations

At year-end 2015, 401(k) plan participants in their 20s held 80% of their aggregate assets in equities, compared to 77% for their 1996 counterparts. In 1996, savers in their 20s allocated 55% of their aggregate assets to equity funds, but the year-end 2015 data shows the level dropping to 28% of assets invested in equity funds for that same age group. In addition, the share of assets that 401(k) participants in their 20s allocated to company stock fell from 17% in 1996 to 5% at year-end 2015, the report shows.

Balanced Funds and TDFs

So what gives? “One factor influencing this trend is that today’s younger investors are relying more on the automatic rebalancing feature of target-date funds to keep their assets allocated in an age-appropriate way as they progress through their careers,”

EFM- REbalancing in this market to bonds is a fool's game. Yields are horrid and the FED is raising rates. So is all the education and marketing of TDFs wrong??

YEP- not all obviously, but the risk scenario is way off base.

....these trends also are similar among all age groups in the database. Overall for the period 1996 to 2015, allocations to company stock decreased from 19% to 7%, allocations to equity funds decreased from 53% to 43%, and balanced funds increased from 7% of assets to 25%.

Further noting the increasing popularity of TDFs, the EBRI/ICI 401(k) database shows that investments in TDFs increased in 2015 to 20% of assets, up from 5% at year-end 2006, and nearly half of the 401(k) participants tracked in the database held these funds.

In addition, recently hired participants allocated a larger portion of their balances to them. At year-end 2015, 60% of recently hired participants held TDFs and accounted for more than one-third of their assets

8/9: No country for old men:

(Look at all the statistics you want. Then check the bold print. If that is true, there will be no retirement anywhere close to what they expected.)

The Blackstone Group conducted an internet-based survey in October of a nationwide sample of 1,000 Americans age 52 to 70 with an annual household income of between $30,000 and $100,000. The survey included questions about middle-income boomers’ feelings at three points in time: in 2006 (before the financial crisis), during the financial crisis and today.

Only 51% of respondents felt the economy had recovered somewhat from the financial crisis, and 2% said it had fully recovered. The remaining 47% did not believe the economy had recovered at all.

Two-thirds of boomers said they had not personally benefited from any economic recovery since 2007. Of these, 52% reported that their savings were lower today than before the financial crisis.

A Fraught Retirement

The CSR noted in a statement that before the crash, middle-income boomers were already contending with a “new retirement” stemming from changes to their retirement programs, as employers shifted away from defined benefit plans such as pensions to defined contribution plans, primarily 401(k) plans.

Today, middle-income boomers’ outlook for a secure retirement is full of uncertainty, according to the survey.

Only 31% felt well prepared or very well prepared for retirement, down from 41% before the financial crisis. Confidence that retirement would be personally satisfying was also down, to 37% from 44% before the crisis.

A recent report showed that boomers had many goals still unmet for a comfortable retirement.

The CSR survey found that 57% of boomers felt confident in meeting daily financial obligations, compared with 65% before the crisis.

Still, respondents’ confidence in their ability to make smart investments decisions were near pre-crisis levels, 47% today versus 50%.

The survey found that middle-income boomers were adapting their expectations to meet the realities of this new retirement.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they were worried about another financial crisis in their lifetime.

More than eight in 10 reported taking actions to manage their spending behavior since the start of the 2007 crisis, such as reducing their discretionary expenses and recurring monthly expenses or creating and maintaining a household budget.

Twenty-eight percent said they had built up an emergency fund, and 17% were saving a larger percentage of their paycheck than before the crisis.

A recent report examined how prepared Americans are for retirement.

Three-quarters of boomers in the CSR study reported that they had changed their investment behavior as a result of the financial crisis, most often taking defensive measures: 28% were making more conservative investment choices and 18% were regularly reviewing and adjusting investments.

One in four said they no longer invested at all.

Just about all of middle-income boomers said they still planned to retire, but retirement will look different that before the crisis in terms of income, work and debt.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they expected to rely on Social Security for their primary source of retirement income, compared with 30% before the crisis, while 19% both before the crisis and today cited an employer pension.

Before the crisis, about a third of middle-income boomers expected to work full time or part time in retirement. Today, nearly half said they expected to work at least part time.

Only 34% of boomers said they would retire free of debt, down from 45% before the crisis.

Ten years ago, 23% expected to have savings to pass along to heirs, while today only 16% said they would leave an inheritance.

8/8: Math ability men and women

8/8: Do you take prescriptions??  Do your parents?????

Read this.


8/7: Fidelity’s analysis found of the 21% not deferring enough to get the full match, roughly half are only one to two percentage points away

8/7: This is about Venezuela but it reflects a consist4ency of fraud, corruption et al in most of South America. I had tried to give Mexico a break years ago but that blew up too. South America has vast lands, people who will work and we keep ending up with this type of crap.

Mounting crisis in Venezuela.
This week, after an election that was widely denounced as fraudulent, the United States labeled Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro a dictator and issued new sanctions against him. In a new video primer, watch Dany Bahar, Samantha Gross, and Ted Piccone discuss the current situation, what Maduro is likely to do next, and how the international community can respond.

EFM- I have given up for SA in terms of investing. I don't know if it will EVER get its act together. Find some place else to invest

8/7:This guy is brilliant. You don't always have to accept his position but you sure better know about it.

Roubini : A Dim Outlook for Trumponomics
NEW YORK – Now that US President Donald Trump has been in office for six months, we can more confidently assess the prospects for the US economy and economic policymaking under his administration. And, like Trump’s presidency more generally, paradoxes abound.
The main puzzle is the disconnect between the performance of financial markets and the real. While stock markets continue to reach new highs, the US economy grew at an average rate of just 2% in the first half of 2017 – slower growth than under President Barack Obama – and is not expected to perform much better for the rest of the year.
Stock-market investors continue to hold out hope that Trump can push through policies to stimulate growth and increase corporate profits. Moreover, sluggish wage growth implies that inflation is not reaching the US Federal Reserve’s target rate, which means that the Fed will have to normalize interest rates more slowly than expected.
Lower long-term interest rates and a weaker dollar are good news for US stock markets, and Trump’s pro-business agenda is still good for individual stocks in principle, even if the air has been let out of the so-called Trump reflation trade. And there is now less reason to worry that a massive fiscal-stimulus program will push up the dollar and force the Fed to raise rates. In view of the Trump administration’s political ineffectiveness, it is safe to assume that if there is any stimulus at all, it will be smaller than expected.

  1. Personality matters: Relevance and assessment of personality characteristics




Miloš Kankaraš

Personality characteristics shape human behaviour and influence a wide range of life events and outcomes. They do so not only through their direct effects on life outcomes, but also through their indirect effects on other important personal factors and intermediate life events, such as the development of cognitive capacities, the attainment of educational qualifications and the formation of a family. As such, personality characteristics have a demonstrable relevance for a wide range of policy issues and represent an important, although often neglected, subject of policy interest. This paper reviews the scientific literature covering a wide range of personality characteristics, discussing their conceptualisations and main features, their relevance for important outcomes in life and work, and the chief ways they are measured. It aims to provide a comprehensive overview of various attributes of personality from the perspective of their potential importance for the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), taking into account their analytical potential and policy relevance. The paper also outlines and evaluates the most important measurement instruments for each personality characteristic, with a focus on short self-report scales as the most appropriate form for inclusion in large-scale international surveys. Finally, it presents some considerations related to the evaluation and promotion of personality characteristics and introduces the substantive and measurement criteria that could be used to select the personality attributes, and related measurement scales, to include in large-scale surveys.


8/7: And just another mess you got me into Ollie.

PBGC’s multiemployer program: Out of cash by 2025?

By Nick Thornton

PBGC's multiemployer program that insures collectively bargained defined benefit pensions of about 10.5 million participants is "in serious trouble,"

EFM This has  been going on for years. 

However see above a retirees are dying earlier

8/7: How to Start the Conversation About Dementia-some good stuff

I have had a couple children who simply refused to recognize their mother had dementia. Tough to work around denial. And since the mother was incompetent, they really needed to try and get a release from her when she might be competent (usually the morning, witnesses needed) or try for a conservatorship.

8/7:Absolutely necessary.The return to a hospital is not only costly but impacts the elderly's health  severely

Under Trump, Hospitals Face Same Penalties Embraced by Obama
"Amid all the turbulence over the future of the [ACA], one facet continues unchanged: President Donald Trump's administration is penalizing more than half the nation's hospitals for having too many patients return within a month. Medicare is punishing 2,573 hospitals, just two dozen short of what it did last year under former President Barack Obama ... Starting in October, the federal government will cut those hospitals' payments by as much as 3 percent for a year."

8/7: Great idea- gps and Alzheimers. They review 10 GPS systems

A behavior that commonly affects those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, wandering can lead to death or serious injury. Disorientation caused by the disease makes even familiar surroundings seem unfamiliar to seniors, causing many people with dementia to get into dangerous situations.

Fortunately, elderly GPS tracking devices and technology have introduced a new way for caregivers and families to prevent the dangers of wandering in senior loved ones. R


8/3: Iraq's weather service warned on Thursday that temperatures will increase next week in most parts of the country, with the highs expected to reach 51 degrees Celsius, or about 124 degrees Fahrenheit

EFM- a few more  degrees and it makes life unsustainable for humans

8/3:    5 Worst States for Diabetes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 12.6% of U.S. adults age 20 and older have diabetes, and about one-quarter of the members of that group are unaware they have the condition. The numbers are much worse for older Americans. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimates that almost 26% of those age 65 and older are diabetic.

there are some steps all people with diabetes can take to can improve their offers of coverage, including: 8/3:I'll drink to that

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics recently released its findings on alcohol use in the United States.

The States With the Highest Reported Heavy Drinking Rates

1. Alaska: 8.6%

2. Wisconsin: 8.2%

3. Maine: 8.1%

4. Vermont: 7.7%

5. Montana: 7.7%


8/3:Greenspan: No Bubble in Stocks, but Look Out When Bonds Pop
Equity bears hunting for excess in the stock market might be better off worrying about bond prices, Alan Greenspan says.

EFM- The bond debacle has been on my plate for a couple years as interest rates were supposed to rise precipitously. Taking a lot longer but another rise by the FED could make the market tumble. 

8/2: Let's skip school

We’ve made almost no progress reducing chronic absenteeism.
In the latest blog post from Evidence Speaks, Brian Jacob and Kelly Lovett find that despite local and state efforts over the last 20 years, chronic school absenteeism remains an ever-present issue in U.S. schools. Jacob and Lovett outline the causes, consequences, and possible solutions to the problem.

EFM- Those that do not get a high school diploma are relegated to low income tedious work. And they will lose those to simple robots. Then you have a bunch of kids with nothing to do but join gangs and ......................

8/1: Blah, blah, blah

Researches at Facebook shut down an artificial intelligence (AI) program after it created its own language.

The researchers’ encounter with the mysterious AI behavior is similar to a number of cases documented elsewhere. In every case, the AI diverged from its training in English to develop a new language.

The phrases in the new language make no sense to people, but contain useful meaning when interpreted by AI bots.

Per Elon Musk- “AI is the rare case where I think we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive,“Because I think by the time we are reactive in AI regulation, it’ll be too late.”

EFM- Is it already too late??? Think of those high frequency stock programs. The AI's of competitors have probably been doing  it for years.

8/1 Opiods

approximately 142 Americans dying every day,’ ‘America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks.’ A commission, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, states that the goals of such a declaration would be to ‘force Congress to focus on funding’ and to ‘awaken every American to this simple fact: if this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will.’” The commission’s report also includes a number of recommendations to deal with the ballooning opioid epidemic, such as expanding capacity for drug treatment under Medicaid, increasing use of medication-assisted treatments for opioid disorders, and mandating that local law enforcement officers carry naloxone.

“State and Local Pension Plan Funding Sputters in FY 2016”

by Jean-Pierre Aubry, Caroline V. Crawford, and Alicia H. Munnell


The brief’s key findings are:

8/1: India smog

A World Health Organization (WHO)’s study of 1,600 cities ranks the national capital Delhi as the most polluted. Air pollution was 40 times more than permissible safety limits prescribed by the WHO and 15 times greater than Indian standards.

8/1: Americans’ Personal Financial Satisfaction Hits 10-Year High

EFM- I do not see this same optimism. Russia and particularly North Korea have put us in a box. The Russia mess may calm down but an aggressive North Korea won't really be interested   in a negotiated  settlement to nuclear arms unless the away the store. No matter the settlement, NK will  dislodge  itself soon after and create another larger problem. They have broken all their promises before and I see no reason why it will not continue.

  1. Extended Gini-type measures of risk and variability




Mohammed Berkhouch ; Ghizlane Lakhnati

The main of this paper is to introduce a family of risk measures which generalizes the Gini-type measures of risk and variability, by taking into consideration the psychological behavior. Our risk measures family is coherent and catches variability with respect to the decision-maker attitude towards risk.


8/1: 8 Things You Should Know About ALS-  worth reading

It's what killed Sam Shepard. Roughly 35,000 Americans suffer from ALS. That's just 1 or 2 people per 100,000,

If you are wondering about Stephen Hawking, he has the slow type ALS. Shepard had the fast one

8/1: WOW!!!

Brexit will push up costs for banks by as much as 4 per cent and their capital requirements will rise up to 30 per cent, according to the most detailed assessment yet of what Britain’s departure from the EU means for the sector.

The findings by consultants Oliver Wyman will make grim reading for its bank clients, many of which are struggling with low profitability. They come a day after HSBC became the first lender to put a price tag on Brexit, saying the immediate disruption would cost it $200m-$300m.

EFM I am still trying to figure out the ultimate impact of Brexit but this is pretty bad

Then again we have Russia, North Korea as major danger points. At least someone told Scaamucci to piss off. 10 days was too long.

Trump has some decent staff on hand. But Trump needs to be toned down. If Kelly can calm him down- great. If not and Kelly resigns, kiss off this presidency. .

8/1: Top-Rated 529 College Savings Plans:

Plan (Advisor-sold) plan. Their direct-sold affiliates also made the 5-cap list.

7/31: Depression

the World Health Organization announced that more than 300 million people suffer from depression and that it's the leading cause of disability worldwide.

EFM= I knew that it impacted a huge number of people but not that it was the leading cause of disability. For those in the financial planning arena, if you recognize an inconsistency with you client, be careful. They do not necessarily understand what is really going on. The agent has to be careful in explaining everything in detail and taking copious notes. Do not expect such clients are acting rationality.

  1. Belief in Hard Work and Altruism: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment




Sule Alan (University of Essex) ; Seda Ertac (Koc University)

We show that optimistic beliefs regarding the role of effort in success, while leading to success, diminish the individual’s sympathy toward the unsuccessful. We generate random variation in the degree of optimism about the productivity of effort via an effective educational intervention. We find that treated children, holding significantly more optimistic beliefs, are no less likely than control to give to unlucky recipients, but significantly less likely to give to those who failed at a real effort task despite an opportunity to build skill. The results highlight possible unintended social effects of effort-focused optimism and have implications for political economy.


redistributive preferences, prosocial behavior, altruism, beliefs, fairness, field experiments


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