Financial Advice for Retirement, Social Security, IRAs and Estate Planning

Bob's Blog on Retirement & Beyond

New Strategies to Help People Save Money

April 19, 2017

WalMart has a debit card it wants its customers to use. It also is working to become something of a bank for its customers. One feature of WalMart’s card is designed to motivate people into saving money. Some say it is tricking people into saving. This article is an interesting display of how people react […]

Analyzing the Retail Puzzle

April 18, 2017

The economy continues to grow, and consumer sentiment surveys are near historic highs. Yet, retail sales aren’t increasing much and recently decreased on a real (after inflation) basis. Also, retailers are closing stores or going bankrupt in droves. What’s going on. Recently I linked to an article that argues government retail data doesn’t accurately capture […]

Are Retail Sales Numbers Wrong?

April 18, 2017

In recent months, the retail sales data haven’t kept pace with the high levels of optimism consumers reveal in surveys. They also haven’t kept pace with wage increases. So, what’s going on? This article says that the retail sales data don’t capture some changes in consumer behavior. People spend less and less of their consumption […]

Hidden Costs of ETFs

April 18, 2017

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are charging dirt cheap fees in many cases. But many ETF owners don’t buy and hold them. ETFs are used for trading by a lot of investors. This article points out that the trading leads to a lot of costs, both hidden and visible. Inefficiencies in the system result in mispriced ETFs, […]

Is China’s Growth Higher than Expected

April 17, 2017

This paper is interesting in two ways. First, it argues that China’s economic growth is higher than reported. Most research that questions China’s growth rate argues that the government is overstating the growth rate. Second, it uses a unique technique to make its argument. The researchers used satellite captures of China’s nighttime electric lighting to […]

Death by Amazon

April 17, 2017

Bespoke Investment has been tracking stocks of retailers and other companies it think could lose substantial business to amazon.com. In its latest up, it points out that its index of the stock recently made a four year low and that short selling interest in the stocks is rising. For the last several months now, average […]

Working After Age 65

April 17, 2017

Surveys over the last 10 years or so, and labor force data, say that today’s 50 and older crowd want to work longer than the previous generation. This article discusses some recent surveys about those who work past age 65, especially those who change jobs and careers to do so. It also offers tips to […]

Politics and Investment Returns

April 14, 2017

Elections and politics usually don’t have much affect on investment returns in the short term. But many insurers and major investors believe the current political environment could be different. They’re worried that the rise of global populism is going to have a strong impact on markets and economies. How durable is the phenomenon? “Our view […]

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