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

Bob's Blog on Retirement & Beyond

Dying Banker’s Last Advice

December 2, 2010

An article in The New York Times attracted a lot of attention. A former investment banker (a bond salesman) turned investment consultant learned he was terminally ill. He decided to co-author a book for individual investors distilling his advice on how they should handle their capital. His simple principles are similar to what we use […]

Why is the Fed Really Easing?

December 2, 2010

The Federal Reserve engaged in a PR offensive to explain why it began the program known generally as Quantitative Easing 2. It’s basic explanation is that buying up treasury securities will keep interest rates low and boost stock prices. Higher stock prices will boost the confidence of consumers and businesses, stimulating more economic activity. It’s […]

Medicare Advantage Plans Shrinking

December 1, 2010

We’ve stated for some time that the new health care regime would hurt Medicare in general and Medicare Advantage plans in particular. The official word from the government was that this year only a few Advantage plans were discontinued and most sport lower premiums for 2011. But that overlooks that the plans reduce coverage and […]

The Coming Chinese Century

December 1, 2010

Niall Feruson is a historian who specializes in financial and economic history. He’s written some important books and articles and has been especially prescient on the financial crisis. His next book, Civilization due out in March, is about the relationship between China and America (which he calls Chimerica). He says the economic relationship has been […]

What Caused the Financial Crisis?

November 29, 2010

The commission looking into the 2008 financial crisis hasn’t filed its report yet, and it looks like there will be differences of opinion over the conclusions. One point of contention is the extent to which federal housing policy helped push the increase in subprime mortgages and overinvestment in houses. Peter Wallison is a long-time critic […]

The Fed, China, and the Dollar

November 29, 2010

I’ve long believed China’s role in global economic imbalances hasn’t been discussed enough in public. The debate seems to be coming out of the closet with the Fed’s QE 2 policy. China and other countries have attacked the Fed policy, claiming it is designed to devalue the dollar and stimulate U.S. exports. Ben Bernanke recently […]

The Coming Tax-Exempt Bond Crisis

November 26, 2010

We’ve reported how the prices of tax-exempt bonds have been falling since the end of August. Several analysts are forecasting that this is just the beginning of problems, not the end of them. Over the last two years many people pointed to high yield bonds or commercial real estate as “the next shoe to drop” […]

Variable Annuity Living Benefits Explained?

November 23, 2010

Don’t feel bad if you find variable annuities complicated. Especially complicated are the living benefits provisions designed to make the policies more desirable to people. Living benefit riders can make withdrawals from the annuity easier and could help pay for long-term care. But they are complicated. How complicated? A report prepared for financial advisors and […]

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