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

Bob's Blog on Retirement & Beyond

All Eyes on China

April 11, 2012

China’s been driving global markets and the economy since 2009. High growth in China helps U.S. exporters of infrastructure materials and services, keeps commodity prices high, and generates cash to absorb U.S. bonds. Is the great growth surge over? If China’s growth slows well below its recent rates, there likely would be negative effects on […]

A Big Test for Central BAnks and the Economy

April 10, 2012

Just when people thought it was safe to get back in the market, just when things seemed to be stabilizing, the bad news rears its ugly head again and stocks tumble. It looks like the S&P 500 will lose value for five straight days, and some of the declines are 1% or more. The major […]

Europe’s Back

April 10, 2012

Europe’s back in the headlines and dominating the actions of investors. Stocks and commodities are declining, while U.S. government bonds are rising. Here’s a good, concise summary of what’s happening. This time Spain is dominating the headlines, so it’s clearly not only a problem with Greece and Italy, which we’ve argued before. European leaders haven’t […]

Is a Target Date for You?

April 10, 2012

The growing trend among mutual fund families and especially in 401(k) plans is the target date fund (TDF). These are asset allocation funds that assume the investors will reach retirement age at a certain year, hence the name Target Date. There’s an ongoing debate over whether the funds are good for investors. The idea is […]

The Search for Patterns

April 9, 2012

It’s tough to identify the one mistake that is the worst or most common investors make. But my vote is the desire to identify patterns in the markets and use those to develop rules of investing. There are a few people who do this successfully. But they have very elaborate rules that take many factors […]

Why Meteorologists Are Better Than Economists

April 9, 2012

Economic forecasts generally are accurate until there’s a turning point. The forecasters miss almost every turning point. Meteorologists, though their long-term forecasts aren’t reliable, generally can see changes in the weather developing and prepare reasonably accurate forecasts of the range of weather we’ll experience in the next week or so. The difference, according to Mark […]

The Madoff Scam Revised

April 9, 2012

Bernard Madoff is ensconsed in prison for 150 years or so. The bankruptcy trustee of his old firm is recovering billions of dollars from some who benefited from or enabled the scam. Yet, he hasn’t given up. He’s in touch with an author of one of the books on his scam, Diana Henriques, apparently to […]

The Fed Follows the Stock Market

April 6, 2012

Yesterday I disussed the book The Holy Grail of Macroeconomics by Richard Koo. I focused on Ben Bernanke’s theory that in a post-bubble collapse the central bank should focus on pumping up the money supply in order to increase asset prices and inflation. This isn’t a secret, because Bernanke’s been fairly clear about it in […]

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