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Are Stock Values High or Low?

January 20, 2015

It is a rare time when analysts aren’t debating whether stock valuations are high, low, or somewhere in between. The debate matters, because stock indexes peak when valuations are high and bottom when valuations are low. But valuation isn’t like an on/off switch. Stocks can be highly valued or low valued for a long time […]

Social Security Underpays Beneficiaries

January 6, 2015

About 450,000 beneficiaries were underpaid $500 million since 2008 by Social Security, according to an Inspector General audit. More than 85% of those beneficiaries were identified in a 2008 audit, but the SSA didn’t take corrective action. These were not errors discovered by beneficiaries but are errors uncovered by SSA’s internal system. But the systems […]

Facts and Myths About Social Security

January 1, 2015

Almost everyone has a Social Security number and is eligible for Social Security benefits. Yet, survey after survey indicates people know little about the program and their benefits. Also, much of what people think they know is wrong. Let’s took a look at some key misunderstandings and oversights about the program. Understand benefit statements. The […]

Beating the Stock Market

December 5, 2014

Here’s an interesting perspective on investing success from Cullen Roche of Pragmatic Capitalism. Roche makes a couple of unique points. One is that for a true passive investor, you shouldn’t be focused on “the market” represented by stock market indexes. You should be focused on all the financial assets out there. He argues that a […]

Do Recent High Stock Returns Mean Low Returns are Coming?

November 14, 2014

There’s nothing quite like looking at the data. I regularly run into people who say they’re betting that stocks are going to crumble because they’ve done so well since 2009. I ask for the data backing the statement, and they don’t any much. Here’s a thorough article addressing the question. The answers aren’t simple or […]

Beware of Finance Studies on How to Beat the Stock Market

November 3, 2014

You probably need a subscription to Barron’s to read this. It’s a good one. It’s a summary of an academic study of academic studies on ways to beat the markets. The results are disturbing. The authors concluded that about half the studies simply are false. I’ve seen similar (and worse) assessments of the published literature […]

The Importance of Social Security

October 17, 2014

Many people downplay Social Security benefits in their retirement planning. Most people who’ve been retired for a while, however, report that Social Security is an important part of their financial well-being. Now, a new study by the Census Bureau (subscription might be required) reveals that without Social Security a majority of U.S. seniors would be […]

Some Data on Stock Market Declines

October 15, 2014

Every time we have some big down days in the stock market, too many people immediately start talking about the next crash and big losses. At such times, it is helpful to take a look at the data. This blog post is a good summary of the data on corrections and bear markets, including how […]

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