Rise in China’s Aging Population Prompts a Rethink for the US

A recent Wall Street Journal article reported one of many challenges China is facing: fast-growing numbers of elderly people. By 2015 there will be 220 million people older than 60 years old in China, compared with about 180 million today. According to the projections from the National Bureau of Statistics, within 40 years China will … Continued

“Sell in May and Go Away”

This is only one of the hundreds of clever, and sometimes accurate, snippets of wisdom that populate the investment spectrum. Also, currently timely would be “June Swoon” and “Summer Rally”. In fairness, there is generally some historical basis for most of this type of “wisdom”. For example, on average, since 1950, substantially all of the … Continued

Mortgage Math

Many homeowners are starting to feel the positive effects of an early recovery in housing prices. In fact, the widely-followed S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which is one of the broadest measures of national home prices, was up more than 10% for the 12 month period ending March 31, 2013. For most prospective homebuyers, the process … Continued

Has the Stock Market Gone Too Far, Too Fast?

I have received several calls and emails from friends and clients of late asking if, at a level of 15,000 on the Dow Jones Industrials, the stock market has gotten ahead of itself. Certainly, measured from the trough in March of 2009, equities generally, and the Dow specifically, have more than doubled in price. That’s … Continued

Chairman/CEO Debate

At JP Morgan Chase’s annual meeting tomorrow, shareholders will be given the opportunity to vote on whether the roles of Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer should be held by the same individual. Quoting from an article published by American Banker on May 15, 2013, William Isaac states the following: “…much of the … Continued

Freedom of the Seas

Having just returned from a voyage that included a stop at Gibraltar, I was reminded of just how dependent the world is on ocean traffic and the existence of several major, potential choke points, such as Gibraltar, Suez and the Straits of Hormuz. The US, accounting for more than 20% of the world’s goods and … Continued

A Low Tax Bill Does Not Mean a Poor Investment Year

During a recent portfolio review with one of my clients, she asked me why she didn’t have to pay any taxes last year even though her portfolio had substantially increased in value. She said the income and gains reported on her tax return were minimal. She was expecting a large tax bill given the portfolio … Continued

Municipal Bond Income – Tax Target

The most recent Presidential proposal to raise tax revenue once again targets the two percent. But does it? The proposal would cap the tax exemption at 28%; for those in higher brackets income derived from municipal bonds would be taxed for the percent their tax bracket is above that waterline. For example, consider someone who … Continued


The press is rife with references to the Dow Jones Industrials having recently reached a new high level of 15,000. What does it mean? Is the stock market ready to back off having more than doubled off of the March 2009 lows? Is this the early stages of a new bull market, as legendary investor … Continued

‘The Retirement Gamble’

A few days ago, PBS Frontline ran a made-for-TV special titled “The Retirement Gamble”. Given the stir that this piece generated in our mainstream media as well among our clients, I felt it would be worthwhile to comment. First, we agree with the premise that most Americans are not adequately prepared for retirement. That is, … Continued

Annuity Refresher

Last week at a luncheon I attended everyone in the room was asked to introduce themselves and give a brief overview of what they do. One woman’s introduction stood out. She introduced herself and then said “I sell people lifetime income streams. I don’t deal in stocks, bonds, or mutual fund investing. I give people … Continued