Universal Basic Income

Over the last several years there have been a number of proposals by economists and political scientists that would substitute universal basic income policies as credible alternatives to existing social programs such as unemployment insurance. The idea is straight forward:  Provide citizens with a minimum allowance, without means-testing, that would give everyone the means to … Continued

Volatility – Once and Again!

Within the past week, common stock prices have gyrated widely (again).  The bias has been to the downside.  The cause du jour is high yield bonds and concerns over the solvency of some of the issuers of this low rated debt, and liquidity for buyers and sellers of their debt securities.  In particular, energy companies … Continued

Peak Vehicle Sales?

It appears very likely that, in 2016, U.S. sales of motor vehicles will exceed 18.0 million, a new record, handily topping the previous record of 17.35 million vehicles in 2000. This is very good news, supporting an improving economy and providing the background for strong wage gains for auto workers.  Unfortunately, history tells us that … Continued

Cost Versus Price

One of the more interesting business conundrums is; are prices set by costs or are costs reflective of prices?  Clearly, there are no easy answers.  Many business contracts are negotiated on a “cost/plus” basis, while others are based on a firm bid price for a specific product or service. Investors should be aware of the … Continued

Saving: Good or Bad?

  Over the years, we have all probably been encouraged to save, first by parents and then by assorted financial advisors.  Clearly, saving is important and most of us should have cash reserves to cover several months of expenses and be putting something aside for retirement.  To that extent, saving is good. The big picture … Continued

Fed Watching: “One and Done”? Why?

Fed watchers have stepped up speculation regarding possible Fed action in December.  The consensus appears to be moving toward a “one and done” theory, whereby the Fed would introduce a modest increase in interest rates in December and then do nothing further for an extended period. Does this make sense? If the Fed is increasing … Continued

Delivery Apps: Convenient? Expensive?

A proliferation of rapid-delivery apps has turned the smart phone into a magic wand that can direct a wide variety of products and services to your door.  Of course, instant gratification tends to carry a price, with a plethora of fees, and delivery and service charges.  Is it worth it?  That is the critical question … Continued

Politics, Religion and Investing

There are several topics that are generally considered to be inappropriate for social gatherings involving strangers.  High on the list are politics, religion and grandchildren. Never-the-less, it is important for investors to be current and fully aware of what is going on regarding both politics and religion.  It is also essential that investors distinguish between … Continued

Waiting For Inflation?

Over the last several years we have seen a significant increase in the Federal debt and the recently concluded budget deal suggests that both political parties are now on board for continuing deficit spending.  Moreover, this antipathy to fiscal austerity is currently in vogue around the globe. Conventional wisdom would hold that continuing deficit spending … Continued

Playing the Hand You’re Dealt

Investors, particularly those reviewing the fixed income part of their portfolios, are lamenting the current reality of relatively low interest rates.  Yes, portfolio management would be easier and more fruitful if the interest rate on the 10 year treasury was 4% instead of 2%.  But it isn’t, so work with your advisor(s) to construct an … Continued

Changes to Social Security Claiming Strategies Forthcoming

The good news out of Washington last week is that Congress was able to pass budget legislation and avoid a government shutdown.  The bad news is that some retirees will no longer have access to two popular Social Security claiming strategies, including file-and-suspend and restricted application. For couples who are at or past their full-retirement … Continued