Several Companies to Raise Minimum Wages

In recent months, three large retailers including Wal-Mart, Target and T.J. Maxx have announced an increase in the minimum wage paid to their employees.  Other retailers who also pay above the minimum wage include The Gap, Costco, IKEA, REI and Whole Foods, to name a few.  For perspective, the current minimum wage is $7.25.  Wal-Mart, … Continued

Retirement Planning Through the Decades

Steps to take during each decade of your life: In your 20s Your 20s are a time for figuring out who you are and what you want to do with your life.  Most people enter the workforce for the first time in their 20s.  They move out of their parents houses and are on their … Continued

Advice to the Twenty-Something’s

I have three twenty-something daughters – all college graduates in the past few years. The choices they make now can greatly change their future prosperity. Both their friends, and my daughters, periodically ask for my guidance to help with their early financial decisions. So, here is my advice: Debt is your greatest enemy! Taking on … Continued

Fed Watching

As we have seen, ad nauseam, over the last several days, the Fed watching is a game that anyone can play.  The almost endless, and widely diverse, opinions and predictions put forth by CNBC’s staff and commentators probably generated more heat than light.  In the end, the results of the Fed’s latest meeting were essentially, … Continued

Free Market Capitalism

Larry Kudlow frequently advises viewers of CNBC that, “free market capitalism is the best path to prosperity.”  On the whole, he has a point.  Unfortunately, this is a concept that is difficult to explain in a sound-bite.  Even worse, it tends to require a significant degree of political and individual effort and discipline to implement … Continued

The Importance of Focusing on the Long Term

The following paragraphs, relating to long term investing, are excerpted from Warren E. Buffet’s most recent Berkshire Hathaway Inc. letter to shareholders. “The unconventional, but inescapable, conclusion to be drawn from the past fifty years is that it has been far safer to invest in a diversified collection of American businesses than to invest in securities … Continued

Involuntary Part-Time Work

The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data indicated that the February unemployment rate was 5.5% while labor force participation was 62.8%.  At 5.5%, the unemployment rate appears to be a positive, although it doesn’t adequately reflect underemployment.  The labor force participation rate of 62.8% is near record lows and would seem to reflect an … Continued

Staying Alive

Yahoo Finance penned an article last week titled, “Five ways your financial adviser can screw up your retirement, legally.”  This coincided with an announcement by US Labor Department Secretary Thomas Perez, indicating that he was sending the agencies’ “conflict of interest” rule to the Office of Management and Budget, which means that the timer is … Continued

Increasing Longevity Threatens Retirement Funding

The Society of Actuaries has revised its mortality assumptions for the first time since 2000.  The new data estimates that the average 65-year old man today will live 86.6 years, up from the 2000 estimate of 84.6 years.  The same data for women has increased to 88.8 years from 86.4 years. These changes have significant … Continued

Waiting For The Big Bad Bear

We all know that stock markets fluctuate.  Over the last 70 years, the S&P 500 has lost 20% of its value 12 times.   But over the same period, the S&P 500 was up nearly 15,000%, and, during the period 1926-2014, recorded a 10.1% average annual rate of return. More recently, the stock market took a … Continued

Avoid Undue Complexity

I recently attended an investor conference in NYC hosted by a large money center/investment bank.  While I rarely attend such events, I was particularly interested in the topic of “alternative investments” and how they may be used to either increase the return and/or reduce the volatility in a portfolio. At the risk of over-simplification, equity … Continued