Results 251–300 of 319 found.
Dependence On Government Has Become Epidemic
Did you know that the number of Americans getting benefits from the federal government each month greatly exceeds the number of full-time workers in the economy by a longshot? Sadly, it?s true. Based on the latest Census Bureau data available, there were over 148 million non-veteran Americans who were on some kind of monthly means-tested government benefit programs in 2012, by far the highest number ever. Today, that number is around 167 million by some more recent estimates.
The Real Obamacare Nightmare is Just Beginning
Last Thursday, the Obama administration said that a total of eight million Americans had signed up for Obamacare. In a hastily called press event, President Obama spiked the football, took a victory lap around the White House and declared the healthcare law a smashing success ? although they still haven?t told us how many enrollees have actually paid a premium, or how many were simply replacing their policies that were canceled due to Obamacare.
Uncle Sam Seizes Children's Tax Refunds To Pay Parents' Debts
This is one of those special weeks when I get to bring you key information that you probably haven?t seen elsewhere. As a speed-reader, I look at a large volume of information every week before deciding what topics to publish on Tuesdays. It was early Saturday evening when I ran across today?s topic which is getting scant coverage in the media, but everyone reading this needs to understand this latest (and possibly illegal) money-grab by our government.
How High-Frequency Trading Benefits Most Investors
A controversial new book came out in late March that lambastes so-called ?high-frequency trading? on the major stock exchanges and claims that such computerized trading robs retail investors of good executions and profits on their stock orders. The book, ?Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt,? was written by former bond salesman turned author, Michael Lewis, who appeared on CBS? 60 Minutes on March 30. Since then, his book has stirred up quite the controversy among stock market investors.
Consumer Confidence Up, But Concerns Remain
The Conference Board reported last week that its Consumer Confidence Index jumped to 82.3 in March (up from 78.3), the highest reading since January 2008, just as the recession was beginning. But the two underlying components of the Index provided two different perspectives, as we will discuss today.
Looming Retirement Crisis ? Boomers In Big Trouble!
Let?s face it, we all know this country is facing a retirement crisis. The first of the Baby Boomers turned 65 and started retiring in 2011. The number of Boomers retiring each year will rise rapidly over the next decade or more. Before the end of this decade, Boomers will be turning age 65 at the rate of 8,000 per day.
Understanding The "Millennial Generation"
As the father of two adult children who were born in the early 1990s, I have a particularly keen interest in the ?Millennial Generation? ? those 80 million or so people born in the US between 1980 and 2002, the largest generation ever ? and who will be running the country before too long.
U.S. Household Net Worth Hits New Record High
The Federal Reserve announced last Thursday that US household net worth reached a new record high by the end of last year ? at $80.7 trillion. The Fed said the new record was made possible largely due to vaulting stock prices, increased home values and Americans paying off more of their debts.
The US Economy - Back To The Slow Lane Again
Late last year, President Obama predicted that 2014 would see ?breakout growth? in the US economy. His optimism was not completely unwarranted since the economy grew by a healthy 4.1% (annual rate) in the 3Q of last year, driven largely by an unexpected surge in inventory rebuilding. Then in late January, the Commerce Department reported that the economy grew by a better than expected 3.2% in the 4Q.
US Savings Rate Falling Again - Here Comes "MyRA"
Today we weave together several different topics that are all connected in one way or another. We begin with the US savings rate which is trending lower once again. From 1975 to 2007, the savings rate fell to an all-time low of 2.4%. While it jumped up briefly after the 2008 financial crisis, it is now moving lower yet again.
Emerging Market Woes abd Fed Tapering Equals Stocks Plunge
January saw US stocks record their first losing month since last August. After reaching new record highs at the end of December, the Dow Jones shed almost 1,000 points in the last half of the month and the decline continues. Analysts attributed the sell-off in large part due to troubling news from several emerging nations, in particular to the so-called "Fragile Five" - Turkey, India, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa.
Consumer Confidence Jumped in December, But Why?
Today well look at several economic reports, including a big jump in consumer confidence last month. That seems a little odd given that over 63% of Americans still believe the country is headed in the wrong direction as I reported last week.
2013 - Good Year Or Good Riddance?
Its New Years Eve, so I thought it might be interesting to look at some recent polls to get a sense of how Americans feel about how things went in 2013 and what they considered to be the most important news stories of the year.
Economy Surprises On The Upside, But Is It Real?
In todays abbreviated holiday E-Letter, well look at last Fridays surprising report on 3Q GDP. In its third estimate of 3Q GDP, the Commerce Department reported that the economy surged by more than anyone expected. Given the surprisingly strong numbers, more than a few are questioning the reports accuracy and wondering if it will be revised lower in January.
Fed May Have An Unexpected Surprise In Mind
My readers know that the global financial world is waiting with bated breath for tomorrows Fed decision on whether to start to "taper" QE purchases now or wait until next year. The Feds Open Market Committee (FOMC) is holding its last policy meeting of the year today and tomorrow, and Chairman Bernanke will hold a press conference afterward.
Fed: No More Excuses Not To Taper - Just Do It!
We had some terrific economic news late last week. The 3Q GDP report and the November unemployment report were so strong that some are wondering if the data are credible, and are likely to be revised lower next month. The government reported that 3Q Gross Domestic Product jumped from 2.8% as reported last month to a whopping 3.6% in its second estimate last Thursday, well above the consensus estimate of 3.1%.
Nuclear Deal With Iran - Don't Give Away The Store
Obama administration representatives are quietly negotiating with Iran in an effort to stop its nuclear program. Under the proposed agreement, the US would relax or eliminate some of the tough sanctions that have crippled Irans economy. This is happening at the same time Congress is threatening to impose even tougher new sanctions on Iran.
Will 39% Hike in Minimum Wage Tank The Economy?
President Obama called for a whopping 39% increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour last Thursday. There is already a bill working its way through in the Senate to do the same thing. If this legislation passes, the minimum wage will be increased 95 cents each year for the next three years starting this year, to bring it to $10.10 by 2015.
Thank The Fed For Big Stock Market Gains
My guess is that just about everyone reading my E-Letters would agree that the Feds massive quantitative easing (QE) program has had a bullish effect on the stock markets over the last few years. Several new reports conclude that the Feds unprecedented QE bond buying program is responsible for ALL of the stock market advance since the bottom in early 2009.
US Economy Mired in a Sea of Contradictions
Consumer confidence has plunged over the last month, due in large part to the government shutdown and fear that the US might default on its debt because of the ineptitude of our leaders in Washington. Normally, when consumer confidence plunges, we would expect a significant slowdown in consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of GDP.
Is Your Stock Portfolio Up Over 30% This Year?
This is the question I get most from nervous investors who are trying to decide where to put their money in these troubled and unprecedented times. And why not? After all, we’ve got government shutdowns, debt default risk, $17 trillion in national debt, the Fed printing trillions of dollars in new money, healthcare uncertainty, threats of war abroad, etc., etc.
Consumer Confidence Plunging Recession Ahead?
The stalemate in Washington continues, the government remains in partial shutdown and the debt ceiling looms on Thursday. A bipartisan deal to fund the government until January 15 and raise the debt limit until early February is working its way through the Senate and could be voted on later today or tomorrow. It is unlikely that the Senate bill will pass in the House, which is reportedly working on yet another bill (see link below) that is unlikely to pass in the Senate.
The U.S. Can't Default On Its Debt. Right?
The Treasury Secretary has warned that his agency will exhaust the extraordinary measures it has used to fund the government on October 17. On the Sunday talk shows, he warned of catastrophic consequences if Congress doesnt raise the statutory debt ceiling by then. So, over the next nine days, youll be hearing ominous forecasts of what will happen if the US defaults on its nearly $17 trillion national debt, or even some of it. Sound familiar?
Handing Down Your Legacy - A Special Gift For Readers
No one likes to talk about death. Many people put off planning for this contingency because its just not pleasant to think about. Additionally, most young people think that death is a long way off, so they have plenty of time to plan for it. But as we all know, accidents happen and no one knows exactly when their time will come.
Another Budget & Debt Ceiling Fiasco Starts Now
Last Wednesday, after the Fed surprisingly voted not to taper, stocks soared to new record highs, but then lost ground for the next two days. It may be that some investors decided to lock in some gains, reduce exposure and brace for the next few weeks as the budget and debt ceiling circuses play out in Washington.
Stock Funds' 5-Year Track Records Set to Double
Many investors focus on the previous five years annualized return when analyzing which mutual funds to buy. We also pay a good deal of attention to the 5-year performance number when analyzing mutual fund and ETF returns at Halbert Wealth Management. And currently the 5-year average returns for most equity mutual funds are not all that attractive.
Some Scary Bumps in the Road Just Ahead
The major stock indexes moved lower after setting new record highs in early August, although prices have recovered somewhat in the last few days. So was the weakness in August just an overdue correction before moving even higher? Maybe, but there are a number of things coming up in the next month or so that could rattle the markets even more, including whether or not we go to war with Syria. Well talk about those today.
How Syria Could Spark New Middle East War
What does the stand-off in Syria have to do with the investment markets? Potentially, a lot. As I have argued in recent weeks, if the Middle East devolves into another military quagmire, it could be quite bearish for the US stock and bond markets going forward. Thats why we will talk about the implications today.
America is Turning Into a "Part-Time Nation"
Part-time work accounted for a whopping 77% of the jobs the US economy created from January through July, according to household survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Last year during the same time period, part-time jobs were only 53% of the total versus 47% full-time jobs. This trend toward part-time, low paying jobs is accelerating rapidly.
The Big Secret Mutual Fund Companies Are Hiding
Do you know that most (if not all) mutual fund and ETF sponsors are keeping vital information about their funds secret from you? Well start todays E-Letter with a discussion about what that valuable information is and why fund companies dont want you to know about it.
Middle East Is A Looming Tinderbox - Think Egypt
We begin today by looking into the latest unprecedented embassy closures across the Middle East and North Africa. Did President Obama take the appropriate actions, or were the closures a sign of weakness to our enemies in the region? From there, we turn our attention to the worsening political tensions in Egypt. There is a real threat that Egypt could deteriorate into a full-scale civil war in the months ahead.
New GDP Revisions to Boost US Economy by 3%
At the end of April, I pointed out that the Commerce Departments Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced it would be making some significant revisions to the way it calculates Gross Domestic Product on July 31. It will revise economic growth for all years going back to 1929. This change is somewhat controversial in that it is expected to add up to 3% to total GDP in one fell swoop tomorrow morning. Thats about $1,500 worth of extra goods and services for every person in the US!
Average Gas Price Could Hit $4 by Labor Day... Or Not
With the recent jump in gasoline prices, several energy analysts are forecasting that prices at the pump will top $4 a gallon (national average) later this summer. On the other hand, some analysts feel that gas prices will only go up another 5-10 cents a gallon just ahead, and then move lower in the fall. Of course, no one knows for sure. Today, well take a look at whats driving gas prices higher.
Fed's Gobbledygook - What Do They Really Mean?
Recent communications from the Fed and comments by Chairman Bernanke cast a great deal of uncertainty on the equity and bond markets in late June. Specifically, Bernankes remarks in his press conference on June 19 where he discussed ending its program of quantitative easing prompted a huge global selloff in the stock and bond markets.
Are You Financially Literate? Take the Test!
For over a decade, numerous studies have found that most Americans are lacking in their basic knowledge regarding finance and investments. I first reported on this back in 2003 and have done so every few years since then. Unfortunately, things have not gotten better over the years, despite the fact that we went through a major financial crisis in 2008-2009.
The Fed's Dirty Little Secret: QE Does Not Work
Today I hope to dispel the myth that the Fed?s massive quantitative easing (QE) policy has driven long-term interest rates lower. I will argue that the opposite is true and demonstrate that the yield on the 10-year Treasury note has actually risen during QE-1, QE-2 and QE-3. This flies in the face of most market commentators.
Will The Fed Tank The Markets Tomorrow?
The Fed Open Market Committee is meeting today and tomorrow to set monetary policy going forward. The big question is whether or not the Fed will decide to taper its monthly purchases of $85 billion in Treasury bonds and mortgage securities, which have driven stocks and bonds higher over the last few years. The decision depends largely on the Feds view of the economy, so they tell us.
Fed Advisory Council Drops A Bombshell
Last Friday afternoon, the Fed released the minutes from a May 17 meeting of the Federal Advisory Council (FAC). The Council is a group of 12 influential bankers from across the country who meet periodically and give the Fed Board of Governors input regarding the economy, moneyary policy, etc. The minutes from the latest FAC meeting clearly indicate that the bankers are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the Feds unprecedented quantitative easing policy. To my knowledge, no one in the mainstream media has reported on what you will read here today.
Investors Shun Stocks But Cling To Bonds - Why?
he Halberts are out of town celebrating our sons graduation from college on the sunny beaches of southern Florida. In place of my usual writing, I have chosen to reprint an excellent article from The Wall Street Journals Jason Zweig on investor behavior. The WSJ writer keys in on a new investor survey from Blackwater, Inc., one of the largest money management firms in the world (almost $4 trillion in customer assets). Blackwater surveyed investors that have at least $50,000 in investable assets. The findings are almost sure to surprise you.
6.7 Million Missing Workers Where Did They Go?
Today we will touch several bases. We begin with last Fridays unemployment report which was hailed by the mainstream media, but had a lot of bad news to go with the good. From there we look at the estimated 6.7 million missing workers in this economy and ponder if theyre permanently gone from the employment rolls.
US Economy to Get a Hollywood Makeover
You may have heard that the government is going to make some major changes in how our Gross Domestic Product is calculated later this year. Your first thought might be that this is no big deal. However, I will argue today that it is a very big deal, the biggest in a decade, and you need to know why. So I hope you read what follows with more than a passing interest.
An Awesome Gift For Your Kids, Grandkids, or You
This week, I veer from our usual economic and investment themes to tell you about what I believe is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give your children, grandchildren or others who are dear to you (or maybe even yourself). What I am about to describe is something that has literally changed the lives of dozens of my friends and relatives over the last 30+ years.
Fed to End QE, Obama's Tax & Spend Budget
Today I tackle several topics, each of which could take up an entire E-Letter. But these topics are very important, and I want to address them today. The first is the minutes from the March 19-20 Fed Open Market Committee meeting that were released last Wednesday. Those minutes definitively confirm that the Fed is ready to chart an end to quantitative easing.
Why This Economic "Recovery" is So Weak
We start today with an excellent editorial I read last week written by Mort Zuckerman, Editor-In-Chief of U.S. News & World Report. My goal every week is to do a lot of reading and summarize what Ive learned in these pages week in and week out. But every now and then I run across something so good that it just makes sense to reprint it in its entirety, even if its not my own work. Not many of my contemporaries are willing to do that, as they think it makes them look less scholarly. I dont have that problem.
On the Fed, the Keystone Pipeline & the War On Jobs
The Fed Open Market Committee (FOMC) met as scheduled last Tuesday and Wednesday to review monetary policy and its massive quantitative easing effort. The official policy statement released at the end of the meeting on Wednesday was little changed from those in previous months.
Is The Government Lying To Us About Inflation? Yes!
On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) jumped an unexpected 0.7% in February. This was above pre-report estimates and was the highest monthly reading since 2009. We should be very concerned, right? Lets take a closer look.
Who Cares if There's a High-Yield Bond Bubble?
High-yield bonds, or "junk bonds" as they are widely known, have received a lot of attention in recent months. Is there a high-yield bond bubble? Certainly a ton of new money has gone into high-yield bond funds over the last few years. Millions of Americans who would have never considered high-yield bonds have bought in due to near zero returns on traditional savings vehicles.
Why Our Best Ideas Come In The Shower and Why They Are So Hard To Remember
I don't know about you, but I have had some of my best and most creative ideas while in the shower. But the shower is not the only place or activity where we tend to be more creative. Our creative juices can frequently be stimulated when doing other things as well such as driving home from work, during or after exercise, cooking, meditating, etc.
Pew: Americans Have Little Will to Cut Spending
The Pew Research Center released a new national poll on Friday and the results are quite surprising. As the March 1 deadline for a possible budget sequester approaches, the new Pew survey finds limited public support for reducing spending for a wide range of government programs, including defense, entitlements, education and health care.
Stock Market Lingers At A Precarious Place
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has flirted with its all-time high of 14,198 twice in February as the Dow managed to rise above the 14,000 mark but then fell back. The S&P 500 Index is not quite as close to its all-time high, but it is within striking distance. There is widespread optimism that both indexes can break-out to new record highs, which would likely spark a new buying surge.
Results 251–300 of 319 found.