POCKETBOOK

For the week ending Dec. 26, 2015

  • Good IRS news— at least in the near term.

According to a mid-week IRS Newswire, the interest rates Iris, that’s my nickname for the IRS, will remain the same for the calendar quarter beginning January 2. That means 3 percent charged for underpayments and overpayments to her; 5 percent for large corporate underpayments; and 1/2 of 1 percent (0.5) for portions of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000.

Of course those rates could change later in 2016.

  • Market Quick Glance

-Indices

  • Year-to-date returns based on Thursday’s close, December 24, 2015 (markets were closed on Friday, Dec. 25):
  • DJIA + 0.94 percent
  • S&P 500 + 2.19 percent
  • NASDAQ +7.96 percent
  • (Source: Bloomberg)

-Mutual funds

As of Saturday, December 26,  Lipper’s performance figures on  various mutual fund types were not available.

Look for them on Monday, December 28th, at www.allaboutfunds.com where all of Lipper’s weekly performance figures on both stock and fixed-income funds can be found on that site’s home page.

  • Retirement returns better for Da Boss (DB) than Da Crew (DC)

From Pensions & Investments (pionline.com) comes this: “New research from The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has revealed that “Defined contribution plans consistently underperform defined benefit plans, most likely due to higher investment fees…..

“Based on a review to Investment Company Institute data and Form 5500 filings, IRAs returned an average 2.2% per year between 2000 and 2012, compared to 3.1% for defined contribution plans and 4.7% for defined benefit plans. The low return for IRAs might be due to fees or their higher allocation to “safe” but low-returning money market funds, the report said. Roughly 11% of assets in traditional IRAs are invested in money market funds compared to 4% for DC plans,….”

To anyone who has been around for a while, that news ought to come as no surprise. Individuals investing their own money for their own retirement accounts have always lacked the investment acumen that many educated corporate bean counters have.

  • Finally: Holiday spending, saving and flying pigs

If trying to find a parking space was any indication of holiday spending, there was no shortage of shoppers at the Palm Beach Outlet mall on December 24th or on December 26th. I’m guessing the same was true elsewhere around the county and country. Word is holiday shoppers  spent a lot this year but we’ll have to wait to see the tallied numbers to know for sure.

That said, when I was  young, like junior high school-aged young, I remember suggesting to my parents that instead of buying presents to put under the tree for Christmas, why not celebrate the holiday on what my Serbian grandparents called  Old Calendar Christmas, January 6. Even at that young age I was price sensitive and realized that the same stuff can cost a whole lot less after Christmas  than it does before.

Coincidentially, in November  I bought one of those cute little handmade Patience Brewster ornaments at Bloomingdale’s. It was pricey, 52 bucks, and a For Me gift. But how could I pass up a  flying pig? Well,  I was back in that store the day after Christmas, on  December 26th, and low and behold, the same Tinkerbelle Flying Pig ornament was on sale for 75 percent less. Seventy-five percent off! So I did what any good shopper, who hadn’t opened the box yet would do: I returned the 52 dollar pig and bought another one for 13 bucks and change.

Pigs do indeed fly.

 

-30-

 

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