Monthly Archives: February 2016

POCKETBOOK

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For the week ending Feb. 27, 2016

  • Good news for snail-mailers

Yahoo! Come April 10, a first-class stamp will only cost 47 cents instead of its current 49-cent price, according to CNNMoney.com.

When that happens it will be the first time in 97 years that the price of a stamp will have been decreased. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is the 2-cent savings per stamp is estimated to cost the Post Office $2 billion a year.

So why do it?

According to the Feb. 26th CNNMoney story, “The reduction is part of a pre-arranged agreement with Congress. The Post Office got to increase the price of stamps by 3 cents in 2014 to help it raise $4.6 billion in revenue. But the price hike was only set to last two years. (It gets to keep one cent of the increase to keep up with inflation)….”

How’s that for not making a lot of cents.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

-Indices:

Below are year-to-date performance figures for the major indices through February 26, 2016 according to Bloomberg. To provide a longer performance perspective, 1-year returns have been added.

Dow Jones -3.97% YTD

1yr Rtn -5.85 %

-S&P 500 -4.31% YTD

1yr Rtn -5.43%

NASDAQ -8.11%YTD

1yr Rtn -6.34%

-Russell 2000 -8.52% YTD

1yr Rtn -14.71%

If year-to-date performances are any indication of a trend, all four market indices are doing better. For how long, however,  remains to be seen.

 

-Mutual funds

Through Thursday, February 25, 2016 the average U.S.Diversified Equity fund was down 6.03 percent, year-to-date, according to Lipper.

Without sounding like a broken record, Dedicated Short Bias funds continue to be the top performing fund type under the General Equity Funds heading. They were up on average 8.18 percent. And, Diversified Leveraged funds down the most, off 12.11percent on average. In both instances the high return isn’t as high as it was last week and the down group not off as much.

Precious Metal funds also continue to be top performers under the World Equity Funds heading—up on average almost 33.38 percent. That figure is about 4 percent higher than last week’s.

Visit www.allaboutfunds.com for weekly updates to see how equity and fixed-income funds have rewarded investors over the short-and long-term, based upon Lipper data. Short-term meaning weekly and monthly performance returns; longer-term includes quarterly, year-to-date, 1-yr, 2-yr, 3-yr and 5-yr returns.

Lipper’s weekly performance figures for stock and fixed-income funds are at www.allaboutfunds.com in the left column on the home page.

 

-Vizualization pays off

Having a war chest fat enough to cover the cost of the decades many will live in retirement is no easy task. And often unattainable.

But not to worry, there’s hope in imagining.

Results from a recent TDBank survey found that people who visualize stuff—either through imaginations or via photos and vision boards—have an easier time succeeding at meeting their goals. Even financial ones.

Of the 1,100 people in the study, 38 percent reported better financial health when they visualized things.

From the CBSNEWS.com story: “Financial advisors may tell you to keep your emotions out of money, but the psychologists will tell you that’s impossible,” said Dr. Barbara Nusbaum, a psychologist who partnered with TD Bank to analyze the study. “You’re better off bringing emotions in positively to help your financial planning.”

Huh.

So why not give picturing a try. It won’t cost you anything and who knows, it could be rewarding.

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It’s America Saves Week. Big deal.

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Given the volatility of the stock market, despicably low returns on savings, money market accounts and Treasury securities —-coupled with the challenges  that millions have making ends meet week-to-week—- it’s no wonder that America Saves Week gets over looked and under addressed.

Nonetheless, please don’t misunderstand me: Saving money is the best habit anyone can get into. And the sooner it becomes a natural part of one’s lifestyle the better. Even when the markets are in the crapper and/or savings rate yields are almost non-existent.

That said, February 22 through the 27th is America Saves Week. And if the very best you can do is to save $1 this week by not going to McDonald’s or the Dollar Store, or, a couple of bucks by giving up one cup of java at Starbucks, do it. Dollars count and mount up over time. Just as pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and Susan B. Anthony dollar coins do when tossed into a jar and collected.

While you come up with ways to begin or increase your saving habit, here are some interesting tidbits:

  • As a nation, our personal savings rate is currently 5.5 percent according to the Federal Reserve. That’s literally half of what it was in December 2012 when it stood at 11 percent
  • Results from the ninth annual America Saves Week survey found:
    •  49% say they are saving at least 5% of their income
    •  43% report some kind of automatic saving outside of work
    •  40 percent of U.S. households report good or excellent progress in “meeting their savings needs”
    • 38% report they have no consumer debt

Not surprisingly, that same survey found men have a higher saving rate than women. But hey, they earn more. On the other hand, I personally know plenty of women who are terrific savers even though they are income challenged.

Bottom line: No matter your gender or income, save some portion of the income that comes into your household. Five percent is a good place to start; 10 percent or more, even better.

There’s no magic involved here, only action, as the more money you save the more money you will accumulate.

 

 

POCKETBOOK

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For the week ending Feb. 20, 2016

•Seniors and spousal spending
Turns out, the over 65 crowd can be pretty stingy.
According to a CreditCard.com poll, 24 percent of couples that aged and above said their partner should spend no more than $25 without telling them. Yikes. Ya can’t go far on that. Then again, maybe that’s the point.

•Market Quick Glance
-Indices:
Below are year-to-date performance figures for the major indices through February 19, 2016  according to Bloomberg. To provide a longer performance perspective, 1-year returns have been added.

-Dow Jones -5.47% YTD
1yr Rtn -7.30 %
-S&P 500 -5.85% YTD
1yr Rtn -7.17%
-NASDAQ -9.85%YTD
1yr Rtn -7.96%
-Russell 2000 -10.95% YTD
1yr Rtn -16.85%

-Feeling funky about investing? Re-feel.
In this goo-goo goofy election year when some are saying America is in a horrible fix and in need of big-time repair, if you decide to plug your ears to that kind of chatter  other voices can be heard. Like this one from Jack. A. Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank.

In his Current Market Update letter, dated February 17, 2016,  the subject focus was mainly oil but included this: “Despite the campaign trail rhetoric, the fact remains that wages are up 2.5 percent in the last year, gas prices are in the basement and the American fleet goes much farther before requiring a fill-up.  Our “wages-to-miles” metric just broke the previous record of 341 miles “per hour” set in 1999, when a gallon of gas was 90 cents.

 
“American consumer confidence is on the rise with most of the improvement attributed to lower pump prices.  Don’t be surprised if consumer spending data ushers in sunshine this spring.  “

•Investment Ideas
I’m sticking with the dividend paying stock ideas this week just because selecting the right ones for your portfolio can be smart—-widows-and-orphans investment style smart.

In case you’ve neglected dividend paying stocks in the past consider the following:
–    Since 1930, dividends have accounted for an incredible 42% of the S&P 500’s total return.
–    According to a study by Fidelity, S&P 500 dividend-paying stocks perform 50% better in down markets than non-dividend paying stocks.
–    Dividends are tax advantaged. Your dividend income is taxed at a lower rate—20%—than capital gains.
–    The S&P 500 dividend yield is higher than that of the 10-year U.S Treasury.

That’s all according to Louis Navellier’s Market 360 letter. And yes, he does manage  a Dividend Growth Fund (along with a number of other funds) and  I’m not trying to sell you. I’m just sayin…Navellier is an old-hand at investing, has a well-established reputation and you might want to check his group out when  researching funds and investigating investment managers who have been around for decades.

-Mutual funds
Through Thursday, February 18, 2016  the average U.S.Diversified Equity fund was down 7.82 percent, year-to-date, according to Lipper.

Of the General Equity Funds, Dedicated Short Bias funds have performed the best so far this year, up on average 10.95 percent. And Diversified Leveraged funds, the worst, down 14.74 percent, on average.

Not surprising,  Precious Metal Funds were top performers under the World Equity Funds heading—up on average almost 30 percent (29.66 percent)

Visit http://www.allaboutfunds.com for weekly updates to see how equity and fixed-income funds have rewarded investors over the short-and long-term, based upon Lipper data. Short-term meaning weekly and  monthly performance returns; longer-term includes quarterly, year-to-date, 1-yr, 2-yr, 3-yr and 5-yr returns.

Lipper’s weekly performance figures for stock and fixed-income funds are at http://www.allaboutfunds.com in the left column on the home page.

-Wealth and the working
Two points to ponder gleaned from Princor’s Weekly Market Review:
-“The 20 wealthiest Americans (worth a combined $732 billion) own more wealth than the bottom 50% of the U.S. population.”
(Source: Institute for Policy Studies).
-“There are 151 million American workers today. There are 775 million Chinese workers today.
(Source: Department of Labor).

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POCKETBOOK

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For the week ending Feb. 13, 2016

  • Yes, it’s a recession.

The good news: Not everybody agrees that we’re in a recession.

More good news: It’s only a recession and not a depression. Basic characteristics of a recession include at least two consecuitive quarters of a decline in GDP, a drop in consumer spending, personal income and business profits, etc.

But, if we’re to add moods into the overall economic picture, it sure feels more like a depression than it does a recession. And feelings matter when it comes to  us, investing and market performance.

More good stuff about the  recession subject at the end this blog.

  • Market Quick Glance

-Indices:

Below are year-to-date performance figures for the major indices through February 12, 2016 according to Bloomberg. To provide a broader performance perspective, 1-year returns have been added.

-Dow Jones -7,99% YTD

1yr Rtn -9.13 %

-S&P 500 -8.51% YTD

1yr Rtn -9.18%

-NASDAQ -13.25%YTD

1yr Rtn -10.26%

-Russell 2000 -14.32% YTD

1yr Rtn -19.42%

The DJIA was  down the least year-to-date of these four indices through Feb. 12th while the Russell 2000 had  lost the most over the past year. It’s down nearly 20 percent—that’s awfully close to  bear territory.

-Investment Ideas

Dividend paying stocks continue to reward investors. And how can you say no to them when many are yielding far more than long-term Treasuries?

Two examples of attractive dividend yields based on 2/12/16 closing prices that have recently increased their dividends are Cisco’s (CSC0) big fat juicy dividend ratio  of  4.14 % and Kimberly-Clark’s (KMB) at 2.86%. I’m not suggesting you run out and invest in either, I’m just sayin, take a look.

Or if fixed-income is a must-have for your portfolio and ETFs catch your eye, Zacks has an ETF rating of #2 (buy) on the 25+ Year Zero Coupon U.S. Treasury Index Fund (ZROZ) . Its 30-day SEC yield is 2.74% currently. And, iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEARCA:TLT) with  its current 30-day SEC yield of 2.48%.

Again, just sayin….

Mutual funds

Lipper’s mutual fund performance numbers will posted later this week.

However, through Thursday, February 4, 2016 the average U.S.Diversisfied Equity fund was down 7.45 percent, according to Lipper.

Visit www.allaboutfunds.com for weekly updates to see how equity and fixed-income funds have rewarded investors over the short-and long-term, based upon Lipper data. Short-term meaning weekly and monthly performance returns; longer-term includes quarterly, year-to-date, 1-yr, 2-yr, 3-yr and 5-yr returns.

Lipper’s weekly performance figures for stock and fixed-income funds are at www.allaboutfunds.com in the left column on the home page.

-Back to recession stuff

A story with plenty of graphs to help us all see why the recession talk is happening can be found in this CNBC.com piece titled, “Is the US economy running out of gas?”

In a nutshell, when you start adding up all the moving parts, such as real GDP, consumer spending, government spending, private investment, etc. together, the overall picture isn’t rosy.

But don’t believe me. Click on the site address below and see for yourself in the graphs accompanying that story:

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/11/is-the-us-economy-running-out-of-gas.html?__source=newsletter|eveningbrief

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The love and money mix

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Dear Dian,

I’m retired with a very nice pension and have fallen in love with a man who doesn’t have any savings at all.  He lives on a reverse mortgage.  He tells me he would never touch my finances, but what if we marry and he has health issues and I need to pay for him?  Please advise.

Concerned Cathy

Dear Concerned,
Oh my dear, one thing that living a longish life has taught me is that love and money mix like oil and water. That’s not to say I’m not a fan of love. Or money. But it is to say that love and money are two entirely different subjects that charge our emotions in totally different ways. One can put you on a beyond belief high while the other on a ride beyond belief.

The reason  love and money don’t mix is pretty much the same as why oil and water don’t. While the latter are both liquids, they have different masses and densities.  Love and money have different masses and densities, too

I’m going to make an assumption here and guess that this is a relatively new relationship and that you’re still in the  infatuation phase of it. If that’s the case, this zingy I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening-to-me phase typically lasts six to 18 months. Don’t forget that.

Whether you are 16 or 66, it’s the get-to-know you period when the more time you spend together the more you will learn about one another and see how each manages their life. It’s also the  time in which you’ll  pretty much decide whether or not you like the person, as well as, feel love for them.

Plus, it’s the time when you will see first-hand how each of you handles money.

From your email it’s clear that the object of your current affections has little bread and  that isn’t pleasing to you. How he funds his life or how much money he does or does not have is a subject that needs to addressed head on if the two of you are to have a long-lasting relationship.

And don’t forget, while you have issues about his money world, he probably has  some regarding yours.

In an online story,  Dr. Sonya Britt, director of personal financial planning at Kansas State University, stated that the top predictors of divorce are arguments over money. “It’s not children, sex, in-laws or anything else. It’s money — for both men and women.”

So don’t chuck your money concerns under the rug and pretend they aren’t important. Or that things will work out on their own. They won’t.  As un-Cupid-like as this may sound, feelings of love may come and go, but money remains a constant each of us needs throughout our entire lives.

If you decide that you like your guy enough to want to spend the rest of your life with, the two of you need to spend a whole lot of time together talking about money. Talks that need to include how each of you feel about money; how much each of you has; decisions about wills, trusts and how much the kids are going to get; where  you will live; who is going to pay the monthly bills, will they be shared or not; who pays the vet bills; what’s going to happen when your kids or parents needs financial help; how will what you brought to the marriage be dealt with; and what about inheritances, etc. etc. etc.

When it comes to money talks, the subjects can be endless and touchy. Nonetheless, all have to be addressed.

Hope you have those talks. Sharing a life with someone can be a terrifically wonderful thing. Living alone can be too.

POCKETBOOK

IMG_0204For the week ending Feb. 6, 2016

  • The monkey and football.

Monday, February 8 is a big day for the Chinese and  football fans. Not sure which order to put them in, so I’ll begin with the one with the longest history.
February 8 marks the beginning of Chinese New Year and this year it is the Year of the Monkey. If you’re wondering what that can mean money-wise, well, the news isn’t great.

According to feng shui master Chen Shuaifu, “In 2016 we will see a big slide in the world economy,” he warns. “The global economic situation will be terrible and lots of companies will be bankrupted.”

Yikes! But there’s good news, too.

While Shuaifu  recommends postponing important financial decisions for those born in the Year of the Monkey, he also said, “It’s a good year for people to give birth and to look for love…..Babies born in the Year of the Monkey are regarded as very hardworking and lucky.”

Whew!

As for football: Given that millions of people are unable to get out of bed and into work the day after the Big Game and a full and night of football partying, you’d think the powers that be would make the Monday following Super Bowl Sunday a national holiday.

Suggest that to your Congress person.

  • Market Quick Glance

-Indices:

Below are year-to-date performance figures for the major indices through February 5, 2016 according to Bloomberg. To provide a broader performance perspective, 1-year retuns have been added.

-Dow Jones -6.79% YTD

1yr Rtn -6.79 %

-S&P 500 -7.84% YTD

1yr Rtn -6.59%

-NASDAQ -12.761%YTD

1yr Rtn -6.89%

-Russell 2000 -13.15% YTD

1yr Rtn -17.09%

 

-Mutual funds

Through Thursday, February 4, 2016 the average U.S.Diversified Equity fund was down 7.45 percent, according to Lipper. Over the past 52 weeks, the average performance for this group of 8,449 funds was down 8.91 percent.

Sector Equity Funds were down an average of 5.14 percent for that same week, World Income Funds off 6.92 percent and Mixed Asset Funds down 3.92 percent.

Visit www.allaboutfunds.com for weekly updates to see how equity and fixed-income funds have rewarded investors over the short-and long-term, based upon Lipper data. Short-term meaning weekly and monthly performance returns; longer-term includes quarterly, year-to-date, 1-yr, 2-yr, 3-yr and 5-yr returns.

Lipper’s weekly performance figures for stock and fixed-income funds are at www.allaboutfunds.com in the left column on the home page.

-Money Love

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, do your best not to confuse love with money. Why? Because studies show that  there is an awful lot of financial infidelity going on between spouses and partners, these days. And that ain’t exactly love.

Of course I think that’s nothing new. But somehow others like to read official reports before they believe it to be so.

So, according to recent poll results from CreditCards.com study,” About 13 million Americans could be maintaining secret bank accounts, or credit cards without their partners knowledge.”

My suggestion: You’d better think twice about asking your sweetie to marry you on Valentine’s Day unless you’ve had The Talk.

That would be the one where the two of you sit down to discuss how you feel about money, how the bills will be paid and money to be spent and saved, etc.

No matter how young or old you are, or how many times you have or have not been married, or shared a residence with a love, that money talk is the most important must-have conversation a couple will  ever  have.

 

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Be mindful of who is filing your taxes

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It’s that time of year again when Uncle Sam wants you to pay up for an assortment of things he likes to collect on from your earned income to investment rewards, etc. etc. And given that we live in an America today where news reports include fraudulent money scams nearly every day of the week, this blog will provide tips from the IRS about things to consider if you—like 60 percent of filers—have your tax returns prepared by someone other than yourself.

Before going there, it’s really important to remember that you, Sir or Madame, are the one responsible for whatever is on the tax form submitted to the IRS. Not the preparer. Not the online program. Not your cousin the accountant. Nope, it’s you who carries all of the responsibility regarding the data on the forms submitted to our Uncle.

Here’s how the IRS spells it out: “Remember: Taxpayers are legally responsible for what is on their tax return even if it is prepared by someone else. Make sure the preparer you hire is up to the task.”

With that in mind, because the IRS is keenly aware of tax return preparer fraud, the agency has written a good piece titled the “IRS Annual “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams to Avoid During the 2016 Filing Season” that’s worth reading.

Below is most of what was included in the “Dirty Dozen” list designed to help taxpayers when selecting a tax preparer:

  • Ask if the preparer has an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Paid tax return preparers are required to register with the IRS, have a PTIN and include it on your filed tax return.
  • Inquire whether the tax return preparer has a professional credential (enrolled agent, certified public accountant, or attorney), belongs to a professional organization or attends continuing education classes. A number of tax law changes, including the Affordable Care Act provisions, can be complex. A competent tax professional needs to be up-to-date in these matters. Tax return preparers aren’t required to have a professional credential, but make sure you understand the qualifications of the preparer you select. IRS.gov has more information regarding the national tax professional organizations.
  • Check the preparer’s qualifications.  Use the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications.
  • Check the preparer’s history.  Ask the Better Business Bureau about the preparer. Check for disciplinary actions and the license status for credentialed preparers. For CPAs, check with the State Board of Accountancy. For attorneys, check with the State Bar Association. For Enrolled Agents, go to IRS.gov and search for “verify enrolled agent status” or check the Directory.
  • Ask about service fees.  Preparers are not allowed to base fees on a percentage of their client’s refund. Also avoid those who boast bigger refunds than their competition. Make sure that your refund goes directly to you – not into your preparer’s bank account.
  • Ask to e-file your return.  Make sure your preparer offers IRS e-file. Paid preparers who do taxes for more than 10 clients generally must offer electronic filing. The IRS has processed more than 1.5 billion e-filed tax returns. It’s the safest and most accurate way to file a return.
  • Provide records and receipts. Good preparers will ask to see your records and receipts. They’ll ask questions to determine your total income, deductions, tax credits and other items. Do not rely on a preparer who is willing to e-file your return using your last pay stub instead of your Form W-2. This is against IRS e-file rules.
  • Make sure the preparer is available.  In the event questions come up about your tax return, you may need to contact your preparer after the return is filed. Avoid fly-by-night preparers.
  • Understand who can represent you. Attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents can represent any client before the IRS in any situation. Non-credentialed tax return preparers can represent clients before the IRS in only limited situations, depending upon when the tax return was prepared and signed.  For all returns prepared and signed after Dec. 31, 2015, a non-credentialed tax return preparer can represent clients before the IRS in limited situations only if the preparer is a participant in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program
  • Never sign a blank return.  Don’t use a tax preparer that asks you to sign an incomplete or blank tax form.
  • Review your return before signing.  Before you sign your tax return, review it and ask questions if something is not clear. Make sure you’re comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign it.
  • Report tax preparer misconduct to the IRS. You can report improper activities by tax return preparers and suspected tax fraud to the IRS. Use Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If you suspect a return preparer filed or changed the return without your consent, you should also file Form 14157-A, Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit. You can get these forms on IRS.gov.

To find other tips about choosing a preparer, better understand the differences in credentials and qualifications, research the IRS preparer directory, and learn how to submit a complaint regarding a tax return preparer, visit www.irs.gov/chooseataxpro

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POCKETBOOK

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For the week ending Jan. 30, 2016

  • Millennials on money

Looks as though some kids aged 22 to 32 have a bit of wandering blood in them when it comes to earning a living and job loyalty.

Sixty percent of millennials, ages 22-32, have changed jobs between one and four times in the last five years, according to State Street Global Advisors.

From the Reuters story about them comes this: “While pay is important, it’s clear that millennial won’t stay with companies for money alone,” said David Cruickshank, global chairman of consulting firm Deloitte, the firm that conducted the research.

Additionally, “44 percent of millennials would leave their current employer in the next two years, if given the choice.” Asked about job loyalty and looking into the future four years out, 66 percent said that they would expect to have switched employers.

  • Market Quick Glance

-Indices:

Below are year-to-date performance figures for the major indices through January 29, 2016, according to Bloomberg. To provide a broader performance perspective, 1-year returns have been added.

-S&P 500 -4.96% YTD

1yr Rtn -0.67%

-Dow Jones -5.39% YTD

1yr Rtn -1.67%

-NASDAQ -7.81%YTD

1yr Rtn +0.82%

-Russell 2000 -9.92% YTD

1yr Rtn -8.80%

Did you notice? There’s a + return in that grouping. Find it and be happy.

-Mutual funds

Through Thursday, January 28, 2016 the average U.S.Diversisfied Equity fund was down 8.47 percent, according to Lipper. That’s a tad better than last week’s numbers and similar to the 52-week performance. It was was down 8.40 percent.

Visit www.allaboutfunds.com for weekly updates to see how equity and fixed-income funds have rewarded investors over the short-and long-term, based upon Lipper data. Short-term meaning weekly and monthly performance returns; longer-term includes quarterly, year-to-date, 1-yr, 2-yr, 3-yr and 5-yr returns.

Lipper’s weekly performance figures for stock and fixed-income funds are at www.allaboutfunds.com in the left column on the home page.

-Oil and China

Great story on CBS’s Sunday Morning television program, (1/31/16), about the good and bad sides of dropping oil prices. In a nutshell, the overproduction of oil is coming from countries all around the world, including the U.S. And even though China’s economy is slowing, they had been big time users of the stuff, the state of the world’s overproduction isn’t likely to drop any time soon.

That’s good news for those of us who need to fill up at the tank. It’s bad news for those in the oil business where production has roughly doubled between 2009 and 2015 and since we don’t need the extra production now hundreds of  oil rigs sit idle. Plus, oil industry job losses numbered 275,000 in 2014. Job loss is never good for an economy, oil company stock prices but most importantly for those individuals who have lost their jobs.

As always, it’s complicated.

-Test time

Being financial literate is a must for everyone given that it is  money that rules the world with an unforgiving iron fist these days.

I ran across this short 5-question quiz originally targeted at millennials  at ThinkAdvisor.com and figured you might want to test your money mind.

From a piece titled “Quiz Time: Do Investors Understand How Financial Services Really Works? “ here are the questions:

1) Suppose you had $100 in a savings account and the interest rate was 2% per year. After 5 years, how much do you think you would have in the account if you left the money to grow?

  1. a) More than $102
    b) Exactly $102
    c) Less than $102
    d) Don’t know
    e) Prefer not to say

2) Imagine that the interest rate on your savings account was 1% per year and inflation was 2% per year. After 1 year, how much would you be able to buy with the money in this account?

  1. a) More than today
    b) Exactly the same
    c) Less than today
    d) Don’t know
    e) Prefer not to say

3) Buying a single company’s stock usually provides a safer return than a stock mutual fund.

  1. a) True
    b) False
    c) Don’t know) Prefer not to say

4) A 15-year mortgage typically requires higher monthly payments than a 30-year mortgage, but the total interest paid over the life of the loan will be less.

  1. a) True
    b) False
    c) Don’t know
    d) Prefer not to say

5) If interest rates rise, what will typically happen to bond prices?

  1. a) They will rise
    b) They will fall
    c) They will stay the same
    d) There is no relationship between bond prices and the interest rate
    e) Don’t know

According to those who created the survey and test: “Individuals are considered to have a basic level of financial literacy if they answered the first three question correctly; and an advanced level of financial literacy if they answer all five questions correctly.” The answers are: 1) a; 2) c; 3) b; 4) a; and 5) b.

So how did you do? Of the millennials taking the quiz, 24% answered the first three questions correctly; and only 8% of them correctly answered all five.

 

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