We’re used to thinking about -- and planning for -- markets that move: Up, down, bubble and bust. But what if the more realistic scenario is one where the stock market simply shuffles sideways for the foreseeable future? Roger Mitchell on CFA Institute’s Enterprising Investor blog suggests that's what is happening; despite attempts around the globe to reflate the economy, inflation never seems to arrive. “How long have we heard about pension funds being unable to generate sufficient returns to cover their liabilities or low yields forcing investors to chase returns by moving farther out on the risk spectrum?” Mitchell asks. He notes that our reliance on historical data gives us a mindset in which “most of us are poised to believe that markets will do something erratic … An irrationally exuberant market will crash. A slowing economy will cause a bear market. A rapidly expanding economy will drive a boom. But the only reason we believe in this null hypothesis is because we can look back at a single historical sequence that seems to confirm our bias. Even if the bias happens to point in the right general direction, how can we really know it with any confidence?”
A new map released by GOBankingRates.com details the top money-savvy states in the U.S., based on residents use of banking services, saving/investing behavior and financial literacy. Several midwestern states fall in the top 10, with North Dakota taking the top spot, followed by New Hampshire, Utah, Minnesota and Virginia. A number of southern states fell on the lower end of the spectrum, with Mississippi and Arkansas ranked as the least money-savvy. “The southern region of the country clearly lacks the resources needed for residents to take an active role in their financial well-being, and illustrates a need for Americans living in this region to proactively take steps to improve their money habits," said Casey Bond, editor-in-chief of GOBankingRates.com.
About two-thirds of advisors actually give their clients the compliance-approved educational materials distributed by their firms and product providers. A recent Practical Perspectives report that surveyed over 600 financial advisors found the most popularl topics were dealing with market uncertainty and investor anxiety. “(That's) created greater demand for support to help place these events in proper context for individual investors” says Howard Schneider, president of Practical Perspectives. According to the survey, American Funds provides the most useful content. BlackRock, JP Morgan, and Morningstar are also cited as top sources.
Tattoos used to be art with an expiration date, namely, the lifespan of the person on whose body they were etched. That’s no longer the case, as a new service lets people have their tattoos removed post-mortem, preserved and framed so that they can be enjoyed (in the loosest possible meaning of the word) by future generations, according to The Daily Examiner. Called “Save My Ink,” the service is offered to members of the National Association for the Preservation of Skin Art (membership requires an initial fee and monthly dues). Members must designate a beneficiary and provide them with the funds to ensure that the process takes place. According to the article, “a kit is sent to the funeral home that includes of all the equipment to ‘recover, temporarily preserve and safely ship’ your tattoo to the association.” Three to six months later, the lucky beneficiary receives the “beautifully preserved art.”