Housing markets in most cities are overvalued, according to UBS Wealth Management’s Global Real Estate Bubble Index that launched Thursday. The firm, which looked at 15 cities globally, found that the risk of a residential property bubble is most distinct in London and Hong Kong. In the U.S., San Francisco and Chicago look overvalued, while prices in New York and Boston seem fair by comparison to their own history. Overall, real estate prices are higher than before the 2007-08 financial crisis and have doubled since 1998 in real terms.
With clients turning their focus to end of life planning and care (we’re way past “death panels” now), a recent study found that dementia, already among aging Americans’ greatest fears, is by far the most expensive way to die. Performed by several schools and funded by the National Institute of Aging, the study reveals that the cost of care for those with dementia in the last five years of life is 81 percent higher than it is for those with other diseases. Among the reasons posited for this discrepancy is the fact that dementia isn’t a quick killer compared to, say, cancer or heart disease, so the sufferers linger. Furthermore, many of the expenses incurred in caring for a dementia patient, like homecare and non-rehabilitative nursing care, aren’t covered by Medicare, which combined with the patient sticking around longer than usual, makes for an expensive combination.
Fox Business Network has announced that it is debuting the second season of its reality-esque TV series, "Strange Inheritance" at 9 p.m. on Nov. 11. The series, hosted by Jamie Colby, tells unusual stories of inheritances, including those of Winston Churchill's teeth and George Washington's lost wallet. Episodes from season 1 include that of man who inherited his mother's collection of more than 5,000 dolls and a daughter who fought for her inheritance of hundreds of breeding alligators and crocodiles at South Florid's Gatorama. The show is produced by Towers Productions, which also makes The History Channel's "Gangland," The Weather Channel's "Storm Stories" and A&E's "American Justice."
Though many brokerages have moved away from selling their own mutual funds to avoid conflicts of interest, the rise of robo-advisors is, according to one publication at least, reviving the practice. After all, this publication points out, fourteen of the 54 ETFs (or, one in four funds) offered by Charles Schwab through its Intelligent Portfolios robo-advisor are Schwab's, and Vanguard Group tends to recommend Vanguard funds in its Personal Advisor service. While it's not clear why this should be a surprise, or even controversial, The Wall Street Journal said investors should always be skeptical of a brokerage selling its own products; the difference here of course is that no one is collecting a commission by selling investors these funds. Instead, investors are buying the funds through the firms' online brokerage (are they shocked to find Vanguard is not offering a Fidelity fund?) Both companies say they clearly disclose the funds and the fees they earn from their own products, and that the funds, all largely passively managed, are picked for their performance and low cost.