Predicting calamity for the financial markets is a regular sport. Some even manage to turn doomsaying into a profitable gig selling newsletters, gold vaults and investment strategies meant to survive the fiscal collapse. But how often are these pundits right? Michael Johnston at Fund Reference has a visual history of the missed calls and failed forecasts from those predicting market mayhem, predictions often amplified by financial media outlets like CNBC and MarketWatch, both all too ready to stir up investor fears. Serial offenders include Charles Nenner, who predicted in July 2010, and again in March 2014, that the Dow would plummet to 5,000. Charles Dent, who has made numerous predictions of imminent market collapse since 2011, and even former advisor to Ronald Reagan David Stockman, who in 2013, warned of a doomed economy and told everyone to get out of stocks and “hide in cash.” How many times can a professional investor use the phrase "I'm not wrong, just early" before people stop taking them seriously?
Are fixed indexed annuities growing in popularity among advisors? About 40 percent of firms surveyed by the Insured Retirement Institute say sales of FIAs are growing significantly, while another 40 percent cited moderate growth. While still eclipsed by variable annuities, these products made up 10 percent of total broker-dealer annuity sales in 2014, compared to traditional fixed annuities which account for 7 percent. Overall, FIAs have had double-digit percentage growth the past two years, with sales increasing 14 percent to $38.7 billion in 2013 and another 24 percent to $48 billion in 2014 (accounting for about 21 percent of all annuity sales).
According to Standard Bank Group, Africa’s biggest lender, the number of U.S.-dollar millionaires in Kenya is growing at more than double the global rate. Deon de Klerk, Standard Bank’s global head of wealth and investment management, said Kenya currently has about 8,700 millionaires and expects that number to increase 74 percent by 2024. Standard Bank’s has a two-year-old wealth management operation in Kenya, in addition to South Africa, Nigeria, Mauritius, London and New Jersey, and is planning to expand coverage to more of East Africa.
Spending on college soared in the 2014-2015 academic year, with a number of factors figuring in to the increase, according to the annual How America Pays for College report from Sallie Mae. The study notes that the regular rising cost of college was a factor, but also at play was that parents have a higher degree of confidence in both the economy and their own personal financial health. Families spent an average of $24,164 in the last year, which was a 16 percent increase from 2013-2014. "Parents do seem to feel more secure about their income," said Marie O'Malley, Sallie Mae senior director of consumer research. It's the lowest level of worry since the report started eight years ago.