Wills and Trusts

The foundations of your rock-solid estate plan For so many of us, family is paramount. You probably expect to use your wealth to take care of your family in the here and now—health care, travel, college tuition and the like. But chances are you haven’t thought nearly as much about positioning your assets so they’re ready and able to help …

The Billionaire Money Rules

What our research shows about how the self-made Super Rich build their wealth If you are like nearly every other successful person, you’re not ready to rest on your accomplishments. You want to build on your success so far to create even more wealth and more value. In fact, according to our research, 94 percent of successful business owners want …

Pay Increases in Other Forms

A key measure many economists look to in determining the health of the labor market is wage growth.  As employment rises and the job market becomes more competitive, people look for higher paying jobs and an increase in wages.  What many people fail to recognize in terms of wage growth are the pay increases they receive that do not come …

Social Networking Use Among Adults

As we look back on how rapidly our world has changed over the years we certainly have to look at social media usage. Social media is primarily a way of exchanging and communicating information and opinions. In the figure below, we look at the percentage of social media users between certain age ranges. It should come as no surprise that …

Did Your Babysitter Make the Nice List?

With the holiday season in full swing and sales poised to set another record, some might wonder how this money is being spent. Although not shown in the graph, family members benefit the most, with people devoting the majority of their holiday budget to gifts on family members. Money spent on items such as cards, flowers, and decorations has remained …

Falling Behind

It should come as no surprise that delinquencies on student loans have been on the rise given the dramatic increase in student loan debt outstanding.  As we can see from the graph below, the delinquency rate on student loan debt is now more than the rate on credit cards and mortgages and has been increasing since before the recession.  A large portion …

Income Gaps: It’s About Who You Work For

As the never-ending debate regarding income inequality remains at a gridlock, perhaps it’s time to shift our focus from an individual and consumer level, to a company level. As we can see from the first graph in the series of graphs below, the 90th percentile of the largest 500 companies have increased their market share dramatically. While we have seen …

Investing in the Government for Big Returns

Imagine having an investment portfolio in which you contribute $500 every month, like it is taken straight from your paycheck. Now, throughout the course of the year, this portfolio grows 450% to a total value of $33,400. That’s something to brag about! These are the numbers from the bottom 20% of tax filer’s net income tax rate. On average, the …

The Middle Class is Growing

As the political season has begun and the debates are heating up, we have heard more and more about the mystery of a vanishing ‘Middle Class’. Though we have yet to hear who or what is defined as the ‘Middle Class’, we have been sufficiently reassured that it is both incredibly important and that the state of our economy rests …

Are Businesses the New Banks?

More than half of all cash on the books at corporations is invested in investment grade corporate bonds. The record high comes from the decreased investments in US Treasurys, commercial paper, and CDs. Money market funds are becoming less attractive due to new SEC rules and deposits are tougher on banks due to the banking rules of the Federal Reserve. …

What CPI Tells Us About Prices

The FED justified its aggressive monetary policy in 2010 as a way to “promote a stronger pace of economic recovery”. Have prices risen in the last 15 years because more dollars are chasing fewer goods? This chart shows a cumulative increase in price on a percentage basis indexed from 2000. For reference, a growth of 2% annually (the FED’s current …

And You Thought Credit Cards Were Bad?

In an effort to make college more affordable, the Federal Government first made it easier to get a loan. This program has been so incredibly popular, that we now have amassed over $1.2 trillion in student loan debt. Now that we have all these educated students, they should be that much smarter that they have higher incomes to pay back …

Cars Are Gold

A shoebox in your closet is usually a pretty safe place to keep your money, unless there is a fire or a robbery. A bank may be an even better spot to store your cash, unless the bank goes under or is subject to capital controls. Neither, however, will protect you from loss of purchasing power if the currency spirals …

Greece in Focus

The equity markets seem particularly roiled today as a result of the failure of the ECB and Greece to come to a deal on their debt. While this is great news for traders, as it increases the volatility of the markets, it is really a yawner for longer term investors. Here are several reasons why: First, Greece is just not …

Which Parent Would You Save From A Fire?

Are moms loved more than dads? Do kids secretly have favorites, just like parents? A quick glance at spending on their respective holidays might suggest that mothers are more loved- or at least more expensive. On average, spending on mom for mother’s day outpaces the paternal equivalent by almost $50 by adults 18+. In 2013, spending was up 40% for …

Blame Baby Boomers for Stagnant Income

Between 2009 and 2014, 5.5 million people retired in America – the largest number ever seen across a five year period and more than double the five year period preceding it. That’s 5.5 million peak-earners leaving the workforce. The problem with the popular median household income statistic is that it is an aggregate stat based on granular data. Data changes …

“B” is for Below Average

Should you be proud of your straight-A student or disappointed with an all B report card? As a result of instructors and institutions gradually lowering standards, the bell curve grading style has disappeared and high marks are saturating GPAs across the country. 43% of grades across all post-high school institutions in America are As, 34% Bs, 15% Cs, while Ds …

The Most Dangerous Job in Sports

If you think playing in 120⁰ heat of Qatar would be miserable, how about those working all day constructing the sites for the 2022 World Cup? Since Qatar won the rights to host in December of 2010, there have been 1200 worker deaths attributed to the construction of the facilities. Is this the cost of the games? Or is the …

Does Your Child Play Soccer? Teach Them Another Language.

So your son is a superstar soccer player, what can you do to help him? Teach him Spanish. Or French. Or German. When comparing the average annual salaries of players on 333 teams playing seven sports around the world, eight of the top ten are soccer clubs, four are located in countries that speak a language other than English. Soccer …

An Unprecedented Shift in Demographics

The millennial generation has surpassed the baby boomers as the largest contributors to our nation’s workforce. Those born between the early 1980’s and early 2000’s have created the most populous generation of workers ever. This generation may also remain in the workplace longer than any group before them. As data shows, and projections suggest, technology and health care will continue …

Who Should Be In Charge, Men or Women?

Bringing the gym class favorite “boys vs. girls” into the workplace, Gallup sought to answer the question of which gender is the preferred sex to have as a boss. They found, as shown in the graph, women are more opinionated in regards to gender in the workplace then men. Though both sexes prefer men as managers, women feel much stronger …

Average Is Rare

The historical annual return of the S&P 500 index back to 1957 is 9.62%. Interestingly, the market almost never returns the average. In 1958, the market returned 43%, while in 2008, it dropped 37%. To try to visualize how rarely the index returns just its average, this chart shows one year moving averages in blue. You can see drastic variance …

Apple a Day…

In February of 2008, Bank of America was added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Five years later, it was taken out. This month, we were notified that Apple would be joining the price-weighted index. They were a candidate to be added back in 2008, with a market value of $100 billion and only one full year of iPhone sales. …

1.7 Million of Apple’s $10k Watch – Gone

Apple has a habit of generating a lot of buzz around their product launches. During their most recent event, the markets responded in a very timely fashion. In the annotated graph, you can see how Apple traded in response to real time announcements. Cheaper Apple TV? Good. New Macbooks? Awesome. Apple watch? Sell off. From the intraday high to the …

Bracket Buster

Over the next three weeks sports fans, basketball enthusiasts, and causal spectators across the nation will catch a case of March Madness. There will be a lot of numbers and statistics thrown around about the 68 teams, 67 games, and 75+ years of history related to the tournament. Over 70 million brackets will to be filled in and over $9 …

What’s for Dinner?

For the first time since the data has been recorded, sales at restaurants and bars in the United States have eclipsed those of grocery stores. The recent jump in discretionary spending in this space has pushed wages in the restaurant and bar service industry higher recently as the labor market has tightened and demand has increased. We hear a lot …

How Legislation Killed the Community Bank

The total number of banking companies in the United States has significantly decreased in the past couple decades. At the same time, regulations on the industry have increased and legislations have become more complex. The compound effect has not been a broad drop across the sector, but rather a distinct decrease in small or single-office banks. As the government and …

Nobody Really Saw What Happened in The Super Bowl

Some things need to be put into perspective. The Super Bowl is small potatoes compared to other sporting events outside the United States. Super Bowl Sunday is an entire day dedicated to drinking, eating, and yelling at terrible play calls. There have been petitions to make the following Monday a national holiday (read: recovery day). It’s sports’ greatest day… according …

Thanks A Lot, Obama?

Mr. President is back in the nation’s good graces. Can his approval rating be tied solely to prices at the pump? This chart- with approval ratings from Gallup, over gas prices from the US Energy Information Administration, shows a strong correlation between the two data points. Be wary that the gas price axis, on the right, graphs higher prices towards …

2015 Big Mac Index

The Economist has updated their “Big Mac Index”. The index is a creative way of showing vales of goods and services across the globe. The study is performed annually and is intended to visually represent Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) – the idea that long run exchange rates will normalize towards equal prices for a like basket of goods and services. …