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Tricky

Tricky
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  • Today's low yields present new retirees with a stark choice: Accept the safe but low income, or take the risk of staying in the stock market. At current levels of return, some 59% of people aged 56-62 will be at risk of not having enough money to cover basic living and health care costs in retirement.  [View news story]
    Actually there's a third option -- keep working to bring in some active income. There's no human right that says you ought to be entitled to spend about a third of your adult life not working. It's amazing how this mentality developed over a very short period of human history.

    Of course, if you have saved up enough to retire at 62 and never work again, good for you. But I don't think I would ever fully retire, I'd get bored. Even if I hit my financial goals, I'd still do something to stay mentally engaged with the working world.
    Aug 16, 2010. 11:52 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • An influential technology analyst says Apple (AAPL +0.7%) needs to start returning some of its $46B cash hoard to shareholders through a regular dividend or share repurchases. Apple's likely response: Microsoft (MSFT) pays a dividend. We do not want to be Microsoft.  [View news story]
    They make profits. That's like Microsoft. Are they going to stop doing that?
    Aug 12, 2010. 06:08 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Market Pessimism Is Distorting the Facts [View article]
    Are you even looking at your own chart? Your "stable claims" have stabilized at levels that represented the highs over that time period prior to the crisis.

    You crack me up -- a constant stream of articles about how "things are better than they seem because they aren't worse".
    Aug 12, 2010. 12:57 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More on mortgages from John Carney, who points out a provision in Dodd-Frank that exempts FHA-guaranteed mortgages from banks' 5% risk-retention requirement; regulators expect Fannie (FNMA.OB) and Freddie (FMCC.OB) also will be exempted. "Unbelievably, the two entities whose mortgage market follies led to their collapses may well be given a pass when it comes to managing risk."  [View news story]
    It wears you out, working up the outrage so frequently regarding all this. And that's just what they're betting on -- we won't notice or will just run out of gas to fight it
    Aug 12, 2010. 12:51 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • New legislation that passed the U.S. Senate would require all companies with more than half their U.S.-based employees on skilled-worker visas to pay thousands of dollars in special new fees for each worker. Indian technology outsourcing firms would be hit hard. INFY -0.8%, WIT +1%.  [View news story]
    Indeed, excellent post. The xenophobes would also do well to remember that (last I read) about half the IT startups in the US (you know, the ones that grow fast and create a lot of jobs anywhere) are founded by "furners", particularly of Indian and Chinese extraction.
    Aug 6, 2010. 05:06 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • New legislation that passed the U.S. Senate would require all companies with more than half their U.S.-based employees on skilled-worker visas to pay thousands of dollars in special new fees for each worker. Indian technology outsourcing firms would be hit hard. INFY -0.8%, WIT +1%.  [View news story]
    The most important part of a policy is that it "feels good" at the time you enact it ;-)
    Aug 6, 2010. 04:01 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • New York state gets closer to a moratorium on shale gas drilling after a state Senate vote. Concerns over contamination from hydraulic fracturing make it likely the state will approve a temporary ban, with the biggest effect on applications from Chesapeake Energy (CHK), Talisman (TLM) and closely held Vertical Resources.  [View news story]
    I didn't vote on anybody's posts, but I'm happy to reply. Yes, energy independence is extremely important. Oil & gas are extremely important substances to us. But clean drinking water is even MORE important. Without energy, life is unpleasant, without clean water to drink, it is impossible.

    So we can't rush into this willy nilly.

    Your turn to explain why people don't have a right to not have their drinking water contaminated. TIA.
    Aug 4, 2010. 02:10 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • While the BlackBerry Torch (RIMM -2.5%) is clearly not the revolutionary leap RIM proclaims, it does adequately address previous devices' shortcomings, and John Paczkowski says that may do the trick: "The company says fresh, but familiar is the goal to which it aspires. The Torch is that, and it will likely be a hit with die-hard Blackberry users."  [View news story]
    I agree that it will be "good". The problem is I think RIM needed to come out with something "awesome", and this seems to me to be short of "awesome". I'm not predicting imminent death or anything like that, but I don't think it will stem the tide against Apple or Android. We'll see whether it is even on par with what Microsoft and Palm release, I'm guessing not.

    I'm not a BB hater, I still use a Bold. But I'm thinking hard about that Samsung Epic if the keyboard is good enough...
    Aug 3, 2010. 06:00 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • McDonald’s Benefits More From Franchises Than From Its Own Restaurants [View article]
    This is something that ebbs back and forth. I used to be in the management consulting business (yeah, I know, haha) and at that time, the opposite situation was the case -- multi unit fast food retailers were making lots more on company owned stores and were on a mission to buy out franchisees.
    Jul 28, 2010. 04:47 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The bleak financial picture of city and county governments may mean job losses approaching 500K this year and next, according to a new report, with a majority of the cuts in public safety and public works.  [View news story]
    The reality is that the reason they are in trouble is that they ALWAYS ramp up their spending to the highwater tax revenues, as if they could never go down.
    Jul 27, 2010. 06:09 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Real Estate Bubble Didn't Mess With Texas [View article]
    Plausible theory. I was house shopping during the boom years in San Antonio TX. While most prices were sane, in the higher end, established neighborhoods (with limited supply and no room to grow) the prices were a bit nutty (not California nutty, but still nutty).

    But speaking to the strength of TX, the nutty prices only got slightly less nutty during the crisis.
    Jul 27, 2010. 11:36 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Facing bankruptcy, Maywood, Calif., is outsourcing all its municipal work - cops, street repair workers, school crossing guards - to private firms and neighboring governments. Residents of the nearby town of Bell may want to seek a similar path upon learning that their city manager makes $800K and police chief $450K in annual salaries.  [View news story]
    They have very powerful unions and make a living out of getting politicians to go along with these things. Effing pigs.
    Jul 20, 2010. 05:38 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Facing bankruptcy, Maywood, Calif., is outsourcing all its municipal work - cops, street repair workers, school crossing guards - to private firms and neighboring governments. Residents of the nearby town of Bell may want to seek a similar path upon learning that their city manager makes $800K and police chief $450K in annual salaries.  [View news story]
    "If that's a number people choke on, maybe I'm in the wrong business," city manager Robert Rizzo was quoted in saying when asked about his annual salary.

    -- good point, he could make more money in less legal forms of extortion
    Jul 20, 2010. 05:35 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Weimar-Style Inflation Is Not in Our Future [View article]
    Author -- thank you for some sanity. There have been a couple of other good SA articles exploring the environment and root causes for Weimar and Zimbabwe. They just don't apply to the US and would require some extraordinary new events, especially of the political variety.

    I think the more likely outcome, when inflation strikes, is high inflation (like the 3 years in the US post WWII) -- it will be seen as a necessity to pay down the country's enormous debts. But true, out of control, hyperinflation? Nah.
    Jul 19, 2010. 12:05 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Overblown iPhone Antenna Problem [View article]
    Holding my Blackberry 7000 (one of the devices he called out) and calling BS on Steve's main line of defense.

    I also got a kick out of InfoWeek's "research" (or is that "apologia") on the same topic, I noticed that they specifically called out that there were similar problems with degrated reception if you held competing phones... on the bottom or the top of the phone. I have NEVER done that with my phone. Human/computer interaction is about testing RELEVANT user scenarios -- and that's where Apple failed.
    Jul 16, 2010. 03:39 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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