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  • De-Mystifying The Central Bank Balance Sheets [View article]
    I hear about the "disappearance" of the middle class all the time. I've heard it so much I almost started believing it.

    There's only one problem. I'm middle class and I'm not going anywhere. I'm an engineer. Demand for engineers is going up. My wife is an Accountant with a Master's. Demand for accountants is going up.

    There are hundreds of thousands of "middle class" jobs that American companies are finding it hard to fill. When the education system gets "fixed" (and I've heard enough to believe it SLOWLY but surely will be) there will be people to fill these jobs. As the economy (again slowly) improves, demand will eventually reach a tipping point where companies will need to start hiring again.

    Then there will be even more money and demand and companies will need to hire even more. They're called "cycles" for a reason. We will reach another high. And there will be plenty of perplexed middle class reading about how we've disappeared. Maybe we'll be having tea with the fine citizens of Atlantis.
    Feb 2, 2012. 09:54 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Debunking Myths of a U.S. Monetary Collapse [View article]
    golfer1john,

    That is all well and good but there is one problem. Our current "mess" has virtually nothing to do with the type of "money losing" projects you describe. Our economy handles that just fine.

    Our "mess" is basically three-fold (four if you count the wars which are very expensive but I'll leave those out):

    1) Long term unsustainibility of Social Security.
    2) Medium term unsustainability of Medicare (along with generally spiraling healthcare costs).
    3) Economic & tax revenue hit of an extremely deep recession whose original cause basically boils down to a government trying too hard to allow people who couldn't afford them to take out mortgages for houses and everybody and their sister and second cousin jumping on board and turning a blind eye because there was money to be made.

    The biggest immediate problem by far is number 3. I take small solace in that number 3 is finally making the government take 1 and 2 seriously. But it is also preventing them from taking appropriate short term measures to fix 3.

    I am a conservative independent. But this economy has ground to a halt and is in bad need of lubrication. That lubrication has to come from money flow. Corporations sitting on mountains of cash, as should be needless to point out, does not help. SOMETHING needs to be done. The only entity with enough clout to do SOMETHING is unfortunately the US government. So whether it it government spending or carrots/sticks to stimulate corporate spending, the economy must be defibrillated to get it going again.
    Aug 20, 2011. 12:18 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Debunking Myths of a U.S. Monetary Collapse [View article]
    I was referring to dsync's comment.

    I had the same reaction as you before I realized it HAD to be sarcastic... we all sometimes take things too seriously.
    Aug 19, 2011. 11:38 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Debunking Myths of a U.S. Monetary Collapse [View article]
    I think that comment was sarcastic...
    Aug 12, 2011. 08:54 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Debunking Myths of a U.S. Monetary Collapse [View article]
    Let me preface by saying I completely agree with the premise of the article. Totally with you on that.

    But I must say I philosophically disagree with the statement, "We can live without the arts." I'll try to keep this as short as possible.

    First of all, artistic flair and true innovation are two manifestations of the same basic human brain capabilities: symbolic thought, planning, the ability to think about problems in novel ways and the like.

    Second the arts foster brain development by forcing it to see things in new ways, forging connections that would never be formed otherwise. This helps to put the circuitry in place that will later be put to use to provide "practical" technological innovation and progress.

    And last but not least, I think inspiration from "entertainment" like say "Apollo 13" (since I can't come up with a better example at the moment) is at least as important and necessary as any form of "education" which may be required to lay the foundation for "practical" people to do "practical" things.

    Otherwise keep up the good work!
    Aug 10, 2011. 09:14 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Retirement's 4% Rule: Surprising Answers You Need to Know About the Inflation Factor [View article]
    Sorry, D-G. I was thinking dividend appreciation.
    Aug 9, 2011. 05:21 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Retirement's 4% Rule: Surprising Answers You Need to Know About the Inflation Factor [View article]
    True enough. But the general idea of ETFs in my opinion is to mitigate risk for those who don't have a lot of time to research individual stocks.

    I've actually only gotten serious about educating myself and becoming more proactive relatively recently. Even focusing on just ETFs and mutual funds, my head was spinning for a while.

    I'm much more confident now and can interpret the relative data more easily than before. So, were I closer to retirement age I would probably take your and the author's advice and focus more on individual DA companies for the reasons you mention.
    Aug 9, 2011. 05:18 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Retirement's 4% Rule: Surprising Answers You Need to Know About the Inflation Factor [View article]
    Here's a different take.

    My boss has not been fully invested in the market for a while (this is his non-retirement account but bear with me). So he is taking advantage of the "crash" (yes he is smarter than me :)).

    One of the ETFs we discussed and he decided to buy was REM. Technically it is a "risky" asset. But it is made up of many companies and has a 9%+ yield. The biggest risk is that it dropped 10% or so yesterday along with everything else. Beyond that though it's overall volatility is less than the market.

    It will recover and has a very nice income stream. Since the odds of every company in this ETF going down at once are less than miniscule can this really be called a "risky" asset that near retirees should avoid?

    The world is more complicated than it used to be. One needs to pay much more attention to the type of details pointed out in the article and consider "alternative" investments. The article clearly shows one cannot passively let retirement happen, one must be proactive. THAT is the real point one should take from this.
    Aug 9, 2011. 03:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Retirement's 4% Rule: Surprising Answers You Need to Know About the Inflation Factor [View article]
    My wife and I also own a rental property and plan to own more. There are strategies for every market.

    I highly recommend any book or seminar by Robert Allen. Rental can be excellent supplemental retirement income at worst (if you know how to mitigate risk) and can be a wealth building engine if you are willing to put in the effort.
    Aug 1, 2011. 09:53 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Retirement's 4% Rule: Surprising Answers You Need to Know About the Inflation Factor [View article]
    Something occurred to me half way through the article that turned out to be relevant to it's conclusion.

    I don't have time to run the calculations myself but what happens if you make the following adjustment: "Dollar cost average" for lack of a better term the withdrawals instead of taking them all at the beginning of the year. What happens if 12 equal installments adding up to the correct total are taken instead of a lump sum?
    Jul 29, 2011. 01:49 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Weighing the Week Ahead: Assessing Risk [View article]
    Very true. Fully understood (even before the article) and completely agree with the assessment. So much so that I kind of ignored the context when I reacted to the phrase "no inflation problem".

    I did try to cover myself by saying I would withdraw the comment if he were strictly talking about the investment aspects. Still that is no excuse since he clearly was. So thanks for setting me straight.

    Outside of that however, my core point stays the same. It is a pet peeve of mine that "real" price increases such as food and healthcare seem to get ignored in important ways. And after a dip, gas prices are on the way back up. I feel THAT pain since I have roughly a 70 mile round trip commute every day. SIGH!
    Jul 21, 2011. 09:56 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Weighing the Week Ahead: Assessing Risk [View article]
    Leave me give what I consider to be a relatively informed "public" opinion of inflation.

    I understand why the government measures inflation as they do and, per se have no problem with it. My problem is that my, and I dare say most, employer uses this incomplete measurement as an excuse to give no or very small raises. I concede the point that I (as an engineer) could probably take my talents elsewhere for more money but would prefer not too. This brings me to my last point.

    How can you say there is not an inflation "problem" when the three most important expenses for the average consumer energy, food and healthcare continue ever higher at painful levels. Obviously this is an investing website so if you are referring strictly to the investment consequences of inflation I withdraw the comment.

    Keep up the good work!
    Jul 20, 2011. 12:40 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
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