Monthly Archives: October 2013

Is Your Pension Courting Catastrophe?

(Originally published here.) One of the best ways to blow yourself up in financial markets is to sell lots of cheap insurance against risks you don’t fully understand. Traders call this “picking up pennies in front of a steamroller,” since … Continue reading

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Big Landlords Aren’t Always a Bad Thing

(Originally published here.) Bloomberg News reports that 49 percent of all home sales in September were paid for in cash, up from 30 percent a year earlier. Private equity firms and other institutional buyers were responsible for many of those purchases. The … Continue reading

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SEC Goes Fishing for Fraud in Puerto Rico

(Originally published here.) Many municipal-bond funds own at least some debt issued by the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico because the tax advantages and high yields boost returns. So it was interesting to findan article in the Bond Buyer reporting that the … Continue reading

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Germany’s Chance to Be a Good European

(Originally published here.) Bloomberg News reports that Germany’s Social Democrats are in the midst of negotiating with Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc to split the finance ministry in two. One would focus on domestic policy and the other on pan-European issues. On the … Continue reading

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If Myanmar Takes Amex, Why Not My Taxi?

(Originally published here.) I hate cash. I’m reminded of this every time I find myself in a cab where the driver claims he won’t accept my credit card, or when I’m at a restaurant that demands to be paid exclusively … Continue reading

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One Way Apple Is as Lame as Nokia

(Originally published here.) In the popular imagination, Apple Inc. is the leading maker of premium smartphones, Samsung Electronics Co. comes in at a respectable second place and all other contenders hardly register. One of these also-rans is Nokia Oyj, the … Continue reading

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The Fed Versus the People

(Originally published here.) I’ve previously argued that most Americans aren’t saving enough to live comfortably in retirement, and that the Federal Reserve might be making this situation worse. A new report from the consumer financial services company Bankrate shows that many Americans have been … Continue reading

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