Costs of Living

cost of living

What is a dollar worth?

If you answered that it’s worth a dollar, you must be living in Illinois.  A research report by U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis found that the prices for a particular basket of goods and services—food, transportation, housing and education—are higher in some states than others.  Illinois came in at almost exactly the average; a $100 bill will buy $100.70 worth of the items.  People living in the District of Columbia, the nation’s most expensive area, would have to pay, on average, $118.10 for the same basket of items.

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Regs to the Rescue?

rescue

The world of money market funds changed forever back in 2008, when an investment vehicle called the Reserve Primary Fund loaded up on loan obligations backed by Lehman Brothers.  Lehman famously went under, and the fund “broke the buck,” meaning that when Lehman was unable to pay back its loans, the value of a share of the Reserve Primary Fund dipped under $1.

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Stocks To The Rescue?

SS shortfall

No doubt you know the statistics: the Social Security program’s reserves are due to run out in 2034.  At that point, the only money available to be paid out will be money collected that month from those current workers who are paying into the system.  Current estimates say that this will amount to about 75% of scheduled benefits.

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Self-driving Liability Coverage

car

You hear about how technology is disrupting entire industries, but one that sees disruption coming most clearly is the auto insurance companies.  Eventually, perhaps within ten years, automobiles will be driving themselves, and the common assumption is that there will be fewer accidents.  But what, exactly, will the industry be insuring: drivers or computer code?  How likely will accidents be with this new technology?  How much will each accident cost in repairs and human medical expenses?

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Follow the money

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 6.32.49 PM

Who’s going to win the U.S. Presidential election in November?  If history is a reliable guide, it will be the candidate who raises the most money during the campaign season.  The last time the candidate who raised the most money lost was Gerald Ford vs. Jimmy Carter in 1976.  Ever since, the money determined the winner.

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Higher pay for underperformance

Salary

It would seem obvious that companies that do well—enjoy better profits and deliver higher returns to their shareholders—would pay their CEOs more, while companies that didn’t fare as well would pay less.

It would also be wrong.

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Protected Accounts

SS

The Social Security Administration has tightened security in order to prevent hackers and identity thieves.  Now, when you log into your Social Security Administration account, you do what you’ve always done: give your user name and password.  Then you receive a security code sent by text message, and type in that code to complete your login procedure.  In the cybersecurity trade, this is known as multifactor authentication.

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