Not-So-Powerful Powers of Attorney

power of attorney

Everybody should have a power of attorney—that is, a legal document that gives a designated individual the right to act on their behalf when making financial decisions. The power of attorney is most often used by adult children to make decisions on behalf of aging parents when they are no longer capable of making sound decisions on their own.

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Where Have All the Male Workers Gone?

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The White House Council of Economic Advisers has released a report showing a long-term decline in the share of American men ages 25-54 who are participating in the labor force (see first chart), to the point where the U.S. now has one of the lowest male labor force participation rates in the world (see second chart).

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Qualified Protection


You might be surprised to learn that your pension and IRA assets are protected from fraud, malfeasance and sly predation by an entirely different government agency than your taxable and brokerage accounts.  Under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, the Securities and Exchange Commission polices investment advice and the fairness of recommendations and markets related to taxable accounts.  Retirement accounts are policed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974, by the U.S. Department of Labor.

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The Long Decline in Child Mortality

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If you think the world is going to hell in a handbasket, step back and look at the bigger picture.  One important statistic is child mortality—the number of children who perish below 5 years of age.  Over the last 50 years, the world has experienced a hundredfold decrease in this key measure of health, to the point where, in the more developed nations, it is now lower than 1%.

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Welcome to Brexit


Yesterday’s vote by the British electorate to end its 43-year membership in the European Union seems to have taken just about everybody by surprise, but the aftermath could not have been more predictable.  The uncertainty of how, exactly, Europe and Britain will manage a complex divorce over the coming decade sent global markets reeling.   London’s blue chip index, the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100, lost 4.4% of its value in one day, while Germany’s DAX market lost more than 7%.  The British pound sterling is getting crushed (down 14% against the yen, 10% against the dollar).

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Six Steps to Better Habits


Chances are, you made a number of firm resolutions at the start of the year—and, if you’re normal, you failed to live up to several of them.  Is there a better way to stick to your sincere resolutions to get more exercise, eat better, floss more often and lose weight?

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Chamber Fails At Astroturfing Fiduciary Rule

Well this must be embarrassing. The US Chamber of Commerce launched a campaign to “inform” the public to the problem of providing advice in the best interest of clients. You’d think that acting on your client’s behalf would not be controversial, but you’d be wrong. There is a lot of money to be made in the financial services industry by doing the wrong thing (though there is more to be made by doing the right thing).  Continue reading Chamber Fails At Astroturfing Fiduciary Rule


An Independent Fiduciary

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