It’s not uncommon to hear people wish that we could return to the “good old days,” when the world seemed more prosperous. Of course, depending on how far you go back, the “good old days” might cover a time when the world was poised on the edge of a nuclear precipice, when the Soviet Union and other communist governments basically enslaved more than 50% of the world’s population, when racism was practiced openly and codified in the legal system, when there was no Internet or smartphones, and when TV entertainment consisted of three or sometimes four channels on a heavy, small-screen device that didn’t include a remote.
Defined contribution plans for public school teachers are notoriously poor retirement plans, often described as a Wild West of sorts that’s plagued by minimal plan oversight, subpar investment options, and fund and insurance brokers who are free to walk into schools and sell products to teachers.
In an effort to secure the U.S. borders, the President has attempted to ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, and is meanwhile quietly instituting “extreme vetting” of visitors from other nations—asking them to turn over their phones, social media passwords and financial records. Even U.S. citizens are experiencing more scrutiny when they attempt to return to their home country.
One of the strangest investment vehicles ever designed is something called the Bitcoin, which is at once an exciting new technology for managing online transactions and an alternative currency to national currencies like the dollar, yen and euro. Last week, people who owned bitcoins discovered that electronic “coins” worth $1,350 were suddenly worth just under $945. Around the same time, U.S. regulators rejected an effort to create a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).
Giving to a charity is easy, right? You write a check and send it off to your favorite 501(c)(3) organization, and get a full deduction for the amount on your tax return, up to 50% of your adjusted gross income.
The U.S. Federal Reserve Board’s Open Market Committee just raised the Fed Funds rate from 0.75% to 1.00%—the second rate hike in three months. So what should you do with your investment portfolio in light of this change?
We heard a lot about income inequality and the stagnating incomes of middle class Americans on the campaign trail last year, and Wall Street firms that mostly move money around rightly got some of the blame. But hardly anybody talked about how CEOs routinely loot the treasuries of their own companies, taking money out of the pockets of stock investors and shareholders who they theoretically work for.